Cousins and Friends

On Monday morning, we decided that to help Elena rest, our best option would be to take Elena on a walk. We borrowed Ginny’s stroller, which doesn’t get much use these days (but probably will soon), and walked around the neighborhood. Although they live only a few blocks from downtown, some people on the corner keep chickens in their yard and the neighboring community garden. By the time we got to the end of the state fairgrounds, Elena had fallen asleep, and she stayed that way once we got back, giving us the opportunity to enjoy a wonderful breakfast that Heidi made for us featuring chocolate chip pancakes.

After Gerrit drove us downtown to pick up our rental car, we went back to their house and found that both babies were happy and awake. We put them down together on a blanket from their aunt Laura, and saw the beginnings of an enduring friendship. Elena knows how to roll over, and Ginny knows how to sit up, so they each had something to teach the other. As soon as she got the chance, Elena grabbed whatever part of Ginny she could reach and tried to stuff it into her own mouth. Ginny didn’t seem to mind too much. After we left on Tuesday, I got a call from Heidi reporting that Elena had inspired Ginny to roll over. We’re working with Elena on sitting up–she can do it for a little while, but still prefers lying down, so she can be more mobile.

We split up the cousins when we left to visit some of Jenny’s friends who live in the Salt Lake valley. First up was a friend, Kelly, who had moved away Texas at about the time Jenny and I started dating. Our little rental car got a stiff test on the drive up to her place, which took us three miles and several thousand feet straight up the mountain–I would love to tackle that road on my bike. The views from her back porch were absolutely stunning. We got to meet Kelly’s fiance John, who seemed to be a really nice guy. He even took a turn holding Elena while I was taking some pictures of Jenny and Kelly. Although that took him out of his comfort zone, he did a good job. We also walked around the grounds of the newly-built Draper temple with them. Jenny really enjoyed looking at the flowers, which seemed especially vibrant in the clear mountain air.

From there, we stopped by a supermarket to pick up our assignment for a picnic that evening with several of Jenny’s friends from high school. From the store it was off to Amy’s house to chop the vegetables and visit some before the picnic. Amy, one of the aforementioned friends, organized the whole thing, even though she’s six months pregnant and has two small children. Although the girls were shy at first, eventually they warmed up to us (and me in particular).

Although I’ve met Amy before, I had never met her husband Matt, so I was glad to meet him when he got home from work. After that it was time to pack up and drive an hour through peak traffic to the picnic location, a neighborhood splash park somewhere at the very edge of the Salt Lake City suburb complex. The trip seemed extra long to me because I was squashed in the back seat next to Elena, which was fun, but isolating. However, the trip was worth it–the food was good and Jenny’s high school friends and their families were very nice. I’m not sure why you would build a splash park without a water fountain; we emptied our water bottles and I was still thirsty, but there was no place to refill it.

The return trap didn’t take nearly as long, but by the time we got back to Heidi and Gerrit’s house, Elena was ready for bed. She slept much better that night than she had the one before.

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