Wednesday, July 20, 2011


On our second to last day in Utah we spent the day at Lagoon with my mom and dad, Derek and his family. I hadn't been to Lagoon since I was probably about 14 or so and didn't remember a ton about it. I have a very low tolerance for rides...I have to take Dramamine at Disneyland and get carsick if I glance down at a map for even a few seconds. So I knew that it was mostly going to be a spectator day for me. My kids have had very little exposure to rides so I wasn't sure what they would think about it, especially since James got freaked out at the bounce house.

We got to Lagoon right when it opened. It was raining lightly outside and it was cold! Luckily we all brought sweatshirts with us. I was pretty surprised when we got inside the park at how nice it was. I definitely don't remember it being that nice, but it had been a while. There was quite a bit of landscaping, fountains, etc. And it was very clean. The kids were on their first ride within about 3 minutes of entering the park. We started small :) It turned out that Bulgy the Whale was a crowd favorite. Especially with James. He ended up riding it several times that day and was even sort of saying 'Bulgy' by the end of the day.

For the first while we stayed in the kiddie area and let the kids go on the rides multiple times each. There were no lines and so the kids could go from ride to ride without a wait. Derek took Alison off to ride the wild rides. After we hit the kid rides pretty heavy we decided to venture out a bit to see what else the kids would want to go on.

It turns out they wanted to go on everything!! I had no idea what Avery's tolerance for rides would be (or James' for that matter!) and I know my dad was nervous too. He said a couple of times that he thought Avery was going to get sick. But she would come running off of each ride with a huge smile on her face and want to run to the next ride. I kept asking her if her tummy hurt, or whatever, and she always said no.

My parents and Derek and Jen were really nice to take my kids on all of the rides with them. James wanted in on the action after a while and he started to go on the rides he was tall enough to go on, which were a surprising number of rides. Avery went on a couple of different roller coasters, the Chinese Dragon (it goes super fast in a circle on direction and then reverses and goes super fast backwards)the dinosaur drop (takes you high up in the air and then drops you), the scrambler, the tilt-a-whirl, the Flying Aces, etc. A lot of these she went on multiple times. James was able to go on one roller coaster (well, he went on Puff in the kiddie section a few times, but then he went on a bigger one several times later) and also did the tilt-a-whirl and the Flying Aces. The Flying Aces goes pretty fast and gets you a fair amount off the ground. As soon as it was over he shouted "Again! Again!"

At one point the little kids and my dad and I sat it out while my mom, Derek and Jen, and Alison went on a ride called the Samurai. It is a crazy ride. I don't know how to explain it except for that the separate arms are spinning in complete flips, while the whole ride itself is rotating. Avery was really disappointed that she wasn't tall enough to ride and kept saying for the rest of the day that she was sure she would be tall enough next year to ride it. I have no doubt she would have ridden it this year if they would have let her on!

We ended up staying at Lagoon until almost closing. It never got crazy busy to where you would have to wait long for rides. It was a lot of fun to see all of the rides lit up when it was dark. Right before we left Jen disappeared and came back with a churro and a few funnel cakes. She was a hero! I think James would have eaten an entire one by himself if the opportunity had presented itself.

It was a great day and I can't wait to go again. Maybe next year! We'll have to see if Avery's grown tall enough for that Samurai ;)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Temple Square

One day we went downtown to temple square and the conference center. We didn't end up going inside the conference center, but just walked around outside.

Temple square was so pretty. I don't think I've taken Avery before...and definitely not James. It was fun to be that close to the Salt Lake temple again. Avery loved being up close to it and I explained that Al and I were married in there.

There are so many buildings to go in and see, but we only hit a few of them. In one of the visitor's centers there is a cross section of the SLC temple. It was really neat and very detailed. I got to show Avery where Al and I got married. The kids loved all of the fountains outside, the old fashioned looking drinking fountains, and all of the flowers. Avery actually seemed to really enjoy the older buildings, the old tabernacle, etc.

We walked across South Temple to the section that the church is remodeling. What they have done so far is really pretty. Lots of landscaping and fountains. On one of the fountains it had an official dedication date, I think it was in March of 2012. We spent some time in the remodeled Deseret Book store. They have really improved it and given it some personality. Then we had a late lunch at the Blue Lemon, a new restaurant they put in.

