Beach bum for life

Sorry, this is yet another post on my BFF the beach.  There are still times when I sit back and take it all in, SO HAPPY to live here by the ocean!  It takes a bit of work to get things packed and drive to the beach, but so worth it.  Once the kids are armed with SPF 30, a shovel and a boogie board they run off to play leaving me time to work on my tan and catch up with friends.

I guess I should say Crew and Milo take off to play and have fun.  Jax rarely leaves my side and will ask me no less than 5,000 times “How much longer before it’s time to go?”  I don’t get it.  There are always tons of kids to run wild with, great snacks to eat and lots to do.  But for some reason he has never really cared for the beach.  Sometimes I feel a little guilty when it seems I drag him there against his will.  But you can’t live this close to the coastline and not be a regular.  Right?  I feel I have a moral obligation to spend as much time at the beach as possible, especially while school is out.  So I won’t give up.  I’m determined to show Jax how much fun the beach can be.  We bought a heavy duty sand shovel for prime hole digging.  I encourage him to go out and jump the waves now that he can swim well.

We’ve tossed a new frisbee around and played shadow tag too.

Carl is trying to get him out on a boogie board.  I think the water still intimidates him a little.

Sometimes I wonder if he’s just worn out and the white noise of the ocean makes him sleepy.  And that would mean taking a nap.

With a little encouragement and patience, I hope we can help him grow to love the beach like the rest of us do.

{Crew is pretending he washed up from a shipwreck}

{Tiny wahinis: Lindsey, Moseley and Milo}

It always feels so good to get away from the tv, the errands, the phone calls and the daily grind.  Don’t you agree?

Categories: Beach babe | 2 Comments

Great to be 8!

Yesterday I became the mother of an 8 year old.  Oh man.  Is this really happening?  It’s hard to believe that it wasn’t too long ago when I was changing Crew’s diapers and watching him chase Archie (our old dog) around the house.  Now he’s all grown up and planning to change the world, one science project at a time.

{Crew enjoying his birthday doughnut, compliments of Krispy Kreme}

Crew went back and forth on having a party or just getting an awesome gift.  What he really wanted was a brand new fish tank with lots of cool fish to go with it.  And we’re not talking goldfish, he wanted “real fish”.  But setting ourselves up for fish ownership was proving to be too pricey for what we were willing to spend.  Carl suggested going in on it 50/50.  Jax and Milo also wanted some claim to the aquatic life too so all three boys agreed to use part of their Creature Keeper business earnings to get some great stuff and great fish to enjoy together with the tank.  After that, any talk of a birthday party with invitations and friends went out the door.  After all, Crew has done nothing but read about fish, talk about fish, and ask about fish for the last month.  Just say the word “fish” and he’ll tell you every fact he has learned about them.  It’s pretty impressive.  Kinda reminds me of how obsessed I was over horses when I was little.

{No fish yet, making sure the water is just right for them.}

We shopped around and found a seller on Craigslist offering two 10 lb. tanks and all the fish gear to go with them.  Jax really likes frogs and lizards so this way everyone walked away a winner.  One tank for fish (on top) and one tank for reptiles (on bottom, waiting for a resident).  A sort of pet duplex if you will.  The kids swear up and down that they’ll be the ones taking care of both so we’ll see how this goes.    I’m proud of my boys too for working so hard this summer to earn something big like this, something they’ve all wanted for quite some time.

I was worried that Crew would be disappointed with his birthday, not having a party or a big to do for his BIG EIGHT.  But Carl told me at the end of the night that Crew had declared this to be the best birthday ever.  Oh, that makes me so, so, happy (and relieved)!  Happy Birthday Crew!  We love you dearly!!



Categories: Family, Holiday Hurray | 1 Comment

Escape to Utah: Part 7 – Catching up before leaving

We have some great life long friends in Utah.  They always bend their schedules to get together and we love, love LOVE them for it!  This time we hung out with Deanne (missed you Matt), Chris and Charles for an evening at the pool.  Kids everywhere, ice cream on demand and bees tied with string (hilarious)!  What more could you ask for on a summer night?

It was tough to say goodbye to everyone but this was definitely a satisfying trip home.  Until next time!!  We love you Utah!

Categories: Vacation Bliss | 1 Comment

Escape to Utah: Part 6 – Silver Lake

We had to take at least one trip up the mountains before leaving Utah.  We took a drive up my favorite canyon to Silver Lake.  The boys and I had a pretty good time last visit so we brought Carl along this time.  I seriously love these mountains.  Here’s what our day looked like:




We climbed a big rock and went for a picnic up the hill.

Can you see the chipmunk in the spotlight?

