Sunday, June 3, 2018

Utah Trip Spring 2018: Part IV

Wednesday morning
Thursday morning
Friday morning
Friday afternoon
These pictures represent a large part of the reason why we moved out of Utah. It's difficult to acclimate to the weather there because it can change so drastically within a short period of time. It's very hard to plan outdoor activities when you never know what you're going to get, even in the spring. One year we visited in early March and had such beautiful sunny weather that my seasonal allergies kicked in. This year we visted in mid April and had two days of snow. I used to live about a mile away from the University of Utah campus, and I'd often walk to class all bundled up only to come home carrying my extra layers and wishing I was wearing shorts and a T-shirt. Sure we could visit in the summer when we know it will be warm, but then we trade our wonderful summers here for brutally hot temperatures where the kids don't even want to play outside because the playground equipment is scalding. One year we intentionally chose June so that they wouldn't yet be in the hottest part of the summer, but we had high 90's and 100+ degree temperatures all week long. I was looking forward to this trip because the weather report showed it'd be on average about 10 degrees warmer there than it was here. That was true only for the first half of the trip.

Needless to say, I was less than thrilled by the snow. The kids wanted to go out and play in it, which I let them do (see the footprints in the 2nd picture above), but they quickly realized that snow, while fun and beautiful, is also cold. Fortunately Utah does have something I wish we had more of - reasonably priced indoor play areas - so we took the kids out to play at High Jump in West Valley. It's similar to Pump it Up like we have in Washington, but with even more play equipment. This rock wall/slide combo was super cool.

They also had springfree trampolines and some Ninja Warrior like obstacles, including a warped wall. You can see it behind Allison in this picture of her on the spinning swing (which she could have happily stayed on all day long).

Allison was less interested in the inflatables at first, but she came around to them eventually.

This ladder Tyler is climbing is the most difficult one I've ever been on. I tried boosting Allison up on it but couldn't do it.

Allison preferred the smaller slides and inflatables. She would climb up the big ones but didn't want to slide down them without me.

Ty and I did this one above, first crashing into each other going opposite directions then going down together.

Allison liked just running back and forth on these flat ones. On the floor they do Zumba classes while your kids jump, which I would have totally taken advantage of if I'd known about it (we got there just as the class was ending). Next time!

After High Jump we went to Arctic Circle for lunch. I wish we had as many fast food joints with Playplaces as Utah does. I get really tired of McDonald's and Burger King food. At Arctic Circle I got to eat a Gyro and have my fries with fry sauce.

From there we went back to the house for naps and quiet time. Tyler loves these new Lego games that give him a new Lego every time he completes a level. Grandpa let him sit on his lap and responded excitedly everytime Tyler won a new prize.

The snow had melted in the afternoon, but it was still super cold. We took the kids to Boondocks for awhile before I took off for a Girl's Night. Allison ran into the prize area when it was opened.

Oscar took the kids shopping for ice cream while I ate delicious waffles and had a fun time catching up with Rachael, Rebecca, and Pam.

Rebecca dropped me home and gave me a foot and back rub while we stayed up talking until well after 11. She also took these sweet pics of me rocking Allison and singing to her when she didn't want to settle down for bed.

On Friday we'd planned on going to the first day of Thanksgiving Point's tulip festival in the morning, but the weather ruined my plans.

The weather report said the snow would melt by the afternoon, and Mike's kids have early dismissal on Friday, so we decided to wait on the Tulip Festival until we could go with them later. We ended up taking kids to Fashion Place hoping to rent a toy animal to ride around the mall, but apparently they don't open them up until later in the afternoon when school is out. The kids played on the machines for awhile, but there weren't very many of them, so it didn't last long.

From there we took them to the Lego store where they have a little play station. Tyler was giddy to discover a Duplo toilet. Mom picked the kids up these animal Duplos, which the kids both really like, expecially Allison. She often asks for her kitty Legos.

