Thursday, July 26, 2012

Utah! Day 9

We carried on with the low-key vibe on Friday.  We took the girls to a park in the morning, and spent the day hanging out, trying to provide some semblance of routine and normalcy after an action packed week. 

The big highlight of the day was going to breakfast with the Martinsens.  They were in SLC after returning from their trip to Brazil, and our trips just happened to coincide.  I am so glad that we got to meet up with them.  Holy smokes, it made me miss St George.  A lot.  A really, really lot.  I miss walking with Jenn, and all the people down there, and the red rocks, and the people, and our house, and the people.  I miss the people a lot.  It makes me wish we had taken an extra week of vacation and gone down south to visit all those people we know and love.  Of course, time wouldn't allow for that, but a girl can dream.  Maybe someday everyone I know from everywhere will live in the same neighborhood and I won't have to miss someone all the time.  It's getting to be ridiculous.  No more moving.  My heart can't take it.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Utah! Day 8

Day 8: Zoo day.

Going to the zoo has become a highlight of our trips to Utah.  We have a membership to a zoo in Michigan, but it is very small.  Very, very small.  A good portion of the animals are barnyard animals.  Woo!  Some chickens!  It's great for small children, in that you get to see everything you want each time you go.  But it doesn't have some of the big exciting animals that most people associate with a zoo.  I know my kids (well, let's be honest, Julia) really looked forward to seeing elephants! and giraffes! and bears!  So going to the zoo was one of the first things we blocked off when planning our trip.

And this trip did not disappoint.  We absolutely love that we have our own Suzanne (Clark's sister) to take us around and show us the animals.  She is extremely knowledgeable.  About everything, really, but about animals in particular.  And she works at the zoo, so she knows all the ins and outs of the place.  We had the added bonus that the new Rocky Shores Exhibit was open.  I could have spent an hour looking at the seals and polar bear alone, they were incredible!

Anyway, we got to see a whole bunch of fun and exciting animals.  Kim and Michelle came along for the adventure (and a welcome addition they were, I might add).  We saw the bird show, the girls got to ride the carousel, and we had a picnic lunch to top it all off.

I, of course, have no pictures of this event.  That is sad.  I've resolved to take more pictures this summer, and I've done fairly well, but I made this resolution after the Utah trip.  So you've got a bit of a wait before you see pictures.  Just imagine lots of animals, and a couple of blonde girls peering through the fences, having a fabulous time. 

After the adventures of the zoo, we went to Great-Grandma Meme's house for a quick visit.  It wasn't terribly long, and the girls were tired, but we couldn't go to Utah without sampling some of her jellybeans and playing with her old toys.  Meme is a delight to visit with.  I'm glad we made the time to take the girls to her house.

And then we packed up our stuff and headed to the Andersons house.  With the wedding over and the happy couple on their way, they were able to be our hosts for a few days.  We basically crashed on Thursday evening, and I think everyone was ok with that.  The girls got to play with their awesome toys, the grown ups got to have a quiet evening in, and everyone was happy.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Ella's Second Year

We interrupt the Utah trip to bring you Ella's birthday.  She is 2 today!  And believe me, she is 2.  The excessive meltdowns have already begun.

We've had quite the year with my little imp.  This little girl has grown up a LOT in the last year.  We've learned that she has a mind of her own, and is always up for a good time.

She has had a word explosion lately, and it's thrilling to see her put two and two together.  For example?  We were talking about when she was sick and had a little "bug."  She thought for a minute, and said, "Dad's book."  Because there had been an actual little bug on his book the day before.  See what I mean?  Putting things together. 

She also likes to put things together physically.  She is forever pulling things out of boxes, lining them up, and putting them away.  One of her favorite things is to pass out flashcards to everyone in the room, then collect them, then pass them out again. 

Julia is often a sad girl (the emotions are close to the surface on that one), but Ella does everything she can to make a sad Julia feel better.  She gets her blanket, piles on toys, and gives her hugs.  And if she was the perpetrator of a sharing crime that turned Julia into a puddle?  She is immediately giving back the toy, along with an apology.  She's got a kind heart.

Ella also has no fear.  She climbs the ladders, goes down the slides, jumps right into the action.  Clark and I often have a hard time letting her go do things that seem way above a 2 year old, but I find that if I sit back and let her try it, she can do it.  She OWNS playground equipment.  (I hope I'm not jinxing myself here.)  And when she falls down, she picks herself right back up and goes on playing.  No fear AND tough. 

I love my little Ella girl.  Happy Birthday, EB!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Utah! Day 7 (The Wedding!)

Whitney's wedding was, in my opinion, everything a wedding should be.  There were numerous times throughout the day that I thought to myself, "This moment, right here, is part of a dream wedding."  I can only hope that Whitney and Dustan felt the same way.

I started out taking a few pictures.  Here we are outside the temple, Dustan's family is lining up for pictures:

Getting everything just right:

Whitney and Dustan are totally absorbed in each other (as it should be):

And then I realized, there is a photographer here, whose whole job is to take pictures of this event.  What makes me think I could ever get a better picture than she will?  So I gave up.  Wholeheartedly.  I chose to be in the moment instead of behind a camera.  I do that often.  This time, it didn't matter, because someone else was taking the pictures.  If you're my friend on Facebook, then you've seen some of them.  They look stunning.

