Our First week of summer we took a trip to Utah to bring Taylor up to EFY and to hang out with my sister and do lots of visiting.
We left a few hours after all the kids were out of school and got on the road late afternoon. Our normal hotel that we like to stay at in Mesquite was closed so we picked the Virgin River...then later remembered why we didn't go there after the last time we were there.
We waited until we got to the coffee shop before we ate dinner...Taylor was a little self conscious about his shirt that he normally only wears around the house...but after looking around at the mullet dos and the general population Taylor fit right in.
Our food was plentiful but greasy and bland. Taylor's scrambled eggs came complete with a long piece of hair...so his appetite was gone after a few bites. We couldn't tell the waitress until Jeff was done with his food because even hearing about would make him lose his dinner. Taylor normally thinks Jeff's "hair in food" phobia is funny..that is until it happened to him and he lost his appetite and felt sick to his stomach the rest of the night. Funny how life teaches you compassion ;)
After the hair incident Taylor took a trip to the bathroom and recounted a lovely conversation between two 30 year old men who walked in as he was washing his hands.
"Hey Thomas you want to know something?"
"PPPPPBbbbbbbbttttttt" (letting lots of gas go)
"ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, thats a good one!!!"
As we walked out of the restaurant/casino we ran face to face with what must have been a drunk guy getting out of a shuttle van. He took one look at Jeff and said very loudly in front of our whole family "Holy S#%@!"
We all just stared back in disbelief and uncomfortable silence. The worst thing was he kept staring at us even as we were trying to walk away. Unfortunately this is our life sometimes.
I commented out loud "Boy this place keeps getting better and better!" And our whole family just started laughing out loud. By the time we got in the car the tension was diffused and Jacob was commenting to Taylor "That guy was looking at you Taylor!"
The next morning dawned beautiful, we turned off the TV and all enjoyed the view of the Virgin River Gorge as we drove through.
We drove straight through till we got to Virginia's house at about 3:30. Joel was out of town and Virginia's family had just moved in the month before so I was grateful that she didn't mind us coming to stay with her.
She lives in a cute house right across the street from this park. (You can see Taylor in the background)
We hadn't eaten lunch at this point so we went to Super Wallmart to pick up some groceries and then got Artic Circle for lunch. Yum, they have shakes that taste just like blizzards.
That night we took the kids to miniature golfing. It was a first for some of them.
Here's a view of the 18 hole mini course...
This was Ashley's first time and she didn't do 1/2 bad :)
Planning out the shot.
Taylor with his tongue out in concentration (just like dad).
After we were done golfing Jeff took the boys for a quick try at the batting cages.
After Scott and Jared watched the first time they tried it themselves and even got a few hits too.
The next day was Sunday. We got a little lost trying to find the church. It was the first time Virginia had tried to find the church on her own. She literally has to pass 5 churches in 2-3 miles before she finds hers in the middle of a bunch of houses. We pulled up to one and she realized it didn't look right. Luckily we ended up finding it.
Her ward is huge! It's funny Ashley kept asking me the rest of the day as we drove places "Is that the church we went to today??" We had to keep telling her there are a hundreds of churches there and they just look the same.
I enjoyed spending the afternoon with Virginia looking through her scrapbooks and reminiscing.
After awhile the boys were getting a little antsy so we decided to drive up to the Bigham Canyon copper mines that are only 3 miles away from their house.
We came inches away from hitting a deer on the way up.
The mine was crazy! It was fascinating what they had dug away in the last 100 years. We went into the visitor's center to watch a video (which ran more like an add for the mine) and learned about how they get the orr and refine it. We could've stayed longer and just looked at the trucks doing their work. Crazy.
These trucks look small from here but they are actually over 2 stories high!
Here is the size of one of the tires on it.
(Notice the kids blowing in the wind and sun)
While we were here Ashley got a nasty bloody nose...Taylor followed with his own a few hours later.