The snow melted, so we made it down to Ashton Gardens for the Tulip festival. Our Tulip Festival in Mount Vernon refers to two specific gardens that are only open while the tulips are in bloom, and all they have is Tulips. You could explore all of both gardens in about 30 minutes. There it just means the tulips are in bloom within their ENORMOUS gardens with some extra festivities that I didn't particularly care about (all we saw were food trucks). I wish I'd known that because I would have preferred to come here earlier in the week when we had more time and the weather was warmer.

We didn't actually see much in the way of tulips, but the gardens were great. I'll have to get back there again next time. Their manmade waterfall just blew me away.
Allison went running down the hill saying "waterfall! Waterfall!" She's definitely my child!
Cute kids rolling down the hill. Even Allison tried it, however awkwardly.

We spent about 90 minutes there, only leaving because we had William's show to attend that night. I really liked the Light of the World sculptures.

The woman taken in adultery and Jesus looking up to God, which Sophie and Oscar imitated.

Walking on water and the Woman at the well.

Allison found the Secret Garden and then walked right into the flowers. I barely snapped a pic before Oscar took her out.

 Italian fountains and the First Vision.

The kids all really liked feeding the fish. It didn't last too long since we only had a few quarters. I  should have bought the bag of food for $1 at the front desk.

All the kids liked playing in the big Danish clogs.

Awesome balloon butterflies and me looking cute with fake Tulips.

William was playing Merlin/ensemble in Camelot at Centerville theater, so we dropped the kids off with Marcus and Martha and had a fun night watching him before picking up a treat at Dairy Queen.

Oscar, Melissa, and Phillip all decided to run a 5K together on our last day, but I did not want to have to wrangle 2 kids in the cold while they were running. I stayed back with the kids and offered to watch Lily and Emma so Melissa's husband Matthew could run too.

Lily started crying at first when she was handed off to me, and Martha thought she should stay home with me, but I told her to go when Lily responded well to my singing. She calmed right down and was happy as long as I was holding her. If she got a little fussy, all I had to do was start singing. I couldn't put her down without her getting upset, so I ended up getting out the baby carrier and carrying her the whole time. It was a bit challenging to get the older ones breakfast and such while I had a baby on my chest, but I made it work. If I'd had her for a longer period of time I would have wrapped her and tried to figure out a way to put her down, but since it was only a few hours, I decided to just enjoy some auntie/niece bonding time.

Kids having fun running around the pole.

The book mess was actually made by Emma, not Allison. Oscar came back and said "this must have been Allison" since she does this kind of thing all the time at home.

The girls got to enjoy some Wagon time with Grandpa before we took off.

They zonked out pretty quickly for the first few hours of the drive.

After eating at a Mexican restaurant we found an awesome park in Mountain Home, ID

In addition to a great play structure, they also have this random Ginormous chair.
There was also this weird climbing thing. I don't have a clue what to call it.

The kids could have stayed there all day. We spent well over an hour there. Good thing we only needed to make it to Baker City that evening.

It took a bit of persuasion but eventually Allison went down the big tall slide.

Our motel had a cafe where we picked up dinner and were given coupons for a free breakfast the next morning. The kids really liked having hot chocolate with whipped cream and Tyler liked eating the jam packets.

Unfortunately we picked up a stowaway on our way back. Before leaving the motel I went to put the kids devices in the glove compartment and found a mouse. I closed the compartment and screamed. Oscar tried to find it but couldn't, though he could tell it had nibbled through his hat and a bag of goldfish we had in there. We tried to scare it off with loud noises, but we had no idea where it could be when it wasn't in the glove compartment. Oscar checked around the engine and everywhere else he could think of, and I checked the compartment several times along the drive, but we never saw it again. We found out the mouse had travelled back with us from the chewed up Kleenex Oscar found in the car before he went to work the next morning. The mouse was using it to make a nest in the glove compartment. Oscar bought traps on his lunch break and caught it that afternoon. I don't love the inhumanity of the trap (thrown in the garbage starving to death stuck in the trap), but we also didn't want to get mouse blood and guts all over our glove compartment from an instant kill trap, and we didn't want to put poison in the car just to have it die somewhere in the engine.