We jam-packed our time after Christmas. These are some of the highlights:
We were able to spend time with a bunch of Dave's family, including cousins from Utah before we left to go there ourselves. I think everyone's favorite was ice skating. My Mother & Father-in-law put on a big ice skating party for everyone and we had the greatest time! They were so kind to do that.
Grace and I pretty much stuck together holding each other up, and Max & Elle took off skating around with their cousins (while Claire & Lu were snuggled up safely at home with a babysitter). We definitely need to do that more often. Next time we'll drag Dave away from work for long enough to enjoy it with us (he's had some crazy stuff going on at work these past few weeks).
cute sister-in-laws and cousin...I can't believe I didn't get a picture of the hosts, Nana & Papa!
Then we packed up the car and headed to Utah. Sweetest ever Dave decided to leave the pressures of work and drive us up there (since I was going to drive up by myself with the kids, and he was just too nice to let me do it). The first night we stayed at Dave's sister's house in Layton. He has two sisters who live on the same street and we loved going back and forth catching up with them. The kids adored being with their kids. And if you can believe it, being the camera crazy person that I am this is the only picture I got of our time with them:Don't get me wrong, any picture of Lucy with her darling cousin Ella couldn't be a bad thing (especially when Lucy "looks" like she could be a walker...rest assured she's still not), but I'm mad I didn't get any pics of anyone else. There's always next time...
Our main prerogative for the trip was to be there for my littlest sister's missionary farewell. She leaves for London in a couple weeks. The highlight of the trip was being able to go to the temple with my parents and all nine of us kids. It was kind of surreal to have everyone there together.
Her farewell was awesome too. She's pretty darn prepared. The kids loved snuggling her up before she leaves them high and dry for 18 months.
I wish I could have captured on my camera the freezing temps. up there. Man oh man we were so cold up there. And it hardly stopped snowing the whole time. This was awesome for Dave, who took Max and Elle skiing. And since of course he wasn't about to take a camera with him, I'll have to include this picture from last spring...just picture it without me and with huge flakes of snow coming down creating mountains of pure powder that Dave couldn't get enough of. The kids were good enough to just ski with their cousins by themselves and Dave and his brother-in-law went crazy in the powder. He couldn't wipe the smile off his face for days.But for those of us trying to bundle up five kids and transport them back and forth from various activities making sure they had their snow gear with them everywhere they went it was a little more tricky. And add to that the fact that we don't have 4-wheel drive and our car battery kept dying and we were trying to maneuver around with such sheer numbers (just about my entire family was there)...made for a few crazy moments.
But it was so fun to spend some time in my parents' new house up in the canyon (they're not moved in yet so we were back and forth from their new to old house).Elle's face is trying to explain how cold it is (you'd think she'd bundle up more than that but my kids don't understand "bundling")...and behind her are a few of our parade of cars that got stuck in the snow...luckily I have a bunch of brothers who are good at pushing cars out of snow banks.
but check out the breathtaking effect of snow. Ok ok, I do love it. But did I mention it was COLD?!
The kids didn't seem to mind.
Dave & my brother Eli striking a pose in the beautiful light that fills my parent's new house.
and Claire too...sitting on the big rug where my parents showered us with gifts for our "second Christmas" the night before.My great parents "holding" their grandchildren. (a Christmas gift)
On New Years Eve we headed to my Aunt's house in North Salt Lake for our annual New Year's party. They are selling their amazing house so this was the last year we could swim and eat and play games there until midnight.Dave and I put Lucy to bed there and let all the rest of our kids stay up until midnight. They thought they were in heaven when they got to count down to New Years with all us adults and have their own glass of sparkling apple juice when the clock struck twelve.We got to hook up with our good friend Mike for lunch...we were sad we didn't get to see Amy. We were only there for four days. Dave had to fly back early for work stuff and I got to drive the kids home. Luckily my brother came with me and we stopped overnight half way to stay with my sister and brother's families who live there. We got to be with my little nephew for his 8th birthday.And the good thing about driving with Josh is that he understands that when there's a beautiful place you just have to stop.The kids were great during the long drive......except for Lucy. And it would be a serious understatement to say she was bad. Wow. Sometimes I still feel like my ears are ringing. Cute cry or not, she was one miserable girl. She won't be accompanying us on any more road trips for a while!
It's good to be home.