..when you’ve got a friend’s vacation photos?  Cheaper, and less habit-forming.  I’ve even divided them into sections so you can read one part per night, based on your nocturnal needs.

You’re welcome.

I


It started with our annual Christensen Family Reunion.  This year it was in Bear Lake, Utah.

The homes we stayed in were gorgeous (thank you, Rod and Cindy!)  I’d never been to Bear Lake before and was instantly smitten.  Heaven on earth.

Gearing up for the morning 5k.  Don’t ask who ran and who walked.  I’ll never tell.

From left:  me (ever concerned about the hair), my sister Julie, my cousin Kayla (amazing college athlete/Boston marathoner/fittest person alive who organized this very serious race), my cousin Hilari, my Aunt Alaire, my cousin Keeli, my (adorably pregnant) cousin-in-law Chelsea, my cousin-in-law Ben, my cute hub, my cousin-in-law Steve (Kayla’s husband/biking and running champion/other fittest person alive)

The girls put on an 80′s tribute–to the tune of Dancing Queen– for the family program.  They splashed paint on old jeans, crimped their hair, and wore gobs of makeup, bringing diva to a whole new level.  And don’t think Grandma Cindy didn’t have a lot to do with this.  (I worry about that woman’s influence on the next generation.)

The best skit, however, belonged to The Brothers (my dad and his three brothers) and their wives.  They performed an impressively elaborate rendition of Hee Haw-type vaudeville, complete with handpainted backdrops, a detailed skit, costumes, jokes and singing.  You ain’t seen nothin’ ’til you’ve seen Grandpa Rod try his hand at sketch comedy.  The whole thing was hysterical, albeit slightly painful.

From left:  Aunt Alaire, Aunt Loni, Cindy (mom), Aunt Sandy.  These women are warm, funny, kind and classy.  I worshipped each one of them when I was little, and truly admire each one of them now that I’m grown.  I love having good relatives.

Digressive tribute to Grandma Cindy

Back to the skit:  again, don’t think Grandma Cindy didn’t have a lot to do with this.  She wrote and directed the whole thing, made the backdrops, and got the actors in tow.  This was all done in between her putting on “Grandma Camp” for the kids, which basically meant that if you stepped across the threshold of the bunkroom, designated with a huge “GRANDMA CAMP” banner, it meant that parents, healthy food, and bedtimes were strictly banned.  It meant only that all of the cousins got to sleep together, with  Grandma and Grandpa as their “chaperones.” (I can’t even type the word with a straight face.)  She planned games and skits and costumes and projects for all of her grandkids, and they loved every minute of it.   I hope to one day enjoy life as much as–and have half the energy that–my mom does now.  I also hope that one day my kids will like me as much as they like her.

Building sandcastles on Bear Lake.  Sunny, warm, and perfect castle-constructing sand consistency.

Father decides the castle community needs an irrigation system.  Just look what he’s done to his daughter in the name of civil engineering.

II

After the reunion, we drove down to Salt Lake (Herriman) to hang at Aunt Jaimy’s for a week.  We had so much fun.  We started out by celebrating Megan’s 9th birthday with a party at the local aquatic center.  She’s getting her own post later, but for now just rest assured that she’s still adorable and I refuse to concede that she’s growing up.

She even got to have her best friends, the Curtis kids, come.   They just happen to live a mile away from Aunt Jaimy–can you believe it?  It was such a treat to see them.

We finished out the week with swimming, splashing, playing, movies, baking (and eating) tons of treats, and, of course, a little shopping and Eclipse-indulging for the moms. (Shhh..don’t tell anyone. )

Cutest mom and daughter ever.  I know my very-private sister will be thrilled with me for posting this.  But how can I not?  Allie is a doll.  (And you’re hot too, Jaim…)

The highlight of the week was driving to Cougar Stadium for the Stadium of Fire. My family had never been, and it really was spectacular.  The kids had as much fun getting ready as they did at the show.

Face painting, hair-crimping, bling-donning, fake-tattooing with abandon.  For once, Grandma Cindy was not responsible for this excess.  It was all us moms.  The girls put together their outfits themselves, however.  They did me proud.

The show was so exciting!  Suffice it to say that in my next life, I’m coming back as Carrie Underwood.  Beautiful.  Talented.  Genuine.  I’m not a big fan of country music, but as of July 3rd, I so have a girlcrush.  You would, too, if you’d seen her perform.  She was awesome.

Our trip to Utah was really something this year; we packed in more fun, calories, and Food Network viewing than the mind can comprehend.  Jaimy always works so hard to plan a great time–food, activities, generosity.  We appreciate–and miss–her family very much.

III

We came home from this nearly two-week trip ready to relax and hang around the house for awhile, but it was not to be.  Dad had us packed up and going to girls camp overnight and then Mt. Rainier for a weekend of camping.  All decided on in about an hour’s time which, of course, thrilled Mom.

I’ll give up the captions and just tell you that this camping trip was Truly Fun (not just Fun-For-Camping, which we all know is a very different category.) I always think I’ve seen pretty scenery until I go up to Mt. Rainier.  Spectacular.  The weather was perfect, the kids were happy, we went on some gorgeous hikes, and managed to do the whole thing without really cooking.  (Can you claim that you are “roughing it” when you drive into town for lunch and dinner?  We do.)


And there you have it:  why I haven’t blogged in over a month.  Do you blame me?  Good times this summer.  I feel blessed.  Happy.  Chubbier.  But good.