Thursday, June 30, 2011

It's the little room in the front of the plane where the pilots sit, but that's not important right now

The Winn family just got back from Utah, and it was a wonderful week or two by all accounts. Lix spent the first week out there with just the kids while Jarom stayed behind to work. She loves to visit Utah because there are so many wonderful people that she loves and doesn’t get to see very often. She had a roommate dinner, and all the former inhabitants of their apartment in the E. Richards building were there, and they all (except Alixa) had their spouses and any children as well. The word on the street is that they had a fun time. Since she was spending all of her time with Nancy, Jolene, and Kristi, she also got to do another of her favorite things: visit the spalon. She took Jenna along and got her nails did and had a generally fun time being pampered by white chicks (that means it's more expensive.) She cut her hair pretty short, and it looks great.

So pretty

Kristi makes house calls too!

Lix continues to work hard to get rid of her baby weight, and spent many mornings out jogging with Jolie. She also participated in a few P90X sessions. Jenna saw what was going on and didn’t want to be left out, so she grabbed a few 2.5-pound weights and mimicked the girls as they lifted them up over their heads and what not. Apparently all that exercise was a success, because both Lix and Jenna weighed less today than they did when they left for Utah.

The crew also had a very unique experience that I will let Lix tell you about.

We came to Utah on Tuesday to see Grandma and Grandpa. They live in the mission home that conveniently sits behind President Monson's house. From their front door, you can see his back gate, chicken coop, and pigeon house. When we come to Utah, we know there is a chance of seeing President Monson. He frequently comes by to check on his beloved animals and he always uses the back gate to get into his property. On occasion, we have caught glimpses of him, but never got close enough to say hi. Usually when we try to get close, his bodyguards shoo us away. Well, on Tuesday, we were having dinner with a bunch of missionaries who didn’t have appointments and had come to the mission home to eat. After dinner, a companionship was leaving when President Monson pulled up to his back gate. They knew it was he and approached. Surprisingly, Pres. Monson stopped to say hello to them. One of the elders ran in and told everyone to come outside. We all ran because we expected our window to meet him to be small, as his bodyguards are grumpy and don’t let anyone near him. We actually ran out there. Jenna had great timing and had just pooped and smelled terrible, and none of us had shoes on, but it was so worth it. When we got outside, he was chatting with the missionaries and shaking hands and asking where everyone was from. Jenna and I were the last ones out and as we came out he said hello to us, shook my hand, and asked where I was from. I tried to get Jenna to say hi to him, but stranger danger set in and she got all shy. President Monson was great, though, and started wiggling his ears. Not by using his hands, just wiggling by themselves. Jenna thought this was pretty cool and warmed up to him. He then started to tell stories about when he was a mission president in Toronto, and about how he met and married his wife, and that it was his wife, Frances, who had picked out this plot of land for their house to be built on. He then started to sing to us some songs from when he was in scouts. Jenna really liked that too and when he was done she kept asking for "that boy to sing some more." He told stories and sang and chatted for about 20 minutes, and then invited us onto his property to see his chickens and his pigeons. We were stunned that our visit was continuing, and eagerly followed him through the gate. We saw his chickens first. He has four hens. They know his voice and he calls them his "girls". When he came to the door, they came right to him. He gave them a treat of wheat and then we moved on to the pigeons. He has three buildings to house his pigeons. At first I couldn’t understand why anyone would want to raise pigeons. I asked him what he got out of them and he simply replied, “They are beautiful.” After looking at them, I couldn’t agree more. They really were beautiful. He apparently used to show them. He breeds them differently to create different features. It was really quite fascinating. Jenna loved seeing all the birds and chickens. After we got the grand tour of his backyard, he decided that he had told enough stories, and was ready to leave. We chatted for a few more minutes and shook hands again and he was on his way. The whole visit lasted about 45 minutes. While he was talking, Jenna got really serious and just stared at him like she knew he was important. She patiently listened. The spirit was definitely present. The coolest part was realizing that he really is just a normal man who likes to talk and tell stories. I immediately felt very comfortable around him. It was a very special experience, one that I won’t quickly forget. His bodyguard mentioned that he never does this sort of thing. Always brief hellos, if he stops at all. We all felt very special and privileged to have had this opportunity with the prophet of the Lord. Jenna had so much fun that she woke up the next day asking to go see the chickens again. I invited him to come to the Richmond Virginia stake sometime and speak and he said he would look into it. :)

Jenna, terrified. This was before the ear wiggling began.

There was also a day spent at Thanksgiving Point Gardens visiting Farm Country, where Jenna got to run around with her betrothed, Wes. There were all sorts of goats and sheep and chickens to pet and play with, which she loves. There were also pony rides. Jenna has a long history of loving to look at horses but being deathly terrified of them up close, so it was a huge surprise when she happily climbed up on the first little pony, Chief. She then moved onto to a slightly larger pony, and finally rode a normal sized horse without even holding her mom’s hand. Jarom got a slew of pictures and videos of this event while he was sitting at his desk in Richmond. But he did make the trip out to see his family for the second week of the vacation, which included Jenna’s second birthday.

The full-size horse. Also a full-size Jenna.

