We flew in to Utah in the middle of a blizzard and we flew out in the middle of a very snowy day! I was nervous enough to travel with two little girls and a baby already, so when the pilot came on and said that he might have to land the plane in Grand Junction, CO at 11 PM central time, I just about lost it. I prayed for twenty minutes straight that we would be able to land in SLC. And we did!! During that time they were just circling waiting for clearance to land the plane. I had the kindest lady on my plane who helped me entertain Claire and talked to me the whole flight. I don't know what I would have done without her!!
When the plane was landing, I texted my Dad to let him know we made it okay. I figured he had stayed in Provo with the weather so bad and the girls and I were just planning to stay in a hotel. But he and Grant drove up in the horrible weather so he would be there to help me with the girls and drive back to my Grandma's with me in our rental car! I was so grateful! The girls were so happy to see their Grandpa. We were all exhausted when we got home, but not too exhausted to give my Grandma and Grandpa lots of hugs and kisses.
We spent the next day hanging out with Grandma and Grandpa. My grandma made one of her delicious breakfasts. She is such a good cook. Then Maggie had us over for a second breakfast. It was really good! It was fun to see her cute apartment. We spent a few hours hanging out there. The girls got to watch Despicable Me with their Uncle Ryan. They loved that movie and Franny ended up getting it for Christmas. We ran a few errands, picked up a few ingredients for raspberry pretzel jello: a Thanksgiving must! In the afternoon, my aunt Dori invited Franny and Sophie to come over and play with her kids Kallie, Brianna, and Jed. They had a blast and they've been talking about them ever since!
We also got to spend a few hours that afternoon visiting with our friends (and family) Brendon and Stephanie! It was great to see them and their son Henry again. We have missed them since they left!!!
Henry is like Claire's "brother from another mother". And I love that picture of Annie!
We picked the girls up and drove back up to SLC to see our friends the Linfords. My parents met the Linfords back in Orem when I was a baby. My favorite family vacations when I was a kid was when we would all load up in the car and drive up to see Liz and Leslie Linford. We would always argue over which was a better place to live: Utah or California. I said Utah- they said California. I love hanging out with their family so much- it was just like old times, only now most of the kids are married and have kids of their own. We had a great time with them.
We drove home and got up early the next morning for strawberry waffles! A Warner family holiday tradition. My uncle Kevin hosted us all and it was so much fun to do what we always did every Thanksgiving and Christmas morning when my uncle lived around the corner and my Grandma lived down the street. At one point my kids and their second cousins were getting pretty loud playing upstairs and my cousin Scotty actually called out, "Do you think you kids could keep it down?" Hilarious! Wasn't it just us running around causing a ruckus in my grandmother's house on Whitecap Lane? I guess not, but it sure feels like it!
Then we came back home and I got to do something I will always remember: help my Grandma prepare Thanksgiving dinner. She's been doing it the same way it's been done in our family since she was a girl. It was really a neat thing to be a part of. I asked her what I could do to help and she said, "You can do the rolls, but you'll have to use my recipe." I love my grandma so much. It was so fun to be there at her side, preparing food and talking. It was wonderful to watch Franny and Sophie helping her and my aunt JoAnn set the tables and put out the centerpieces. I think Franny and Sophie really enjoyed it to. The food tasted wonderful and it was so nice to be with my Dad's family. I love them all so much.
That night Julia, Annie and I were going to go to Old Navy for a Black Friday at midnight. I told Julia and Annie that I was going to take a one hour nap before we went. When I woke up, Annie told me Julia was asleep and that if I woke up and wanted to go then we should wake her up. Turns out we both needed someone who really wanted to go to get us out the door. So I stayed up with Annie for an hour or so and then we just went to bed. Annie was in one of her rare hyper moods and I always like to see her like that. We never did make it to Old Navy, but we did hit Target and the University Mall the next day. Utah County is a weird place to come back to after you've been away for a while. I couldn't get over how well-dressed everyone was. How stylish and polished everyone looks. It was actually kind of weird. I was explaining all this to Bobby on the way home from the airport after we made a pit-stop in Cameron, Missouri. I told him that I got out of the car, picked my wedgie, and thought: "It's good to be home."
When we were finished shopping, it was time for Julia and her crew, and my Dad and Annie to fly back home. They needed to get back to California for my cousin Vanessa's wedding (which was incredibly gorgeous- wish I could have been there!) I was so sad to see them go. It was so good to be with them. I am so grateful we got to be there together for Thanksgiving. That afternoon my Grandma and I went to see my cousin Scotty's new home. (They just moved in that week). The girls had fun playing with their second cousins Chase and Tessa. They were especially impressed with the home theater in my cousin's house and asked me, "Mommy when can we get one of those?" I always enjoy talking to my cousin's wife Mickell and I wish I could see her more! She is so great!
