We left on Wednesday, August 3 to travel to Minnesota. My younger brother Calvin would be getting married that weekend to Jane and so we wanted a few days together with family before the wedding. We enjoyed all the celebrations and the time we had to get to know Jane a little as she became part of our family.
Thursday was a really fun day. Most of our family was staying at DeAnn and Brent's house in Rochester and so we went over there just after breakfast. I went shopping with Maria to get some of the last supplies for the family dinner on Friday. The kids all played and then after lunch we went to our hotel to swim. We were at the TownePlace Suites and it had a super cool pool for our kids (and we had fun too). There was a shallow pool with a little slide and fountain and then a deeper pool with bigger slides. It was just a really fun few hours splashing and sliding and playing.
Then we headed back to Brent's house and had dinner with just our smaller family: my mom, our family, Brian and Logan, Maria's family, and Calvin and Jane. My mom helped us make curry chicken and it was awesome the amount that us original kids ate. It was delicious. We all love it and appreciate it more than others I suppose. The only bad thing happened this night. Rand was jumping on the tramp then decided to jump off a few times...landed on his feet but then fell on his arms. His arm was hurt and he didn't want to move it. It didn't look broken but he was super freaked out (I think because he knew about Rhianna's bad broken arm) and with the wedding coming up we also wanted to make sure we took care of him. So the kids were supposed to have a sleep over and we were supposed to stay up late playing games. Instead, Seth had a sleep over and ate some good candy, Rhianna beat all the grown-ups at Dominion, while Steve and I took Rand to Urgent Care for x-rays. The good news was that his arm was not broken.
Friday the kids just got to play most of the day with cousins and they really just all had a great time together. Rand and Andrew really get along and Seth, Emmy and Logan had some good pretending going. We helped set up the church for the dinner. My sister Maria had great ideas and did a great job organizing and decorating. The dinner was catered and had sort of a nice picnic feel. Brian and Jane's dad did family introductions. After we had eaten we had some short tributes to Calvin and Jane and it was fun to hear a few stories and thoughts of others. Rhianna also played the piano and a few of Jane's family and friends played guitar. We had pie for dessert and then my dad joined in from India via Skype. We ended with a book Maria put together for Calvin and Jane with thoughts from all of us.
Saturday, August 6 we drove up to the St Paul Temple. The kids played in the church next door and I was happy to be in the sealing room for their wedding. The sealer's biggest advice was to return to the temple and reflect on what the covenants mean in our lives. He then spent time going through all the covenants and promises we make and sharing some of his thoughts and insights about them. It is just a happy time, wonderful blessings, and I am glad I was there. We did just a few pictures outside and then headed in to the church for a little lunch before going back to Rochester.
Jane's family did a marvelous job on the reception that was held at their house. The driveway was decorated and they had a big tent and lights set up and flowers everywhere. Jane's grandma made all the delicious mini desserts. I think my kids particularly loved these tiny cones that were filled with a nutella mixture. We ate a good share of all the treats. The boys didn't last for the whole party and so Steve took them back to the hotel. Rhianna and I stayed for some of the dancing and to see Calvin and Jane off. They had some fun songs and we were hot and sweaty and had fun. We said good-bye to Calvin & Jane in their balloon-filled decorated car and then soon after said good-bye to everyone else.
We all left for our homes on Sunday. It was nice to see some of our aunts and uncles that came to join us. Especially Brent was great to us while we spent so much time in his house. We always have a good time when we get together. Part of what I tried to say to Calvin and Jane on Friday was about the importance of these moments and time spent together as family. I left for college when Calvin was only 7. I came back for Christmas, but as I left at the beginning of January to start the next semester I really felt sad. Calvin would turn 8 in just a few days and would be baptized soon and I thought I was going to start missing out on all these things, including important things, in my brothers' and sisters' lives. So I was so excited when my parents called and surprised me saying that they would fly me back to Colorado for the baptism. And since then there have been many times we have had reunions together in places like Florida or Boston just last year before mom and dad and Michael left on missions. Many times they came to us in Utah or Texas or Arizona. So I am glad I still feel close to my family and we have had time together and that I was able to be there in the temple with Calvin on this day.