Well, it's taken me a while to get around to blogging again, but Dot's sleeping off her 6-month vaccines, the pizza dough is rising for dinner tonight, and I don't feel like cleaning, so here it is!
At the end of July we went to Utah for a reunion with family and friends. It was the first time I got to see many of my siblings in almost two years, and the first time Dot got to meet all her cousins. I'm so, so, so glad we went, even though Ben was sick the whole time and Dot's schedule got totally thrown off and I'm still tired from it. I really wish we'd taken more pictures, though. I remembered to BRING my camera most places. I just didn't remember to USE it. Maybe next time.
Some highlights from our trip:
OK, so here was one place I forgot to bring my camera, so I have to settle with a picture taken with my (free, old-school flip-style) cell phone, in sun so bright I couldn't see the display, with a baby who really wanted to eat said phone. So the picture's not great, but it's still one of my favorites from the trip because it reminds me how beautiful the day was and what a great time we had our first day there when we hauled the cousins up to bridal veil falls. The older kids waded in and splashed and played until their feet were numb. Two of Dot's cousins took turns pushing her in the stroller, so I got to take it easy and chat with my sister and sisters-in-law while we walked. The only downside was that Ben was coughing too hard that morning to come with us.
(Another cell phone pic, unfortunately -- but I'm glad I had it on me to capture that happy smile!)
Despite having her schedule shot all to pieces with our long, late plane flights (our flight there we didn't get into a bed until about 3:30 a.m. by our time), Dorothy was the happiest kid in the world for that week. One of my nieces told me, "Dot has the gift of happiness." She LOVED seeing everybody and getting so much attention!
Speaking of which...
Dot's cousins absolutely lavished her with love. It was so funny to me when these little tiny kidlets would beg and beg to hold Baby Dot. She was nearly as big as they were! But it really warmed my heart to see how tender, kind and sweet all my sibling's children are. The two- and three-year-old cousins were especially cute with Dot, offering her gentle hugs and kisses all the time.
My oldest niece earned this dollar fair and square by teaching Ben how to hula hoop. Hula hooping is apparently not like riding a bike -- both Ben and I were initially totally unable to keep a hula hoop up when we were playing outside with the kids. Because he didn't think it could be done, Ben offered her a dollar if she could teach him how. And later that night, we were both hula hooping like pros! (I was wise enough not to bet the dollar, though. Never bet against a determined eight-year-old.)
We attended a reunion with all my extended family on my mom's side -- aunts, uncles, cousins, cousins once removed, and so forth. There was a photographer there at the beginning who was able to take family group shots and a couple individual pictures -- hence the picture above of just Dot. It was a lot of fun to see everybody! I only wish we had had more time to chat with all my cousins, instead of just being able to breeze by and say hi-how-are-you-good-I-love-your-blog-bye! But at least many of my cousins keep blogs. Otherwise I'd be asking them inane questions like, "So... what's your name again?" (Which is not to say I did not ask a cousin or two that exact question. I have a lot of cousins, and not all of them have blogs.)
Other highlights I don't have pictures for:
*Eating out! A lot! Twice at Cafe Rio! (This is very exciting for us. We have not eaten out very much since Dot was born -- or even before that, for that matter. I enjoy cooking and we're homebodies, but it was really nice to have a reason to splurge a little and go out together and with our families. Plus, we have MISSED Cafe Rio.)
*Playing in the sprinklers
*Playing a little basketball with my brother Warren (I got OWNED, but it's been so long that I even though about playing basketball that even getting owned was fun -- until I ran out of breath disappointingly soon after beginning)
*Playing a couple rounds of Wits & Wagers with my siblings and my mom. It's a really fun kind of trivia game -- even if you have no clue what the answer might be, you can have a really good time guessing. Thanks to Christian for introducing us to it!
*Staying at my Grandpa's house, now decorated with really cool 50's-style furniture
*Making fun of my dad's new beard until my Aunt Nancy trimmed it, and then admitting that maybe it sort of looks okay
*Going to the Museum of Ancient Life at Thanksgiving Point. That place is so awesome I used to go there as a single young adult, because I just liked it. It is even MORE awesome with kids that you are related to in tow. There's lots of hands on stuff and exhibits and information for almost all age levels.
*Visiting with some of Ben's family in Utah and getting to know some more of my in-laws
*Splurging on some Amano Artisan Chocolate with Ben.
There were definitely some downsides, as well -- like the fact that the plumbing at Grandpa's house was having issues and that a house with 11 children in it under the age of 8 is going to be pretty wild and crazy -- but overall it was an amazing vacation and I had a fantastic time. I'm so blessed and so grateful to have such a wonderful family.