Utah Trip- Waterman Family Reunion

Hello all,

T minus 16 days until leaving for Abu Dhabi! The pressure is on!

I just got back from a fun trip to Provo, Utah to visit my dad's family. All six of his siblings and their parents were there, which was really wonderful. Utah is so beautiful. It was so great to have a trip with my dad and to see so many family members when I'm so close to leaving. My aunts and uncles always do a fantastic job of planning fun activities for the twenty-something cousins- from newborns to young adults.
My dad's parents and siblings

My dad and I flew in to Salt Lake City on Thursday afternoon (July 28th) and then drove to Provo, navigating the ever-prevalent Utah road construction and texting drivers. We ate a delicious dinner. I played games with the teenage cousins for most of the evening, and we ended up going for a midnight french fry expedition to McDonald's.

On Friday morning (July 29th) we went to Deer Creek reservoir and rented a boat. We spent most of the day tubing, paddleboarding, and swimming. The weather was absolutely beautiful, and I loved being surrounded by the mountains. After that, I was able to meet up with my mom's mom and stepdad (Paula and Henry) for dinner. We ate some fantastic Brazilian barbecue at Tucano's.

I then was able to have a very special experience at the Provo City Center Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS Church/ Mormon Church). It is a very beautiful restored historic building, and I was amazed at the ornate decorations both inside and outside.

My dad, my aunt Suzie, and both sets of grandparents were able to support me as I went through the temple for the first time in a special ceremony called the endowment.  In this ceremony, we make sacred promises to God and are blessed, or "endowed", with His increased power and guidance. In the temple, I am able to worship God and escape from the distractions of the outside world for a moment. For me, the temple is a very real visual symbol of what heaven will be like. I was so glad to be able to do this, and I'm especially thankful for my grandma Paula who was able to escort me through the ceremony.

On Saturday morning, (July 30th) I started the day off with a hike at Stewart Falls with my dad. The trail wound through a beautiful aspen grove.

We then went with the cousins to Lowes Extreme Air Sports. I thought that it would be more for younger kids, but the rockwall, tightrope, and trapeze over foam pits and the Ninja Warrior course were actually well worth it. It made me want to get back into doing Crossfit and that sort of thing.
I then spent some time with my cousin Lauren and her family, thrift shopping and visiting the BYU bookstore.

After that, we headed to the Flake Ranch, our typical family reunion site in Hobble Creek Canyon. We got to watch my cousin's baptism in the creek and take family photos. 

Then we got to participate in the usual ranch activities- horseback riding, ziplining, swinging on the rope swing, roasting hot dogs over the fire, and spending time together. Sometimes I'm a little nervous around horses, but these horses are well-trained and used to being ridden by children. Between the lack of cell service and all of the activities, I left my phone in the car and didn't take many pictures, but my dad helped.

Anyway, I'm glad to be back home catching up on sleep, but I'm so glad that I got to see family and make some great memories in Utah!