We went on two trips over the last 2 weeks. First stop was Irvine. We stayed in te Bayview Marriott, and it was fun to be there and remember our stay there as a new married couple 6 years ago. It was certainly a different experience with two little ones! Raimo worked a conference each morning and the kids and I stuck it out in the hotel while we waited for him. We went swimming one day and had really nice weather. That night we ate at Joe's Crab Shack and had the nice view of sunset over Newport harbor, just like it was for our wedding reception. The kids did not behave that well that night- we were stuffing food into Finn's mouth as quickly as possible to keep him quiet, and Rose was just so tired (and, truth be told, slightly constipated). But when she finally went at te restaraunt that night, she got a special ice cream treat. The next day we went to Newport Beach and had a lot of fun collecting shells. It was really beautiful but much too windy so we left pretty soon after. We went to the Spectrum and Raimo took Rose on the Ferris wheel. Finn and I stayed on solid ground because I am scared of Ferris wheels. Raimo said Rose became very full of love for the world on that ride: "I love daddy, I love mommy, I love Finn, I love everybody!." It must have been a very inspiring ride for that little body. She yelled down to me each time they circled over me and Finn. We had some Haagen Daz ice cream and walked around. The next day was Sunday and we headed home after Raimo finished work, only to do laundry and finish packing up for our next trip. Finn had been up every night multiple times and I was exhausted. I took him to the doctor Monday morning and I'm so glad I did because he ha an ear infection. We got some antibiotics and got on the road. We stopped in St George the first night to break up the trip and get some rest. The kids did a lot better than I expected on both days of driving. It took about 8 hours to get to St George, and the following day took about 5 hours to get to Salt Lake county.
We had forgotten how cold it is in Utah (and it was only in the 50's- that's nothin!) As we drove in, we saw the new Payson temple and all the yellow and orange leaves, and the magnificent mountains, and then the Provo temple and the Timpanogos, Oquirr Mountain, South Jordan, Draper. It's just pretty amazing, and when you live here and see them all the time it's no big deal, but it was pretty incredible to see temple after temple like that after being away. It's pretty incredible! And I felt very nostalgic and it felt like coming home. I realized I've spent more adult years in UtAh than in Cali and I have a lot of memories here. That drive into town just kind of filled me with memories. We also realized the point of the mountain is gone! I guess it was already happening while we lived here as they were cutting into the mountain and selling the sand or dirt or whatever, but it was pretty shocking to see the change and now it's just cut away. I bet Utahns don't realize that either! We stopped at Ryan and Ana Maria's house first and spent the night. We had loaded nachos to re-live one of our old jokes of when Raimo made us some famous nachos with basically 3 pieces of shredded cheese, aka NO cheese. It was so fun to watch Beckham, Rose, and Melia run around the house playing like old friends. It's a very happy thing to have your kids be friends with your friends' kids. We got a tour of their great new home, and it was fun to stay up late talking and laughing.
Tuesday morning Rose woke up in her new bed in her own room around 6:30 in the total dark. I forgot how dark the mornings are in Utah in the fall- with the time difference, it's not quite that dark in California. I remember now why it was so hard getting up for ballroom team in the pitch black and running from the car to the RB in FREEZING cold darkness to practice at 7, 6, or even 5 am. I hated it! anyway, Rose called out to me a few times and I answered her. Eventually I told her to come out to my bed, and she came out feeling her way with her arms in front of her like Frankenstein because she couldn't see. She was just so sweet and little in her footsie pajamas, and I realized she had tears on her cheeks. She climbed under the covers with me and said, "I'm scared of the dark." I cuddled her and comforted her and a bit later I said, "I love you" and she said, "I like dad and Finn and mom." She uses like in the same way we use love, and she always includes the whole family. I think it's so sweet. She asked me if dad was there (in the bed) and I told her he was holding Finn. And as we laid there we could hear footsteps and movement above us, and she said, "What's that girl's name behind that wall?" And I answered, "Ana Maria" and she repeated "Ana Maria" then said, "What's the little ones' name?" And I said, "Beckham and Melia," and she repeated those names too. She talked to me about how we were downstairs. We just had to do a little review of everyone and an overview of where everything was I guess, and she laughed and told me she thought it was funny we could hear them through the wall. I don't remember everything, but it was so cute to hear her mull over every detail of a new situation. She was very darling and smart. Not to mention I was soaking her up while she was willing to cuddle with me. That day we went to see the salt flats but stopped just outside of Salt Lake at the palace and took some pictures and looked at the lake. Then we went to Hire's for lunch- one of our favorite burger joints. We had 3 high chairs and a booster at our table, which was pretty funny. Then we went home and packed up to go to Tammy and Mikko's. They were excited to spend time with our kids. Mikko and Nicole stopped by to say hello with their kids and it turned out to be a pretty late night.On Thursday Raimo and I took the kids to Provo to eat at Zupas and to see BYU and the new temple. We actually wanted to do some other things and visit people too but we just didn't have time, plus we were skipping nap times and the babies were running out of steam. I have to add that Finn has been a champion baby- he's hardly complained when I wake him early from naps or kept him up too long. He is so easy going and that made it possible for us to do so much. We were surprised by how much has changed in just two years. The whole road is gone in front of the Wilkinson Center and it's now a parking lot. There were some other slight changes too and it made us feel very much like old parents and NOT recent students. I noticed how kind and friendly everyone was on campus and I was very proud to be a BYU alumna. I guess I forgot what a great place it is to be. People smile, hold the door, look clean and respectable, and treat each other with kindness. There is a dynamic there that you don't see anywhere else. Just a lot of people, or at least people who are trying hard to be good. Also, most people there love children, and we had two darling towheads to make them baby-hungry :)
The Provo Tabernacle is looking amazing. After burning to the ground a few years back, President Monson made the surprising announcement in Conference that sometimes a negative thing can become a positive thing and said it was to be rebuilt into a temple. I was so excited because the other Provo temple is the busiest in the world- I remember going there and waiting in a line, moving through the pews little by little to wait to do baptisms. There were hundreds of eager college students there every day, not to mention missionaries from the MTC, plus all the members who live in the area. It will be do nice to be able to double that work. Plus, it is a beautiful building with so much history. I feel lucky that I got to perform there many times with the BYU choirs ( in fact, I think it burned the night of one of our concerts after everyone had gone home). Raimo and I also went there for Stake Conference as part of our BYU ward and I remember having L Tom Perry as our main speaker. We could see how very tall he is in real life! So anyway, we saw the progress of the new temple.
