After four years in Louisville we moved to Houston, Texas for the next seven years for him to complete a residency and fellowship. Again, most vacations were spent going to see family.
It wasn't until close to the end of his fellowship that we made it back to Utah for a visit (his sister lives in Logan with her family, and my brother and his family were living in Provo). I wasn't prepared for the nostalgia that accompanied the trip. As our plane flew in and I saw the big "Y" on the mountain that provides a beautiful natural backdrop to Brigham Young University I actually got teary-eyed. I know...I'm a sap. We both just have so many great memories associated with our time there. And oh my goodness...it is GORGEOUS!
Another great memory I have of BYU is my time spent there at the ages of 14 and 15 going to EFY (Especially for Youth). BYU puts the EFY program on during the summer for kids ages 14 to 17. I would go for the week with my friends and get to attend all these really great classes about being a teenager and making good choices. My testimony of Jesus Christ grew and grew. I would come back from those weeks all jazzed for at least the next 6 months - wanting to always do the right thing and make my Heavenly Father proud of me. It was one of the best things my parents could have done for me as a teenager. It really helped to cement me on a good path. I loved it!
Now my husband and I get to give our kids the same opportunity to have that great experience at EFY. This was Bryan's first year he was old enough to attend. It was such a fun family vacation. Bryan's cousin, Chase, (he's actually my cousin's son - but I'm not sure what that means so we simplify...) came up with us and was Bryan's roommate at EFY.
On Friday we drove up from Phoenix (an all day affair) and stayed through the following Tuesday with my Aunt Elaine and Uncle Jerry Hamel (Chase's grandparents). They were so sweet and accommodating. I hadn't seen them in a lot of years so it was really nice to be with them again. My kids really enjoyed getting to know them!
Saturday we started the day at the BYU Bookstore. We were greeted with this familiar view...
Our kids had spent several months doing extra chores to save up as much money as they could so they would have something to spend at the BYU Bookstore. We spent two hours in there with each child deciding how they would spend their hard-earned cash. Bryan discovered that sweatshirts are quite expensive...he was glad he started saving earlier in the year and was able to pick out one he loved (he is really learning the value of a dollar). Everyone left the bookstore excited about their purchases.
After working up an appetite shopping we took our kids to one of our favorite places to eat while we were living at BYU...Gandolfo's Deli. They have the most AMAZING sandwiches - hands down. Our kids completely agreed. They are saucy and come in yummy combinations. We recently discovered there is actually one in Arizona about 20 minutes from our house. We were so excited!
After lunch we returned to campus to walk around a little. We saw this deer just meandering around campus...
We ended up going into the Eyring Science Center building. They have so many cool exhibits in there. Our kids had fun with the exhibit below. There was one of these contraptions on either side of the big room. They could talk into the center of one and the person on the other side could hear them crystal clear. They were amazed!After that we went to the top of Kimball Tower - a twelve-story building where you can see the whole campus laid out in front of you.
Following that we went to go get dessert at the BYU Creamery. I was a regular there when we were in school. Gotta have my ice cream! Theirs is fabulous!!
From there we were ready to head to the stadium for Stadium of Fire (the yearly 4th of July celebration). We met up with Mark's sister, Jen and her family. The show started with a bunch of guys parachuting into the stadium...
Then the military did an awesome fly-by, with the leader talking to us from his plane over the loudspeaker...that was really neat!
The opener was David Archuleta...
followed by Brad Paisley...
Then they put on the most magnificent fireworks show!
What a fantastic day!!