The girls and I got back from our trip to Utah on Tuesday but since then we have been busy with house stuff for the sale and then Rose came down with a bad cold (fever and awful congestion). The flight there was a breeze. There wasn't a single whimper from either of our little babes. Clara was talking about the flight for a solid week ahead of time so she was super pumped to finally be at the airport going through security and was a big helper by carrying her backpack and staying right by my side like my little duckling. On the plane she read the in-flight safety manual and the airline provided magazines while snacking on pretzels and orange juice (and fruit snacks and apple sauce and yogurt covered raisins that I brought with us).
We had a plane change in Los Angeles where we hit a snag when the airline didn't bring the stroller back up to the gate and instead sent it to the baggage claim area but both girls just chilled out while I got it sorted out. While we were standing just outside the plane but not in the terminal, waiting for the stroller to be brought up, a man got off the plane and gave me such a nice compliment about how well-behaved both girls were on the plane and he said he felt like I handled it all with "grace under pressure". It really made my day. Seriously, any time you see a mom with her kids flying alone you should say something like this to her because it is huge. It was even better when he came back a minute later and handed me his business card, explaining that he was a manager at a hotel in San Francisco and wanted to offer me and Paul a complimentary night stay for a little getaway since he remembered what it was like being at this stage of life.
Jennie had brought Emma, Lily and Adelaide up to spend the week with us at my parents' house while we were there. It was their first time meeting Rose and they were enamored. Emma and Lily were so good with her and could constantly be found laying next to her giving her kisses or cooing at her. Adelaide kept crawling over and swatting at Rose affectionately to the point where somebody had to constantly keep Adelaide away when Rose was laying on a blanket.
Rose got to meet all sorts of relatives. This is my aunt Renita enjoying the fact that one of Rose's favorite pastimes is snuggling. And snoozing.
Jessica had rigged up a "fishing pole" and cut out a bunch of paper fish so the girls could "fish" off the balcony into the backyard. Jess would stand underneath the balcony and attach the fish or small prizes like Minnie Mouse socks or Starburst jelly beans. The girls were in heaven and had fun taking turns. My mom got Clara the new outfit and Clara demanded to wear it as soon as she saw it. The hat is my favorite and I so wish I could get it in my size.
One night we planned to go up into the canyon to roast hot dogs but Mueller Park (where we planned to go) wasn't open yet for the season so we ended up at a local park with a portable grill. The big girls played on a big grassy hill and we had a nice little picnic with the most amazing macadamia nut cookies you have ever tried that I found here. Seriously you should try them - they are like my new favorite cookie, which is saying a lot since I have high cookie standards and I wasn't a huge fan of white chocolate macadamia nut cookies to begin with.
It was nice spending time with family. I think I have mentioned this before but my mom has 3 sisters and 1 brother and none of them ever married or had kids so my siblings and I are the only grandkids and my aunts are sort of like additional moms. I lived with them more than one summer to earn money for college working in Salt Lake while my family was living in Nebraska or Idaho. My grandma has Alzheimers and isn't doing so great. She cannot seem to grasp that all 5 great-grandkids are girls, even the ones with long hair and bows wearing pink dresses, and constantly asks how old the little boy I am holding is. The obsession with boys is because my grandma had 8 older brothers and she talks about them constantly. Regardless of gender though, my grandma sure loves babies and was so happy to talk to them and try to get them to smile at her.
I love this picture of my grandpa and grandma Johnson with Rose.
And I caught this picture of my dad (Grandpa Russ) playing with Rose before he realized I wasn't just taking a picture of her. Our timing was perfect because we got to be there for my dad's 63rd birthday.
We are a family of readers and all the girls adore having books read to them. Grandpa Russ willingly obliged. I finished a good book while I was home too called "Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore" and I definitely recommend it for a fun, quick read. I don't know why but the girls wanted this Christmas book that is a spin on Goldilocks and the Three Bears (except with Santa eating cookies, etc.) read over and over.
