Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Farm Show

How my parents have lived in PA for 10 years now and I have never been to the Farm Show, I have no idea. It was legit! And huge! And all over the news. According to their web-site, it is "the biggest agricultural exposition in the nation, with nearly 6,000 animals" and thousands of competitive exhibits. There were also tons of big trucks/tractors and food vendors. From the food vendors we tried some delicious potato donuts, a perfectly fried blooming onion, and the show's famous milkshakes! 

Playing in the chicken feed. We had to pull her away from this one.

 So sad these pictures were blurry! But posting them nonetheless because seeing those horses walk right behind Belén was great.

Shae is usually so timid around animals and wants nothing to do with them, but he REALLY wanted to pet this cow. It belonged to the little girl in the below picture which I think he thought was really cool, that it was hers--a kid! She told him all about her cow and made sure to "keep him safe" while he was petting it.

The butter statue. Legit.
 Shae liked the merry-go-round much more than the below picture would indicate. He loved it! Not so sure about my mom and Belén. It was a very fast merry-go-round and once it started going Belén just slid right off the side, but still holding on to the horse. So my mom was trying to keep her own balance and hold on, while gripping on to Belén as well so that she didn't fall off. Poor girls. Thankfully, they all made it off alive 

Besides all the fun things we got to see and do, Shae LOVED riding the yellow school bus (shuttle) that took us from the parking lot to the show. He kept saying, "This is like the bus I will go in when I go to school!" 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Basketball, MoTab, and Airplanes

The last weekend of our trip we went down to Utah and stayed with Amelia in Salt Lake City.  We got down to SLC a little earlier than we had planned since there was yet another snow day causing school to be cancelled. It was nice to get in earlier and relax and let the world travelers plan out all their fun upcoming trips. 

On Saturday we headed down to Utah Valley. We first met up with my girls Kaitlin (and family) and Kaitlyn for some yummy Mexican food (something we don't have in Ithaca). We then went back to the Rackhams to hang out for a bit before heading down to Provo. The time went by way too fast, as it always does. 

We then headed down to Provo. It was quite snowy and took us much longer than anticipated to arrive. We met up with Ammon at the Wilk and then headed down to Slab for some pizza. Since we arrived so late, I knew that a quick dinner wasn't going to be enough time to catch up so we convinced him to come to the basketball game with us too. Although it was a quick visit, it was SO nice to see him.

Shae: "Look mom, I took my first selfie of myself!" First of many. What a gem.
Slightly better selfie with the help of the selfie master.

Sunday morning we met up with the Nystuls to watch Music & the Spoken Word. It was Kaitlin's first performance with the Orchestra at Temple Square. I felt so lucky that we got to be there for it. How was I blessed with such talented friends? Kaitlin is a rock star. She's amazing.

Here she is in the back playing her violin, right next to the guy with his back toward us in a suit.
 Loved being here with my main squeeze. He left me the next day for a two week research trip, so it felt extra special (and maybe made me extra emotional) to do something sans kids right before he left. (Thanks Amelia and Sharon for making this possible! In more ways than one...the kids...the cars..etc. etc. etc.)

 Love these people SO much.

Sunday afternoon was hard because we had to say goodbye to Sharon. I'm always worried that we are going to overwhelm her with our loud, busy, boisterous kids...especially when we crash her house for THREE whole weeks, but she is just amazing, letting us take over her peaceful home and turn it upside down. We are so thankful that we got to be with her for the holidays and enjoy some quality family time. We all love her so much.

Monday we packed up and were on our way. Said bye to Amelia, which is also always hard, and Shae always asks about her the rest of the day, and even days after leaving her.

I forgot to post these pictures from our trip out and since I barely took any on the way home thought I'd post them here. Filling out there suitcase tags:

(Please picture me solo with all that stuff and two kids--one of which was trying to run away while the other pulled on her sweatshirt frantically trying to be helpful to me, but ultimately letting go and letting his little sister run away--trying to get out of the airport on our way home to meet up with our friend who brought us our car. Wish I had a picture of what that looked like, or maybe I don't...especially the part where everything fell off the cart, right in the middle of the street as we were crossing it. Good times :).
 The lap child. Getting checked in.
 Our flight out was delayed an hour so we went on a nice walk through the airport, trying out all the walking escalators on our way before grabbing some Chinese food.
 Ready to go! Showing off his pups from grandma.

