We arrived home from our two glorious weeks in Utah in the very wee hours of Sunday morning... crawled into bed about three. And I have spent the time since then hearing the sound of white noise in my head. Buzzing. Nothing. Blah. Radio static. Totally a wreck of tiredness and all those other things that go with it after a long trip, especially a trip you really, really did not want to end.
It was so great. So, so, so, so, so, so GREAT!!! We sincerely loved every single second!
We arrived Saturday afternoon before Easter to a welcoming committee, which was so fun. My parents, Jon and Trina and their kids, and Nick and Sil and Bella. Such a fun thing! Made us feel special. We colored eggs:
Then ran over to see the Double B's parents, where he spent some high-quality time in his Dad's walker. So good to be together again! See that cross stitch behind my honey's head? He stitched that. Yes he did. Very proud.
That night we had dinner with my family -- my fabulous family -- and then went and spent a couple of hours laughing our heads off with the Double B's big brother Tony, who had come down for the weekend, and the rest of the family B that lives in Southern Utah.
We got to see Mariah, our foster daughter, which was way fun, and we spent Easter all together, eating delicious food and having fun with Easter Egg hunts, etc. The Double B and I both got our trash kicked in the grown-up hunt. Last place and even last-er place. My sister-in-law Sil's parents were up visiting from Brazil, so it was fun to get to see them. They are such great people. They so kindly gave us some delicious Brazilian candy, too, which I'm thinking about sharing.
Grandpa and his girls spent a lot of time just like this:
Even with two weeks, there's not enough time to soak in the people you want to, but we did get to spend some time with very, very beloved friends that are just as good as family to us. It was so fun to slip right back into the old neighborhood.
Unfortunately, Olivia took a VERY epic spill on a scooter going down the hill of death (seriously one of the scariest and worst things I have seen as a Mom). Thankfully Aunt Trina was already part way up the hill and could get right to her, and I hauled my big pregnant bum faster then I ever thought I could. It was pretty epic. She was really protected... but very banged up, from head to toe. Thankful for guardian angels at that moment. And thank heavens Aunt Trina was there to save the day! So sad but so sweet.
That weekend Aunt Megan came down from Provo with her girls and we had another Easter celebration! It was so fun but wore us right out, as you can see from these two sleeping girls in the middle of all the excitement.
So nice to get to snuggle up with Grandma at the end of the day! We all wish it could have lasted forever.
We spent a lot of high-quality time waiting at Costco while Daddy was received as Homecoming King. That was so fun for him, I'm so glad people love him. I know I do!
We also spent a lot of high-quality time at Dairy Queen. (Fascinating side-note: I gained ten pounds. TEN. It was glorious.) One of my favorite moments -- you know how they advertise that the blizzard is so thick you can tip it upside down and it stays in the cup? It really does. We've tried it out lots of times. Unfortunately for KJ, he decided to try it out about twenty minutes into eating his blizzard. It doesn't stay in it's cup then. It slips right out of it's cup and drenches you in blizzard-y goodness. Alll over him. Bwah ha ha! He wasn't too happy about it, strangely. We are bad parents, because we were VERY happy about it. Seriously, one of the funniest things I've seen yet. We explained the science behind the epic spill and I'm pretty sure he'll never try it that late in the game again. Ha ha!
Spent lots of great time with my brothers and their families -- I love their wives like they're my own sisters, so it was so great to be together again. And the cousin reunion was epic! Especially between KJ and his BCF, Addie, and Katelyn and her best (and often imaginary playmate) cuz Bella. I wondered how they would do since they are separated so young, but they LOVED each other and were back to playmates instantly! Katelyn's greatest regret is that we didn't spend every second at "Bella's house." So fun to see.
I also got to see MY "FC," my very beloved cousin Mary Dawn. Her adorable little baby Easton has been a total champion in NICU since he was born about 9 weeks ago, and she's been a total champion through it. Her adventure has sort of tortured me being so far away in KC when there were lots of moments I would have BEEN THERE, man... so it was so good to give her a quick hug and tell her I love her and her adorable family!
Kate the Great enjoyed her time with Kate the Great. The Double B's Mom and Dad watched the kids for us one night and if you don't think our children lived high on the horse. They went to the park, ordered WHATEVER they wanted at Dairy Queen, and even went up the street to visit the George's. When we pulled up the older two went running because they didn't want to leave! Mom B said Katelyn talked the WHOLE NIGHT. She could not believe it. But it cracked her up and she better understands what the Double B means now when he tells her that Katelyn just doesn't stop talking! She's so fun.
While we were there, my brother Matt and his family stopped by on their way home from a trip to Disneyland and we went to the temple as a family to do the work for my Grandma. It was really special to be a part of that! What a great experience! My little bro Nick had to leave to pick up his daughter, so he didn't make the picture. But imagine he's standing on the other side of me, thin and handsome and mostly charming.
Grandpa and his girls REALLY DID spend a LOT of time just like this. Not sure who loved it more.
Our last night there my parents so graciously threw a big party for both sides of the family to be together, and it was so nice. The kids played and the grown-ups visited. Perfect!
Interesting side note: while there, a mean stomach flu traveled through several families, including ours. Kate, then Liv, then me, then Kaje. The Double B came through unscathed, miraculously. Good times.
Got to visit the old ward again, so fun to see so many loved faces. Especially my girls -- they will always be "mine" and have a very special place in my heart. My little daughters that I love to see succeed and grow. Love, love, love them.
Can't tell you the dread that starts to fill you when it is time to go back. Just total dread. I guess the side benefit of this dread is that it startled me awake at 4:30 the morning we were supposed to leave, so after praying my way through it, I was able to get up and get started so we could leave at six. I'm not sure the Double B and I were aware that we really do have a constant feeling with us out here, until we were home and that burden was gone. Totally gone. He slept so well. I enjoyed. It was such a welcome relief... but so hard to come back out here alone. We are both just family people. We love our families. We love each others' families. We love the friendship and companionship... it is very, very desirable to us. So it is hard to not have it. You that live far away from family understand totally. Not everyone feels that way -- but we do. It is just how we are, and that is okay. The bonds are tight. I am thankful for the continuing adventure out here that has made us stronger and drawn us even closer to each other, truly inseparable companions. But we miss our families and hope so much to have that again some day.
No one wanted to leave, but the kids did great on the way back to KC. The morning was a little testy -- I had to remind us all that everyone was tired, worn out, and out of patience, and we were just going to have to go the extra mile to be loving and kind! They had fun with the hour gifts and we listened to talks, watched a few movies, and had some good naps.
We did hear some great advice. It was a talk by John Bytheway, and he talked about how when David went to slay Goliath he gathered five stones. Yes, he was a great shot, and he did hit him with the first stone. But he didn't rely on Plan A. He also had Plan B, C, D, and E. So if you're not on Plan A, well then you'd better make one of those other plans work for you! The Double B and I looked at each other. Okay, this isn't our Plan A. It's Plan B, or actually, Plan C. But Plan C is still a good plan. We've been making it work for us, and we will continue to do so! Maybe we'll get back to Plan A, or maybe just Plan B. But for now, we can do it, and we can be thankful for the Plan.