Utah Trip 2019 - Part 1

We just got back from our big annual Utah summer trip yesterday.  Like, yesterday morning at 3:00 after driving for 17 hours and 45 minutes straight.  We made it door-to-door with only three stops, which was awesome in terms of getting from place to place, but absolutely brutal in terms of our recovering-from-travel hangover.  The kids were amazing in the car-- no unplanned stops, very little whining/fighting/complaining.  They were absolute champs.  It was actually really fun to travel with them.

We got home yesterday morning and stepped into the house for the first time since July 03.  Our rough trip itinerary looked something like this:

July 03 (2:30 PM) Leave for Utah

July 04 (7:30 AM) Arrive in Utah

July 04 (PM) Allred BBQ and fireworks at the Infangers.  I was exhausted from our all-night drive, but it was great to see Grandma and Grandpa Allred.  We got to catch up with the Allreds and the Olsens, and Uncle Matt was there, but Aunt Jenn was not feeling up to it.  We got everything set up and had to move under the carport

July 05 - Sleep in, hang out, go to movies with the Lambs, roast hot dogs in the Lamb's back yard
July 06 - Morning brunch with Lambs, Allens, Jake Lamb family, Lindon Pool, dinner at Firebird.  I stayed up very late doing contract negotiations with Will for his new job.

July 07 - Church at our old BC 8 ward and the Lamb's BC 2 ward, family dinner with all of the Lambily.  I went to the Perry's house and talked contracts for a couple of hours with Val and Will.  I gave Will a blessing before coming home about 2:00. 

July 08 - Drop Ian off for EFY (he rode with the McFayden's up to the U of U.  Cooper and I hiked to the waterfall.  AJ and Jenny went shopping for scriptures and baptism dresses with Grammie. I put a new fan in the Lamb's bathroom with Brad's help and we made a huge mess with the insulation.  Lambs, Infangers, and Allens all went to the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium for the afternoon, then we went to Chuck-A-Rama on 123rd South for dinner.

July 09 - Ian at EFY.  Cooper, AJ, and Chris went fishing at Strawberry with Granddad.  Jenny went to the temple and had lunch with her mom.  Car was in the shop due to a check engine light that came on in Evanston.  Dinner (Shrimp and Crawfish Etouffe) with Grammie and Granddad. We moved over from the Lambs to the Perry's house. 

July 10 - I worked remotely and had a bunch of conference calls.  I had lunch with Scott Miller at the Cannon Center at BYU.  It was so great to see him and still feel so closely connected with him.  Cooper stayed with the Lambs and had a long video game marathon with Isaac.  Jenny took our van and went to a dinner at Thanksgiving Point.  I went with my Dad and helped move a CNC machine for a family in his ward.  We went up to Silver Lake Flat on the Buggy, then came back and did a blessing for the wife of his Quorum Secretary.  We got the van back from Advanced. 

July 11 - My Mom's birthday.  Jenny and I got up early to take Cooper to the Provo City Center temple for baptisms and then got smoothies at Jamba Juice.  That afternoon I helped Val repair and re-stain her walkway in the back yard, we did some laundry, and we helped her hang some stuff in Z an Sebs' room.  I don't honestly remember what else we did that night.  I'm sure it was something fun, but I am totally blanking. 

July 12- lots of errands.  Dad and I did a big Costco run for us, Robyn, and Mom & Dad, then took all the boys to Mom and Dad's house while the girls went for pedicures.  We packed all of the dry goods and cold storage for Snowbird, then baked 7lbs of bacon and made about 180 meatballs from scratch.  We had a great time just cooking and hanging out together.  I brought the truck and trailer back from Mom & Dad's and went to pick up kayaks from Tai Thornock before getting back to Val's. Oh, and we did dinner with the Bucks, Millers, and (surprise!) Billy Rodriguez at the Buck's house.  It was really fun to see our old friends and it meant a lot that they would take the time to get together with us. 

July 13- I got up early and was in SLC by 7:00 AM to pick up Ian and Trevor from EFY.  Ian talked my ear off on the way home, telling me about the things he learned and the people he met.  It was awesome to see all the notes he had made and the things he was excited about.  He told me that next time he wants to go alone so that he doesn't have to babysit a friend who is on a phone all the time.  We got back and immediately started packing up the kayaks and changing into swimsuits so that we could go float the Provo River together as a family.  We had a GREAT time.  Not everyone was super enthusiastic about going, but everyone loaded up and got going nonetheless.  AJ was worried about it, Cooper was kind of ornery, and Ian was not sure he wanted to go, but everyone got in the water.  Ian and Cooper and ultimately Jenny all did great on their various rotations through the single-person closed-cockpit kayaks, and we all liked the inflatables.  AJ asked for a turn riding on the front of the stand-up paddleboard, and she didn't want to get off.  At the end, all of the kids wanted to jump off of the rock; Jenny declined, but everyone else did it and had fun.  AJ was crying on the way in to shore because she was so cold, but then wanted to go again.  We got packed up for Snowbird, picked up some dinner on the way up, and got settled in for the week.  We even made it down to the pool for a few minutes that night (except AJ-- she was busy playing with Abbie, who she was delighted to see.)

