Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Summer We Didn't Stay in Taos

Wow! We have had such adventures this summer! We just got home from a fantastic family vacation: reunions in Idaho and Oregon and then a week of camping in Olympic National Park, WA. It was SO nice to be able to spend time with family. We loved seeing everyone. So here's a bunch of pictures, starting backwards.

While in Olympic Natl. Park, we were able to use our passports (a first for our marriage!) and take a day trip to Victoria, British Columbia. Here's a view of the harbor. We took a ferry from Port Angeles. Very neat to watch all the boats and sea planes. Victoria is a bustling, beautiful place!

My kids are so photogenic. You take this gorgeous picture spot and...well, just look at them. Good thing they're so lovable. They did so well on our Victoria day. We had to leave camp early to catch the ferry. The boys especially loved walking around outside the ferry. We had the most beautiful, sunny, warm day and all got red faces to prove it! We went to an undersea aquarium and then walked the kids all over downtown Victoria: souvenir shopping, waffles at "WannaWafel" (coolest restaurant ever! Can we get one here?), beautiful Beacon Hill park (Victoria has such gorgeous flowers EVERYWHERE. It's amazing), childrens' farm and petting zoo, and out to dinner. I can't believe we did so much in one day. You would think the kids would have crashed on the ferry ride back to Port Angeles. Nope. They were bouncing off the walls! Too fun. I hope we can go back someday. There's still so much to do there.

Keiger actually took this picture in front of the Parliament Building. Pretty impressive, eh? Does it look like we hadn't showered in days?

Hurricane Ridge, Olympic Natl. Park. We were so excited to be able to climb up here and see the Olympics--if only the weather would cooperate. From our campsite miles below, it looked as if all the mountains were socked in with clouds. Thankfully, we took a chance and drove up anyway. One corner before we reached the visitor center, we literally climbed above the clouds and had these amazing views. SO pretty, especially with all the wildflowers, which you can't see here. Sorry. The kids loved climbing the trails, especially since they got to play in snow! Everybody loved seeing the deer all over. It was so cool to be able to look down on the clouds. Wish the pictures did it more justice. Definitely a highlight of the trip.

This deer must have really liked our van.

Any trip to Washington wouldn't be complete without a stop in Forks. Time for the Twilight tribute! Here's Bella's truck, the one and only from the movie.

Had to wait for a chance to get this picture. Forks and Port Angeles were hiliarious with "Dazzled by Twilight" stores. Forks had a big black Twilight bus that took you on the Twilight tour. Should have got a picture. The visitor's center had life size pictures of the characters all over. Should have gotten the "TEAM JACOB" license plate.

Hoh Rainforest, Olympic Natl. Park. Mosses; ferns; huge, tall trees; slugs everywhere. But no Bigfoot. Next time.

Camped at Kalaloch Beach, WA for a couple of nights. The kids could not get enough of the beach. Good thing it was just a few minute's walk from our tent. And it pretty much only rained during the night, although if anything got wet, it took FOREVER to dry out. So much moisture in the air. Check out the boys' air. Nice.

Ruby Beach, WA. Finn was the only one who'd pose with me. Well, I made him.

Kids loved throwing rocks into the water and exploring around the sea stacks. Sage got trapped in a little sea cave. I looked in to find her standing on her tiptoes on the last wee bit of sand that wasn't covered by waves yet. Her shoe got wet while she escaped, and yes, it took two days to fully dry out.

Discovered tide pools full of sea stars and anemones. Too fun to explore.

Kalaloch, WA -- We love the beach!

Lincoln Beach with the cousins. Could not get Keiger and Talon to leave! All the kids got soaking wet and had a blast.

Berry picking outside of Salem, OR. Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries....a dollar a pound! I'd move to Oregon just for that! We got to visit the Smiths during our time in OR. Great to see them and their darling girls. Thanks for the heads-up on happy hour for pie. Yum.

Island Park, ID Young Family Reunion. Sage knocked her head on the bottom of the hot tub, and her tooth fell out! I will write a book someday about the funniest ways to lose a tooth. Sage keeps coming up with them. Great to see everyone at the reunion. And that's just a few of the pictures we took. We had such a good time on this vacation. We're all so grateful we were able to go and see all the family and let the cousins play together. Great memories. We love our family.

