Friday, August 31, 2012

Separated and Then Reunited

While Abigail, Karolyn, and I were visiting and playing all week, my sweet husband was working. He was grading examination after examination after examination. It was pretty mindless work and was pretty boring. He lucked out, though, and did not have to share his room with anyone. This opened up lots of possibilities for him. He called me and invited Abigail and I to come and stay with him in Salt Lake City for a few days. We accepted. Before we got there, he spent his evenings reading, meeting up with high school friends, and having his little sister come and sleep over one night.

He took her to the Gateway Mall and she really loved the science center.

Funny story: Benjamin purchased Abigail a large soft-plastic parasaurolophus dinosaur when we had gone to the dinosaur park. She had lost it somewhere at Grandma's house and we could not find it before we had to leave to go visit Katie's family. Abby was so sad about losing her dinosaur. After we left, they found it hidden under grandpa's pillow. Denali brought it with her when she stayed the night in Salt Lake. Then they strategically placed it on the pillow of one of the beds before Denali left with her sister Jenny the next morning. When we arrived at the hotel and went in to the room, she was ecstatic. She still, months later, talks about when the parasaurolophus found her and snuck in to her room in Salt Lake City.

It was a Thursday when we said goodbye to Karolyn and to Kristy and her family. I drove to downtown Salt Lake and picked up Benjamin from the conference center. We had been invited to dinner at my Aunt Nancy and Uncle Leigh's house and we headed there. Our summer trip did not coincide with family reunions on either side of the family and there were lots of family members that we did not see while on this trip. I was so glad that we were able to see these two. They provided us with a delicious dinner and it was fun to catch up on their large and growing family. Abigail enjoyed playing with the toys and puzzles that were set out for their grandchildren. We impressed to learn of all the things that they were doing. They put on a summer camp for their children once a week and they taught science and other fun subjects. They also volunteer giving tours at the Temple Square Conference Center. Uncle Leigh keeps busy by auditing classes at the local university. That is the way to live. I also got to look through some of Aunt Nancy's scrapbooks. She is a thorough and great record keeper. Our visit was short, but we were so glad to see them.

Then it was on to the hotel. I won't complain about sleeping on a real bed for a few nights, not that air mattresses aren't convenient nor that we hadn't been well taken care of at every house we visited, it was just nice to sleep on a soft mattress.

Benjamin had to go to work the next day, so Abigail and I decided to explore Salt Lake City. I had not been there in several years and was impressed by all of the beautiful improvements to the downtown area. We saw the new City Creek mall and were impressed. We also walked to the Gateway mall.
Abravanal Hall

She was hesitant at first to get wet at the splash pad and contented herself with watching the other children.

She soon got into it.

Daddy met us at Macaroni Grill (OH SO GOOD!) just as we were finishing our lunch.

I love that they let you color on the table there. So did Abigail.
 After lunch we went to the General Conference center hoping to get a tour from my aunt Nancy. Success! She was second in the queue and the other volunteer generously let her go first. It is a beautiful and impressive building.
This is a picture of us up on the roof of the conference center. Amazing. She said that the main reason they made the roof so beautiful was so that the residents nearby (in high rise apartments/condos) would not have to look out on to an ugly, humongous roof for the rest lives.

This is the only picture that I have of my aunt giving us the tour. Abby took it.
Small Mormon World Moment (our 2nd this trip): There were two other families on our tour. One was a couple with one small child and another was a woman with several young adults. We found out that the latter were from Kentucky and that the teenagers know and are friends with my seminary students...and....that they had heard of me. Wow! We both happened to be visiting Utah at the same time for different reasons and out of all the tours and all the days, we ended up on the same one.

After our tour we went back to the hotel room to rest. I had an appointment to meet with a mission friend at 4 p.m. and I wanted to sleep until then. I got back to the room, however, and the pool bug bit me. We rushed into our swimsuits and then spent an hour in the hotel pool. I do love being in water. Bee had a lot of fun swimming around by herself with her floaties on.

Then it was rush rush rush to get dressed and ready. We walked to the church history museum where we met up with Rebecca Hinkle, one of my mission companions. She had her three children with her and we took them to the new children's museum part. It was a lot of fun and the children happily played for an hour. The only problem was that they all wanted to play different things and be in different rooms at the same time. We couldn't talk very much as we were constantly trying to monitor where the little ones were as they hopped from room to room. It was still great to see her.

 We met Benjamin at Temple Square after work and Abigail had her first real visit. We walked through many of the buildings and saw the new scale model of the Salt Lake Temple, it was amazing. The temple grounds were beautiful and the landscaping was nice. I enjoyed being there as I have not been in a little while. We, of course, walked up the ramp to see the statue of Christ. The spirit is always so strong in this room and it reminds me of what my goals are and how much I love my Savior.

Abigail was fascinated and wanted to take pictures. She looked so cute.

Here are two of the pictures that she took.

I love the angle of this one.

The two loves of my life in front of the Salt Lake Temple. Benjamin was able to visit there for the first time during one of his free nights. I had been before for a session and also for several temple weddings/sealings.
Here is a picture of the iconic organ inside of the tabernacle.
It was a busy day in the city and we enjoyed ourselves. We were so glad that his roommate had not shown and that we got to have a small family vacation to ourselves as part of our large family vacation. I'd probably never turn down a free night in a nice hotel.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Visiting the Burtenshaws

I did not have to split my time between sisters while in Provo. I stayed with Kristy and Karolyn came over to visit as often as she could. It was so fun to catch up with Kristy and her family and to see all of the things that they are doing. They took great care of us and we had lots of fun.

