I'm back from my jaunt to Utah. I had a fantastic time. I have lots of photos and memories to share. Get ready for another super long post! :)
First stop . . . I arrived in Salt Lake City on Wednesday evening. Since Devon's wedding was Thursday morning at the Salt Lake Temple, I made arrangements to stay with my fabulous friend, Robin, and her family.
Thursday, the day of the wedding, also happened to be her son Austin's birthday. Austin was born exactly one month after my son, Isaac. I still remember pushing Isaac in a stroller up to the NICU to see Austin the day he was born. Happy Birthday, Austin!
This is Austin digging into the present I got for him.
And here it is! It's a Pokemon stuffed animal. Austin has started collecting them - he's a HUGE Pokemon fan. This one looks like a Duck-billed Platypus to me - but Austin loved it!
The boys getting ready to leave for school - Austin, me, & Jake.
I had to pull Robin away from slaving in the kitchen for this one. :) Robin, me, & the boys.
Randy (Robin's cool hubby) took the boys to school. Very soon after, Evan finally decided to wake up. Yeah! Evan is awesome and he just cracks me up. I also just love his hugs. He ranks up with my son Rob for best hugs ever.
Isn't Evan just a cutie pie? And see all those gorgeous curls? He has the thickest hair with just gorgeous curled waves. But just wait - there's a story about those curls . . .
So, after I finished breakfast, I jumped into the shower to get ready for Devon's wedding. As I'm getting out of the shower, I can hear Evan screaming and Robin saying, "Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh." So, I wrapped up in a nice big towel and headed into her room to see what was up.
Apparently, Robin decided to trim Evan's hair. Evan must not have been too happy about that, cause he wasn't co-operating. In Robin's fluster-ment, she forgot to put the shield on the clippers . . . and you can guess what happened next. Yep. One very, very bald strip, right up the back of Evan's head.
Robin turned to me and said, "I don't know what to do. Help!"
I checked out Evan's head a bit, then turned to Robin and said, "You have two options. You can leave his hair like this and he can look like a dork or we can buzz it all off."
Every mother out there can just imagine the look of shock on Robin's face. She decided to go for the buzz job, but couldn't stand the thought of cutting off all those curls. So, I took charge of the clippers. I popped on a #2 shield, then Operation Off with the Curls began. Robin held Evan during the whole process.
Evan, finally calmed down & playing a game at the computer.
The proof that it wasn't my fault. I'm still waiting for angry emails from Robin's mom. :)
Next stop, the Salt Lake Temple.
It was a scramble to find parking downtown. I didn't realize they tore down ZCMI and the other mall that was across the street from it. The other parking lot I used to use when I was going to LDSBC was gone too - a new building was sitting in its place. Hmm . . . after getting directions from some sister missionaries, I finally found a parking spot and entered the temple.
Now, some of you may be wondering who Devon is. Devon is the daughter of some of our very good friends, Kevin & Pam Banta. We met Kevin & Pam about a month after John & I got married. My friend, Kim Nelson, introduced us. We've been good friends ever since. When I first met Devon, she was 11 years old. As a teenager, she babysat for us for almost four years - every Thursday! When she turned 16 and got a "real" job, her sister Chantell took over babysitting for our weekly date nights.
Not only was I friends with Kevin & Pam, but I became really close to Chan & Dev. We would get together for Girls Nights Out - we even had a sleep-over at my house once. We munched and stayed up super late watching chick flicks. We'd get together for family BBQ's, turn up the radio, & dance. Wow - so many fun memories.
So, when Devon emailed to ask me to attend her wedding, I was all for it! She married a wonderful, quiet guy named Sean Mylinski. I really enjoyed watching them together. Their sealing was beautiful and the spirit in attendance was sweet. I used up plenty of tissues, too.
After the wedding, waiting for the bride to come out for pictures . . .
Kevin Banta, his daughter Nattely, and her daughter Alayna.
Sisters Forever - Becca & Chantell.
Ooh Yuck! Chantell giving her "little" brother, Jared, a great big smooch!
Ashlyn Banta. I met Ashlyn when she was about 1 year old!!!
Rachel with her sister Nattely and cousin Alayna.
Mr. Stud - Zack Banta.
Where's my skateboard? I just know that's what he was thinking! Mike Banta
Mr. & Mrs. Sean Mylinski!
Becca stood in awe of her beautiful sister and handsome husband.
Devon & Sean, walking together on temple grounds.
The Banta Family - Yes, they're all brothers and sisters - except for Sean (the groom), Nattely's hubby (Ben) & Nattely's baby girl.
The Banta's & They Mylinski's: Kevin, Pam, Devon, & Sean.