That night we went to the Larsen's for Sunday dinner. Taylor was going to EFY with their son Kyle the next day so we thought it would be fun to visit and let the boys hook up before their week long adventure of being roomates.
Damon made a great BBQ dinner and we enjoyed talking and catching up while the kids had fun playing with their golden retriever, jumping on the trampoline and playing hide and go seek in the basement.
By the end they were all in on the hide and seek game!
I was hoping to be able to go out to lunch with Heather one day so we could catch up more but with all the other visiting we did it never happened. Hopefully they'll be out our way later this summer ;)
When we got home Joel had flown in from his trip and we got to catch up with him for awhile before we were out for the night.
The next morning Jeff got up for an appointment (he pretty much has clients almost everywhere we go) and then we drove Taylor to BYU. The lines to check in were atrocious but we muddled through and hooked up with Kyle without too much problem.
(We were sent an e-mail that Taylor needed to bring a sleeping bag and he ended up bringing this one with a broken string that he had to carry everywhere but in the end he didn't need it)
Finally found the dorms.
Is this where I'm sleeping?
Taylor asked me if this was where the college students stayed. "Yep you'll get to see what it's like to live campus just like the college students."
After we got the boys lunch and said goodbye we went back home and I dropped Jeff off at the airport so he could fly home for a week of working while I stayed in Utah.
That night Virginia and I made dinner and I asked her if I could share a lesson for family home evening. I had an idea that I had seen at a baptism where they pulled out objects that represented the Holy Ghost. So I put some household items and Dean's toys in a box and after Joel started family home evening I did my little lesson letting the kids take things out of the box and share how they related to the Holy Ghost. It started out OK and Scott and Jacob even participated by showing something they learned in class the day before but by the end Jacob was complaining "My mom always does 3 hour lessons!!"
Thanks Jacob! We were done anyway so we closed.
That night I asked Ashley what she had thought about the lesson.
"Boring. But, not as boring as normal"
Sorry Olesons if I bored you as much as I bored my kids ;)
After Family Home Evening us adults went to a dollar movie (that was only 75 cents on Mondays) couldn't beat the price.
The next day Virginia and I and the kids got to go up to my cousin Jenny's house to visit with her. It ended up being good timing and was probably the only time that week we would be able to see her.
It was fun to catch up with her and let the kids get to know each other better.
The boys ended up making their own impromptu band.
And the girls enjoyed getting glammed up.
Eventually everyone found their way out to the backyard.
Ashley found a better use for her leftover Doritos than throwing them away.
Dean was brave enough to feed the pecking chickens too.
After we got back from visiting we took the kids to the community center like we promised them for some swimming.
This place just opened a few months ago and I can already see it would be a hot-spot for their neighborhood. The indoor pool and waterslides were a big his with the kids.
It took Dean a little bit of time to get used to the water splashing all around but once he got used to it there was no getting him out of it.
I think he ended up swallowing his weight in water by the end!
Jacob was intimidated by the big waterslide for awhile but eventually he got up the courage to go down it and then he loved it!
We stayed until 7:00 but then thought we'd better get the kids home to feed them dinner.
Wednesday we went visiting at Lorene and David Hovey's.
I forgot my camera! But here's a couple of pictures from my phone.
The kids had fun playing in their backyard as we caught up with each other in the kitchen.
Ashley was thrilled to play with Bethany and Emaline after being surrounded by boys.
Thursday I went by myself to the BYU library to do some research for a possible book submission. I got to hang out in the special collections room where they buzz you in and you are locked in a room, they give you an interview with one of the librarians to make sure you know all the rules, and I had to get each folder one at a time through a glass window as soon as I was done with it. I had to lock everything in a locker and was only allowed loose paper and pencils to take notes that they provided. Pretty cool though to be reading hand written journals and letters from ansestors from the early 1900's.
When I got home Virginia and I took a quick trip over to a cute shopping village.
