Bear Lake Weekend

One of the perks of my job is the opportunity to book a condo in St. George or Bear Lake for free. The only downside is that it’s based on seniority and you have to do all your booking in December for the upcoming year. I’m still pretty new at the company (just over 2 years now), so I kept getting bumped from the time slots I really wanted. I just hoped that in booking the condo in Bear Lake (located in Northern Utah) in mid-April, I’d get some warm weather. Well, it didn’t quite turn out that way. This has been a really drawn-out winter and the winters last even longer an hour or two north. By the time we got up to the condo on Friday it was already late and we basically just went straight to bed. In the morning, we looked out the balcony and were greeted by this:

1_Balcony-View

Not very promising. We weren’t expecting to go swimming or anything, but we were hoping to maybe build some sand castles. We stayed indoors and watched some movies they had on hand (classics like The Shaggy Dog and Roman Holiday)). Liam and Claire loved the banana chairs.

1_banana-chairs

We braved the rain to go out and get some lunch (including some of Bear Lake’s famous raspberry shakes). The whole time, we hoped the sun would come out. It eventually stopped raining at least, so Mikey, Claire, and I decided to bundle up as much as we could (we weren’t quite prepared for the cold weather), and venture out.

2_Venturing-Outside

4_Snowy-Mountains-Bear-Lake

It’s hard to tell whether it was spring or fall, huh?

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5_Bench-Bear-Lake

I could hear the ice crashing up against the rocks. It sounded like glass.

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8_Mikey-and-Claire

The next morning was much sunnier and brighter.

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We had to check out of the condo by 10 a.m., but we went back to the lake to bask in the sun. Little did we realize that it was still so cold, but hey, sunny! We couldn’t really build sand castles, but we at least hunted for seashells. Very tiny ones.

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12_Little-Roo

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We took a different route home, so we could travel through Logan Canyon (scenic byway). I kept seeing the lake in the rearview mirror looking so blue and perfect as we climbed the canyon road. I was relieved to find a scenic overlook near the summit, so we could pull over for a photo.

14_Bear-Lake-from-Mountain

I insisted that we stop off quickly at Utah State to pay some respects to my alma mater. I would have liked to see more of the campus, but no one else was that interested, so I settled for Old Main and tried to convince Claire to become an Aggie in the future. I don’t think she was completely on board, but I still have a few years to talk her into it.

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16_Future-Aggie

15_Utah-State-Old-Main

We stopped for lunch and then headed back to Salt Lake. It was a super short weekend getaway, but it was such a nice break from the norm. We got to spend lots of time together as a family (my mom, Matt & Izzy and the kids, and Mikey were all able to come), and wake up to a different view. And it was all for free (well, except for the food and stuff). Not too shabby.

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Happy Easter!

I think Easter may just be my favorite holiday. It’s nice and springy (usually). The candy is awesome. All the beautiful pastel colors and decorations. Easter dresses and hats and baskets. Plus, a beautiful message of life conquering death. What could be better? This year, I got to help Claire and Liam dye some eggs on Friday night when their mom got called in to work.

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4_Claire-and Liam

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And today, I got to hide the Easter eggs before church. I hid some around the apartment and then some outside, banking on the hope that if others in the complex found them, they would just leave them be. Luckily they did, but we did have some people taking advantage of the weather and laying out on the front lawn in just their swim trunks. It made the Easter egg hunt a little awkward.

7_Liam-and-his-Easter-Basket

Claire spent hours hand sewing a sock bunny for each of us. Then she went and hid them, too, so we had to find our own. It was fun to have a little hunt for the adults, too.

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9_Easter-egg-hunting

As part of their Easter gifts, Claire and Liam got this huge jumbo ball – basically like a padded hamster ball for kids. We had some time before dinner, so Izzy, Matt, and Claire took turns with the hand pump and finally got it inflated. Claire crawled inside first and got rolled around. It attracted quite the audience and some other kids joined in.

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Hope you all had just as much fun this Easter!

