Saturday, July 13, 2013

My Siblings Love Me

Remember when I told you even more family time was coming up? It already came and went, so so fast. My brother and his family drove all the way to Indiana to visit us last week, and my sister jumped in their van, too. We have been looking forward to them visiting for so long! That's a lot of miles in a lot of heat, and we sure love them for coming. They met us in Evansville last Tuesday, and came up to Indianapolis with us a few days later. I'm just gonna break this down for you:

We soon found that if you slightly ignore seatbelt protocol, Michael and I could fit in the party van too! Ali and I even coordinated some seat belt sharing so that totally counts as covered. I loved driving with my family here and there, and just listening to those backseat conversations between those three cute people up there. Our first stop: Lincoln's Boyhood Home.

We had fun walking around the museum and some nature trails there, and touring the farm. Lydia was getting a little confused by this point, because prior to this stop they had been visiting a lot of church history sites (Liberty Jail, Independence, etc.) So, at one point I asked her who Abraham Lincoln was and she said "a prophet." I also heard her "reading" a plaque of a statue and she said, "and then President Lincoln returned to his sins." ... I'm not entirely sure what that meant. But, I do know that we had a fun day with a fun picnic and a fun stop at playgrounds and lakes. So we're good.

I love the Fourth of July. I also love that more often than not, Ali and I are somehow together on the Fourth of July. It's the best. We started the day out at Michael's horses, taking rides and picking raspberries and feeling grateful for the nice weather. Sooo nice.

Ali tells me that Jaren and Lydia have been planning who would ride with who on the horses since they started planning this Indiana trip, so it was a big day for them. They were both really brave, considering they had never ridden a horse before. All they needed was a couple belt loops to hold onto and they loved being along for the ride.

And then Jaren and Lydia switched horses, because even with all that planning, they never considered that the horses would be different colors. They had to experience both, they said.

After that, Michael's dad took us on a hay ride. Now, I know what comes to mind when you hear hay ride, but you should know that this was not that. This was a hay ride that felt more like my four-wheeling days in Southern Utah...the kids were loving it. Ok, all of us were loving it. The bottom right picture shows Jaren, me, Michael and Lydia riding in the front of the tractor raised up. 

The first thing Lydia said when we got in the front was, "He better not dump us in that pond..." then a few minutes later, Michael's dad had us dangling right over the water with Lydia saying, "He's got to be kidding me! He's just kidding me, right?" But you could tell that there was some legitimate worry in her eyes. We laughed so much.

And then we ate breakfast around a fire and had the best pancakes ever. Good, good morning. Even Lewis seemed to enjoy himself in that Bumbo of his, despite missing the thrilling hay ride.

Later that day Michael's parents took us to watch horse races at Ellis Park. Those horses are beautiful and so athletic. It's fun to see all the energy they have when they're being loaded into the gate before starting their race. I love the sound of all their feet pounding when they gates burst open. Lydia looked at me later that day and said, "It is so fun to watch those horses run and run and run." And Jaren asked me why Michael wasn't in the race. :)

We had a famous Zesto's ice cream cone after the races, an Evansville favorite I've heard a lot about. I could go for another right about now. And tomorrow.
That night we went downtown to watch the fireworks along the Ohio River. I watched fireworks on the Fourth last year with these kiddos and they were terrified the whole time, so this year was a big improvement :) They still demanded ear plugs, but other than that, we made it through the show. Lydia was sold when they played Party in the USA. That girl moves her hips like Yeah.

It was a perfect Fourth of July. So much family and a perfect summer day. I loved it, so so much.

The next day we drove down to Kentucky Lake with Michael's mom. We missed his dad, who had to work that day. The weather was so strange...almost chilly in the morning, and then pleasant the rest of the time. On July 5th. ?? Jaren had a smile on his face from the second we were on the lake until the second he heard it was time to go home. He swam and swam and swam and laughed and laughed.

Disclaimer: Glowing Faces. We know. But two days later they were back to normal and all is well. 
Other Disclaimer: Jaren. We know. He just woke up. 

Ali realized that she was extremely close to one of her favorite areas of her mission in Tennessee, so we added an extra little leg to the trip. We had to experience her favorite fried pie firsthand. It was fun to have her show us an area that meant so much to her. Then we watched Tangled on the way home, and all was well.

We spent half of Saturday in Evansville, so we went out to the land for one more horse ride and roasted hot dogs. I love being out there. We had so much fun that week with Michael's parents! That afternoon we headed up to Indianapolis, to see how many people we could fit in our tiny apartment :)

Turns out we can actually fit everyone in our apartment, but poor Logan and Jenny slept in a room with all three of their kids. I failed to account for early bedtimes when I thought up sleeping arrangements so... combine that with a cat who can't be near an air mattress (obvious reasons), and that was just how it all worked out. Bless their hearts. Then the night ended with Oreos and milk, and all was well.

Sunday was Church day and stay home day. This is actually the only picture I have from the whole day, of us walking into our 9am meetings just 5 minutes late (be impressed, we only have one shower). 

Other events of the day, not pictured: Finally watching the Lorax since Jaren was SO concerned that Michael hadn't seen it yet, trying to teach Jaren and Lydia proper handling of Kitty which is kind of just no handling at all, learning how much energy kids keep inside them, trying to run said energy out of them by having "races" outside in the humidity which they were skeptical of, and lots of other good stuff. Like homemade bread and Ticket to Ride.

