Tuesday, July 6, 2010

SGU Day 1

Mom and Dwane's house is a real home.  The moment you walk in the door your are enveloped in a sense of warmth and well being.  They are both such loving people that the house radiates that feeling as well.  The only thing that improves on the feeling in their home is when all of us are there visiting
When we woke up Sunday morning (7:00 as usual despite the time change (James has an impeccable internal clock.)) we were welcomed with hugs and kisses and finally had the opportunity to introduce Matthew to all of my siblings and to his cousins.  After a yummy pancake breakfast (John cooked) Mom laid out the plan for the day.  She had, as is usual for when we are all in town, arranged for us to sing in sacrament meeting.  This time she had also arranged for our kids to sing in primary.  Lisa and Keri (my two incredible sisters) wrote a Primary song this year and Mom wanted them to teach it to her primary kids.  Then she had volunteered Lisa and Keri and I to sing in Relief Society as well.  Mom can go a little overboard sometimes.  =)   Sunday evening was reserved for family pictures. 
Going to church in my parents' ward is a little strange.  I know maybe a handful of people.  Mom and Dwane were married two days after Mike (my step bro who is my age (actually, technically he is 6 months older since I got to retain my status as the baby of the family)) and I graduated from high school.  This was never my home ward since I went to the college ward that summer and then moved to Philadelphia.  However, we are welcomed with open arms whenever we are home for a visit and Mom and Dwane are loved and looked after by everyone, so as far as wards go this one is pretty great.
Anyway, all of the singing went well and watching my boys fearlessly sing a solo (Sam) and a duet (James) in front of a large group of their peers made my heart burst.  Church down, family pictures to go...
The plan:  All of us as well as all of Dwane's kids and grandkids would meet in the park at 6:00pm to get a new family photo of the WHOLE family as well as individual family photos. The last time we had done this was in 2002 when I was barely pregnant with Samuel and my brother, Jared, wasn't even married yet.   I have been after John to get some real family pictures done for a while so I was looking forward to this.  I think that the pictures turned out well. Sascha (my step brother Casey's wife) picked the color combinations for the family- a task almost more difficult than arranging the whole group for a shot.

What we didn't take into account:  the 117 degree heat and the poor saps (us and Ty and Becca and Theo) who were still on east coast time.  Two photographers and two hours (and several melt downs by kids and adults) later, we were more than ready to go splash around in a nearby fountain built specifically for that purpose.  The small amount of cold water bottles and half melted popcicles we had brought barely helped to combat the heat but the water fountain reduced Samuel to blue-lipped shivering.  I had him lay down on the pavement to warm up since no one had thought to bring towels.
One of the fun or bizarre things about my family:  Since we are so rarely all in the same place (the last time was in Philadelphia in 2006) my Dad and his wife Anne are included in most if not all of the family activities.  Family pictures were no exception.  They showed up at the end after Dwane's kids left and we got our pictures taken with them, too.  Don't even ask how the bill is being split on that one!

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