Being back at the Salt Lake Temple for Claire's wedding brought up so many lovely memories of our own sealing there. Is there any more beautiful building on earth? To be gathered there in the sealing room, surrounded by only close friends and family, all of whom share the hopes, values, and righteous desires of the soon-to-be-married couple, is a powerful thing. I'd never realized before how much overwhelming power gathers in a sacred place where all are unified in experience, covenants, and love. Watching Claire kneel at the altar, I felt my own sealing, my sealing to my parents, so many of my grandparents sealed there, Michael's parents and grandparents, my own child, all gathered and present in one collective, joyful, meaningful experience. What a blessing to us and to the beloved couple! What spiritually uplifting power there is in temple worship!
On the plane. Jed was SO GOOD this trip. On the way home he slept 4 out of the 5 hours we flew. I slept 3. :c) We were all tuckered out after so much partying!
Grandpa Dowdle created a monster when he started giving Jed rides on his bike. Eventually it got to the point that every time we let the kid out the door he'd run for the carport and try to hop on the bike himself before anyone noticed. Fortunately, he's still a little short for solo bike riding.
While we were there, we attended a book signing for Grandpa Taylor's book he wrote about his experiences in WWII. Grandma was there to graceful entrap any innocent bystanders and sweetly coerce them into a purchase. :c) She is SOOOO good at it. Every person she talked to bought one while we were there. The store sold out and they sold a couple stacks of their own they had brought. Here are the Taylor womenfolk hanging laundry. Beautiful! You may notice few photos of the Dowdle clan. There is reason for this. When we got home, we realized that every single photo of my family involved someone in either their underwear or nightgown... suggesting that perhaps our family never seems to be fully dressed... which isn't really all that surprising given the past popularity of "The Underwear Club" in our household.
The other day, I was listening to some tunes while doing my morning dish routine. I hummed along to a jazzy Death Cab for Cutie song and looked up right as Jed ran into the kitchen. He waved a garden trowel in one hand while the other fist waved into the air. His feet high stepping, he marched into the kitchen and looked up at me with that huge, uneven-toothed grin of his. He was dancing, all on his own! Who can resist such a vision! I dropped my scrub brush and we danced together all around the house, jumping, giggling, waving our hands in the air, laughing at ourselves and proud of Jed's latest masculine talent. Now we dance every day, and usually daddy joins in with us.
We're back from our hurricane visit to Utah. Never, never, my friends, has so much activity been packed into so little time. To ease the overwhelming variety of friends, family, work associates, and favorite sites to visit, we were forced to strictly divvy up our time into the following segments:
Days 1&2: Dowdle family Days 3&4: Taylor family Days 5&6: Stanfill family
This worked better than we even imagined. Sunday we had the usual Dowdle family dinner horde, (Us, mom, dad, Eric, and about ten other random extended family members and friends.) What fun that was. I reveled in three hours of dinner table political ranting (finally, all that conservative radio put to good use!) The next morning we had a leisurely breakfast and headed up to This is the Place Monument for the day. I know, this is incredibly nerdy. This is the kind of thing that only a husband who truly loves his history-psycho homeschooled wife could ever possibly tolerate and even claim to enjoy. Miraculously, we had chosen the ONE day out of the year that John Huntsman (bless his soul) pays for everyone to get in for free AND get free ice cream. The place was a blooming sea of multicolored strollers. I'd forgotten how prolific we Mormons have ever been. I couldn't help but think that Brigham must be smiling, exceedingly pleased that his people are still propagating like rabbits. Seriously, birth control is the pits. Better to have rabbits.
The next two days were delegated to the Taylor family, since the far flung New York clan were also in town. What fun to see our fellow nerds, er, homeschoolers. We went to the pool, but all my joyful hopes for swimming with Jed and Michael were dashed by a sore throat, a freak windstorm, and an astonishing amount of poop. We still had fun. Jed LOVED the pool, and Auntie Annie and I tossed him about as he shrieked with laughter. That evening we all met together and the woman compared new offspring as well as cooing over pregnant bellies. (See Brigham Young comment above.) No wait, that was the night before. Tuesday we went to Claire's bridal shower and ate the most delicious salad bar ever. I will admit that I forfeited my hamburger and instead picked, um, like two gallons of strawberries and sugared pralines out of Penny's salad. And then I took two bites of the cake and went back for more sugared pralines. Kryptonite, I say.
The next morning we went on a Taylor family hike up to Stewart Falls. A nap starved Jed freaked out in the Ergo on his daddy's back on the way up. I pulled him off, strapped him on my belly, and we pressed grimly on. And we made it! No more crying fits and one floppy headed, sleeping toddler later, we victoriously punched our fists in the air and announced to the universe that you CAN HIKE WITH A TODDLER! Not that there's anywhere to hike in Indiana. But you know. It's the idea.
