So of course we drove there. And in the planning, we decided that since we were 8 hours away from the majority of Ryan's family, we might as well take a 16 hour detour to Dallas. For basically one day.
As usual it went way better than everyone thought! We stopped in Butte (where we realized that our family of then 7, needs two hotel rooms now---lots of squishing in beds and on the floor), Ft. Collins for the night and a fun visit with my cousin Spencer and Erin and kids, and then straight to Dallas
We spent the day chatting, eating, playing and the park and swimming (in October!), and when we left the next day, my kids all voted the detour resoundingly worthwhile. Yay for family (and kids with good attitudes!)
We divided up responsibilities for the reunion and I was in charge of lodging. We decided to stay in Santa Fe (a 45 minute drive from Albequerque) because there were way more options. We were so glad we did! Santa Fe is super cool, had great weather and the house I picked was so so great.
We fit all but two couples/families in the house and they stayed in a local hotel. It was so nice to have a kitchen, big family rooms to gather in, and a cool, huge desert in the backyard for kids to run around.
I cannot say enough about the Balloon Fiesta, but it does depend on weather and we lucked out! No wind was key and we woke up at 3:45 to get there early enough for the dawn patrol and it was so so cool.
And then it just got better and better as hundreds of huge colorful creative gorgeous balloons went up. We just raced around looking and taking pictures and picking favorites. Everyone was impressed and we were so glad we had chosen that spot.
We spent the next few days touring Santa Fe, getting family pictures, eating at my brother Nate's old missionary favorites, attending the temple, having family devotionals, talent shows and park days. It really couldn't have gone better. So excited for the next one!
We started our drive home, planning on two days with a stay in Salt Lake City...but like we've done before, decided we'd rather just drive straight home. It was around 24 hours through some of the prettiest country in the world. So lucky to see it all!