The gear required to travel with two kids domestically (at this point) is insane. And getting all of it through the airport is a workout. When we flew out, we checked the worst of it--2 car seats, a pack and play, and a large suitcase--curbside. So we only traversed the airport with a stroller, 2 carry ons, my purse, Kyle's backpack, and the children.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

*Shout out to our favorite neighbors for the hiking backpack. It came in handy this trip!!*

But once we landed in Salt Lake City, we had to tote all of that from baggage claim to get our car. We decided to divide and conquer. Kyle took the 2 car seats (no small feat!!) to pick up the rental car. The kids, stroller, pack and play, and all 4 carry on bags came with me to camp out on a patch of concrete until he could come get us. It was a good enough plan, but it still took an hour and 45 minutes before we were all buckled in and on our way.

The kids passed out in the car, so we drove straight to Park City (about 30 minutes) and picked up a drive through lunch.

And then we ran into our only hiccup with the house swap. Our gate code didn't work to get into the house, and we couldn't get in touch with our hosts.

With our phones dead, we ate our lunch on the grass and then made our first visit to the library to change out of the kids' jammies and charge phones while waiting to hear back.

Thankfully it didn't take too many Fancy Nancy's to get it straightened out. We got an updated code (that was buried in my email, to his credit!) and went "home" to get settled.

Our first full day in Park City we did our grocery run early--eating breakfast at the in-store Starbucks first. Then we went to the Olympic Park to watch the athletes train. During the off season, skiers apparently practice their jumps into a pool. I don't know what the surface was on the ramps, but they had no trouble skiing down it and then flipping (or flopping) into the pool below. They were using two ramps while we watched: the ramp labeled mogul and the one labeled single. Each skier wore a wet suit, a helmet, and skis and boots. As each skier started, jets would turn on under their ramp and agitate the water (our theory: to break the surface tension for a softer landing). After their jump, each skiier would swim with their arms only--knees bent and skis sticking out of the water behind them--to the side of the pool and hoist themselves up and then take off their skis. They they ran up the stairs to get in line to do it again. It had to be exhausting.

After a few dozen flips, we went back to our own neighborhood to meet friends at the pool. One of Kyle's colleagues from Singapore is now a professor at a small university in Utah, and they were happy to drive down to spend the afternoon at the pool with us. Two of their children were born in Singapore, the second just a few months before Hamish. Their baby is about two weeks younger than the Manimal. We enjoyed seeing them and catching up over a picnic lunch, and Hamish was particularly impressed by other kids born in Singapore.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Sunday night we ate at Ghidotti's, an Italian restaurant that our hosts had recommended. He insisted that we let him make reservations for us if we went, so I texted him our plans Saturday afternoon. When we arrived, they rolled out the red carpet for us. A glass of prosecco to toast our trip, compliments of our hosts. An appetizer and dessert, compliments of the restaurnt. Wonderful pork osso bucco and salmon picatta. And diners from TWO different tables came up to compliment us on our children. Of course, as I was graciously accepting one of these compliments, I turned around to see that the Manimal had wiggled one fat foot up on the white table cloth. He was terribly proud of himself. Such a lovely dinner and welcome.

Later that night, after we put the Manimal to bed, we watched Finding Nemo with Hamish in the home theater. It was the first time she'd seen a feature length movie. And wow. I had no idea the post-processing that would be involved. We walked through every plot point for 20 minutes after it was over and she finally had to go to sleep.


Monday morning it was drizzling, so we had breakfast on the porch, then headed into downtown Park City and walked Main Street before the rain drove us into a different library. After a big pile of books for Hamish and lots of walking practice for the Manimal, we hopped a bus to a Mexican place for lunch, then headed home for naps.

By the evening it had cleared, so we hiked from our house. We ran into Vito, a 70-year-old dentist from New York who moved to Park City five years ago to be near his only grandchildren. After 65 years of living in Manhattan and Long Island, he was still a little amazed that he had settled in Utah, but was loving it nonetheless.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Vito directed us to a trail, and we hiked up into the aspens, Hamish doing much of her own walking. The list of resident animals was long and scary, so we spent much of the hike talking too loudly and occasionally bursting into song. We figured it would be best if they knew we were coming.
Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug


Our last day in Park City, Thursday, was perfectly warm and beautiful. We drove to the Canyons Resort and bought a pass to ride the gondola up onto the mountaintop.
Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Once there, we loaded Hamish and the Manimal and took another short hike to the alpine "lake", or manmade reservoir, the resort uses to make snow during the season. We rented a paddle boat, but the Manimal decided he mightily hates life jackets for me and him. After much screaming (oh how sound carries across water!), Kyle dropped us off and he and Hamish continued paddling for a few quiet minutes. Then we hiked back, grabbed lunch, and headed home for nap again.
Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Our final afternoon in Park City we tried again for Guardsman's Pass, a scenic drive and overlook we'd attempted earlier in the week. This time we got to enjoy the view and the clouds instead of just the view from inside a cloud.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Our last night we went to Chimayo, another recommended restaurant, and split the London broil of elk. It was good if not spectacular. But the sides were amazing and the presentation was lovely. The Manimal made friends with the chef (through the doorway to the kitchen), so the kids had an amazing fruit plate as well.
Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug


On Friday, we packed up and out and headed to Thanksgiving Point, a dinosaur museum in Lehi, Utah, for our last excursion before heading to Salt Lake City to catch our flight home. Hamish was intrigued by the assembled skeletons of dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures, but she most enjoyed digging into the DIY archaeology exhibit with her paintbrush.

The Manimal just likes sitting in sand.

Our flight home was smooth. My seat mate graciously moved to another row so the Manimal and I could spread out and he could read his books. Both kids fell asleep on the way home and tucked into bed.