Sunday, July 31, 2016

UT to MS via St.Louis

We got a message from Chris' cousin Steve and his wife, Barb  that they were going to be driving near Starkville on the way to a reunion in July and thought it would be fun to meet up. Turns out their travel dates were the EXACT same travel dates for us going to UT for my family's reunion. We were super bummed that it wouldn't work out until we realized that if we timed our drives just right, we could both be near St. Louis around the same time (if we took a route that was just an hour or two longer). We agreed to meet in St. Louis Sunday morning. Chris and I drove all day Saturday and through the night and arrived early Sunday morning with enough time to eat a picnic breakfast and change next to the temple grounds and attend a sacrament meeting for a 1/2 hour or so before meeting Steve and Barb by the famous Arch. 



We talked outside on the grass for a while before deciding to both stay long enough to take a tour up to the top of the Arch. The whole area was under construction so we had to walk/stand A LOT and there was practically no shade around, but it was so much fun to be catching up with our old friends that it was a pleasant experience. There was a long wait for the tour but again, with so much to catch up on it was entertaining (although the kids were very much at the end of their rope). Our family just fit perfectly in the little cars that go up inside the arch's legs.



 

I'm glad we didn't have to walk on stairs up to the top and I'm glad that I'm not claustrophobic... it was a pretty small space on a rickety-ish feeling ride quite close to the thin looking walls that kept us from the dropping to the ground.






It was a nice break from driving and so fun to see our friends and see their kids. Then we walked back to the cars and headed the rest of the way home. 

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Betteridge Layton Reunion 2016

We all met at a Marriott hotel in Layton for our reunion this year. After checking in and deciding on rooms and whatnot we met at a restaurant (of my choice because it was my birthday) and had dinner. I was in the mood for Indian or Thai so we found a local Thai place about 10 min from the hotel and called to make sure they could accommodate a group of about 34 people, 19 of those being kids under the age of 14.  We had the place to ourselves at first and the food was great. The only problem was it took almost 2 hours to get everyone their food. Lesson learned... with a group that big just eat at a buffet or do fast food.  Freddy exploded out of his diaper and my sisters surprised me with some cupcakes after dinner and everyone sang Happy Birthday to me... a couple of times.  Then we took over the hotel pool and swam until it was bedtime. That night we put the kids to bed and were going to meet in Sarah and German's extra room in their suite to hang out. I was the first one done putting my kids to bed and was told that I couldn't come in yet. So I went back to my room and almost fell asleep when I heard a knock at my door and was shepherded down to a room all decorated for a surprise party. It was fun to have been thought of that much and I was really surprised to see some beautifully wrapped gifts on the table and a big ice cream sandwich cake.  Sisters are the best.


We planned out the rest of the week (using my new teacher planner they got for me!) and then said goodnight. The next day we went to a splash pad and set up a big game of Disc Golf.





Then later that night we met at a park in Murray for an extended Betteridge get-together with my dad's siblings and their kids. It was fun to see cousins that I hadn't seen in 10 years or more. We had made matching tshirts for our reunion where every sub family had a different color so it was really convenient to introduce Chris and my kids by just pointing out all the green shirts.


The second full day we went to the Hill Air Force Museum. Really really interesting.



 







 Then we had a church building reserved nearby to just hang out in and get out of the heat for the middle part of the day. Sarah brought giant Bana-a-grams, and we spelled the word: Betteridge with our bodies on the floor and used Jordan's drone to take areal pictures.  We moved in the comfy chairs and just let the kids run around.








Then we went back to the hotel, let the kids swim and got ready for family pictures that night. 


 



 












One of the favorite things was letting all the kids have turns riding in Grandma and Grandpa's little RV Rialta to and from the hotel and our excursions.



Our last full day was Friday and we started off with a work party at Tiff and Todd's Salt Lake house so they could get it ready to sell. They had TONS of yard work and had to replace all the carpet and get it painted and what not. 19 kiddos aren't very helpful in this way so some of us moms took the kids to a nearby park while the others worked. 





Then we went to Temple Square to look at the new Joseph Smith video in the Church History Museum. Awesome. Also their kids floor was really fun too.



Then we hit up Mrs. Caughvinaughs Chocolate Factory in North Salt Lake before heading back to the hotel. Pretty cool how that little local company started and it was neat to learn about how they make the chocolates... and all the free samples weren't bad. :) 



Then we finished the day with a pool party and BBQ at the hotel. Really, the kids could've played in the pool all day and been happy. 






We let the older cousins stay up a bit and have a little party one night since we've been putting them to bed the same time as the little kids the past few nights so us adults could have some hang out time. Our last night dad brought out a box of memorabilia from Grandma Hardy's house that needed to be gone through and we looked at some old pictures of us as little kids, or cards that mom made and gave to Grandma Hardy.


Its always hard to say goodbye, but we were trying to meet Chris' cousin in St. Louis the next morning so we had a 20 hour drive ahead of us and we got on the road around 9 or 10. I think overall it turned out better than I thought it would. I worried the separate hotel rooms would be difficult to meet all together and I worried the random stuff to do would not be interesting or it would be expensive... but no! It was just great. Like all large group gatherings, I feel like there were individual people I didn't get to have good 'connecting' time with but then there were some people that I happened to have good moments with.... my favorite one of those was cuddling with my sister Sarah and her husband German in their bed late one evening while we waited for other adults to be ready to hang out because I was SO COLD. This Mississippi girl is used to over 100 degree days with the head index and all the AC blasting hotel rooms made me freezing.  I can't wait for the next Betteridge Blast...