After all of this James was ready to call it a day, so we headed back to the conference center, where we parked. I don't know what happened, but somehow we got extremely lost. We remembered one of the numbers where we parked, but we didn't know you were supposed to remember 2 different numbers. And what also complicated it was that we parked on some weird half level...Anyway, after walking around the parking garage for 30 minutes, several trips to the various elevators and talking to a few people we finally found our car. At that point James was asleep and we were all exhausted. We definitely got our exercise that day.

The Grandpas

I love these pictures of the kids with their grandpas. They love them so much and had so much fun with them on this trip.

James was like my dad's little shadow wherever he went. He called him "A" for Dave. He loved watching/helping my dad in the yard. The one picture isn't very good, because it cuts off Avery, but they went shopping with my dad to buy some flowers and then helped plant them. My dad also spoiled him and sang/rocked him to sleep every night. We had to work that one out when we got home...but I didn't mind.

James did really good at calling Grandpa Allen "Bapa." It was so cute to hear him say it. Avery and James both loved going on the ward walk-about with Grandpa, and they also loved sharing food with him :)

Gardner Village and Provo

We had a couple of fun outings with Sarah and her kids. One day we went to Gardner Village with Grandma Louona. We had a fun lunch at Archibald's and then enjoyed walking outside and looking at the cute buildings. James' favorite part was watching the ducks. He kind of rebelled whenever I took him inside a shop...I think Al trained him. So I spent a lot of time walking him around outside, or Grandma Louona was nice and took him a few times so I could wander around the stores. The kids all loved picking out a little treat from the candy store. I think the adults loved it too :)

On another day Louona and Sienna drove down to Springville with us to visit Sarah while she was working on her townhouse. All of the kids, except for Eli (he was napping) went to a bounce house that is just down the street from Sarah. Hannah and Avery had an absolute blast, especially on the tallest slide. Sienna was more reserved and mostly just liked the little rides that you put quarters in. James was freaked out by the whole place. I think it's the noise, but I'm not sure. He had a terrified look on his face most of the time, even when he rode the tiny merry-go-round. It made me nervous for how he would do at Lagoon later in the trip. He did finally find some happiness at the candy machines. Ha ha ha! Typical James.

After the bounce house we hooked up with Sarah and Eli and drove to BYU campus. We were able to go to lunch at the Wilk. I thought it was so much fun being on campus. Sarah and I kept exclaiming over how young everybody looked. I wondered if I really looked that young when I started BYU. Then we figured out that it was a bunch of kids there for EFY. I think that made us feel a little less old :)

When lunch was through we headed to the bookstore. We walked around for a little bit, made our way to the candy counter...of course :) It was great being back in the bookstore. I spent so much time there when I was a student, killing time between lectures. It's a pretty great little store. After that I had to leave, so I didn't get to walk around the quad or see the other buildings. I'll have to do that next time. As we were leaving we did drive up to where Deseret Towers used to be. It is weird that it is all gone. Where S-hall used to be is just a big parking lot now. The new dorms look pretty fantastic. It was fun to see all of the new changes.

The Aquarium

One day we went to the aquarium. Al had never been there before either. It doesn't look like much on the outside, but I think it's actually a pretty fun little place. Avery absolutely loves it, especially the sting ray area. She just laughs and laughs the whole time she is there and loves touching the sting rays.

James was mostly excited about seeing 'Nemo' and the giant turtle that you can watch swim through the glass.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Dinosaur Museum

One day we went to the Dinosaur Museum with Grandma Louona, Becky, and Risa. Al had never been before and it was a lot of fun for him to experience it with the kids. The highlights included that dark starry tunnel, the little cave you can crawl through, the gift shop, and of course the water/sand table.

Risa and Avery spent quite a lot of time at the water/sand table building a little home for the dinosaurs. Becky and Grandma helped them create a little dam and then they had fun watching it break and having the water fall through.

James' favorite part was running up and down the ramps in the museum :) Luckily there was hardly anybody there, so it wasn't disturbing anybody.

