**It's All Relative**
So, the snow was nice and all - but the REAL reason we fly all the way to Utah is for the people. They are real neat there. I said our goal of this trip was two fold: snow and cousins. Thank you cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents for showing us the love!
My parents' house, my childhood home, still feels like home when I walk in the door. And my mom is the best host -- with mints on the pillows and always yummy food. She actually hosted a very fancy tea party for the little girls while we were there and it was the real deal.
The girls loved being so fancy and Jenny and I loved eating ... and eating... my mom's little delectable treats.
Nothing like Sunday night malts .... on the counter
I love my in-laws so much. Mom Hale invited all us "disc golf widows" (the bros were in Memphis) to dinner on a Monday night and it was so delicious. And when we got there, there was a little table all decorated for a birthday and Lucy said, "oh! this is beautiful! whose birthday is it?" And Grandma said "yours!" She was so excited! That night Victoria, Edith and my kids all gathered for a family home evening. 12 crazy kids between us but it was a touching evening for me. Just to be in the Hale home I could feel the spirit. We each shared our favorite thing about the gospel.
A couple mornings later, after grandpa Hale got home from the disc golf extravaganza we went for breakfast. He is such a funny and fun grandpa! I just love him.
He checked my kids eyes. They loved it so much - he did it twice!
Earlier, Lucy had wanted to race Luke in his little car and asked Grandpa if he had anything with wheels. He couldn't think of anything. Then about 15 minutes later he brought up an old suitcase - something with wheels! - and gave the kids rides in it. That is a happy girl. :)
Star, Mom Songer, Jenny, Victoria, Wendy, Edith, me, Jenny P., Mom Hale, Katie B. and Sarah C.
We had a lovely lunch at Bombay Bites - I couldn't be related to a more lovely bunch of ladies. I seriously just soaked in all their wisdom and loveliness.
I actually got to stay with my sister Jenny this time around which I've never done before. Eliza is now at a very fun age and our kids got along so well. I've said it before I'm sure but my sister Jenny is the best parent ever and it was so cool for me to be there to see her in action. I'm so impressed with my older nieces too. One was winning the science fair and the other one was doing regional sterling scholar stuff. And my nephew was so good and fun with Luke. Love this family!
Oh and we spent a lovely afternoon at my sister's in-laws (the Harrises) and man she is lucky! She gets a hot roast and potato dinner EVERY Sunday at this cozy home. And they are just laid back and easy to be around. Uncle John was taking requests and Lucy was giving them. She loved him and just sang her little heart out as he played his intricate accompaniment to every song she could think of.
the J&R Songers
The house of Princesses and Pyros!
Gracie and Solenne set up a Princess party upstairs with "pony rides" and a jewelry/dress-up station, Barbie station, and baby dolls etc. They did a tea party and my girls had a blast. There were actually encore requests for this princess party - so they did this multiple times for Lucy, Maryanne and Eliza.
And dear sweet Uncle Jake taught my son how to light a lighter... ya know... so he could SET OFF BOTTLE ROCKETS!! Oh man. Talk about little boy heaven. You know if Uncle Jake is involved things will be super fun. Not super safe, but SUPER fun.
We actually stayed here for a couple days and this is the only picture I took. Trace and Luke. Luke is always loves a good romp with the Cresap boys but I was surprised how much Lucy liked it. Cole gave her piggy back rides and the boys were all quite attentive and nice to her. It was fun to see her get some Cresap cousin time too. They let me stay here and then let me commandeer their Honda for 2 weeks - so they are pretty dang awesome.
Pulsiphers - didn't actually get any pictures but Jenny and Mike hung out at the Cresaps the first night and Katie P. Brown brought Ethan over for a visit. Katie had new baby Isaac a couple days after we left!! (and I just saw Sam today! He is a missionary here and it was so great to see him!)
We stopped by their house and just LOVED our visit. Henry played the Beatles' "Blackbird" for us on his guitar and Maggie talked to us all about the nerve racking college application process (she's going to Brown!) And Sarah Jane kept bringing us yummy treats and fun toys for my kids. Then the whole fam came up to Huntsville for another visit and Sarah Jane brought us all presents for the plane ride home (that saved us!) I just want my kids to be as mature, classy and fun as these kids when they grow up. I've got to hang out with Jon and Sarah Jane to find out some of their awesome parenting secrets.
Maggie and Maryanne
Speaking of classy kids. Holy Moly. You walk in the McKay home and the teenagers each take a kid and totally lavish them with praise and attention and make them feel like the most important kid in the world.
Brigham and Luke video gaming it up
Aunt Wendy doing fancy polka dot nails for Lucy
Attempting to paint one year old's nails. brave.
I even got to catch baby Giselle's blessing. (Wendy & Chad's first grandchild)
Giselle and her lovely mother Tiffany.
I gained a new love for Anderson on this trip. We went to visit and (no pics from the visit to their house) he made me laugh so hard. He sat Lucy down at their counter and said "You look to me like a girl who likes sweet treats - what can I get you?" You might have had to be there cause the way he said it - like an old timer bartender. Anyway, he whipped her up some yummy cinnamon sugar tortillas and took care of that girl who likes sweet treats.
I also got to spend some time with Lissa - she showed me her yearbook editing software (she's super talented with it) and some artwork (very impressed) and was also winning at the science fair. And Ani was studying for the ACT. The offspring of Casey and Edith?? I think she'll be fine.
Terrible pictures but you just have to imagine squeals of laughter and screaming as these kids went crazy wrestling and throwing each other around. Rosalie, Henry, Luke and Anderson.
Emily and I did lots of practical things like going through baby clothes. We are sharing so I brought her 12-24 months and took all of her 0-12 month baby boy clothes. But I loved seeing an almost 1 year old Johnny. He's one of those striking babies and I am surprised every time I look at him how blue his eyes are and how white his hair is. I'm not used to those type of kids. He's so calm and sweet.
I also got to stay with the Malmborgs. Charlie and Luke were inseparable indoors and out.
Aunt Victoria was a very good host and gave us everything we wanted. She and Lucy made Valentine cookies on a whim one afternoon. Such a fun aunt.
I don't know why but I love these random eating pictures Vic took of Maryanne
The Malmborg chickens!
found an egg
JOEY'S DENTAL SCHOOL GANG
Spencer, Cody, Dave, Matt and Nate
(I'm not really sure why they are smiling - Joey's not even there)
Liz, Amber, me, Jenn, Lisa and Stacey
My best friend from Jr. High. And we haven't seen each other for years. She lives in a cool old Victorian home that is sooooo Hailey. It's artistic, eclectic and interesting. I loved catching up with her and seeing her kids! We hadn't seen each other's kids since Luke was a 6 month old baby! She's got those free-thinking, artistic, cool kids - you know the kind. She home schools so she has stuff like labeled skeletons and painted solar systems all over the walls. Very cool friend.
I got to meet up with Robin for lunch at the Union Station and then shopping at Deseret Book. I love her. My first time seeing her as Dr. Jamison. It was funny cause she usually has super short blonde hair so I didn't even recognize her! Look at her - she is just a delight.
LIZ and the MACDEES!
Got a quick last good-bye in to the Macdonalds and I got to hold their newest addition - Susannah. You know how I love my Macdonald babies!
Thanks to all those who hosted us and loved us and gave us a wonderful winter/cousin trip. And since it's almost 2 in the a.m. I will sign off now.