Saturday, August 25, 2012

There and back again: Trip to Utah!

This month we had the opportunity to go to Utah for my brother Raphael's wedding.  So once again we packed up the car and started our long journey to Draper, UT.
PS: I want to apologize in advance for the 5 billion pictures I am about to post.  We did so much, and had so much fun that it was very hard for me to choose.

Adventure #1- The drive up!

Day One- It was a long drive, so we tried to break it up with movie watching with the new portable DVD player we got just for the trip. Life Saver by the way and the best $50 I ever spent; and frequent stops at gas stations, and rest areas.





We stopped at El Paso for dinner before arriving at the hotel.



One of the highlights of the trip was Jon serenading us with the trololo song (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Z4m4lnjxkY), and Kiki hating every minute of it.
It was too funny!

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Day Two- White Sand Dunes

The second day we planned a visit to the White Sand Dunes of New Mexico. Before arriving to the National Park we saw military signs saying things like "Caution", "Do not Enter", "Active testing zone."
It was a military missile testing sight. The boys thought is was pretty cool, and I was pretty worried thinking a missile could land on us at any point.


 White Sands was so beautiful! 
As we drove into the park, the sand was so beach white that it looked like snow.


 

First family picture at the dunes!


 Hiking up the dunes was quite a workout



 Family photo #2


 The kids had so much fun running bare foot all over the place



 While at the dunes we saw a bleached earless lizard . It was so hard to spot because it blended so well with environment, and it was so darn fast. After much fun chasing it, guess who caught it? 
...that is right THIS fearless lady!

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 Family picture #3


 More hiking and climbing!


 One of the fun things to do at the dunes is sledding. 
So we took turns sledding down the dunes.




 Kiki had fun making herself slide down




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The boys got to earn a White Sand Dunes Ranger badge while we were there.
They were so excited about it.
Before getting back on the road we had a nice pic-nic lunch



As we were driving through the southern part of New Mexico we saw some really cool stuff like "The Valley of Fires" a place filled with lava rock.




The boys where able to pick up their very own lava rock.


Day Three- Mesa Verde


Our final stop before arriving to Utah was Mesa Verde, Colorado. Jon and I had wanted to visit Mesa Verde for quite a while now. It seemed so interesting. Before our first hike down we filled up our Camelback backpacks to stay hydrated.


The hike down was spectacular, with beautiful red-ish soil and rock, green trees, and shrubbery, and with occasional cliff dwellings scattered onto the rock-face of the mountain side. 




 

Family Picture in front of the Step House



Logan pretending to grind corn like the Anasazi people used to do


 Kiki and I climbing down into a sacred chamber called Kiva



Family Picture with the Step House in the background


Taking a little break before our next hike.


 Jon helping Logan and Julien with their Mesa Verde Junior Ranger Badge.



The Cliff Palace


 

Hiking down to the Cliff Palace was a little more challenging.
The passage ways were a little more narrow,
and a little more steep with some cliff drop offs at some points.



Logan, Kiki and I in front of the Cliff Palace.






Mesa Verde is such a beautiful, fascinating place. We wish we had more time there visiting more dwellings, and learning more about the people who resided there.

After a long day, Kiki was so tired she didn't even have the energy to finish her cookie!



Adventure #2- Our stay in Utah!

Day One- It was so great to #1 not be in a car, #2 see everyone, #3 relax and hang out.  It had been what felt like such a long time since we had seen my parents and siblings.
 Jon got a free birthday meal from Tucanos; so with the kind offer from my mom to watch the kids, we did not hesitate to use it.




Day Two- My dear friend Kendra came for a visit and cut everybody's hair. My mom and I got a highlight and weave.


After their hair cut, Jon took Julien and Alex and met up with his good friend/ old boss Todd for a nice round of golf.




 Jon let Julien drive the golf cart for a few hole. I am sure that it made his day.



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 After which they went to Five Guys Burgers and Fries apparently.
I wonder who's idea it was...


 To top the day my parents got Indian take out! One of Jon and mine's favorite food. Yum!

Day Three- Lagoon


Jon, Julien, Logan, Alex, and I were able to go to Lagoon while my parents watched Kiki. Jon and I had been talking to the kids about going back riding the rides, and hanging in Lagoon-a-beach's lazy river, so it was nice to be able to enjoy some time with them without having to worry about Kiki. We had a blast. Jon talked me into riding some rides which tested my limits. Julien and Logan did so good riding. Actually Logan surprised me by riding the two scariest rides twice.

One of my favorite rides, Rattlesnake Rapids




 The Samurai


 The Spider


 The Screamer


 Colossus


Wicked



Day 4- Shopping/ Birthdays, New job, Graduations... Celebrations!

We finally made it to REI where Jon picked up his birthday present. A hammock! HE LOVES IT! And to be honest I do too, it is so comfortable! We also headed to Utah County for some BYU gear shopping. The boys always like having new BYU shirts, and I found a cute little BYU summer dress for Kiki.




 When we got home we celebrated all the birthdays and all the new jobs/ promotions, engagements, Audrey's doctorate degree, with a nice dinner my mom had prepared.


Sisters & Kiki!



Day Five- Dinner with Scarlet's family and a BIG SURPRISE!!!

On Friday night some of Scarlet's relatives came over for dinner. It was a great evening getting to know them, and making new friends. 

Raphael, Scarlet, and her grandma


 Scarlet's brother Marco, Scarlet, and Raph


 One of Scarlet's cousin became quite good friends with Logan. 
They were so cute playing Just Dance.


 Scarlet's mom and aunt taring up the dance floor.


