Wednesday, June 5, 2013


We've been busy with the end of the school year (mostly for mom at work), swimming lessons for Helena and lots of other fun summer things (pool trips, birthday parties, playdates, etc.)  Some snippets from the kids:

- We joined the rec center by our house finally so that we can go swimming for cheap(er) this summer.  I messed up and didn't get them the documentation they needed to prove our residency was 'in bounds' before I tried to take the kids swimming today.  Needless to say, I was pretty peeved when they wouldn't let us in because of it.  It was super fun to tell two kids that we weren't going swimming because of a clerical issue.  Anyway, on the way home the kids could tell I was peeved and Harper asked, "Why was that lady blocking the door to the pool?" (She wasn't really physically blocking the door, he just thought she was...) "Well, the lady needed some papers from me that I didn't have."  Harper: "What is that lady's name? Is it Lady Gaga?"  Leave it to him to bring humor to any situation!

- At work today there was a kid in Harper's class that was having trouble with drop off.  I came in the classroom and successfully helped her calm down and start eating her breakfast.  Harper's teacher told me that when I left that he said, "Miss Tami, my mom is really great with whiny kids." Hmmm.....wonder why?!?

- Helena graduates from preschool tomorrow afternoon and starts in a Spanish immersion kindergarten / 1st grade class on Monday. (I have to work this summer so the kids are going to school still).  Where oh where did the time go?  Pics and video to follow.  I'll be the one with puffy eyes and mascara running down my face.  Helena is wearing an actual cap & gown....I can't handle it!

- We've been doing some intensive swimming lessons with Helena after the first round didn't go so hot. She has really improved this week once we started doing them closer together so we're glad to be on a better, less traumatic path. :)

-Emily :)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

First Ever Family Camping Trip

We took advantage of the long weekend and went camping in Utah's west desert -- our first camping outing as a family.  Ash was stoked.  I was skeptical.  I have been camping a handful of times.  My first camping trip as a child was a mild disaster (cut foot + someone pouring boiling water on my foot whilst making us kids mac & cheese), and other than that I have done 'lake camping' a handful of times, which basically involved drinking until I passed out on the beach (tent optional).

So, our plan was to go to the Simpson Springs campground about an hour and a half from our house and stay two nights.  It's a very primitive campground with the only 'amenities' being a port-a-potty, picnic table, and a grill.  Activities during the day would mainly include rock hounding at Dugway (for geodes) and Topaz Mountain (for....topaz....).  No cell phone reception, no water source.  Us, the car, a tent, some supplies/food.  Good times.

The campsite.
We had a nice, generally relaxing time.  Camping is a lot of work.  A lot of prep work, too.  We slept great in the tent, no weird animal encounters, which I was grateful for.  We had read accounts of people waking up and a herd of antelope being around them.  Ummmm, no thanks.  The kids had a blast.  S'mores and campfires and stars were very popular.  Harper also found new bugs to obsess over (have I mentioned how obsessed he is with bugs!)  Helena was very good at finding jewels at Topaz Mountain (I'll detail those finds once we go through everything and get it cleaned up!)

Helena finding jewels (I assure you she isn't really on the side of a mountain!).  She looks like quite the mountain goat here!
Extremely typical driving view....
I'm only putting in this pic to prove I was there (someone needs a tan STAT!)

Indian paintbrush flower.  Lots of cool desert flowers in bloom right now.

This one's for you, Papa Larry -- Helena & Harper at the Pony Express station by our campground.  I blew Helena's mind explaining the Pony Express and why they had to do things the way they did.  (What? No cars or telephones!!!)  Something I learned at the monument -- did you know the Pony Express only 'ran' for a little over a year?

 We ended up cutting the second day short because I was kind of done and wanted a day to get everything put away, etc. before we had to go back to work / school.  So we stayed most of Saturday/ Saturday night and most of Sunday.  We had also run out of firewood and our food was getting warm from also running out of ice.

Things we will remember to bring next time:
TWO pot holders
A watch
A bandana for mama (long hair + desert + wind = disaster)
More ice
More firewood
More shade
ALL of the food I so carefully pre-prepared (I forgot one whole meal!)

Amenities I would like for next time:
Water source (for entertainment & so it feels like you kind of took a bath)
Friends (kids would have been more entertained if we had some company...)

Nature encounters:
Giant Beetles
Possible Polygamists (just kidding...kind of...)

Harper taking a smoothie / water break.
Happy Campers! S'mores time! Helena decided to stuff chocolate inside the marshmallow.  DELISH!
-Emily :)

Monday, May 13, 2013

On the Record

As has been the case for awhile, Harper talks way too well / much for his age.  Some things overheard the past few weeks:

-- After his teacher asked him to pick something up, "Miss Maegan, I did not bring my listening ears today."

-- In the car, randomly -- "Mom, I can't wait for my penis to grow big." I could do an entire blog about what Harper says about his penis, but I will refrain.

-- Also in the car, randomly -- "Did you know that a circle does not have any sides."  We cover lots of different topics in the car.

-- Harper's old teacher just had a baby and she brought the baby by school to say hi to the kids.  Harper asked her how the baby got out of her tummy and commented that she had her baby out now but when was she going to put it back in?

This kid.  I'm not sure what I'm going to do with him.

-Emily :)

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Desolation Trail (Not a metaphor for Mother's Day)

Decided to do breakfast and a little hike today for Mother's Day.  The kids woke up early (of course!) and we were out the door by 7:15 am.  We had some yummy sustenance then headed for Millcreek Canyon to hike Desolation Trail.