Family Time

Happy New Year! I know, I know… I’m almost a week late. I didn’t intend to keep away from the blog for so long, but I’ve been pretty busy with family and then I spent the last four days confined to my bed (except for an ill-fated day at work because I hate giving up PTO time to sickness). I finally have some strength for something other than being cuddled up in bed with a book, so I thought I’d just share some favorite photos from the past week or so with my family.

1_Tough-Penny

2_Funny-Faces

6_Lucy-Running

5_Mollipop

7_siblings

8_Sweet-Roo

9_Claire-Archery

10_Snowsuit-Molly

11_tea-party

Amanda really wanted me to take some family photos for her while they were in town, so we ventured out on a very cold New Year’s morning.

12_Winter-walk

Of course, we couldn’t take a family photo with coats on, but as soon as we took them off, the kids were not happy.

13_Behind-the-scenes

But they were troopers and we were able to get at least a few photos before we bundled them back up again.

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We spent the rest of the day at Matt and Izzy’s.

15_Miss-Molly

16_Playing-Kitchen

17_ukelele

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21_Mikey-and-Liam

22_Frowny-Liam

23_Matt-and-Liam

20_Peter-Michael

18_Penny-Lane

19_Lucy-Hero

I love to be surrounded by my loved ones at the end of the year and the beginning of a new one. It gets things started off right. Now let’s just hope that the rest of the year is much healthier.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch.

I really had no idea that I would be blogging about my trip last September for two months straight. And I still have a week’s worth of EuroAdventure 2012 to blog about, but I thought I would take a break and catch up on some of my normal life back in Salt Lake City before I get too far behind. I mean, these first photos are from way back in October. But I couldn’t not share them with you. I was so worried that I missed all of the fall color while I was in Europe, so I was incredibly happy to find that the canyons were still bright and bold.

1_Millcreek-Canyon-Foliage

2_Golden-Leaves-Millcreek-Canyon-Utah

3_Golden-Aspen-Evergreens-Millcreek-Utah

Of course, it wasn’t too long before they were covered in snow. We had a huge snowfall in early November.

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8_Winter-trees

Liam spent the weekend during the huge snowfall, so we spent lots of time playing choo choos (I wish you could hear him say “choo choo.” It’s the most adorable.) And he loved Max (from the Grinch).

4_Liam-and-his-train

5_Liam-train-castle

6_Liam-and-Max

Ever since I stumbled upon Em’s near the capitol a few years ago, I’ve been wanting to try it out. It just looks like such a charming little place. I finally went with my friend Emily to celebrate our November birthdays, and it was delicious.

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And finally, we just celebrated another birthday, Izzy’s! My mom made her famous, traditional ice cream roll. With lots of candles.

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Coming up are some photos from my recent trip to Denver and lots of sparkly Christmas lights. If I don’t post those now, I won’t get around to them until April.

Come on and grab your friends

My family is obsessed with Adventure Time. It’s a cartoon if you haven’t ever heard of it. Truth be told, I’ve only seen it a handful of times, but it’s pretty great, beginning with the catchy song. So they all decided to dress up as Adventure Time characters for Halloween. Mikey started the week off as Finn for his annual Halloween party.

Then Claire dressed up as one of her favorite characters – Marceline the Vampire Queen.

And she talked her best friend, Lucy, into dressing up as Princess Bubblegum.

Izzy prepared a spooky feast.

When Matt got home, they put on their costumes – Liam as a baby Finn (the human), Matt as Jake (the dog) and Izzy as… I dunno… one of the other princesses. There’s a ton of them.

I had my own party to attend — a candy casino. I cleaned up on roulette, so I think it might be time for a trip to Vegas. Or at least Wendover. Another Halloween gone. And now it’s birthday month!

Patriots and Pioneers

Turns out I forgot to blog about our Independence Day and Pioneer Day activities, and I always slightly feel like if I don’t blog about it and share pictures from it then it never really happened. So even though it was over a month ago and now summer is on its way out, let’s take a look back and enjoy a little summer barbecue.

