Desperately needing some sunshine and a change from long, routine days, we took advantage of David's spring break to traverse the entirely of the west coast (almost). Wanting to make every gas dollar worth the expenditure we crammed in visits with just about all of our favorite people along the way.
Four of my dearest college friends live within an hour of each other. I felt so lucky to see them all in one place along with their babies, bumps (two expecting), and bruises (Summer still graciously came despite the fresh injuries she was donning from her traumatic pedestrian + car contact the week before). These ladies have each been highly influential in my life. I love them!
After visiting with David's beloved mission president & wife from his time in Argentina (why didn't we get a photo?) we got to spend the evening with favorite family at Temple Square.
Hours later and 30 degrees warmer, we were in St. George reuniting with Sessions family:
River & Mia
Babes and moms with alternative subjects of interest:
And finally a day and night later, we had arrived at our sunny destination. Our industrious Dad appointed car-washing duties as our first activity.
The morning runs were GLORIOUS, especially since we could leave sleeping babes with G Gma.
The vegetation so different from our usual stomping grounds, that I spent a lot of our adventures just taking in the landscape and identifying plants. Despite the harsh appearance of the local bio-life, each plant is so interesting and since we were there right in the middle of blooming season, the smells were lovely (orange and cactus blossom...YUM!). David felt differently because he would often return he would return home with battle wounds from unfriendly cacti.
Even Mia remembered G Gma's kumquat trees from our last visit and introduced June to the bounty:
We spent most of our time in the pool! Don't we look awesome?
While Mia was a swimmer supreme, June would have her fill shortly after entering the water. She's never been into her baths, so no big surprise that swimming isn't her thing. Luckily, G G Heinz was always ready to rescue her with a fluffy towel!
We had a daily dose of duck-feeding and were privileged to witness spring-time rivalry with lots of commentary from Dad the Biology student.
When we got sick of running, swimming, and ducking, we'd visit a local park. Much to her chagrin, Mom, (as well as Dad & June) caught a stomach bug right in the middle of our trip (ugh!) and was still recovering in this photo. The swing didn't help.
Mia felt that she deserved to snuggle next to an obliging G Gpa every evening while he read or watched the news. June, who is naturally more apprehensive, took a few days to warm up.
We were so pleased to see our cousin Eli & his mom two times on each end of our trip!
Eli festively planned an egg hunt for Mia:
On the way back we took a hike around Zion National Park. Dad encouraged Mia to cram into every crevice we encountered along the way.
My Aunt Mona was gracious enough to let us take a break at her house during our long-haul each direction. She has a sweet poodle who Mia has deemed as "my friend Sammy."
Unfortunately, during our last touch-down at Mona's house and just hours after reflecting on the safe and uneventful nature of our trip, our car was burglarized while we were sleeping. Actually, we had invited theft by leaving our car door unlocked with all of the goods inside...In addition to feeling really pooped that night, we over-estimated our good fortune. So our Easter morning surprise involved a police report and Mom desperately avoiding despair over the newly purchased and newly gone electronics
(IPad & MacBook laden with electronic textbooks and assignments for each of us).
Then, in an effort to find refuge at Gma Harmon's house for Easter Sunday, Mom took a wrong turn and we ended up closer to the opposite side of the state. Thanks to some tricky navigation and some really rural backroads in really rural Idaho, we found her in the company of more wonderful family and a delicious Easter meal (and only added two pointless hours to our 22 hour trip...woohoo!).
June tried to convince us that she could just stay with Fluffy, G & G Harmon's fluffy cat, while the rest of us made the trek home. We decided that such an arrangement wouldn't do, and finally had to strap a really mad baby into her car seat for one final stretch.
Because we got to spend time with so many of the people we love (and get a good helping of Vitamin D)
the trip was more than worth the set-backs and the countless hours in the car.