Jenna knows what goats like

Jenna's little pony

The birthday began with a video chat with Jenna’s favorite people: Natie, Kenz, and Kenna. They had sent her a birthday present and wanted to sing to her. Next they decided to visit the Hogle Zoo. Jenna enjoyed all the animals, but seemed most impressed by the animatronic dinosaurs that are stationed throughout the zoo. The only real disappointment was that they went early and got good seats for the elephant show, only to find out that it had been cancelled due to “technical difficulties.” I’m not sure why you need anything technical to bring an elephant out and have it pick up some trees and do tricks, but whatever. After the birthday girl had seen her fill they went back to Grandma’s to open up a few presents and take a nap. In the afternoon the drove down to Pleasant Grove to have a barbeque with a group of Lix’s cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. There were about a dozen kids between the ages of 1 and 12, so Jenna was in heaven. The Gunthers have the most kid friendly backyard known to man. There is a huge swing set with a slide, lots of grass to run around in, a trampoline to jump on, a cat, a bunch of chickens, a basketball hoop and some older kids to lift her up so she could dunk, and a birthday cake with candles that she was allowed to blow out. At about 9:30 Jarom looked at the time and realized how late it was getting, but Jenna probably would have stayed and played forever if they had let her. She had so much fun that she didn’t even sleep on the way home, although part of that was her excitement about getting one more present from Grandma. She loved her new fire truck and didn’t get into bed until about 11:00. It was quite a birthday.

The next day they tried it again, this time inviting a bunch of Jarom’s relatives over for dinner. Lix made cupcakes and Jenna was a little better at blowing out the candles. Everyone wanted Jenna to take a cupcake and eat it with her hands, surely creating a huge mess and making everyone laugh. Sometimes people think that Lix and Jarom don’t let Jenna be messy because they don’t want to clean her up or because they are repressive parents or whatever else they might think, but this is not and never has been the case. Jarom told people that Jenna would probably enjoy the cupcake more if she had some utensils, but people just sneered at him and told him it would wash off her clothes. He just smiled. After two mostly force fed bites of the cupcake, Jenna had some chocolate on her face and promptly put the cupcake down and asked for a wipe. It was like her first birthday all over again. But that’s our little Jenna and we love her for it.

On Monday Jenna and Bo got to spend the whole day with Grandma while their folks went with Grandpa, Rob, Jolie, Kristi, and David to Sleepy Ridge to play a round of golf. Jarom and Lix combined to shoot an 82, and Lix got one of the worst shaped sunburns I have ever seen. Plus it was a lot of fun for them to hang out with Kristi and David, whose company they enjoy but don’t get to see very much. After the round they took Grandpa to Outback to celebrate his 56th birthday by making him pay for everyone’s food.

Jenna missed doing pushups with her dad and made David and
Jolie (the military arms of the family) fill in for him

The holes in this recap were filled by an inordinately large amount of time hanging out with Jolie and Rob while the mission pres and wife attended to their calling. Mostly they played dominoes, ate Café Rio, and let Jolie and Rob practice being parents by holding Bo. Bo spent approximately 94% of the vacation asleep; thanks to the most awesome vibrating swing you have ever seen. Unlike his sister and mother, he did not even come close to losing weight on his trip and is getting fatter by the minute. Alixa is terrified of the possibility that he will take after his father, who weighed 20 pounds at 4 months. Perhaps some family member has a photo that can be sent my way for inclusion in a subsequent post.


A few of his moments awake, and also fat

Lastly, the trip home. It became painfully obvious to Jarom that Jenna has flown WAY too much during her two years on earth (something in the neighborhood of 25-30 flights). On their first leg, a few minutes after takeoff she propped her head up and told Jarom that she was ready for her cookies now. About 10 seconds later the lady came over the intercom to announce that they would be coming down the aisle with beverages and snacks. It’s like she has an internal clock for this stuff. It got even worse on the next leg. Their 1-hour layover had been cut in half while they sat on Atlanta’s tarmac, so they had quickly purchased some Chick-Fil-A to munch on. They arrived at the gate after everyone else had gotten on the plane, Jarom carrying two carry-ons, two drinks, and a bag of food, Lix with a stroller that needed to be gate checked and a carry-on of her own. So Jenna was walking free, ahead of both of them. She strolled nonchalantly onto the plane and promptly turned left instead of right, sauntering into the cockpit, where she shimmied up into the co-pilots seat and began to look at the buttons and charts that were next to her. The pilot and flight attendants thought this was the cutest thing ever and happily indulged her for a few minutes. Thankfully she didn’t press the self-destruct button or do anything else to get herself thrown off the plane, and they made it safely back home to their overgrown lawn and a pet snake who desperately needed his cage to be cleaned. It sure is nice to have everyone back at home.

Jenna has finally allowed headphones in her ears

Bo, resting from his tiresome vacation

This is where Lix found her daughter after she had checked the stroller


cameo said...

It was so fun to see you guys and Jenna is absolutely ADORABLE. As is Bo. And the cockpit story is hilarious.

I am so jealous that you got to meet Pres. Monson Lix. Why couldn't that have happened two days later?

Coralie said...

What a cool experience to meet/visit/etc. with President Monson! Wow!

We're so sad we missed y'all when you were here! It's no fun to have sick kids. We'll make sure they'll healthy next time!

Laura Cates said...

I don't know if you still do mistakes in your posts Mitch--but if you do, we lived in E. Richards, not A. Richards! I love the story about Jenna in the cockpit!

Mama Winn said...

Thank you for coming! I miss those babies so much! The cockpit story does not surprise me at all, and the picture of Jenna sitting in that co-pilot seat is just as cute as can be. My love to you all! mama