Millcreek Canyon is one of the most accessible from the city, but we haven't explored it a lot for some reason.  It's a nice place to go early in the season since the snow hasn't completely melted up in the other canyons quite yet.  We are royalty in terms of getting ourselves into snow we shouldn't be in during the spring  / summertime.

I forgot our Kelty backpack kid carrier, so Harper was mostly on his own for the 4 mile round trip hike.  He did really well-- probably hiked two-thirds of it by himself and the other third was spent on my back or shoulders.  He may have taken a little cat nap at one point.  Definitely took a good nap when we got home. :)  Both kids said their legs were sore.  Ha!  Definitely glad we got an early start on our adventure since it took longer than we had planned.

Our destination:  Overlook to Salt Lake City.  The area to the right of the mountains is the Great Salt Lake.

We made it!

Ugh, finally...they let me have a snack.  Second wind was right around the corner.
We decided on the hike we are going to reinstate our Sunday morning family adventures.  We will probably do a hike most of the time and keep track of our trails here.

Summary of today's hike:

Miles hiked: 4
Time: 3+ hours
Weather: Sunny, 65-70
Nature encounters: wildflowers, fuzzy caterpillar, swallowtail butterfly (yellow & black), orange mushrooms, chipmunk, termites, giant ants, pieces of a porcupine (the 'fur').
Comments: Pretty long for the kids, gradual switchbacks, pretty busy.  Would be a little hot in summer.

Happy Mother's Day to everyone!  I am so blessed to have a great mom, step-mom, grandmothers and wonderful mom friends all around me. :)


Saturday, May 11, 2013


We have had a lot of storms this week, which has been nice.  One thing I really miss about Kansas is the thunderstorms.  Suffice to say, I probably hear thunder in Utah about five times a year.

The other night Helena was standing upstairs looking out our bedroom window watching the rain.  I was in the bathroom negotiating with Harper about getting out of the bathtub and Helena screams, "Mom! I think someone is taking my picture!"

"What? Someone is taking your picture?" I yell back.  What in the world is she talking about?  Then I hear the thunder.  Oh.  Funny.

"Helena, that's the flash of lightning from the storm.  Nobody is taking your picture, silly!"

-Emily :)

Monday, May 6, 2013

California Spring Break 2013

OK, I know.  I'm behind again.  We have had a few trips and visitors so I am hoping to get caught up to now very soon.  And, I got a new laptop for my birthday and Ash's condition on giving it to me was that I had to blog more.  :)  Yay for first blog from the laptop!  The first laptop I have ever owned.  I'm so behind!!

On to more exciting things....

We road tripped to northern California for spring break at the end of March.  We were able to visit my old Lawrence friends, Leigh Ann and Nate and their daughter Emerson in Sacramento.  Had a lot of fun with them catching up and letting the kids play.  Sacramento also has an awesome railroad museum.  I think Ash and I thought it was cooler than the kids did!

Emmie's little trampoline was quite the hit!  Yes, they are in their pajamas outside first thing in the morning.
Ash geeking out at the California Railroad Museum.
The kids were bored by the time Ash saw everything he wanted to at the museum.  Ha!
From Sacramento we went to St. Helena to stay with Ash's aunt Deb, uncle Bob and cousin Anthony.  The kids LOVED running around their property.  Harper learned within the first hour we were there that you can't walk on lily pads on a koi pond.  Helena learned that it is always spring in California, leading her to proclaim that we need to move there.  Deb was kind enough to watch the kids for us one day so Ash and I could spend the day wine tasting.  Ash's cousin Lisa set us up on the most amazing tours / tastings.  So fun to have a day to ourselves.

Harper restraining himself from throwing the giant rocks in the pond.

Me at the vineyard that I will forever remember for having the most generous pours ever.  :)

Easter Eggs with Aunt Deb.

 From St. Helena we did a little day trip to Point Reyes National Seashore.  Such a beautiful place.  It was foggy when we were there, but still very lush, beautiful and fun.  We stopped and did a couple of hikes and hung out on the beach.  We even saw an elephant seal beach with over 300 elephant seals on it!  Definitely worth a stop if you're in the area.

Harper showing us which way to go on our hike.

From there we crashed at our college friend's place in San Francisco.  Phil, Dana and little Layla were excellent hosts.  We grilled, watched basketball, went to the zoo, rode the bus and the train all around the city (the kids' favorite part of the trip) and spent a day at Fisherman's Wharf.  Harper discovered a love of eating crab, Helena discovered she didn't really like accidentally picking up a crab on the beach.

The view from Phil and Dana's house.  Fun to see the bay and the fog roll in at different times.
Checking out the wares...
Ash ate an obscene amount of crab...
Helena ate an obscene amount of sourdough...
Family picture!!
Helena & Layla - Matching Target sweaters!! :)

The kids loved the 'gold man' street performer.
Harper fell asleep on the train...pretty funny. We did three transfers and he never woke up.

Thanks again to our wonderful friends and family for hosting us and making our spring break totally awesome.  Love, love, love me some California.  We'll be back.

-Emily :)

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter 2013

Happy Easter everyone!  Just got back from a California spring break trip on Saturday night so Easter was a little subdued around here (think meals from the freezer / car and pajamas for the adults all day!)  Thankfully the Easter bunny remembered to organize the baskets before the trip!

I did make the kids dress up and hunt eggs in the backyard. :)  Enjoy the pics!

-Emily :)

Such a good little picture taker. :)

Itching to hunt eggs...

OK, that's enough...can we go yet?


Show us your baskets!

No, show us your face....then defiance about showing the face.

OK last decent one.

So exciting!

Displaying the one egg his sister let him find. :( Poor kid, it'll be better next year.