It's been a long time since I have enjoyed a television series so much.  The PBS Masterpiece series Endeavor has great actors, cinematography, writing, set design, and music.  Each 1.5 hour episode is so well done.


Nothing stays the same

Growing up, my family had a cabin in a small town. The town had only two traffic lights and a couple of restaurants. The movie theaters, of which there were two, had one screen each. McDonald's had yet to reach the town, but there was a great burger place to which we rarely went but when we did it was a special treat. Lots of the fun we had at the cabin itself. We played games (Scrabble was a favorite), watched movies (our only VCR was up there), built things with wood in the shop, hunted for insects, pet the horses, played games around the chicken coop. It was a fun place to go. We'd go out sometimes too and do things like shoot clay pigeons at the gun club, go to car shows, play at the park, hike the gravel pit, swim at Mountain Spaa, to name a few. I have a lot of memories of this great place and so I like to take my kids up there to do similar things. 

But things sure have changed. There are several traffic lights. The restaurant choices have expanded to include a McDonald's, a Wendy's, an Arby's, and a Subway. Heck, there's even a Cafe Rio now. The same movie theaters are there though! Ha! We have a DVD player up at the cabin and cable too. The gun club is still there but it's much more exclusive now and the gravel pit is difficult to hike because lots of the rock is gone. And Mountain Spaa is just just remnants of days past. A few years ago I went there to take my kids swimming. The place was closed. And this is what it looks like today. 

I remember going down that slide and sitting on that very nice blue concrete bench! To see it in this form was a bit shocking, surreal, and it made me very aware that time keeps on ticking. Here's a shot of the indoor pool. 

Roof collapsed and everything. This place was a hot springs spa and it looks like the springs still fill the pool. 

And here's the entry way. Now the place is just empty and abandoned and new houses are being built around it. The road used to be called Mountain Spaa Road, now it's just 200 East or something. 

I told my dad I visited the place. He asked me how the swimming was. I felt bad telling him the place was out of business and left to the forces of nature. "Nothing stays the same, does it?" he responded.  And that is so very true. 

Here I am being all sentimental about the Mountain Spaa sign in the background. Such memories here! Are there any places like this that do this to you?


And he's off!

Ansel counted down the months, weeks, days until he started preschool. He was so excited! When the day came he was counting down the hours until we left to drop him off. Once we got to the school he asked, "Which door do I go through?" and he was out of the car lickety split!

He now tells everyone that he goes to school and he can't wait to have the show and tell bag. He loves to get ready in the morning and put on what he has dubbed his "running shoes." The kid has a zest for life that's hard to beat. We sure miss him when he's at school having the time of his four-year-old life. 


Happy Birthday Ian!

This little cutie turned one recently. He is such a great kid to have around. He smiles at everyone (even the AC guy who came to fix a vent)! He crawls like a champ, cruises with speed, and stands up on his own. His low voice babbling is awesome. We can tell he understands what's going on. He loves to groove when music is on. And he points to everything. Plus, his curls are the best.

Our days have been packed with lots of things. So much so that this was the best photo we got of Ian eating his birthday cake. See him in the corner there? We Facetimed with Jess for this moment. 

We may not have lots of photos of him with his cake but there is certainly no shortage of photos of his awesomeness. 

Look mom, bark!

This was after a wild day at the beach. Look at that hair!

And now it's collage time:

I am so grateful for this boy of mine. Such a blessing for our family. 


Caption this

I like to call this photo:
"Living on the edge" or
"Lessons in bad parenting" or
"This kid just wants a spoon!

That's right, he only has two legs of the chair on the ground. 


Independence and worry

Today I sent Ollie off to school. Out the door he went, to WALK to school. From Kindergarten to second grade I (or carpool) drove him everyday. Now we are trying this new method of walking with friends to school. It will be good for independence and exercise. But boy, was it hard not to jump in the car and check on him every so often! I kept looking at my watch thinking, "10/5/2/1 more minute(s) til the bell rings. Is he arriving at school safely?" 

Being a parent is hard work. I worry about lots of things all of the time. I can't imagine what my mom was going through when she had nine kids to think/worry about. I remember one time I tried out for something and didn't make it. I was trying to act tough but I was sad. Just think of how my mom felt! She really was my biggest cheerleader. She made me confident in who I was and what I was doing. I hope to be the same for Ollie and Ansel and Ian. They are amazing beings with neat personalities and wonderful souls. Now I just need to make sure they know that through the thick and thin of growing up. 


Summer wrap up

Our last few weeks of summer were filled with fun things to do and good people to spend it with. When I dropped Ollie off to school today, I thought of all we did this summer and how wonderful it was. I really do enjoy spending time with my kids. Each summer morning Oliver and Ansel would get up and play together. Magic. Below are photos of a bit of the other good times we enjoyed together. 

Flying high on an August afternoon. 

Tracy Aviary visit. This green macaw was climbing using its beak. Oliver loved it!

Ian continues to be cute, little, and smiley. 

But now he is very fast at crawling just about anywhere! This kid has no fear and crawls in the rocky dry creek, the garden bark, the back cement patio, up stairs. He is unstoppable. 

Ian grew a smoothie moustache and goatee. 

Ansel was captain smoothie red beard. 

And Oliver gave me a tattoo. It was relatively painless. 

We hiked up Albion basin and the wildflowers were breathtaking. 

We visited Cowabunga Bay and were having so much fun this is the only photo I got. I went on 6 slides with my niece. It was like I was a kid back at Seven Peaks again. Thanks sisters for watching the boys!

