The Snow Family Reunion officially began at 3:00pm on Sunday when we checked into the house where we would be staying for the next three days. While we were waiting for that exciting moment, Grandpa Snow played the accordion for awhile and then gave me my first (and probably only) accordion lesson.
When we arrived at the home it took an army to unload all the food for 60 people as well as luggage. Emily and I did our part by staying out of the way and explored the house with its many bedrooms, tv room loft, swimming pool, tennis court, and playground (which we never played on in the 115 degree weather).
The next three days were full of fun with the amazing Snow Family. Highlights:
We broke into teams for a road rally around St. George to places that are significant to the Snow family history. We had a short activity and a family history story to read at each stop. Emily and I were on the same team and started at the Washington Fields Property, which was farmed by Grandpa Snow’s father, Eldon Stafford Snow.
Next we went to Annie Stafford Snow Condie’s home (Grandpa Snow’s grandmother) and drank root beer in commemoration of gross root beer that Grandpa Snow drank there as a boy.
We stopped by the property that Grandma and Grandpa Snow inherited down from Erastus Snow as well as the Legacy House where Grandma Manwaring (Grandma Snow’s mother) lived her last years. We also went to the St. George Temple where Grandma and Grandpa Snow were married. Our last stop was grave of Artimesia Beman Snow, the first wife of Erastus Snow that Andrew’s family is from. We placed homemade tissue paper flowers at the grave, along with all of the other road rally groups.
There was a large pool, a little kid pool, and a hot tub that we used each day. On Monday Emily cried the entire time she was in the water. After lots of patience and coaxing on Tuesday she warmed up to the idea and had a great time walking around the little pool chasing pieces of balloons. We at lunch outside both days as part of our swimming adventures. We had a pool party on Tuesday night after most of the little kids went to bed. We hung out and talked in the water until it was too cold, played some games, and then switched our conversation to the hot tub. When cookies were brought out, Sam was kind enough to bring the platter over so that we didn’t need to get out of the pool.
Emily took awhile to warm up to everyone. She picked one person in Andrew’s immediate family each day to be comfortable with. On Sunday Sam was her favorite; they played with a golf balls for hours while we waited for the rest the family to arrive. Hannah and Emily got along really well on Thursday when we went to the children’s museum. Grandpa Jackson was her go to person next to Andrew and I the other days. On Friday Emily enthusiastically went to Aunt Judy before they left us at the airport.
I love being an aunt! The last time I saw this sweet niece of mine she couldn’t even hold her head up; now she is standing up and taking steps all on her own. She and I didn’t become the best of friends, but she approved of my wheels on the bus (and her mom sitting right next to us).
Emily worked really hard to make sure Ariana didn’t have any toys within reach. It wasn’t a great thing, but fortunately Ariana doesn’t care yet about certain toys so there was no conflict except on the side of Emily.
On the very last day we were together, we asked Emily to give Ariana a hug goodbye. We should have started with that! They both loved it. Ariana would stand herself up and grab onto Emily, mouth open wide. She would then walk Emily backwards while Emily held her up in a hug with a huge smile and sometimes laugh. It always ended with a fall but Emily would sign and say “more more more” and Ariana was ready to go. We had pictures taken from all angles this was such a historic moment.
Three meals a day for 60 people is a pretty impressive feat. Here is the early morning breakfast crowd grabbing breakfast burritos on Tuesday. Each meal had a different team of people assigned to prepare and clean up the food. We loved being able to chat with different family members as we made breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Emily started talking about the temple as soon as we left our home in Indiana, and constantly from then until we actually took her to the temple. We looked at pictures of the temple on the airplane to help keep everyone happy. We decided to go as our family of three on Tuesday morning while many of the Snows went to do baptisms there. We stayed outside just long enough to go up to the temple, take pictures, and run to the visitors center. It was hot!
After touring the visitors center for a little less than an hour, we decided to walk around the temple. Our rarely independent girl took off walking on her own, singing songs that included “temple” “see” and “me”. She also tried collecting rocks, her favorite past time, but quickly discovered they are too hot to touch in southern Utah.
She really liked looking at the fountain on the side of the temple.
Tuesday afternoon while the little ones were napping, Andrew presented his thesis to some of Snow family. He made bingo cards with key words and ideas for people to listen for – a huge success. This whole presentation started out as a joke but it was really fun to see it happen. A four pound bucket of licorice was consumed during this event.
On Tuesday afternoon we broke back into our six road rally groups to play a reverse charades type game. Each team acted out a word for one person on their team to guess in 30 seconds. It. was. awesome. There are some impressive actors in the snow family! We all laughed until we cried and kept going. After a hour and half of playing against another team, we all met together and did a highlight reel of the best acted out words. This shot is from Andrew’s group. The word was “diaper change”.
Wednesday morning after checking out of the big home, we went on the St. George Live Tour. There were lots of stops, but the one we were all excited to see was Grandpa Snow playing Erastus Snow at the tabernacle.
Emily was pretty tired and although she LOVED riding the bus, signing and saying it with great excitement every time we were getting ready to hop on, she was pretty restless during the presentations. Aimee saved the day coming prepared with awesome books for Emily to look at.
Emily discovered “blue nuts” in the trail mix bag on this trip, aka M&Ms. She asked for them once since coming home but she seemed satisfied that they were a Utah thing.
We loved the hours of 7-11:30pm after putting the kids to bed. We would talk one on one or in large groups each night for hours until we realized we had 6-7 hours until our children woke up (if we were lucky). This was one of my absolute favorite parts of the reunion, chatting with people we do not get to see often enough. One night Carrie and I gathered up rackets and tennis balls to play tennis and Andrew and Erik joined us. Jon joined us partway through and we played three on two.
We are so grateful for the chance we had to spend time with the Snow Family! Thank you Ashley for orchestrating and taking these awesome group pictures.
I really love Emily’s silly face. It was her first one.
The wonderful Jackson Family. Emily was having a tantrum during all of these pictures (hence Andrew getting her to the couch in any way possible) so it is a miracle she is smiling and looking at the camera.