…and Amsterdam…

Let’s go back to when Max, Lu and I left Nationals in Las Vegas (all about that HERE), to join the crew in Coronado (Dave stayed with Claire to finish up and they joined us a couple days later).

We drove through some pretty hefty holiday traffic but oh boy, I loved having that car time with my bookend kids, Max & Lu.

It was fun to arrive to be greeted by all these awesome people (this is just the adult kids), who were already deep into the party by the time we got there:

Coronado is a tradition we’ve done for the 4th of July for so many years, and by this time we all have this routine down pat. It is a huge group, ten families in all, and every night the kids all get together and come up with so many fun games that can be played with a huge crowd. (This is one reason Lucy was dying to get there…that girl is a game-lover and everyone includes her so beautifully.)

It is so strange that all these little kids are now starting to get married and have their own babies. We have so many married couples now!! But they are just as fun and just as inclusive and it makes my heart throb to watch.

That first night Abby was supposed to arrive at almost midnight, but we got a call from her at 11:30, on her layover in Las Vegas, letting us know her connecting flight just got cancelled and they wouldn’t be able to rebook anyone until July 4th. The airline wasn’t offering any explanation and no offers for hotels or compensation. I love that Abby was mostly worried about the poor late-night customer service lady trying to placate a hundred disgruntled passengers, yelling and throwing things, trying to get to their 4th of July destinations. Thank heavens Dave was there in Vegas with a car, was able to go pick her up at midnight and take her back to the airport at 4:30 the next morning (she was miraculously one of the few passengers who lucked out with a flight the next morning).

And with that, Abby joined the Coronado crowd.

Every day we adults sit out on the beach and talk deep as we catch up, and all the kids play all kinds of beach games.

(Yes that is Lucy below playing four-square…she can’t see that ball but she still stood there for hours trying, and those kids were right there with her for hours too.)

I am in a time of life where so many of my friends are hitting into so many tough things. Breast cancer, parents who’s health is dwindling, so much worry about kids and life, but yet so much joy and goodness mixed in. I am so grateful for time to be more still and listen and learn.

I also love that I got a little time to hang with just these three:

(We wished Elle & Carson could have been there too, but they were coming the next weekend for my nephew’s wedding and Florida is dang far away! Carson has been with us here, but Abby never has since they were in China last time we went. So it was fun to have her.)

Kid game nights:

Mom discussion nights:

High-fit on “the Green:”

Our own personal “church on the green:”

Meanwhile Claire was finishing up in Las Vegas with her awesome dad at her side:

And they arrived just in time for our traditional 4th of July pictures:

Phew! Dave was so worried he’d miss out on those!


The parents:

The married couples:

(I remember the first year one of the kids was married…so crazy all that time is FLYING by so fast!)

The young adults:

What we have left of the “kids:”

Grace, Elle & Carson all “joined” us (on FaceTime) for the traditional walk over to the golf course to watch the fireworks:

And we settled in for pizza and the show.

Back at the hotel Dave put on his party face and got everyone playing “One and Done,” which has become a favorite since our friend introduced it to us a couple months ago.

Its a pretty simple game that you play with just one dice but it’s pretty entertaining I have to say.

We started with two groups on these little tables (above), and then joined them both and had EVERYONE rolling that die.

I wrote up instructions for how to play in my post “games for a big crowd” HERE, but for this post let’s just enjoy all these amused faces when the loser had to get written on with a Sharpie marker by everyone (a pre-determined consequence for losing).

A mustache as well as everyone’s signatures.

All over.

We stayed up late with all that entertainment, and it was pretty epic.

Packed up early the next day and headed off to Newport. We got Max and Abby for one more day and we were happy about that! I was so grateful for that extra little snippet of time before sending Claire off on her Netherland adventure.

Dave’s sisters were in Newport with their families and we got to hang with them on the beach:

And play some games…and also watch the Suns game together too.

We did our finishing touches with packing and repacking, (Lucy and I heading to Bear Lake right after we sent off Claire early in the morning). Dave gave Claire a special Father’s blessing and we had some time to talk through some of her goals while she’s gone. I love that she didn’t try to go meet up with her friends one last time, but instead asked if I wanted to watch an episode of This is Us together. So we watched, snuggled up together until we couldn’t keep our eyes open any more.

Then she was off:

See that last little glimpse of her up there? We watched and waved with teary eyes until she was gone, and then we were gone too…

…off to greet this lake in all it’s glory with my sister as our chauffeur:

The beginning of the gathering at Bear Lake.

A link you might like explaining some of the games we play at Coronado and Bear Lake:

Games for a crowd

Similar Posts


  1. I’m surprised that out of 12 married couples only one has a baby. In my church you are not supposed to marry unless you are ready to accept children.

    1. It’s so surprising to me how much some churches seems to get involved in folks sexuality and bodies. Why do churches say what people are “supposed to do” about sex, birth control, etc. It’s not like these were a big part about what Jesus talked about. And them emphasis on policing bodies and sexuality seems like it welcomes the opportunity for folks the ability to judge others.

