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  • Writer's pictureElijah Ricks

...And Back, Again.

Updated: Jul 6, 2020

I left off last week laying next to a very sick little boy. Merritt napped for a good 2 hours or so, waking up about every 20 minutes to dry heave and then fall back asleep. Finally, he woke up and got a look of nausea, but he did not actually heave, so I thought he must be improving. I took him upstairs and he sat and watched shows on his tablet, and tried out a cracker. I set the timer for 15 minutes before trying another one, and he kept it down, so had a little water and set the timer again. After doing this for an hour or so, he kept them down, so he tried a little more at a time, but then threw it up, so we started over with just one at a time. Then, after a few more rounds of that, he suddenly appeared to feel back to himself. As if nothing had ever been wrong, he said that he wanted to get dressed and go outside with the rest of the family who were there. He didn't throw up any more after that, and ate a normal dinner later in the day. We don't know what it was, but we're glad it was short-lived and that no one else got it!

Outdoor Jenga

The rest of the day was full of playing and eating and chatting. The kids played lots of games in the backyard and then we all eventually went over to a nearby park, preparing for a coming rain storm. The kids really enjoyed the park, but the rain came too quickly, so we vowed to do our best to come back when we could.

The host family for that day made a delicious meal of carne asada, which we gobbled up greedily. Carver even complimented it, which is high praise indeed. We've been craving it ever since, so we might try our hand at it. We then played some games while the kids were in bed or otherwise occupied, and then as the other families departed, we said our goodbyes, as the official reunion had ended.

Monday, Kira had figured that the kids would like a day of rest, with less schedule and more activities focused on them. We packed up what we could in the morning, preparing for departure the next morning. After that, she had arranged to go and visit a cousin with her sister, while I managed our kids. We decided we'd like to go get ice cream and visit the park from the day before. The weather had finally cooled down to the 60s for the day, which was perfect for a day at the park. We played there for a while, then went to get our ice cream, do some grocery shopping (buying snacks for our next road trip), and then I opted to get fast food and go back to the park to finish off the day.

It was a fun day. We met Kira back at her sister's, and let them play for a while with cousins, before we got them into bed and then had a pleasant chat with our host family.

Tuesday began our departure to the next destination. We finished our packing in the morning, and loaded up the car. My little brother dropped off Hannah to come with us, so we said our goodbyes, and loaded up for the 3-hour drive to Rexburg, Idaho. The drive felt long, but was uneventful. We found my dad's place easily, and then all explored the new home we'd never seen. The boys were especially excited about the triple bunk beds, and the treadmill. Kira and I were excited to get a room to ourselves, hoping that Merritt might leave us alone for a night or two.

After some time getting settled, my grandmother and aunt came over for a chat and fried chicken. I hadn't see my grandmother on that side for several years, and our boys had never met her, so I was very glad to get that chance. We made plans with her for the next day, and then once the boys were in bed, my dad, Avey, Hannah, Apollo, and I all went for a walk, enjoying the crisp weather, though wishing that we had brought jackets. I think it was that night that we played dominoes, too.

Wednesday morning came too early. During the night, Merritt woke up terrified that he was alone, and came looking for Kira and me. He settled back down, but then the boys woke me up by turning on the television right outside of our room at 6 a.m. I stayed up with them, showered, and fed them breakfast, trying to let Kira and Avey sleep, but I paid for it the rest of the day. Once we were all up, we got together with my grandma again and went to visit my brother's grave, and my grandma and dad told us about some of the other relatives buried there.

Kira enjoyed that the most out of the day, and I did, too, but the kids didn't really follow what the big deal was. They got more excited about the horses on the other side of a fence at the graveyard, so we fed him some grass after we had finished.

Apollo had never seen a horse (as far as we know), so he had no idea what was going on. He barked at the horse, who just ignored him.

After that, we stopped by the Rexburg cemetery to visit the graves of a few more relatives, including Thomas E. Ricks, my great great great grandfather who founded the town. We also saw the grave of his third wife, from whom we are descended. It was really neat to have four living generations together there, visiting our predecessors.

My dad then treated us to lunch and took his mother home, after which, we got ready to go to the Green Canyon Hot Springs, which is a favorite childhood memory of mine that I wanted the kids to experience. I remember visiting it several of the times when we visited Rexburg when I was young.

We had a grand time and then headed back for a grand meal at my dad's. He and his wife, Virginia, had cooked a big meal that we all thoroughly enjoyed, and there were even leftovers for the next day.

That night, Kira went on a drive to revisit her first college campus. She went to Ricks College before it became BYU-I, so enjoyed remembering places and people, and seeing how things had changed.

Thursday we had planned to go and visit my aunt's family on my mom's side, who had just recently moved to Blackfoot. As we planned to start the drive back home on Friday, we packed what we could Thursday morning and then drove the hour to see Aunt Sunday and Uncle Gerhard. Their married daughter, Sage, was also home with her daughter and husband. We all had a great time catching up, as we had not seen them since we moved away from El Paso 5 years ago.

We all enjoyed a pleasant afternoon at the reservoir just a short drive from their home, where the kids splashed in the cold water and we all tried out my uncle's boat. Kira's shoulder was very sore for a few days after that, probably using a muscle she's not used to working.

Merritt shut down earlier than the rest of us, and wanted to hang out in the car, but we all got our fill of the water and then went back to the house for a wonderful meal of hot dogs, bratwurst, and all the fixings, amid some good catching up, learning about all that's new for them and their family.

The stupid clock tore us away, as we had to get back for a decent bedtime for our drive the next day. We got the boys to bed and then stayed up for a nice chat with my dad and Virginia.

Friday was an awful day of driving which I would rather not remember. The kids did a good job, but it took a lot out of us all. We arrived at our hotel around 8 p.m., where I was pretty disappointed by the quality of the place. We got some food and ice cream to keep the kids from losing their minds, and then all tried to sleep.

Saturday was more stupid driving. We were also so sick of cheeseburgers for so many of our last dozen meals that we decided to do tacos for lunch, but then the boys each demanded cheeseburgers again, so we went to two places for lunch rather than arguing about it. We made it home around 7:30 at night, and unloaded the car. The youngest two boys were very excited to still be awake when the fireflies all came out and the fireworks started shooting just a few blocks away. They watched with awe until I just couldn't stand to keep my eyes open anymore. I got them to bed while Kira went to the store so we could restock our fridge with essentials. We then relaxed just a little before sleeping in our own glorious beds.

I cut the grass this morning, as it was way too long, and we've made it a very chilled out day otherwise, just trying to avoid going near the car or places that are new. I feel like it may be a few more days before we are all back to ourselves.

This week is getting back to work and the routine. It was good to see so many of you, and we wish we could have seen the rest of you (but we are all traveled out for the foreseeable future, so come and see us!)!

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