If you haven’t ever visited Silver Lake up Big Cottonwood Canyon you totally should.  It’s so beautiful that you’ll be frustrated your camera doesn’t capture it’s true beauty.  I love it.  Did I tell you that this was the lake Carl took me to late one night before we were dating?  I tried so, so hard to get him to kiss me that night on this very spot but he just wouldn’t. He had a girlfriend.  But I won him over eventually.   And now look where we are!

Categories: Family, Vacation Bliss | 1 Comment

Time out

Taking time out for some dinner and cones, FHE style.


Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Escape to Utah: Part 5 is zoorific

My kids love animals, science, and all things nature.  Today we explored the Hogle Zoo with Nana, Court and Peyton.  So, so fun for little boys who are fascinated by all things science and nature!

{Crew, Jax, Peyton and Milo}

And Britney was crazy enough to invite the zoo back to her house for a cousins sleepover.  I don’t think she’ll be doing that again any time soon, but my kids had a great time!

{Boston, Daxton, Jax, Crew and Milo}

Categories: Family, Vacation Bliss | 1 Comment

Escape to Utah: Part 4 – IKEyah!

The nearest IKEA from our house is about an hour away so we don’t visit too often.  Crew and Jax have renamed it “the ball gym” because the Kids’ Zone here has a ball pit to jump in.  They loved playing there last time we went.  But I had to shop with Milo who was too small to go with them and that made it kinda hard.  Crew and Jax always beg to go back but the drive just doesn’t make it worth it without something specific to shop for.  But there’s an IKEA pretty darn close to Nana and Papa’s so  I promised I’d take them while we were visiting.  When I heard that kids eat free on Tuesdays, there was no question.  IKEA or bust!  While looking up the kids’ zone hours I found out that Milo was old enough and tall enough to play there too!  YESSSSS!

I checked the boys into the Kids’ Zone with promises of dinner in the cafeteria when I returned.  Can I just tell you that hour was heaven!  Shopping without the boys doesn’t happen all that often so I browsed and admired and price checked and shopped up til the very last minute when it was time to pick them up.  I cut it so close that I didn’t actually have a chance to pay for my things beforehand.  So with grumbling tummies, I dragged them through the rest of the store to the cash register.  Funny, soon they were so caught up in all the colorful and fun gadgets that it was me who was grumbling that they were taking so long!  Eventually we made it to the food.  Crew and I opted for meatballs while Jax and Milo went with chicken fingers.  Then we shared some chocolate cake and declared our IKEA trip a total success.

It might sound like a lame outing for some, but it was something they still talk about and something I definitely want to do again.  And on the way out to the car I  bumped into an old friend from high school that I haven’t seen in 15+ years.  (Man was I glad that I’d bothered to “get ready” before leaving the house!)  Liz, it was such a fun surprise running in to you!!

Next up: Hogle Zoo!

Categories: Family, Uncategorized, Vacation Bliss | Leave a comment

Escape to Utah: Part 3 – Together again

Carl and I gave our last hugs and goodbye’s to Paul and Lisa later that same day and continued on the rest of the way north to Jenni and Jerry’s house.  By the time we pulled into the driveway it was around midnight and we walked into a dark and quiet house.  Not wanting to wake anyone and feeling pretty worn out ourselves, we grabbed our sleeping bags and passed out on the floor for the night.  But not before going through our Powell pictures one more time.  Man, what a fun trip!  Early the next morning I could hear the kids running around and one by one they came in to give us hugs and say hi.  Well, Milo did and so did Crew.  Jax more or less said, “oh, hi.  That wasn’t very long, are you leaving again?”  He couldn’t decide if he was glad we were back or not.  Hahaha, crazy kid.  Speaking of kids, at some point the day before Jenni also took in her sister’s kids for the week.  A day or two extra in Lake Powell would have been heaven for Carl and I, not so much for Jenni and Jerry. (Yep, there are 11 of them!)  I’m glad we decided to come home as planned.

All that time sitting around and being care free really changes you.  This is “Vacation Carl” and I love him!

We wanted to spend a little time with Jenni and Jerry before saying goodbye so we all took a walk to the park for some kickball.  It was HOT and WINDY!

But good times were had none the less.  We broke up into teams: boys vs. girls.  The boys had it in their heads that they’d school us girls, but we taught them a lesson or two ourselves.  But only one team can win.  I’ll let you decide who won.

The celebrate, the girls put together a cheer.  It goes like this:  “Girls rock and boys bawk!”  I didn’t get it either until my niece explained, “You know, ‘bawk-bawk’ like a chicken.”  Oh, ok.

I just love these little squirts!

Jax wanted to take some pics to help us remember the day…

Between his overly cheesy poses, he kept coming up and hugging my leg.  “I’m really glad you’re back Mom.”  Awwww.  I love this guy.

