Vacation Salt Lake

We went all out this summer and took the girls to Salt Lake for our family vacation. Actually, there's so much we're always wanting to do down there and we never have enough time to do it all, so we were thrilled to do as much as we did.

We left Pocatello on Wednesday evening and stayed that night in Tremonton with Nick's cousin Jen and her kids. Thanks Jen. We all had fun spending time with you guys.

The next morning we made our way to Hogle Zoo. We didn't even lose anyone (that's for you, Sarah B.) and really enjoyed ourselves despite the 100+ degree heat. The girls rode the first of the three carousels from our trip,

ate our packed lunch with Dad under a welcome umbrella,

and rode the train (which is exactly the same ride as the one I remember as a kid).

We did actually see great animals, too, but you've all seen pictures of those. Nick and I were pretty impressed by seeing rhinos from less that two feet away and hearing small monkeys make huge territorial calls. All in all, a successful trip thanks to two great kids and a rented wagon.

That evening we went to a new water park in Draper. Sorry no pictures. It was WET! The place was new this year and perfect for kids. There were several slides that Emma was able to go on by herself and with us, and Ashlyn even went down one. She hated it though and went to the hotel with Nick's mom shortly after. Next year. Emma, however, was nearly impossible to get out of the water. She's a bit of a water rat (until it comes to swimming in a deep pool - we're working on that).

The next day we went to a Charles reunion in Orem where Emma was the first in a tempting sprinkler perhaps five minutes into the party. Water, remember? Then she played a key part in helping soak grandpa and aid him in drenching everyone else. It was fun and hot.

From there we headed up Provo Canyon and stopped at Bridal Veil Falls. My sister and I used to rollerblade to these falls years ago. It was a trip down memory lane. Everyone had fun, especially our little water rat. It was so cold our feet became numb rather quickly, but it felt oh, so good compared to the heat. Even Ashlyn loved getting her feet wet. This picture is of Nick's sister Lacee and Emma wading.

Next stop, Park City. We took the girls on the Alpine Slide. Wiggly Ashlyn rather scared me on the ride to the top, but we all survived. The ride down was great despite getting behind the slowest person on the mountain. I guess it just made for a longer ride. Emma didn't mind a bit.

The next morning we went to the aquarium with Nick's parents. I love aquariums. It's probably from growing up in a landlocked state, but I love ocean life. While it wasn't really big, the exhibits were very well done. I was really impressed. The one thing I really wish they had was a tide pool. We loved the ones we saw in Oregon last summer. I highly recommend this place, though.

Before leaving, we had to go visit the aviary. It's a beautiful place that is often overlooked in Salt Lake. There is an amazing collection of birds there, and just the landscaping is beautiful. The girls loved the rides the most though. They went on yet another carousel (the 2nd one was in Park City), went on their first ferris wheel ride, and got to fly in airplanes. Here's one for ancient amusement park rides. They sure made for happy girls.

All in all, it was a great trip. The girls stayed happy for most of the entire trip despite crazy sleep schedules. It was fun spending time with Nick's parents, sister, nephew, and other family. We enjoyed spending our last night with my grandma and finding our house and yard in great shape when we got home. Now we're just anxiously looking forward to our mom and dad retreat in October. Domincan Republic, here we come!


Teddy Bear Picnic

We had a teddy bear picnic today. Emma and Ashlyn invited a bunch of their friends over for lunch today. It was rather fun. Thanks for the idea, Jadi. I wasn't able to make it as cute as I'd hoped due to only giving myself 24 hours, but it was a lot of fun having everyone over. Unfortunately, I forgot to actually get my camera out. I really wish I had pictures of all of our little friends and their moms. Next time. Tomorrow we're off to Salt Lake for the rest of the week to play, so there'll be more pictures soon.