I don't think I could possibly recount the entire day to you, but here are some of the highlights:
  • They were sealed in the Oquirrh Mountain Temple, and it was beautiful.  Absolutely beautiful.  The building, the sealer, the spirit.  Beautiful.
  • After the sealing, we were all waiting in the waiting room for the couple to come out.  After a little while, a temple worker came to get Kim and me, so we could help my mom help Whitney into her dress.  At the time, it felt like we were rushing to get her ready and out the door, but as I look back, it's one of my favorite memories of the day.  In the brides room of the temple, helping my little sister put her wedding dress on.  All three of us, along with our mother.  It was a beautiful moment.  
  • It was a hot day.  A hot, hot day.
  • Julia and Ella looked so adorable in their yellow dresses.
  • Jessica deserves a boatload of credit for bringing our girls to the temple, and generally helping out.  She was (and is) amazing.
  • The reception was beautiful.  Beautiful, beautiful.  That's the word of the day: beautiful.
  • It was so convenient that Whitney planned an event that allowed me to see all my family and friends while I was in town.  Thanks, Whit!  I wasn't sure I'd ever see some of those Yale Ward friends again.  It was delightful catching up and seeing so many familiar faces.  Made me grateful for the people I grew up with.
  • Whitney got to throw the bouquet from a balcony.  How romantic is that?  And my cousin Susannah caught it.  She caught the bouquet at my wedding, too.  Apparently she's good at catching bouquets.
  • At some point, Julia told me, "This is boring."  Thankfully Aunt Michelle saved the day by taking the kids outside.  They played with my cousin's kids (their 2nd cousins), and had a great time.  
  • When the happy couple left, we all rang bells and blew whistles.  I thought it was a very clever way to be sent off.  It was another one of those perfect moments that seemed like a dream.
  • The one fiasco of the day?  My skirt ripped.  Kim's did, too.  It's amazing what duct tape can do!  All things considered, that's a pretty minor mishap.  I was glad to take one for the team and let Whitney have the day of perfection.
All in all, it was a great day.  Congratulations, Whitney and Dustan!

Monday, July 09, 2012

Utah! Day 6

Tuesday we decided to dedicate to Provo, and all it's glory.  We headed down to Utah County, and got to enjoy construction on the freeway, and traffic, 2 staples of life in the UC.  Then we headed toward the mountains, and went for a hike up to the Y.  We borrowed a backpack for Ella, and Julia was a trooper and hiked the whole thing.  Well, almost the whole thing.  Clark was carrying 2 girls for small segments of the up.  But she did most of it.  Not bad for a 4 year old.

And now. . . . prepare yourselves. . . I TOOK PICTURES!   And more than one, even!  I had to include them all, to make up for the lack of pictures every other day.  Scroll away.

After the hike we headed down to BYU campus to get us some chocolate milk and stroll around for a minute.  It's always fun to go back and relive the memories.  We also decided that Jamba Juice was too good to pass up.  And we were lucky enough to go visit Stewart Dr. Anderson and see his office.  He's, like, a grown up.  How strange.

When we were finally done with BYU, we visited with the Adams family.  They fed us some delicious taco salad, and we stayed and chatted for way longer than we intended.  We (and by that I mean mostly Clark) just like talking!  Hopefully no one minded.  I know we didn't.

As if this wasn't enough adventure for one day, we then had to get home and get cleaned up for Anderson family pictures that evening.  Patrick (Kim's husband) couldn't make it to the wedding (he had to work), so we thought it would be good to take a couple photos of everyone all together prior to the big day.  Unfortunately, Patrick fell deathly ill (though we don't suspect The Michigan Flu, as he had a fever), but he put his head down and powered through.  I think they turned out well.  These two are my favorites.

PS?  We love Dustan.  He's funny and clever, and I think he fits in well.  Good work, Whit.

To round out the evening, we headed to Hires for dinner.  Cafe Rio and Hires were the only restaurants on my list this year.  The Big H did not disappoint.  And, perhaps more importantly, there was fry sauce in abundance.  Then we all headed home to get some rest and prep for the Big Day: Whitney's Wedding!

Utah! Day 5

Monday was our day to head downtown and see the sights of the S L C.  Unfortunately, Clark's dad became ill Sunday night and was unable to join us.  It may or may not have been the same bug we had, dubbed "The Michigan Flu," by Steve.  I'm so very, very sorry if we passed that to him.  So.  Very.  Sorry.

We thought it would be a grand adventure to take the Trax.  It did not disappoint.  Julia and Ella were thrilled to be taking the train.  And Clark and I were thrilled not to have to deal with driving and parking downtown.  We hit up the new City Creek plaza, which was incredible!  We are not what you would call "shoppers," and we still thought it was neat.  The fountains, the creek, the layout.  It was really neat to see.  The girls enjoyed stopping at the Disney store, where Aunt Jessica bought them a little something.  (Julia got a Mickey Mouse playset, and Ella got a Finding Nemo playset.  I would like to take this moment to note that Ella has latched onto Pearl, named her "Baby," and never looked back.  We have to have Baby everywhere we go.  She sleeps with Baby.  She eats with Baby.  Baby reads stories with her.  She is in deep smit with Baby.)  We also go to visit Grandma at work, and go out to lunch with her.  Which was when we discovered the awesome soft playground right by the food court.  The Midland Mall has a little play area in the middle of it.  This was very similar.  Only MUCH bigger.  And DINOSAURS.   You can imagine Julia was in heaven.  It was a great find.

We also managed to mosey over to temple square, walk by the temple and tabernacle, and check out the Christus statue.  The statue was lost on the girls, but they were happy about seeing the temple. 

AND, this was the day we made our first trip to Cafe Rio.  So.  Delicious.  I've tried to make Cafe Rio style burritos before, and they are good, but they aren't the same.  I was left wondering what it would take to get one here in Midland.  Please?  Pretty please?  I'd even take on in Detroit.  Put it right by the temple, and you'll do big business.