Thursday, February 9, 2012

Because One Vacation is Never Enough

I have developed a personal tradition of taking myself and my youngest baby (who flies for free) on a little vacation before each pregnancy.  In this way, I have visited friends in New York, Texas, and Hawaii.  The trips never cost much more than the plane ticket, I get to see people that I miss and love, and I try to psyche myself up for the months of my life that I will soon give up.

That trip never really worked out this time around, as we were in San Francisco during the time that I might have gone.  There were no grandparents accessible to help with the older two kids, and Nick was far too busy to take on the mothering assignment.  But I found a new plan.

Every Christmas season, it seems that my old roommates all (OK, mostly all) get together for a night in Salt Lake City, as they are in town visiting in-laws or they themselves live nearby.  I have always wanted to go, but I never just "happen" to be in town like they do.  I really have no reason to be there.  So this year, I made them my reason and just went.  I hopped around, staying with the ones who still live in the area, and we spent one night together at the Grand America.

These girls mean so much to me.  Over our five years together, they became a part of who I am.  Being so involved with my own family now, I haven't quite discovered a way to become that close with people that I have met since.  I am not sure that it is even possible when you don't live together in the cramped quarters that we shared!

Some of my girls: Janae, Melinda, me, Amanda

A clock tower at BYU.  My, how campus has changed!

Me...  The big "Y" is on the mountain behind me, but good luck finding it in the picture.

Me, Michelle, Sara, Amanda, Janae

The surprise snow we received after our night at the Grand.  Our room is somewhere in this picture.

Thank you so much, girls, for taking the time away from family to make me laugh like I haven't laughed in nine years!  I miss you already.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Post-Christmas Cure: Portland

Remember how I mentioned that after Christmas I couldn't shake the run-over, complete exhaustion that set in?  Nick found a solution.  I told you that he was the greatest.

We spent December 26th cleaning up a bit, assembling new toys, and organizing the chaos.  Then, on the 27th, Grandma came over.  And we left.  Nick and I drove a couple hours to Portland, where we spent three days and two nights just the two of us.  No kids.  No mess.  No cooking.  No laundry.  No guests.  No to-do lists.  No responsibility.

It was perfect.  He even surprised me with a room at the Hilton.  I'm sure I've never stayed there before.  Thank you,!

 After a quick swim in the pool (because you can do whatever you want when there are no kids around!), we went to a little b-ball game at the Rose Garden.  The Trail Blazers were playing the Sacramento Kings.  This was a highly anticipated game for Nick us.  You should know that the Kings recently acquired Jimmer Fredette and Isaiah Thomas, Nick's two favorite college players last year.  Nick We have seen Isaiah play in person at the high school, college, and now NBA levels.  And Jimmer was pretty much the best point guard that college has seen, not to mention that he played for my alma mater.
Here is the man (Jimmer) himself on the court.  Even the local Portland crowd cheered for him because he was a national college sensation.  My favorite crowd-sign from the night read, "Seriously, who names their kid Jimmer?"
 The next day, we went to lunch with a friend, Sarah, who we both love dearly.  She took us to Pok Pok, a fantastic Thai place.  Trust the locals.  I know nothing about Thai food, but everything we had seemed authentic and tasted wonderful.  We shopped and wandered a bit, then had a nice Italian dinner at Pastini's downtown before going to Mission Impossible: 4 on an imax screen (one of Nick's favorite indulgences).
 On day three, we went to Pine State Biscuits, a little joint we had seen featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives on the Food Network.  The atmosphere was a bit cramped, but you can do that when you don't have kids in tow!  The biscuit sandwiches were rich and filling and lived up to the hype.
 After brunch, we did a drive-by temple visit to the Portland Temple.  Isn't it beautiful?  And this was even taken in the typical northwest rain.
 I love these doors, with the raised stars on them.
Ahhhh.  Peace.  I felt completely cured from my post-Christmas fatigue.  Nick is a genius.  Let's do it again sometime.  Soon.