Over the past five-ish weeks, we have logged over 3,000 miles on the van. It's been a journey! This semester has been kind of tough with Paul working 4 ten hour days a week, and then putting in over 20 hours a week on group projects and papers. We haven't seen much of him. And, we were getting a little stir crazy in need of a change of scenery and adventure! So, we took off after class on Friday, April 12th for Utah to visit my family. Paul drove with me, spent the weekend with us, and then flew back to Tucson on Tuesday. We spent a night in Vegas so he could catch his early morning flight. I don't think we'll be staying on the strip anytime soon! We're not big crowd people...;) Before we left, we had the oil changed in the van. The mechanic told us that the noise in the van was from a bearing. This noise had been going on since we got the van, so I was somewhat skeptical. We had just gotten new tires before our drive in December and no one had mentioned anything about a bearing. But, Paul wanted me to get it checked out before I drove to Oklahoma a few weeks later. So, on my way back from Vegas, I took the van to the Toyota dealership in St. George to have it looked at. Sure enough, it was a bearing and they couldn't get the part in until the end of the week. It then snowed...! I had to buy socks for the kids so they could play outside that week. So, my mom, the kids, and I drove down to St. George early one day, dropped the van off, got taken to a park near the St. George Temple and waited. It wasn't so bad. The weather was nice and cool and the kids played a lot. We walked to the Temple where the shuttle met us after the car was done. The van is much quieter! I remember taking the test drive before we bought it and the salesman saying the Siennas were really quiet. I thought, "This is almost as loud as the Neon, and it's a lot older." They really are quiet vans! I don't know how much I like it. I can now hear the whining and complaining much better...;) We spent the next few weeks playing in Grandma and Grandpa's backyard, going to Uncles' soccer games, and exploring the playroom. We drove by the site where the Cedar City Temple will be built at least twice a day! It's literally less than a quarter mile from my parents' house!
We headed upto Eagle Mountain to visit my sister and her kids for a few days before we met up with Paul's parents to head to Oklahoma. The kids had so much fun with their cousins! They really need to come down and visit for Thanksgiving! (Arianne!) We also met up with one of my closest friends and kids in the Lone Peak area. We had fun at the park and catching up! We need to do that more often! We also got to see Uncle Blair for 8 minutes while he coached his basketball team from Rock Springs, WY, and ate pizza with Great Grandma Crimin. We sure miss living close to family!
Paul's parents were in Utah for Aunt Jenny, Aunt Sarah, and Uncle Zak's graduation from BYU. We met up with them early (4am) on Saturday, April 27th (Elin's birthday and our 6th Anniversary) to drive 18 hours to Oklahoma. How grateful I am for wonderful in-laws who drove and cared for the kids as we caravaned to Oklahoma. The kids are pretty good travelers! Elin decided to potty-train a week before our travels, and she did really well in the car! We had a few moments of sadness and anxiety, but who can blame them?!? 18 hours in a carseat would drive anyone nuts!
We made it! After a short detour to our destination, we made it to Oklahoma! We were able to spend time with Aunt Kathleen and Uncle Bryce and the boys, Aunt Jessica and the kids, Aunt Jenny, and Aunt Sarah. It was a full house and lots of fun with 11 nine years old and under! The weather got a little chilly for a few days, but it brightened up for park days! Paul flew in late Friday night (May 3rd). We celebrated his birthday and Elin's birthday the next day with Finnigan Bear Cake and Bluebell ice cream. It was so good to finally be all together! 18 days is a long time!
After Church on Sunday, Paul and I headed to Branson, MO for a week long get away. My aunt set it up for us about six months ago, and it was perfect! We are so grateful to Grandma Gloria and Aunt Julie. It was fantastic. We stayed at a resort with our own little cottage near the lake. We slept in, went running, went shopping, went on walks, did a river tour, took naps, ate out, went to the Kansas City temple for a day, went to Silver Dollar City, and watched a movie. It was a much needed break! The kids also enjoyed themselves with Grandma, Grandpa and Aunt Jenny. They went to the Tulsa Zoo, went to the park, rode rides at the Kiddie Park, pulled weeds, and probably made plenty of messes. They also had Grandpa push them on the swing every night after work! I don't really think they even missed us! We are so grateful to them for giving us an opportunity to be a couple.
We drove back Saturday night. We attended Church with Paul's parents and spent the day visiting with his Grandma Kay, and Aunt Julie and Uncle Ryan. The kids love their horses and puppy! They haven't stopped talking about Lady Bell and the horses! We left early (4am) on Monday morning and drove home. It was good to be home! I didn't take too many pictures. I'm still trying to figure out my new camera and I didn't think much about my phone...Sorry :/