Monday, July 25, 2016

UT time with Jess and Ryan - Pioneer Day

A few days after I got home from Girls Camp we loaded up and headed to UT a bit early for my family's reunion. We wanted to make the 29 hour drive extra worth it by spending some time with Chris' family. We stayed at Jess and Ryan's for the first time because Dixie and James would be gone most of the time we were there to Chris' cousins wedding in Oregon. It was SO awesome to spend that much time with Jess and her family. Our kids line up perfectly (except that they also have a little 6 mo old baby) and they played together so so well. I was especially impressed with their oldest, Mady. She is so helpful and kind-hearted, and responsible! The girls slept in one room: 

And the boys slept in another: 

We kept Freddy in the room next to us since he has a hard time falling asleep when other kids are in the room... like when we go camping he is seriously the last one to nod off. He was a little bummed about this but mostly he was young enough to not really realize what he was missing. I loved having so much time with Jess and Ryan in the evenings. When we stay at Chris' parents house in UT, they usually have to leave every evening to put their kids to bed and we miss evening time with them. Ryan (and even Jess) are into cycling and so we watched the Tour de France in the evenings and just chatted. Jess watched our kids one morning so Chris and I could go do a temple session in the new Provo City Center Temple. It was such a wonderful experience. The building used to be the Provo Tabernacle and when Chris and I were dating it was the building we met in twice a year for Stake Conference and it was a real landmark in Chris' mind throughout his childhood. So when it burned down in 2010 it was really hard for him... I believe there were some tears shed as he watched some of the coverage online.  We were so excited when it was announced that it would become a temple and have followed the buildings progress and were SUPER sad to have missed the Open House by 3 weeks last Christmas.  Its hard to express in words how stunned we were with the beauty of the new temple. Every room was like a new discovery that we wanted to study and admire. It was fun trying to picture the old layout in my mind as we walked through. Chris said its like everything the church has learned about building beautiful temples has been optimized in this a capstone or something. Seriously the most stunning edifice I've ever been in (and I've traveled throughout Europe touring famous chateaus and castles) .. I know a lot of that has to do with the Spirit of the work that goes on there and with our personal ties to it. Anyway.. I'm probably overstating this experience.. but I'm just trying to capture it just was ... ugh! its just so hard to put it to words! Peaceful? Heart-pounding? Radiant? Exquisite? Meaningful? Resoundingly fulfilling? 
We did some fun things with Jess and Ryan and with Dixie and James and Edward and Kayla. We had dinner together, went swimming, went on a hike, went running, went out to a movie, celebrated birthdays (mine and Dixie's -- where Jess and Kayla totally spoiled me and got me some REALLY cute shirts, dresses, shoes and jewelry) and watched movies.  I love Chris' family so much and feel really lucky to have married into such an awesome family. 

On the Saturday before Pioneer Day there is this awesome firework/community party in one of the cul-de-sac's in Jess' neighborhood. They call it the Cul-de-sac of Fire. This one family started it because they like to light off fireworks so they would buy a bunch and light them off for the neighbors. Its gotten bigger and bigger as neighbors have added in things themselves: an inflatably bouncy house, face painting, popcorn stand, music, sno cones, and some tables of potluck-style deserts. Everything was free except for the food truck where you could buy some good BBQ. 

Freddy was pretty tired and I'm glad we brought the stroller for him to fall asleep in. We played and chatted with Chris and his sister, and his aunt and a cousin until just before they were going to light off the fireworks. We knew it was going to be late and it was pretty crowded and Jess said the fireworks were big enough that if you're up too close your neck hurts from starring straight up so we walked back to Jess and were going to watch them from her house on the next street over. 

The fireworks lasted SO LONG. I was so impressed that it was just a neighborhood thing. Such a fun night.

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