Everything went so smoothly the day we left to come home. Somebody was definitely looking out for me. We got through checkout and security without incident. Got to our gate right as they were calling for family boarding. Said the quickest goodbye to Darin and we were on our way. 

We had really talked up being our "big helper" to Shae and he really was the BIGGEST HELPER. I was so impressed. He did anything/everything that I asked him without complaint and kept asking me what else he could do to be the big helper. 

The flight was only 3.5 hours instead of 5 like our flight on the way out (like I said, tiny miracles). Belén was a bit restless at times and wasn't entertained by movies as much as I had hoped, but thankfully our flight wasn't full so we got a whole row to ourselves (miracles) and she was able to move around.
 We survived our flight photo!

The craziest part was definitely getting all the luggage while trying not to let Belén run away (which is EXACTLY what she wanted to do after being stuck in a metal tube for 4 hours). There was a super sweet man at baggage claim who stayed with me and made sure that I got all my luggage (miracle). Then there was the suitcase disaster in the middle of the street that I mentioned above, but so many people around me jumped up to grab my kids and my stuff and get me to the other side of the street. There were saints at the airport this day. 

The drive up to my parents was mostly smooth (the check engine light was on which always makes me think I'm hearing and feeling everything out of place...), but Belén slept! For 45 minutes! This NEVER happens. Confirmation that somebody upstairs really was taking care of me on what I anticipated to be a very difficult day of solo parent traveling. 

Prayers are heard. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Idaho Snow Days

Silly us for ever questioning whether we would have a white Christmas in Idaho or not (but not too silly since we have experienced it before). There was so much snow! It just kept on coming. Sharon even got a few extra days off school while we were there because of it (which hasn't happened in YEARS. This is Idaho after all). We were all so excited that we got to spend extra time with her!

Ibu's house is in the PERFECT location with this fantastic sledding hill right across the street. We took advantage of it and went sledding quite a few times. 

 Our sweet, but sensitive son who doesn't like to do ANYTHING by himself was surprisingly excited and adamant about sledding alone. He rocked it and wanted to do it over and over again. 
We (mostly Darin) worked on this little fort for a few days in a row. The vision was to have it be a little taller, but the snow was so powdery, it took forever just to get it this size. Shae was so excited about having an epic snowball fight. Everyday he would peek outside and say, "Is the fort ready yet?!"

 Having a little tea party before the fight...making sure we were energized and powered up!

Poor Belén just couldn't handle being out as long as Shae. She even got two bloody noses while we were out playing two different days. So one afternoon Shae and I went out alone, it was fun to do so much more and focus fully on him while playing (poor Belén mostly just wanted to be held). There was a huge pile of snow right in the front yard that we used to make a space ship. We ran around the front and back, in the fort and in and out of our space ship fight off aliens that were attacking us along the way.
So what do you do besides playing in the snow when it is 0 degrees outside? (Because that can obviously only last for so long). You build the greatest fort with Ibu's awesome fort building couches. 

You play with lots and lots of legos.
You make cookies, and watch tons of movies, and read lots of books, and go to story time at the library.

 Shae's sugar cookie of himself.
 You make indoor igloos out of ice.
You go to the super cool bouncy house "store" at the mall. When the employee said that the toddler/preschool time lasted from 10-12, Sharon and I looked at each other and said, "Oh, I doubt we'll last that long." But we all did! The time went by so fast. The kids had a blast and it was quite entertaining watching them.

You go to Brooklyn's playground because it is the coolest playground ever and you are all dying to be outside, even though it is so snowy and hard to move around at all. Maybe not my brightest idea, but we would have just played outside in the backyard if we had stayed home, so having some play equipment made it a little more exciting. 

So glad we got to enjoy some of this crazy Idaho winter!