13 May 2019

Utah in Spring

We took a special trip to Utah over Easter vacation this year. We celebrated Easter with family, spent time with Grandma Baerwaldt, and I took over 3,000 photos. I'm writing this several weeks after we even got back. Life is going way too fast for me to catch up.

The day we left the school had a decades dress up day. Amelia dressed up as an 80s pop star and Evelyn as a 70s hippie! I thought both girls looked so adorable. We left from home on the 18th of April (Thursday) and drove to Kanab. Phew, that was a looooooong drive but we made it to the hotel around 11 pm. No real snafus to speak of.

19th: Friday we pulled up to the Lance compound around 3 pm. Courtenay had egg coloring set up for the kids to enjoy. All along our drive the mountains and fields were covered with splendid tiny purple flowers, there happened to be the same flowers right in their neighborhood so the little girls all let me take cute flower photos. Miekka had an amazing pizza making performance for dinner. They really have quite the operation, all the kids help out!

20th: We took Lia along to egg hunt at Grandma Baerwaldt's assisted living center. Grandma and Hannah met us at there. Jana accidentally stepped into a window well while working on her grass, she thought her leg was broken, ended up she really hurt her muscle in her thigh. The kids were in high spirits to have the best egg hunt ever. Each kid filled their buckets to the brim with candy! They got to meet the Easter bunny and get cookies! Grandma had a terrible fall that resulted in a large wound on her scalp. She was not feeling well with the newly acquired 10 staples keeping her head together. I took the kids in one by one so we would not overwhelm Grandma B. On our way back I took the early turn to Redwood road, Lia excitedly asked if we were headed to the amazing park....why?! Yes!! That's where I was headed. Ha, surprise! The park was pretty amazing. Right after lunch we drove to the Henderson's home for another egg hunt. The kiddos collected plastic eggs, turned the eggs in at the end for a bag of candy. I like that way...no tedious hours of filling plastic eggs.

21st: Celebrated Easter with a disastrous photo session before church. I gave up after the little girls all turned ugly shades of red after crying. We went to church instead. I toiled many hours to make the girl's dresses this year. Amelia's dress did not quite turn out the best, it was a new pattern and the fabric more like swimsuit material. Still, to wear once it worked out well enough. Church was quite relaxing. I headed back after sacrament to put a very crabby Josie down for her nap. Sleep does wonders for the soul. She did not sleep well because her newly acquired Hello Kitty phone was missing. She woke up every 10-40 minutes asking me if I had her Hello Kitty phone. Turns our Penny found the phone so took it home to put under her pillow for safe keeping. The kids all found their Easter baskets hidden down in the basement. That bunny was very tricky and hid those baskets quite well. James cooked a ham sous vide, oh my gracious, that ham was so tender and delicious. He used a cooler filled with water and a sous vide appliance to circulate and heat the water. The Lances gathered for a delicious Easter meal. Yum. So much food. Mom and Dad gave a presentation on the symbols of Easter after dinner. It's quite amazing to hear their perspective after living so many years in the Holy Land.

22nd: Played at a fun park. Seth and Jacob are very attentive cousins to the littlest ones. They kept Charlie and Josie occupied and entertained for the duration! After dinner we celebrated Amelia's birthday a few days early with milkshakes from Arctic Circle. Loved the chance to embarrass Amelia with a birthday song.

23rd: Headed up to Grandma Debbie's for the rest of our vacation. I left around 4 to meet my niece Libby and finance Cole at the Utah capitol for bridal photos. Mom and Amelia kept the kiddos occupied at her home. So many brides! I counted at least 7 couples there for the same reason we were. I quite enjoyed spending one-on-one time with Libby and Cole. Hannah tried to sleep over with us. Turns out my kids are way too crazy for her. Josie was crying because she wanted me to sleep in the baby crib with her. Evelyn was not settling down. I asked Hannah if she was ok, she replied, no I need my mom. I asked what the matter was she told me the lights were blinking in her eye. I bent over, could see no lights. She insisted and showed me a metal sheet clip that reflected the light. I covered it up. She told me I can still see it blinking in my eye...I know it's there. Good excuse to get out of our crazy!

