After our fun week with Kerstin and Charlotte, the kids and Kerstin and I packed up the van and drove up to Utah. We were proud of ourselves for driving with four kids for ten hours. It was actually much easier than I'd envisioned. The kids just watched movies most of the time. We did stop at a little section of the Grand Canyon and let the kids run around on the bridge, which they of course thought was great.
Then we just hung out that week at Grant's parents house. Our first day there, the kids played for over an hour in a patch of snow on the back deck. We only moved away from Milwaukee less than a year ago and the kids are already acting like they've never seen snow in their lives!
This is the little snowman they made. It has button eyes, a celery nose and a mandarin orange smile.
Cole refused to put on shoes. I don't know how anyone can possible prefer wearing freezing wet socks to warm, dry ones in shoes.
The next day was St. Patrick's Day and Grant's mom informed us when we woke up that a leprechaun had written the kids a note. The note led them to some boxes of Lucky Charms. It was very cute and the kids loved it. Then, Kerstin and I took Charlotte and Ava to a Kindermusic class, while Marla took Claire and Cole shopping at a candy store. It was very fun for me to do something with just Ava. I never get one-on-one time with her. Then, we all went to Grant's dad's hotel to say hi and pick him up for lunch. Grant's sister, Melissa, works at the Church Office Buildings for the General Young Women's Presidency, so she took us, Kerstin, Wade, Charlotte and Grant's parents to lunch at the Church Office Cafeteria. Apparently it's a very coveted place to go eat, as it's cheap and you can only eat there if you have a guest pass from someone who works at the Church Office. Who knew? The food was yummy, but it was very crowded and trying to keep a handle on three kids while balancing trays and drinks and waiting in three different lines for three different meals was tricky. Luckily, Marla helped me and we were able to not lose a child or too much of our sanity.
Then we walked to temple square. I was so glad the kids could finally see it in person.
That night Marla, Kerstin, Melissa and I went out to dinner and a movie for a girls night. We saw "Bride Wars" which was highly disappointing. I was actually bored during it, which usually does not happen to me in a chick flick. Luckily it was at the dollar theater, so we didn't waste too much money. And we still had fun just getting out and having girl talk. I feel so lucky to love hanging out with Grant's family so much!
Then next day we went to Hogle Zoo. The kids loved it, especially playing on the playground.
This is my favorite picture ever! Ava had these binoculars and at every single stop she'd say, "Mom! I need my noculars!" Then she'd look at the animals with them. It was beyond adorable.
Afterwards, Kerstin and I sewed some skirts for our girls. Yes, I sewed something. Only because it was really easy, though. They turned out really cute; however, the machine broke, or caught, or jammed so many times that I was reminded why I hate sewing. Even Kerstin's machine broke, apparently for the first time in the five years she's had it. I told her that it was my presence; sewing machines break down at the mere sight of me. I'll post a picture of the skirts later.
The last full day we were there the kids and I drove down to Provo. First we went to see my old roommate, Mindy, at her house. I met her kids for the first time, which was neat, and it was fun to chat with her again. We always had great talks and it was fun to see that time and motherhood hadn't changed that. My kids (mostly Cole) were kinda being stinkers and weren't playing extremely well with Mindy's kids; however, when we left they kept asking if we could go back there someday, because "it was the funnest house ever!" I think that had something to do with the ten pets they have at their house (dogs, cats, rats, a bunny and I think some fish), although when we were actually at the house Cole wouldn't go near any of them. Ava played with one of their dogs the whole time, though. She was really cute with her.
Then we went and walked around BYU's campus. The kids were really excited to see it. I'm not sure what they imagined it was going to be like, but they didn't seem disappointed, so that was good. We got ice cream at the Cougar Eat and then shopped at the Bookstore, which was still as fun to do as I remembered. Then we walked through the new Joseph F. Smith building and the new Hinckley Alumni Center, both of which I hadn't seen and both of which are beautiful. It was weird and fun to walk around campus again pushing a stroller instead of carrying a backpack. I'd seen other women pushing strollers when I was a student there and thought about what life would be like when I was in there shoes. And then there I was walking around in their shoes. Weird. And fun.
Afterwards we went to dinner with my brother at The Brick Oven. Ah, the memories. And of course we ordered apple beer. Kevin and I knew that everyone thought that we were married since we had the three kids with us, but oh well. Maybe the fact that Kevin was laughing at the kids instead of disciplining them clued some people in, but probably not. It was fun to see him and the kids had fun being disobedient and making him laugh.
Then the next day we packed up and drove down to Vegas. We stayed at my grandmas so we could break up the drive. We went to Cafe Rio for dinner with my grandma, uncle and his kids and then got some yummy frozen custard. On Saturday we hung out with Cole's little buddy, Brooks (who just moved ten minutes from my grandma's house), in the morning and then went to Circus Circus with two of my uncles and their kids. They are the best uncles. They really make me feel like they genuinely care about me and my family. Circus Circus is of course pretty ghetto, but the kids got to play games and win prizes (although there were some tantrums involving who got what prize that I'd rather forget). Then we drove home. I was worried about driving home by myself, but it was actually quite enjoyable because I just listened to a book on my Ipod (just one headphone in, of course). I listened to The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale and absolutely loved it. I was actually looking forward to driving again on Saturday so I could listen to the rest of it. I literally was listening to the last sentence as we pulled into our driveway. It was perfect. Now I feel much more confidant about being able to drive that long by myself with the kids, which means much more road trips are in our future! We had such a great time and are so glad that we live closer to family so that we can do these little impromptu excursions.