If I thought things got girly after Steven left for BYU, it was nothing compared to now having all 3 girls together (and no brother to balance things off). There have been so many conversations about fashion, hair, make-up, and kissing - I kid you not. I think Chloe initiates most of the kissing conversations, hahaha.
The first week after Jaclyn got home involved a couple of dedicated days of shopping (we destroyed her wardrobe while she was gone) and going out to lunch. At the end of that week we celebrated Jaclyn's 21st birthday! Jaclyn had friends over the night before, and then on her big day Chloe made dinner (curry) and Carmen made the cake.
Jaclyn went back to work her second week home. She was fortunate to return to a job she has worked at for many summers in a lab doing testing for an oil and gas services company. Her first work week was as a short one, though, because we left Thursday night after work for Utah to visit Steven! We drove as far as Great Falls, MT on Thursday and then the rest of the way to Provo on Friday. Friday night we went out for dinner with the whole family plus Jaclyn's friend, Mason. From there Jaclyn & Mason took off on their first date in over 2 years and the rest of us just chilled at the hotel.
Saturday was a busy day! Ken, Carmen and I got up at 6am and drove to Salt Lake City. Carmen has been dedicating herself to family history work, and most of what she has found has been work for other members of the family to do, but she did find 2 names she could take to the temple for baptisms, and she really wanted to go to Salt Lake. So we did, and it was the best decision of the weekend. We had a wonderful experience with Carmen that we will always remember.
The crazy part of our decision to go to Salt Lake was that we had other family baptisms to do, but of course no one else wanted to get up super early, or drive 45 minutes to a temple when there was a temple right in Provo, so at 9am we went out for breakfast as a group and then went to the Provo temple. It turns out there is no such thing as too much time in the temple with your children.
Saturday afternoon we had arranged to meet a photographer (a BYU student with a camera) to do family pictures. We got to the location a little early, and right away Chloe found this bunny:
Not everyone wanted a picture with the bunny.
Steven in his ironic photo with the bunny.
These are all just pictures we snapped on our phones waiting for the photographer. I haven't seen the formal family pictures yet, but I could seriously just use our selfies on the Christmas card this year:
("Wishing you peace & love this Christmas season")
Sunday was much more relaxed than Saturday in Utah. Steven and Jaclyn went to afternoon young adult wards instead of the morning family ward Ken found, so we checked out the fall colour at Sundance, and then met the adult children later for dinner.
Monday morning we hit the road and drove all the way back home. We had a great weekend, and it was well worth missing turkey dinner.
We had another great weekend this weekend past as well:
Saturday we made apple pies with my mom, sister and one of my sisters-in-law. My mom always makes the bottom crusts in advance, and then all the pastry for the top crusts as well. We are so spoiled that she makes this project so easy on the rest of us. We have cut back the number of pies we do from 15 each to 10 each, and we had more helpers this year, so we were done by early afternoon.
(Which was a good thing, because:)
My parents have friends from Newfoundland who have made a Jiggs Dinner for them a couple of times, and when my parents found out that Jaclyn never had an official Jiggs Dinner on her mission they decided to cook her one on Saturday night. It is a dinner of potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnip, parsnip, cabbage, brussel sprouts, and pease pudding all boiled together with salted beef for flavour. It is served with mustard pickles and gravy. Jaclyn said everything tasted very authentic Newfoundland except the gravy, which had too much flavour, hahahahaha. So the gravy was a hint of Alberta.
Then yesterday, Sunday, Jaclyn finally reported her mission in church. Her topic was avoiding spiritual bondage, and she spoke well on the subject giving me plenty to think about. Naturally we had another big meal on Sunday with both sides of the family, and thanks to everyone's contributions we will be eating leftovers all week - my favourite.