Tuesday, May 31, 2011

"Tri"ed...to Have a Vacation!

We took our family vacation a little early this year. I'm glad I was well enough to go! I was waffling back and forth whether or not I felt like I could do it. This year's vacation revolved around a Triathlon (see where I was trying to go with the title there?) in St. George, and Josh and several in-laws were competing in it. We decided to extend the stay and have it be our family vacation too! I'll try to organize this in a Top 10. This was a tricky one, since we were all over the place.

1.) Changes
We stopped off in Boise (halfway) and spent the night at our favorite hotel with a pool. Thank heavens! I'm getting to be a worse traveler than the kids! Now with two highly verbal kids, they started asking me, "Mom, how much longer until we get there?" when we were still driving through the Palouse wheat fields! Our highly non-verbal kid started crying when we were exactly one hour away from our stopping point. How do they know? Once we finally arrived at my parent's house, it made the long (and often painful trip) worth it. It was so nice to see them, and the hello hugs felt so much sweeter now that I'm healthy and well! My parents remodeled their kitchen, Dad's office, and the downstairs bathroom. It looks bright and beautiful, and it was fun to see all of the changes that we've heard about!

New kitchen with granite countertops, white cabinets and a bigger kitchen window!
The kids made chocolate chip cookies with Grandma.

Sadly, the weather wasn't on our side for most of the trip, and it was cold and rainy the majority of the time.

Here is the new railing and staircase that goes to the downstairs.

This purple Miata is my Dad's toy. Grandpas need toys too!
He got a blue one when he retired, but sold it, and has wanted another one ever since.

He fittingly got a license plate to adorn this dark purple car that reads "GRP JCH" (Grape Juice)

2.) Breaks
The greatest gift Josh gave me, which counts as presents for Mother's Day, birthday, and two Christmases was three whole days alone with my parents. I love my husband and my kids, but having time to talk, to help out, to feel that feeling of being a child again without having to watch a clock or wipe a nose or quickly end a conversation was the most wonderful, relaxing and cup-filling thing!

While I was there, Dad had a Dr. appointment for pain he had been experiencing in his hip. He learned that he had been walking around for weeks on a BROKEN hip (brittle bones are another side effect to Parkinson's)! That was a little discouraging for him - they are probably looking at a hip replacement. I was all-the-more glad that I was there and able to be helpful, and you should have seen me going up and down the stairs to retrieve things for my Dad! You would have been proud, friends. I often overheard Dad on the phone talking to a friend or church associate saying, "Yes, and my daughter Amy is here! Yes, she is fully recovered and looks as beautiful and healthy as ever. Yes, we are all so grateful for the return of her health. It's really a miracle."

We worked in the yard, got ice cream, hung pictures, went to the temple (doing work for my 8th great-grandmother!), watched movies, had lots of great talks, helped Dad with some genealogy, etc.

3.) Birthday
Saturday we ordered food from Olive Garden, baked up some from-scratch brownies, and the sibling that could make it came and celebrated Dad's 65th birthday! It's not a party without some work in the yard. Well, some people worked, others watched...

We had a nice break in the clouds Saturday, and the sun made a rare appearance!
We were able to all spill outside and enjoy their beautiful yard,
blooming trees and pretty snow-topped mountain views!

All the seesters were together. Man, one of these girls needs some sunshine! I look like an apparition!

The little kids enjoyed the food, and it was so fun to see all their cute little blonde heads!
I hadn't seen my brother and sister-in-law in such a long time, so I'm so glad they made it.

4.) Nice Tri
While all of my relaxing was going on, Josh had taken the three kids down to his parents and then they all made the trip down to St. George for their Saturday Triathlon. Josh swam an olympic triathlon = 1500 meters, biked 24.8 miles, and finally ran 6.2 miles.

Boo did a little kids' Tri with 100 meter swim, 2 mile bike ride, and 1 mile run. I'll write a separate post about this. It's hard to add details when I wasn't actually there!

The whole family got to all stay together at a home of Stewart's boss. It was a fun time for the kids to play with their aunts, uncles and cousins. Boo kept talking about the bunkbeds!

5.) Reunions
I headed back down to Salt Lake on Sunday and was able to visit with our families down there. On Sunday I called my good friend and teaching mentor, Odette, to see if I could stop by for visit. She called two other dear teacher friends and we had a great time catching up and visiting. Since they don't e-mail or "Facebook", none of them had any idea that I had been in the hospital, so it was interesting recounting that story for this group of "moms" of mine.

I was also able to go kid-less to lunch with my dear cousin, Sarah. We had a delicious uninterrupted meal with lots of talking. Sarah said it best in her blog,

"Just talking through challenges and daily details in a way no long distance chain of emails can do...If someone had peeked at us from another lunchtable, they would have seen us laughing together and also furrowing our brows with no good explanations. If someone had eavesdropped, they would have heard our personal updates and also our list of what was perhaps to be learned in the recent bit. But, that same outside someone wouldn't know the whole backstory of our past months from just looking at us. They wouldn't know our struggles nor our wins."

