Saturday, July 26, 2008

Carpenter Family Reunion

Friday, July 25, 2008

A month of Reunions!

Well, starting with the return of Mom and Dad Coombs from their mission in England, July has been a huge month of reunions for us. Before Mom and Dad Coombs had even left Arizona, Jon and I took off for a 2-day drive up to Washington State for my family's huge extended reunion. It was by far the longest car ride we've taken since we've been married, and we were a little leery of how our Sarah and Aaron were going to handle the trip, but the two 15-hour days of driving actually went really well, thanks in large part to a portable DVD player in the back for the kids and The Chronicles of Narnia book-on-CD for me and Jon in the front.

This was actually the first time we had gone to visit my mom since she moved to Washington State a few years ago. My mom lives on 10-acres of picturesque forest in a small town called Newport, just over the border from Idaho. It was BEAUTIFUL. Literally, every view should be in a calendar. Unfortunately, it did nothing for our discontent with the dry, hot, brown state we call home, but that's a whole other blog.

Anyway, my side of the family (from Grandma Berta down) has a huge family reunion every other year, and this year, my mom decided to plan and host the event. My sister and I arrived a few days before the reunion to help finish all the last minute details (meals, activities, organization, etc.), and by the time all our aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. arrived, the reunion practically ran itself. We were all staying in a fabulous Bed and Breakfast owned by a family in my mom's ward, and it was so fun to reconnect and enjoy being with all my great family. Okay, so my family is crazy, but I guess that's what makes us so endearing.

One of the biggest highlights was Friday, when we got to spend the entire day at Diamond lake, just down the highway from my mom's house. Another family in her ward owns a beautiful lake house with all the toys--kayaks, floats, a dock, a canoe, etc.--and add in my parents' boat, it was a perfect day. Check out all the great pics in the slide show!

Another memorable moment for all of us was the great family testimony meeting we held Saturday night. How amazing it was to hear the testimonies and feel the spirit of my wonderful extended family! It was also a true testament to the power of one righteous example--despite many ups and downs in her life, my Grandma has always been quite a rock of righteousness and has an impressive legacy of stalwart Saints to her credit. I can only hope to one day sit in a room with all my children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren and feel the strength of their testimonies filling the room.

The rest of the reunion was spent with chatting, card-playing, eating (of course!), and exploring the cute town of Newport, WA. We also played a great "Carpenter Family Feud" game, which I hosted, and unfortunately the Parmalees won. (We all know they're just a bunch of cheaters, anyway. =) Hee, hee!)

We extended the trip home to three days, which gave us a chance to stop by Provo and have lunch at Los Hermanos with one of my old college roommates, Missy. It was so fun to see her and catch up with all the old Alta people she's stayed in contact with over the years. (Living in Utah valley helps facilitate staying in contact with people, I've noticed.) We also stayed the night in St. George with Jon's family and had a fun dinner and night of games with all the St. George Coombs.

So, in the course of 2 weeks, we got to see almost all of our family on both sides, with the exception of Mark and Jenn's families, and an old roommate. Don't you just love reunions!

Friday, July 04, 2008

They're home!!!

After a gruelling (i.e. completely idyllic) 18 months slaving (i.e. playing) away in the picturesque British Isles, Mom and Dad Coombs are finally home from their mission! Yes, yes, we have all teased them endlessly about the vacation-like mission they have been serving over the last year and a half, but we are so lucky to have such amazing examples in our parents who are diligently trying to wear out their lives in service to the Lord. And to be honest, they certainly deserved such a fabulous mission experience after their amazing, albeit more challenging, mission to Thailand and Sri Lanka. Now we are all wondering how we can get ourselves signed up to head to England! That's the way to serve a mission!

Anyway, Mom and Dad arrived Monday night, June 30th, and have been staying with us and enjoying their time reacquainting themselves with their Coombs and Brown grandchildren. Unfortunately, with some unforeseen illnesses, errands, and urgent care runs, the week didn't go quite as planned, but it has been fun to spend time with our world-travelling parents, nonetheless.

I'm posting some pics of us picking them up from the airport--a true mission homecoming experience. I'll be sending out some pics of our 4th of July festivities later on. We leave tomorrow to go see my family for a couple of weeks, so I'll have a lot to update when we get back!

First Haircuts

On June 25th, Sarah and Aaron got their first professional haircut! Actually, this was Sarah's first haircut ever, and she did great! (Of course, it didn't hurt that Kayla bribed both of them with lollipops if they did well.) Aaron, who has a deathly fear of all clippers, didn't fair so well (hence the tear-stained face in the pictures), but he was able to settle down a little when Kayla put the clippers away and got out the scissors. They both looked so adorable and are all set to see both sets of their grandparents over the next few weeks!