And really, all of you have probably linked over to Blogs written by the other Thurstons that managed to finish posting about the reunion before I did.
We had the official reunion day in one of the hotel meeting rooms. We had a yummy catered lunch, and somehow mine and Chase’s table became the kids table. we crammed in extra chairs, and my kids loved having cousins sit with us, and I honestly didn’t mind that we had no adult conversation and more spills at our table than every other table combined.
We played family face bingo till everyone one a prize, the kids all got to pick a present to keep, and the adults all got to pick a present or steal from someone else. It was a lot of fun. Except for me winning a giant case of Monster? energy drink when my bath towels were stolen. I refused to to even take it back to our table, but thankfully someone else appreciated it a little bit more than me and we worked out a trade. We had a wonderful program with singing, a piano performance, old home movies, story telling, gift giving, laughing, dancing, we did just about everything you could fit in to 6 hours in a hotel meeting room with 62 people. The highlight for my kids was probably the visit from Santa!
OK, it doesn’t look like Sam appreciated it all that much but by the time he had gotten his candy cane and his present he thought Santa was all right. Santa delivered gifts for everyone at the reunion- a new pillow with personalized pillowcases for everyone! We had been instructed to pick out a yard of material for each person in our family and mail it up for a secret project. They took a little bit of everyone’s material for a blanket for great grandma Thurston, and we got back the left overs in pillowcase form.
We eventually quieted down to listen to a story. We had a wonderful time with all of the thurstons. We ended the day with all of the men giving a blessing to uncle Brent. He had been sick for a long time, and it was a very touching end to our day.
We are very thankful to Darla and Scott for planning this reunion, for all the time and money they put into it to make it happen. Within a month of the reunion Uncle Brent passed away, and we were so thankful to have one last party with him and no empty chairs.
We finished the day out by going on a quest for cream of weber cottage cheese for my mom(it’s the only cottage cheese she likes) swimming in the hotel pool, and had pizza delivered for dinner. here are the last of the hotel pictures:
one of many meals we made out of the gift basket from Darla and Scott
Sam working hard on the Ipad at the desk.
view from our room.
I had such a hard time waking up these sleeping beauties our last morning in the hotel. Chase woke up at 2 in the morning and decided it was time for us to come home. He was the only one that felt that way.
Chase did such a good job packing up the car. We started the trip with 4 pillows, but with each of us getting a new pillow on the trip, and Bekah and Hannah both getting big character pillows during the bingo game, we went home with 12 pillows. You could hardly tell in this picture when we were still in the hotel parking garage… but after 8 hours in the car they were all over the place. And that truck that Sam is holding? we got it from the bingo game as well, and it makes siren noises. It didn’t last long in Sam’s lap.
Now this next picture… I need to tell you, Chase parents came to visit us the night before we headed home. They said “don’t go home the back way, go through Las Vegas, you will be safe if you go through St. George and Las Vegas.” Did we listen? No. Will we listen next time? yes. I took this picture from the window of our car sometime around 4:30 or 5 am.
We are sitting at the edge of the road, see the tire tracks in the snow, going off the road? those are from our car. See the stranger in the white coat? (one of our heroes) he is looking down and away at where our car was… checking to see if there are any parts left of our car. (yup, I didn’t think to take pictures till we were safe and back on the road). We were driving on a little highway in Utah. It was raining. Rain is ok. Then it turned to snow. We were kind of mesmerized by the snow, we had never driven in it like that before. But then it started accumulating on the road and then we remembered. Snow is bad. And the next thing we knew we were slowly sliding off the highway and rotating to the side. We took out a little reflective highway marker with the side of our car, and a whole lot of bushes. We avoided the big boulders, and eventually came to a stop with our back bumper up against the hillside. we were pointed in the right direction to get back on the road… And we were stuck. Our car was running, but not getting us anywhere. There was smoke, I thought, and that was extremely scary to me until I realized it was just steam from our engine melting the snow. Then came some headlights, hurray! A big huge UPS semi truck pulled to a stop on the road and told us that he almost followed our tracks right off the road. Thankfully he did not, because we would have been toast. He didn’t have any way of helping though, and only stayed till a couple of guys in pick-up truck stopped to help us out. One was from Alaska and had some experience pulling people out of the snow. It stuck in my head that he kept saying “I don’t think we can get you out”, that’s how good we were stuck. So I told all of the kids to close their eyes and start praying. They did have a chain, but we would have to carefully steer between 2 boulders if they could get us moving at all. Chase managed to get our little girly SUV into 4 wheel drive, and with about 6 tugs (chase insists it was only 2) they slowly got us up onto the road. All of my kids were safe and sound. The only casualty was one of them peed their pants as they woke up to us sliding off the road. Our rear bumper is scratched a little and has one hole in it. A piece of plastic from under the front end came off and is somewhere in Utah still, you can’t even tell it’s missing though, unless you are driving to fast then it will start to make an odd whistling sound from that front corner. Before we crashed it seemed like we were completely alone on that highway. no headlights coming from behind us, and no tire tracks in the snow in front of us. By the time we got back on the road the big UPS truck had cleared some of the snow, a few SUVs, a tanker truck, and our heroes in the truck, went down that road in front of us, making it a little bit easier to keep traction. I have never felt more blessed and watched over. As we drove, the highway was looking even more scary. I soon realized that on that mountain, we crashed at the last possible spot to crash and still be alive. The rest of the way had short guardrails (that would probably only help us by flipping our car onto hits roof as we slid into them) and steep drop-offs. We made it down off the mountain in one piece and stopped, along with our heroes, at the first gas station that we saw. Me and the kids just needed a bathroom break, and the guys were making sure our car was still drivable. The two men were satisfied with leaving us on our own after that, but they wouldn’t accept payment of any kind- not even a soda from the gas station. We never even learned their names. The rest of the trip was pretty routine. We were able to help another stranded car that had hit a rock in the road that our car was high enough to just drive over. Well, we didn’t help them that much- we had no room in our car to take them anywhere but we did drive till we got cell service and we relayed a message to get them help and gave a detailed description of where they were stranded. We had breakfast in Paige at a deserted burger king and drove through the worst fog I’ve ever seen coming down out of flagstaff. For all the good things that happened on our trip, I don’t think I ever want to go to Utah in the winter again.