We rarely go out of town on Memorial Day Weekend, but this year we had the perfect opportunity and hit the road, headed for St. George. Tim's nephew Jacob (Cheri and Dave's oldest) was getting married on Saturday and we were thrilled to be a part of such a great family event. We left Friday afternoon and arrived with plenty of time for a swim and dinner before getting ready for the big day. Our condo was a one bedroom with a very small common area, so it was very cozy with the six of us but I think we all eventually calmed down and fell asleep.
Saturday morning I got up early to get a quick run in before the day started. The desert has such a unique beauty and it was nice to have a moment to enjoy it before there were any competing sights or sounds. Seven miles felt pretty good, other than my sore shins that aren't used to doing speed work on the pavement.
We have not spent a lot of time at the St. George Temple and I am always so amazed by its beauty. The morning was perfect for a wedding, and Jacob and Andressa could not have looked happier. They had so many people there to support them and I kept imagining what a great day it was for their families. The babies were especially excited at all the family, they had been looking forward to seeing their cousins for a long time. They became quite shy when we first arrived, but eventually got comfortable and had the best time chasing cousins for the next two days. The age span is pretty large with these cousins, but they all seemed to really enjoy being together. I think my kids felt a little lonely when we got home - they had too much fun with everyone.
We had a few hours in between the wedding and the luncheon so we decided to explore the visitor's center and had such a great experience. The kids were immediately drawn to the Christus statue and wanted to first, have their picture taken, and then listen to the recording of Christ's words. After it finished, the sister missionaries talked to us about their testimonies of Christ and encouraged us to keep the commandments. While they were talking, Luke kept telling me that he wanted to hear Jesus talk again. He asked the missionaries and they were happy to play it a second time. As I sat and watched him (completely mesmerized and listening intently), I thought my heart might burst. The next day he was talking about Jesus and then asked me and Tim if we were keeping the commandments, he told us "Jesus said If you love me, keep my commandments". Honestly, I was amazed at how much he had retained and how much of an impact the experience had on my kids. That was definitely an unexpected bonus of the trip.
Saturday evening, after some swimming, and a little rest (they would not ever fall asleep), we went to the reception to continue the celebration. Jacob and his new wife looked so happy and the venue was amazing. We spent the evening chatting with friends and relatives, and watching the kids have a wonderful time. They did not have any official dancing, but Luke and Ruby definitely made the most of the dance floor. It was so sweet because they kept running over and wanting to dance together. While watching, I kept thinking that I hoped my babies would always be so close and love each other so much. Ruby thought the whole event was like being at a princess castle and when we finally left, it was with two tired, but very happy kids.
Luke thought the decorated car was so funny.
Sunday morning we all met up for breakfast and one last chance for cousin time on this trip. The rest of the family then left for home, but we still have a little more time to explore.
Sunday afternoon we were looking for a little adventure and decided to "explore" Snow Canyon. I was the only one who had ever been through the canyon and it was fun to hear all of the reactions as we drove through the park. Luke and Ruby were fascinated with the shapes of the mountains and cliffs and were constantly seeing dinosaurs, animals, and other characters in the rocks. When we got out to climb around, they were sure they were seeing dinosaur prints, and wondered how it felt when they were stomping around. Luke was fascinated with the volcanic rock and made me tell him over and over about volcanoes, hot lava and the cooled lava rocks.
After leaving Snow Canyon, we drove to Bloomington Hills in search of a petroglyph rock. It's pretty crazy, this giant rock is sitting in the middle of a neighborhood - they have made it into a city park, but the only thing in the park is cactus and this rock. Apparently the boulder and ancient art was discovered during the development of the St. George neighborhood. From everything I read, the cared images either tell a story or leave directions. You can recognize some images as humans and horses. Tim and I were fascinated with the images, the babies were more interested in stories about the indian mamas and babies. I have loved introducing so many new places and adventures to my little ones.
We did a lot of swimming in the three short days that we were there. The weather was perfect, and the kids were like little fish that cried when it was time to leave the water.
As we were headed out of town, Tim humored me and spent some time at TJ Maxx. All weekend while swimming, Luke had been asking for "frog feet" like the snorkel gear he had seen Curious George use. He may have been the happiest kid alive when they found a Spiderman swim kit. I don't remember how much it cost, but any price would have been worth it, it kept Luke entertained the entire way home. And the pictures....priceless.
We made it back to Santaquin with plenty of time to stop at the cemetery and visit all of my family. The kids were fascinated at the decorations, especially the pinwheels. When we stopped at each of my grandparents I tried to help them understand who they were, and tell them a few little things about my relationship with my grandparents. Hopefully over the years they will grow to appreciate their heritage.
We packed a lot into a few days and I was grateful for all of the memories we made.