24th: Kenny and Charity were close by for a Dr appointment, they stopped by to say hello! Josie was acting strange, hitting her diaper and yelling. I'm so happy we got to see them. We spent a lovely time at the park with Jana and her girls. Mom and Dad showed up independently of each other much to our delight! Dad had the boys running their paces here and there! Phillip had Hannah in giggles while riding a tire swing. Baby Rachel is pure delight, lots of kissable chubs. I rented a fruit grove. Check that off my photography bucket list! Since my kids were so crabby for Easter photos I enlisted them to take photos at the fruit grove dressed up in their fancy duds. I was sad the sky was gray and threatening rain. We finished their photos in record time. Poor kids spent the next hour and a half cooped up in the van watching movies while I photographed Joe and Kat's tribe. The most challenging was capturing Logan and Anne's two sets of twins under the age of 5, those cute boys were fast little boogers. Rain finally came down, the skies cleared for the rest of our session. I love that Joe has such a great support system. I can see all these kids growing up to be great friends. My patient kids earned a splurge for dinner. Amelia chose to eat some dinner at Noodles and Co her favorite place for her birthday dinner. We did not get back to Grandma's until well after 9:15 pm. Got to see Jeffrey for a bit, he came to rest in between truck driving jobs.

25th: AMELIA'S birthday! We have a 12 year old! Yippee! Greek food for lunch! Yes please. She and I had a fun shopping session getting her some shoes and clothes. We went back to visit Grandma Baerwaldt again. We were quite pleased to find her sitting up and ready for a visit. The kids and I sang her our favorite song, I Will Be What I Believe. Everett was all teary-eyed as he gave her a final hug, he said I'll never see you again alive! She explained how happy she is to finally make it to Heaven. It's such a hard thing to lose someone you love. I'll treasure that hug and kiss for the rest of my life. I had three sessions at International Peace Gardens with Jana, Libby and Cole (engagements), and Mason (my nephew graduating high school). The gardens were quite lovely, full of colorful grasses and flowers. We got some gorgeous shots of Jana's family. After I got back we sang Amelia Happy Birthday and ate some jello cake.

26th: Woke up early to be at Joseph's graduation from Weber State! Amelia and the boys got to ride in Grandpa's truck. Mom rode up with me, lots of nice talking time.  He earned his bachelor's degree in engineering technology. He started college when Phillip was born...that's quite the span of time to work on a degree. Josie snuggled up with Grandpa for most of the ceremony. Ahhh. We headed to Joe and Kat's celebratory BBQ. Josie was not feeling well. She started to run a pretty high fever at the BBQ. I hear the party went well after we left, until late that evening. We stayed until after lunch. I wanted to head home to avoid travel on Sunday. The drive down was terrible. Just past Snow College I looked over and noticed ice green clouds roiling overhead. It hailed and rain until we passed Panguitch. My hands were glued to the steering wheel, white knuckled. After the rain stopped the deer came out to play. I passed over 30 deer loitering near the highway. I was ready to pass out when we stopped for the night. Josie continued with her fever and settled in with a cough.

27th: made it home safely. Had a near death experience just past Camp Verde. I was in the zone just driving along a canyon walled section of the road. A sedan raced towards us from the opposite direction hit the guardrail and flipped right into the canyon wall, stuck a couple feet off the ground. The strangest part was there were no red lights, squealing, brakes, etc. It was all silent and 10 feet away from my bumper. We pulled over and tried our best to help but it was easy to tell there were no survivors. I was quite alert the rest of our drive home. I am still dreaming of that terrible accident and thanking God for sparing our lives. Justin was quite grateful we busted the house of it's silent spell. Came home to freshly shampooed carpets. My favorite ever!