It was decided in mid-June that I needed my mama. But my mama was tied up caring for her mama, so she couldn't come here. Enter Frontier and their amazing $39 one way fares, and two weeks later, the girls and I hopped on a plane bound for SLC!
Ella made this chart for her daddy. It has one line for each day we are gone. He could check off each day and know when we were coming back. Very sweet.
We had a bit of a wait at the airport. Ella decided to count all the dots on this sign post to pass the time. (I think she got tired of it after the first 100.)
As our takeoff time inched closer, it became apparent that there was no way we were leaving on time. I was ready for a long delay, but it ended up only being about a half hour. During that half hour we shuffled back and forth between multiple gates, and I was a complete stress case with my unfounded fear that I'd miss an announcement and not get on my flight. Thankfully everything worked out just fine. The girls were enthralled by the airplane. The last time we flew anywhere, Ella was just under 2, so she didn't remember it at all. Julia was 4, so she remembered a few things, but it was still all very novel and exciting. When we took off, Julia shouted, "We're in the air!" People around us were asking if she was scared, but nope, it was all excited energy.
My parents met us at baggage claim, and we were on our way! Ella grabbed Grammie's hand, and I swear she never let go. That girl loves her Grammie.
First stop was Cafe Rio with Stewart and his family, for a Pork Salad and a chance to see my nephews. And then my heart was happy.
Our stay in Utah lasted a little under a week. We filled it with splash parks, friends, trips up the canyon, family, and good food. I tried to make it a point to see all my friends this trip out, to ease the stress of the trip we were planning later in the summer. Sometimes it feels like we go to Utah and drive all around the valley trying to squeeze in a visit with every person we have ever known, and it ends up being a pretty crazed vacation. Going twice this year definitely allowed us to have some down time and to feel like we were actually on vacation.
When it's over 100 degrees, you go to the splash park. At 10am. And leave by 11, because it's just HOT.
I love these ladies. LOVE them. Every time we get together, even if it's been years, it feels like no time has passed. Seeing them is what makes me miss living in Utah.
Walking in the mountains while waiting for the weenie roast to start.
Ella continues to be a Mastermind fanatic.
Another big highlight was spending some time with my Grandma. She hasn't been doing too well lately, and it was wonderful to visit with her.
Aunt Suzanne took us to the Museum of Ancient Life at Thanksgiving Point. Everyone loved it, especially when we played in the water and sand.
This picture was completely unplanned and not posed. I walked by the living room and noticed that all four of these cousins were sitting on the couch, reading, of their own volition. Some things are just in your blood, I guess.
For Sunday dinner we decided to have the ultimate Shannon meal, full of filled pastas. There were pierogi, ravioli, and pot stickers, with focaccia and salad to round it out, and mini pocket pies for dessert. Pretty much everything I love on one plate.
The flight home was fairly uneventful. Julia made friends with a girl across the aisle, which made everything go more smoothly for me and for the other girl's mom. We landed sometime after 11, so I had 2 very sleepy children to drag through the airport, and our luggage was of course the very last out, and then it was the biggest traffic jam I've ever seen at an airport (this was my first time flying through O'Hare, maybe it's always like that, in which case, NEVER FLY THROUGH O'HARE), but we finally, FINALLY, found our Clarky and headed home.
We all missed Clark, but we had a wonderful time visiting our friends and family in Utah. It was nice for me to get a little spoiling from my parents, and for me to take a small break from regular life in Illinois. I came home feeling refreshed and ready to take on life again.