UTAH.

Utah.  It’s hot.  It’s sunny.  It’s dry and desert-y.  It’s stinking gorgeous.  But, I may not want to go back for a while.

I had never been out West.  I had never been much farther west than where we live right now.  Until we took a nearly impromptu family vacation to Moab last weekend.  The conditions weren’t quite right, but we thought we better go soon if we were going to go this summer.  I was itching for a camping trip; it was really still too cool to go here.  And, we’d neer been to Moab and really wanted to visit the national parks there…

We looked at the forecast and planned the trip.  Just as soon as we got everything in order: asking for time off, booking a campsite, etc., Will got some kind of stomach virus (the Monday before we were to leave Friday morning.)  Will, the strong-man that he is, didn’t let on how debilitating this virus was to his body.  He powered through, as he always does.  (Maybe, he can give birth to our next two children?)  So, not knowing how yucking his illness was, we continued on with our planning.

After stress building because of his recent illness (and my unknown onset) and a regretful argument the night before, we were on the road by 7 a.m. on Friday.  Woohoo.  May I count the plentiful reasons to leave so early!  Wowee.  It was the most wonderful car trip we have ever had.  It was perfect, really.  The kids had breakfast in the car, “read” 20 books a piece, had more snacks and sang songs, and all of a sudden we were half-way.  We stopped at a park for a super-early picnic lunch (10:45).  After letting them run their energy off, they sacked out in the car right as we crossed the UT border.  We made it by 2:00!  It’s like 430 miles!  Anyway, great trip over.  We were able to set up tent, get some ice cream and head into the park for a little sight-seeing, all well before dark.

Dark.  That’s where things turned evil.  In the night, Abby kept waking up making these wretching sounds–like dry heaving.  She never cried for me to get her up, but the wretching was awfully disturbing.  She had had diarrhea that evening.  It got me to thinking about my own constitution.  Queezy.  I tried not to think about it.  Only imagining it, right?  By the time morning came, my belly was not in the mood for a 7 a.m., 5-mile desert hike.  In fact, my belly was only in the mood for diarrhea and vomiting for the next 12 hours.

After crapping my guts out in the camp bathroom about 30 different times,  my body ached and my fever got up to 101.4.  Since we were camping and the forecast now told us the highs were around 99 for the next two days, we thought we had better pack it up and head home before things got worse.  At 11 a.m. Will miraculously got the tent packed up, and we headed out.  He was such a trooper that day.  You can imagine that we had to stop a few times on the 430 mile drive back home… It was rough.  I’m not gonna lie.  We all napped, though.  A LOT!  I was basically asleep the whole time.  My girls were so wonderful.  They could tell I was miserable, and the minimal amount of whining and crying can only be attributed to a gracious God.  We made it home, and now have the stories, the memories, and the pictures…

YAY!  Pictures.  Here’s a few fun pictures of what we did get to see during our VERY short trip to Utah.

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returning from vacation

I’ve been dreading finally giving a thorough update of our vacation… dreading, because well, it’s over… and, life is back to “normal.”  And, normal is tiring lately.  Our vacation was so wonderful and relaxing that “back to normal” is like a slap in the face.  I guess, it doesn’t help that Sophia’s been ill…  She’s much better now–back to her screaming, tantrumming, sweet, lovely 14-month-old self.  😉  I was thinking, just moments earlier, my elbows deep in dishwater, how I’m determined to learn how to do dishes while Sophia is awake. I need naptimes for things like 1)sanity, 2)my own napping, or 3)something I want to do… not dishes, right?  I digress.

The tone of this post so far seems to speak to my current mood.  It’s been a hard couple days.  The glorious naps she was taking right after vacation are dwindling back from 2 hours to the 30 minute range… Argh!  Yesterday, after a diarrhea explosion in the kitchen, I found myself on my hands and knees scrubbing the most disgusting kitchen floor.  Note: citrus juices should not be given to young toddlers. By the way, can someone give me some tips on how to fit in the EXTRA cleaning into a routine?!  How am I ever suppose to have time to clean the kitchen floor, or say the bathroom or any parts there within, when all I can seem to do during the day is pick up the disaster that was left behind by my 14-month old tornado?!

