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Welcome to my blog! I write, and take photos, and use Photoshop every day. I love learning and surprises and my sweet family and being a transplanted southerner.

SpragueWest, Day 2 - Utah to Idaho

Whew! The last 24 hours has been exhausting! We have arrived safely in Sugar City, Idaho, after stopping in Phoenix last night (temp: 112 degrees), and then flying on to Salt Lake. We grabbed our rental car and headed to the Little America in downtown Salt Lake for the night - arriving at about 11 p.m. local time. Crashed out.

The kids were great on the flight. We haven’t flown together as a family in about 3 years, so they didn’t remember what it was like, and loved every minute! Well, most minutes. Rowen was busy taking photos out the plane window, and drawing in her scrapbook, and Elliott snuggled down with his “Purpley” blanket to listen to his iPod playlist a few times. I sat between them and ‘borrowed’ their tables to begin filling in the first pages of the scrapbooks. And almost immediately I wished that I had taken time to put backgrounds in to the books before leaving.

Travel Scrapbooking LESSON 1: When scrapbooking on the go - put backgrounds in before you leave. (you know, in all your spare time as you’re trying to finish a class, pack for four people, make sure nothing in the fridge will stink, arrange for pets, mail, employees, scheduling, hotels, transportation, etc. Squeeze it in.)

This morning we drove up to Temple Square and walked all around with the kids for a couple of hours. If you ever find yourself in Salt Lake City with a couple of hours to kill, definitely go. The block is beautiful, and the historic buildings are so stunning. Of course it was teeming with brides! LOL. During the summertime there can be as many as 50 weddings a day in the Salt Lake temple, just churning out one right after the other. The three we could see got married on a Wednesday at something like 8 in the morning. Random, but if you want to get married there, you take whatever time they’ll give you! 

The kids LOVED seeing the beautiful granite blocks of the temple up close, were amazed to hear that each block was cut out of the canyon and pulled 23 miles to the temple site, and that the building took 40 years to complete. It’s almost impossible to imagine what the Salt Lake valley must have looked like then - especially as we ended our morning tour (which included the Tabernacle and the 23,000 seat Conference Center, as well as a visit to the Christus statue in the north visitor center) across the street at the Blue Lemon. Delicious, and SO MUCH EASIER than the original pioneers had it!

This morning was really special to both Jared and I, being able to share some of our legacy with our children - we both have several ancestors who were among the pioneers to arrive in those first Utah years after crossing the plains in wagons and on foot, and it was humbling and awe-inspiring to stand at the foot of the marvelous Temple that is the monument to their faith, strength, and obedience.

After our tour and lunch, we met the amazing, gorgeous, so-sweet Heidi Swapp and her kids at Liberty Park for some play-time while we had a quick meeting. Did I mention she is AMAZING? We talked about some of our plans for the upcoming months, which I will talk a LOT more about after we get home from this-here trip - but it included a new Mouse Paper Scissors class (yay!) and a few other bits of awesomeness. Mostly it was just great to see her. She is one of my favorite people on the planet - and one of the great blessings that scrapbooking has brought into my life is the opportunity I have had to get to know her. Can’t wait to see her again in a few weeks at Creative Escape!

After our meeting, we stopped at Maverik (for the 3rd time in less than 24 hours!) for yet another 44 oz frosty cold icy Diet Mt Dew (which they do not have in fountain drinks in North Carolina gas stations), and hit I-15 for the drive in to Idaho.

I have driven the road between Salt Lake and Idaho Falls at least a couple of hundred times in my lifetime, and while there are parts of it that get a little monotonous, most of the drive is really beautiful! Jared and I both reminisced about this particular 3 1/2 hour stretch of road, which we each traveled every other weekend for almost all of our 6-month engagement back in 1999/2000 - he was going to school at Ricks College and I was at BYU in Provo. I could probably drive this stretch with my eyes closed! But it was so much fun to show the countryside to the kids, who loved the lava rock, the sagebrush, the huge sky filled with strange clouds, and the wheeled sprinklers out in the farm fields. So familiar to me, and so foreign to them, growing up as they are in North Carolina rather than Idaho. Some part of me will always think of this part of the country as home.

We dropped off our rental car at the Idaho Falls airport and my mom picked us up to bring us on in to Sugar City. One of the hardest things about being far from these grandparents is that not only are they just flat-out far away, but they live in the middle of nowhere. So it’s 8 hours of flying to get to Salt Lake, where you have to rent a car and drive another 4 hours. We have only made that journey four times in the 7 years Rowen has been alive - most of the visiting has been one or both of my parents coming to see us instead.

I had just been back to visit my parents at the end of April for a couple of days, but Jared and the kids hadn’t been since Christmas of 2008. Jared said as we drove in to Sugar City (population 1246) that it hadn’t changed much, and I agreed.

When we arrived here at about 9:30, both of my brothers and their families were there, and we had fun talking, and letting the cute cousins get to know each other again! There are 5 grandchildren in our family, and they have never been all 5 together, although my kids have met the other 3 at other times. They instantly raced outside to play (something that is pretty much impossible in NC during the summer, unless you want to be eaten alive by bugs), even in the growing dark, and stayed out until it was too dark to see. Awesome. We are looking forward to lots of great time with the cousins.

My sister Julie, who lives in Phoenix, started her new teaching job at Great Hearts Charter School yesterday, and so can’t join us for the reunion. I am so sad I can’t see her this trip, but so excited for her new gig, and looking forward to seeing her in August. :) Aside from Julie, everyone else in our family is present and accounted for, and it feels so good to have reached our first destination.

We won’t be connecting with the printer until probably tomorrow (it wasn’t waiting here in Idaho when we got here, but should be along very soon), so for now we’re just collecting the pics.

Which leads me to the First Major Bump on the road to complete hybrid scrapbooking nirvana. Somehow in the transfer from the rental car to my mom’s car in Idaho Falls (four suitcases, two laptops, two backpacks, purse, scrappy totebag, plus random loose articles), my little Canon PowerShot camera went missing. I have looked everywhere and can’t find it - and so my heart hurts tonight to lose all the airport/flying/hotel/TempleSquare/drive to Idaho pics that were on it. Somehow the loss of the camera itself is nothing compared to the loss of the pics I was going to put in the scrapbooks and share with you here. :(

In (slight) consolation, I had taken some pics with my phone, and Jared with his, so we have a few. But I’m sad that the kids don’t have their camera. I think we’ll probably pick another one up on the trip.

Tomorrow we are all headed up to the Idaho Falls Zoo (we made the vote after my dad, who hates the zoo, had gone to bed. HA!), and a picnic lunch at Tautphaus Park (another landmark from my early childhood, which I spent in Idaho Falls from ages 2-7).

Here are some of the photos we got on the phones yesterday and today (and one more little boo hoo for my lost camera and I’ll be done):

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Watching the Smurfs on the iPad in the airport. Sharing headphones. Awesome.

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My sweet ones in the Salt Lake Tabernacle. The acoustics are legendary - you really CAN hear a pin drop from the back of the room.

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 The Salt Lake Temple

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My favorite shot of the day. :) This statue is called The Christus, and is at the top of a spiral ramp with walls painted like space (oh yeah, totally made Elliott’s day). Jesus is shown here resurrected and with the wounds in His hands and feet and side. The experience of standing at the base of the statue and looking up into His face is so humbling.

SpragueWest, Day 3 - Idaho Falls Zoo

The Spragues Go West.