After a fun day with the cousins it was time so say more thank you’s and give goodbye hugs.  We needed to get to Nana and Papa’s house so Carl could prep for his early flight to San Francisco.  I’m glad we’d be able to spend more time with family while we were missing him!

Next up: Nana and Papa’s house

Categories: Family, Good Things, Vacation Bliss | 1 Comment

Escape to Utah: Part 2 – Lake Powell!!

Paul, Lisa, Carl and I met up with the rest of our party group late that night in Bullfrog.  The houseboat was sitting there on the dirt, waiting to be towed by semi and launched the following morning.  We settled down pretty quick for the night and slept out on the boat deck.  You forget how many stars there are until you leave town behind!  The next morning we woke up with the sun.  No sense trying to sleep in, it was just too hot.  We needed to be ready for the boat to move anyway.  But first, everyone changed into proper attire.  (Carl kept taking random pics of me.  Sneaky, sneaky!)  This gives you a shot of where we slept each night, right there on the floor (on pads of course).  It was actually quite nice.

The houseboat was launched and we set out to find the perfect place to call home for the next week.  I got down to business working on my tan.  It was right about this time that I realized there would be no cell phone reception for Carl and I which meant no emails, no texts, no phone calls, NO DISTRACTIONS!

Carl and Jer took off on wave runners to help the two ski boats scout out a place for the houseboat.

And from there on out it was nothing but good times, tan lines and side aches from laughing so hard.  I even read a book, something I hadn’t been able to find time for in months.  Every night we ate  junk food (or healthier versions of junk food thanks to Zee Zee) and played games like Pirate Poker (seen below), Wakee Six and Guess Who.

{John T., Lisa, Gord, Jane, Lisa “Zee Zee” and Carl}

Gord, our cruise director, had activities planned for every day we were there and he insisted that everyone participate.  I wasn’t too excited about this at first, but each game was so fun I’m glad he pushed me into it or I would have missed out on so much fun!  The first day he set up an obstacle course for timed wave runner competitions.  I tried to bow out saying I’d never driven one before, but again Gord insisted.  After a few practice runs I got the hang of it and realized how fun they are!  I would have done pretty well except I got hung up on the last turn and came in at 39 seconds.  Boo.  But you should have seen the guys on these things.  You’d have thought they were kids on Christmas Day they were so giddy.

Carl came in first place!  Check out his run!

These three were hilarious!  You couldn’t be in the room with either of them and not laugh.  I think at this particular moment they were trying to decide who had the pastiest thighs.

{Paul, Jer and Carl}

It was so hot that we lived in our swimsuits 24/7.  The sun would rise, we’d get up and change into a fresh suit, brush our teeth, hop in the water for a quick morning swim and take off to catch the calm water for wakeboarding.  No makeup, no getting ready, no hassle.  This was our kind of vacation!

Everyone was assigned a day to make meals.  Paul, Lisa, Carl and I were given a day together so we made omelets for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch and copycat Cafe Rio for dinner.  All the food was great (Ginger’s BLT’s were to die for).   And someone managed to bring tons of supersized Otter Pops.  I don’t even like Otter Pops but in that heat they were like manna from heaven.

The top deck was perfect for tanning and also made a perfect diving platform.  John gave diving and cannon ball lessons to the guys.  The rest of us were good to summon the courage simply to jump off!

{John, Paul, Jane and Sarah with soon-to-be-baby-girl}

Go Jane!

Carl’s cannon ball!

Paul’s backflip!

Jer’s swan dive!

Zee Zee broke in the waterslide (which is crazy slick when you squirt some Dawn on it)!

Carl was determined to get a tan.

Here I am, deep in conversation with the girls about nail polish colors and our favorites.  These girls had great style!

Gord set up bases with old orange life jackets and broke us up into two teams for a game of wiffle ball.  We had to hit the ball off the top deck of the houseboat then dive in and swim to the base.  Sorry, Nicole!  I gottcha out at first.  Nice play, Jer!

The wind was at it’s worst mid day so rather than trying to ski on it we’d pack up lunches and go explore the canyons on the ski boats.  I can’t believe how beautiful the rocks and coves at Lake Powell are.  The way some of the rocks were formed from wind and rain made them look like angel wings had been pressed into them.

Carl liked to try out all the random accessories left on the boats.  Lookin’ hot baby!

{Paul and Lisa}

Jer was our driver most of the time and happy to do it.  Put him behind the wheel of anything and he wouldn’t stop smiling.  That’s our houseboat in the background.

{Jer and Nicole}

The girls swimming in a randomly beautiful cove.

We snuck out early each morning for some wake boarding before the wind kicked up.

