First we went to a nearby playground with the Whitakers. Unfortunately, Atticus was not so keen on all the big playground equipment and, for the most part, played with the baby toys (here he and Bowman are in the baby walkers!- Facepalm).
I'm happy to report, however, that only a few days later we went to another indoor playground full of bouncy houses and, for whatever reason, Atticus was far more daring!
Then, before we knew it, we were back in Utah. The visit had two purposes: to spend time with family and to pass the time while Dane was in Texas for work.
And spend time with family we did!
We spent plenty of quality time with Mimi
Bobba and Nanna
A huge highlight of the trip for me included attending the first ever Maeser Alumnae soccer game. I was so pleased that so many of my dear girls were able to make it. They are beautiful, accomplished women and I was a little overcome by both the pride I felt in each of them- for the people they were becoming- and gratitude- for the chance I had to know them.
Do I miss coaching and teaching? You bet. But I would never change a thing.
Thanks to the length of our stay, we were also able to enjoy a few bonuses. These included the following:
Hanging out with some friends
Having Atticus really get to know his Uncle Corky,
His cousin, Ashton,
And some more members of the Belliston and Maes family.
Zoe and Ernie also let us join them for the first BYU game of the season! We had a wonderful time. A was a champ, but had a hard time letting go of the desire closest to his heart: to see Cosmo the Cougar up close. We tried to make up for it by letting him get up close and personal with the Cougar statue. Maybe next time he'll get to give Cosmo a high-five.
I guess we'll never be sure, but I would wager that Atticus's favorite part of the trip was playing at the "beach." We went to Willard Bay with my dad and he had a BLAST! He was "a little bit scared" to go on the boat but had the time of his life building sand castles and getting sand... everywhere...
And while we're talking about favorites, it's possible that my favorite part was singing with my dad up at his house. For the first time in his life, little Atticus sang in a microphone and LOVED it! He even knew the words to a couple songs so Dad and I played guitar while the little man sang (I am a Child of God and Edelweiss.) It was such a sweet moment.
It's never easy to go without Dane (I have so much love and respect for members of the military and other families that, for whatever reason, have fathers who have to travel often!) but having so many loved ones nearby certainly made the separation easier.
Even so, Atticus and I were positively thrilled to get his daddy back. It was adorable to watch Atticus squeal when he saw Dane come down the escalator and run to him at the airport.
Before heading home, we made sure to celebrate Dane's birthday. Many thanks to those who were able to join us. Just as a side note, I'm pretty sure Atticus set a new record as far as eating is concerned. We've never seen the little man put down so much food in one day, let alone in a single meal! It would appear that he loves Brazilian Barbecue as much or more than his father...
Here are a few more fun moments:
This pillowcase was worth its weight in gold- it was the perfect ghost costume, peek-a-boo hideout, and sleep cover, all in one!
You'll have to see this video to believe it (the file is too large to include.)This kid's memory is amazing:
"I like Hippy, Hoppy." "Play more Hippy Hoppy." (referring to Hip Hop)
"I am all done." (We love his proper grammar)
"What's wrong, Mommy?" or "What's the matter, Mommy?" (this is said all the time while I'm driving!)
"Don't be mean, Mommy." (on the way to the Maeser alumnae game when I got lost and sounded more and more discouraged to a worried little toddler)
"I'm going to tie you up!...You go to jail!"
(When asked, "Why?") "You did not obey!"
(When asked, "For how long?") "Thirty minutes!- I set a timer."
(When it's time to stop anything) "I want set a timer, Mommy."
We go through sleep rules every night (this has worked SO well for us!) Atticus has them memorized and says them with me, pointing at me accusingly as he does so. Then I ask him what treat he would like in the morning. Sometimes it's a favorite show, but most of the time he wants candy of some kind. One night he said, "I want a Nana treat and a show. I want bof!" (both) I told him he would need to choose. He thought for a minute and then, smiling said, "I want a 'Nana treat' and Nana will show me a show."
I couldn't hold back the laughter.
Hopefully you get the picture. He is hilarious but he's also incredibly stubborn and intelligent. He knows what he wants and seems to be incapable of forgetting it! It's not as bad for the time being, but for a few weeks this month I was calling bedtime our "nightly negotiations." In fact, for a week or so I felt like I was having to negotiate every minute of the day! Based on the conversations we had on one particular day, my mother-in-law joked that I might want to become an arbiter or negotiator once Atticus grew up. :) I guess that's the parenting experience, though, right?
I don't want to sound ungrateful. It's exhausting and very often frustrating, but worth it. After all, I have a Father in Heaven who is far more patient with me than I am with my son! So here's hoping for more happy "Hippy Hoppy" moments that keep us all going through the daily grind.