Sunday, September 13, 2009

Part two

July 23: After we left the caves, we headed back to Salt Lake to change our clothes and go to the Oquirrh Mountain Temple open house.
*My friend Daphne is currently living in Salt Lake for her job, and she was able to come with us. We went to high school together and have always remained close friends. What a random chance that we're both from Maryland, but we get to meet up in Utah for a night!
*It was beautiful to walk through the temple and see all the beauty it's filled with. Strange though, to see it filled with so many people!
*When we walked past the baptismal font, Evi sat on the floor, took off her shoes and tried to make a run for the "pool". When we stopped her, she cried and struggled to get free because she just wanted to go swimming. It was tough for her to learn that it wasn't a pool!
*It was a neat experience to get to attend this open house. I have never been to one, and I think it's great that the Church lets the public view temples before they are dedicated. Especially neat that the kids get to attend as well!

Friday 7/24
*Family dinner at Tucano's, again. When I went out in April, we went to Tucano's. When we were all there in June, we went to Tucano's. Now we were back in July, and it was time for Tucano's again. It's a Brazilian style restaurant where servers bring meat around and as long as you still want more, they keep bringing you a variety. It's kinda pricey, but if it's your birthday month, you get a free meal (good marketing, because each time we went was for a birthday, and we had a huge group each time!). Well, it was fun to be with the family, but I think I am finished with Tucano's! At least we found out that Evi loves the beef brisket (dipped in ketchup, of course).
*After dinner, we all went to Amy's house. Kris' family was leaving the early the next day, so Ron and the boys had video game fun while the rest of us enjoyed our time together. Ron actually stayed overnight so they could stay up late doing their male bonding video game thing.
Saturday 7/25
*Mom went to work and Ron and I called Amy to see if she wanted to "hike the Y". It had been years since I had done it, Ron never had, and I think Amy had only done it one time, or not at all. Since it had been so long, I seemed to remember it as more of a walk than a hike. Well, I was reminded that it was a little more than a walk in the hills! It was early evening when we got started, and with a 2 1/2 year old, you can't quite go the pace you'd like! We walked down in the dark :).
*We took a nutty detour, supposedly to save time. Instead of walking around a switchback to get up, we cut through a steep incline STRAIGHT UP the mountain. There was a trail through that way, we thought we'd save time. I think we were wrong, but it added to our experience! Ron climbed up that part with Evi on his shoulders. Nutty.
*Ron, Amy and I EACH twisted our ankles, which was actually quite funny. Painful, but hilarious that we all did it. Good thing Evi made it out ok!
*The view from the top is fantastic. You feel like you're on top of everything (even though there are taller mountains right behind you)!
*After playing around with some of the features on our camera, I learned that I could get some cool looking night shots!
*Little Ceaser's $5 hot and ready pizza on the way home was a great way to quench our mountain climbing hunger!

July 26: Dinner at Erin's and lots more family time.
July 27-28: Ogden
*We got to stay with Ron's grandparents for a few days. They have a great deck off the back of their house that gets a cool breeze, so we spent a lot of time chatting and eating out there. We went to eat together, grilled steaks, and enjoyed our visit.
*Evi found a permanent marker after her nap and decided to color the rug in front of the dog cage, rather than come upstairs and join the family! Fortunately, most of the marker actually came out, but man she had me nervous.
*Ron's grandparents suggested we go see The Proposal. So we put Evi in bed and headed off for a rare date! The funny thing is, Ron never would have voluntarily gone to see a "chick flick" on a night out, but I think since his grandparents suggested it and offered to tend Evi, he was in. I thought it was pretty funny, so I'm glad we got to go!
*Evi absolutely adores their dog, although I'm not sure the dog feels the same! We ran around with the dog outside, and even fed some of the neighbors horses some carrots. I know that Evi had a wonderful time visiting her great grandparents!

