On Sunday night, we drove up to Sandy to have dinner with my uncles and cousins. It was fun to see not only Dave and his familiy, and Al and his wife, but several of the cousins stopped by, many of whom I hadn't seen in almost 10 years.
My brother, Brian, and his wife, Amy, drove down from Washington to spend a few days with us. It is really nice to have time with them, especially since their kids are my kids' only cousins on my side. We got a hotel right by Temple Square so we could have a "home base" near a bunch of kid-friendly stuff. On the first day, My Dad joined us for a trip to the zoo. Unfortunately, it was completely hot and yucky, and I took no pictures. The kids enjoyed the animals...especially the extra active Polar Bear.
Afterwards, we met up with my younger brother and sister, Kevin and Dana, for dinner at the Spaghetti Factory. I can even think of the last time the 4 of us kids were together, and its been even longer since we've been together with Dad. Wish I had taken a photo.
On Tuesday, we took the kids on a walk around Temple Square. We did a short tour of the Conference Center, including the garden roof, which was pretty cool, and then walked back through the Visitor's Center.
Little kids don't last very long on sight-seeing tours, so we cut it short and rode the Trax 2 blocks back to the hotel, where we had a quick lunch and went swimming. Uncle Christian is the best pool toy a kid could have.
That afternoon, we drove down to Provo, where I finally fixed the prongs on my wedding ring (so my diamond doesn't wiggle and/or fall out) and got Jamba Juice at BYU. While waiting for Brian and Amy, we saw this guy, and Christian begged me to take a photo.
Shall we agree that his mustache clashes with his shoes?
We had dinner that night with my cousin, Shelly, and her family. Brian, Shelly, and I had a lot of fun during our Utah summers growing up, and it was fun to reminisce (even though some of the memories included the time they teased me about having a crush on the life-size statue of Santa Clause in my Grandmother's basement, which I would have happily forgot. Um, yeah,--no crush).
Back to the hotel that night. It was really nice having 3 rooms, so the big kids could have a room to themselves. Hannah was an awesome babysitter--she earned the title "Baby Whisperer" because she had a gift for helping kids be happy.
(While it looks like Hannah is asleep, she is actually amazing the kids with her Ipad skills)
We drove back down to Provo, where we met up with Christian's family up Provo Canyon. The kids spent hours playing in the river and through the trees and fields. I love it that my kids are such good friends with their cousins!
That night, there was more messy playing as we watching for 24th of July fireworks from Jennie's backyard, while the kids played on their dirt mound. Between river water and backyard dirt, our kids were blissfully filthy that night.
(Aunt Jennie and little Eliza)
(Megan, Tanner (Jennie's nephew), Hannah, and Andrew)
Oh, and we brought back the party bus.
24th of July smores...
Finally we were on our way--with 23 hours of driving ahead of us. Again, we drove through the night. The funny thing was that at our first rest stop, we ran into Jonathan and DeAnn, who had left about 30 minutes before us. After that, we drove within 5 miles of each other through the night, met up again in traffic near Chicago, and had lunch together in Indiana. Shortly after lunch, they split off to head north while we continued on in awful traffic. The last 2 hours of driving were rough, not so much because I was sleepy, which I was, but because we had used up everything I could think of to stay awake. In the end, Christian entertained me by playing YouTube videos (which I listened to, but did not watch while driving!) of 90's music, and we marveled about how different our music tastes were back in the day, and how much I missed even though I grew up near Seattle, and the heart of 90's grunge music. Anyway, it worked and we made it home...and it took us days to recover :)
And....that's a wrap. I'm so thankful for awesome people to spend my summer with!