Back to my train of thought: dishes.  I was thinking about vacation and how it spoiled me.  It was a glorious 2 weeks!  I had 3 EXTRA sets of arms and legs and hands to help with EVERYTHING!  Dirty dishes is what sticks out the most in my mind.  Our friends were so lovely that I barely washed a single dish in 14 days!  They were the most wonderful guests you could imagine.  They helped with everything including nonstop baby-entertaining.  They’re the most wonderfully gracious friends.  Will was in charge of putting Sophia to bed and getting her up; so, I didn’t do that either!  I slept in some mornings until 9:30!  SAY WHAT!?  Who knew it was possible!  Thank you, husby!  You are the best.  Back to reality, though: the dishes pile up, meal after meal, and I have this new need to keep the kitchen clean all day.  (By the way we have the suckiest external dishwasher known to man!  They come out dirtier than they went in!)

So, our vacation was just that: a REAL vacation.  I think it was for each of us.  Will had a wonderful time relaxing, spending time with our friends and spending time with us, but I was also able to rest and have a break from MY norm–which is a real blessing considering “a mom’s job is never done.”

With that in mind, let me try to be thankful as I tell you about the rest.  😉  Colorado was amazing!  The weather was perfect, highs in the low 70s.  Warm sun, cool evenings.  It even got down to near freezing temperatures late into the night!  Ah, the glorious mountains.  Camping was great.  We cooked a lot outside.  Sophia played in the dirt and grass and practiced walking–all of which she LOVED!  She slept well in the tent at night, and we tried to do naps during car rides during the day.  We went on some fun hikes while we were there.  Mom got seriously tuckered out with pregnancy fatigue and altitude sickness, but rest helped a lot.  I was sad to see how much less I could do than I thought I could…

The lowlight of our trip was probably the first day we were there.  We went on a 4.5 mile hike in which in rained and hailed on us for at least half of it… Of course, it was the second half; so we weren’t physically prepared for it.  Mountain weather–love it and hate it!

Here’s just a couple of pictures of our time there.

busy times

This morning I was nursing Sophia and I thought about how old she is.  It occurred to me that 13 months have already passed, and I’ve still been saying “one year.”  The thought really surprised me.  Is this how it’s going to be?  Months tick away and I often forget her months-age?  Oh well.  We’ve been super busy lately.  My mom came for a visit this weekend which was great.  She treated me to some new clothes–yup, I’m officially in maternity pants (insert sarcastic woot).  And, Sunday we had a pitifully sad day of teething…but, Sophia now has both front teeth and is on her way to a less goofy smile.  😉

So, right now we are anxiously preparing for and awaiting the arrival of a few Czech friends of ours who are coming to visit–a married couple that we’ve become great friends with.

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They fly in on Wednesday evening and are staying about two weeks.  We’re so excited to see them and spend time with them!  We’re planning to take them camping in Colorado for 5 nights!  We leave Friday morning.  Woah!  The five of us.  Yes, we’re taking the baby.  And, we are pumped!  There’s a lot of preparation to do, though.  I’ve been precooking meals, cleaning, washing, shopping, list-making and organizing.

Two things scare me about this trip: 1) a one-year-old in the car, trapped in her carseat for an 8-hour drive… and 2) naps in the tent during the day…  We WILL SEE!  Does anyone have any travel tips for one-year-olds?  We’re thinking of hanging a sheet around her in the car somehow so that she can nap… We haven’t figured out how that’ll work, though…  My hope is that she’ll be on her best behavior with new faces around…

100_5675 We’re practicing for the new baby.  Isn’t that sweet?