Sunday, July 17, 2016

July 11 - 17

We love going to swimming lessons at the Jan Lamb Swim School.  It's held at a private house tucked away in a ravine about five minutes from our house.  The first day, we saw two baby deer running through the trees, and Cece was sad that we never saw them again.

Ellie and Lynnie were up first.  Ellie loved being the oldest and most experienced in her class.  I had a hard time deciding back at registration where to put her.  The classes are divided as Minnows, ages 3-6, and Sting Rays, ages 6-8.  I decided it would probably be good to keep her and Lynnie together for one last summer.

After their class was over, Cece and I got to go to the Parent & Tot class.  I asked Ellie to take some pictures of us.

 Ellie is fearless and loves to go off the diving board.

Lynlee is officially an UPSTART graduate!  I am proud of her hard work over this last year.  She has learned a lot, and is even reading.

It is special to see Greg being able to set apart these men that were special to him when he was their Bishop.  I love when my friends post pictures like this on Facebook that I can snag.

Somehow we got on the list to go with David to a customer appreciation night with one of his clients.  It was a fun night with cousins and Aunt Tammy!  We started with a train ride.

And then went to face painting before the lines got too long.  Cece was nervous, and the expert suggested doing her arm.  It was perfect.

I loved the real artists that were there.  Ellie asked for an owl, and her artist didn't even hesitate.  She created this darling owl.

Lu got a dolphin.

Then we used our food vouchers for a yummy free dinner from the food trucks.  We got Costa Vida and Waffle Love and a L'il Caeaser's Pizza.

Ellie took a selfie, and...
...a picture of Andrew Batman.

Next we played for a long time on this giant bounce house.  It was in the shade and that made the temperature just right.

We walked up to the front building for a potty break and some mini-golf, and then on our way back ran into these princesses.  Cece just stood there and smiled at them.

The last thing we did was get snow cones, and then watched Ellie and Andrew rock climb.  Ellie did the best she's ever done, going up more than halfway.

Building Legos with your sister is the best way to spend a Saturday morning.

Lynlee got to go with Albert to her cousin Alex's birthday party.  She had a great time.

Her favorite part was the water balloon fight.

Cece's hair was absolutely perfect this day, and I was trying to get a picture of it that would do it justice.  I wasn't having much luck, but Ellie and Lynlee hopped in there to try to help, and I ended up with the sweetest sister picture.

Happy birthday to the best man I know!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Spencer Family Reunion, Conclusion

Friday was the last full day of the reunion and we spent it at Seven Peaks.  Tanya had the forethought to reserve two giant cabanas, and they made all the difference on this scorching hot day.  Someone was always there, so it was safe to leave all of our things as we all went back and forth to play.  The girls' favorite activity was the wave pool.  We spent quite a while in the kiddie pool part, too, and Ellie liked the slides there.  We never got brave enough to try the bigger slides.  Maybe next time.

We headed back to the hotel (after giving the girls another car nap) where we had Pizza Factory for dinner.  Note to self for next time:  the bread twists, cheese pizza, and Hawaiian pizzas were the favorites.  Do not get the Factory Deluxes.  Then, Tanya had arranged for Cold Stone to come in and cater dessert.  It was pretty fun!  

I had to take this picture of just how Cece was clutching on to Greg's arm.

A bunch of the cousins decided to head to the hotel pool one last time, and we decided we had had enough swimming for the day.  We randomly hung out in Grandma's hotel room, and Jonette's hotel room, and Tammy's hotel room.  The highlight was definitely playing with Macy.  

The downside of this was discovering the next morning that we had lost Ellie's shoes sometime during the evening.  I was at the front desk seeing if anyone had turned them in, when Jonette came down to check out.  Mystery solved -- Ellie had taken her shoes off to get up on the bed with Macy and then left her shoes in the room.

