This Memorial Day Parker and I headed down to Rockville (Parker’s personal Disneyland) to celebrate with his family. Kristy and Tristan recently finished with a major addition project that made it big enough to house the entire family. I’d only ever been to Rockville one other time (Labor Day weekend coincidentally) so it took awhile for me to appreciate what this addition means for the family. Having everyone there at once prior to this add-on would’ve been nearly impossible between napping babies, growing families, and our million separate sleep schedules. Every time I tried to picture it I ended up thinking about the song my mom used to sing to me…“Ten monkeys in a bed and one of them said, ‘Roll over! Roll over!’ So they all rolled over and one fell out.” I’m not sure how they ever managed before with their big Thanksgivings. Must’ve been a big cuddle-fest J Either way, I’m so happy to be a part of this BIG family and grateful Rockville can house us all at once. It is the best!
Ever since I was little I’ve loved our big family Christmas parties at my grandparent’s house (I promise this is not a squirrel moment—Parker says ‘squirrel!’ every time I get distracted or lose my train of thought…it’s a quote from that dog in Up. If you don’t understand the reference just keep reading and watch the movie later. My point is this relates to our Memorial Day trip).
ANYWAY…I just loved those parties because it was the one time all of the family came together—aunts, uncles, cousins, parents, siblings, grandparents, and all other loved ones—to celebrate the Savior’s life as well as the fact that we were and are family. It amazed me how something that started out so small grew so exponentially. From one young soldier and his beautiful singing bride grew a family of engineers, accountants, business execs, musicians, therapists, lacrosse players, humanitarian aid activists, golfers, track stars, football fanatics, bishops, beauty queens, students—you name it, we have it, and I love it.
This weekend was a unique reminder to me that I have that on both ends. It’s so amazing to me that all of my cute new nieces and nephews, wise, sweet sister-in-laws, tuff, teasing brother-in-laws, and love of my life, are here because two people fell in love and raised their family well. I understand now, more than ever, why life is so much more fulfilling when focused on building and strengthening families. Look at all you’ve accomplished Tristan and Kristy! Blows me away…
I’m almost done with my ‘life-is-so-fantastic-because-my-family-is-the-bomb’ portion of this post, I promise. I just have to say, I am always so impressed with the DeMilles at how they make it a point to spend time together. I so admire and appreciate their emphasis on the importance of family and love how much they enjoy one another’s company. It means so much to me that Parker’s brothers are his best friends and that, even after just 22 days of life as a DeMille, I already feel right at home. I feel so blessed to have such wonderful people surrounding me on both sides and love the fact that the Gospel gives us the opportunity to be together forever. I can’t think of a more perfect plan.
OK…onto the weekend. What on earth did we do? Where the heck is this Rockville place? Why do I love it? Oh where to start…
Rockville is a little tiny town (population 247 to be exact) that lies at the entrance of Zion's National Park in Southern Utah. Parker's dad Tristan grew up there and decided it would be nice to build a little home for his own family to come back to. Parker says whenever he thinks of Rockville he thinks of work because most Rockville trips he took as a kid involved some type of big work project—hauling hay, building fences, filling ditches. What may surprise some of you is how much he loves that aspect of Rockville. I think it's a large part of the reason all of the DeMille kids have such an amazing work ethic. Parker loves the smell of running over a dead skunk too because he says it reminds him of his family's drives to Rockville (interesting...I know) and I've yet to find a place where I've seen him more content. The bright green trees and fields of the Rockville valley are lined with beautiful red rock mountains—it's really a sight to see.
I found this little tidbit in my journal from my first visit to Rockville. I think it sums it up perfectly.
"At halftime Parker took me up the mountain behind the house that overlooks the entire valley. As he looked down on their home he talked about this being a huge part of his childhood—about coming and working with his brothers, dad and grandpa. I loved it—it was so sweet and sincere and I could tell it meant a lot to him—that he missed those days when he could just come to Rockville and have life be so simple and easy. I miss it too. My heart was too full up there on top of the mountain. I looked out over everything and wanted so badly to just live somewhere like this—to have a simple home and simple life where I could just enjoy my family and the simplicity of it all—to just relax and appreciate everything I have as opposed to living in this culture where we’re always pushing and needing and wanting more. I know that’s who I am and that’s what I need and that if I didn’t have it I would likely yearn for it, but for now—that kind of life seems so perfect to me. I think that’s part of me discovering the bigger picture in life—part of me discovering what really matters."