Book Making

One morning while we were there Grandma Louona helped Avery make a book. Avery loved this process. She helped watercolor the end pages and also helped sew the binding. I was happy that Avery seemed so enthusiastic about the project and spent a lot of time on it. I love that Grandma Louona does such fun, crafty things with the kids. I know Avery will look forward to doing more projects with Grandma the next time we are in town.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Trip to Utah

This is the first of many posts...

Well, now that we've been home for a couple of weeks I figure I better start blogging about our trip so I don't forget things. It was a fantastic trip, and as always it went way, way too quickly. It was a week shorter than last year's trip, but I swear we packed in way more things. I think it is the busiest trip home that I have ever had. There was little to no down time. I think the kids and I were exhausted when we got home and it took me quite a while to catch up on laundry, housework, and sleep. I think I'm still catching up... Poor Avery had a rough few days adjusting to life back in Texas with no grandparents and no cousins to play with. It is harder to be away now because she is old enough to understand that it will be a long time before we see everybody again. And she's old enough to ask when we will be going back and I don't have an answer for her. She got choked up off and on for a few days, which broke my heart. But she is doing better now. She still mentions Utah pretty much every day, but without tears now :)

These pictures were taken at Southtown Mall. We just went for an hour or two and let the kids ride the carousel and the train. They also played on that little dinosaur playground downstairs.

Sorry, this entry is going to be kind of long. It's mostly for journaling purposes, for when I can afford to print out my blog entries one day :) Feel free to skip this one...

Things that weren't documented by camera:

We went to two different family reunions, one for my dad's side and one for my mom's. My dad's was on Memorial Day up in Logan. It was a long trip, but I am glad we went. I hadn't seen my grandma for two years and she is getting older. She turns 90 next month. I also got to see all of my aunts and uncles on that side except for the two that are serving a mission in St. George. A few cousins were there too.

My mom's family reunion was in Orem, also kind of a drive, but I know my mom was glad that we went...since I was kind of on the fence about it. My mom's reunion is all of her aunts, uncles, and cousins. I don't know them very well, so the reunion can kind of be a long day. But we made it! It was at a really neat park, so Avery and James had a lot of fun playing outside.

Several shopping trips, including Park City, Gateway, and a new shopping center way out west. I was able to get some amazing deals for my kids. Shirts and shorts for $2.99-4.99. I bought half of their summer wardrobe for next year and was also able to get Avery some school uniform things that were on clearance. Yeah!! I love a good deal!

Al and I went to a session at the Jordan Temple. It was a very nice morning. I am so happy we were able to do that. It is hard to do here in Houston. I know that sounds ridiculous, but the temple is about 50 minutes away and it is very hard to find a 4 hour block that Al is available to go.

Al and I went on a date with Jon and Jessie to an Italian restaurant kind of in Sugarhouse. The place is called Lugano's and it was fantastic. Al said, maybe the best meal of his life :) It was fun to spend time with them. We didn't see very much of them on this trip because Jon was on two different business trips, so the date was a very good outing.

My older brother and his family surprised us by flying out the last few days of our trip. We hadn't seen them for almost a year and it was so much fun to be together. We had another date night with my brothers and their wives. This time Al wasn't there :( But I still had a lot of fun. One morning we took all of the grand kids to JCPenny studios to get their pictures taken. We've somehow managed to do this every year!

I was able to go to a wedding reception for a friend, who also happens to be one of my mom's co-workers.

My mom and I, with the kids, met my good friend Diana and one of her daughters for lunch in Sugarhouse. Diana was our great friend in Saint Louis that really took us under her wing and mothered us while we were there. It was so much fun to see her, it was if no time had passed and we were able to pick up where we left off. Hopefully we can reconnect in Utah again soon.

We had a BBQ with Al's good friends Trent, Eric, Craig, and Kevin. It was good to see them and see their kids and hear about where they are in life.

I got 10 inches cut off my hair!!

I also went and got a pedicure and had my first 'gel toes' experience.

I experienced Kneader's french toast for the first time...and second time :)

We loved seeing the mountains again. It is so flat here that when you go home you really notice the mountains and how much they add to the city. Another thing is, it was so nice to feel cold again! It was cold when we got there. We were freezing!! But we enjoyed it.

I am sure there are other things that I just can't think of right now. I'll have to add them later...