I won’t pretend to say that I’m good, but I got in and out of the wake a few times.  I’ll leave it to Carl to represent.

A word to the wise:  Don’t play Wackee Six with a math genius like Jessica (blue shorts).  You will lose.every.time!

John, Paul and Spencer were victims of Gord’s tubing run.  When I wasn’t getting sick from all the turning, I was laughing my head off at the faces these three were pulling while trying to stay on.  But you wouldn’t catch me on that thing.  This was the one activity I insisted on sitting out!

We did some hiking on our last day at the lake.

Our first stop was to a rock everyone called “Butt Crack”.  You climb up into the crack…

…and pop out the other side.  But there’s no way down unless you jump from an insane height so we turned around and hiked back down.

{top row: Spencer, John T., Jer and Paul … bottom row: Sarah, John, Zee Zee, Jessica, Lisa, Becka, Mary Jane, Ginger, Carl and me}

And then someone started looking down and before you know it…


Then Carl said, “I ain’t no sissy!”

And Paul had to try it out too, with John for moral support.

Carl and John went back for the waverunners.  The water was pefect!

And we hiked up to the Anasazi ruins.  Call me a geek but I though they were really, really cool.  The though that people were living here so long ago and left proof of it was fascinating to me.  A ranger hiked up and told us they had done studies on the petroglyphs to find traces of blood in the drawings.  To be immortalized like this was a huge honor.  “These were their superheros.”

Sarah left her shoes at the houseboat and the sand was too hot to go barefoot.  John’s solution?  “Here sweetheart, wear one of mine.”  Aww.


{John T. and Ginger}

{Jane and Gord}

It was over all too soon.  We would have gladly stayed the entire week with the rest of the gang but I needed to get back to kids and Carl had to leave to San Francisco for work.  We said goodbye to our dear friends with promises to find each other on Facebook, Pintrest and Instagram.  Well, I did anyway.  It meant a lot that they made several serious attempts to keep us there just a day longer.  Oh man, we would have loved to.  Sometimes reality bites.  Especially for Paul who ended up being pulled over on the drive home.  Sorry Paul, that’s me laughing in the back seat.  You’ve got to admit getting a ticket in the same place twice, out in the middle of nowhere, is sort of funny.

Lake Powell was so darn fun.  I can’t really describe it other than, *smile and sigh*.  I loved all the down time, the laughing and the kid-free time with Carl. By the way, this was the perfect getaway to celebrate our 12th anniversary!  But it wouldn’t take a special occasion for us to do it again.  This will definitely be in my top 5 favorite vacations!

Next up: More Utah Vacationing!

Categories: Friends, Vacation Bliss | 3 Comments

Escape to Utah: Part 1

Planning camp was so fulfilling but at times so, so stressful.  At times, looking forward to this trip was all that kept me going.  The idea of being able to disappear for two weeks right after camp was so motivating and once we left, so therapeutic!  For me and Carl both!  We left home later than expected (as usual) but not feeling in any hurry to get there, we took out time to pack and leave when we were good and ready.  We drove all night/morning and finally landed at my in-laws’ house around 3am.  Those last few hours of driving were rough!  But the kids travel really well and thanks to car chargers and ipods there was almost no complaining.  The next day the boys were let loose in the yard to run and play and make up for a day spent in the car.  It didn’t take long for them to find the water guns stashed outside.

Their house is surrounded by fantastic neighbors who have left an open-ended invitation for any visiting grandkids to make use of the play equipment on one side and a pool on the other.

Milo had never seen a diving board before but after watching Jax’s example (see above) he marched right over and launched off without warning.  I was shocked!  And proud!  And glad he had his vest on!

Carl installed a fan for his parents and then took time out to enjoy our favorite swing out back with his mom.

All the firework stands around town made me realize that fireworks are legal in Utah!  So I introduced my kids to my childhood favorites: sparklers and pops.  (Although, I swear sparklers were bigger and lasted longer when I was a kid.)

Milo wanted to climb the tree in the backyard too, and surprised me again when he showed he could climb it with the help of a 5 gallon bucket to stand on.  Once he figured that out we couldn’t keep him out of it.

Now he can hang with the big boys!

After a few days it was time to say a temporary goodbye to Grandma and Grandpa and move on to stay with the cousins for several days.  Carl and I stayed the night and then said goodbye to the kids and thanked Jenni and Jerry hundreds of times.  Next stop, Lake Powell!  (I still can’t say it without smiling!)  Oh, and we happened to drive past a very special temple for me on the way.  Yay, Mt. Timpanogos!

Coming up: Our Lake Powell shenanigans.

Categories: Family, Vacation Bliss | 1 Comment

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