It surprised me at first that this little place had an impact on me as quickly as it did, but after this second trip down it all makes perfect sense. Rockville means work, but it also means fun, family, and freedom from all our cares and worries from home. Who could ask for more?
We played games like crazy. Parker’s sister Lara and her husband Kirk recently taught us how to play Hand & Foot and oh boy, the Battle of the Sexes began! I’m not sure why, but I thrive on competition…like really love it…which makes me absolutely ecstatic that Parker’s family is that way too. There is so much competitive drive coursing through those DeMille veins—it’s the best! Lara and I took the boys to town in cards—twice J—we kept score at our full-fledged family kickball game, tracked points for our family golf tourney, and played more rounds of that golf ball toss game than I can count (we played triple overtime in our game against Chris & Carson...so ridiculous). I’m just waiting for the day when we feel the need for family dodgeball… Donde esta la biblioteca, Kiki? Oh my…lol.
I can’t tell you how much it changed my perspective on genealogy. Sometimes it’s easy to see the people on our family tree as just names on paper—to forget they were real, living, breathing human beings who had highs and lows just like we do today. The more I learned about each ancestor, the more I related to them and appreciated how much their lives resembled my own. I know I’m no pioneer. I’ve never been left alone for 3 years with 9 children as my husband served a mission overseas. I’ve never even owned a bibbed apron. But I have had trials. I have had successes. I have felt joy. Just like they did. I think that’s the neatest thing! Tristan compiled a big binder full of DeMille family history that I can’t wait to start sifting through. There’s so much to learn. Who knows…maybe, just maybe, someone will be reading these blog posts in their family history book someday. Lol, k nevermind. Just me trying to justify my novel, again. I promise I’m trying to condense. I’m just bad at it…
Kaitlin and I drove the boys up the mountain for a downhill adventure Saturday night and can I just say…my boy is sexy on his bike. J Lol, seriously though. I love seeing him out there. I’m not sure if it’s the fact that he’s beaming the whole time or simply that he is so fearless and talented, but I love it. He and his brothers just glide down that mountain and soar off jumps like cats with nine lives—blows me away! Parker was patient enough to take me out riding up on the ridges too. It’s so easy to see why he loves it so much—I had a blast! I just wish I could be out here doing things like this every day—heaven knows I need the practice. J I might just have to accept the fact that biking won’t be one of those activities we do together. Better start savoring moments like this…
Heaven knows I never stop and if anything Rockville just makes it worse. One of my favorite parts about family weekends together is the opportunity it gives me to get to know everyone better. I swear—it's never just 20 questions with Chelsey. When I kick into reporter gear it's 30, 40, and 50 plus. I feel so, so lucky my new family is so patient with me. J
I loved how much more I could relate to my new sister-in-laws and mother-in-law. It's funny—I didn't think I'd have much to contribute after just a few weeks of marriage, but I soon realized they knew exactly how it is. And they should—they've lived it! I learned all about their first years of marriage, zeroed in on some traits Parker and his brothers and dad all seem to share (funny how that happens), and laughed at some of their early encounters with handling differences in marriage (I think the pen fight is my favorite so far J). Such a fun time!
Other favorite talks were those on the ride to and from Rockville in Mike's big truck, listening to the brothers chatter about their different bike models and the family's ugliest crashes, listening in on the parents as they sat there wondering what the future has in store for their little ones, listening to Lara and Kirk run through the family tree with Kristy to see where they're related (it's like seven generations back, not to worry), and our big girl chat in the family room. I'm sure there's tons more I missed, but my main point is, I love to talk and I loved learning more about the DeMilles and Langstons. Thanks everyone for putting up with me and my million questions!
While Parker and his brothers helped Tristan haul hay and build irrigation systems I played with the kids. Can I tell you how much I love having nieces and nephews. They are the best! Truly. How could you not love kids? They are so easy to please, they love you to pieces for practically nothing, and more than anything they are just too, too cute.
I had so much fun riding with 3-year-old Jaxon as he put the pedal-to-the-metal 4-wheeling, organizing my troops during our big water fight, wrestling the oldest kids into the “dungeon” during our monster game, making the kids into blanket burritos, and just spending time getting to know each one of them better. I always wondered why my friend Nicole raved about seeing her nieces. Now I know. I already love and admire each one of them so much. I’m not quite sure how it happened, but I really do.
