Goats and Carnival Rides

I’m back! I didn’t mean to go so long without posting. In fact, since I started blogging almost 10 years ago, I don’t think I’ve ever gone quite so long. So where have I been? Oh basically just moving for the past 2 months or so. I moved into my own apartment and helped my mom move to Colorado. It sounds so simple when you say it like that, but it really is a huge endeavor! And then for the past few weeks, I’ve been settling in to my new place. There are still some boxes to unpack and pictures to hang, but I’m beginning to feel more like it’s my home. Although, the other day on my way home from work, I automatically took the route to the old place without realizing it. Old habits die hard, I guess.

Anyway, I have lots to catch up on here, so I thought I might as well get started with a trip to the Utah State Fair a few weeks ago with Izzy, Claire, and Liam.

1_Way-to-the-State-Fair

We always love seeing the animals, of course. This year we went a little late in the evening and in the week, so most of the animals were already gone. But there were lots of goats, which was great because goats are seriously adorable.

2_Goats

3_Milking-Goat

4_More-Goats

5_Petting-Goat

6_Goats-for-sale

7_horned-goats

8_Izzy-and-Liam

9_Liam

We did also see some cows and sheep, but I was disappointed there were no little piglets this year.

10_Cows

11_sheep

Plus there were bright veggies that were past their prime, so they were all wrinkled.

12_Prize-winning-peppers

13_purple-and-yellow

And giant pumpkins! One of them weighs almost 500 pounds!

14_giant-pumpkins

But the most surprising thing, for me, was that there is a category for pigeons. Some of them were quite fluffy and feathery.

16_white-pigeon

We had to stop by and see the butter sculpture, which took us through a gaggle of square dancers. I 100-percent honestly really envy their puffy skirts. I might take up square dancing just so I can wear one without funny looks.

19_Square-Dancers

21_Butter-sculpture

Of course, it’s not the fair, though, without some carnival rides and funnel cake. One of my favorite things about the fair is the atmosphere – the glittering lights, the neon stuffed animals, the scent of fried dough and sugar.

20_Fair-Lights

17_Fair-rides

18_Beautiful-People

22_Fun-Slide

23_Super-heroes

24_Izzy-Liam-Me

25_Izzy-Liam-Claire

All in all, a very satisfying trip to the state fair. I missed it last year because of EuroAdventure 2012. I’ve been feeling a little sad all fall that I’m not gallivanting through France and Germany this year (especially with the stress of moving), but the fair made me proud to be an American.

Liam at 3

A few weeks ago, my little nephew Liam turned 3. I love getting to watch Liam grow up and see his personality develop. He’s so tall for three years old. He knows just how to sidle up to me and coyly ask, “I need play Didi’s phone.” That’s exactly what happened when I returned from a Katie/Claire day the other day. I can’t resist it.

2_playing-the-iphone

1_bedhead-Liam

3_Cute-Liam

I’m trying to teach Liam that I’m more than my phone, though. So we also played robots and cars and he showed me how he could jump in his crib.

4_robot-robot

5_crib-jumping

The next day, Matt and Izzy threw a family party for him. My pictures mostly turned out crappy (hate that!), but I loved watching him open his gifts. He would get so excited and say, “Oh my! Oh my!” for each one.

6_Liam-Big-Wheel

7_Liams-dump-truck

And later he came and snuggled up with me and asked to play “Chomp, Chomp Water.” Again, who am I to resist?

8_playing-chomp-chomp-water

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?

7_Fall-or-Spring-Bear-Lake

3_snowy-cold-Bear-Lake

5_Bench-Bear-Lake

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

6_Ice-at-Bear-Lake

6.5_playground

8_Mikey-and-Claire

The next morning was much sunnier and brighter.

9_Sunny-Sunday

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.

10_Yellow-Boat

11_tiny-seashells

12_Little-Roo

13_Roo-Profile

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.

17_Old-Main-Towers

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.

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.

1_Pristine-eggs

2_Claire-helping-Liam

3_Liam-dying-eggs

4_Claire-and Liam

5_Liam-dipping-eggs

6_Claires-egg

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.

8_Claires-handmade-sock-bunnies

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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11_Jumbo-Ball

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12_Claire-in-Jumbo-Ball

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.

14_Nicholas-Family

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

15_Miss-Molly

16_Playing-Kitchen

17_ukelele

17.5_horses-and-barbies

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.

9_Snowy-street-Salt-Lake-City

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.

10_Ems-Salt-Lake-City

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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12_Izzy-Cake-Birthday

13_Leftover-Candles

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!