Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Amanda's in the states!!!

We found out last week that Amanda in China, who raised Flower until she was 21 months old, was in Utah! We were so excited. We were thrilled that KG just happened to have Saturday, Sunday, Monday off. We were overjoyed that Amanda and Flower would get the chance to see each other after two years of being apart.

Saturday morning we packed it up and headed out. We made it to Utah about 4:20 pm and went straight to the hotel. It was brand new and still smelled of new carpet. Loved it! The decor in the room and the colors were just my style and we couldn't have been happier. We had quick baths and were out the door by 4:45. We met Marco and Steph at Fuddruckers for dinner. We talked and talked and finally went to their place to play games and talk some more. It was so nice to finally get to know Stephanie and spend time with the two of them. She is a cute little pregnant lady and I can hardly wait for this baby to be born! Flower loved her. Stephanie bought her ice cream and watched her play video games. Flower dragged her wherever she could.

We had been eating Nerds as evidenced by Stephanie's tongue. :)
Flower absolutely adores Marco. She would just randomly say, "I love you Marco"
I can probably safely say the feelings are mutual.

Sunday we slept in till 10:30! All of us. It was wonderful. We lounged a bit and left for lunch at noon. We went to a really good restaurant, new to us, called Noodles and Company. We liked it a lot. Then we finally went in search of Amanda! She was staying at her friend Stephanie's house. Steph was a gracious host and welcomed us and fed us and we had a great time. We arrived at 1:00 pm and invaded her home until 10:00 pm. We had such a lovely time getting to know them and reconnecting with Amanda. It was really touching that when we pulled up to the house Amanda came to the car. She peaked in the window and Flower turned to me and got the biggest smile and twinkle in her eye and said, "Is that my Manda?!" You could see it in her eyes that she 'knew' who this was. There was an immediate connection there. She always calls her Amanda when we talk about her but when she lived in China she called her Manda so I think it's very cute that she reverted back to that as soon as she saw her. We were so comfortable all day and just really enjoyed everyone's company. Stephanie was very easy to be around and we have lots of stuff in common. Stephanie's sister and her husband were in town from Boise as well so she had a big dinner, also inviting her other sister that lives in Utah. When I found out she had a sister and parents in Boise I asked her what her maiden name was. She said Sipe. I recognized the name but just couldn't place it. It wasn't until her Utah sister came over and she said, "Oh Kristen's here" that it clicked. I went to high school with Kristen so it was really fun to meet her husband and cute daughter. It was just a really great day. I am so grateful that we were able to come and see Amanda and spend time with her like this.She has grown her hair out since last we saw her and it's very flattering on her. I love it.

As we were leaving Amanda put this hat on Flower. She didn't waste anytime turning into a ham. She was pretty pleased with herself and she had us all laughing.
We call this her Chinese face, getting those eyes as squinted as possible without being closed. :)

When we got back to the hotel we went for a swim. It was River's first! She actually loved it. Thankfully the water was a great temperature. KG and I had gone to Target earlier in the day and found this swimsuit. I fell in love with the apples. So cute. She apparently loved it as much as we did! With those eyes I can see why people ask us if she's Asian. :)
Flower loves her Strawberry Shortcake suit that someone gave her as a hand-me-down. It was her first time wearing it and she could hardly wait!
This is probably the funnest time I've had with Flower in a pool. We laughed and laughed and she was more confidant and trusted me so I was able to throw her around and have fun without her screaming and being scared. Lots of fun.

While in the hot tub we met a really nice guy from New York who happened to be LDS. We told him all about Amanda and China and all the things she does there. He was very interested in all of it. Then he and KG got into a great conversation about paintball. He has seven kids and that's one of the things he loves to do with them. He was also a bishop and did that with his ward youth. Super nice and interesting guy.

Monday morning we took it easy. River was sound asleep on the bed as we were getting ready.
We went to the new Draper Temple. I liked it much better in the photos I had seen because it looked white. Although I love how square it is, it's not my favorite color, being grey. The overcast and snow didn't help.

The windows are neat though.
It's also in a neighborhood with castles for homes. Geez.
That is one house in the center and this photo makes it look small. It also wasn't the largest one there, just the easiest to photograph. Nothing like making you feel inadequate right before you go into the temple. :)
From there we went to IKEA. We went with good intentions of getting a new bed for Flower. I will write a separate post on that. However, what we neglected to think about was how we'd get it all home! Once we got out to the car, in a blizzard mind you, we realized we were in trouble! Poor KG was out in the storm loading and unloading the car several times to make things fit. We had to switch River's car seat to behind me so we could put the seat behind him down. The girls were basically in a cave and unable to get out once in.
KG and I couldn't even see each other unless we leaned forward.
But hey, he made it work! The funniest is when he got it all in the first time and then tried to get in his seat. He had put his seat all the way forward not taking into account he would need to sit in it. His head was touching the visor and his gut was hanging over the steering wheel. I could not stop laughing. Dang me for not getting a photo. He had to get out and start all over. No easy feat since there were three boxes, the lightest box being 180 pounds!!! There was also two good sized bins and our luggage. We were jam packed! Through all of that it wasn't even stressful because he's always so calm. I love my big strong man.
After that madness we went to Marco's work for one last visit and chatted for a bit. We were finally on the road by about 4:00 pm. We made it home by 9:30. Not bad!

I am so grateful for this trip. I needed the getaway with my family and it was made even better by those we spent time with. It's so awesome to reconnect with people and feel like no time has passed. We are so lucky to have amazing friends in our lives and especially ones that adore our children! The whole trip really meant a lot to me.


A-me said...

I heart Noodles and Co! Wish we had one here. :)

Callie said...

How fun for Flower to reconnect with Amanda and vice versa. I love the picture of her in that hat, it's BLOW up and hang on the wall worthy! Sounds like you had a fun trip. Oh and tell Marco I said hello.

Sandee said...

River looks so cute in her litter swim suit. Her smiles makes me smile every time I look at her!

Heather BT said...

What a great trip. 'Manda does look good with the long hair.
Just went yesterday to Ikea to pick up our loft for Calliandra; love that place.
If I ever go through Boise on my way West - I'm going to have to take you out to lunch or something. Let the kids run wild & have a hoot before I get back on the road.

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