August 8-16 St. George Anderton Reunion - Utah #4

Mike and I arrived at the Gecko House several days before the beginning of our 2014 Anderton Family Reunion in order to prepare and make final decisions on the sleeping arrangements. Sunday, the 10th, everyone started arriving. We rented unit E for Matt and Katie's families, Unit F for Jon's family and the larger Unit C for Mark's family. Amy's family stayed with us in Unit D, the Gecko House. As each family arrived, they were greeted with a high-five tunnel. The kids launched right into the fun, dragging out our toy supply and exploring the lava beds to the north. As Oliver scrambled up a lava mound at full speed in his flip-flops with Megan in hurried pursuit, he went flying and face-planted, scraping up his face. We had our first casualty within minutes of arrival and ahead of the family picture.

The basic plan for the week revolved around organized activities each day in the morning and early afternoon leaving the rest of the day for naps, games, swimming, skateboarding, popsicles, and just being together. Each family prepared one evening meal for the group.

The weather was magnificent as we arose Monday morning (10th) and headed to the Dixie overlook to hike the slot. Many of the group (those that could fit) squeezed through the narrow passage, helping each other every step of the way. It seemed a metaphor for life. As they emerged and joined with the less adventurous of the group, everyone scrambled up the red rocks like ants, foraging for food. Adults and kids alike scampered up and down, in and out, over and under outcroppings, mounds and crevices. We even took a large panorama shot of everyone huddled in natural holes in the rock face.

For FHE, we shared silly skits and talents and sang songs. As we knelt together for family prayer, KR began to sing, "Let us gather in a circle and kneel in family prayer..." Few knew the song, so she asked me to pick one and, of course, I belted out, "Oh they built the ship Titanic....! Everyone joined in. It wasn't what she was looking for, but everyone sang enthusiastically then we ended with prayer. It wasn't the most spiritual prayer time of the week, but it truly was a bonding moment.
Tuesday (10th) was hopping, literally, as we rented a facility with all kinds of padded trampolines-- areas with slides, basketball hoops, dodge ball spaces, etc. and we bounced ourselves, threw and dunked balls, and generally wore ourselves completely out. Some serious fun and laughter resulted. We rushed home, got kid naps out of the way, dressed in our "picture clothes" and took family pictures at the Snow Canyon overlook. What do you think?

Wednesday's activities included a visit to the St. George Children's Museum, a girl's lunch, and after dinner, our family version of Fear Factor. The grandchildren ate progressively "gross" items until they couldn't take it anymore and dropped out. It was hilarious. The facial expressions were priceless as we watched them tentatively drink tomato juice, nibble seaweed and chomp pickled pigs feet. Congrats to Jonny, Ella and Will for downing everything and earning themselves some cold, hard cash.

Thursday (12th) found us at the downtown waterpark where the kids splashed among the red rock waterfall formations, ran thru the little river and splashed everything in sight. In the evening the adults attended the temple together.

Our wonderful time together ended all too soon as everyone began to go their separate ways. Some left Thursday evening and others, Friday morning. Will heaven be like a family reunion?

Friday, the 13th, thru Monday, the 16th, was spent in northern Utah. The boys camped out in Morgan for Fantasy Football weekend and Laurel and kids headed home. Cher and the kids visited with family and the rest of the troops stayed in Springville. We ended up back in St. George with the Houston Andertons as they stayed with us Monday night before starting their long drive back to Houston on Tuesday morning. Whew.....  

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