More Lagoon fun with Luke and Logan this time.

Cars 2 party with friends. Painted a cars mural; played "pin the lightning bolt on McQueen;" the kids all got a car frozen in ice--they had to thaw it out (most kids just sucked on it) to get to the car. Then we all went to the movie. We all took up most of the theater too! We were quite the crew.

Boating with friends. Way fun swimming in the lake!

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Jacob ran his first marathon! Hurray!
It's official! Summer is finally here, and I am in heaven! Sleeping in (as much as Finn will let me), lazy mornings, nowhere we have to be, no packing school lunches or homework, lots of splashing in the kiddie pool out back...heaven! We are loving summer! Here's a hodge-podge of our goings-ons.

We enrolled Keiger in a British Soccer Camp this summer. He pretty much plays soccer with Jacob everyday, so he was pumped for his camp to start. The camp is run by a group of young British coaches who have fantastic accents. It was really cute, I mean cool. Keiger loved Coach Adam. I loved hearing his coach call out, "Good job, Kee-guh!" and, "put the balls in the socca-locka." Keiger did really well and is quite a good player already.

Sorry, I forgot to rotate the picture. Once school got out, I headed up to Utah with the kids for a little vacation. We went to the fish hatchery. This was Finn's first time fishing and you can imagine him flinging a fishing pole all around. It was pretty funny.

My mom and I had so much fun with the kids at the Lagoon. They were all over that park! Sage is a ride-maniac! By the end of the day, Keiger had become really brave, too, and tried all sorts of fun rides. We didn't leave until 10 p.m., and only because the park was closing. Too fun.

Riding Zip at Mackenzie and Lance's house in Boise. Sage did great riding all by herself. Baby Addy was born just a few days later!

Sage turned 7 at the end of May, and we celebrated at Grandma and Grandpa's. Sage was excited to get just what she wanted for her birthday: an electric pencil sharpener! She is so funny!

At the end of the school year, Sage had a Girl Scout dinner to bridge from being a "Daisy" to a "Brownie." She was so proud to get her new brown uniform, and she looks darling in it.

We camped at Pagosa Springs, CO again this year. I still can't believe how filthy the kids can get while camping. Finn was literally covered in dirt. Probably because he just rolled around in it. Jacob also ran his first trail marathon and finished 5th overall. Seriously, he makes it look easy. Heather and I ran the 1/2 marathon and had a fun time. We've discovered this run/walk method that is wonderful.

Sunday, April 3, 2011


Last week, Jacob had a training for work in Denver so the kids and I braved the busy freeways and joined him for a few days. I have no idea what we would have done without a GPS (a.ka. "Miss Yelley") to help us get around. I was pretty stressed by the crazy busy roads and was so thankful we made it everywhere we wanted to go safely. And we did get to explore some great places. Denver is a cool city.

The kids were fascinated by the Downtown Aquarium. Keiger was a bit nervous at first, but he summed up the guts to touch a starfish with Sage. Sage was so excited to see a macaw since her class has been studying rainforests. When we were resting in the lounge after going through the exhibits, a trainer walked by with the "Miss Molly," the macaw and had her perform some tricks. What a treat.

Just a short walk from the aquarium is the Denver Children's Museum. Too fun. The kids had a blast in the bubble exhibit and ran, climbed, and slid all over areas decorated like forests, only cushoined. They loved shopping in the pretend market. Finn did a great job painting and even stayed pretty clean. I was impressed.

We also got to visit the Museum of Nature and Science, which is GINORMOUS! The GPS took us on a crazy route right through downtown to get there. It was nerve-wracking, but really neat to see neat landmarks like the Mint and the Capital Building. I'd definitely like to go back and explore someday. Anyway, the museum was overwhelming with so much to see and do. The kids enjoyed the animal displays, dinosaur skeletons, and I think they were grossed out by the mummy exhibit (they sucked the brains of dead people out of their noses! Eww!). There is a great view of downtown from the back of the museum, as well as geese to chase and a fun playground (my kids' favorite).

