A Fun Weekend in St. George

Oct 26, 2016

On Sunday, we got back from a really top-notch family reunion in St. George, Utah. My brother, Ben and his wife, Meagan planned the entire thing, and it really was nearly perfect with just the right number of planned activities mixed together with a good amount of down time. We stayed in a condo with plenty of space (and Mike even found the perfect hidey-hole under the stairs for my brother, Christian, who needs his alone time away from all the little nieces and nephews). We were missing my sister, Anna, who had too many obligations at school to get away. (Everyone else was on fall break, but BYU doesn't take a fall break (WHY?!), so it couldn't be helped.) But all in all, it was a fantastic four days.

I'm not going to do a full recap on the weekend, but I wanted to share five of my favorite things from our time there. (If this list was created by my kids, it would almost certainly include playing on the Wii, which is rather embarrassing but I guess makes sense since we don't play video games at our house.)

In no particular order:

1. Snow Canyon
We did two short hikes, the sand dunes and Jenny's Canyon, both of which could be completed easily by all of my kids, even Clark, and had really fun attractions at the end--the sand dunes at the one (where they literally could have stayed and played all afternoon) and a slot canyon at the other. Mike and I had never been in Snow Canyon before, and we both wished we'd had more time to go back and hike some more. Next time . . .

2. Family book discussion
Every year, we choose a book ahead of time so we can have a little book club during the reunion. This year, my brother chose Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull, one of the founders of Pixar Animation. It was a fascinating read (I already wrote a little bit about it here, and a full review of the book is still coming), so we had lots to discuss. It was so eye-opening to get everyone's very different perspectives: from my dad who has worked for the government for over thirty years . . . to my brother, Gordy, who works in a similarly creative environment to the one described in the book . . . to me who tries to foster creativity within the walls of my own home. The book was amazingly applicable to a variety of situations, and I just love having other people to discuss a book with. (Unfortunately, we started the book discussion too late in the evening for my mom, and so she only made it about halfway through before she fell asleep on the couch.)

3. The St. George Temple
My parents were married in the St. George temple nearly thirty-three years ago, and this weekend was the first time they'd been back. It was so special to walk around the grounds with them and imagine them as a young married couple right on the cusp of life. My dad had some family names ready for temple work, so my mom, two sisters-in-law, and I divided them up and performed the initiatories (one of the ordinances done in the temple) for all of them. I felt such a sweet unity and friendship as we sat together and waited for our turn. There were lots of fun and lively moments during the reunion, but that one was just simple and quiet and made me feel grateful for my wonderful family.

4. The St. George Children's Museum
Mike and I both agreed that this was one thing we thought we'd just tolerate for the sake of our kids, but then we both ended up really enjoying it. I get serious anxiety when I think about the children's museum in Salt Lake. It's big and crowded and almost has too many activities so that my kids end up running around like crazed maniacs instead of settling down and enjoying one thing. The children's museum in St. George was much smaller and consequently felt so much more manageable. It was still crowded (we were there over fall break, remember), but the kids just didn't seem as psychotic or out-of-control. Everything was organized, people took turns, and there were lots of opportunities for exploring and creative play.

5. Gordy's humor
This really has nothing to do with the St. George setting, but it is one of my favorite memories from the reunion, so I had to share it. My brother, Ben, is helping a friend of his create an alphabet-themed card game. They're currently in the testing phase, so he brought it to the reunion so we could play it and give feedback. I realize that trying to re-tell a funny moment rarely works, but at one point during the game, my brother, Gordy was trying to think of someone's name. He said, "Mary and . . . John? Peter?" and then he looked at me like I should know who he was thinking of. Turns out, it was Joseph (as in, Mary and Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus) he couldn't think of. Joseph! One of the most well-known figures in the New Testament! For some reason, this just cracked me up, and I couldn't stop laughing. Tears were rolling down my face, and he just kept making jokes about it and setting me off again. No one's ever been able to get me to laugh like him, and sometimes it just feels so good to laugh.

It was just such a great weekend, and I'm glad my parents have made it a priority to spend time together as a family.


  1. I discovered your blog after hearing you on the podcast, What Should I Read Next? Wonderful family pic and roundup of your family time together. My favorite pic? The boys dressed up as firemen. Reminds me of a pic I have (somewhere) of my kids trying on hats at the Houston Children's Museum 25 years ago.

  2. It's so funny, but your post made me realize what a fantastic idea it would be to have a family reunion in St. George. My parents still live there (I grew up there), so we visit often enough, but I don't think we've ever all been back together since scattering for college and missions and marriage. We have family reunions, but we've always chosen other destinations. So funny that I've never thought of St. George as a destination that would be fun for a family reunion (probably because it's not very fun to be there in the summer), but there really is so much to do! You've inspired me, we need to do a fall break reunion at home one of these years.

  3. I'm going to keep this family picture in my mind. It will make it easier for me to 'let' your Mom go from Akron. Every time I start to miss her, I'm going to remember the picture, and all will be ok. She will be happy. :-)

  4. It looks like it was an awesome reunion! I love St. George-it is so pretty.

  5. I just love how your family had a book club discussion. Going to pinch that idea :-) We're just home from a family holiday including our adult children and we managed to squeeze in a little read aloud time :-)


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