I'm pretty sure Ashley's favorite was the candy store.
I loved the quilt store with it's overpriced fabric and cool ideas for a hobby I haven't yet dabbled into very much. Maybe some day...
I liked the missionary quilt ;)
I guess if you are a professional photographer you have to get a permit to take pictures here....since we are definately Not professional...we had to take some pictures....just because we could.
After a little bit of shopping we raced back to take the kids to their "Big Air" class. It was in the gym where lots of cute, talented girls were doing some amazing gymnastics. Our group did trampoline tricks and jumped into foam pits.
At the end of the class Scott had hurt his neck after landing on it during a jump and Jacob was begging for a trampoline as bouncy as theirs....after Scotts neck injury I was glad we didn't have a trampoline at home ;)
Dinner that night was at a new place in town that was supposed to be like a Cafe Rio (never been there but have heard good things about it.)
Yummy food and then we got the kids back home and saw another dollar movie
(our version of wild nightlife)
Here's a picture of cousins hanging out. (I think they were waiting for brownies in the oven) I loved that there was lots of down time for the kids to get to know each other better. Ashley liked Jared because he didn't have his nose in video games as much and would sit and eat popsicles with her.
Dean was just a cutie and so fun when he was in his crazy moods. Here he is jumping all over the place.
His favorite past time is to take the pillows of the couch and jump on them....Virginia is constantly trying to put pillows back :)
Dean also liked me taking pictures of him and letting me see himself in my camera.
The next day was Friday and my last day in town. Virginia and I went back to the shopping place and picked up a quilt and ate lunch at this bakery.
Dean was in a crazy mood while we were here.
And then I took Virginia to Tai Pan. She had never been there before and we both found some fun things to come home with.
After a bit Dean crashed and took a nap in the cart.
I took this opportunity to get Ashley a little frozen yogurt (right in the store!) so I could keep her around for more shopping.
We got home to prepare for the family BBQ that night.
Joel had the idea to invite all the family that was around to a BBQ so with a couple of days notice we called and facebooked all we could think of...meanwhile Virginia and I unloaded some moving boxes, hid others, shopped for food and tried to keep the couch pillows on the couch.
We were thinking it would be perfect to have the BBQ at the park but everyone pretty much ended up staying at the house instead, which was fine because it was plenty big for all of us to hang out at.
Jared impressed with the giant strawberry.
We got to see David and Laurel Ellis' family and Brenton was huge hit with his guitar (Scott is an aspiring guitar player).
He played and sang for hours, I was impressed.
We also got to visit with the Hoveys and Amy and Martine Larios and meet their new baby which was about the same age as
David and Laurel's new baby Adam.
Of course Dean wanted more pictures of himself ;)
The last morning I woke up Jacob from his last night of wall to wall cousin sleepover and we got on the road.
Jacob (and Ashley) loved staying up late into the night talking and hanging out with cousins...I don't think they got near enough sleep every night :0)
I picked up Taylor at 7:30, and we were home in Riverside at 4:30 just in time for Jeff and I to go to our play and for me to get ready for my Gospel Doctrine lesson the next morning.
I was worried about doing the drive on my own but we ended up being just fine.
(but I did take a nice long nap on Sunday)
When we got home Ashley was very excited to see Maddie and I'm sure she was excited to see us.
While we were gone Jeff was doing a lot of working....and trying to rescue escaped Chinchilla babies. They found a way out of the cage and 3 days in a row Jeff was combing the house trying to find them.
On the first night he spent like 3 hours trying to find the last one. He finally gave up and went to bed. Sure enough the next morning it was in the cage next his mama.
When I got home he made some cage modifications so they can't get out now.
As for Taylor and EFY...he loved it! He spent the first 3 hours of the drive telling me how great it was. It was a testimony builder, he made lots of good friends...it sounded like it was great.
When I looked through the pictures of his exciting, life changing week this is what I found....
The only evidence I have of his week.