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August 9th, 2009

The Trip to Utah in Three Days @ 01:22 pm

I'm the oldest female grandchild on my mother's side of a modest Mormon family.  I was born in Utah, but raised all over.  We used to go back to the farm several times a year, a tradition that I've attempted to maintain because I have many, many happy memories there that I want my kids to experience.

My cousins have all been growing up in the last ten years...graduating, getting married, and starting families.  I'm thrilled for them, and wish I could be there.  The timing has always been terrible... at the end of the school year or with a week's notice.  Not that I'd be welcome into the Temple anyway, being non-Mormon myself, but I feel like I've missed out on a lot.

About six weeks ago my mom was visiting and happened to mention that my cousin Krista was (expecting a baby and) getting married in August.  She was marrying someone who was Baptist and in THE SUMMER! so we could possibly attend.  I wrangled an invitation and spoke with Chris... and realized it was possible.  Secured a hotel and a day off for Chris and planned our first six-family-member road trip to Utah!

We left early on Thursday, at seven in the morning.  We packed the car the night before and had bananas, cereal, and a cereal bar out for the kids.  We threw them in the car in their pajamas and set out.  The trip is about eight hours without breaks, ten with lunch and stops every two hours or so.  We took HWY 287 to Laramie (with Andrew asking all the way, "Is this the boring part?"  Nope, kiddo.  You haven't "experienced" Wyoming yet.) where we had our first stop to change the kids and switch seats around in the van.  I had to run into the gas station (that didn't sell gas) to get some Dramamine (blech) from the tattooed ex-football player who called me a Damned Greenie and told me his life story.  Much better.    I brought rectangular cookie sheets for the kids to color and play with Magnetics on, so we busted out some toys and wrestled Davey back into his carseat.   Since we were in the uneventful part of Wyoming (to be kind)  I got to drive to keep the car-sicks at bay.  Somewhere along here I saw a cougar by the side of the road, which was surprising.   We got into SLC valley somewhere in late afternoon, and spent several hours in traffic trying to get to the hotel. 

I forgot to mention one of my favorite parts of the trip, so I'll insert it here.  At lunch on the drive up we stopped at a general cafe in Rock Springs.  Our waitress happened to be Asain, so Andrew ~who watches quite a bit of anime~ orders his hamburger in a  fake Asian accent.  I quickly covered for him and didn't say anything ( he honestly thought he was being helpful) but giggled internally for quite a while.  :)

There was a massive storm battering the southern part of the western half of the US, and it blew a HUGE dust storm into the SLC valley.  The light was strange and sodium looking, with a red eye for the sun.  Traffic was evil, but not that confusing thanks to the GPS, and we pulled into our hotel at dinnertime.  I scored massively on the hotel... I got us a two bed/two bath suite with a full normal sized kitchen.  There were flatscreens in every room, and doors for each room so we could seperate the older kids from the (hopefully) napping baby.  Once I got unpacked, trying desperately to keep organized despite Chris' best efforts, I called Dave Bible at the Sego Lily Cafe to let him know we got in too late to head up to Bountiful to see him, which was a massive bummer since I heard awesome stuff about the cafe and haven't seen Dave in several years (Gonzaga in 2000... we used to all skinny dip together in a Spokane River tributary).  He said it would only be 20 minutes since traffic had thinned out, and once my mom showed up we gave it the old Floyd effort.

The Sego Lily Cafe is an old Farmhouse-turned-restaurant with amazing charm.  It's surrounded by pear trees that were all shedding fruit, and a family was out on the lawn collecting fruit.  A baby in a white dress was sitting in the middle of the pears munching happily while a toddler ran around.  Already I loved it.  We sat by a big window (that Davey pounded on because we could not persuade him to sit still any longer) and we all tried out Mr. Bible's test appitizers... tempura veggies with an orange spicy sauce (yum) and a cheese artichoke and spinanch dip that had a touch of heat to it.  I ordered the chicken marsala, the kids all had noodles with butter (heathens) and Chris had the battered salmon.  I really, really, really, really, really wanted dessert, but by that point we had exhausted and wild kids an hour past bedtime and unwilling to sit or be quiet any longer.  But man, that food was superb.  I highly recommend it to anyone passing within 200 miles of SLC.

Bedtime meant persuading the wild children to sleep in a king sized bed together.  I think they fell asleep around ten or so, while I passed out trying to convince the baby to sleep next to me.  He fell asleep staring at the red blinking light on the smoke detector above our heads.  I'm not sure when Chris came to bed, but I don't think it was much later.

The next morning was the wedding at an indoor greenhouse that was beautifully layed out with benches and pebble paths.  There were only about thirty or so of us.  I was amazed to see my cousin Morgaine who went from a little girl with enormous brown eyes to a  beautiful adult.  She had (I'm not sure what they are called, forgive me) those ear stretchy thingies, piercing implants in her cheek, and a lip piercing through the front middle part of her lip.  She also had a massive tattoo on her chest and was bursting with awesome personality.  I could see her assess me as a conservative SAHM and seemed have reconciled herself to being judged by me.  I loved it when I saw in her eyes that I was actually cool (Andrew's TMBG NO! shirt helped) and she gave me her email address.  I even caught up with my more conservative cousins, especially my cous Karin who always seems to be forgotten because she's painfully shy and quiet.

We got the afternoon off before the reception, so we headed back to the hotel to put Davey down for a nap (which meant on me) and Chris took the kiddos swimming.  I did some laundry (we had packed very light), got dressed and headed out to the reception at a place that we had to access on an actual swinging rope bridge.  Andrew danced on the bridge while I tried my best to hang on to the baby and not vomit everywhere.  Dinner was good, but the kids were done sitting still.  I chatted with my mom (Andrew asked me within hearing of my very conservative gma if I was getting DRUNK???? ) while the kids ran around outside in the flower gardens.  We stayed until the bride cut the cake and speeches were said, and then beat a hasty exit.  Yet another late night and more wrestling the kids into bed.  I ran off to Target with my mom to get snacks for the drive home, which was a great chance to visit some more with her.  She asked me at some point that evening if it was "uncool" to be friends with one's mom on Facebook.  Ummm, if I was concerned with being cool, I guess I'd have to think about it.  As it is, I'm friends with not only my mom, but several other's as well.

We completely failed getting up early for the drive home.  Thank goodness I had packed the evening before.  We caught breakfast at the hotel (and what a breakfast!!!!  Several kinds of coffee, baked goods, sausages, eggs, pancakes, french toast, waffles, croissants, yogurt and granola, cereals.  I love me some breakfast) and left by nine or so.  We had hoped to head up to Cache Valley to see my Gma on her own turf, but we got out too late, sadly.  Next year!  The drive home was a little more squirly than the one up, but that was to be expected.  We had Joe and Heidi's DVD player, which killed a little time.  We stopped at Little America, and played on their playground after lunch.  David cried and cried and cried to be put back in his carseat.  The drive back was delayed by small child bowel hide-and-seek (I have to go, I can't go, I have to go, I can't go, I have to go NOW, I can't go), and we didn't get back into Colorado until after dinner.  No one wanted to stop and eat, especially since we were being pounded by a hail and lightning storm in Ft. Collins and again in Longmont, so we pushed through and made it home just after seven pm. 

And then all child hell broke loose.  I think every kid cried until about nine or so.  Chris and I watched some Heros (that I mostly listened to because I could not manage to keep my eyes open) and refused to contemplate doing this again for quite some time.  But now I get to think about the fact that school is only a couple weeks away!  WOOT!
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