July 14- We got up and going earlier than I was hoping for (this was a theme for a lot of the trip) and were over for 9:00 church at the Snowbird Center.  It was really fun to be there with all of our family (Mom and Dad, Robyn and Caleb, Jenny and I, Val and Will, and all of the kids) as well as the Greens.  We were one of the biggest family groups there.  That afternoon, we had rented out the Wildflower Lounge and we had a massive crowd there.  Joni and Henri were there-- it was really incredible to see and spend time with them.  Aerwyn and her brood arrived.  Carrie and her kids (no Darrin), Dale and Ralph, all the Greens, all of the Infangers, Mark and KyAnn (briefly) and then Thomas Keefer, Jr., his mom Sally, his wife Terri, and his son Spencer (his daughter Ragan showed up later on).  This was the first I'd ever met them.  They are marvelous people.  I absolutely adored meeting them, especially after we got some time to hike together.  We did a brunch and then stayed and played games and had a great time together all the way through dinner; I got to play Genealogy for the first time with Jo, Dale, Jenny, Amy, Ashleigh, Dwight, Hannah, and Natalie, and Madison.  It was super fun.  There was much cheating.  Henri was the auctioneer and MC of our penny auction, and he was hilarious. 

July 15- we got up and got going on our big hike.  We didn't know how big a hike it was going to be.  Jenny and the kids and I left from the Alta Wildcat parking lot with Joni and Henri.  We saw a moose and met up with the larger group on the trail up to Cecret Lake.  I went ahead because I wanted to be up near Sugarloaf Pass in time for a 10:00 conference call.  That didn't happen.  A small contingent (Ashleigh, Robyn, Spencer) peeled off to get Spencer to the airport on time.  Another contingent (Jenny, Taft, Emma, AJ, Cooper) managed to get lost on the way to the lake and didn't get there for almost two hours after I arrived, shortly after 9:00.  (A great time for me, BTW.  I was feeling great!)  Eventually, Jenny, AJ, Cooper, Taft, and Emma arrived and turned around to head back to the car.  Tom, Terri, Ragan, Ian, Matt, Emily, Esther, Sally, Val, Will, and I  all got headed for the top.  We found out part of the way up that Terri had just had her Achilles tendon repaired in April, and that slowed her considerably.  Val and I conferred on the way up to Sugarloaf Pass that I would stay back with the Keefers and she and the rest of the group would push on.  When it became apparent that we were going to be a lot slower than we originally thought, she left Sally and Esther on top of Sugarloaf to help us out.  The road was still snowed in for probably 30% of the way from Cecret to Hidden Peak.  Some places still had 6 feet of snow.  In one spot, Ragan fell about two feet into the snowmelt underneath the snow and tweaked her hip.  Long story short, I had estimated about 3.5 hours to get from Wildcat to Cecret to the top of Sugarloaf, across the back of Mineral Basin, up to the top of Hidden Peak, down Gad Valley to the Snowbird Center, and back to the lodge.  Ragan's hip got worse and worse as we wen on, and eventually Val (at the top) got ski patrol to come and get her and Sally at the Peruvian Gulch tunnel.  Terri insisted that she was good to make the top, so Esther, Tom, Terri, and I pushed to the top.  Terri and Esther took the tram back down after more than six hours of hiking.  Tom and I walked down Gad Valley together; it was the only time that we got to just talk one-on-one and I loved it.  I loved learning about his dad and his family and the realization that there was a LOT more family out there than they ever knew about while his dad was alive.  It was awesome, and I can't wait to see Tom and his family again.  Monday night, we had some Minute to Win It games going on down in the game room.  I mostly spectated. I threw in a couple of loads of laundry and went to the hot tub until closing time-- I got to spend time talking to Kiley, Emma, Natalie, Hannah, and Ashleigh.  Hannah paid me a huge compliment; she told me that outside of her dad and her brothers, my dad and I were the "most influential priesthood holders in her life." 


Thanksgiving in New York!

Over the summer, we had a chance to talk to Justin and Andrea.  We decided that, since this is their last year in Rochester, and we are now the closest family to them, we should do Thanksgiving with them at their house in upstate New York.  

