Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Grandparent Post

I blogged about Utah but purposefully left out Ron & Kathryn. I did so because I felt like they deserved a post of their own. Let me start by shedding light on the fact that our trip was completely unplanned. We found dirt cheap tickets ($65 round trip) and decided we were going to make it work no matter what. Kathryn had a week full of teaching beginner flute lessons and Ron was busy with his calling and other matters. And even though they still had their busy lives to attend to, every spare moment was spent loving on their two grand kiddos.

Kate adores Grandpa. She loves him to pieces. They have some sort of special bond and I love seeing them together. Vince is smitten with both of them. He couldn't get enough of the swing Grandpa built and he loved playing the recorder and reading with Grandma.

God knew what He was doing when He made grandparents. They teach kids how to have fun without all of the fuss that us parents put up. They remind us of little things like playing marbles, throwing rocks, and climbing up trees instead of turning to electronics. Grandparents have been so good because they teach me a completely different way to be a parent. We love them so much and are incredibly thankful that they let us come and stay with them. We miss you guys and we miss Utah!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Utah Potpourri

The bulk of our trip wasn't spent out doing stuff but spending time with our favorite people. Kait Kunz and I had a play date. We tried to get a picture of our kids together... the struggle is real. But at least we documented them together. That's better than Kait and I can say (and that's the theme of this trip-- Not Enough Pictures)! Hanging out with Kait is great because even though we've been apart for months it's like I never left. I love that girl! She's definitely the friend I relate to best since we've managed to stay in the same phase of life.

"Party in the Brittany" from my Sophomore year of college got together. It's always a hoot getting together with Ashley, Hilary, and Marlee. When we get together it's like a breath of fresh air where I can be "Libby" instead of "Mommy". We played dinner roulette, in which everyone brings a random dish for dinner, and it turned out quite well! (No pictures, again. Ugh!)

Brynna, Jordan, and their sweet babe Charlie joined us a few times through the week for meals and walks. It's sad that we just barely missed living in Provo at the same time but it's great that when we come out to visit we get to see them too.

While Kathryn and I were at the Bean Museum with the kids we bumped into Reesa Cornwall and it made my heart so happy! She's one of those perfect, inspiring individuals who embodies everything you want to be. She is a real gem and I was so excited that our paths crossed during my visit.

The Burt's were so good to us. We came and went, partied, and maybe cried a little bit-- and they kept inviting us back for more! Family truly is wonderful. Dan played hooky from work (being self-employed has its perks!) and we drove to The Devil's Kitchen and made a pit stop on our way back to chow down on delicious ice cream at the Red Barn in Payson. Delish! We also went to Malawi Pizza and enjoyed the drawings at Chalk the Block at the River Woods (No pictures- face palm). Ruth and I even went for a dip at the Provo Rec while the big kids were at school. We had so much fun going around and enjoy little bits of the city. And let's not forget dinner at Cafe Rio! But I think one of my favorite parts about visiting the Burts is seeing how they interact with their children. Dan is an amazingly fun father. It makes me want to be more lighthearted with my children. And then there's Ruth. Mother Ruth, if you will. She is extremely patient and I love watching how to she nurtures and teachers her children. They're great examples of how to be an awesome parent.

I also think I went to The BYU Creamery three times. Whoops! But it was so darn good. While there, Kate learned how to dip her fries in ketchup. Life skills, people.

The flight home was a nightmare. We departed around bedtime. I prayed and prayed that Kate would sleep in my arms. She chose to scream in my arms instead. Thankfully, the people on the flight we helpful and kind. There were so many people offering to carry bags, hold kids, share toys, and the like. This was the first flight where MY kid was the kid everyone hates on the plane. Normally they are little angels. But I suppose I was pushing the envelop by selecting such a late flight. Kate proceeded to cry for 2 of the 3 hours on our drive home from Chicago. Needless to say, I was ready for the trip to be over.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Payson Temple

I know I'm not the only one who regrets not going to the Temple more when I lived in Utah. Now that we're in Michigan we plan to leave three hours before our session. Then there's the two hour session and the return trip... you get the idea. It's no where near as easy as our five minute drive to the Provo Temple!

