Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Vacation Part 1

We spent a wonderful week visiting family in Utah at the beginning of July. Our focus was to try to absorb as much "cousin" as we could on this trip since it was a bit shorter than the trips we usually take out West. A had a blast playing with every single one of his cousins, literally. All 23 grandkids were there for at least a few days. Since A is the youngest and his oldest cousin is already starting her third year of college, it made for some interesting dynamics to keep everyone busy and relatively happy. But it was worth every minute.


This is the first time A remembers going on an airplane. He's old enough now to have his own seat, which he just loved. He sat next to the window and laughed at every take off and landing. I'm glad he handled it so well since we had a bit of a bumpy ride through some of the flight. I guess it proves that if you give a kid enough Starbursts, he can get through anything. The flight attendant at the first gate said to make sure A touched the side of the plane before we boarded. When A reached out to give a slap to the blue strip of the Southwest logo, he just giggled and giggled. That set a nice tone for the rest of the trip.

A loves trains and as a special incentive to be good we gave him a new train to play with on the plane. It was George the steamroller (from Thomas and Friends). He played well enough by himself that J and I were able to read and have some quite time. I didn't think anything of it until another passenger commented on how well behaved he was (too bad she didn't see him melt down in the driveway and the airport and about five other places earlier that morning). Another passenger commented on how contagious A's laugh is. She said she wished she could just bottle it and take it home because it made her smile.


For several weeks preceeding our visit, A insisted on calling Grandma and Grandpa in Utah almost every day (we usually only called once or twice a week). We looked at pictures of our aunts and uncles and cousins and tried to learn names, too. So when we finally arrived A did a pretty good job recognizing at least some people. It was so good to see A's smile and hugs for his extended family.

From the minute we arrive we were on the go. We spent lots of wonderful hours swimming in my sister's pool. Well A and I played in the pool. My brother-in-law collects WW II artifacts and acquired a tank several months ago. J spent a few hours helping get the tank ready for the 4th of July parade. He even got to mount the .50 caliber machine gun! Very cool. (Recently one of J's co-workers was out in Utah rock climbing and broke his foot. The supervisors made mention of his absence at their daily planning meeting and sort of joked around about how it all happened. After jumping down off the tank one afternoon, J jokingly wondered how he would explain a broken foot from jumping off a WWII tank in his brother-in-law's yard).

All in all we handled the 95+ degree weather pretty well and we did get J to come swim after the tank was ready to go. He is a magnet when it comes to nieces and nephews. They had some fun pool races and water fights among other things. A really took to the water and wanted to try it by himself with a life jacket.


Aunt A and Uncle C very generously watched A overnight so J and I could have a little getaway of our own. We ended up staying on the 14th floor of the downtown Marriott is Salt Lake. It was kind of funny walking in to the hotel at first. We both looked a little bedraggled and we were definitely in our summer traveling clothes. I don't think J had shaved since before we left NY. It seemed everyone was very prim and put together and the desk clerks were dressed to the nines. Oh well. As long as we pay the bill who cares what we look like!

The view from our floor was pretty amazing. We arrived after dark and looking out the window in the elevator lobby was breathtaking. It overlooked Temple square. It was majestic being right on the level with the Temple it seemed. The next morning we saw the construction site where the old Crossroads Mall used to be. Oh the hours that I spent there on Spring Breaks, after Conference, and visiting grandparents. There was a sort of nostalgia that lingered when I thought of the silly "license to kiss" that I had made at some novelty shop and first pair of Gap jeans that I bought in that mall and the number of soft serve ice cream cones that I bought at the Golden Spoon. It was fun to tell J some of those stories and make some new memories, too.

It was nice to have a little bit of time to ourselves. J humored me and we went out around 10 pm to find a place that would make me a milk shake. Not sure why, but boy, I couldn't get that shake out of my head until we'd made it to JB's Diner and in about two minutes demolished the entire thing. Oh, and J had a piece of pie (I think I ate most of that, too. So much for romantic sentiments when you are six months pregnant.)