So I’ve mentioned our trip to Utah a few times but haven’t really given any details yet, so let’s do a recap, shall we?

Chris and I had been wanting to go to Utah for awhile. Much of my Dad’s family lives in the area and many of them hadn’t been able to meet the baby girls yet! Given that we already wanted to go up there, coupled with the fact that the summer heat was reaching 110* in Tucson and was a beautiful 77* in Utah, we decided to hightail it out of town for a long weekend.

Thursday 6/20

Chris and I packed up the cars and the girls and hit the road on Thursday morning right after the girls’ first bottle – about 8am. Its a 12 hour drive to where my Dad lives. Two hours into the drive we realized we forgot our pack and play (where we were planning to have the girls sleep). Mary and Cathy to the rescue!! My friend Mary’s mom had a pack & play that she let us borrow while we were there! THANK YOU for saving us!! Otherwise, the drive was uneventful. Babies got sick of it around 3pm and it was an all-out revolt the entire rest of the drive. Babies screaming, loud cries, big tears, etc etc etc. I was sitting in the middle row between the 2 carseats trying to entertain them with books, toys, snacks, etc. It was a place of extreme misery. That evening we got into town about 9pm. (Its 12 hours, plus there was an hour time change). We immediately picked up the borrowed pack & play and headed to my Dad’s house to settle in. The girls were in bed by about 10:30ish (very late for them!!!)

Friday 6/21

My sister flew in on Friday morning!! Yay!!! We had a low-key morning at my Dad’s house waiting for my sister to get in. In the afternoon we went and picked up my Uncle Bruce and all of us (Dad, uncle, sister, chris, me, 2 babies) drove up to Huntsville to see where our great-grandparents had been born and raised! We had some good BBQ and saw some beautiful scenery. Girls did have a bit of a break-down on the way back home. I was dumb and hadn’t thought to bring extra bottles and – of course – we ran into the girls’ next feed time and were caught with no food!! 90 minutes of crying later, we were back at my Dad’s house, feeding the girls, and calming them down. To bed by about 10pm that night.

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Saturday 6/22

Saturday had lots of fun things in store! After the girls’ morning feed we went over to my Grandma’s house to meet a bunch of our extended family! The girls had never met their great-grandma, great aunts/uncles (except for Uncle Bruce), and my cousins (the girls 2nd cousins??? or cousin once removed??? don’t know the relation??) + my cousins’ kids. We had a fabulous time hanging out, eating, and playing in the backyard. The girls were scared of the grass!!! Too funny (side note:  Tucson has NO grass, so the girls haven’t ever really experienced it before). This is where we celebrated the girls’ birthday, ate cupcakes, and opened presents. We had a fabulous time!

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the girls with their second cousins (my cousins’ kids. See Wikipedia for relationship tree)DSCN2355

In the evening, we went to the big Utah Arts Festival that was going on in Salt Lake! It was HUGE and it was fun to walk around and look at all the very unique pieces of art. They even had a big children’s area that the girls absolutely adored! Their favorite part was looking at the string art! It doesn’t get dark until so late here (almost 10pm!!!) so we lost track of time and didn’t get home until about 10:30pm. The girls went to sleep about 11pm. This is waaaaay late for them (they’re usually in bed by 8 or 8:30pm!!) I was so proud of them for handling all these late nights like champs!!

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Sunday 6/23

My favorite day was probably a toss-up between Saturday and Sunday. Sunday we had a whole baby’s day – where everything we did revolved around them! We woke up and met up with my friend Mary, her husband Raurk, and their adorable baby boy, Bennett (I say “baby”, but he’s 14 months old). We went to a local farmer’s market that had the most incredible salsa I’ve ever tasted (and lots of other things, too, but that salsa…..MAN, I wish I could get my hands on it in Tucson!!) The best part, though, was that they had a little petting zoo!!! The girls absolutely ADORED being able to pet little Shetland ponies, bunnies, lambs, goats, ducks, and more! I wanted pictures, but there was a guy trying to sell them for $5 a pop and I felt awkward pulling out my camera to take pics for free. Is that a taboo of some sort??? $5 for a single polaroid is a rip off, but now I’m regretting not having the moment captured on film! After the girls morning nap, we took them to the Draper aquarium! It was their first time in an aquarium, and they could not get enough! They laughed and laughed as the fish swam around, they got to “pet” (touch) some stingrays, and they splashed in the open water with joy! This was probably their favorite thing we did out of the entire time we were in Utah. After their afternoon nap, the fun continued! My cousin and his wife came over to visit and we went to the neighborhood park (which was HUGE for being just a regular old neighborhood park). We pushed the girls on swings – they loved it! We let them climb the rock wall – they actually did it! We went down the slides – they loved it, too! And finally we all sat in the grass until the girls were acclimated to the strange green substance and decided it was okay to crawl around without fear (remember – they were scared of grass on Saturday at my Grandma’s house!). After my cousin left we went back to my Grandma’s to visit one last time and crawl all over her living room. This was probably our “earliest” night – the girls were in bed by about 9:45pm.