Since we were back in the Land of Temples we made it a high priority to go (especially with Grandparents baby-sitting for free!). Although we could have stuck around in Provo, we made a trip of it and drove to the new Temple in Payson, UT.

It was gorgeous. Like, awe inspiring. The kind of beauty where you could sit there and take it in all day long. Quite fitting, right? Paul particularly enjoyed the marble floors and I loved all of the pretty windows.

After we picked our jaws up from the floor, we did indeed do some Temple work. It was a very satisfying trip because we were sealing all of the families we have been working on for the last two years. If that's not work, I don't know what is. It has been a labor of love making time to find the names, drive, go to the Temple, pump, drive back, repeat. But sitting there in the sealing room there was a special spirit. I could feel the love and gratitude of our ancestors.

Family History takes a lot of time and it's frustrating when you hit dead ends over and over again, but it is worth every second. Once you start it's sort of addicting. You can feel them encouraging you and it helps you press forward. I love connecting families and giving them the choice to be together forever.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Timpanogos Falls Hike

On the top of our to-do list for our trip to Utah was to go hiking. Back before Paul and I even started dating we made it up most of the way to Timp Falls but decided to head back down because I was wearing flats instead of the recommended hiking footwear (in college I was more worried about looking cute than being prepared). Ruth deserves all the praise for making this hike happen though. It was forecast to rain but she rallied up the troops and we went anyway. As a result, we had the trail practically to ourselves and the clouds gave us the perfect cover from the hot sun. Luckily, the rain held off and we were able to enjoy the Fall colors that were underway up in the mountains.

Vince and Ian led the way. Toward the end of the hike Vince asked to be picked up. Maybe we're mean, or maybe we're awesome, but we told him to finish the hike on his own. And he did! The little trooper made it all the way to the falls on his own two feet. I was surprised that he made it down on his own too. I thought he'd be tuckered out but he owned that mountainside!

Kate took the easy route and napped for over half of the hike.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Labor Day Weekend

Paul's new job at Plasan has twice as many paid holidays as his old job! It's sort of the best thing ever. With all of our extra long weekends we travel or visit family. For Labor Day we went South to Ohio (ha!). We did our typical three hour drive, dropped off the kids, hopped in Fritz's van (which was crammed with Griffioens) and drove back to Detroit to go to the Temple. It reminded me of going on a youth Temple trip. I couldn't think of a better way to start the weekend than being in the Temple with the people I love most.

The only other thing on the docket for the weekend was to visit the Toledo Zoo. We decided to go on Saturday to ensure we didn't miss it. The aquarium was renovated and recently opened. It was spectacular! Vincent was scared at first but eventually worked up the courage to pet the stingrays and horseshoe crabs. We went on a rainy day so the crowds were kept at bay. I was glad because it gave us extra time at the coolest exhibits. Vince is on an "Octonauts" kick and loves all things sea creature. His knowledge about giant spider crabs and various other fish took my by surprise. The aquarium was heaven for him. We braved the rain and got quite a show as a result. The animals were lively as can be! Penguins jumping in the water, tigers roaring, wolves running around, the safari animals coming up close and strutting their stuff. It was the best zoo trip we've had in a long while.

That evening we played with Anna and Trace, watched a football game and, as tradition would have it, ate pizza. Things took a turn for the worse during our nighttime snack as Vince loudly protested eating because his mouth hurt. It took some coaxing, and a bit of force, to examine his mouth. He had open sores all over. The poor boy was fine earlier and then they just took over his mouth. When he woke up Sunday morning he had little spots on his Hand. Have you guessed it yet? Hand Foot and Mouth!

I'm pretty sure someone is always sick when the family is supposed to get together. Sunday dinner was called off on account of illness. I can't blame them, but it was sad. Anna decided to expose Trace so he could build up his immunity. He got it a few days later. Miraculously, Kate didn't get it! I thought my attempts at separating them were futile but it seems that distance and prayer bridged the gap and kept her healthy.

We ended up leaving early on Monday to give the rest of the fam a chance to party on Labor day. In the end, everything was called off to keep the kids healthy. A ho-hum ending to a fab weekend, but you just take what you can get, right?