I can’t believe it’s been a whole week since we came home from our big trip out west. We had been looking forward to this trip for years…..and now it’s over. Thankfully we captured it with plenty of pictures.
This year the Shumway family reunion took place in Disneyland. Yes, my in-laws spoiled us rotten by treating us to a four day Disneyland vacation. The kids have been talking about and anticipating Disneyland for months and months. I read somewhere that a lot of happiness comes merely from anticipating something. We have been giddy for months thinking about this trip. Since the kids were out of school and we were traveling across the country, we decided to milk that plane ticket for all it was worth and stay a full two weeks out west, visiting family and having some of our own little family time. It was dreamy. One of the things the kids looked forward to the most was flying on an airplane. Charlie sat here by the window watching all the airport happenings for a full hour….he had everything figured out by the time we got on the plane.
The kids were great on the flight….Emmeline of course had her moments, and it is certainly not fun changing a squirmy one year old on an airplane with no changing table…..but we survived. The super cool pilot even let the kids sit in the cockpit once we had landed. Charlie thought he had died and gone to heaven. We landed in Las Vegas and rented a car. After a trip to In-N-Out burger (YUMMY!) the kids conked out and we drove two hours north to stay with my sister Saren and her family in St. George Utah. St. George was a dream. The weather was in the low 60s and sunny the whole time we were there. I couldn’t believe it was February. It felt so wonderful to thaw, to feel the sun on my face, to wake up.
I had forgotten how much I love the dessert. It is beautiful, especially this time of year. Red and aqua and that shocking blue sky. Saren and Jared live right outside of Snow Cannon. We went on hikes and bike rides every day and got our kids in shape for all the walking at Disneyland. I was shocked at what wimps they were at first especially compared to the Loosli kids who can do pull ups by the age of 1. They both had quite a few melt downs at first, and we really had to whip them into shape, but they eventually got into it and had a lot of fun.
In my opinion, this is exactly what February should be like and exactly what childhood should consist of: Hikes every day, cool breezes, bright sun. I can’t believe how much I love being outside in Nature. It is soul soothing. Oh, it made me happy. On Valentines Day we went on a hike to this place with lots of little rock caves. The kids were all obsessed with making little “houses” out of different crevasses and caves. Ashton and Hazel spent quite a while trying to sweep the floor of their cave clean, finally they realized that they weren’t going to get rid of all the sand and dust. It was so fun to talk with Saren and Jared and watch the kids be so creative and so into that amazing natural playground. All little Emmeilne wanted to do was practice walking on all the uneven ground. Somehow she loved it even though she feel over and burst into tears every two minutes. Charlie loved spending time with all his cool big boy cousins. There is something so awesome about watching your kids bond with your siblings children. I so wish we lived closer. Hazel and Eliza were little bosom buddies. Hazel LOVES girls just a tad bit older than her, and she’s obsessively jealous that Eliza is loosing her teeth. Here are the “decorations” that Ashton and Hazel found for their cave house. I love the beauty children see that adults often overlook.
One of my favorite hikes was called slot cannon and was a lot like Zion’s narrows. There were some pretty treacherous parts, but it just added to the adventure of it all….and it was breathtakingly beautiful.
Emmeline could not stand just watching in her little backpack as the big kids all ran and jumped in streams and puddles. Finally we stripped her down and let her have her way. She was freezing, but content and curious and satisfied as ever (and warm on the way home as opposed to the other kids who all got their shoes and socks and clothes all wet and muddy. I love it that kids don’t care a bit about that, as long as they were able to have their spontaneous delight). My mom and dad and Uncle Jo drove down from Salt Lake to surprise us. It was so nice to really talk and enjoy each other and to see all those grandkids together. I think Charlie loves Uncle Jo more than he love anyone in the world. He and Jo have a special little bond that make me so happy. I love how content he is in the picture above when he has Jo’s undivided attention, and how grumpy he looks in the picture below when he has to share his beloved Jo with his cousins. I love my siblings. They are my favorite people in the world. And I love how much they love my kids.
Saren and Jared took such great care of us while we were there. Jared is easily the most helpful guy ever (aside from you of course Jeff dear). And Saren is remarkably good at taking care of people, always has been. I’m so glad she came first to our family, she is always taking care of all of us. It was so fun to be in her house and see how her family runs. I have so much respect for her as a mother. Her children are all so kind and polite and smart. They get up in the morning and do their chores without even being asked….I was amazed. Will that ever happen in my house?
Oh how I want to spend time in St. George every February. Anyone want to do a house swap? Boston is lovely this time of year.