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Monday 6/24

This morning was pretty low-key – just doing laundry and packing up our things to return to Tucson. Chris and my Dad went to the driving range to hit a few balls. I went out to lunch (leaving the girls at my Dad’s house with Chris) with one of my friends, Pam, who recently got a job at Weber State (we’d gone to school together). It was good to see her and catch up a bit. While I was gone my sister headed back to the airport to return to Texas. When I got back, I discovered the girls had skipped their morning nap so I helped with the next feed and they easily fell asleep for the afternoon nap. At that point, Chris decided to nap, too, and my Dad had to get some work done so I whipped out my laptop and worked a bit, myself. When the girls woke up we went to the store to pick up some ingredients for dinner and got it all prepared. Chris (who is a freemason) was visiting a lodge there that met on Monday evening, so we had an early dinner so he could head over there. My Dad and I played with the girls in the basement while I packed our bags. Our trip to Utah had been so miserable that I’d convinced Chris we should drive back overnight. That way, the girls would be sleeping the whole time (we had originally planned to drive back Tuesday during the day). So when Chris got home from his Mason meeting at 9pm, we loaded up the car and hit the road. The girls were fast asleep by 9:45pm. We made excellent time – only stopping for gas (since it was overnight we didn’t need to eat and the girls were asleep so we didn’t have to deal with diaper changes, etc.). We got back to Tucson by about 7:45 am after only 11 hours of driving (got an extra hour from the time-change, and somehow shaved an hour with the lack of stopping).

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Bailey being a big pickle-eater!!! Too funny how the girls love pickles!!

Tuesday 6/25

Since Tuesday is a daycare day (they go on Tues/Thurs), we fed and changed the girls and took them to daycare so Chris and I could unpack, start laundry, and SLEEP since we’d BOTH pulled an all-nighter (he drove the majority of the way, but I can NEVER sleep in a car, so we were both awake all night). It was a little weird to take the girls to daycare…on their BIRTHDAY…also when we were both “off” and at home….but we really, really needed the rest & in our contract we pay for daycare whether we go or not, so might as well take advantage of the babysitting! By the afternoon we were all unpacked and settled back at home and the girls were in great moods when we went to pick them up.

All-in-all, we had a great trip! We did tons of fun things, had a fabulous time with the gorgeous weather, and loved being able to see so many family and friends! We jam-packed a LOT into our 4 days there and definitely got our money’s worth (so-to-speak). One thing was a major bummer though….We’ve definitely decided that the girls are at an age where we can NOT make long road trips like that in a single day anymore. For any who don’t know…..Chris is terrified of flying. He has serious, major, no-joke anxiety about it. So most of our trips are road-trips. This trip was 12 hours and when we got to Austin its 14 hours. Prior to this trip we were planning to go back to Austin 3 more times this year! Once in August, once in October, and again in December. After this, we had to re-think everything. Looks like we’ll be canceling our August trip all-together. In October I’m probably just going to fly by myself (either with 1 or both babies, to be determined), and in December we’ll drive….but we’ll have to split the drive into 2 days. This really sucks because it means that the drive alone takes 4 days (2 days there, 2 days back). Time is valuable – especially with Chris’ job, so this is definitely a bummer. It limits the amount of time we’ll be able to spend in Austin and the number of visits we’ll be able to make. Major sad-face! But, honestly, I think this is the right decision. After trying to drive during the day (which I described as “abject misery”) and then trying to drive overnight while the girls were sleeping (which was just simply exhausting), we determined that we’re too old for that crap. If we drive….we’ve got an 8-9 hour max. Period.

So – that’s what it is. Utah was beautiful! I’m glad the weather held out for us while we were there – it was in the 70s and 80s the whole time (its already in the 90s now) and it was great to see so many people we love! We can’t wait to do it again….minus the whole driving part! ; )