Friday, January 7, 2011

Utah Vacation, Part Un

This year’s Christmas vacation began one day earlier than planned thanks to a snowstorm on the eastern seaboard. So instead of driving up to Delaware on Thursday to catch their Friday morning flight out of Philly, Jarom and Alixa and Jenna packed up Carlotta and hit the road at about 10:30 Wednesday night so that they would have clear roads to drive on. They had some great hosts in Delaware who had beds made and cribs set up so that they could go right to sleep as soon as they got there. Thursday was spent playing games with cousins and getting ready for a very early cross country trip. Poor Jenna was woken up from her sleep at 5 in the morning so that they could catch their flight. When they got on the plane they found nobody sitting in the third seat in their row. Jarom immediately crossed his fingers and told the universe that if it would give them the empty seat it would be okay if he did not win his fantasy football league championship. It seems that the universe is a dealmaker, because even though the flight attendants seemed to keep that door open for eternity, nobody else walked on and Jenna got her own seat. She slept a little, and watched a lot of Tigger and Pooh on Jarom’s iPod, and soon enough they were landing in the Salt Lake Valley. Grandma picked them up at the airport and couldn’t have been more excited to see one of her favorite grandbabies. You might think that the first thing to be done would be to go to the house, but no. At the top of the things-to-do list was a stop at Café Rio, where Lix got her favorite, a pork salad. This was just the first of many trips to the Café, which is always a sign of a great vacation.

I guess Jenna has been paying attention when Lix gets ready every day

For the next two weeks the crew was staying with Grandma and Grandpa, who are serving as the president of the Salt Lake City mission. So the first morning was spent at the Mission Christmas devotional, where Elder Richard Hinckley, former SLC mission president, was the main speaker. When Jarom was on a mission, he remembers these sort of events as being pretty cool, but it turns out they are only fun for current missionaries, and not all that great for former missionaries with a wife and an 18-month old. Jenna was not overly impressed with any of the speakers, and spent much of the time running around the halls. After a nice lunch, Jarom went to the airport to pick up Lixi’s little sister Mikah who had just finished up her first semester at BYU Idaho. Her two brothers came up from Provo as well and a mini Hegewald reunion was held, first at Lixi’s grandparents house and then moving to the Winn home.

So many Hegewalds

This pile of junk had to be organized and distributed among the missionaries. This was just one of the tasks the Winn children were forced to do during their vacations. Below, another one of those tasks, and a very excited Jolene.

The next day was the last Sunday before Christmas, which in most LDS churches means a program consisting primarily of music. However, the ward that Grandma and Grandpa live in kicked it up a notch. They had what seemed to be a complete orchestra, with cellos, basses, violins, and assorted woodwinds to go with a massive choir and the piano and organ. The group sang songs from Handel’s Messiah, which is Alixa’s favorite. She has memories of going to that musical with her family, and she got a little teary eyed as she listened to the performance. Meanwhile, Jenna could not have been happier as she led the music from the laps of Grandma and Kristi the entire time, although her little arm surely must have been exhausted.

In addition to seeing lots of Jarom’s family, including Jolene, Rob, Kristi and her new boyfriend David, the Winn’s have lots of old college friends who have been unable to escape the vortex-like pull of the Utah Valley. The list consists mostly of Alixa’s old roomies, since Jarom neither has nor has had any friends of his own. First on the list were Dave and Laura, who were visited both pre- and post-delivery of their second baby, reminding Jarom and Alixa just how tiny those things are when they first arrive and how little they remember about how to take care of a newborn. They also got to see Joey, Laura’s pet chinchilla, a treat that Jenna enjoyed immensely.

Jenna has started feeding herself real people food, and Alixa continues to feed the Winn family whenever they get together

Next up was a trip down to P-town, with stops at the Hagen residence (an old bishop from the Winn’s school days) and the Carter household. The original plan was to eat dinner with Mandy and Dave and then play a rousing game of Settlers of Catan, one of Mandy’s favorites. Unfortunately, Jarom got some sort of food poisoning and instead spent the evening alternately throwing up in the Carter’s newly remodeled bathroom and laying on the couch under several blankets. Most of you know that Jarom has never been called the life of any party, but even by his notoriously low standards he considered this to be a little anti-social. So they decided that they would try again the next week when Jarom felt better. They did, and the next time they invited another of Alixa’s former roommates and her new boyfriend, and Jarom was pleasant and conversive and didn’t make a single trip to the bathroom to vomit.

Jenna spent lots of her time playing the piano...

...sending text messages...

...and eating spoons

The next big event was a trip to the BYU basketball game against UTEP. President Winn himself was in attendance, and Grandma was nice enough to stay at home and watch the kiddos. For a pregame meal the family went to Tucanos, where far too much meat was consumed and everyone left fat and happy. After the meal the girls dropped the boys off at the Marriot Center so that they could go to the BYU Bookstore to do some shopping during the first half. The aforementioned Bishop Hagen was kind enough to provide a bunch of tickets that were pretty good and conveniently located only a few rows from the honorable Judge Jordan, a good friend from Delaware who was in Utah visiting his progeny. The game was exciting, with BYU spotting UTEP to an early lead before beating the snot out of them by hitting approximately one million three pointers. The girls got there around halftime, which was plenty of college hoops for them. The twins and their significant others drove north after the game to the Winn home, where they would stay until early the next week. It made the house a little crowded and required some planning in terms of showers and meals, but it was a whole lot of fun to have so much family around. Jenna warmed up to everyone pretty quickly, and it didn’t take long until she could identify Rob, David, Kristi, and Jolene by name, although she would sometimes get a little confused when you would ask her to identify one of the twins while the other was standing nearby.

Two balding dads risking their daughter's lives. The daughters couldn't be more excited about it.

Jenna developed a small case of the sneezers, and Jarom insisted that the result of this particular one be documented

Alixa’s recently returned-missionary grandparents were hosting a little Christmas Eve party for all of the Hegewalds in the valley, so they stopped by to spend some time with the Gunthers and Omi and Opa. The highlight of the party was supposed to be a visit from Santa himself. He did show up, and I suppose for some of the partygoers he was a treat, but Jenna could not have been less pleased with his presence. From the moment he came through the door she was giving him dirty looks and it only took about 30 seconds before she broke into an all out scream. Just the thought of him being in the same room as her was too much. So Jarom took her down to the basement where they watched an episode of Curious George and waited for the bearded intruder to leave. He eventually did, but was nice to enough to leave behind a very cute little nativity set for Jenna even though she wouldn’t talk to him. Maybe next year.

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