Friday, August 8, 2014

Summer Rewind: June with Family

It feels like summer is coming to an early close over here. School has started again, vacations are over, and it feels like an early transition out of our summer break. It went by crazy fast for me. I can't believe that our time in Utah and Florida was back in June! So here's a quick rewind of those happy two weeks.

We flew into Las Vegas, met immediately by that dry desert heat. I forget what a difference the humidity makes out here. We walked around the Bellagio with Ali and Matthias, grabbed In & Out, and drove a late drive into sweet Cedar City, Utah. It had been almost two years since I'd been there, I'm ashamed to say. That little city has such a place in my heart! It was truly the perfect place to grow up, and I love it. I could hardly wait to fill my first day home with red rock. Enter Bryce Canyon:

Doesn't that beautiful place just speak to your soul? I was in heaven. My parents drove down a full backseat of Ali, Matthias, Michael and me + baby, and we hiked and ate lunch down there. That first trimester was just ending for me, so I was feeling a little better at this point, too. Not as good as when 18 weeks rolled around though - that was the magic number over here.

Check out this little friend we made. Michael held up my iPhone and took pictures of him as he took a step closer, and closer, and closer, and closer - until this guy was just inches away and still patiently waiting for food. When Michael put my phone back in his pocket, a package of chips crinkled. This guy perked right up, just waiting for payment. It was adorable. I am such a sucker for animals, you guys. Look at that face?

Also a sucker for nieces and nephews. How I love these kiddos! Logan and Jenny drove down from Lehi for the weekend and went to Zion with us that Monday. We took a walk to where the Narrows end, and played in the water. We had so much fun with my whole family being together! I loved when Jaren was playing around with some rocks near a ditch and suddenly yelled, "Uh, Michael...we've got a problem!" And we all look over, and his "rearranging" of materials has caused a total flood over the sidewalk that people are passing him on. It was hilarious - he loves his uncle Michael so much.

Megan came by to visit! Here we have no baby, tiny baby, and baby who came out just a few days later. Little Andrew is adorable - I'm glad he stayed put so Megan could go to dinner and a movie with us that night, though!

This picture is dear to me. I think my sister snapped it while we were walking to church on Sunday morning. This is Kitty Lane, a paved sidewalk that magically runs in the middle of the block from my road to the road that my church is on, three blocks away. It's a perfect path that I've walked countless times in life, going to the Cedar City 7th Ward. I love this shot of Michael and me walking with my parents to church that day.

After that sweet time in Cedar City, we drove up North for some more fun in Provo/Lehi/Midway. That Y on the mountain was so fun to see again! We hadn't been on BYU campus since Michael's graduation, the day before our wedding two years ago. It has already changed significantly, and our BYU Creamery lunch and walk around campus had us feeling sufficiently nostalgic. Also, please look at that Mexican food. My goodness, how I miss Mexican food. That's the biggest downside of all my time spent on the East coast or in the Midwest - no good Mexican food anywhere. I've looked. And looked and looked. Cheese enchiladas are inexplicably my favorite food of all time - I know, they're just melted cheese. That's the point.

My sweet mom and sisters threw me such a happy baby shower while I was visiting. This meant so much to me -- that room was full of so many people that I love! Aunts and cousins, and so many sweet friends I haven't seen in way too long. I'm so grateful for Ali, Jenny and my mom for doing that for me while I was visiting. Even though Baby D was just a newly announced tiny guy, they knew it was then or never for a Utah celebration.

Do you think we look like sisters? We have literally heard both, "Wow, you are twins!" and "Wow, you look nothing alike!" multiple times in our lives. Leaves us confused, but we love each other and our sisterness runs very deep.

I smiled the whole night - having family around and friends from my DC group, Jerusalem group, old roommates, coworkers ... I just loved everyone there so much! It was a blast. The wonderful night wasn't even tainted by a random return of "morning" sickness while I was driving Jenny and my mom home to Lehi, so that's saying something. I also just want to point out that I can safely drive and throw up at the same time, although that's probably too much information. Still, I was impressed with myself.

These sweet missionary friends of mine! Kindal left for Wisconsin just before I got married, and Kendra left for Texas just after that. I missed them so much, and then our move to Indiana has prolonged our reunions even more. It was brutal! These friends will always mean so much to me. They are just beautiful, in and out.

Our last weekend in Utah was my mom's family reunion, which is probably the best weekend to be in Utah out of the whole year. Camping with all the cousins, good food, brisk Utah nights, volleyball, games around the fire -- just all sorts of good things. I was soaking it all in... it has been far too long since my whole family had been to an Eliason reunion together. I camped with Michael and Ali that night and we were all significantly shocked at how FREEZING we were after a few hours. I kind of loved it. You don't get to be freezing during an Indiana summer, ever.

On our way out of town, my cousin invited us to stop by the hospital where she is an x-ray tech. She gave us our first glimpse at our baby boy, and that's when we found out it actually was a boy in there! It was shocking to me. Literally, I was just stunned by the news more than anything else. I was SURE there was a girl in there! She must be coming next? But oh man, it was fun to see him sucking his thumb already and just being a baby. We told my parents that the baby was too shy and we couldn't tell the gender after, but then we stopped for shaved ice and Michael and I both got half pink and half blue snow cones. Then we pointed at our blue sides until my parents picked up on it and realized another grandson was headed their way! Two in 2014, not bad.

Then we said some sad goodbyes, and my parents drove us down to Las Vegas for our flight out to Florida. We felt pretty spoiled to leave one family vacation for another - timing just combined our fun this year into two glorious family-filled weeks.

We met most of Michael's family in Cape San Blas, and has so much fun just being on the beach with them all week. Those days in Florida are perfect. Beach time, pool time, movies, games, good food, horrible cell phone service. It makes for such a fun week that I kept wishing I could slow down.

We told all of Michael's family that week that Baby D was actually a boy. We weren't supposed to find out until mid-July, so it was fun to already have the news and surprise them. The pressure is off now - Michael has all sisters, and so does his dad, so we've already done our job to carry on this name. 

Seriously though, I'm still so surprised it's a boy! Just kidding... I've come to terms with it. I think.

We drove back up to Indiana with Michael's parents, and stopped to eat lunch at a place that plays live music in Nashville. There are such talented singers and songwriters all over that city, and we felt spoiled to be able to listen to that good music and eat Cajun food. It was a fun last stop on our trips.

Family vacations are the best, right? It's so hard to get to the other side of one after you've looked forward to that spot on the calendar for so long. Plus, Michael was gone the last two weeks of June doing back to back externships, so we got back into reality hard and fast. But I'm so grateful for those two weeks we had with family and friends in places we love. That was our refueling stop for the year. Summer has been good to us.

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