That night my grandparents and I played Sequence together after the kids went to bed. Another great memory- even though I kept falling asleep. Turns out traveling alone with three kids is extremely tiring.
Saturday was my grandma's birthday! I got to make her breakfast and go out to lunch with her. My sister Maggie came with us and spent the whole day with us. We went to Hobby Lobby to pick out fabric for headbands and then we went to a cupcake shops so I could buy her a birthday cupcake. When I went to pay for it, she said, "Oh I don't want you paying for my cupcake! You're a poor doctor's wife!" I thought that was really funny. Bobby's mom was in town dropping my niece off at BYU- she had spent the holiday with Louise in Idaho. So we got to see my mother-in-law and my cute niece Lauren! They met us at Hobby Lobby and then came with us to the cupcake shop. I was so glad I got to see them! It was great to spend the day with my sister Maggie and to spend some time with her husband Ryan. They are great together and I got to watch them hold baby Claire. I love my family so much! It was such a blessing to be together and my staying an extra couple of days meant more time with Maggie. It's such a neat time in her life because she just got married and I felt so blessed to be able to catch a glimpse of her as a newlywed.
Saturday night my Aunt Dori and her crew came over to see Grandma on her birthday. The kids played all night and had a good time. Franny came up to me and asked me where her Jessie doll was? My first thought was, "Oh no, she left it at one of the stores we were at today!" Which totally irritated me because we were leaving the next morning to fly home! I should mention that this stupid doll cost $35 dollars because she talks. Franny spent her own allowance money on it and she loves her. Well, Franny was starting to feel really bad. She wasn't sure whether she left it somewhere or if it was in the house. I was making phone calls and so was Maggie, checking with all the shops and restaurants we had been in that day. I hate to admit it, but I was pretty frustrated and not very sympathetic to Franny. It was my aunt JoAnn who suggested we have Franny say a prayer. I thought it was a good idea, so I pulled Franny aside and I asked her to ask Heavenly Father to help her find her Jessie. Poor kid could barely get out the words! She was crying so hard. I could tell she felt bad about losing the doll, but also about disappointing me! It's hard for me to understand how much it matters to her what I think! It shouldn't be, considering I've always been the same way with my own mother. We put Franny to bed and Maggie said she'd go to the stores and check herself the next day. (I was very touched by how concerned Maggie was with all this, I have to say.) An hour or so after Franny fell asleep, JoAnn was in my grandmother's room where the kids had been playing for only a few minutes and she found the doll was tucked away in a magazine rack on the far side of my Grandpa's easy chair! I had already checked the room before! I was so happy for Franny that her prayer was answered!! So was everyone else! Franny woke up before me in the morning and came in and woke me up and said, "Mom! I found Jessie!!" I told her that aunt JoAnn found her because she had prayed for help. Then I told her that she should say thank you to Heavenly Father. She said, "Okay! Thank you Heavenly Father!" It was so cute. I sent her off to her room so she could say a prayer and do it the right way. What a great experience for her to have so young! It made me realize that I even though I think of that doll as a stupid purchase, it is something that matters a lot to Franny. I was glad I had my family members there to remind me that you're never too young to ask the Lord for help!
The next morning we got up and finished packing everything for our trip. My grandma went out to the garage and when she came back in she told me she had scraped the snow off my car and cleared a path up the driveway for us to walk on! I couldn't believe it! I never would have let her if I knew that was what she was planning! I love her so much. (Grandpa was feeling sick and had gone to get some medicine.) I was sad to go, but we were missing Bobby so I was glad to be getting home, too.
My wonderful Aunt JoAnn met me at the airport in SLC to help me get on the plane. She is so amazing. I loved sitting with her and talking about her new promotion and the work she does. She took Sophie and Franny to the bathroom while I nursed Claire and the girls came back with a new book and a couple of sodas, including a diet coke for me. The airport was dead quiet, but we decided to head up to security anyway. I was blown away by the security line. It was so long! But luckily Jo was there, because she spotted a sign at the front that said "Families and special assistance" so we got through in no time. She stood and watched us get through security. It was something my mom would do. It felt really good. I love my aunt Jo! The flight was pretty good- although we were delayed because of the snow for an hour and a half or more. But we got in at about 7:30. Jill picked us up at the airport in my car - she had dropped us off on our way out and it made all the difference in our travels not having to mess with the shuttle - and brought us back to her house so we could drop her off. Thank you so much Jill!
Then we made the three hour drive home to our husband and Daddy, who was patiently awaiting our arrival with a new Christmas tree waiting to be decorated the next night. The girls were so happy to see their Dad! And so was I. He's pretty nice to come home to.