Sage loves learning and has a memory like a sponge. She loved reading whatever she could about all the exhibits we saw. Several times she surprised me by telling me the names of different animals and facts about them, like how the Lionfish has poisonous spikes. How on earth does she know all this? From what she's learned at school and from reading "101 Freaky Animals." Who knew? She certainly taught us a lot about some of the animals we got to see.

I think Finn had the most fun of all playing in the bathtub at the hotel. He could have stayed in the water forever tinkering with plastic cups.

We were able to spend a night at Kent and Rolayne's house, which was very nice of them. They were darling with the kids. When we asked Sage and Keiger what their favorite part of trip was, they both agreed it was getting to go to the Sellers' house.

So it was a super-fun trip. Too bad Jacob had to spend so much of it at his training, but we're proud of his hard work and thankful for the chance we had have this little getaway.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring Fever

Lots to catch up on. The last couple of months have been pretty busy with some neat activities. We've been able to have some wonderful trips to the temple for friends and family and have had chances to do some fun things with our kiddos.
Sage and I met my mom for a girls' weekend in Albuquerque to see "Wicked." Fabulous! We had such a good time--even stayed in a hotel that had a waterpark. Sage was super-brave and tried the wave rider!

Give Finn a paintbrush and look what happens! He loved having his hands painted and got such a kick out of smacking his face with his hands. He also ate a bit of paint. Big surprise.

We drove up to Twin Falls over Sage's spring break to see Mackenzie and Lance sealed. Wonderful day. I spent the rest of the week in Ogden. Sage and I went skiing at Snowbasin with my dad and had a great time. We did start off with a bit of an adventure--didn't exactly pick the easiest way down. Thankfully, Sage got over that trauma pretty quick and did so well. She says she learned how to go fast!

We also took Keiger skiing this year. Here he is at Sipapu, where he mastered the "magic carpet" treadmill thing that takes you to the top of the learning slope. He didn't want anybody to help him--he just wanted to go! He did a great job.

Monday, January 3, 2011


We’ve loved getting wonderful pictures and letters from friends and family. What great reminders of the remarkable people who have touched our lives. It’s been such a wonderful Christmas vacation, just the blessing I needed to help slow down, simplify, and just be with my family. So apologies that this letter is late in coming. Since it is our FIRST time writing a New Year’s Letter, we figured we’d dedicate it to our family’s…
“Famous FIRSTS!”

-Lost her first teeth! Drama! Drama! Drama!
-Started first grade and has her first chance to do homework. Thankfully, she has yet to have her first bad day at school. She loves it, especially being the first one to get her work done and among the first to finish her lunch so she can go to recess early.
-First year in Girl Scouts. She is the cutest little Daisy and proudly recites the motto.
-First summer riding bike without training wheels and first time swimming by herself.

-Turned four and had his first birthday party with friends. He has got to be the first kid to have a Buzz-Lightyear/Motorcyle party. Pin Buzz on the motorcycle is quite the game.
-Probably the first little boy to use such delightful phrases as, “Oh, my goodness gracious!” and “Awesome Possum!” He’s also the first to ask me if “goodness sake” was another name for Santa Claus. “You better watch out for goodness sake!”

-First of our children to show us what it really means to write on walls and get into EVERYTHING. He’s the first to discover that he can carry the bathroom stool around to be able to reach whatever he can get his hands on.
-First to scare Sage and Keiger (okay, me and Jacob too) just by throwing stuff at them. When he raises his hand to throw, all of our hands instinctively cover our heads to protect ourselves. He’s got a good arm. I often see Keiger or Sage running away from Finn and screaming, “He’s gonna throw that at me!” Finn’s also the first one-year old I know who likes to get hit by snowballs.

-Ran first half-marathon.

-Took Keiger and Sage coyote hunting for the first time.
-First year without shooting an animal in 7 years. So sad.
-Ran his first half marathon trail races where he placed 4th and 13th overall.

-First trip to Disneyland where Kei rode the Matterhorn for the first and probably last time. Traumatic.
-First broken well, boiler, refrigerator and toilet overflow/flood all in one week! Then the garage door broke for the first time 1 weeks later. We had to laugh about it.

Hope the first of 2011 is great for you! This has got to be the first time we’ve written such a cheesy letter! Much love, Jacob, Morgan, Sage, Keiger & Finn