During part of the wedding pictures, I went with Kevin & all the kids to JB's for ice cream. It was a great way to keep us all occupied while the photographer finished up all the wedding pictures. On the way to JB's, what did I see? The brand new Deseret Book Company Building!!!
I stopped everyone and said, "That's where my manuscript is! Wait! I have to take pictures!!!" Of course, I jokingly said that we should all pray for my manuscript while we were there, too. ;-)
When we finished our ice cream, I took Rachel, Becca, Ashlyn, and Chantell back to Cedar Hills. Chan went to help Devon get ready for the reception, while I went back to the Banta's house to help the younger girls do their hair for the reception pictures.
At the reception:
Pam, Devon, & Becca.
My good friend Kim holding Alayna. I met Kim about a year after I joined the LDS Church. I met her at the Penn State University - Nittany Singles Branch. We've been good friends for 14 years now! She's also the person who introduced John & I to the Banta's.
Caleb & Becca
We discovered the icing on the eclairs turned our tongues pink . . .
Me & the guys: Mike, Jared, & Caleb.
I left the reception around 7:30 pm, so I could drive down to Orem and attend my monthly Friends of GIANT Steps board meeting. Since moving to Kansas, I've attended the meetings over the phone. I love it when my trips to Utah co-incide with a meeting. I have to say, I am so impressed with our board members. This past year, they have done some incredible things - putting together our first annual auction which was a HUGE success. Right now, they're planning a winter benefit concert. I'm looking forward to working with our new president and board members this year, too.
Let's fast forward a bit: Friday
Friday morning, I discovered I still had Rachel & Becca's car seats in my car. Silly me! I dropped those off to Pam, then went to the Mt. Timpanogas Temple.
This is where John and I were married. I love coming back and performing temple work here. It was really fun Friday morning seeing all the brides in and out of the temple.
After my morning at the temple, I was invited to have lunch at Tristi's house with Tristi Pinkston (of course) and my fabulous friend, Heather Justesen. I was so excited to see them, I was all teary eyed when Tristi opened the door. She thought something had happened and I was sad. But I wasn't. I was just so very happy to be in the company of good friends, who I sincerely miss between my visits to Utah.
The Writin' Chicks: Danyelle, Heather, & Tristi (along with Tristi's son).
I felt doubly blessed that the members of Tristi & Heather's critique group took time out of their schedules, away from work and family, to come to an early meeting so we could spend some time visiting, too. Keith, Kim, & Nichole - you guys rock! Thank you!
Keith and His Bodacious Babes:
L to R: Tristi, Heather, Danyelle, Keith, Kim, & Nichole.
Wahoo - Check out that smackeroo! Poor Keith, I really embarrassed him. He asked me to tell my hubby the kiss didn't mean anything. :)
My old college roomie, Miss Amy Marble, met me at Tristi's house. Amy came with me to the last Storymaker's Conference, so she knew several of the people at Tristi's house, too. About 4:30 pm, Amy and I took off for dinner, then spent the evening watching Bride & Prejudice and sewing. We made this totally cute purse and wallet.
The purse pattern was by Lazy Girl Designs.
Amy - a sewing and design queen - helped me follow the directions and simplify the project, as I'm sewing-challenged. But I did actually sew all of the parts together for both the purse and wallet. Aren't they totally cute?
The finished purse & wallet.
I actually spent both Thursday and Friday nights at Amy's house. Saturday morning, I was treated to homemade, whole wheat waffles and real maple syrup. Yummy, yummy, yum. After breakfast, I got packed up for my flight later that day. Amy and I had a great time visiting. Spending time with Amy, relaxing, chatting, and sewing, was the perfect way to end my trip.
Two Chicks of a Kind: Danyelle & Amy
On my way to Salt Lake, I stopped at the Distribution Center and Deseret Book to stock up on some books and other things we needed. While the flights to Utah were all smooth, the flights back to Kansas were super bumpy and made me a bit sick. The one good thing about flying though, is I got to watch a few movies (Sense & Sensibility and Return to Me) and I finished A Future for Tomorrow by Haley Hatch Freeman, which I'll be reviewing during her blog tour.
I had lots and lots and lots of friends I didn't get to see on this trip. I wish I would have had more time. I'll be out again for the Storymakers conference in April. I hope to get to see more of you then! I just want to say a huge thank you to Devon for inviting me to her wedding. I absolutely enjoyed it. Another huge thanks to my awesome hubby, who so willingly stayed behind to have fun with the kids. And thank you, thank you to all my friends I did get a chance to see.
And to everyone reading this - I hope you have a wonderful, fabulous day!