Wednesday 7/29
*Time to head home :(
*Stopped off at AAA to pick up some maps and tour books for the trip. I was NOT going to drive all the way home without some learning along the way!
*I was in no hurry to leave and ended up doing a bunch of yardwork before we left. Mom had a huge plant over growing the sidewalk, so I found some clippers and started trimming it....and that started a snowball effect of yardwork! Amy had come up too, so she joined in the fun....until she accidently clipped right through the extension cord :)!
*Mom had come home from work early, so we got some more time together with Amy and Mom. Eventually, we were on our way :(

*Of course there were trips to Cafe Rio and Jamba Juice in there, but I didn't document them. But they were yummy, of course!
*It was a fantastic trip and so worth while. I am so glad we decided to still go, even though we had already gone out in June for Dad's funeral. I, of course, can not get enough family time. Ron is just super supportive and I know he enjoyed the trip also (plus we got to see his family too!). Evi adores playing with her cousins, "the boys" and I'm so glad she had the opportunity. It was good for our litte family also. Having all the time together was really important to us and, dare I say, I would do the drive again!
I'll do our drive home post next, since we had our big stop in Nauvoo. One parting shot from our walk down the mountain. This was after I figured out some of the features on the camera and I love this picture of my smiling girl!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Part 1 of the Drive to Utah

On July 16, we started our family drive to Utah for a vacation. Since we were both able to go to Utah in June for my dad's funeral, we debated whether or not to go out in July (although it was pre-planned). We never found a good deal to fly, so it was always: we'll drive or not go. In the end, we decided to go and I am so glad for it. It was such a great trip, and I really needed it. We left Thursday afternoon and arrived on Saturday night.

Highlights of the drive:

*Evi did extremely well, despite the circumstances of sitting in a car seat for 3 days straight. She reached previously unheard levels in her screams on this drive also, but those moments were shortlived. Overall, she was pretty happy playing with her toys, "reading", sleeping and eating in her carseat. Thank goodness. We actually stopped at McDonalds for food (something I haven't done in YEARS), and the happy meal toy (a mini beanie baby ronald mcdonald) kept her entertained for so long-with the help of a funny voice by me and flipping and flying through the car!

*Ron and I memorized the order of all the US Presidents. You would think that I would have done that in high school, when it was required for me to do a report on each president every week for my AP US History class. Nope. But maybe now Mr. Shwartz would be pleased! Just before we left the house, I grabbed some playing cards, and happened to get the deck of US president flash cards that I've been lugging around since 11th grade (and I don't think I've actually ever used them before now). They came in handy and killed a lot of drive time for us!!

*We stopped at Fort Bridger, in Wyoming (only about 2 hours from Salt Lake). I was so ancy from being in the car for so long, I needed some place to stop. We hadn't made any major history/learning stops (something my family always did on drives) for one reason or another, but mainly because our time was limited. At that point in the drive, though, I needed to see something. We happened upon Fort Bridger and explored the grounds of the old trading post turned pioneer settlement turned army post. It was quite extensive and Evi certainly appreciated running all around...until the mosquitoes attacked, and then we hightailed it back to the car. So at least we had one little history jaunt on the drive!!

*The best part?? Arriving here: It's not the house I grew up in, but it has become home.
*Sunday 7/19: we had a huge family dinner at Amy's house. Erin's family had already left for Bear Lake, so it was Krisin and her 3 boys, Amy and her two step daugthers, our mom, and us (side note, Amy's husband wasn't there because he had already been deployed to...Afganistan). Much chaos ensued, but also much fun.

*Monday 7/20: Ogden, then BEAR LAKE!! On the drive north, we stopped in Ogden to visit with Ron's grandparents. He decided to surprise them rather than call, so we showed up and certainly did just that! His grandmother answered the door and saw Evi first, then me, then finally Ron and it hit her who was dropping in on them! We had a good laugh about that! We chatted with them for a little while, and Evi enjoyed playing with their dog, and then we headed up to meet the rest of the family at the Lake.

I had never been to Bear Lake, and it was beautiful!! It's in northern Utah and the Lake is actually part in Utah, and part Idaho. Our hotel was lake front and everything about it was fantastic. As soon as we got all of the cars unloaded, everyone changed into swim suits and headed to the water. Everyone decided to rent a seadoo right away, which was a huge hit. We had it for 2 hours and certainly got full use of it. I actually wasn't going to go since I had been before, but I'm glad I did. It was so much fun!!!!