One of the highlights was seeing the new puppies. The puppies were about five weeks old and Abigail was in heaven. Luckily, her allergic reaction to them was not severe. I purchased some Claritin and tried to wash her hands often. Kristy, a licensed massage therapist, also did some massage to help the body release the allergy. She was always trying to hold one of the puppies, even when they were supposed to be sleeping. I'll have to admit that I fell in love with them too. I was holding puppies a lot during my visit as well. I was very impressed with Kristy's strict training of the puppies in preparation for when they would be sold. She carefully trained them to be potty trained to grass by keeping sod in their sleeping area. She took them outside multiple times a day as well. She made sure that each puppy got lots of attention and eye contact. She would personally hold each puppy in lots of weird positions to help them get used to the kind of treatment they might get from children. Her children helped with this, as did mine. I hope they all sell and think she did a great job preparing them.

These puppies were SO stinking cute and lovable. They are for sale, for more information see her website:

These puppies slept in the funniest positions.

We also tried to get the kids to play in the sprinkler, it was not a total success.

I bought this hat for a $1 at the dollar store and hoped that it would protect my scalp from the sun.

Abigail learned to play with blocks by playing with her cousins. She had always played with them before, but now she is a better builder and she is more interested in blocks.
 We went to Seven Peaks water resort that evening and had a fun time. Abigail, my poor sheltered child, was enthralled with the park and seems to think that things like that do not exist where she lives. She loved it. Kristy's family had a year pass and my ticket was fairly cheap since we went after six p.m.

My sister is also a talented seamstress. She makes her own patterns. She has sewn wedding dresses, ballroom dance dresses, and many other complicated things. She is very talented. She made these purple, modest, swimsuits for her and her daughters. I love Katelyn in hers and need to commission Kristy to make one for Abigail.

She also cuts hair, has a garden, and raises chickens and bees.

Abigail was very accommodating during her massage and sat quietly on the table in the massage room. Kristy said that Abigail was the calmest child she has ever massaged.
We loved visiting with them and think that they are so talented, see their website:

I had fun playing with the children while Kristy and Brian gave massages and dance core training, went on an impromptu date one night, and then to a Relief Society activity the next night. They watched Abigail for me one afternoon, they even took her to Seven Peaks with them, while Karolyn and I went to the Provo temple.  They also watched her for me every morning while I jogged around the neighborhood. It was a good three days, except for their crazy shower situation. They rent a nice home, but the shower was really just a bath tub with a short pressureless hose. I guess the landlords thought that was acceptable. I am impressed by Kristy and Brian's willingness to sacrifice some things that I think are necessitites. They are hard workers and are always doing their best. I wish the best for them.

Another highlight, which I am still mad I forgot to take any pictures of, was seeing our neighbors, the Stiles, from when I was growing up in Salem. They are the best neighbors and I never get to see or talk to them any more. When we moved to Salem their little girl was 18 months old. I rembmer babysitting her for years. I remember us pretending to be cats and hiding in laundry baskets. Now the Stiles have five almost grown up children and that eighteen month old is grown up, married, and has a new baby boy. She had her baby two days after we saw her for lunch.

They met me at a restaurant in Orem and we had a fun lunch catching up. The kids seemed pretty entertained by Abigail as she tends to show off when in public.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

On the Tenth Day of....

Karolyn and I arose this day, a Sunday, just in time to make it to Sacrament meeting in the ward building near Ken. The talks were well done and I appreciated the thoughts shared by a mom about listening to warnings and about taking the necessary precautions to protect your physical and your spiritual health. It is always a little bit more of a struggle to make it to church while on vacation, especially when it meant time that I could not spend with my brother. However, I was grateful that I had attended and I felt edified.

After church we headed out sight-seeing again and Ken took us around some very dry canyons and we tried to imagine what it might have been like to live here centuries ago. He took us to see some native american artwork as well as to some top secret goverment testing sites. This place is definitely a desert. One of my favorite parts was when we found a canyon that had a pretty strong echo. We all had fun shouting and then hearing our words repeated. We never saw any of the mountain sheep that are part of apparently a very large herd.

No more sunburn for me.

Abby thought she was in control of the vehicle for a minute. We were on a flat, dirt road in the middle of nowhere.

Old bridge, still pretty sturdy. The rock mountains remind me so much of Utah and of growing up visiting souther Utah.

We pretty much just drove around for hours enjoying the outdoors and looking at the scenery.

For lunch/dinner we ate our fish that we had caught the day before. Abby was so happy.

Ken works night shifts and sadly, we had to leave and head back to Provo on Sunday evening so he could head to work. We really enjoyed our stay with him. He was so hospitable. I miss seeing him and his boy, but I do not miss the dry, dry deserty sand.

I spent the night at Karolyn's apartment and Abby entertained herself with a box...for quite a long time.
"Mommy, I'm hiding...count and then find me."

She also colored in a coloring book and it was the first time that she had the patience to color an entire picture. Well done. Since then she has been coloring up a storm and is now trying to learn to color within the lines.