We went back to Utah for the first time since July 2007, immediately after I had taken (and passed!) the Va Bar. Life changes so much in just a couple of years when you are a young family. My 21 one month old Andrew has been replaced by 21 month old Will, and supplanted by this almost 4 year old kid with huge hair who sleeps through the night.
Will and I flew out of Dulles the afternoon before Brig and Andrew took a straight shot flight right into SCL. Will and I, of course, flew first to JFK, where we had a long layover. We ended up in SLC at 2am EST. Will was, of course, a wonderful flier. My kids don't eat until they are 2, don't sleep through the night reliably until they are . . . 2, but they always always always are awesome on flights. By awesome I mean that they don't cry. Andrew remained awake the entire (no exaggeration) flight from NYC to Tel Aviv when he was 11 months old. And though he interrupted many a prayer circle that Jewish men and formed in the aisles, he did it with a smile. Same with Will, though Will gets an even higher mark for his performance on his flight bc he actually did fall asleep at some point. I lay my sweater on the floor and he just plopped down.
It was nice to be back in Utah. Even though I will tell people when asked that I am from Virginia, it would also be true to say that I am part Utahn. I spent my young adult formative years there, and remained for a few thereafter in Salt Lake for the first years of marriage. 11 years in total. Utah in many ways does feel like home to me.
Here are the highlights of our stay:
These were taken on the Alpine ski lift. They are just decor since I have no photos of the race.
1) The 10K
We ran the Deseret News 10K as a sibling group. Brigham, determined to beat his younger brothers, actually trained for it. This is the same man who didn't even try to lose weight for our wedding. I suppose losing a 10K to his brothers would have been more humiliating than looking "like [he] shouldn't be allowed to drive" (his own description) in our wedding photos. I don't know exactly what the connection btwn 15 extra pounds and looking mildly disabled is, but for Brig, there is one.
Brigham won handily. And true to form, he stuck by me until I encouraged him to hurry up and beat his brother's wife (who was pushing a stroller). In our defense, she is also almost 6 feet tall, 26 years old and a former All American athlete. I came in a proud third, beating all the (younger than me) brothers, too. Hey, I have to take my victories where I can find them. They are few on the ground.
Running through our old neighborhood was a bit surreal. The last time I had been down those streets was when I lived there and hung out all day with a baby and my dog. We went back to our very street and saw our house, and the strange thing is that I still felt like it was mine. I got out and looked at the dog footprints on the corner of Emerson Ave and 800 East. Charlie made them the summer before we moved when they repaved the sidewalk on one of our many many walks to the dog park. I regretted not dirtying Andrew's baby hand to leave his impression, too.
I was struck by how small Salt Lake is. In some ways, this appeals to me. It is harder (though by no means impossible) for me to get hopelessly lost, the traffic is nonexistent compared to DC, everything is cheaper, easier, more parking-accessible. Yet that morning, I couldn't help but be struck by the thought: is this all?
2) Abby and Patrick's Wedding
This was the very most fun wedding event I have ever attended. Everything was perfect, and I think a lot of that has to do with Abby just being able to roll with the punches. She was bitten by a dog that morning, the hairdresser failed to show up so her hair was fixed in the car on the way to the Temple--stuff like that. And she didn't miss a beat. That is just Abby, and so that was how the whole day was. My favorite part was when Abby and Patrick sang this song they wrote.
The reception was held in the Cannon's riverfront backyard. The best part about it was the caged playground area where my kids could be safely stowed (and entertained by Patrick's younger brother, Cubby, whom my kids worshipped and continued to ask about for weeks).
Ok, why didn't anyone just tell me that Will looked like Albert Einstein with his hair so long like that? This photo made me realize that the time had come for the cut. Doesn't he look so much cuter? I also realized that my hair needs some help, too. And that Brig was right about that ribbon in my hair--not my best look.
3) Zions Park
We spent a couple of days down in Zions, where we celebrated Brig's dad's 60th birthday. All the siblings went on a nice hike while my poor saintly mother in law babysat all those kids. I feel less guilty bc Will napped the whole time and Andrew is pretty self-sufficient, but my sisters in law sure owe her big time! :)
I realized how totally lame I was in college to have not attached myself to people who actually took advantage of the fun things Utah has to offer. Never date a guy who was no car for more than 6 months, particularly if he has to take Math 97 to graduate. Just saying.
The kids in the Virgin River Walk.
I still have not lived my dream, originating in July 2001, of doing this hike with swimming gear. The other times I came the water was either too cold or I was weighed down by babies.
Andrew putting his cold hands on my bare skin. It gave him such joy.
The type of guy I should have always been dating. No Math 97 here. (It is ok for the wife to take math 97, Jessie!)
At the start of Peekaboo Canyon.
I would like to record here that I did wear a wetsuit on this hike, and I was wise to do so. My sister in law is hiding behind her husband here because she was basically naked. (just kidding, anne!!) Not me; that wetsuit protected me from the freezing water, the filth in the water, and from scraping my body on the canyon walls. The best part about it was that I looked totally hot! Wetsuits are way flattering. That is why I wore one on my honeymoon to Hawaii (the Pacific Ocean is really cold, especially in January--even in Hawaii)! I know I would feel so much more confident if I had one of my own to wear to the pool.
Utah was a lot of fun. I miss the pork salads already.