We drove back home through the canyons- most of the autumn leaves were gone but it was still a beautiful drive. Actually the trees in Provo were still really vibrant, on campus and along center street, so I was glad to see it. I love Provo in the fall. Speaking of which, rose pointed out to Mimi her tree in her front yard and said, "You have a colorful tree!" Rose also got the chance to play in the leaves which was fun. That night Raimo and I went to the BYU dance lab on campus and danced and reconnected with some old acquaintances. It was a really fun night, and we even went to the RB to dance by ourselves a bit like old times. We went to the Malt Shoppe with Ana Maria, Ryan, and Kylie after. Friday was Halloween. Tammy got up with the kids and I slept in for the first time in forever. I have been sick for like 3 weeks so it was nice to get some rest. We went to Orange Peel for 5 seconds with Mikko and Nicole, then to Gardner Village with the kids in costume, then to Zupas again, then to Mikko and Nicole's house to hang out and trick or treat. Rose loves hanging out with Meridee and Izzy. She had an AMAZING time trick or treating this year. She ran from house to house following behind Izzy shouting "wait for me!!" She was not afraid to go up to the door without me, unlike last year, and was absolutely thrilled about Halloween candy. She was just wolfing it down back at the house, she was so excited. We have put it away since then, but pulled it out again to help get us through the drive home today. The problem is, I'll probably end up eating most of it !!!
Saturday we took it slow, went to lunch with Papa and Mimi on her lunch break, then saw Maleficent at the dollar theater ( we miss having those in California!) I thought Angelina did a great job and I liked watching her, but I did not like the story line, as I knew I would. I hate how movies today turn villains into heroes and how we have to go into their troubled past, etc. The original story is so beautiful. Aurora wasn't really developed, the prince was kind of a nobody, there was no Tchaikovsky (what is more beautiful than that beautiful song?!), there was no "true love", no dancing- only a story about revenge and a king who really was a bad guy and didn't have much love for his daughter, and a villain who was misunderstood and became good in the end. But! It was a good time going to the movies and an entertaining one with beautiful costumes and scenery! It poured rain that night and next- and it was so windy and freezing! What a storm! We stopped at the DI and I found some treasures including a record of The Music Man for a dollar, which I thought was exciting. I also found two games of Probe, which I always played at Grandma Joan's house and have never seen anywhere else in the world! That night Tammy put the kids to bed and Raimo and I went to Tsunami for sushi (appropriate given the weather we had). It was as delicious as ever. Afterward we drove through Murray to our apartment on Camila. We were stunned to see a brand new modern apartment complex already completed in the lot right next door. Before, it was just an open field that made for a nice view (and privacy) out our back window. There were a couple of nice trees, and it was really green in spring, and then a blanket of snow in winter. I always looked out at it from the shower window upstairs and from the kitchen window downstairs. I hate it when things like that change. Glad we were not there through all the noise of that construction. It was weird to dire those streets again. We took State Street back to Sandy and passed the Murray Center where we used to dance, the music store which is te best for sheet music, and some other memorable places and restaurants. I felt a little sad and missed living there for a minute. The next day was absolutely freezing and I got over it. We went to temple square and checked out the Visitor's Center and saw the temple, and by that point the kids were exhausted. They had been getting to bed really late and still got up at 6 or 6:30 every day. They both fell asleep in the car ride back and all four of us took a nap in the church parking lot. Afterward we had dinner with Raimo's parents and hung out at home with them. Yesterday was daylight savings so we're all messed up. Finn woke me up today at 3:55 and around 4:30 I woke up Raimo and said let's take off. We packed up and were on the road by 5:30 am. The roads were pretty clear at that time and it was nice and beautiful- there was some snow on the ground around Nephi, Fillmore, and on the mountains. It was nice to get going. SO cold! Rose was excited to be awake and to get out of bed as always and was talking to us in her little sleepy voice with her funky morning breath :) We've made pretty good time today, stopped twice to give the kids a break and once for lunch. We are almost to Barstow and it's 2 pm CA time. There was a lot we wanted to do on our trip that we didn't have time for and people we wanted to see but didn't. We will just have to do it on our next trip! Wish us luck on the rest of our journey- hopefully I won't have to spend too much more time in between two car seats!