I need to explain the radio silence, which I will do, over the next two entries. Ooh, exciting, a teaser!
First, here are lessons learned while on our vacation:
--If you are away long enough for everyone to get sick TWICE, you have been away too long. Everyone got the flu, twice for me, and then Toddler J and I got coughs and colds that sounded nastier and nastier every day. Ugh!
--Corralling 4 under two year olds into a semblance of order for a family picture is just about as fun as it sounds. Lucky for us, our photographer was infinitely patient and a whiz with Photoshop!
--BYU Provo has some hidden gem museums, all free, all perfect for the toddler set. One, the Museum of Paleontology, is just three rooms jam-packed with huge dinosaur skeletons that J was not quite sure weren't alive and ready to eat him. The Bean Museum of Earth Sciences is a strange but exciting place for folks his age, filled with stuffed and/or mounted animals from all over the world. J was even MORE sure that some of these animals could devour him, particularly a 9 foot grizzly bear.
--Older cousins are lots of fun. J enjoyed the only older cousin on my side, who turned him into a little follower/audience member, and he was enjoyed by all the other cousins on the husband's side, some of whom he commandeered into carrying him up the hill after sledding, others of whom he just followed around like a puppy. We enjoyed having all sorts of people around to watch and entertain him, a big break for us.
--Getting the flu really saves you money, since no one is interested in eating out, though we had had big plans to do just that. Instead, we spent a lot of time at our parents' houses eating (or not eating, at times) good, homemade food and trying to recover. We did get to the Blue Plate Diner, where we went on the day of our wedding, and they gave us complimentary (yummy, dense) chocolate cake to honor our anniversary, which was sweet of them.
--The University of Utah Labor and Delivery folks are very nice to visitors from out of state who show up with pre-term labor symptoms. Turns out everything was fine or relatively fine, but we enjoyed their hospitality nonetheless.
--Flying on Christmas Eve is anxiety producing, particularly when your luggage doesn't show up and your airport disappears in a sheet of ice, but Delta was in fine form, as per (almost) usual, so they are once again back on top of my list of airlines.
--Seeing all our families at once was fabulous! Almost every single member of our extended families was in for the holidays, so we got to visit with everyone all at once. In my case, this meant folks were in from California, Japan, and Venezuela, so getting all of us together was quite the coup.
--J likes the snow, in very small doses. The husband took some video of his first encounter with the white stuff, into which he insisted on plunging his bare hands. It was all fun and games the first time...and then he felt the cold and was NOT HAPPY!
--And, finally, if your toddler has learned how to unlock windows, it might be a good idea to check them all before you leave for a two week vacation, or else you might get, wait for it, ROBBED!!!
Stay tuned for part two.