Claire found a clever way to keep the sparklers quick at hand.

We were planning to walk over to Sugar House Park to see the fireworks, but by the time we were all ready, we realized that we would be too late. So Izzy and I ran to the store to pick up some driveway fireworks.

On the way home from Matt and Izzy’s on the fourth, my mom and I ended up with the perfect spot for fireworks. I was trying to find a place to park when I got pulled over by a police officer for going too slowly. He was quite upset with me and said that if I wanted to watch the fireworks then I should pull off to the side of the road and stay put and not make it difficult for people who were trying to get somewhere. So with the officer’s position to park in a no parking zone, we watched the fireworks from the car. And then we could make a fast getaway when they were over so we weren’t stuck in traffic.

On Pioneer Day, you can pretty much just repeat the events of the Fourth, except this time we successfully made some shapes with sparklers.

Katie/Claire Days

Outings with Claire are sometimes an exercise in negotiation. I started off by suggesting that we ride the snowbird tram to look at wildflowers. She countered with an afternoon riding waterslides at Classic. I suggested that there are some activities that are Katie/Claire activities and some that are more fun with a friend her own age. After discussing a few other options, we decided on Tracy Aviary to see the new Owl Forest exhibit and go on some rides at the amusement park area afterward.

Side note: I’m so annoyed because I accidentally erased some of the photos, including a really cute one of Claire and me sporting our matching tattly tattoos. Here’s a picture of it on Claire, though.

Claire and I have been to the aviary before (once when she was four and again a few years ago, with Izzy and baby Liam), so we hurried through most the aviary, except for a stop at my favorite place – Destination Argentina. You actually get to be in the same room as the birds, instead of looking at them through cages.

And of course stopped by the flamingos to say hello.

We really wanted to see the bird show that started at 2:30, but we had about half an hour to while away, so we decided to lay down in a patch of shadow and just relax for a bit.

That’s when the peacock decided to join us.

The peacock got closer and closer but eventually went around us, much to my relief, and moved on to terrorise and delight other visitors. We had just enough time to visit Owl Forest before the show began.

Although I’ve visited the aviary several times, I’ve never actually seen the bird show, so I didn’t know what to expect. Claire and I were the first ones to find a seat, so we got the perfect ones, right in the middle. And we had birds flying right over our head!

Tracy Aviary also has a really nice new visitor center, so we stopped inside on our way out the door. Claire found a little perch all her own.

We bought a few ride tickets, so we could go on the ferris wheel together, and then Claire wanted to go on the swings. I love the little rides at Liberty Park. They’re so unassuming.

(Claire looks really sad in the next picture, but I promise she was having a great time.)

A week later, Claire and I went to see the Potter Puppet Pals at Kilby Court. I was so glad that one of my friends at work mentioned they were coming because Claire absolutely loves them. If you are wondering who the Potter Puppet Pals are, here is probably their most famous video:

I really didn’t know what to expect from this concert. First of all, I had no idea how many people would be there. Imagine my surprise when there was already a huge line by the time we got there (2 minutes before it started) and people had printed off tickets from advanced purchases. By the time we got inside the venue, it was totally packed.

Let’s just take a brief aside here to talk about how nostalgic I got taking Claire to her first show at Kilby Court. I have so many memories of seeing bands there — like Of Montreal (only my second blog post ever) and his name is alive and M. Ward and Tilly and the Wall and hanging outside Kilby when the shins played because it was all sold out. It has actually been a few years since I’ve gone to a show there, but it is still the same. I hope it’s the first of many shows that Claire will see there. But maybe not on her own for a few years yet.

I took a few pictures during the show, but they all basically look like this.

Claire got to sit right up front (and of course made some friends) while I hung out on the side (and actually made a friend of my own). I didn’t know anything from the PPP other than the video above, so it was all new material to me, and I thought it was very witty and amusing. And most important, Claire loved it and my position as favorite aunt is still secure.