Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Capital Reef Fail

We've been wanting to hit up Capital Reef for some time now.  We have this goal to hit all the Mighty Five National Parks: Zion, Arches, Canyonlands, Bryce, and Capital Reef.  We've only done Zion and Arches as a family so far...so we have some work to do!  Anyway, the downfall...the Capital Reef campground does not take reservations, it's only first come, first serve.  So we've been putting it off because I'm always worried we wouldn't get a spot because it seems everything is always crowded around here during the summer months!  We decided to wait until after Labor Day when travel/camping slows way down.  We left  on a Friday afternoon.

 The girls (Piper especially) had been counting down the days til we got to leave.
The drive was quite nice and surprisingly smooth.

We pulled into the park around around 6...and what do you know...campground full.  The girls pretty much burst into tears, and I wasn't close behind.  It's just so discouraging, especially with all the prep (food, gear, etc.) Ryan and I had to do before hand.  It's just such a let down.  The campground host directed us to some BLM land to camp at...but without water and bathrooms, those options were pretty much out. I would have taken one for the team and camped somewhere without a bathroom, but one kiddo was having a nervous breakdown with the thought of no toilet.  I was not going to turn this into a traumatic weekend, so after an hour or so of driving around we decided to book a hotel in the little nearby town.

And if things couldn't get any worse, turns out, there were no vacancies at a single hotel.
Unbelievable.
By this point, it was close to 8 and we were all starving.  Every eatery was packed or way out of our price point, so we opted to stop into a Subway inside a gas station...desperate times.

It was close to 9 by the time we finished eating and decided it was time to throw in the towel.  There wasn't much left to do but drive back home.  So, in the dark while the kiddos (kinda) slept, we drove the three hours back.
Sad day.

And what really boggles me, was that everyone told us how Capital Reef is the "quietest" of all the parks...what happened?!  There were people everywhere, people like us, scrambling, trying to find a place for the night.  And you know who were in the campground all comfortable...retired people.  I kid you not...not a single family I saw in that campground!  Come on baby boomers, camp during the week and give the spots to families on the weekend!!
Lame.

The only thing I could think of why it was so crowded was because of the Harvest Moon...but who really knows.


So Saturday, after our failed trip, we decided to make the best of our weekend home.
We loaded up the car and went hiking up in the canyon.  It was beautiful and the weather was perfect!



Just this year Haley hit a massive growth spurt and shot up.
Crazy.
Still when I look at her, I feel she's smaller than me.  It isn't until I see a photo of us that I'm shocked...she's so grown up looking!  Where did my baby go?!



 After our hike we drove up to Squaw Peak to gaze down onto the valley.
It's just so pretty this time of year!



 And to continue our weekend of fun, we hit up the last day of the Utah State Fair on Sunday.
So despite our failed camping trip the weekend turned out pretty nice.

As soon as we got home we made reservations at one of our favorite campgrounds in St. George for October.  We're taking the girls out of school and everything.
Camping will happen!!  
Just maybe not at Capital Reef.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Rendezvous 2016

Labor Day weekend was the Fort Bridger Mountain Man Rendezvous, and you bet we were there!
I think this is our 4th year going...not too shabby.
My girls look forward to it every year and love dressing the part.  And this year, my mom made each of their dresses!  I know...pretty awesome!

 And also this year, my parents dressed up...and I must say, they did a bang up job at it!  They looked pretty legit...my dad even grew his beard for it (I think the last time he had a beard my mom was pregnant with me, so yeah, it's been a while).
 My dad entered many of the shooting competitions and my mom participated in the women's frying pan throw.  


 The girls with their cousin Jett.

 A storm would blow in and sprinkle a bit, and then the sun would pop out again.  And the wind never stops there!!  Wyoming is definitely for the tough!

Haley and Morgan both stayed overnight (Morgan stayed two more nights actually).  My parents got a room in the nearby town so Haley stayed with them and Morgan stayed with our friends as she's done for several years now.  Their daughter and Morgan are pretty tight, and it seems this weekend has become tradition now.  And we don't mess with traditions!
As for Ryan and I, we stayed for just the day and drove home with the little ones.  Maybe one year we'll have to dress up too...maybe.


Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Young until I die.

Ryan and I got to skip out on a little bike ride Monday...thanks to my mom for watching Rory.
The mountains are beautiful this time of year!


And I know that these warm days are dwindling fast...so we need to take advantage of them while we've got them!