In the mornings while everyone was getting ready the girls had fun playing together in the living room and were a big help entertaining Rose for me while I did my hair and makeup. I wish I had some pictures of this, but Emma, Lily and Clara all slept together each night in Jessica's bedroom. Each of them had an individual little cot or air mattress set up taking up all the available floor space around Jessica's room and then Jessica would sleep on her bed in case any of them woke up (what a good aunt). It took them forever to settle down each night, and they often didn't fall asleep until well after 9:00 p.m. except for the nights when I put Clara down at 7:30 and she fell asleep first, in which case Emma and Lily were better about keeping quiet since they knew they shouldn't wake her up.
The great thing about this arrangement was that once the girls were down my mom could just listen to the monitor while they chattered and me, Jennie, and Jessica could go to the gym for the 8:00 p.m. yoga class followed by a 9:00 p.m. Zumba class for Jennie and me while Jessica trained for the half-marathon she is planning to run this summer.
One morning my mom and I drove the girls down to meet Paul's grandparents even though he wasn't with us on this trip. Great-grandma Nash just had eye surgery the week before so it was nice to see her doing so well. She had fun meeting Rose who was in a really cheerful mood and showed off some of her best full-face smiles.
Clara had just seen Grandpa and Grandma Nash a couple weeks before so she had fun playing with grandpa Nash and "gluing" herself to his back. It's a favorite game of hers and she will practically choke you to death with her fierce grip until you tickle her off.
But once Clara got ahold of Grandma Nash's phone, she was oblivious to the rest of the world while she watched videos of her Nash cousins and played games.
We also stopped by Great-grandpa and grandma Robertson (Paul's mom's parents) for a short visit and it was good to see them too. They live just around the corner from the Jordan River temple, where we got married.
On Thursday morning we took all five girls (ages 4, 2, 2, 10 months, and almost 3 months for the record) to the zoo and they loved it. We actually had some of the best animal encounters I have ever had at a zoo. Clara carried the map around and consulted it frequently.
The girls loved watching the sea lions who were super playful and obligingly swam right past the windows over and over again.
Probably my favorite was the grizzly bear that walked right up and pressed his nose to the window right in front of the girls though. It was amazing. There were two other bears with him and it was fascinating to watch them walk around their habitat.
Jennie and I were carrying Adelaide and Rose most of the day so Grandma Cece did most of the heavy lifting rotating between the three older girls to give them the best views. I don't have pictures of these animals but the Amur Tiger prowled back and forth right in front of us for a good 5 minutes and we got to see the big gorilla who goes into the corner by a window every day at the same time and covers himself in a blanket to take a snooze.
Another favorite adventure was going to the Bountiful rec center for some swimming at the awesome kiddie pool, lazy river, and water slide. The girls all had a blast although Rose wasn't loving it at first. Actually, she seemed pretty ambivalent about it at best, even by the end. But at least she wasn't crying. I will call it a success. We took turns sitting with the babies and taking the bigger girls down the slide or in the lazy river, but Grandma Cece did the most sitting in the shallows with the under-one-year crowd.
Oh yeah, this is the part about having bangs that I REALLY hate - how they look when they get wet from swimming. Blech. Oh well. Can I just say how happy I am that we have another baby girl who gets to wear my favorite newborn swimsuit that I bought when Clara was a baby?
Jennie, Jessica and I took the girls to the Church History Museum in downtown Salt Lake to see the exhibits. The girls tried pulling a handcart, learning traditional Mexican dancing while wearing dress-up skirts, and harvesting wooden vegetables at the indoor garden.
One afternoon while Jennie was out shopping and I was watching the girls by myself, I decided we ought to make paper dresses. The girls picked out the colors from a stack of colored paper that has gone unused for years and then I helped construct individual designs for each of them.
The girls also did an Easter egg hunt in the backyard, which they loved. Lily was the most enthusiastic of all and it was hilarious watching her squeal and giggle while she ran from egg to egg.
And after our week of fun it was time to fly back home. The return trip was much more difficult since Rose had come down with a cold and fussed a bit more, but overall the girls did well.
And the best news was that a couple of days after we got multiple offers on our house and are now under contract. All in all, it was a very successful trip.