The last installment of our 7-week trip! So, picking up where I left off, on December 12th we left my parents house in California and flew to Utah. We stayed with Paul's parents until January 7th. The following events are not in order (I can't even remember the order anymore) but here is a brief - ok, maybe not so brief - overview of our stay:
When we arrived at Grandma and Grandpa Gunn's house we found a great new toy, one that occupied the kids for weeks (which is about how long it took Grandpa to set it up - just kidding John)! Noah, Alex, and Cousin Jack (as our kids affectionately call their one and only cousin) found many hours of entertainment with the Geotrax Train Set (i.e. derailing each other, taking track apart and throwing the pieces, and ringing the bell tower).
There is one place we absolutely must go every time we are in Utah. The "Airplane Museum" on Hill Air Force Base. Noah is obsessed. The first day that we were in Utah, while Noah was enjoying the train set I told him we'd go to the Airplane Museum and he got so excited he responded with, "Mom, I love everything about this town - even broccoli!" The next morning we went, as promised. The second we pulled in and and Noah could see all the airplanes that are sitting outside he started screaming, laughing, and shouting. As if he'd never been there before - it was hilarious. He was so sad when we had to leave that Grandma told him all he had to do was ask, anytime, and she would bring him back to the airplane museum. So, sure enough, the first (and I mean FIRST) thing Noah did when he woke up the next morning was run in to Grandma's room and ask her to take him to the museum. Grandma, true to her word, spent hours with Noah at the museum that afternoon - and this time Noah remembered to bring his camera : )
It must be a grandma thing to have a big comfy chair. This was the kids favorite spot to snuggle up and watch movies. I was miraculously able to document one of the rare moments they were willing to share the chair and snuggle together.
Another hot spot in Ogden is the Treehouse Museum. The kids and I made it here a couple of times over the course of our stay. We were even lucky enough to have Aunt Ginger come with us one day. We had so much fun with her! Ginger was a good sport - and a lifesaver for me. Of course, after spending the day with us she decided she's never having kids : ) We love you Ging!
The girls (my mother-in-law, and my sisters-in-law Kori and Ginger) were lucky enough to attend "Studio 5" a live show of which Brooke Walker, Paul's cousin, is the host. We toured the KSL studios and enjoyed lunch together afterwards. Brooke was a great hostess and it was a fun show. Here we are on the set - thanks for having us Brooke!
Paul's brother Jeff and his wife Kori went out of town for a few days and Cousin Jack came up to Grandma's to stay the night. This is usually how it goes when the cousins are together: Jack follows Noah around, which Noah thinks is cool for a little while, and then he tires of it and ignores Jack (or gets mad at him). Alex follows Jack around (he's about 5 months older) until Jack tires of it and fights with her. They're both into biting so that can get pretty interesting! Ok, it's not always like that : ) Poor Jack was sick for his overnight stay, which was really sad. Seriously though, the kids love having a cousin to play with! We're so glad there are 2 more on the way (one on each side)!
Grandma and Grandpa took the three cousins for a snowy walk to see Christmas lights one night. This is the best shot we could get - I'd say not bad.
I love seeing the kids running around all bundled up in snow clothes! (But, just to be fair, I must clarify: I was not present this particular night. I was having a sleepover at my sister's house. A much needed "kid-free 24 hours" for mommy!)
The Christmas Season was so much fun this year with the kids. They were both old enough to enjoy it, and Noah at least could understand it and really get into it. I loved every minute of it!
Shortly before Christmas we received a special visitor...SANTA!
The kids were less than thrilled, as you can see. More like terrified!
So, mommy showed them how it's done. (As if this were optional! Every year EVERYONE takes a turn sitting on Santa's lap - hey, at least we get a present out of it)
Noah was still refusing to go near him so Santa relented and let him have a present anyways.
That did the trick! Suddenly, Noah insisted that he sit on Santa's lap and ask him a question: "How do you and the reindeer land on the roof?" I guess the pilot in him just didn't see how that was possible : )
Noah also made sure to remind Santa that he wanted "Disney DVD Bingo" for Christmas.
Alex, in the meantime, was slowly inching her way closer to Santa (with mommy and blanky in tow).
She did put the blanky down long enough to accept a present from Santa.
He even helped her open it - and then she promptly burst into tears : )
Then it was Christmas Eve. That day Paul and I took Noah ice skating for the first time which was really fun. Then we came home and Noah and I made cookies for Santa. That night we had a Christmas Program with the whole family. The program, which the Gunn family does every Christmas Eve, consists of reading the story of the Savior's birth and singing hymns. Everyone participates...
This is everbody's favorite part of the evening, as is apparent by the joyous looks on their faces.
There are even musical instruments for the kids to play - but it was Uncle Jeff who really got into it with the tamborine.
After the program everyone gets to open one gift. Noah got a large dinosaur puzzle which he LOVED (we did it about 25 times that night).
Alex got the cutest little piggy. She wasn't too sure about it...
until she realized he snores and talks in his sleep (complete with moving mouth and belly). She insisted on sleeping with it that night.
I was so excited on Christmas Eve I could hardly sleep!
Christmas morning was hilarious because our kids totally slept in. Cousin Jack finally came down and woke us up. We kept telling the kids, "Come upstairs and see your presents, Santa came!" Well, I think they thought Santa was still in the room because they were terrified to come up!
They warmed up pretty fast when they saw the massive pile of presents. Alex made a beeline for the stroller with a baby in it! One of her favorite presents, for sure.
Noah's favorite was his "Disney DVD Bingo" game that he's been asking for for months. I can't tell you how many times we played that game in the days and weeks to come : )
Another huge hit were the harmonicas - although I have no clue what we were thinking when we bought those! Noah played his NONSTOP. ALL DAY. EVEN IN THE CAR. You get the idea. We were ready to scream (or chuck it out the window) but how can you get mad at the kid for enjoying his present?
It was a pretty rough day for Jack. He mostly cried and threw tantrums that morning (and bit Alex and pulled her hair). I have to admit though, it's pretty funny to watch when it's not your kid : ) I'm so glad there's finally another toddler around!
Noah left cookies and milk out for Santa on Christmas Eve. Santa enjoyed the treats so much he left Noah a note. Noah, or "Chef Noah" as he likes to be referred to, was relieved to hear that he was on the "nice list."
After presents we all enjoyed a delicious crepe breakfast, made by Paul. Thanks honey!
Then it was time to go sledding!
Noah was brave enough to go down by himself. His favorite thing to do is race and crash.
This was Alex's first time sledding and she loved it! As soon as we'd get to the bottom she'd say, "My turn!" I had to take her home a little early though because it was so hard to get her back up to the top of the hill!
After sledding we headed up to Brigham City where we visited with Paul's Grandma and Aunt Alison as well as Paul's oldest friends, and second family, the Laings.
It was a full day but it was absolutely wonderful. The kids were great! They were so much fun this year! To me, it was perfect - I didn't want it to end : )
Other things we loved about our time in Utah:
Paul: snowboarding, snowboarding, and oh yeah, snowboarding.
Summer: skiiing with Paul, attending my sister's baby shower, and seeing our old friends the Duffys.
Noah: skinny dipping in Grandma and Grandpa's hot tub
Alex: all the extra tv channels (so many shows to choose from, anytime of day!) and all the extra attention - this girls a ham
Thanks Gunn Family! We love and miss you all!