I forgot to write about Monday during the day. It had snowed quite a bit on Sunday evening so the roads were quite slick and slushy in the morning. However, I drove to a chiropractor in downtown Provo as my sciatic was already really starting to hurt (it always hurts during pregnancy). I was quite proud of myself for driving so safely on the slushy roads.
After the chiropractor visit we met up with cousin Diana and her roommate at Wild Ginger for a Chinese lunch and to catch up. I kept up with her during her mission in Taiwan and we've been writing occasionally since she got back. It's been such a blessing to finally get to know at least one of my cousins a little better!
On Monday evening we headed over to the Brick Oven restaurant right next to BYU's campus to eat dinner before the BYU men's basketball game. It had been years since we'd been there. Perhaps graduation was the last time we'd been? What we didn't realize is that nearly the entire community had decided on the same plan!
We had a long wait and we had a seat next to the front door. Which made for chilly waiting as the door kept getting opened and closed. But it was worth it - for right after 6pm Cosmo, the BYU mascot walked in as he usually does at Brick Oven right before men's basketball games and football games. Esther and Nathan were so excited. Jacob was kind of freaked out.
After Cosmo made his way on through the crowd, Jacob suddenly changed his mind and wanted to give Cosmo a high five. He sat on Daron's lap the rest of the wait with his hand up in the air waiting for Cosmo to come back.
Once we were seated, Daron spotted Cosmo again and he and I took Jacob over for a high five.
Now he was a happy boy!
Off to the game! We arrived right before half time, but I don't think the kids would have lasted the whole game anyway. But they did really enjoy it. Jacob had zero interest in the game except where Cosmo was located the whole time.
Tuesday afternoon found us at the Creamery on Ninth. Again, it was super crowded. By then we realized that there were probably hundreds of families like us in Provo for the holidays - alumni visiting family and wanting to spend time back at BYU. So we waited forever for a table. But the grill food was yummy and again, the kids really enjoyed being part of the BYU community.
Esther would not let her new cougar out of her sight!
Jacob was starting on a cold so we spent that evening relaxing at Daron's parents' house watching movies. These boys are so sweet together.
Wednesday afternoon we were running errands and ran into a familiar face at the Target in Orem. If any of you have seen BYU TV's Studio C, you might recognize James Perry. We may or may not have ran after him and his wife and Esther may or may not have kept shouting James! really loudly until she got his attention. I was a little embarrassed but the kids had kept talking about running into someone from Studio C. He was nice enough to chat with us for a moment and take a picture. I could tell he needed to be somewhere so we kept it brief.
We made a discovery on New Year's Eve. If you want to eat out, you should make a reservation. We did some shopping on our way up to Salt Lake and found busy restaurants all over. So we decided to walk around Temple Square first then find somewhere to eat.
Then we walked several blocks around City Creek mall only to find the Italian place was an hour wait and The Cheesecake Factory across the way was at least 90 minutes. It was about 7:30 and the kids were cold and hungry. So Daron walked back to the car and brought it around while we waited in the warm restaurant.
We drove back to the Sandy area calling restaurants along the way - each of them telling us of an hour wait. In desperation we pulled into an IHOP and had zero wait. Yeah... who wants to eat at IHOP on New Year's Eve? Our children did! So we had dinner at 8:30 pm with three tired children. We just tried to make the best of it though Daron and I were feeling pretty frustrated by then.
With the news of Tiffany's passing on New Year's Day, we decided to leave that day to try to make it to Houston by Sunday morning. Esther, Nathan, and Jacob watched Wild Kratts on Netflix for hours while Daron and I did laundry, took turns running errands, packed, cleaned, etc. We finally left at 5 pm - destination Moab.
We got to Moab rather late but safely and stayed at a nice Marriott hotel. Friday's destination was Clovis, New Mexico. Unfortunately, we neglected to check the weather, which we'd been doing faithfully up until this point. We didn't think there could be that much snow at the border of New Mexico and Texas. Boy, were we wrong.
Most of the drive through New Mexico was foggy - pretty disappointing as that area has such cool terrain! (Notice Star Wars fighter ships zooming around as the background sound.)
About 80-90 miles outside of Clovis we took a smaller highway that led from the main highway straight down to Clovis. That's where we hit some flurries. Which kept getting bigger and kept coming down. We were driving nearly blind through farmland and miles at a time could not see homes or towns or other cars. The snow got to be about 4-5 inches in about an hour. We didn't need to use our snow chains, but there were a couple of inclines that we weren't positive we'd make it up.
This isn't a great picture but you kind of get the idea of the road. It was like one of those old star screensavers or like making the jump into hyper space. Pretty mesmerizing and scary. I'm so glad Daron drove! Pulling into our hotel in Clovis was glorious.
On Saturday we drove and drove and drove and drove (and I was sick as a dog - achy and tired and sneezing and headache). The snow had reached all the way past Lubbock and the roads had not been plowed. Where the snow was packed, it was ok driving but where it was slushy was still slick. We slid around quite a bit while driving right next to a semi truck. That made me really nervous!
We arrived in Katy, Texas late on Saturday night only to have to get up to make it to church at 8:30 am. Daron's brother spoke in church bearing his testimony of the gospel. He also shared with the congregation the testimony that Tiffany had borne to the families after the wedding. It was an emotional time made even more difficult because I couldn't breathe with my cold. We stayed for lunch with two of Daron's brothers and his parents. We had such a nice talk with Damon. He shared some wonderful experiences that he and Tiffany had the last several months and it really helped me to start having more peace about her passing.
We finally arrived back home about bedtime on Sunday evening. We were completely exhausted and the kids were so glad to be home. They ran around the house as if they'd never seen it before. Luckily the kids didn't start school again until Tuesday so we had a day to get a little sleep, do a tiny bit of unpacking, and visit the doctor.
It was a crazy, fun, sad, amazing, tiring, relaxing trip. We made lots of memories and mostly enjoyed being together - something that we don't always get to do!