The friday before Thanksgiving my sister convinced me to take my kids and come visit her in Utah real quick. My mom and Dad met up with our family after the BYU San Jose State football game at an exit off Hwy 99. The kids and I climbed into my dad's RV van and Jeff continued home to work.
We drove through the night with a white knuckle driving experience over the Donner Pass. Freezing temps, snow storms, and broken defrosters are not a good combination! I picked up a copy of The Princess Bride at a truck stop and was happy to see the kids enjoying a movie I have always loved. Definitely made me feel old to realize they had never seen it though.
We were all a bit bleary eyed by the time we arrived in Utah the next afternoon but somehow still smiling. Probably the fact that there is a queen sized bed in the back helped...
The gorgeous rainbows we saw as we entered Salt Lake were a nice little welcome
We had a big Sunday dinner at Janelle's that night. Sterling was my only sibling that wasn't there with his family. It was fun to see all of the kids enjoying each other, and especially nice that we got to eat in a separate room from all of them ;)
It is always so much fun to be with my brothers and sisters and their families.
It's pretty amazing that we all like each other as much as we do too...
My boys were of course thrilled to be reunited with Austin
It's been a hard adjustment for all of us getting used to the Rickards family being so far away
Especially seeing how fast little Paige is growing up! She is just the yummiest little thing! Whenever I tell her I want to eat her cheeks she turns her head and leans over to make it easier for me to munch on them. When I tell her I need to eat her neck or her little belly she smiles and lifts her shirt or moves her little neck towards me and anticipates the tickling that is about to ensue. I can't get enough of her!
And I really miss having Tara and Jason to just sit around and do nothing with. They crack me up!
When Billy was teaching himself to play the piano in high school, one of the songs he loved to play was John Schmidt's Waterfall. This was Wes' selection for his winter recital. He was looking forward to playing this song for Billy and everyone gathered around to listen.
Monday we had a girls shopping day at the new outlets right by Billy's house. We all bought lots but the best part was our lunch at Johnny Rockets. It was the only food option there so they were busy, but things got really exciting when the waitress dumped an entire glass of water on Tara's lap! She and my mom were both pretty soaked, but it took so long to get our food that they were almost dry by the time we left! It was so nice to just hang out with my mom and sisters with nowhere to go and no one to be responsible for!
While we shoppped the boys played. Jason had the quads running and the boys had fun zipping all over the mountain Tara and Jason live on.
Peter did the website and logo for a big trampoline place there called Airborne and has a lifetime free entry for family and friends. And they really mean that. All of us plus Billy and Jen and their two kids were admitted for free into this bouncing wonderland.
There is something about a trampoline arena that sets loose the kid in all of us.
The adults visited while watching the kids for a bit
Billy and Jen
Tara, Jess and Drew
William Franklin Hurd Jr and Senior. Crazy how much they look alike huh?!
Drew and Tyler
Austin and Wes and a girl they met at EFY in Sacramento this summer who actually lives right near Airborne
Janelle and little Brandon
Peter and Jen. I love it that my brother in law and sister in law coordinate their outfits for our family outings. Guess the rest of us just didn't get the memo...Thanks a lot guys!
Our favorite spot of the night though was in the extreme sporting area. There was one set up that sent all of us flying! Tyler Supermanned it
and mom was flung!
And as fun as it was to watch everyone take their turn, it was pretty funny to look down and see the crowd watching when it was your turn to go!
What had all of us laughing the hardest though, was watching everyone try to get up to the starting point. You had to jump on the trampoline high enough to reach the platform. Janelle barely made it up and quite likely broke a toe when she jumped down.
Tara splatted into the cushioned wall like a bug on a windshield on her first attempt.
We were all crying we were laughing so hard!
The worst was trying to get out of the foam pits afterwards. They seemingly suck you in and because everything in there is so squishy you can't get any leverage on anything to climb out!
I think the little ones had it the easiest because they are so light, they kinda just stayed on the top
Poor Lauren still has her broken arm to contend with since October!
Even my parents had a rough time managing the foam pit
Seeing Tara climb out of it was almost as funny as watcher her get into it!
After Airborne we dropped off all the kids and had an adult party at Billy and Jen's house. Billy and Peters birthday's were just around the corner, so we thought it was a perfect excuse for cake and allowing these two to entertain us!
The next two days at Tara's were filled with lots of kids and reunions with friends. Taia came up from Mapleton, Zack was visiting from South Dakota, and Tess was up from Clovis. These guys were all happy to see eachother again!
The Poulsen girls, Lauren and Ashlyn and Brynne spent the day in the basement in the darling play house and on the climbing wall the Rickards have.
And the guys were left to just hang out for a bit when we left to do just a little more shopping
We went to Orange Leaf Yogurt for dessert that night
We kinda took the whole place over
The littles and the middles
And the grown ups
Wes loves hanging out with these two and they are so good to treat him just like one of the guys.
It was hard to say goodbye when it was time to go home on Wednesday
Having time with Talli and Tara was such a nice treat for me, but it was time to go home. Thanksgiving was the next day and we were expected in Sacramento at Debbie and Ricks and Jeff would be there for the Sacramento Hmong New Year celebration.
We got started on the drive home several hours later than we had planned, but that wouldn't surprise anyone who knows us. Unfortunately that late start definitely had a huge impact on us when at 4:50 pm the day before Thanksgiving we hit a deer on I80 going about 70 miles an hour.
It was bad news! Parts of the van were strewn along the side of the road for about 100 feet.
There was no way the van was going to be going home any time soon. In fact it ended up taking a week and a half before it was up and running again. We spent forever on the side of the freeway 45 miles past the Utah border in the middle of nowhere working out details with the insurance company. The only way I would be getting back home was if I rented a car. The only place that was open the night before Thanksgiving was the Salt Lake airport. Tara and Jason were kind enough to go there and pick up a minivan for me and drive it all the way out to meet us.
We also had to pay for a "rental car"/ tow truck workers personal vehicle for a ride back into the booming metropolis of Wendover because we couldn't all fit into the tow truck! Then we had to unload all of our luggage so that my dad and the RV could be towed into Salt Lake to the nearest repair shop that would take it. But there was nowhere for us to wait with all of our stuff and no way for us to get around. The tow truck driver said he had a hook up at a local motel where we could wait in a room for free until Tara and Jason could bring us the rental car. We had never been anywhere like it before!
This place was filthy! We had Pizza Hut deliver some dinner to us there but it was so dirty I was sure we were going to end up sick! Still it was a warm place to wait the hour and a half for Tara and Jason. We were so relieved when they got there and were anxious to get back on the road.
On the late and long drive home the boys were not impressed by Brynnes Redbox selections, and by 5 am they were ready to be done!
We pulled into my grandparents house at 7 am Thanksgiving morning. As much as I had loved my visit with my family and seeing friends, I decided another quick trip to Utah was definitely not going to be happening any time soon!