Thursday, August 2, 2012

Our week in the beehive state

Our trip to Utah was spurred by enrolling Alex in EFY (Especially For Youth) in the stay-at-home version; meaning he attended an all-day (9am - 9pm) religious conference for youth.  I went several times when I was a teenager and LOVED it!  I wanted Alex to have that same spiritual boost that I got from spending a week with other awesome teenagers that have the same moral standards as him and be uplifted by great speakers, fun dances, and team building experiences.  So...we decided to make this a family affair and spend the week at Leah and Geoff's house in Mapleton, UT and do day trips while Alex enjoyed at week of EFY.  
 Alex LOVED EFY just as I had hoped he would.  Each day Birch would drive him into Orem and Alex would talk non-stop about the amazing experiences he was having and all the cool kids he was meeting.  It was so neat to see him on fire with an excitement with living right and being with friends that shared the same values.
 We didn't sit at home while he was playing, though.  We went a couple of times to Seven Peaks Waterpark in Provo.  What a blast!
 Though scary, Alysee said that the Boomerang water slide was her favorite!
 All the kids loved the wave pool!
 Nate and Tyler waiting for a big wave.
 Coop got totally into jumping the waves!
 I'm thinking this was kind of a love/hate relationship.  The more Isaac tried to get Chloe off of his back the harder she squeezed.
 I enjoyed all the time with Leah throughout the week.  Her husband, Geoff was in Dominican Republic for work so I didn't have to share her with anyone except the computer and phone (we kept a vigil waiting to hear more information about Seth and his family).  The Wrights are awesome hosts -- we have comfy beds, good company, and lots of good food.
 One night we all made tin foil dinners.  The kids loved them!
 Leah's family recently got a little piggy...the kids all loved not finishing their meal so they were "forced" to go feed Brutus.  Chloe makes one cute piggy face!
 Ahh...Kate.  It only took her a few hours to warm up to me and pretty soon we were inseparable.  She is a bit of a leach and loves to be held so it was nice to provide Leah a little break from her sidekick.  Throughout the week we all worked on teaching Kate a couple of signs since her predominate way of communicating entails squawking (She totally reminded us of Alex at this age.). 
 The Wrights have a super cool house AND yard.  The kids all loved their zip line.
 Go Tyler!
 One morning we spent at Trafalga in Lehi, UT.  It was dang hot for some mini-golf but we all survived.
 So fun!
 Coop and Birch going for a cruise.
 Nate and Tyler finally getting a chance to help others cool off.
 Next stop was to see this sweet little girl, Isla.  It was my first time seeing Laura and Jared's new home in Sandy, UT.  How fun to see all their hard work and fun decorations!
 Birch and I loved indulging this little girl who gets very little treats.  I gained favorite Aunti status through a bag of chips and Birch won favorite Uncle through this tasty ice cream cone.  Isla has an amazing vocabulary and has just the cutest voice!
 Isaac and Nate were glued at the hip!  How lucky to have a cousin your age!
 Love this man!
 Thursday evening we went to Salt Lake for the night and enjoyed dinner with all my Utah family at a local community pool near Matt and Jessica's house.  The kids all had such a great time swimming!
Laura and Birch were the only adults that got in the water so they get the favorite Aunti and Uncle award for the night!  Kate loved Birch!
 How can you not love a face like this?  Lizzie (Matt and Jessica's youngest) was absolutely a doll and was so happy!
 Even though this girl can drive me crazy she also melts my heart with her sweet smile.
 Rudy and Grandma Gina joined us for the night!  So fun catching up with them!
 Check out these cute kids (left to right:  Coop, Kate, Tyler, Isaac, Lucy, Nate, Isla, Lizzie, Sofi, Chloe)
I'm probably going to get some hate mail from my sistas' after posting this picture.  Our camera's batteries died just when we were going to take a sista picture so this is just off of a phone.  We were all living on just a few hours of sleep each night with all the worries and communication we were each doing with Seth and Caroline's situation in Africa.   Blaa blaa blaa...we look bad but I want to remember that we all got to spend an evening together and that I loved EVERY minute!  I wish it would happen way more often!
 On Friday, July 20th Alex celebrated his fourteenth birthday.  Pretty big stuff!  He started off the day with this tasty donut cake.
 Alex is a pretty amazing kid.  I don't think a day goes by that someone doesn't comment on how tall he is -- 5 ft. 8 inches.  I think all the height in the family got sucked into him.  His feet are the same size as Birch's now and his voice is changing.  One of the things that I really love about Alex is his good heart.  He has really learned this year how to be a good leader and the importance of lifting others up.  He knows the importance of standing tall for what you believe and building his relationship with Christ.  Alex is athletic and seems to have a knack at whatever sport he plays.  He loves to be clean, wearing Old Spice body spray, listening to good music, Nutella, nuts, and Chinese food.  Alex makes cookies just about every Sunday and is still in search of the perfect recipe.  It only took Alex about one day to realize how awesome EFY was going to be and how much he loved being a ladies man.  You should check out all his pictures from the week -- they are almost all with girls.  Yikes!!!  LOVE THIS KID!
 Leah did a quick little photoshoot of Chloe on the last day.  This is the same dress that Alysee wore when Leah did her four year old photoshoot.  Chloe was kind of being a stinker but Leah still caught some good ones.

  Friday morning was HOT -- we went to the Spanish Fork Reservoir to cool off.  There was some major bribing that went into this "kissin' cousin" picture.  I kind of thing Coop liked it, though.
 Boys will be boys -- Isaac and Nate
 Not again...
 We went to downtown Provo and Leah treated us to a fabulous dinner at Guru's.  She does all of their graphic design work so it was fun to see her work in action.
Best trip ever!  I wouldn't change a thing!  We packed each day full of fun mini-trips, cousins, water, and sun!  Birch and I each got to do a bit of shopping at specialty stores in Utah which made us both happy.  We were able to be with family during a really traumatic time with our hearts wishing they could be in Africa.  We made memories and built our family relationships!

Finally I gotta give a little shout out to my hubby...he spent most of the week as the only adult male (Geoff was in Dominican Republic, Matt was in Chicago and then South Africa, and Jared was in Elko).  He took all the kids to the park, played outside for hours, out for ice cream, etc...and acted as if he loved every minute.  I think he actually did love it and I know in my book it just made him extra HOT!


Matt said...

What a packed week....I'm SOOOOO bummed I missed seeing the kids.

kg said...

What a fun week (minus the stress of the accident). Fun pictures and are casts waterproof these days? :)