The girls and I got to go to Utah at the end of July/beginning of August for a little fun with my family. There had been some plans (at least in my head) to make a Yellowstone trip out of it, but that got put on the backburner until next year. Instead, we just hung out at my parents' house and Jennie's house, bouncing between the two and just generally working around the girls' schedules and interests since the primary purpose of the trip was to spend time together.
We spent long afternoons (like 3-4 hour stretches) at the pool and doing bbq's/picnics at the park, which was wonderful. The girls had so much fun swimming and splashing together. There was lots of imaginative playtime in grandpa & grandma's basement. The girls ran up and down the hill in the backyard and helped my dad pick produce from the garden. Jennie & I cooked up a special Brazilian meal to celebrate the start of the Olympics. Jessica met my mom and me and the girls in SLC for lunch one day at J Dawgs and brought her not-quite-a-puppy-anymore Juniper to the house, which the girls loved. Rose kept calling Juniper "my dog!" and would wake up every morning asking, "where's my dog?!" over and over and over. We also got to see the really great house that Jessica bought earlier this year and she and the cousins watched Pocahontas one afternoon while my mom, Jennie, Renita & I ran to the mall to do a little shopping.
Jennie asked me if I would mind taking some photos of her family while I was there, which I was happy to do. Gosh I love my nieces so much! They all have such fun and different personalities and are such good girls. I couldn't get over how well everybody got along (for the most part). Emma is getting so grown up and was such a big helper and can actually hold real conversations. Lily is still such a fun-loving girl with such a fun laugh. Adelaide is a little spitfire and I am obsessed with her - I have always felt like Adelaide and I have a strong bond and she gives the best snuggles. And her little voice and laugh are maniacal and beyond endearing. And Kaitlyn and Brigitte are just such cuties who still aren't sure what to think of me but were so fun to scoop up and play with.
Here is a little video of some of the highlights of the trip that I put together for a videography class that I just finished up.
Jennie & Ryan and I took all the girls on a really fun and easy "hike" (it's hardly a hike as it's a flat, paved trail that takes about 5 minutes) to a spot at pretty much the mouth of Spanish Fork Canyon called "Dripping Rocks". The water was cold but it was almost 100 degrees or more every day we were there so it felt wonderful. The girls were hesitant at first, but eventually got really into wading in the water and splashing around. Toward the end, Clara kept adamantly insisting that she saw a snake but I kept thinking she was talking about either an abandoned black headband that was floating in a little pool of water, or a crooked piece of discarded rebar (which makes this area sound all junky but it really wasn't). She got more and more frustrated that I didn't believe her, until Jennie spotted the snake Clara had noticed and exclaimed that Clara was right and pointed out to the rest of us where it was. That was it for me as I absolutely hate snakes. I have no problem really with spiders or worms, but snakes scare the bejeezus out of me.
Unfortunately, the day of the opening ceremonies for the Olympics, my 90-year old grandma Johnson fell around 10:00 p.m. She broke her hip and ended up in the hospital for much too long waiting for a hip replacement, and then once it was finally done something went wrong a day or so later and she had to have a second surgery. Everyone was pretty worried and she has bad Alzheimer's and probably dementia and we just didn't know whether she was going to make it through the surgeries. I ended up staying a couple of extra days just to see if there was anything I could do to help, but eventually I had to leave to get the girls home in time to get Clara ready for her first week of school. Fortunately, grandma made it through both surgeries and is now at a facility recovering and seems to be doing well. It was a bummer way to end our trip, but all in all, we had a great couple of weeks in Utah. Can't wait to see all those cute nieces again!