I stole these pictures from my brother. We packed all of my parents' suit cases into the car early this morning and my brother took them to the airport. I wish I'd taken pictures of how crammed the car was with suit cases, and of my kids chasing after the car while my parents waved out the window, or of our red noses (...from crying...or trying not to cry) when we came in and finished getting ready for school.
But I guess I was just living the moment and the camera stayed in its case. Now to take a deep breath and blink back the tears as I go on with life for another year and a half without having them nearby.
The other day Chris wanted to take the kids somewhere they've never been before, so we headed out to the Great Salt Lake.
we went into the gift shop inside the Saltair pavilion and bought the traditional salt water taffy (which is supposedly made from salt from the Great Salt Lake...Mmmmm...). Then the kids wanted to pose in front of the building like Chris and I did when we were dating.
Then we walked. and walked. and walked. aaaand walked to get to the water. I couldn't believe how desolate it was out there. Beautiful Desolation. The water was so low, the salty dirt went on forever.
The kids were scared to get their feet wet (the air was really really really stinky that day, and there were brine flies everywhere). Chris dared them to walk out to that little island and he'd get them a frosty mug at A&W, but they refused. So I led the way.
The island was like quicksand and my feet got buried within a few seconds.
Chris dared them to go out to an even farther island. I guess kids will do anything for root beer.
The water was so salty (apparently when it's low it's as salty as the dead sea), it stung any cuts we had, and made our legs and feet itch.
Here's a poster in the gift shop warning us about brine shrimp sharks. Thankfully we weren't attacked.
Just to show how desolate it is in that stinky, salty place, these piles in the dirt are all dead birds. I guess you can see this sad little graveyard whenever the lake is low at the end of the summer.
As promised, Chris got all of us frosty mugs at A&W. But his was the biggest...
Our stake had a fiesta last Friday night, with games and pinatas and a delicious dinner.
The weather was perfect, and Josh especially liked playing games and winning prizes.
For whatever reason, Ethan just wanted to get tied up with a long rope.
Ashley and Josh got their picture taken in costumes. They chose a "museum" background.
There was an amazing latin dance company that came to show us traditional dances from various countries.
Chris and Brett dressed up for the occasion. Josh played his little guitar for us.
So I took this picture of the moon to see how close my camera could zoom. It's a "meh" picture. Later, after we left the fiesta (and just to make me jealous, I'm sure...), my dad used his brand new camera (which is just like mine except with a better zoom) and took THIS picture of the moon:
It worked. I'm jealous :)
I tried to talk him into trading, but he said, "no way, jose!" Anyway, he needs it so he can take some amazing pictures in Japan with that new camera to send back home to us.
Last week was Hello Week at Ethan's middle school. Each day they got to dress up in a specific theme, like pajama day, sports team day, and superhero day. For being a fairly reserved guy, I'm always impressed that Ethan isn't afraid to dress up or just be himself. He was one of the few people in school with a cape on, and he said people kept telling him, "Cool cape!"
Josh saw the cape later, and wanted a picture, too. He made Ashley shake his cape to look like he was flying. :)
Yesterday my parents were set apart as missionaries for our church, and today I stood on the driveway and waved goodbye as they left for the Missionary Training Center in Provo, UT. Now I know a little bit what it felt like when my parents sent their kids out into the world. It's kind of bitter sweet. You hope they'll be safe and make wise choices and find good friends, and then you go back into your house, and it's quiet and empty without them. But you also know it's time for them to go off on their own to share their talents with the world, and learn, and grow in ways they never expected.
Luckily we get to see them for a few days this weekend before they head off to Fukuoka next week!
My brother's family came in from out of state to hear my parent's farewell talks at church (they are going on a mission for our church to Japan) and also spend time with cousins, since we haven't seen each other in two years.
One of the things we did was go to the dinosaur museum. The kids had fun running around doing all the hands-on activities together.