Saturday morning we checked out of the hotel bright and early and dropped off all of the little cousins at Grandma and Grandpa's house, where Tammy volunteered to stay with them all.  The big cousins did baptisms for the dead, and the adults + Kylene and Tobyn did sealings.  Grandpa is a sealer now and it was a special experience to be there with him.  It was pretty special to look around the room and see all of the adults there (minus Lisette who stayed back with her special needs children).  Every one of the Spencers were there, temple worthy, and ready to particpate.  Did I say pretty special?  I really mean extraordinarily special.

After the temple, we went back to Grandma's house for a family meeting, led by Grandpa, and then a time for testimonies.  When I first got the reunion agenda, I thought Saturday was kind of a throwaway day.  But I was very wrong.  It turned out to be my very favorite day!  Despite the fact that we were all packed into the living room, and Rod was sitting right on top of the air conditioning vent.  He was so cold he grabbed a pillow from the couch and blocked the air.  The rest of us were dying because it got so stuffy.  Oh, well.

I love that the Spencers invest in their family and make time to invest in relationships.  Did we all blissfully get along all week?  No.  Did people squabble and tease and hurt feelings?  Yes.  Is anyone perfect?  No.  Does everyone agree that a reunion every two years is the best idea?  No.

But above all, there is a sense of unity and that we are all on the same team.  I loved watching relationships being built and renewed, especially the relationships that Ellie and Lynnie were forging with their cousins and aunts and uncles.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Spencer Family Reunion Photo Shoot

Staci and I were in charge of the pictures this year.  We also did the ones in Montana four years ago, and they turned out fine, so Tanya asked us to do it again.  Staci brought her tripod and I handled edits.  It helps that we were in such a gorgeous setting up at Snowbird.

Virgil, Cheryl, Daniel, Tamara

Jace, Tylan, Cassandra, Brayden
Todd, Rachel

Kaysen, Tobyn, Kylene, Kyle, Jonette, Kiera

Greg, Lynlee
Eliana, Heather, Cecilia

Parker, Dallin, Stacilyn, Paul

Hannah, Lisette, Scott, Landon
Luke, Aunika, Dylan, Ben
Zoe, Kaia, Nate

Jayme, Virgil, Jasmine, Byron

Emily, David, Tanya, Andrew

Tanya and Tamara

Kent, Jessica
Denver, Bailey

Daniel, Tammy

Can we get this show on the road already?

The Original Spencer Family in age order
Todd, Kyle, Greg, Scott, Paul, Mom & Dad, Rod, Tanya, Tamara, Kent, and Daniel

All the men -- the Spencer boys + David

All the women

The gorgeous grandchildren.  Just missing Clayton, who is serving a mission.

An outtake -- what it looked like as everyone was getting settled.

Silly faces!

Right after the grandchildren pictures, we all lined up to take a giant group photo.  I set the timer on the camera and ran to get in place.  Nothing seemed to happen, so I went back to double-check.  Somehow my preview screen had gotten turned little and I couldn't figure out how to make it the normal size again.  I looked at the last picture taken, and in my rush, just saw the tiny thumbnail full of people and colors and thought it had worked.  I set the camera up to take 10 more pictures and ran back again.  After a minute of fake smiling and people talking, I double-checked again, and thought we were good.

After we left Snowbird, I was flipping through the pictures on the camera.  I figured out how to get the preview back to the regular size, and quickly realized there were no pictures from the large group.  I had a bunch of pictures of grass.  Total user error happened there.  I am not sure what I did, but no pictures were taken.  I was so sick to my stomach.

Luckily, everyone was nice and wore their shirts to dinner that night (except Rod and Jayme, who had totally trashed with milkshake shirts -- so they found clean coordinating shirts in their luggage).  Even though people were nice, I am still kicking myself for not taking a second longer to make sure those pictures were there, and figuring out what had gone wrong.  I had practiced with the self timer, but clearly did not practice enough.

This turned out fine, but it is not as great as it would have been in the beautiful mountain setting.


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