Friday, August 31, 2012

friends friends and family

Sometimes when we go back to Utah to visit, I feel a little overwhelmed. There are always so many people I want to see and never enough time to see them all. But this trip, since we were there for more than three weeks, I feel like we got a chance to see so many more people than usual. There were still plenty that we missed, but it was fun to see so many friends and family members from all different times of my life without feeling stressed or rushed. Just good, quality time, picking up where we left off. 

First order of business: Megan and Bethany. Two of my very best high school friends. We sang ourselves silly together for three years. Megan was my salvation and Bethany introduced me to the Wendy's Frosty - that is true friendship. Meg now has three of her own little beauties {a brunette, a blonde and a it!} and Bethany had her first just 8 short days after I had Kate. We think their meeting was love at first sight. It was so good to catch up with both of them.

The Jones family lived in New Hampshire for the past six years while the man of their house was finishing his residency. When I grow up, I want to be Elissa Jones. She is hands down one of my very favorite people in this entire world, has one of the most angelic voices you have ever heard and is basically an angel herself. She was so welcoming when I moved here and I will be forever grateful for that. Her kids are a hoot - all four of them. We missed seeing Miss J, but had tons of fun running around in the fountains with Miss A, Mr. A {a former piano student} and studly Mr. G. They just moved to Idaho for a real job and happened to be in Utah for the day. Hooray!
Scott and I met my cousin Alex and my aunt Karen at a delicious bakery downtown. It had honestly been years since I had seen either of them {which is waaaaaaay too long} and wish the entire crew could have come! It was wonderful to catch up.
Ah, Danielle. We met in Provo when we were both newlyweds. She was one of my first running inspirations and we spent a summer walking to BYU's pool in the early morning to swim laps when we were both pregnant. Danielle is one of the most genuine people I have ever met. She is fun and funny and classy and smart and beautiful and fit and hardworking get the gist. We played in her backyard for a few hours with her three darling little girls {the oldest is Leah's age and the youngest is two weeks younger than Kate!}.
The Tyler girls are another of our New Hampshire favs. The week I moved here, Missy was toting Leah and I around in her car, showing us all the fun parks and taking us apple picking. They just moved to Utah for one year while her husband does his Intern year before he starts his ophthalmology residency in Texas. She is one of the most resourceful, creative, stylish, outgoing people I have ever met. And her two sweet girls are a hoot! Miss C was one of Leah's favorites and Miss S just kills me with her cuteness. Tyler girl #3 is on her way and I can't wait to meet her! We spent a really fun morning at the Church History Museum in their new kid's play area flemnco dancing, drawing, building and pretending.
Miss Kim was one of my college roommates. You can see a picture of her foot below. Living with Kim for a year was a humbling experience as she is one of the most giving, aware and selfless people I've ever met. She was in cahoots with Ryan the night he proposed and she helped set the whole thing up. The two cuties flanking Leah are her little girls. Miss N just started Kindergarten just like Leah and Miss S and her curly locks could just steal the show. Kim says she's a Ute and tried to decorate our shared room that way {images of Tim Frost still make me dry heave}, but obviously she enrolled at the school that shows her true colors.
Probably my favorite meeting of friends is shown in the picture below. The lovely woman on the right is my mom. The two on the left are two of her dearest friends from when we lived in West Jordan twenty years ago. We were wandering through the booths at Swiss Days the day before I left when I happened to look up and see Suzie {center}. I had to do a double take as it had been many, many years since I'd seen her. Then moments later I saw JoAnn {left} and honestly wanted to cry. I have SO many fond memories that include these two and it's funny to think back on them as these three were just starting out with their families and were probably about my age or younger when I met them. Such a wonderful surprise.
I also was lucky enough to meet up with my dear friend Rachel from California who was on a family vacation in Utah. We didn't get a picture, which is really out of character for us, but I was able to meet her sweet new Mr. D {who is every bit as handsome as his two older brothers, but with blonde hair!?}. We chatted about our kids, our husbands, our friends and our lives. We laughed until we cried, which is totally in character for us. Rach really got me through a few rough years and I am so lucky to know her.

grandma and grandpa hauley

During our three week stay, we spent most of our time at Grandma and Grandpa Hauley's house. My mom took some time off work the first week so we could all play. And Richard is now retired, so his schedule is a little more flexible. They are two of the busiest people I know but they both made sure to spend a lot of time with Kate and Leah. Richard especially took a liking to Leah and it was fun to see them play together. 

Their backyard is a haven and we spent a lot of time running, swinging, bouncing, playing and sitting on the beautiful Utah grass. We ate fresh peaches from their trees, played the piano together, cooked dinners together and hit up KFC's senior night. And more than once, I woke to my mom playing with Leah and/or Kate or Richard in the office with Leah perched on his knee so I could get a few minutes of extra sleep. We also got to see all of the cousins!!

Here is our stay at Hotel Hauley in pictures. 

grandma and grandpa layton

Although we spent our nights at Grandma and Grandpa Hauley's, we spent some good, quality time at the Layton's house. The girls ate good food, played with fun toys, read good books, took wonderful naps and snuggled big time. Here is a smattering of pictures to prove it. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

There's no place like Provo

A trip to Utah wouldn't be complete without heading down to Provo. We visited old friends and coworkers at BYU. I even had lunch with some of my now-grown-up young women from CA! We spent time walking around the beautiful grounds {it's no wonder they win awards!}.

 We headed down to Government Information to the carrel where it all began.
We toured the new addition to the Tanner building where we taught Leah how to drink out of a fountain. All in good time. 
We toured the Gordon B. Hinckley building where we learned the Laytons make up .09% of the alumni in New Hampshire. I'm pretty sure we know at least 75% of the others.
 We were entertained by Kate and her skills.
 We learned that 115 Shipp Hall is no more. Sigh.
 And we bought some new shirts to sport throughout the year.
The next day we headed down for the BYU-Washington State game. It poured rain on the way down, so we got to see a double rainbow and we got to stand in ridiculous lines to buy overpriced ponchos.
Our cougs won 30-6 and I had a great time singing the entire fight song at the top of my lungs every time we scored. I think I was one of three people in my section who knew it. Ryan may or may not have been embarrassed. I may or may not have cared. Gooooooooooooooo cougars!
 Nothing beats the feeling of actually being at a game - my first in eight years!
There's no place like Provo.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

My little fishies

A highlight of our trip to Utah was just spending unhurried, unplanned time with family. My oldest brother lives there with his wife and two darling kids and we had so much fun swimming at their house, watching movies and having pizza parties. They were very gracious hosts and it was fun to get to spend so much time with them.

Poor Leah was a fish in her former life and moving to New Hampshire has not been good for that. We have a great community pool in the area, but I couldn't get in the water all summer, so we never went. So while we were in Utah, we took advantage and went swimming probably four or five times. Sorry in advance for the disproportionate amount of pictures of Kate. But she holds still.

The first time was Kate's first time actually swimming. 

And, she hated it. 

And then she got over it. 

And then grandma rescued her and they went and made faces at each other on the grass {eerily similar to the faces Leah and Grandma made with each other 5.5 years ago}. 

Leah graced me with her presence a few times {look at those lashes!}...

...but made it clear that her pool favorite was Aunt Marisha. 

Near the end of our trip, Ryan was able to join us in our water adventures. Again, it's obvious that our girls prefer him to me. But I don't mind because it allows me to step back and capture the moment.

Love these fishies of mine.