Tuesday, August 01, 2023

Shelley and Rexburg (June 20)

Our first stop on our trip back home was at Aunt Emily's house!

And, yes, you read that correctly—our first stop was Emily's house. That means we drove the whole way to Emily's house without stopping once. This was rather incredible because historically that drive hasn't always gone that smoothly for us. According to Andrew's data, that 3 hours and 31 minutes was one of our longest stretches of driving the whole trip!

The kids were so excited to hop out of the car and into the arms of their cousins! Here are a few pictures of us playing outside:

It was a beautiful—if slightly chilly—day! Gavin spent a lot of time with Phoebe (as you'll see when we get to the playground pictures). I asked him if he liked babies and he smiled sweetly and said, "Of course!" He was so good with Phoebe!

Phoebe loves puppies and she found one of Logan's favourite stuffed puppies inside the house and started carrying it around. That made him feel pretty unhappy and he wanted it back right away—even though I assured him that Phoebe was absolutely not going to take his puppy home with her. But he needed his puppy to not be in her arms (which is understandable). At the same time, ripping the puppy away from her was...hard on everyone else's eardrums. So Emily came up with a compromise: Phoebe could hold Logan's puppy until she came back with a stuffed animal that wasn't well-loved, and which Phoebe could just keep forever. 

And thus it was that Phoebe became the proud new owner of this other stuffed puppy.

So Logan was happy that he could take his puppy back inside and hide it from that terrible baby. And Phoebe (who only seems terrible when she really, really wants something that—perhaps—someone else doesn't want her to want equally bad) was happy to hold any puppy at all. And the puppy was probably happy to get to be loved by a puppy-lover, rather than forgotten in a corner full of neglected stuffies.

(Our own corners probably have some neglected stuffies that could stand to be weeded out but...I'll get to that later).

Here are a few pictures of Daddy and Rachel and Miriam helped to edge Emily's sidewalk (something our own sidewalks desperately need—hint, hint):

While they were doing that—and meeting with a few real estate and property management companies (because Emily is planning to move out of this house soon and Reid has to decide what to do with it)—I took all the little kids to the park. When we left for the park, I didn't quite understand that I was taking all the little kids by myself. It ended up being okay because...taking eight kids to the park is really no different from taking six. Logan didn't quite understand that he should put shoes on before we left to walk to the park and I didn't know the way (I was just blindly following Gavin—who is nine—through the town) so I didn't know we'd have to walk down a gravel road for quite some distance.

Logan was fine barefoot when we were on the sidewalk, but when we hit the gravel road he was just picking his way so carefully along the the way (which is about when I noticed that he didn't have any shoes on!). So Logan got a piggyback ride halfway to the park.

This made Phoebe very upset. Possibly even more upset than Logan was when she was holding his special stuffed puppy. Poor Benjamin had to wrangle his writhing, screaming sister all the way to the park (probably solidifying in Logan's mind what a terrible, no-good baby she was (of course I'm kidding about this; though he didn't seem very impressed by her behaviour—that part is true—I doubt he thinks she's a terrible, no-good baby. He was probably just awed by her incredible set of lungs)).

Here we are at the park where Gavin (now out of his Pikachu pyjamas) had fun pushing Phoebe (and her new puppy) in the swing (while Maren pushed a pinecone in the next swing over):

While the big kids played, Phoebe wandered the field with me, picking dandelions, which I braided into a crown:

All too soon we were called to come back home. The house had been viewed and Emily was anxious to get on with her day—grocery shopping and things. These poor little cousins were loath to say goodbye, and I can't say I blame them! They had so much fun together; it would have been nice to have a little more time to play!

Here's Zoë saying goodbye to Arwyn (who told Emily that Zoë is her best friend):

And here's Zoë saying goodby to Auntie Emily:

And here's Emily and Andrew together:

We didn't really have anywhere particular to get to, but we did know that we needed to ride the carousel. Zoë had wanted to ride the carousel at the zoo and the grown ups in our party were generally supportive of her wishes...until we saw the line! It was so long! So we nixed that idea and told her about a wonderful carousel in Rexburg.

Grandpa treated us all to a ride. We basically had the carousel to ourselves! I stood by Phoebe the whole time, so I didn't even manage to grab a picture of Zoë on her chosen horse, but fortunately Daddy walked around and made sure to get pictures of everyone!

Here's one of Zoë:

And of the older three:

Zoë's choice of horse makes sense for her because her current favourite colour is purple (and her previous favourite colour was pink).

Phoebe had a wonderful time—so much fun she had to stick her tongue out to taste the carousel breeze!

After riding the carousel we went to look at the splash pad, but the ambient temperature was so low that my kids weren't terribly interested in getting wet (though, honestly, I think they must warm up the water because the water felt fine, unlike at the Spanish Fork splash pad where the sun was so hot and the water was so chilly).

We played at the park a little, too, but mostly we just enjoyed the luscious green grass. There aren't many public fields where we live (and is something that I consider to be a downside of life in the south where, from my experience, most fields are fenced off with big warning signs about permits and trespassing and hefty fines), so having public green space to around wild in...was a nice thing to experience.

Here are a few shots of the big people playing frisbee:

On the way back to our vehicles we had to pass by the splash pad again and this time the siren song of the water was too strong for Phoebe to resist. I let her down so she could splash around by some little fountains...

But her eye was drawn elsewhere...followed quickly by her feet...

Unfortunately, she was heading straight for a spot underneath the big bucket that was due to tip any second. I chased after her for a few paces, but when I saw the bucket begin to tip I was like, "She's on her own..." I mean, to be fair, I had asked her to stop running away from me, but she wanted to do what she wanted to do!

She wasn't terribly happy about getting drenched by such a deluge!

Here she is running back to safety/Mommy:

We got her dried off and changed and then headed to BYU-I campus, which is beautiful. We didn't do too much touring, however, because their dress code is so strict and...we weren't dressed appropriately. A number of us were in leggings. A number of us were in shorts. A number of us were in flip-flops. All no-nos according to BYU-I's dress code. 

But here are some pictures of the kids enjoying the beautiful landscaping.

Phoebe was not thrilled about not being allowed to get into the water. She tried squirming away from Miriam...

And then she tried squirming away from me... we decided our best course of action would be to find our hotel, check in, and enjoy the pool. And that's just what we did!

Daddy technically stayed in the hotel room and worked (because did I mention that he was working this entire trip, desperately responding to emails every time we stopped for gas, and working alongside me various dark corners of hotel rooms as I wrote bits of my thesis; it was a busy trip, that's for sure! Maybe one day he'll get to take an actual break!), but the rest of us got to go swimming in the pool and enjoy the hot tub. 

Phoebe said the pool was, "Brrr, brrr, brrr!" 

The hot tub, on the other hand, was, "Brrr—ouch!"

The nicest part about having such an adventurous itinerary on the way home was that it was hard to feel too sad about saying goodbye to everybody when we knew we had so much fun in store. Benjamin was over the moon about visiting Yellowstone the next day....

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