On Monday we went to the Zoo right when it opened, ready for a full day. We started in Africa, and the rhinos were actually moving. I feel like that's a rarity? They were taking mud baths and walking around and they just looked big big big. Giraffes are a favorite, so it was fun to be able to get so close to them. Bottom left is the captivated audience at the dog show, and bottom right is Ali asking me to try to make the same face as a monkey. Kind of rude?

The Ocean...gotta love that air conditioning. The sea lions were particularly noisy that day, and the sharks were particularly shy. Other favorites included the tiger during her training, the pack of flamingos being taken for a walk through the zoo, dolphins just being dolphins, lemurs chasing each other, and the baby elephant running around and trying to pick a flower. So.incredibly.cute.

Penguins...oh, we love them. Lydia may not look very sure of it in that picture, but we really do love them. Remember when we bought a Groupon to hang out with them? That was the best.

The Zoo has a seasonal butterfly exhibit that is in full swing right now (Allison, if you come visit, we promise not to take you there). I made friends with one on a branch and he even hung out with me for a little while. It cheered Lydia up a little after she was reprimanded for picking a flower...notice Michael using full restraint. You don't destroy plants around Uncle Michael.

Lewis is such a happy baby. It was so fun to see him and how fast he changes. He's a mini-Jaren and it's adorable. The highlight of the Zoo is always the dolphin show...we were there long enough to catch it three times! Twice from the stadium, and once from underneath the dolphins. The Indianapolis Zoo is so great.

We got home that night and had Pizza Monday and Family Home Evening. Michael taught us a lesson about Nauvoo since that was the next road trip destination, and then we played a couple games. We ended with some chalk drawings outside with our neighbors, who are getting way too comfortable with us, I might add. They've been honking our car horns and knocking on the screen asking for matches. But those are stories for other times.

Despite our fast pace and full days, there was no time to slow down by Tuesday. Poor Lydia displayed her complete exhaustion and crazy sleeping habits that morning. She has an entire queen air mattress to the right of her, but somehow only her head stayed aware of that. She wasn't very happy with me for waking her up after snapping this photo - I can't imagine her neck was feeling too good :) But crepes with delicious homemade jam cheered her up.

The Indianapolis Children's Museum! The largest children's museum in the world, if you can't tell from the dinosaurs climbing inside. This place is hopping.

Bumblebee from Transformers, archaeological digs, replicas of early trains, sleeping babies...

and that was just the first floor.

We had a party in the mirror maze! Everyone made it out without bumps or bruises.
Lydia is rocking her Avatar shoes there, which were slightly too big. They had an awesome exhibit all about the making of the movie. There's Jenny and Lewis on a plane to Egypt, and then Lydia working at a construction site in the Science exhibit.

Here's another shot of our party in the mirrors. It was that good.

The blown glass sculpture right there goes up through the middle of all the floors of the museum. It's incredible.

Does she pass for a true Hoosier? I think so, too. I guess that means she should move here :)

Jaren came here as a five-year-old little boy, but by the time he left....he was SIX. That sounds so much older than five. It makes me sad. It made him ridiculously happy.
He woke up to a house full of balloons that provided way more entertainment than I anticipated. Bonus. Even Lewis was totally enthralled. And Michael.

Isn't Lewis adorable when he sits up? He was so patient with all of us during the whole trip, teething troubles and all. Too bad he won't remember this trip too well...but he can read this blog some day and reminisce about his naps in the stroller and many hours in his car seat.

We improvised a little with the birthday cake scenario since they had to get on the road for the Nauvoo Pageant that day. We had breakfast waffles, and wishes come true from those candles equally well. Jaren hinted later that his wish had something to do with a future Indiana trip, but I stopped him before full disclosure. That's a wish that I want coming true, so I wasn't taking any chances. 

Grandpa Miner drew him one of his famous original cards, complete with a six-year-old super hero. Jaren got some clothes, that weren't too exciting for him... too bad I love shopping for clothes so much. I forget sometimes people don't share my joy. But he was pretty excited to get an extension of Uncle Michael's jade tree! He even called us a few hours later to ask how to keep the plant alive in the car. Luckily it was made for the desert...

And then suddenly, that trip we'd been looking forward to forever was already passed. It's amazing how quickly calendar dates come and go, and plans become memories. Kitty and I looked around at this empty house minutes later, and it was quiet and sad. Having family here was so, so much fun.

Thank you, Miners, for driving out here to see us! 

And thank you, Daetwylers, for all the fun memories in Evansville!

Most of all, thanks Dad, for always telling Logan, Alison and me during our little fights growing up that "someday you'll be older, and you guys will be each other's best friends." It was hard to believe you then, but it's so clear now. I sure love my family.


  1. So much fun! You guys are fabulous hosts. There is actually a butterfly room at a museum that I take Kai to a lot. It's mildly terrifying for me to be in there. I picture myself like this:

    I don't think I'm being too dramatic here, people! the wall!

  2. CUTE, Maddie! When did Jaren get so big!? That makes me feel old! What a fun trip!


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