Smith Family Reunion 2011

Zion's National Park

It’s weird to think that our life in New York is a memory now. Whenever I think of home, I catch myself thinking of Miner Farm and our duplex there. I miss it already! I guess “home” will be a relative word for now until we find a place to rent, move in, and start our new lives. I’m looking forward to it. However much I miss New York, it feels great to be back among family and the familiar dry mountainous terrain.

Jed was a champ on our long plane ride from JFK to Salt Lake City. He slept the entire 4 ½ hours! My rear-end was sore and my left arm tingled from holding Jed’s heavy head, but I didn’t care. My baby was peacefully asleep! I actually enjoyed cuddling him.

Jed’s routine is in total upheaval. The only thing familiar in his life right now are a few of his belongings and me. (We are missing Bron for two whole weeks!) Jed is doing all right though. Jed is a happy good-natured kid. However, he screams and screams when I put him down to sleep in the pack ‘n play my mom bought for him. Maybe he will become accustomed to it in a few more nights. But until then, we’ve developed sort of a bad habit. I take Jed to bed with me and lay down with him. He snuggles his face right up next to mine. He plays with my nose and mouth and laughs. Then he starts to make his tired moaning sound, strokes my hair, and finally drifts off to sleep. It takes less than five or ten minutes. That’s when I scoop him up and put him in his own bed where he sleeps peacefully all night long. For some reason, I love it.

View from our hotel

The incredible red rock inside Zion's.
You know you want to visit now too.

Our first few days out west have been a blast! We made it back just in time for the annual Smith Family Reunion. This year it was held in Zion’s National Park in southern Utah. We had a family reunion there eleven years ago in the summer of 2000. Being there brought back so many fun memories! We cousins have all grown up since then and so much has changed! It’s kind of neat that I now get to take my son to the reunion: another generation.

We stayed in a hotel just outside the park and took the bus up into the canyon. After dinner our first evening there, we all went on a “short hike” that turned into a slight fiasco when the sun set behind the steep cliffs leaving us stumbling in the dark. We always have to have a disaster at a family reunion. It’s a rule. Thankfully, this year it was minor.  (It doesn't hold a candle to flipping a jeep, getting lost in the desert for hours, or having a brush with the law!) We all made it out without any incidence.

Ready for our hike!  Jed was still suffering from jet lag.

Hiking along
My cousin Rachel (36 weeks pregnant) with Grady (2 yrs)
Ty and Grady

Water, greenery, and red rock = pretty!

The next morning most of us headed into Zion’s to hike the Narrows: a trek up a river between two towering walls of rock. Amid the sweltering dry heat, the freezing water feels amazingly refreshing! It is a super fun hike! And I was the equivalent of Amazon Woman—minus the snakes and testosterone—because I carried Jed on my back all day! We even waded through chest deep water together. Jed didn’t make a peep. In fact, he loved the ride! Jed talked to me and pointed the way to go. What a stud.

And did I mention the animals?  There were wild animals that weren't scared of people at all.  We even yelled at them.  The deer didn't blink.  And the squirrels walked on their hind legs inches from my legs begging for food.  It was cute but a little scary because all I could think of were their tiny nails and flesh wounds.

The Narrows
Hiking the Narrows!
Some of the gang: Ty, Tyson, Devin, Emily, Megan, Kathleen, Jessie (me), and Jed
I totally spaced it and didn't wear the right attire, but it was fun anyway.

The speedy cute thangs, Kathleen and Megan
The water looks swifter than it really was

My little brother, Michael, taking on the rapids in his Indiana Jones hat

That night we celebrated my Aunt Becky’s 50th birthday. My Aunt Mari reserved a room outside for us at a restaurant where we gorged ourselves on an Italian all-you-can-eat buffet. When everyone was finished, we gathered the chairs around for a short family meeting that turned into chatting and kids playing on the floor for a few more hours. (By the way, I have no idea how Jed found TWO packets of honey. What a sticky mess!) It was the perfect gathering place for us all and a great end to a fun weekend.

Our family loooves to eat!  And that's an understatement.

Grandma, Aunt Becky, Mom 

My cousin, Necia, with the cutest rolly-poliest baby boy, Traejan (6 months)

Family Party!

Trying on Great-Grandma's old jewelry.  Yes, even some of the boys!  We all look so great, it makes me speachless!  haha

I love my family and I love our reunions. I feel so lucky that I have so many awesome memories with my cousins and aunts and uncles. And I am glad that we will be carrying on the tradition, at least for a few more years. Thank you Grandma and Grandpa! We love you!


  1. You got that up fast! I copied some of the pictures. That definitely was a fun weekend! Zion's is beautiful! I was so glad we got to go back this year. Good luck these next few weeks!

  2. Aww I'm kicking myself for not going. It looks like it was a lot of fun! I want to paint some of those photos, they're gorgeous! I hope your move goes good for you guys, love you!


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