The Nelson Family Reunion and the World's Fastest Slide

We kicked off the first official week of summer break in the best way possible at the Nelson Family Reunion!  It's a biennial get-together chuck full of fun and love and sugar.  This year, it was held at the West Piney LDS Camp located in a stunningly beautiful and private valley in East Idaho. 

Our three days and two nights camping would be more accurately described as glamping.  The lodge was huge!  There was an industrial sized kitchen adjacent to a large room perfect for gathering and eating.  It allowed for an over-abundance of food and treats as everyone contributed to the meals.  As tradition insists, a snack table was also set up alongside one wall.  I think the aunts (without little children at home anymore) have the most fun with that as they stocked it with Costco sized boxes of sugary treats and just sat back to watch and laugh as the kids gathered around it like ravenous wolves.  At one point, someone found a group of kids hiding in the hallway, each sitting on their own giant stash of candies and cookies!  It was hilarious.  If there is ever a time to get sick on candy, the Nelson reunion is it.

The lodge boasted multiple bunk rooms upstairs and several smaller private rooms, each with a double or queen sized bed.  And ALL the beds had mattresses.  We just plopped our sleeping bags and pillows on top.  I mean, I actually slept!  And Conrad did amazing.  He took long naps and snoozed the night away in his pack 'n play tucked in a quiet corner of a private room.  Not to mention the part I think I was most appreciative about in the lodge: the plethora of toilets and showers.  Yay!

The majority of our time, however, was spent outside enjoying the beautiful outdoor space.  By far, the crowning highlight of that yard was the slide.  The slide at West Piney is as tall and fast as a Disneyland ride.  All the kids (including myself!) lined up for endless rides down on narrow pieces of carpet.  Each time someone went down, the slide became a little bit more polished and a became a little bit speedier.  It was such a blast!  Even Conrad enjoyed it, squealing on my lap as we careened towards the earth.  Unfortunately, Conrad thought he could take the slide on by himself.  I barely caught him at the top, twice!  So that was a bit stressful on my part.  You know, keeping my kid from breaking multiple bones or worse.  But all is well that ends well. 

Please enjoy the smathering of photos I took, having a lot of fun one evening trying to capture everyone's faces as they played on this legendary slide.

tallest and fastest slide at West Piney LDS Camp
           ^^Cousin Leah's toes at the precipice of the slide^^
^^Jed flying down the steep slide.  No hands was a 'must'^^
^^Flying off the end as the slide got more polished and faster.^^
^^Cousin Victoria^^
^^Madelyn's face!!!  Haha^^
^^Cousins Tannon and Collin^^
^^Garret and Eliza^^
^^Micah is the best oldest cousin on the planet.  He played so well with and looked after the little kids!  Here he is riding with Conrad.^^
tallest and fastest slide at West Piney LDS Camp
^^View of the West Piney Lodge and epic slide.^^
^^Here I am, taking on the slide with Conrad!^^
^^Levi and some cousins doing some outdoor bowling.^^

On our full day at West Piney, we took group pictures, had an auction to raise money for the next reunion, played kickball and football, and enjoyed relay races.  The kids made stick horses and rode a faux bull.  That night, we played Capture the Flag with glow sticks where I came away with a minor concussion.  Running around in the dark with full grown men probably isn't the brightest of ideas!

I admit, in the beginning I wasn't really looking forward to the reunion.  It sounded like chaos and a lack of sleep.  And it totally was!  But three days with family filled my heart and soul with a sense of belonging and love.  I don't think I would feel that way if the reunion lasted just an afternoon because just as it took 24 hours for the kids to warm up to their second cousins, it took that long for me to be able to actually sit and really talk and connect with some of my personal favorite people!  Family really is everything.  I feel lucky to have married into such an exceptionally good one!      

^^Tyrel and DeAnn and their ten children.^^
^^Talon and Amber and their four girls.^^
^^Garret and Nichole with their two little ones.^^
^^Chade and Joni with their cute family.^^
^^Taylyn with her baby girl!^^
^^Jed and Levi showing me their stick horses.^^
^^Barrel races!  Yeehaw!^^
^^This was sooo funny!  It was a hoot to watch big 'ol Kaleb 'gallop' with a stick between his knees.^^
^^The roots of the Nelson Family reunion^^
^^Seth moved the swings aside to make way for an afternoon of Bull Riding!^^
^^Jed and Levi's faces cracked me up!^^
^^Flint and Merri Sue enjoying the entertainment.^^
^^Uncle Dustin enjoyed sitting with the kids and they absolutely LOVED him for it!^^
^^The most beautiful view!  Idaho keeps outdoing herself.^^
^^Conrad down by the water getting wet and tasting some mud.  Eeew.  This kid spent a fair amount of his time turning on the faucet out in the yard.  He got completely soaked on multiple occasions!^^
^^Family relay races!^^
^^Amber with Brogan.  Go team, go!^^
^^Jed's spill left us all in stitches.  He was all smiles too.  Love this good-natured kid!^^ 

Good times and good memories with the best of people.

P.S.  Please ignore the awful green color casts.  These are simply snapshots for the memories, nothing more.

1 comment

  1. Dude, this sounds like my PERFECT idea of camping---no tentin' it, plenty of showers and toilets, ha ha. I'm going to see if we have anything like this in Northern Utah (I'm assuming we probably do) and suggest it to my mom the next time she's planning a big family shindig :)


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