We said we were closest.  That doesn't mean we were close.  We left on the morning of Saturday, November 20th, crossed the river into Illinois, drove all the way across Illinois, dropped a friend off at the O'Hare airport, drove all the way across Indiana, drove all the way across Ohio, drove across a little corner of Pennsylvania, all the way up the coast of Lake Erie, and across most of New York.  It was a long Saturday.  

But TOTALLY worth it!  Look who we got to see when we got there! 


Time swings on

It was fun to download these picture from my phone and find Caveman pushing AJ on the swings in March (7 months old) at Joaquin Park...
then find another set from about a month later in April (8 months old). Caveman loves pushing her, it is super cute. And she obviously loves it too!

Things we will miss

It might seem silly or even ungrateful, which is the last thing I want to be right now, but after years of dreaming about and hoping the time would come to buy a home, it is with some trepidation that we are leaving a wonderful decade of our lives in Provo. Actually for me it has been a bit longer because I came to BYU as a freshman in 2000, which would be 12 years ago this August. I know for some people they would never choose to live in Provo (or Utah County or even Utah, for that matter) and that many cannot wait for the day they can leave. But for me I have always loved Provo, BYU and the surrounding community. I was one of those young girls who secretly hoped I would be accepted and attend BYU. We are lucky that I received two degrees there and that Chris was able to attend law school here. All great manifestations of the Lord's hand in our lives. We never intended for Provo and the Provo 4th Ward to be "home" for this long. So even though we have not owned here, it is neat to see how we have built and really put down roots someplace. I'm grateful we have. Both our current and former bishops, who are good friends whom we admire very much, counseled new ward members to unpack their bags and become involved no matter how long they would be here. And for us, it's good we did, since our stay was much longer than we would could have guessed! I often think of the Saints in Nauvoo and along the trail to Utah, who built homes, temples, gardens, not knowing how long they would be there but building where they were and leaving a legacy and good deeds for those who would come after them.

We will miss the wonderful friends we've made, both those who are still here and those who are gone. But I hope we can continue those friendships even though I know it will not be quite the same since we won't live right there. As hard as it sometimes is to be in a transient ward and stake, we have met amazing people and had incredible experiences, especially the opportunities given us through service in the Church and callings, that have caused our family, especially for Chris and I to be stretched and forced to grow in ways we probably could not have under other circumstances. It will be strange not to be right downtown where we can walk to everything. Of course there are things that drive us crazy that we will not miss, like the crazy traffic especially during Women's Conference, Education Week, football games, etc. and the annual nuttiness of the Freedom Festival parade. But moving to a more suburban area has it's upsides too; far less noise, sirens, homeless and meth-addict traffic right in front of where you live(!). If I stop and think about it, it's very strange the things we have come to accept as "normal"! Though I will never view where we live as the "inner city" as we've heard some who live elsewhere in Provo refer to this area of Provo (too funny). I am also still going through withdrawals and a bit of a grieving process about leaving Wasatch Elementary. It was a fantastic school. Ian loved it. He loved his amazing kindergartner teacher, Mrs. Whitaker, and did so well. We have mixed emotions about Ian not having the opportunity to do the Chinese Immersion program there, but actually the closer we got to him starting it (even before finding the house and deciding to move) the more unsettled Chris and I had both started to feel about him doing it. I would not be surprised if that is another thing in life we do not understand until years later, but I truly hope it will be okay and is right decision for Ian and not something I will regret or worry about.
We will miss the wonderful Provo Library. I am often there with the kids multiple times a week, especially during the summer. Even things like the displays in their children's department, like the Star Wars one below . . . my boys love the library! We will miss their programming, book and DVD selection and how close we were to it. All things you sometimes take for granted and don't stop to appreciate as fully in the moment, especially when you think you want something else more!
I will miss seeing "Y" mountain and the breath-taking view of Rock Canyon, especially its glow as the sun sets. I am sad we won't attend the Provo Temple regularly and that we are moving away from the new Provo City Center Temple district, though it will always be a part of our family's history because of the connection we had with it when it was announced during general conference and were privileged to attend the groundbreaking. But I know we will have new beautiful views and that even though Provo will not be "home" anymore on a daily basis, there will always be a part me me in Provo. I am grateful for the experiences and opportunities we had while we lived here. It is neat to consider who I have become over the past 12 years since I moved to Provo as an insecure, uncertain 18 year old. The Lord is good to us and blesses us abundantly in the ways we need, wherever we are and I look forward to what he has in store for us next.

Maybe the grass is actually just as green on both sides; each just has different opportunities, all of which can and should be celebrated and enjoyed to the fullest in the moment, even if you sometimes look back over the fence with longing for good times and things passed. But I also know there are plenty more good things to come.


