As you may have guessed from the preceding letters, we just got back from a family vacation to UT. I didn't post at all while I was gone, in a fit of paranoia after last vacation's robbery, but our house weathered our absence well, and we are all home now, though we didn't all arrive at the same time.
You see, we went for the husband's grandmother's 99th birthday celebration (Hi, Grandma Van!). It was a grand affair, with good food, lots of cousins, and the decorating of edible haunted houses. (Toddler J has never been a part of this annual event, but he caught on right away. Imagine gingerbread houses made out of chocolate graham crackers and slathered in chocolate icing affixing all manner of candy and creepy crawlies and cookies and even actual branches to the outside and you're on the right track.) The husband's schedule meant he could come for the weekend, but then he had to return home while the boys and I stayed a while longer to enjoy both sets of grandparents.
Highlights of our visits included, in addition to the haunted houses, trips to the aforementioned Kangaroo Zoo, the real Hogle Zoo, and the Ogden Treehouse, seeing a huge pumpkin patch, visiting numerous playgrounds, pumpkin carving, outlet shopping, and the consumption of more chicken nuggets than Toddler J had ever seen. We had lots of fun, Baby E's ears and J's fever and stomach virus notwithstanding (though I could have done without his throwing up on my head in bed). The weather was great, with snow and even cold holding off until really the last two days we were there. We also got to see cousins and aunts and uncles galore, play with lots of quality toys we don't have at home, and be the center of attention for a good 10 days. I even got to make a pilgrimage to Ikea (where only the fact that I was flying home kept me from buying out the place) and a fabric store and, of course, we visited the LDS distribution center to stock up on the essentials.
On top of all that, our anxiety producing solo trip home was actually quite painless, with just a minor bit of confusion involving the shuttle bus and a gate mix up at O'Hare. The boys performed like traveling champs, both sleeping at some point on the plane and both managing not to ruin their clothes or mine while amusing themselves endlessly with stickers and plastic cups.
All that said, we were/are very happy to be home. The boys still haven't gotten over the fact that Daddy appears here EVERY SINGLE DAY, though their cases of hero worship began long before we left, of course. Pictures from the actual vacation forthcoming, as soon as we work out a little uploading issue, but, in the meantime, here are some shots from the day we were packing to go:
Here we are trying on our winter hats.
And here we are taking a break from all that fashion with a little wrestling!