I loved hearing David’s smack talk at the rocket-making table and seeing him as the next Jim Rome smack-off winner. I loved seeing Jake’s loyalty to Parker during our water fight and watching him fend off five other turncoats with a mini-water gun. I loved learning of Ethan’s love for reading and seeing him diligently attempt to fulfill his weekend reading requirements. I loved wrestling with Tyler one moment and having him fall asleep in my lap the next. I loved Emma’s helping attitude and seeing her basically give herself up during each round of Monster just so she could be my best and first helper. I loved watching Ella run around without a care in the world and hearing her little squeal every time someone took her fast on the 4-wheeler. I loved holding baby Kate and having her snuggle up in my arms. I loved seeing Ryan’s nonstop energy and his excitement over learning how to fill up the water gun. I loved listening to Grant talk and especially loved hearing him say my name (Chewsey…so cute!). I loved watching Jaxon ride the 4-wheeler every single chance he could get and especially loved his and Tyler’s attempted escape to the barn. And last but not least, I loved seeing Madi beam over the pink starbursts and hearing her ask for more in her tiny little voice.
Oh my gosh—I won’t spend a ton of time on this, but I have to say. If I had to share one activity I did the most this weekend, I’d probably have to say eating. It’s amazing how much one little body can tolerate in a weekend…my goodness! I don’t even want to try to count how many cookies I ate. And as if that were the only temptation! Each meal was like a ritzy hotel’s gourmet dinner buffet. I ate myself sick most nights and still couldn’t stop which means…guess who’s back on the healthy wagon??? More on that to come…
I feel like I’ve been on my radar for quote-wall-worthy laughs ever since the girls and I decided to record life’s most entertaining moments on sticky notes and slap them on our kitchen cupboards—our makeshift quote wall if you will. Over the weekend I ran into quite a few of those moments and decided this might be the perfect place to share (Parker’s already made it clear to me that we will not be plastering our kitchen wall with stickies). So, to wrap up this post, here’s a few highlights from Memorial Day 2010. Enjoy!
Tyler (age 4): (from the loft) I’m changing! Don’t come upstairs.
Chelsey: Ty don’t worry. I don’t want to see you naked.
Tyler: Really??? But I look good.
Lara: (during a round of Scategories) Really Kirk? Kiki?
Kirk: It was my nickname for years. Honest. You can call my mom.
Parker: (throughout the entire game of Hand & Foot) Let’s make this all dirty nasty dirty.
Lara: Gosh Park, you sure do like the dirty.
Chelsey: No…he just likes saying it.
Kristy: (during a game of Hand & Foot) Oh! I made a dirty!
Carson: (scores 8 points in our overtime round of the golf ball toss game after batting zero in every other round)
Kaitlin: Cars—where did you come from? Seriously?
Carson: I thrive under pressure Kaitlin.
Jake: (lets one rip right next to Parker and Chels and the golf ball toss championship game)
Chelsey: Jake! Oh my gosh! What are you doing buddy?
Jake: What??? It keeps the bugs away.
Carson: I know I saw it before prayer.
Ashley: I saw it too.
Tristan: I wonder where that little googly eye ran off to…
Kristy: (lecturing Parker on wrestling with his new wife) Parker. You have to be careful. Someone could hear you and call it in as abuse!
Parker: Mom, that’s not going to happen.
Chelsey: (taking all the sympathy she can get) Maybe not when they hear us baby. But what about when they see the bruises on my face?
Lara: Park? You give her brusies???
Dave: (from the other room) Way to be bro!
Mike: Beedin’ stop while you’re ahead. You want this family’s nose in your marriage forever?
(LOL…for what it’s worth, I love that we wrestle and my husband never intentionally hurts me. This conversation was just too funny to let go.)
Parker: Do you really think we’re the only couple that wrestles in this family?
Mike: Nah. You’re just the only ones Mom & Dad know about.
Chelsey: Baby, look at Mike's tires! Why don't you have tuff tires like this? Yours don't even have tread.
Parker: Babe, it's a beedin' car, what do you expect?
Mike: Hahaha...beedin' car. Bae you crack me up.
All in all, such a fun weekend! I can’t imagine spending our Memorial Day any other way.
All in all, such a fun weekend! I can’t imagine spending our Memorial Day any other way.