Meldrum Reunion of 2017

When embarking on a 15 hour road trip with children, there is one thing we are always striving for.  And that is this:

Boom!  Sleeping kids makes for a good audiobook session for the grownups.  The destination was Vale, Oregon.  It's a gorgeous farming town with some awesome family members in it and in nearby Ontario {where Roy was born}.  Kirsten rode up with us from Arizona, which was enormously helpful for keeping the kids happy on the drive.  The rest of Roy's immediate family came in from the coast for the Meldrum family reunion.

We were so happy to be out of the car.  The moment we arrived, Camden hopped in a wagon with his cousins and never looked back.  It was one farm adventure after another, having the time of his life with these forever-friends, and never wanting to leave.

The quads were the biggest hit with the kids.  Little Luke would just sit on one all day if we let him {we had to get creative with hiding the keys from him} and everyone came running when they heard an engine turn. One particular quad run happened to get a little more adventurous than anticipated, but we just sprayed the kids down with the hose and let them run around in their underwear or diapers while their clothes dried in the summer sun.

One thing I've always enjoyed at Ruth and Lowell's farm is checking out their sheds full ride-on toy tractors--most of them antiques!  They've also started collecting vintage signs and have a couple of vintage cars in there.  It's a little boy's dream shed!

Other than the quads and tractors, the kids spent their days watching the cows grazing, feeding the ducks, pulling and pushing wagons, playing games on the grass, jumping on the trampoline, wrestling in a hammock between two giant trees, and running through the sprinklers.  

The adults, in the meantime, circled up on the lawn all day every day, relaxing and visiting.  Roy and I had to take turns chasing Hallie around, who decided that her mission in life was to go up and down the cement steps to the front door two billion times.  But other than that, it was so nice to just chill in the shade of the trees, listening to our kids hysterically laughing somewhere, and talk to our family.

Somehow she always manages to find shoes and a bag!

Each morning Grandpa Meldrum was able to join our lawn circle to visit for a while.  When Grandpa gets to telling one of his life stories, the grandkids {all adults} sit on the edges of their seats and pull out their phones to record it.

One morning we joined some of Roy's cousins, Uncle Dennis, and Aunt Genie for a tour of a nearby Mormon welfare farm.  The church owns over 60 farms worldwide, where food is grown for those in need.  Roy's aunt and uncle volunteer there frequently, so they were able to show us around, teach us some interesting things about how these welfare systems work, and more about growing and harvesting fruit than I ever thought I'd know.

And then back at Ruth and Lowell's farm...

Hallie had a little entourage of little girls doting on her the whole time.  It was adorable.  She especially fell in love with Ashlynn, who was such a sweet little mother to her.

Once we had our fill of sitting and relaxing for the day, Roy and I would bust out the Spikeball.  Man, I am rusty, but I love that game!  The adults had lots of fun playing as long as the kids weren't swarming us.
"Go away, kids!  This is a grownup game!"  Haha!

On Independence Day we ate a big breakfast, played some water games {and engaged in some water warfare}, and then the whole gang went to the town's parade.  Hallie, as always, was in love with the animals.  Camden liked the high schoolers spraying people with water guns, and the pretty rodeo princesses.

I love it when Camden is so busy waving at the people and animals in the parade that he almost forgets about the candy.  Almost.

To be frank, Hallie was not in the best mood on this vacation.  Growing teeth is painful, and sleeping in unfamiliar places makes for a cranky baby.  That being said, whenever Ashlynn showed up, Hallie was all smiles.  I was ready to take miss Ashlynn home with me.

Then it was back to the farm!

And after dinner the kids got to play with sparklers, pop-its, and a few small fireworks.  In the past, this stuff has always made Camden really nervous.  This year it was different!  He loved swishing the sparklers around and hearing the loud bangs as the fireworks went off.

{Meanwhile, Roy is watching Hallie on the cement steps - haha!}

The kids were in bed before the sun completely set, but they had such a fun day.  You know it's been a fun day when the tub water is brown.

Throughout the week I just kept thinking about how disappointed the kids would be to leave this place.  What a summer paradise for them!  We felt super grateful to Ruth and Lowell for hosting, to Leah for organizing it, and to everyone who cooked us food or helped change a diaper.

A few times a day Hallie would point across the street and grunt, asking {cough, demanding} to see the cows.  That's where she learned the answer to "What does the cow say?"  Although, instead of "Moo" it's more like "Hoooh!"  She also sported her first ponytail, thanks to Aunt Leah.

Camden and Danny Jay were just the best little friends, and also loved hanging out with Allen.  Those three amigos ran all over the place having the best time.

One day we went on a scenic drive to the Owyhee dam.  We made stops along the way to see grooves in the earth left by wagons following Lewis and Clark.

And, of course, we stopped for burgers and shakes.

The next morning we packed up the car, much to Camden's dismay.  I think he thought we would live there forever.  On our way out we got to go to visit another cousin's farm briefly for a horse ride and to say goodbye to Grandma, Grandpa, and the gang.  Riding this sweet horse made Camden's day, which was good because the rest of his day was going to be sitting in a car seat.