      1. Thou shall not kill. When the couple wants the church to officiate the sacrament they expect the couple to have the same perspective on human life. The marital act is meant to be unitive and procreative. When you are marital you are open to life. You are ready for life to begin on the honeymoon. They don’t care if you do it ten times a day or once a year. They don’t care if no children are born or if 20 are born. If you are going to be marital you welcome the child should God place a soul in the joined egg and sperm. He is there. He is part of the marriage. You do not prevent the children from coming or cause a miscarriage/abortion making the uterus hostile to a joined sperm and egg should one get released anyway. That is when human life begins. Not when it attaches to the uterine wall. Not at 12 weeks. Not at 20. Not when it stops breathing amniotic fluid and fills lungs with air. It is when the two cells are are joined. It is not subjective to the pregnant woman deciding when they first see line, first throw up, first see the sonogram, first see the child after delivery. That isn’t science. You may want to read the entire Bible. It is about the 5th or 6th commandment depending on the version of the Bible you are reading. Thou shall not murder. Sex with no openness to children is not creative or unitive. It is one partner using the other. It is not cooperating with God. Do not belong to the church. Do not marry in a sacrament in the church. No one is forcing people to belong or marry in the church. Free will. It really is not just about the womb. There are concerns with cloning, embryonic stem cells and IVF as well and life began completely outside of a woman’s body in those cases. It’s consistent and logical. Our church condemns abortion should the child be diagnosed with a special need and expects the couple to continue the pregnancy whether the child’s life span be long or short. If the woman is diagnosed with uterine cancer while pregnant you wait to treat or remove the uterus. If there is preeclampsia you deliver the baby. Medical advances allow for successful outcomes are earlier stages of pregnancy. One life is not more important you don’t directly kill one of them. When people sleep around they risk disease to their spouses and heartache to their spouses. When people sleep around outside of marriage the break up can be more painful and perhaps consequences with pregnancy tying two people together who never wanted to be even without marriage because of that child. It is not unitive or procreative to sleep around. Two commandments of 10 are about fidelity. You can not covet nor can you commit adultery. Jesus spoke of lusting being as bad and the act. Why wouldn’t the church advise people? I’m just surprised few seemed to start family as members of the church on the green are well known for marrying and having kids while in college. Members of my church in this country usually are older, when they can take on the parent role with the chaos and financial strain with school done and job established. 20 years ago half of the group would have had one child before graduating. They seem like a bunch of great kids, I sincerely hope they all have as few or as many kids as they want when they want them.

        1. Kristine, you seem to be making a lot of assumptions about the decisions and choices of this particular group of individuals, their church advisors, and even others who are posting in this thread. Relatedly, your final thought that you “hope they all have as few or as many kids as they want WHEN THEY WANT THEM” seems to contradict much of the rest of your statement. While I am not LDS, don’t claim to be an expert on it, and there are many things the LDS church espouses that I do not support, even I can see this.

        2. I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and from my point of view, what Christine is speaking of is from a different church and its teachings. When to start a family is individual and only between the Lord and the couple. It is different for each couple. The things Christine is speaking of, is NOTHING of what is taught. I am assuming here but she has a different church than Shawni’s.

          1. Yes I am a member of a different church. I was explaining to Jenny Also why a church would have anything to say about birth control, etc.. I was not happy or sad at the number of infants. I was just surprised. Why does being surprises upset people?

    2. There are actually quite a few babies, just only one pictured here. And yes, completely up to that couple and God when and how many babies to have.

  2. how do you plan such a large gathering at the hotel del? do you all stay there? do they care that you use their conference room (or wherever you gathered) do you book a place to gather?

    1. Good question. These kids find places to meet: they get kicked out of the lobby sometimes if they’re too loud, they find places outside, they used to let us use the conference rooms (not so lucky on that this time around!)

  3. With so many people and many conversations does it ever get heated? For example have any of the family taken a different path from the Faith they were raised? or completely disagree on politics or current affairs etc?

    1. Yes there are differences of opinion for sure but we don’t talk about politics a ton and everyone loves each other and listens to other opinions. That’s how the whole world should be in my opinion. Listening and trying to see where people are coming from is such a beautiful thing! There are different opinions about faith as well, and really good conversations around that when it comes up.

  4. What a fun trip! And so many people! I grew up in Gilbert and Bishop Dennis Barney was my Bishop. Back when Gilbert only had one high school, built Highland, and only had 30,000 people!! Fun to see Denny there, I remember getting their wedding announcement… time flies!! He was my favorite Bishop of all time… I often think of my time in Gilbert as magical… our youth experience was so unique… we got what a lot of people don’t get until college life… but it was just abundant love and joy and such closeness with everyone. I also remember so many opportunities Bishop Barney and others would give us to do service… we lived the youth program they are encouraging now, back then!! It was heaven on earth, and I learned so much. It seems almost unreal now because I haven’t found any place that quite replicates it, or at least my experiences as a youth there… Gilbert has expanded and grown so much these days!! It’s fun to see how the friendships there continue to thrive and the wonderful people. There are incredible people everywhere… I’m grateful for all that time there taught me! Enjoy!

    1. I’m so glad to hear this. I passed it on to Denny. His dad was a pretty amazing man! Thank you for sharing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *