Sadly, my time and trip are both getting away from me and I am a over a week behind in chronicling our adventures.
Last Sunday we went to church with my brother Joel and his family. I got to go to Joel's Gospel Principles class. It was a wonderful lesson on prayer and the Spirit truly touched my heart as I watched my big brother bear testimony of the miracles prayer can perform. It was a wonderful lesson.
After church we came back for some more time with Whitney and Jared's family. Mason was sad to see Jared's boys leave later that afternoon, but they had to head back to Vegas. I'm so glad they made the effort to come and visit us for a day and a half.
After Jared's family pulled out, we loaded our kids in the car and headed up north to visit our friends Lori and Barton. We hadn't seen them for three years since they moved from Maryland. Their little boys are now huge and we were thrilled to meet their two-month old daughter, Ally. She is a really doll. Lori even remembered Michael's favorite dessert (angel food cake with fresh strawberries and whipping cream) and had that waiting for us.
A side note on our first trip up I-15 in nine years: there are houses everywhere! It was so strange to see houses all over the point of the mountain. Everything is built up so much that you actually have to look for temples as you drive. Strange.
Anyway, Monday morning we went to a park in American Fork to meet my dear friend Amy and her three kids. What a treat! Alissia and Mason were best friends in preschool. Cead ("The Cead" as Teensy called him when they were little) has grown so much he was unrecognizable! Little Mina was only a few days old when she moved from Maryland so she's grown the most. It's always funny to see other people's kids. You always see your own so you don't get the dramatic effect of their growth, but when you see someone else's kids after a couple of years you can really see the passage of time. It was nice to sit and chat with Amy and watch the kids enjoy themselves at Discovery Park. I miss having Amy around to call me on a moment's notice and get together with the kids. What a fun friend she is.
Monday night for Family Night we (Joel's family and mine) went to Thanksgiving Point for a very fun activity put on by my very own baby sister, Whitney! It was called "Harry, Hagrid, and Hogwarts" and it was so FUN! All over the Gardens, there were stations set up centered around a Harry Potter theme for the kids to do little fun activities. My favorite was the wand-making station where we helped the kids stuff their wands with things like unicorn hair and phoenix feathers.
Oh---after the acivity was over, Michael and I got to ride all over the beautiful gardens on Segways. We now know how we want to spend some of our retirement money. We plan on being Gramps and Gram Segway! Those things are so fun.
Tuesday, we spend the morning at Thanksgiving Point again. This time we went to the dinosaur museum. Again, the kids really enjoyed the activity. Their favorite parts were playing with little dinosaurs in the sand and water and then going on a "dig" to unearth dinosaur bones.
While we were at Thanksgiving Point, Michael and I just had to go to the spot where we got engaged almost ten years ago. We used to go there for picnics often when we were dating and it was on one such picnic that Michael popped the question. Thanksgiving Point has grown quite a bit these past nine years, but we were happy that we could still revisit "our spot."
Tuesday evening, after a quick tour of BYU for our kids and a cougar-wear shopping spree in the bookstore, Joel watched the seven kids while Whitney, Kim, Michael and I went to Los Hermonos. Michael and I used to go there when we were engaged/newly married with our friends Melissa and Brad. It was always a fun treat to slurge and spend the $6 each to get our favorite meal. We always all got the Smothered Burrito. It still tastes the same! Actually, it was even better because we weren't spending our last $15 until payday to eat it! Michael also enjoyed drinking a non-alcoholic Sangria--something he has not been able to find in all our years in Maryland. The four of us had a great time laughing and talking and stuffing ourselves sick.
While I did the clean-out-the-car and repack routine, Michael, Mason and Joel went on a long ride up in the mountains on the four-wheeler and motorcycle. They were gone so long I started to worry. Mason came home so happy to have just had a manly adventure with his dad and uncle.
(This picture is actually of Mason and my brother Jared on an earlier, much shorter four-wheeler run.)
Well, that is the end of our Utah time. There were plenty of tears when it was time to leave, both from our kids and their cousins. We tried to tell them we'll be back to spend one more night on our way home, but that didn't appease them. Idaho was calling, and it was time to hit the road for the next leg...The Family Reunion.