 SURPRISE! T flew in from Bora Bora for Raph's wedding. It was such a great surprise. 
We had all missed him so much and were so sad not to have him with us.


Kiki loving T!


Day Six- The Wedding!
Saturday was Raphael's and Scarlet's big day!
Before heading down to Temple Square I took a few shots of my parents. They turned out so good.





















My parents giving Raph on last kiss before he becomes a married man!

Julien, Logan, and Kia Ora with my parents 


The kids with Uncle Raph


The most adorable kids in the Universe!


The Sealing was truly special. I got all teary eyed. I was so happy for them and was happy to finally have Scarlet be a part of our family. She is a very beautiful, talented, kind heart-ed girl.

While we were waiting for Raphael and Scarlet to come out of the temple, we got to take a few family shots. Here is the best one:


The Kikster and the Kimmie!


Julien and Logan as handsome as can be. 


Scarlet and Raph!


Kiki in her Papi's arms!


PICTURES!





Audrey, Jon and Kiki


Julien posing with a frown! 
It was so hot out and was so long for them to sit still and behave. 
But they did great!


Kia Ora had a blast running all over the place posing in everybody's pictures. 
Even with bridal parties we did not know.


Jon eating Kiki's snacks


Sisters!


My beautiful sister in law Scarlet!


Scarlet and Raphael





Jon and me



Audrey and Joey


Joey playing with the Kikster!

Scarlet fixing up her cake before the reception


 Scarlet made the bride groom cake topper,
and if you couldn't tell it is her and Raph. 
 There were so many details. This girl is so talented.



T and me


Raph and Scarlet relaxing before the reception


 Audrey and Scarlet


Mom and Kim


Dad with Brother and Sister Brousseau.
I just love them!


 My cousin Christopher, T, Kim, and Joey


When you are that cute, people just can't resist kissing you.


My aunt Mary and uncle Paul


Action shot of the ushers


Kiki starting to feel tired after a long day.


Raphael and me


During the dinner some of Raphael and Scarlet friends performed Polynesian dances.


 Kia Ora was mesmerized watching the girls dance.


The singer/ drummer had people come up and dance.
My dad was up first. He was so cute and funny!

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T was up next. This kid has some serious moves.
You can definitely tell that he's been on the island for a while now!

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Raphael and Scarlet were last! They were adorable.
I love Raph in this video.

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 Scarlet's grandmother handmade napkin holders for everyone. 
They were so well done with so much detail. 
Now I know where Scarlet gets her talent from.


 The first dance



 

 Logan tearing up the dance floor.


 Cutting the cake!
Scarlet looking all sweet and innocent...well don't let that fool you!


 Because...


...she got him good!


Raphael performed a song he wrote for Scarlet. It was so sweet!


 Kiki falling asleep in the arms of her Mami


 T and Jon


Umbrella Dance


Day Seven- Joey's Birthday!

Sunday was Joey's birthday! Kim prepared his favorite birthday cake, a delicious pumpkin cheesecake, and Jon made some delicious ribs. It was the best ribs I had ever had (and I'm not saying that just because he is my husband, they were truly sensational).

Kiki enjoying dad's ribs


Joey eager to have some of his birthday cake.


 I think he got more cake than he bargained for. After dinner Joey and my mom got into a little cheesecake fight. It was too funny!



Everyone left the table with a little piece of cake!


We had such a good time while in Utah, it was the perfect vacation. We enjoyed playing in the pool, playing lots of games of hide and seek, lots and lots of ping pong tournaments, Tarot games, board games, yard work, and snuggling.




Kiki playing with Papi


One of our favorite pass time at my parent's house is playing endless games of ping pong.



Kiki loved snuggling with Raph.




Movie watching




Julien and Logan helping Papi taking care of the yard.


Jon too worked hard in the yard, but I think he liked it. 
He and I love yard work.



Kiki helping by picking the pretty flowers!




Adventure #3- Drive Back to Lake Jackson, TX

Day One- Hole in the Rock & 4 Corners

 

Right outside of Moab is this crazy/ cooky looking place called Hole in the Rock. We had driven passed it several times without stopping until now.
Hole in the Rock is a souvenir shop/ museum of a house carved out of rock wall. The house is no longer inhabited but was until the 1970's. Outside the home are modern art, and antique type stuff. It is a cool place.








Our final stop for the day was Four Corners! We had fun setting ourselves up so each of us was in a different state at the same time!


 After our little photo session, we looked and shopped at different booth for some cool Navajo stuff. I got a cool water pot, Julien and Logan got moonstone arrow head necklace, Kiki got cute beaded hair clips, and Jon got to see the money in his pocket book dwindle down. lol!



Day Two- Roswell, NM & Carlsbad Caverns

"E.T. phone home..." Yap that is right we were right in the middle of it! Roswell, New Mexico. Driving through Main Street was fun because there were aliens everywhere you turn; some advertized sleeping in hotels, eating at restaurants, selling cars, you name it, the McDonal's was even in the shape of a flying saucer.


 


 While on our stroll on Main Street we walked into a really cool souvenir shop with a alien life size diorama we could visit. It was so cool. Kiki was a little scared and hesitant in taking pictures with the aliens.




Carlsbad Caverns was a very cool place. It is huge limestone cave in a fossil reef with lots of corridors, crevasses, towers and much much more. The boys once again became Junior Range. Throughout this trip they became Junior Rangers in three different National Parks.






 Kiki had fun flinging herself backwards, hanging upside down.
What a little monkey!



 We found the remains of a bat! It was pretty cool to see.


Day Three- Driving, driving, and driving some more until we finally made it home; not before grabbing some dinner of course!


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