a little family time

I hope you don’t mind if I take a break from posting about Europe for a minute to post some pictures of adorable kids. My sister came to visit from Colorado last week. It was the first time they made the drive, and it was very exciting to have them come for just a weekend. For the past several years, we’ve had to make do with bi-annual visits at Christmas and in the summer. Now that they’re so close, we’re hoping for lots more of these long weekends.

We decided to spend our Saturday up in Cache Valley visiting with some of our cousins. My mom and I drove up with Amanda (and these kids bundled in the back seat of the van)…

while Mikey followed us on his bullet bike. We didn’t envy him driving through the canyon in the cold, but otherwise it was a beautiful drive up. It was great to catch up with my aunt and uncle and cousins. Meanwhile, the kids were out playing with their … what would it be … second cousins? I guess cousins are cousins. I loved seeing them all getting along and playing on the same swingset I used to play on with my own cousins.

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They came over again on Monday for a big family dinner. Liam tried on Mikey’s Finn (from AdventureTime) costume.

It was a little hard for Liam to share all the toys he’s used to having to himself.

I was excited to spend a little more time with Molly. She’s grown since I last saw her and her cheeks are getting fuller.

Penny Lane helped me keep her entertained.

And Izzy and Matt finally got to meet Molly for the first time.

It was a quick trip, but I’m so glad they made the drive.

(Back to Europe pictures tomorrow.)

Brigham City and Cache Valley

You might remember from a recent Mobile Monday post that my mom and I met up with Mike, Amanda, and the kids in Logan on their way back from Idaho. We were running ahead of time, so when we passed through Brigham City and saw the new temple being constructed, we thought we’d take a little side trip and check it out. From the highway, it looks very far along, and I had just read a friend’s blog post about taking her kids to view the placing of the Angel Moroni. I assumed that would be one of the final tasks at the completion of the temple, so I was a little surprised to see that while the exterior is far along, it doesn’t look like any of the interior has been completed. Still, it’s a beautiful temple.

Right across the street is the Box Elder Tabernacle, which was open for tours, so we decided to peak inside for a bit.

We still had some extra time, so my mom and I went grave-finding in Hyde Park. We came across the grave for my great-great-grandparents. I found out from one of my cousins later that night that my great-great-grandpa carved the spiral staircase for the Logan Temple. Hey, my ancestors were pioneers! I always forget about that. I feel like I don’t know any pioneer stories about my family. For some reason, despite loving stories and the past, I have never taken an interest in pioneer stories. I really don’t know why. It seems like I would. Anyway, we finally met up with the Nicholases at a nearby park to have a picnic dinner before heading up to the farm. As soon as we parked, Penny Lane and Peter ran for the tractor.

I didn’t end up taking very many pictures during the visit because I was too busy visiting, but I had to pull out the camera for just a few shots. I couldn’t pass up the golden fields at the edge of my aunt’s yard. In fact, I’m a little disappointed that I failed to capture how golden it was.

And here’s the view from their deck.

It was such a perfect summer night. It was even worth the 40 mosquito bites I got on my feet that only itched when I was falling asleep.

Cache Valley

I was so excited to drive up to Cache Valley during my visit to Utah. I just love it there, and I haven’t been able to visit for several years. I would have liked to spend more time, but our visit was brief. Since my mom came, we went more on a family tour of Cache Valley than a Katie Armstrong – the College Years tour. But I still got to see some of my favorite things.

One of those is simply just the drive into Cache Valley through Sardine Canyon. Ever since I was a little kid and we would drive up on Sunday afternoons, I have loved this one particular spot of the canyon.

And when I was older and drove myself, I loved the bend in the road right as you come out of the canyon.

We took a different route than I was used to in order to drive through the little town of Hyrum. This is where my grandparents were born just after the turn of the century. I had never taken this road before. And that was a total waste because it’s a beautiful road.

My mom navigated us to her grandparent’s house based completely on memory. She told me about how her mom would have to walk down the hill to get eggs. I really liked that story, and hearing it as we drove down the very hill made it feel very near. Here’s my great-grandpa’s house.

My mom would always tell me about the fruit trees. Mom also guided us to the Hyrum Cemetery, where her family is buried. Their spot overlooks the whole valley – a lovely resting spot.

And apparently, this is where my grandma would go and dance the night away.

Have I mentioned how much I loved the grass in Utah?

I know it seems strange, but I always walked on it tentatively until I remembered that I didn’t have to worry about fire ants. It was just thick and cool and so green. I miss barefoot summers.

I took my mom up to campus and showed her all of the changes. I love that we both went to the same university and that her Family Life building and my English building are right next to each other. And we both worked in Old Main.

The view from Old Main Hill:

We had just finished driving around campus when Matt and Izzy called to let us know they were in town and we went to my Aunt’s house, as previously blogged. Like I said, I really wish I could have spent more time in Logan. I loved my three years there. It’s always great to go back for a visit.

Extended Family

During my trip to Utah (which seems a long time ago now, but I have so many pictures I still want to post), we took advantage of a beautiful Sunday afternoon and drove up to Cache Valley.  I went for a couple of reasons, but one very in particular one was to visit with my Aunt Kathy, Uncle Thad and their whole crew.  It had been many years since we had all met up together.  Back in the day, this family were our closest of our extended relatives.  My aunt and uncle had kids about our age, so we visited often and would spend weeks during the summer at each other’s houses.  My BCF (Best Cousin Forever, of course!) is Laura.  Since the last time I saw her, she has two kids!  And she wasn’t the only one.  My cousins had a whole houseful of grandkids.  It was so much fun to see everyone!  I had intended to take lots of pictures, but I was shy whipping out the camera at first.  Plus, there was so much going on, it would have been impossible to enjoy my visit and take pictures at the same time.  Once the crowd thinned out a little, I did take some pictures.  Mostly because I couldn’t resist the way Liam was lounging in his mom’s arms and their cute interactions

I was a little too far away to hear the story my Aunt Kathy was telling Isabelle, but it looks like an awesome one.

This is my Uncle Thad, my mom’s oldest brother.

And here’s a super close up (thanks to my 50 mm lens, which is a little too close for me sometimes) of my BCF, Laura.

And with her sweet baby, Maile, who is only 3 months.

When I was growing up, my grandma used to live down the lane from my cousins. She passed away 10 years ago, and another man took over her house when he took over the farm. Along with a lot of other changes, he started raising llamas. Claire really wanted to see them, so we went for a walk.

I pointed out to her all of the places we used to visit as a child and told her stories about them. I loved being able to pass on part of my youth, but it also made feel really old.