We had our annual Willard Reunion June 18th-20th. I always look forward to seeing my sisters and their families. This year a lot of the nieces and nephews were unable to make it so I didn't get to catch up with as many as I would have liked. I was really happy this year that our oldest, Shannon and her husband, Chris, and our granddaughter, Jennsen were able to make it. Chris also brought along his little nephew and niece, Tyler and Makayla. My family has really enjoyed getting to know my step children and have really taken them in as a part of the family. I think that they feel that also and I'm happy that they will make an effort to come. I was really happy that Becky (Hegerhorst) North and her hubby, Stewart, were able to be there. They won't be able to make it for the next few years with Stewart's busy schedule and them living in the east. Katie and Margie were also there, who are always a ton of fun to have around. Some of the others have moved back east like Kent and Jackie Stowe and now Justin and Nichole Merrell. We hope that they will be able to make it out once in awhile. I was happy to get to see a few of my oldest sister's girls. I hadn't seen ShaNae for quite a few years so that was nice, and it's always great to see Rasheil and Melodie and families too!! I was glad that even though Cassy and her family had some prior committments that they were able to make it up on Saturday and spend some time with us too!! Roberta was in charge this year and we had it up at Pine Basin Lodge in Swann Valley, Idaho. My brother in law, Keith's Father was a part of a group who opened the lodge with some tow rope ski lifts. They did a great job with the reunion and we had a lot of fun.
Larry and I went up on Thursday and spent the night in Idaho Falls. We had lunch with Shan and Chris in Idaho Falls and then they took their trailer on up to Swann Valley to spend the night. I talked Larry into going up to Rexburg to see the Ricks College campus, now known as B.Y.U. Idaho. It had been years since I had been on campus and Larry was not sure I really had attended the school there. lol There were so many new buildings, but I did get pictures of the dorm that I had stayed in my two years there and they hadn't changed all that much. We also stopped to see the temple there, which is beautiful. We then went back to Idaho Falls and went to the temple grounds there. My parents were married there in 1946, which was cool because they were married on the 19th of June, so we were there around their 64th anniversary. We then went to the little park that runs next to the falls by the temple. It was enjoyable.
The next morning we went on up to Swann Valley and met up with Shan and Chris. We decided since we weren't suppose to be up to the Lodge until 1:00 that we would go on up to the Palisades Dam a few more miles up the road. We just took some relaxing time there letting the little dogs and kids play in the water. The Snake River was quite chilly.
Then we headed up to the Lodge and met up with Roberta, Bonnie and their hubbies. Soon many of the others began to show up too. My mom's youngest brother was also invited and he and his daughter, Chandler, also came. We were excited to see them. We had a lot of fun activities that night. We learned a lot about our ancestors. Many of my ancestors lived in that area of Idaho, so it was enjoyable to talk about them and learn about them. Marla had also brought some papers that she still had from mom (things to do with genealogy and our family) I especially loved reading through some of our Family Home Evening minutes. Yes, my mom had us keep minutes of our meetings....and I must say that I'm really glad that she did, because it brought back a lot of memories. Roberta took that stuff to her house and we are planning on getting together to go through it. Roberta has caught the spirit of Elijah and is trying to work on the genealogy, especially on Dad's side of the family.
Saturday we did some GEO caching, went and got famous square ice cream cones, and did other fun things, including a spontaneous dog race. Shan, Chris and Jennsen had their to little dogs there and Sha Nae had hers and of course Katie had her Rupert. So Shannon set up a course area and we had a race. It was quite hilarious...Rupert came in 3rd only because Sha Nae's little chihuahua left the course. LOL We're proud of all of our 4 legged family members!!
Sunday, we went down to Sacrament meeting and helped Roberta and Keith get the lodge cleaned up. Then we had lunch and said our goodbye's. What a fun reunion. Thanks to the Kopps!! Larry and I had planned to stay around the area another day. So we went back up toward Rexburg to Parker and Teton, where many of my ancestors are buried. I took my camera and took a lot of pictures of the headstones. I took pictures of any graves that had Housley or Bird on them. It was a nice way to spend the rest of the sabbath. It was wonderful to look around and see the area that my ancestors called home and lived. I could feel their spirits it seemed. We then headed down to Pocatello where we had planned to stay the night.
Monday on our way home I asked Larry if we could detour off to Huntsville, Utah where my great grandfather Willard was buried. However for fun we had to stop at Smith and Edwards to get some amo cans for geo caching and of course a few other things that we couldn't pass up. I had never been to Huntsville before and loved seeing the beautiful valley. I could imagine my family living there and the love of this beautiful valley. I still want to go to Mendon and Paridise Utah to look at more family. Since I've been back, I've been doing a lot of looking up these names that I took pictures of. I've found many of these names being aunts, uncles or cousins. It's been a ton of fun. I think I feel the genealogy bug biting me a bit too!! Reunions are so important. Not only is it a time to enjoy our families, but it brings us closer and builds bonds. We know each other better, we learn about our eternal families. We've been linked together through temple marriages and we are eternal families. I love my family and enjoy spending time with them. We all have so much to share and give to one another. It is so important to try to make our families and our extended families a priority!! I love you all...thanks family for the fun and laughter!!
Thought it would be fun to keep a little journal this way, and I have to get up to speed with my nieces who are blogging. I'm a 4th grade teacher and have enjoyed teaching for 29 years. I'm married to the most wonderful man and have a step family that I love and have become just as much mine as they are Larry's. We have 4 children and 6 terrific grandchildren and there will be 7 in March. By the way...the baby with me in the picture is my beautiful niece Cortni LaDawn. She has my middle name.