I love my Cousin Sarah!

Josh's Grandparents stopped by for a visit and gave us a big pile of "previously loved" picture books. I'm always accepting of new-to-us books! It was so fun to see so many friends and family this trip! Josh was able to go to breakfast with his good friend Dan. We both commented that although this trip seemed to fly by and was packed with activities, we both felt really relaxed and calm at the end. That's a good vacation in my book!

6.) Play
Back in Salt Lake we had some fun walks, played a lot in Nana and Papa's yard, swims in the hot tub, etc. Josh and I even had a little date of shopping and lunch at Cafe Normandie.

7.) This is the Place
We went to This is the Place Monument, which I've always wanted to visit. Granted, it's no Williamsburg, but it was fun to walk around and follow the map and learn about the preserved and restored buildings that the pioneers built.
I love this cute photo of the kids with Nana and Papa

and this one of Diddles with Uncle Isaac just melts my heart!

The kids both got a pony ride. Yaks rode 'Chocolate Chip'.

Boo didn't 'renenber' the name of her horse.

Diddles almost hyperventilated at the sight of these sheep. Her favorite show is "Shh-Shh" (Shaun the Sheep), and she fearlessly walked right up to them and pet their wooley fur, while making a "eh-eh-eh-eh" sound. You can imagine the meltdown that ensued when we had to leave.
The bigger kids panned for gold.

Some tried bartering with Mr. Digger.

Boo begged all day to take a picture with the camera. Here is her shot.

8.) Music
Boo and Yaks were treated to a little guitar concert on the front porch by Papa. It's the perfect front porch for listening to some strumming! Boo was entranced.
While we were at my parents, Grandma took the kids to get their own piano book, and she cleverly put these colored dots on the keys of the piano and the match on the notes in the book, so that the kids could quickly learn and perform a piece before we had to leave. They are giving us this piano in the Fall - it's the same piano I didn't learn piano on when I was a kid! Perhaps this is my chance to redeem myself. I'll learn along with them!
9.) Animals
It's no secret that we don't have animals. I've been reading the kids the chapter book Henry Huggins by Beverly Cleary. In the book Henry finds a dog ("Ribsy") and calls his mom to see if he can keep it. After reading up to the point of the phone call, I asked Yaks if he would let his little boy have a dog if he were the daddy. He thought for a long moment and said, "That would be a hard question...I would probably say yes." Oh, that boy is adorable!
Fortunately, there are plenty of animals to visit. This is Scout. She's getting older and although we don't trust her around Diddles (Sorry, Scoutie), the big kids loved filling her water dish, watching her eat and taking her for walks with Grandma. Next door are a few horses who would walk over to the fence to say hello while we were outside. We would pull long grass and let them eat it from our hands. Diddles would pick one blade of grass, hold it up, squeal and then hold onto the blade of grass for dear life as the horse would smack it's lips trying to get a grip on it! This little orange cat lives in the house behind them. She was the most friendly and FEARLESS cat I have ever seen! She oddly took a liking to Diddles. Diddles did this...

and this...

a little of this...

and a lot of this!
That cat kept coming back for more, purring her little heart out and rubbing her cheeks against our arms and legs. (I promise the cat wasn't harmed)

10.) Favorite Quote:
Yaks said this quietly to both Grandmas, completely uncoached and spontaneous, "Grandma/Nana? I wish you lived right across the street from us...then we could just go right across the street and visit you whenever we want!" We miss our far away families! Fortunately we are able to have trips like these that build such great relationships with them, even though they can't live "right across the street".

Thanks for making it memorable!


kthom said...

I loved-loved-loved everything about this post...it's so...family! I loved the seesters, your cute folks, the backyard (are you kidding me)the kitchen remodel, stickers on piano keys, Martha's fantastic striped sweater..I want one, darling children in life vests and chubby cheeked ones fearlessly petting cats! Loved it..love you, glad you had such a memorable vacation. We're headed to visit the ranch in Montana then down to Utah at the end of June...I'm gearing up for that looooong road trip. Glad you are feeling so much better! xo

Sarah said...

You know, I think you recovered much quicker than your first huffing attempt up your stairs let us think possible SO THAT you could have the option of coming down over these dates of the unchangable triathalon. SO, so glad that it was a wonderfully relaxing break for you! A blessing. :)

Dianna said...

I love the picture of you with your parents at the temple. You look so great, so we are all feeling better about that. It looks like it was a great trip.

Taylor's said...

I just loved reading the post - what a wonderful thing - FAMILY!