We ride right along the river all the way up the canyon, and there's a bike path that runs right beside it. 
So anyway, there's this bridge right beside the path that people jump off from into the river, it's quite the hot spot and widely known in this area.  
It wasn't until this year, however, that I finally jumped off it.  How I hadn't in all these years is beyond me!  

The first time I jumped off it with Ryan, I joked (kind of) and said "One day, I'm going to do that topless." 

I've seen photos before of women who would hike to the summit of grand mountains and snap a picture of themselves from behind looking out into a beautiful view, arms raised, completely topless.  It just seemed so freeing...and a bit naughty, all at the same time.  

So this last Monday, on our way home we stopped by the bridge for what could be out last jump before the weather gets too cold.  And what do you know, no one was there jumping (which is kinda rare when days are hot).  I decided to take advantage of it.  

 Maybe, it's because I'm pushing 40 years old and I have this super strong desire to always remain young at heart no matter what!  Maybe I craved that adrenaline rush by doing something completely crazy and out of my comfort zone.  Maybe I needed to do something rebellious in a town where everyone is the same.

I want to be more spontaneous and get out of ruts that drag me down...live the way I want to live...with no regrets.  I want to be a strong woman, proud of who I am, proud of my body and never ashamed of it. 

And with that...I did it.

I cannot even tell you how good this felt.  It was freeing, and a little naughty, and exhilarating, and scary all at the same time. I felt alive!  

I feel as though I'm opening a new chapter of my life, this year as been a lot changing and growing.  I'm learning to be comfortable with myself without guilt or without fear of what others may think of me.  And sometimes that is really hard to do in a very homogenous area and culture. 

No more.  
I'm pretty darn proud of myself.  Topless and all.  


And just for kicks...here's Ryan doing a flip off the bridge, complete with tongue out.
He's pretty awesome.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Back to School Feast 2016

Last night we had our 2nd annual Back to School Feast!
This is a time where we celebrate each of the girls and their brand new school year!

We decided to dine alfresco with personal pizzas on the grill.

 I gifted each of them with a new hair bow at their place setting.

We love this meal, yet I confess, this is our first time doing it this year!  Why haven't we been doing this every week?!  We'll never know!  I mean, we pretty much make pizza every week, but it bumps it to a whole new level when it's grilled...seriously.

We talked about goals for the new year (this was the only serious part of our conversation), then the girls giggled about analyzing dreams they've had, shows they've watched, and things that happened at school that day...all while listening to Disney music on Pandora (Haley's choice).
I must say...it was a pretty nice evening.







After dinner the girls got to open and see our new star for this year.



 They also opened the newquote that will hang in our hallway.
I have referred to this quote numerous times over the years with my children.  It's always comforting to know that when we screw up or had a super hard day, we can always start fresh tomorrow. 
You just can't go wrong with a "Anne of Green Gables" quote...there are so many!


I love these girls, so much!
Here's to a new school year, lets make it a good one!!

Friday, August 19, 2016

And so it begins.

Ready or not, here we are...another school year already!
Summers just fly by these days.

 Haley started middle school!
Crazy.


 Morgan is 5th and Piper in 1st.




And Rory is in Preschool 2 days a week.


They all love their classes and teachers..so far.
And that makes me very happy!
Happy 2016-2017 school year!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Haley's Animal Party!

If you know Haley, then you know that she is obsessed with animals...all animals.  So it makes sense that she requested an animal themed party. 

We started the party with masks, like Morgan's party, except since we were dealing with older girls I had them do most of the cutting and designing.  I had some templates cut out and a picture of some finished masks for them to use as inspiration, but other than that, they were on their own.  And they came up with some creative ideas!
 Up next, the main hit of the party.
I had a Utah based animal rescue facility come out and share and teach us about some animals.  Weeks before the party they sent us a list of different animals to choose from and Haley picked out the four she wanted most.
A red fox.




A Ring tail.


A skunk.


And two baby chinchillas.


The girls played the Peanut Game (I have no idea if this game has a real name, but that's what we called it) while lunch was prepared.  


The food table...after the girls went through.  Forgot to take one before the feeding frenzy began.


Drinks outside.







For the party favors I spray painted little animals and lids white, glued the animals on top and then filled the jars with salt water taffy.  I think it turned out pretty cute...thank you Pinterest!  

And that was that!
Happy Birthday to Haley!



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