Next two days were a blur of Claire Stanfill's wedding festivities. When we stepped into her family dinner, I caught my breath because the room, bathed in pink sunset light, looked like a garden of light and flowers. Truly beautiful. Just right for Claire. I spent most of the evening chasing Jed out of the serving room, where he was obsessed with getting into the food-warmers and/or tripping a waiter. Each time he escaped down the hall, he ran full blast toward the serving room with the most evil of toddler laughs. The next day, we gratefully dumped him into my parents arms for he day and went to the temple. After a brief to-do over forgotten temple recommends (along with a good number of the grooms family, it was a bonding experience in the temple recorder's office) we attended a lovely sealing ceremony. We felt all romantic a lovey dovey afterward. Nothing like a visit to temple to get the marriage candle glowing again. That evening we attended the reception, held on Joel (Claire's huband)'s family farm. No sugared nuts, but I still managed to, um, consume more than my fair share of the treats. Geeze, visits to Utah are the WORST for my waistline. Seems like if it isn't a wedding feast it's grandma's daily pies. So good and yet so... um... cellulitic.
Saturday was a wild tour of this that and the other, loose ends, early father's day and birthday celebrations, and a final gorging at Bombay House. Michael and I had our first date there, and it's still just as unbelievably good as I remember. Can anyone not face a dish of Lamb Coconut Kurma with Peshawari Naan bread and not eat every drop, lick the bowl clean and then wish they were bulimic?
We bid a tearful farewell to all our beloved family. Sunday morning we headed for home. I only wish we'd had more time to visit so many of our dear friends. I hate not being able to see everyone.
I never thought I'd say this, but when we stepped off the plane, I moaned a sigh of relief as I felt the joy of hot hot hot hot humidity blessed my parched skin. The next two days I reveled in the rehydration of my hide, the disappearance of desert-like legs, the plumping and moisturizing of flaky face, the soothing of miserable nasal passages, the blessed goodness of brown skin not coated by a layer of white flaking of leprous-like suicidal skin cells. I haven't used the A/C all week.
I'm amazed how much I missed it here while we were gone. Utah has had something of a rosy visage, but I must say aside from family there (which is an overwhelming reason to make anyone to want to move back, admittedly) there isn't much I miss. The traffic! Oh, the traffic! The sheer volume of pressing human beings on not enough roads was almost claustrophobic. We are so lucky tucked down in our quiet little riverside house tucked in the trees.
Jed's new favorite outdoor activity is playing with the hose. I put our spray gun on the end and set it to keep automatically spraying, and he goes nuts! Sunday afternoon he must have spent 45 minutes trotting around the front yard, spraying mom and laughing hysterically, and making sure that all the trees and pots got very, very, very well soaked. I love it when he laughs because he shows all seven of his teeth, and the world's most lopsided, bucky-toothed grin.
Indiana has arrived in full-blown summer. Upstairs, because I am disgustingly cheap, I refuse to turn on the A/C during the day, so it is 83 degrees. But downstairs, in the blessed, gorgeous, fantastic basement, it is cool, calm, and perfect. We set up our TV and Michael's beloved sound system on some funky shelves we bought. We set up our old living room furniture and a twin bed for napping. Plenty of stacked boxes and the nasty ol' bar to hold snacks and water. This place is hot summer heaven on earth! Or maybe that's under-earth. Anyway, all I can say is it was SO WORTH the frustration of finding a house with a basement. Yahoo!
One day this past week, poor Jed managed to fall down the front concrete stairs, thereby giving himself a bloody nose, rasberry abrasion beneath his nose, and blackened right eye. Several hours later he fell in some other fashion and split his lip. In that miraculous toddler style, he bounced back from both with his usual cheery aplomb, soon tottering around the house with that awkward little gait and happy mumbles.
He manages to fall in some spectacular form or fashion every day and now the blood and bruises fade into one another... sometimes I can't quite tell where he's hit because there are already so many bruises on his poor little noggin. The unfortunate child definitely inherited his mother's coordination, and could probably use prayers on his behalf so that he will survive to adulthood. (I mention this wincing, recalling all those falls down the stairs before seminary... the black eyes from running into doors in a darkened house... the massive bruising of body and ego.... those teenage years really weren't the best of times for my physical prowess.)
Anyway, today we were over at the in-laws and enjoying a round or two of Wii Bowling, which is hardly the most strenuous of sports. I was trying to raise my Mii sports score, which, in a manner remarkably accurate in its assessment of my athletic ability, has rated me a solid zero on the "pro" sporting graph. Somehow I thought things would change in the virtual world.
So, there I am, bowling like crazy to get enough points to retain my tattered pride and I raise my hand back to let rip yet another spare when.... *BONK* my fantastic follow through manages to conk my wandering one year old right in the forehead. He went down, I went down, and we all sobbed in hilarity and sorrow as yet another abrasion was added to the collection. Yes, in the most tame of tame virtual sports, a game that has almost literally NO MOVEMENT and can be played sitting down, I still manage to injure myself and poor innocent babe. Oh, it was awful!