Evi was content as can be playing in the sand and splashing in the water with her cousins. There was a small pool of water that was perfect for her to play in and I really didn't have to worry too much about her down there (even though I still did). We topped off the fun afternoon with a great dinner together and then game playing. One thing to count on when we all get together is lots and lots of games and laughs. What a fun first day.

*Tuesday 7/21, Day 2 at Bear Lake: We rented a boat for 8 hours no time was wasted! Justin (Erin's husband) had to leave mid-day for a work trip (but spent the morning boating), Kristin's husband had already gone home to Minnesota and Amy's husband was off defending America's freedom, so Ron was elected as the official boat driver for the day! Haha, actually, not really, that's just how it happened cause none of us really wanted to do it, and he really enjoyed it. So he spent, literally, 8 hours on the boat. When I made sandwiches for Evi and me, I thought I'd take one out for Ron since I wasn't sure when he'd come in for a break. That ended up being quite fortunate, since he never came in for a break! We had a tube and skiis with the rental and by the end of the day, Nathan and Joel (14 and 16 years old, to the day. They share a birthday, two years apart!) were doing tricks on the tube (standing up, twisting, just being dare devils). Too bad no one had a camera for that, because they looked pretty cool! In between the boating there was more fun on the beach and enjoying the water and sunshine. After dinner, again, more fun games, of course :).

Picture 1: Evi and her cousins. Picture 2: 4 games of spit. Nathan is grinning because he thinks he'll beat me in a game. Nope!

*Wednesday 7/22, Day 3 at Bear Lake: We tried to ride multiple seater bikes and it didn't work so well. We rented 2 bikes that seated 4/5 adults and 2 kids, with 4 pedals. I was on a bike with Ron, my mom, Sam, and Nathan, with Evi and Timmy in the front kid seats. We kept pedaling and pedaling and didn't really feel it working so well, yet Ron and Sam said it was really difficult. Turns out, something was wrong on the gears and the left side was doing all the work, while the right side was a breeze. So instead of an hour rental, we had the bikes for about 20 minutes (as we circled the block to take it back). Kris' kids suggested that we use the money for the bikes and rent a seadoo again! We got our money back and headed back to the beach. It was a nice idea, but at least because of the bum bike, we got to have more sea doo fun and one last afternoon of beach fun!
The story behind the first picture is that Evi easily learned how to escape our room and wander into the hall. At one point I couldn't find her anywhere and several of the adults started looking in the hall, outside, all over. This time, she didn't escape. Her cousin Joel was reading to her in bed. If you look closely in the second picture, you'll see Ron running after the escapee, Evelyn. She just wanted to go to the beach again :). This was taken from our balcany. How could you not want to run there?

Thursday 7/23, Check out day: We checked out of the hotel and headed north into Idaho to visit the Minntonka Caves. Correction: Ron took Sam, Joel and Nathan to Ogden to go shooting with his grandfather, and the rest of us went to the caves. The blip from the website is: Enjoy a guided 90-minute, half-mile walk into this beautiful cave. Be prepared for the 400 steps up and down in the cave and bring a jacket, since the cave is cool at about 40 degrees year round. It really was a fascinating cave with amazing natural structures everywhere, set in the mountains of Idaho. I carried Evi on many of the stairs up and down, mainly because she would hold up the group trying to do them all herself. But, she made a great effort and did not want to let go of her independence. She also thought it was pretty funny to stick out her tounge, make the zerbert/rasberry noise, then say, "pass gass" and laugh. Oh yes, she did this a great many time and thought she was hilarious. I'm not sure what the other people on the tour thought! Dad would have loved the cave. Mom opted to stay out of the caves, given all the stairs and her bad knees. So inside it was myself, Evi, Erin, her 3 boys, Kris and Amy. It was definitely a good suggestion to head up to the cave before leaving for home.

With that, our time at Bear Lake was over. Ron is itching to go back already!

This is just part 1 of the trip posting. More to follow!