Friday, September 26, 2008

Leave

Ben got home for his ~2 week leave from Afghanistan on Wednesday, Sept. 17th. We had a wonderful 15 days together before he had to fly back this morning to finish his deployment. We expect to see each other again in about 5 months.

We spent the first 5 days of our "vacation" at a ski resort condo in Park City where we mostly just enjoyed being together as a family again. One of those evenings we went to the Alpine Slides/Coaster with some family and friends (we highly recommend the coaster!) and we went to the BYU vs UCLA football game on my birthday. GO COUGS! For those who may not know we beat them 59-0. It was awesome. Paige spent that day with Jill and Quinn and had a blast while Ben and I went to the game and then out to birthday dinner at Bombay House in Provo and birthday dessert at Red Mango. I had never left Paige with someone else for that long before (8 hours) and was so relieved that it went well. Thanks, Jill!

After that we headed down to St. George for a couple of days where we stayed at my parents' house. Paige got an ear infection so we spent some time at the doctor on Tuesday and that night we saw Les Miserables at Tuacahn. It was so great. If you get the chance, go see it before it's too late!

The next day we went to Vegas and stayed at the MGM Grand. We took Paige to dinner at Rainforest Cafe the first night (over priced, yucky food, but kind of fun - Paige liked the animals) . The next day we shopped at the outlets and that night Paige stayed overnight at my sister's while Ben and I ate at Emeril's, saw Ka (a cirque du soleil show) and walked down the strip to the Bellagio to see the water show and the blown glass ceiling in the lobby. Paige didn't even notice we weren't around; she had so much fun playing with her cousins and their dog. Thanks, Amber!
We had a really good time - Vegas is enjoyable in small doses like that.

After that it was off to my Grandparents' in Palos Verdes. They were out of town, but we stayed at their house anyway (thanks grandma and grandpa!). We went to the beach, the Crestridge Ward (my ward growing up), swimming, shopping, and ate (in no particular order) at Cheescake Factory, Ruby's, Lisa's Bon Appetit, Mayer's Bakery, Lox of Bagels, Red Onion, and Yummy Yogurt. We didn't make it to the Appetizer (AGAIN!), but that just means I'll have something else to look forward to next time.

Then we spent two full days at Disneyland and Californa Adventure! Yay!!! It was a blast. Even Paige enjoyed it more than I had expected. While there we met up with old Wymount friends that now live in the vicinity of Disneyland for either dinner at the House of Blues or fun at the park. Thanks for coming to see us! I'll post more about d-land later; it deserves it's own post.

After our second day at Disneyland ended (~9pm) we hopped in the car and drove the 6 1/2 hours to St. George where we stopped for less than 12 hours before we drove the rest of the way to Heber yesterday afternoon. It was kind of a downer way to finish up a great 2 weeks, but we had to hurry because Ben's plane left from SLC this morning at 6 am :( At least he got to eat lunch at Cafe Rio (for the third time in 2 weeks) on our way through St. George yesterday.

Well, that was just the brief low down on our time together. Though I'd be surprised if any of you are still reading this. I don't have the camera with me in Heber, so I won't be able to post pictures for a while, but I should be able to get some video from my flip up soon.

Paige (and honestly, I did too) basked in the all of the attention she got while daddy was home; she's asked for him today at least 3 times and it breaks my heart to see the disappointment on her face when I tell her he's not here. We'll look forward to seeing him on Skype again soon when he's made it back. Until then we probably won't hear from him for a couple of days.

Thanks for reading! And for my friends/family who are around (I'll be in the Utah County area for at least the next 10 days); I look forward to seeing you ladies soon - I could use the company!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Ah, Heber . . .

We're still at my grandparents' place basking in the beauty of Heber Valley in late Summer. Warm days, cool evenings, frigid mornings, gorgeous scenery . . . the leaves have begun to change in the mountains . . . it's practically heaven.

I grew up coming here every summer for at least a week, often a month. And I am so glad that it hasn't changed that much and that Paige can have some similar experiences that I had in my childhood (the farm hasn't changed that much; the town/valley has changed A LOT).

Papa and Honey were here for a few weeks too, and while they were here Paige and Papa were constant buddies, riding the tractor, feeding the horses, picking apples, chasing cows and foxes on the 4-wheeler, and exploring the garden. Papa and Honey left about 5 days ago, but still, several times a day, I have to explain where Papa is. Paige asks me , "Where Papa?", whenever we step foot outside, she hears a loud engine (like a tractor or motorcycle), or she sees a horse or cow. She misses her buddy.

Here is a video clip of the two of them with the horses. The Paint's name is Jasmine and the Arabian's is Magleby. Paige frequently runs to the window and calls out, "Maggie!" and she always looks for him if we're outside. She loves to feed him apples and likes to collect stray pieces of hay for him too.

video

We will be up here for about another week. Ben is coming home on leave for 2 weeks and is due to arrive this Thursday. He's flying into SLC. We'll spend a few days in Park City, go to the BYU v. UCLA football game on the 13th, my birthday ;-), and then head south, spending a couple days in St. George, Vegas, and then finish up in California at Disneyland.

We can hardly wait!