Utah Birthday Trip - Part Two
Once upon a time I decided that 50 photos per post should be my absolute maximum. I believe this post has 58. Guess I'm getting soft. ;)
When I find quiet moments between holiday festivities and two little busybees, I have been trying to finish up this post about our Utah trip. I can't believe November's almost over! This trip was two weeks ago but it still shines in my heart.
Mornings at Matt and Amy's included some piano tunes, preferably Mary Had a Little Lamb.
We took the kids to the Museum of Ancient Life on Saturday. Over 60 completed dinosaur skeletons! And this "real iguanadon" that Lucy said "look-ed right at me, and I look-ed right at him."
So nice to have the best little baby-lover in the world along to show us all the fun!
They have cool interactive activities for the younger set, like this sand and water play area. Lucy kept losing her dinosaurs and getting upset until one little boy (younger than her) went out of his way to give her this brachiosaurus she could take for a swim and she was quite content.
Oey loved this awesome shark photo op.
After the museum, we headed up to Salt Lake City to take in a few sights there. Darin was interested in finding the Summom pyramid so we did. But once there we felt a little bad snooping around, as it is a temple of sorts and there were groundskeepers about and we didn't want to seem too nosy. We did snap a few photos though. Oh and here is where I first really noticed how badly the scratch on my lens affects my pictures! (It hit against a rock on our hike the day before.)
Kinda wish we could have tried one of their sacred nectars.
Next we headed to Ken Sanders Bookstore, where Darin has wanted to visit for a long time. Ken Sanders was friends with Ed Abbey and is one of the most famous bibliophiles and booksellers in America. He was instrumental in trying to catch the most infamous book thief John Gilkey, who later robbed our shop, The Bookery, of a couple hundred dollars' worth of rare books. Darin has corresponded with Ken Sanders a little bit, especially after meeting the book thief face to face (a story he tells much better than I) so it was a treat to visit his shop. Especially since they specialize in many of our interests and it is absolute heaven to walk in there: shelves crammed full of beat literature, Utah and Mormon history and History of the American West, Wallace Stegner, Edward Abbey, Terry Tempest Williams, Charles Bukowski, Everett Ruess, Native American literature, wilderness, ecology, poetry, mythology. Besides a few gems we brought home, Darin found some really cool obscure stuff that we couldn't afford, something of which may be arriving for Christmas. ;) Shhhh.
The shop also celebrates Joe Hill, a labor activist and songwriter from the early 1900s who was exectued in Salt Lake City after a controversial trial. A fascinating figure; my brother Matt bought two books about him.
We had dinner that night at the Bohemian Brewery just south of SLC and it was awesome. Nice big stone fireplace, perfect cozy ambience, cheerful adorable server, and a wide selection of "old school lagers" although I had a small-batch season (Kolsch, I think?) and it was delicious.
That night we had my birthday cake since the night before we'd all been too stuffed with our milkshakes. Amy and Matt dredged up all their candles and all together they equaled 39.
Polly ate some actual candle wax. Party!
Every night we stayed up late talking, making drinks, lounging, watching TED talks, talking some more. It was great. It was just what the doctor ordered for this busy mama: after we put our girls to bed up in their cozy third floor nook, to pad back downstairs, curl up on the futon in my new dinosaur jammies from Amy and sip some wine and just be together.
Next morning Matt made everybody french toast, with his signature cook towel thrown cavalierly over his shoulder as per uze.
Lucy and Polly were introduced to the joy of marble runs. Thank you Jarom! I remember spending hours with this kid building them, looking up youtube videos of them, drawing pictures of them, theorizing them when Jarom was about Toot's age. Full circle.
It was kind of a quiet Sunday morning at home as we tried to decide what to do that day. Pops was running errands for a few hours and after he got back we decided to do a hike. Had some trouble deciding on an area and place, but eventually settled on one just north of town that turned out to be in a little ravine that was snowy though everywhere around there was sunny. The trail was icy and unfortunately a bit too slippery for some of us. I held Tootie's hands tightly while she basically ice skated the way down. It was beautiful and breathtaking but we had to turn back!
Then we all drove up to Park City where Matt and Amy's friend was showing a film he co-directed called Peace Officer about the increasing violence and militarization of the American police force. There was a chance I'd try to see the film, but I was too nervous to leave both girls with Amy and Bella so I let Darin go with Matt, my dad and Jarom to view the film. They armed themselves with warm drinks and took a brisk walk down Park City's frosty main drag to see the movie in an old high school auditorium, leaving us at the cozy coffeeshop to do some gallivanting.
