Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Utah Vacation - Part I

Not sure how much I'll get written. It's Wednesday night and we are currently on our fourth night here in Utah. It's about 10pm and we've been on the go all day long. Needless to say, I'm tired. It was my intention to get on the computer nightly (Mike brought the laptop) and write a daily installment, but it just hasn't worked out that way! So I'll start at the beginning and just write until I can't write anymore tonight. There is certainly a lot to say... so much that I hope I can remember it all.

Saturday, May 3: We stayed up really late Saturday night. We were finishing up laundry and trying to get things packed. This vacation has been different from any others I've taken. While I've always been happy to go on vacation and I've always looked forward to our family adventures, somehow this trip held additional excitement for me and I just knew that it would hold some very special treasures for us. I knew this deep down inside me and because of it, my excitement was of a different kind and on a much deeper level. Ethan was also excited... so much so that he couldn't sleep. We kept sending him to bed and he'd just come right back saying, "I just can't sleep. I'm too excited about our trip to Utah! I've tried counting sheep and everything." Eventually, we all managed to get a little shut eye.

Sunday, May 4: The big day had arrived. We got up early, around 6:30am. Ethan was up the second he heard us up and was beyond excited! The boys got dressed. Mike arranged for someone to pick us up and she arrived a bit early. We gathered our luggage and piled into the car. Once we arrived at the airport, we got checked in early and headed over to the boarding gate. Mike took the boys for a walk to get some of their wiggles out of them and I stayed behind to watch the bags and play with the camera. I had been doing a lot more reading about exposure and lighting and shutter speed so I was messing with camera settings and taking lots of shots. Mike came back with a simple breakfast... 4 bagels and 4 bottles of water... which cost a whopping $20! Note to self: No more airport food! The boys watched a movie on Mike's laptop for a bit.

We finally boarded and and got settled. I sat with Ethan and Mike sat with Evan. Ethan and I had a great time together. The boys were so excited about the take off. We taxied around the airport for awhile and then the engine began to roar! As the plane screamed down the runway, we were pushed back in our seats. When the plane left the ground, Ethan looked out the window and waved and said, "Bye bye Seattle!!" Thankfully, the flight was only 2 hours long. The boys were super good. They played with their Nintendo DS games. We got them a new game especially for the flight and it kept their hands busy. Finally, drinks and snacks were served and shortly thereafter, our plane landed.

The first thing we noticed about Utah, even before we touched ground, was the lack of trees!! We are so used to seeing all the evergreen trees in the pacific northwest, all year round. So it was strange. I hadn't thought of Utah as a desert, but that's exactly what it is. On the other hand, I couldn't help but notice the beautiful, beautiful mountains. One amazing thing about this region of Utah is that no matter where you are, there are always mountains around. The Wasatch and Oquirrh mountain ranges are spectacular and are still capped with snow. In Washington, we don't get mountainous views like that all the time. We headed down to baggage claim and were surprised to see that our bags were the very first off the plane. Then we went over to Hertz and waited in line forever to get our car. But the wait was worth it because by the time we got done, we had been upgraded to a mini van. In fact, we got a brand new Toyota Sienna! It's really nice and has the ability to seat 8 if needed. We got settled into the car and headed out for our Utah adventure!!

I tried calling my mom but her phone was off. Turns out she was still in the air, on her connecting flight out of Los Angeles. So I called Lynne Matthes and she promptly invited us over for dinner at 5pm. I thought it was so sweet of her, but I certainly wasn't surprised. That's just the kind of person she is. But first we wanted to go and check into our hotel. We had booked a room at the La Quinta Inn in Midvale. On the ride down that way, all I really noticed was that it was BRIGHT! It was so bright, in fact, that one of the first things we did was stop at a local Wal-Mart and purchase sunglasses! Best $9 ever! Even my boys, who rarely don sunglasses, were willing to wear them all week long.

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