We traveled to the Whiting Homestead in Northern Arizona for my family reunion on my Dad's side in August. Casey surprised me by coming home from his world travels to road trip with us. I was so happy and relieved to have him there not only for his help, but also because it meant we were spending time as a family. The road trip felt longer than it actually was because our little Honda Accord was packed to the brim with camping stuff, baby stuff, and clothes. We are quickly outgrowing our little car. To break the trip up, we stopped half way and stayed the night at our friends Erica and John's house. We had a little bbq/swim party, and then danced and karaokeed the night away to Michael Jackson on the Kinect for Xbox 360. It was uh-mazing. I love hanging out with the Crismon's. Also, my friend Carrie was visiting from Australia so she joined in on the fun too!
The Whiting Homestead goes back generations in my family to my Great-Grandpa, Edwin Marion Whiting, and my Great-Grandma, Anna Maria Isaacson, who started it as a place for their family to gather. Now four generations later, Cash and Guy are visiting the homestead and playing with their cousins. Growing up in Mesa, we spent summers there to escape the heat in the valley of the sun. Some of my earliest memories are of exploring the woods, building forts and swinging on the rope swing with cousins. It is one of my favorite places on earth. I am so happy to be passing this tradition on to my little family.
Cash had a blast just being a boy. He was totally in his element. Getting dirty, exploring, making new friends, and following his cousins around. Here are some pictures to show how much fun we had.
My time at the homestead rejuvenated me. It's always a difficult transition with a newborn and having a second child is a lot of work. I've felt deflated lately. Casey is gone traveling a lot and being a single Mom is hard. This trip was a breath of fresh air for me, literally and figuratively. It felt good to get out of California on a little family vacation to the mountains of Arizona, and it felt good to breath some life back in to me. I feel like I get stuck in the daily grind of Motherhood and it's nice to escape that every once in a while. We always end our family reunions with a testimony meeting and this year we doubled up. After the main meeting, our immediate family circled together around our campfire to have our own Phil Brown testimony meeting. It was such a special time that I don't want to write too much about it. But I will say this. It was one of the most spiritual and healing testimony meetings that I have ever been apart of. It's the first time we have all been together since my Dad passed away almost a year ago. It gave us a chance to talk about him and celebrate him in his favorite place on earth, his family homestead. That gathering lifted me up and really strengthened me. Helped me to remember the legacy that my parents left for us. As we sat there and talked, I just had the most overwhelming feeling that my parents were really proud of us for being there. Family was everything to them and they have passed that on to us. It was moving to sit there and talk, some people told stories, some bore their testimony of a myriad of things. But the common theme was family. And I'm so grateful to be a member of the Brown family.
I can't wait to spend the rest of my life taking my kids to Brown family reunions at the homestead and helping them create lasting memories with their family.