Playing in Island Park

Last weekend we took our girls camping in Island Park with my parents and sister's girls. On the way to the campground, we stopped as Mesa Falls. Both girls love waterfalls, so it was a lot of fun watching them enjoy the falls I grew up loving. You're not "allowed" to go down to the river anymore, but the views from the railings were great, too.

Ashlyn was quite the trooper on all the stairs and Emma was the same goofball as ever. After hiking back up the stairs, Ashlyn almost figured out the drinking fountain.

After meeting up at the campground and setting up our tent, we went to Big Springs by Mack's Inn. The mosquitoes were horrific, but the girls had so much fun feeding the huge fish, seagulls, and yes a muskrat. Emma and Ashlyn also loved splashing their feet in the water. I'll have to get pictures from my dad's camera.

That night was actually a success. Emma slept in her tent inside our tent and slept all night. Ashlyn started out in her portacrib and ended up between me and Nick, but she slept very well. Nick and I lost some of our blankets to Ashie, so we got a bit cold and didn't sleep as well as the girls, but all in all, it was a successful trip.

The next morning Nick and I went on a beautiful hike. I've grown up around and in those mountains, but I have never seen wildflowers like there are this year. The rain has been a huge bonus to the undergrowth. Our pictures just don't do justice. Everywhere we looked there were multiple colors and types of flowers. I loved it. I love hiking with Nick. I can't wait until the girls are old enough to hike with us. My amazing sister Kerri and my parents helped watch our girls while we were gone. Next time I'm taking her with me.


Half Marathon

Just under a year ago my friend Monica asked if I would run a half marathon with her. At that time I balked at the question, but ever since then the idea has been teasing me. Long story short, I signed up to run Pocatello's half marathon on September 5th. I'm a complete mixture of nervous and excited. It's 13.1 miles, so I have a lot of work to do in the next 8 1/2 weeks, but I know it will be a huge accomplishment. I would love it if anyone else might be interested in joining me. Click here for more information on the Pocatello Marathon. Wish me luck. I can guarantee that there are going to be days when I'll need it.


Happy 4th!

We had a pretty good weekend. We started out by driving to Wyoming to Nick's parents' house. Nick and I were planning on backpacking for three days, but we got rained out. Instead we left Friday morning for the Uinta mountains. We were able to get a good 8-mile hike in and stay out of the rain. The hike couldn't have been better except for a million mosquitoes. The ground was literally carpeted with tiny wildflowers, and the scenery was perfect. I love spending that kind of time with Nick.

The next day, the 4th, we took the girls to the parade. This was the first year I bought them flag shirts, and they loved them!
Seeing the fireworks was so fun. Grandpa Charles gave Emma her ear protection! She's always hated loud noises. Don't you just love the outfit.
We were lucky enough to have "Uncle" Kade with us. Everything is more fun with Kade around.
Too bad Emma was such a cheese head. This is one of the most decent pictures we have had of the four of us for ages.
Before actually going to the fireworks, we went 4-wheeling on the desert. I had never been and had so much fun. There's been so much rain that the desert was actually muddy. We were all rather splattered with mud by the time we were done. Unfortunately, we forgot the camera.

The cactus were blooming this weekend. I had no idea they were so beautiful, so we had to run back out to the desert Sunday morning before church to take pictures. Here are a few of my favorite.

For some reason, this one doesn't want to cooperate and turn the right way, but it's the best picture we got.


Locked Out

This morning we all went outside to see dad off and water the lawn. Ashlyn started crying as soon as Nick walked towards the car, but we decided the lawn still needed water.

While I pulled the hose out, Emma pulled the door closed. A few minutes later Emma started dancing around, so she ran for the bathroom only to find that the front door was locked! My keys were inside on their hook and Nick was long gone. Ashlyn was still mad, so I did what I could. I rummaged through our recycling can, found a juice lid,

climbed on the garbage can (note the caved-in lid), and used the juice lid to pry out the screen. I'm very grateful and rather nervous that I was able to break into my house so quickly. Here's one for frozen concentrate juice lids.