I'm just going to throw up a gazillion pictures and hope I cover everything we did when we flew back to the states in August!
We made the looooong journey for my baby sister's wedding! I am so so happy we were able to be there and it was so much fun. I gained 3 lbs in two weeks and did every single thing I wanted. with that being said. UGH!! Across the world jet lag with 4 kids is the worst thing EVER!!!
we had a few rounds of family pictures while we were there. But I don't think we got a single one where everybody is being 'normal'. Since life with kids isn't ever 'normal' - I'm more than happy to admit that these pictures are very realistic :)
I'm doing some sort of major cheese here trying to get metta to crack a smile. She had the hardest time with jet leg the entire two weeks. the poor girl never regulated.
This is Kent's family. His 3 sisters, parents, spouses, kiddos, etc. They are fabulous and we had so much fun with them all!! It's so hard for our kiddos to come home to vastly different cousins!! they all grow so quickly and so much.
we made a visit to Heber, Utah to eat at the Dairy Keen and see their trains. Fresh raspberry and peach cobbler shakes. I really really miss milkshakes!
after heber, we sent our kids home with the Miller grandparents and had our own mini getaway! It was much needed! we've lived away from family our entire kid filled life- and we try to always take advantage of getting some us time when we are around family!
we have a tradition of going to the Blue Boar Inn in Midway, Utah. It's a 5 star restaurant and bed and breakfast with author themed rooms! This time we stayed in the EMily DIckinson room. Their brioche french toast may be one of my #1 most craved foods. I think about it often. and get the same thing every time we go! their granola and yogurt is also divine.
we found a little cafe with the most amazing stone fired pizza. and it was super inexpensive. Hit up Cafe Galleria if you are in the area!
We went swimming at the Homestead mineral baths and shopped in park city and the next morning did the Sundance ziplines. HOLY COW. it was UNREAL. You zipline down the mountain. from the very top of sundance ski resort!!! Because I grew up here- I take the views for granted. I forget just how stunning Utah is.
These are all cellphone pics- and don't do the views justice!! If you've never been to Utah- you MUST make a trip. It is such a stunning place. You'll never be bored or hungry, either :)
The zipline was so exciting. I can only compare it to skydiving! you get moving 50mph- suspended 500 feet in the air! and fly down lines almost a mile in length!!!
this is the back side of Mt. Timpanogos. I grew up in the valley on the other side of this mountain.
we also ran the timpanogos provo river trail half marathon while we were there. I've NEVER laughed so hard during a race in my life. this race was CRAZY. it was organized and run by an old man and his dog. The start of the race was him in his car- honking his horn- and driving off down the canyon while we chased after. we stayed warm with garbage bags he handed out and we shared waterbottle because he didn't have enough. At the finish line- the man and his dog were frying up eggs for us. it was so ghetto and so fun. until mile 11 anyway. The ENTIRE race was downhill. steep hills. I thought I'd PR with my best time ever :) instead I had to walk a mile from 11-12! Running straight down a mountain with NO downhill training is brutal on your knees and feet. I've never had to walk in a half marathon. But- I finished and had a blast!!
our kiddos played with cousins and I got to play with my cousins! I have the best cousins in the world. they are more like siblings. we ate food, stayed up late, and laughed a lot.
Cousin tanner got a 'Leisy + Laney sandwich'. he's pretty lucky.
we totally lucked out that some of our very best ohio friends were in utah the same time as us!! it was so so wonderful to see them all! and we got to meet up at chic fil a!! I miss Ohio :(
I have the 3 best sisters.
the day before the wedding getting in some 'sister time'.
this is my favorite wedding pic. the 4 sisters and the 4 husbands. check out the bottom right pic of the sisters. This hideous face we all make is genetic.
this is the best smiling picture of metta for the whole two weeks we were in Utah. bribery and threats were involved in getting this picture. I'm glad we got at least one- and I'm glad it was with the bride!
here's what most of the wedding pictures look like. If you can't beat, join em. that's my motto with unruly children.
the 3 musketeers Zeb, Ike, and Henry. Henry is Laney's oldest- and he's actually smack dab in the middle of zeb and Ike age wise. His dad just happens to be 6' 7' so he dwarfs zeb.
the traditional triple twin cousin pic with grandma and grandpa oswald! I have such fabulous grandparents! I think I get a lot of my spunk from gma oswald.
sending off the bride and groom!
and, of course, the kissing picture! poor daysa has this very picture from the last sister wedding- but she's all alone in the middle with nobody to kiss! I'm so happy she finally found her someone.
kent and I look very awkward in this picture!! I was not prepared!! if you want to see a better kiss from us- just ask :)
Our last two days in Utah were spent eating some more and checking the last item off our bucket list!
Sunday after the wedding we drove up to Temple Square to see my cousin's wife perform an organ concert in the tabernacle. It was amazing. she's so incredibly talented.
and even better- she is from Ukraine and served a mission for our church in Lativa and Estonia with my sister, Laney! we all taught Russian together at the missionary training center when we returned home! thank you for the wonderful concert, Zhenya!!
we also toured around temple square to see the art, watch a video, and check out the displays. Utah is such a unique place in so many ways. I'm grateful to have called it home for so many years.
here we are trying to assemble the monkeys for a family picture with the Christus statue!! mack couldn't stop staring.
and- the best we could get :) even in the chaos and stress- I am so happy to have such a perfect-for-me family. I love them to pieces. I'm so happy to have them forever.
our farewell to Uath involved ginormous kakigoris. the best snowcones on the planet. they've even got Japan beat. they were so delicioso.
metta and metta got theirs mixed up and had to do a double share.
and THANKfully- we had almost NO jet leg on our return to Japan. the kids adjusted in one day! it was an answer to exhausted prayers.
Arigato, America! We'll see you again in a few years!!