We visited Bear Lake and Ollie captured the sunrise. 

We experienced the solar eclipse with all the latest equipment. It was so cool!

Ian was like, what's the big deal? 

Going shirtless!

And we rode the boat and skied and tubed on the aquamarine glass. A perfect way to end the summer. 

I'm grateful for summer months to spend time doing nothing and lots of things over a period of about three months. Now onto school. I think I'm in denial. I didn't buy Ollie any new school clothes, nor did I give the boys a haircut. Those things will get done. Check with me in September, no wait, October. 


Ansel fell asleep like this

Summer exhaustion at it's best. 


Lagoon Day

I have such good memories spending time with cousins at Lagoon. However, when we took a trip there recently, I was surprised by how much it has changed since my youth. The kid area has doubled in size (no more old pool or place behind the bathrooms for teens to smoke). The roller coaster options have tripled! And the Terror Ride was celebrating its 50th year. What has also changed is my ability to go on every ride. I was looking forward to going on the Colussus with Jess since it was the first time he'd visited, but after going on a mid level (maybe even an entry level) coaster, the motion sickness was starting and we skipped it. Instead, we went on the sky ride. And now, after typing that, I am officially a 35 year old mom. Haha! Some photos below of the day spent at the amusement park. 

One of the new kiddie rides enjoyed by the boys. I love Ollie's wave to us here. 

Entering the revamped Terror Ride with grandpa (who remembers when the original ride opened! Cool!).

Ian was a good observer of it all. 

Prepping for the Tidal Wave to begin with Grandma. 

Ansel says his favorite ride was, well, every single one of them.  

A good time had by all. And we were sure not to skip the Log Flume. A classic that took me back :)


Tour of Utah

I love when I learn or do something new because of another person's interests. I guess I've been doing that my whole life! I've been lucky to know lots of neat people with different hobbies and this time was no exception. 

This past weekend, due to Jess' love of road biking (or cycling), we went to watch the final leg of the multistage cycling race in Utah. We headed downtown and walked to the course. It was a lot of fun. More fun than our kids initially thought. We cheered as the peloton passed us and watched with anticipation to see who would win. We could not believe the shape these guys were in (if you want to be a good hill climber, body fat should be around 3-4%, so your very light but with enough muscle to rock up those hills) and the endurance they had. We even snagged a water bottle an athlete threw to the side of the road while climbing up State Street. Picture someone catching a ball at a baseball game. Everyone wanted a piece of the action!

Afterward Ian wanted to swim in the fountain at the Capitol building but had to settle for just getting his feet wet. You'll notice that Ansel plunged his feet in too, shoes and socks included. He told us he didn't remember he had shoes and socks on when he did it. Ahhh, to be four. 

Now Jess wants a new bike and we've all done something we'd never done before. Cool!


Swim lessons

Last year my sister asked if Ollie would like to take swim lessons from a college girl in her neighborhood. I jumped on the suggestion with an emphatic YES! I'd been on the lookout for something better than what I'd tried in the past. Turns out, this girl is magic. She has the skill of swimming and she's great with the kids. I put Ansel in this year too.  Every time the two of them finish their lesson they want to stay and keep swimming (Why wouldn't you when the pool looks like that?).

Today we had our last swim lesson and both of them jumped off the diving board. A goal we had set at the beginning of summer. Woot! 

Now if only this girl could stay in college forever and continue teaching. Ian is already looking forward to it :)


School lunch

Making school lunches is coming soon. Too soon! I registered Oliver for school this week and I realized we are only 3 Saturdays away from a new school year. Summer always goes so fast. 

To prep, Oliver had some good info for me. He was reading through some coupons we got in the mail (are my kids the only ones who find coupons in the mail so very interesting?).  One coupon had some "Moola Saving Mom tips" from which Ollie thought I could benefit. 

"Mom, you could take this advice," and then he read the tip, "Think outside of the box - [school home lunch] doesn't always need to be a sandwich and chips! What about cereal or a toasted waffle with fruit or even leftovers!"

Noted Ollie, noted. But first, more summer goodness. 


Beach babies!

We recently visited the beach in CA and spent some time with our extended family for my family reunion. It was such a great time. We were so excited to go that we made the 10 hour drive in one day with only one 30 minute stop. Everyone was like, "let's get there!" except for poor Ian. He's just loves to move and all he wanted to do was get out and crawl. But he's a champ and we all endured and made it in record time. When we finally got there, the beach and ocean were a site to see!

We enjoyed many days with the sand between our toes and the water rushing through our fingers. 

All tired out from a full day. 

Ansel runs from an older cousin!

Ian loved the sun and sand. I never got a pic of Oliver on the beach because he spent most of his time out in the water boogie boarding and wave jumping. 

We enjoyed riding the "one wheel."  It took a bit of skill and concentration, but this thing is awesome. 
These guys were worn out by bedtime and would quickly fall asleep as Jess read them Prince Caspian. 

Hilarious cups my sister brought to the barbecue. 

We visited Legoland and Ansel was so excited because he was tall enough to ride the rides. He'd been talking about this visit for a year and all of his amusement park dreams came true. 

We had a chance to visit Uncle Clark and eat lunch with a beautiful view. In this pic, Oliver is capturing Ansel with his meal and many sauces.

And here's our family shot from the night we took photos. 3/5 smiling, okay, I'll take it. 

What a great time. We are ready to go again!