We had dinner at Pizza and Noodles which was a perfect place to unwind with the kids for awhile.
And then onward to one of our favorite little bookstore gems: Dolly's. Doesn't hurt that they have three cozy cats, and that adjoining the building is Rocky Mountain Chocolate shop.
The boys met us back at the cars, elated at the film. I look forward to seeing it myself, and I think many of you would be very interested, check out the trailer here.
Then we took a very slow and careful icy nightdrive back down the canyon and made it safely home for another cozy night.
That was supposed to be our last night, but next morning we woke up to snow!
We still thought we were going to leave so we said good-bye to the cousins before they headed off to school. Tootie was so grateful to Jarom for teaching her about Perry the Platypus from Phinneas and Ferb.
We were still packing up to get going but the snow kept coming down and to us, it looked scary to drive in. We aren't used to that! Darin had found out he didn't have to be back quite as early as we thought, so we decided to just stay another day. This decision was subject to some hemming and hawing later in the afternoon when the snow all but melted away, but I'm so glad we stayed and made a few more memories.
Instead of leaving, we got bundled up and went out to play!
It's like a fairytale scene, looking across the river.
First snowball fight!
Inside for hot cocoa to warm up.
Darin at his perch.
And then Amy took the girls and I to their town rec center, which has a huge heated indoor-water-play area. The snowy mountains loomed outside and fresh snow on the ground and parking lot beyond the huge glass wall of windows. My girls were timid about the water, with buckets dumping waterfalls and sprays and mists and slides of all sorts, they chose to cling to us instead. One more time and I'm sure they'd be braver. But for now, the time it took to sink in and relax with babies holding close to our warm bodies, is a time I will not soon forget.
The lazy river gave us the perfect opportunity to float along, talk and laugh and swirl in the current as they girls grew sleepy.
Polly fell asleep for her afternoon nap and when we got back home I carried her up the familiar stairs to our cozy bed. Lucy stayed in Amy's car to surprise the kids while picking them up from school: guess who's still here! The way Amy described the look on Jarom's face and his sweet, growing smile when he saw Toot will forever warm my heart.
We decided to bundle up all the kids and run on a quick shopping spree. Amy says I used to buy her children outfits every time I came to visit when they were small, so she so generously returned the favor. In H&M it was like rushing around in a frenzy of cute fawns and kittens, picking stuff out and checking sizes and setting off alarms and hiding in between clothing racks and causing quite a ruckus. We ran to Target too, hurried along by the extra special rush that a bitter cold wind sent into our bones as I fumbled with car locks and hefting toddlers into their carseats and taking jackets on and off and all that winter-weather-turmoil. With Bella and Amy's help, hallelujah!
We just barely made it back in time to catch the tail end of their school's Martimas Lantern Walk. Tootie and Bella carried mason jar lanterns but the group was already completing the half mile loop. It was bitter cold. Amy grabbed doughnut holes, Bella poured some cider, we said hello to a few friends, and carried my shivering fussing girls back to the car.
After making mac-n-cheese for the kids, all us grown ups left Jarom and Bella in charge and went out to a fancy dinner at a lovely Native American inspired restaurant called Black Sheep in downtown Provo. It was wonderful. Darin and I shared a vegetarian Navajo taco and a strong farmhouse ale. I was very nervous leaving the girls with someone besides my mom, even though Bella is the absolute best, simply because I knew Polly could get difficult and I hated to make Bella deal with that. But I was in contact with the bigger kids through texts which was a novelty and quite endearing. Darin had to leave a bit early when Polly did start crying and asking for us relentlessly. I got to finish up leisurely and leave with Matt, Amy and Pops, but it was nice to find out later that when Darin arrived Polly had been fine anyway. First real babysitting experience was pretty much a go!
Next morning Matt was up early making crepes for Jarom's actual birthday. It was hard to say good-bye and my mind echoed with traces of what they'd say and do and think about things, for days. I always miss them but this made it extra poignant and I find myself bringing them up in casual conversation like a crush, "well Matt and Amy had this thing..." "Matt thinks it's funny when...." "You should have heard Amy tell this story...."
We had an uneventful ride home, Pops on our tail the whole way. Too cold for playgrounds, we had to let our girls run and climb in this Taco Time in Winnemucca. I love road trips, I really do.
Till next time, Utah! Sure love ya!