Well heck yes!
Not having to drive, being able to split the gas, and family visits made it an easy decision.
So we left for Utah.
And of course, despite medication, and assurances she would be fine, Lydia threw up an hour into the trip. All over her Uncle Kenny. You're welcome Kenny.
We realized the back of the van wouldn't be the best place for my kids, moved them to the front and proceeded without further incident, staying the night at a Best Western, and then finishing the rest of the drive the next day.
One of our rest stops, the second day of driving, included Shoshone Falls in Idaho. It was super pretty, and super sunny.
My kids found out first hand the strength of the sun when they tried to look at the camera, hahaha :)
It really was gorgeous. A little bit of beauty in the great, barren Idaho.
Boy were we busy in Utah. I was worried about sitting around with not much to do, but we had the opposite problem - we were going crazy trying to fit everything in!
One of the first things we did was go to This Is The Place Heritage Park with those of Brigham's family who weren't working during the day. There was so much to do and despite the heat we had a great time!
The kids made pioneer rings out of nails and hung them on ribbons around their neck.
We panned for gold.
We rode trains. Caitlin braved the little train with all the kids by her lonesome.
The kids rode ponies...multiple times.
And we did much more including visiting pioneer houses, making arrowhead necklaces, enjoy being treated to ice cream by Ashley, etc. It was a long, hot, exhausting, fun, adventurous day. Everything This Is The Place should be.
That night we attempted to go to a Bees baseball game, but the tickets were outrageous so we abandoned that whole route and wandered through City Creek Mall in downtown Salt Lake.
Lydia's glee at the fountain is amazing :) The kids did have a blast riding Trax and playing at the dinosaur play place in the food court.
Later that night the adults (minus Sam and Caitlin who were babysitter-less, and were greatly missed) saw a LATE night showing of the new Mission Impossible. I watched the movie with one eye open, trying to stay awake because I was so tired from all the fun we had earlier that day. This pregnant woman was worn out. It was a good time, though Ethan Hunt just CANNOT DIE!
The next day included a late lunch at Macaroni Grill with the adults again, and then we rushed to the Timpanogos Temple where my brother Kenny was getting endowed before he leaves for his mission to Honduras.
We were way late, and I drove like a mad woman to get to the temple before the session started. When Brigham and I rushed in and handed over our recommends, my recommend kept getting declined. We looked at the date. Expired.
:( :( :( ....a million frowny faces.
There was nothing to be done. I sent Brigham on in and tearfully sobbed my way to the car where I cried for quite some time. I had been to the temple a month earlier, and had no idea it was the last month before my recommend expired. I was devastated. I had only been able to attend one other of my siblings endowments and really looked forward to being with everyone in the temple for Kenny's.
I took a picture of everyone who was able to attend the session, but in the picture with my mom and Poly, you can see that I was indeed there with Kenny at some point.
The next day we spent more time with Brigham's family and some of my family at the Museum of Natural Curiosity at Thanksgiving Point. It was expensive to get in, but boy do you get your money's worth! There is so much to see and do! My dad, Kenny, and I were having a blast together as adults.
Here Kenny is looking through glasses that makes you see backwards and trying to touch the two ends of the sticks together. He was terrible at it and it was hilarious. I wasn't too shabby, but I think it's from doing the back of my hair with two mirrors for so long. We agreed that if we lived in a backwards world, I would be the girl to go to.
My dad was such a cute grandpa with my kids, trying to get pictures of them on a zipline, and holding the fish food as they tossed it to the open mouths of the greedy orange and black fish. Although I joked about it with my brothers, I secretly loved how sweet it was.
And let me just spend a moment on these two rascals: Abby and Ammon. Six months apart (and probably six inches too) these two sure loved each other. I don't know that they were the best influences for the other one, due to the trouble they would find, but they were adorable together.
Ammon constantly asked for Abby and cheered whenever he found out she was coming along. They laughed and giggled and played so well together. And when we weren't looking, they ran off and found plenty of mischief together too. It's one of the things that I really regret about moving away from Utah, my kids not being able to play with their cousins. It makes vacations like these really special.
That night Brigham went to his dad's to spend the next day with him since he was off work, and I took the kids to my aunt's house for a family reunion.
My dad and all of his siblings were able to get together, which rarely happens, and it was great to see everyone.
The next day we visited the Bean Science Museum at BYU, and then went bowling. I don't know what happened, but apparently all I need is a change of my center of gravity due to pregnancy, and a lighter ball than normal, to do decently.
Twice :) I usually never even break 100, so I enjoyed every second of it and tried not to be amazed at myself.
Friday night the kids and I met back up with Brigham and we spent more time with Brigham's mom at a picnic at the park, until we had to move to her house to get out of the rain.
Saturday we spent the day running errands to get ready to head home the next day, and then met Brigham's dad and Nonie with everyone else at Chili's for one final dinner together, and then headed to Silver Lake up Big Cottonwood Canyon. Driving up the canyon, Brigham and I fell in love with the Rocky Mountains all over again. There is something just so special about them. It felt like coming home as I remembered all the day trips, hikes, and camping trips I've taken there.
It was chilly but beautiful, and the kids had a great time. Poor Madalyn fell off the boardwalk and into a bit of water, but luckily she was ok and her two uncles took turns carrying her wrapped up in sweaters and blankets.
The kids ran around exploring, and wanted their picture taken on everything. We tried to say no, but they were too darn cute together.
And if I talk about Ammon and Abby together, I have to mention these two girls in pigtails together. Holding hands wherever they went, they chatted, and giggled, and were two sweet cousins enjoying every second they could. When we had to say goodbye, Lydia cried for quite some time because she was so sad that it would be so long before she saw Emmy again. It broke my heart. It's really rare for Lydia to cry like that, and I knew it must really be upsetting for her to get so emotional.
We gave everyone hugs goodbye and sadly parted ways for another year. It's always hard. We love our family so much and wish we could return to the days where we lived close and spent lots of time together.
That night we met up with Nonie and DJ and family, and saw the Murray Festival fireworks before we headed home to bed to wake up and leave at 5:30 am the next morning. We made good time home...until we got stuck in traffic due to an accident and spent two hours going two miles. We only had an hour and a half left to get home before we got stuck in more traffic due to another accident, and quickly pulled off the freeway for emergency bathroom situations and one little boy stinking up the van, sending everyone into laughing hysterics because we were so tired that everything was either laugh or cry. At the gas station we found that everyone that had been stuck in the traffic had the same problems. It was crazy.
But we made it home and we were safe, tired, and everything you can be after traveling.
We ate at so many delicious places, did so many fun things, and saw so many people we loved. It was one of the best trips to Utah we've ever made.