Utah Week Three and Going Home

After our refreshing stay in the mountains at Solitude, we packed up, contacted the condo owners about the lamp that Samantha broke (they were really nice about it…I think my inclusion of the phrase “twin toddlers” softened their hearts a bit, because they told me I had my hands full) and met up with Grammy at the Hogle Zoo before heading back to Grammy’s house.


The Hogle Zoo has definitely been upgraded since I used to go there as a little girl. Not too crowded and the enclosures weren’t the tiny cages I remember seeing back in the day.




Our favorite part– the grizzly bears. It was lunch time right as we arrived at the bear enclosure and the zookeepers threw dozens of steaks out for the bears to munch on. Reminds me of two little bears I know.



Mandatory carousel stop.


Two birdies in their nest.


The girls napped on the way back to Grammy’s and they had a renewed interest in exploring Grammy’s house again since we had been in the mountains for half a week.

The next morning, we saw my good high school friends, Crysta and Sarah, and their kids who weren’t in school. Samantha and Amelia loved playing hide and seek and tag with all the kids.

Samantha and Amelia with Crysta’s Lincoln and Liam.


This random cat from the park apparently wanted to come home with us as it jumped in our car.


After the park, Grammy watched the girls while we packed the car to go home. During our stay, Grammy had prepared for “meltdown moments” by stashing away some new crafts and small toys to bust out at opportune times. The girls were totally occupied running around and pretending they were dinosaurs with the masks Grammy gave them. Too bad we couldn’t bring Grammy with us back home!


It felt like a long vacation, and the girls had been having periodic meltdowns for a week or so about wanting to go home, but as soon as we said goodbye to Grammy and Grandpa and drove off, they of course started crying that they wanted to go back to Grammy’s. We can never win.

Miraculously, the girls were great in the car and slept the four hours to Saint George. We made a quick dinner pit stop there before gearing up to head to Vegas. The girls were super cranky and sick of the car by the time we got there, but all in all, it could have been much worse.

We normally would avoid Vegas at all costs, but we knew we’d be so tired from the trip that we’d need to make an overnight pit stop.

Since we had Bandit with us, we had to find a dog friendly hotel for our stay– so annoying (but we love you, Bandit!)

I had to laugh at some of the “Doggie menu” options!  Totally overboard, but nice for people who are willing to fork over some dough to pamper their pets. Apparently, we are not those people! Sorry, Bandit, but I would rather spend the money on a nice meal for myself. You know, because I actually chew my food before swallowing.


The next morning, our plan was to tire the girls out before the four-hour car ride back home, so we hung out at the Mandalay Bay pool, which connected to our hotel. The girls were in heaven and I was happy about keeping them occupied without venturing out of our little bubble into downtown Vegas.



Our mission to get the wiggles out was successful. The girls ran around non stop at the beach-entry wading pool, wave pool and lazy river. Since we were out in the morning, we had the place to ourselves, except for a few other families. I’m assuming most people in Vegas were too hung over to leave their rooms in the morning!


The girls don’t even play this much in the sand at home, but for whatever reason, occupied themselves for hours in the imported sand here?



Samantha soaks up the sun.


By far the most relaxing part of the entire Utah trip for me!


Tired out from the sun and sand, the girls slept the whole four hours home to California– truly miraculous! Despite it being 100 degrees when we returned (in the middle of October, ugh!), everyone was happy to be home. Except of course, for the girls, who repeated how much they missed Grammy’s house regularly for the next week.

Thanks for a wonderful stay, Grammy and Grandpa!

Lots of love,



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