Doug was off on the first day of school for the first time ever, then we got to spend the day together. He's always been at work when they start school, so he was here to have morning prayer, see the kids all dressed in their new clothes and to witness their excitement about going back to school. This year was a bit different in our new home because they didn't just head out the door. We drive them to the bus stop in North Logan, since we actually live in the Logan city limits and are in a different school district. We drive them to the nearest bus stop that will get them to the county schools. Everything about it felt different. But, the enthusiasm was there for everyone!
After getting the kids out the door, we hottubbed, then started getting ready for the road trip that ZJ and I had planned to visit Liza and her family in their new home in St. George, UTAH!!!! So excited! Doug and I went for lunch, ran a few errands, then came home and he loaded the car with things for Liza and Buddy, including a desk and three saddle style bar stools. The car was full!
The kids came in from their first day, all very excited, telling Doug and I all about their classes, reunions, expectations for the new school year! We visited for about an hour, said a family prayer and then goodbye! ZJ and I pulled out of the driveway at about 4 in the afternoon. I'm not sure who was more excited. We took a stack of our favorite CDs, lots of munchies and a lot of anticipation! Other than an hour of stop and go traffic in SLC, which took an hour to go less than ten miles, we made great time and had a fun trip down!
We arrived in St. George at about 10:15. Sadly, Aylabelle was already in bed. We had a good visit, got situated and visited until almost 1AM. Liza's new townhouse is lovely. It still had a ton of boxes to be emptied, which was why we went down... to help her unpack. We didn't end up doing a lot of unpacking but we had a great visit together.
When Miss Aylabelle woke up on Friday morning, oh, my! She was so excited to see us there. Again, I'm so thankful for Facetime and the fact that we can live apart and still be familiar faces. She instantly gave us loves and hugs and giggles. There are no words... I adore this baby! Being around her for five minutes is evidence that she has an amazing mommy. She is so independent and does so many things on her own. Liza just walks her through everything and allows her to experience so much. I've never seen this kind of parenting, but it's definitely paying off. I'm in awe. Watching Liza get ready in the morning, Aylabelle mimics her every move. As Liza started to put in her contacts, Aylabelle pretended to put the solution on her fingertips, then put in her own contacts. She mimics putting on her makeup as Liza does. It's fascinating. Aylabelle has her own little kitchen and, honestly, I think she could cook a meal! She helps Liza do everything. Liza says everything takes three times as long, but she feels it's worth it because Aylabelle is learning so much.
I love hearing her talk. She has her mommy's manners with lots of thank yous, excuse mes, sorry and pleases. Really, she's amazing. I can't believe she is going to be 2 in October!
ANYWAY... Friday, we met Buddy for lunch at the Habit, a great burger place. We called my mom and invited her to join us. It was the first time that I've seen Mom since Aylabelle's baby blessing. We enjoyed a nice visit, then took Aylabelle home for a nap. Mom invited us over for lasagna dinner that evening. After dinner, we took some photos, visited some and then headed back to Liza and Buddy's and unpacked several boxes in their upstairs. It was a latenight with more talk and visiting.
Here's the first 4-generation photo with Aylabelle and my mom. It was our first ti`me ever being together. Mom had met Aylabelle as Liza and Buddy drove home last year, they spend the night. But, we'd not all been together yet. So, this was exciting to be together for that alone! Buddy took a few with the camera and a few with the iPad. We weren't sure who was more difficult to photograph, Mom or Aylabelle. Mom would not stop talking long enough to look at the camera!
Saturday, the girls and I went shopping. ZJ was hoping to do more school clothes shopping and found a few items. I was touched that she was most excited about something she found for Grace than what she found for herself. We went to Taipan for a bit and found a really fun piece for a nook in Liza's new townhouse. I was excited to see her excitement about her gift! I forgot to take a picture of it! We decided to grab a bite for lunch at Wingers and I called my mom called to see what she was doing. She happened to be shopping nearby, so she joined us for lunch, then Buddy called and decided to meet us too. We visited a bit more after we ate and took a few more pictures outside. That was goodbye to Mom because we were, at that point, still deciding whether or not to leave Saturday night and try to be home on Sunday for church or to leave Sunday and get home when everyone here was getting home from church. I was pretty tired and not looking forward to the drive home, so we opted for Sunday (and I was so glad. I was fighting sleep on the way home. Thankfully, we brought some grapes and some good music to sing along too and keep awake!
After lunch and telling Mom goodbye, Buddy did his thing and the girls all hit the pool for the afternoon. Liza's townhouse is in a large complex and somehow, they lucked out and ended up at the closest location, near the pool, possible. Wonderful! They'd already attended church in their new ward on the morning after they arrived, and loved the ward instantly. Great home, great ward, great location... I think that they will be happy there! And I'm slightly happy at the potential of lots of pool time with my girls in the future! Aylabelle loved the pool!
I'd seen a recipe that I'd been dying to try, so we made a crock pot dinner earlier in the day. After swimming, a fabulous (I'll definitely share the recipe!!!) dinner was ready and we enjoyed our last night with a great meal, tons of Scattergories and some YouTube surfing for music that we all loved. We stayed up very late, not wanting our time together to end, but excited to know that it will be much more frequent now that we are so much closer to each other!
Sunday morning, Buddy loaded the car for us, we had some more loves from Little Miss A, said our goodbyes and were on our way... and I didn't even cry! Seriously, I could not be more thrilled about having them live so much closer. Zee and I had a quiet and uneventful, thankfully, trip home. We were home by 4 in the afternoon, about the same time that everyone came in from church and meetings, leaving us all afternoon and evening for plenty of family time on Sunday evening.
Driving south is a breeze! Driving home is sloooowwwwww. But, it was awesome to spend the time with Zee, as well as Liza and her fam. We sang together, talked a ton, laughed a lot, munched and people watched as we drove. It was definitely a fun experience together and will be something that happens again, for certain... one on one road trips with the kids could be a new tradition.
A few more pixs from the trip...
Aylabelle played for half and hour, like she was going to sleep, fake snoring, then waking up. Oh, this baby! I couldn't love her more!
She really is a joy to be around!
Lunch at the Habit.
Mom and Zeej...
It was a lovely trip! I'm counting the minutes until the next one! Ironically, last week, I had three invitations from friends/family who were heading to St. George for various reasons. I think that I'll be able to get down there much more than originally thought! HAPPINESS!!!
Life is good!