Love my baby girl

I think my adorable mother-in-law sent this in an email a few weeks ago and I really liked it.
Don't get me wrong I love my boys and am so glad to have them, even though they often drive me completely batty! But in my heart I always hoped I would have at least one daughter (okay, let's be honest, I'd love if I had one or two more!!)
I am so grateful for AJ. She is such a sweet little girl. She brings a happiness and light to our home that I cannot imagine being without. We are daily touched by her fun, friendly spirit.

Selfless Service at Snowbird

We had the opportunity to attend church today while up at Snowbird. It's pretty incredible because a high priest group from a local ward (I believe from the Cottonwood Stake) is assigned to provide a shortened church service at the Snowbird Center EVERY Sunday. They said during the winter they may have as few as 18 attend but in the summer can get as high as 300. Snowbird personnel supports this by providing a room. We sing an opening hymn (a sister plays on a keyboard), have a prayer, then they have the head of each household introduce their family and where they are from. We sing a sacrament song and the volunteers from the local deacons quorum pass the sacrament (Which was actually pretty cute because one of them was wearing a white shirt, tie and black pants. And flips flops. You can get away with that a bit more easily at "Snowbird" church.) Then they have a short Sunday School lesson and two speakers. Today the wife of a high councilman gave a great talk and read a story that really touched me about a high school administrator (Hillcrest High, if I'm remembering right; I may not have all the details right since I was trying to occupy AJ) who learned a compelling lesson from the mother of a son who had been beat up by the school bully. Rather than being enraged when she came to the school office, she asked the boy where his father was (in prison) and mother (he didn't know; likely she was a prostitute). She asked if he had any friend (he didn't). So she put her arm around him and walked out of the school with the bully and her son, telling him he would come home and eat bread and jam after school, that they would get him a white shirt to wear to church on Sunday and that her son would be his friend. Pretty incredible. As we sat there during the service I was overwhelmed with gratitude and touched by the selflessness of those who give their time and talents to others. And also what a great opportunity this is for the deacons to come up each week and grow up participating in something like this. It is amazing that members of their stake are willing to give of their time each Sunday to drive up the mountain so we can partake of the sacrament and feel the Spirit and learn from the experiences of others. Just another great example of what the Church offers both givers and receivers.

Nasty goodness

I am a sucker for chips and cheese (or anything salty like this, for that matter) . . . no question why Chris thought of me when he saw this. Just ask Chris what a chupaqueso is; I don't necessarily even need the chips!


A Much Needed Update

 Visiting sweet Grandie. AJ loves playing with him.
 Such a cute girl!
 Caveman loves pushing AJ in the swings.
 I almost forgot where this big bear was from...but yes, it was visiting Andrea and Justin the day they left for Thailand. Silly kids.(that goes for my three and A&J. haha, cute just realized their names are AJ's initials) :)
 Bubba on his last day of school with his cute cubby. Of course I wanted to document as many details of his kindergarten year as possible. I can't believe how fast it's gone.
 "Bah-pa" as AJ calls him reading books. She is just starting to actually let us leave the book open to the same page and read words. She loves when I do animals sounds.
Love my baby girls so much! And those big chubby cheeks and blue eyes...
Caveman in all his native monkeyness.

Well, this isn't everything we've done in the last 7 months or even an adequate representation. But at least now it won't say "7 months" as my last updated blog post when I check my families' blogs, haha! Blogging had to take the back burner a few years ago when I struggled to find balance with being on the internet. There is always so much to do as it is and I hardly have a moment on the computer to respond to email it seems.I figure it it better to live my life than blog about it, but I also realize that means much of our daily lives and even big events haven't been adequately recorded or shared with family who aren't close, even though we do. At first I thought I'd set a goal of weekly updating the blog; now I'm thinking maybe at least one monthly recap post would be more realistic and sufficient. Or maybe when I finally dump my pictures from the memory card I can make sure I upload a few cute ones of the kids so friends and family can see them. We shall see what happens. Hopefully it will be less than 7 months at the very least.


Zone Time

I found this very fitting for our life now.

Pictures of Atleigh

I've needed to post pictures of her forever now, so here are a few from a photo shoot my friend Brittney* did. They turned out so wonderful! She is such a sweet thing and I'm so glad to have captured these when she was so little still (she was 2 weeks old when these were taken). We love her to pieces! I always hoped to have a daughter but it is truly wonderful to have her in our home, such a blessing.

And for those who never heard stats, Atleigh JoAnn was born August 18th at 2:31 a.m. She weighed 8 lbs 4 oz (we were shocked how big she was, much bigger than both her brothers, especially considering I had gained way less weight during the pregnancy, woo hoo!) and was 20 inches long. Pretty cool that her new cousin who was just born this week was the exact same weight and length.

* Photography by Brittney Warburton (sethandbrittney@gmail.com)