Tuesday, November 30, 2010

California Vacation Day 1

Time to play catch up! In October we took a 10 day vacation through my brother Conner's mission in California. I've been planning this vacay since Conner got his call and I am happy to say that we had a blast! I've never planned a vacation for a large group of people, but everything came together pretty well.

The first day we left bright and early at 4 am. We stopped in Elko for a McDonald's breakfast and time to get the wiggles out in the playland for Aaron and the kiddos. The drive went by much faster than I had anticipated and we made it to Reno in good time. Johnny filled us in with native highlights such as how the Elko-ites use speed limit signs as target practice on the freeway.

In Reno we spent the afternoon at Scheel's, a Cabela-like store that was perfect for us after our long drive. The kiddos enjoyed the giant acquarium, rode the ferris wheel, and played in the miniature play ground. The adults liked the free fudge!

Scheel's even had a hall of presidents.

Lily choose Ada to go on the Ferris Wheel with her.

We had dinner at Beach Hut Deli, another recommendation by Lacey. It was so yummy! Took me 10 minutes to decide which sandwich to get and it definitely didn't disappoint!

Not bad for a travel day on vacation!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Kick the stuffing out of cancer!

I hate cancer.

I really do.

I hate how it strikes when you least expect it.

I hate that my cousin's four year little boy has to have shots three times a week to keep it at bay.

I hate that my good friend's Dad left us much to soon.

I hate that it took my Grandma Kimball from us this year.

I hate that I randomly cry every few days because I miss her so much.

Cancer is an ugly disease and I hate it.

So I am going to do something about it.

I am joining with runner's all across Utah to Kick the Stuffing Out of Cancer on Thanksgiving Day.

The Huntsman Cancer Institute is sponsoring 5Ks across Utah to raise money for cancer research. My dear friend Melissa told me about it and is also running with her own family.

I signed up the same day and can't wait to run in honor of my Grandma Kimball. My entire immediate family is joining me and we are making it a new Thanksgiving tradition.

This is big for me. I am NOT a runner. Neither are most of my family. But my Grandma Kimball was passionate about being active and serving others. It is the least we can do in her honor.

I feel like it is a privilege to give back to the Huntsman Cancer Institute. My Grandma Kimball was diagnosed with cancer two years ago and, at most doctor's appointments, her time left was measured in months. To have her with us for two more years was a blessing.

Because of modern medicine, and the grace of God, she was able to hold my little boy and see him take his first steps.

She was able to spend a precious few weeks with my brother when he returned home from his mission.

She was able to see several grandchildren married.

She was able to whisper words of advice and encouragement into my ear as we sat side by side so many nights.

And so I am going to fight. I am going to fight for myself and those who have lost loved ones to cancer. I am going to run for those still fighting and those who love them and care for them.

If you would like to donate money to this amazing cause and support me as I run to Kick the Stuffing out of Cancer - you can do so at this link.

God saw you getting tired,
When a cure was not to be.
So He wrapped his arms around you,
and whispered, “come to me.”

You didn’t deserve what you went through,
So He gave you rest.
God’s garden must be beautiful,
He only takes the best

And when I saw you sleeping,
So peaceful and free from pain
I could not wish you back
To suffer that again.


Monday, September 27, 2010


Change. Change. Change. We've had lots of that these 7 weeks. I can pinpoint it all back to the Sunday I decided not to be stressed about getting everyone ready on time. Well, this past month and a half has definitely lead to a shift in perspective for me and Sundays morning are perhaps a bit less stressful.

I actually laughed when I saw that one of my Sunday School lessons was on Job in August - because I sure needed it! We had a week, though definitely not as bad as Jobs, that felt like one thing was going wrong after another.

Remember the meal, where Job is eating with his family and one messenger after another comes telling him about a different hardship that has befallen his family (Job 1)?

... and then there was a water leak that caused hidden mold and lead to the retiling and carpeting of our basement apartment ...

... and then Johnny broke a toe in his bone that requires him to be in a boot with limited activity until Halloween ...

... and then my sister got in a car accident (no injuries) ...

... and then my missionary brother got kidney stones ...

... and then one of the fridges went out ...

... followed by a toilet ...

See where this is going? Literally that kind of a month. But it really made me look at all that I am grateful for. We've had a place to stay while the basement is being renovated, I still have a husband, my sister didn't get injured, my brother received an honorable release to come home and be with us before our grandmother passed away. As my grandmother would say, so many silver linings!

My favorite silver lining was being able to go up to Park City with my grandmother, sister, and mom. My Grandma Kimball fought off cancer for a year and a half, but then was diagnosed with a childhood form of leukemia. I am working on a post about her, but for now I wanted to blog about the fantastic time we had in Park City.

We've been talking of a girl's weekend since January. The timing was dependent on all of our different schedules and, most importantly, how Grandma was feeling. Life happens and suddenly it was the end of July with no girl's weekend in sight. I revisited my notes on places to stay in Park City and we set a flexible date in August. As luck would have it, Grandma was cleared for traveling on the Wednesday before the date we were thinking of. We were excited and booked the hotel room just in time. Because of the last minute nature of the trip, we missed Cami, but Aileen was able to come up for one of the nights.

And what a grand weekend it was! We stayed at the Westgate Resort in a spacious luxury sweet with a granite counter topped kitchen, fire place, jetted tub, and programmable steam shower. We loved it! In fact, I think it will be a new tradition! The best part was just sitting and talking with Grandma Kimball. She is the easiest person to talk to and the best listener. I always feel calmer and happier after talking with her.

We let Grandma Kimball set the pace and pick out our activities. She picked the Olympic Park and we enjoyed a Ski Show that was pretty awesome! We also ate at some yummy restaurants, too.
I feel so blessed for getting this weekend with my grandmother. After we returned from our girl's weekend, she went into the doctor and her leukemia numbers were back up. I feel so blessed that we were given that brief weekend to make one last happy memory with her.

And this is the yummy breakfast that my mom made our last morning there!

So that is a brief reacap of the last 7 weeks. Lots of craziness, but lots of blessings, too. I miss my Grandma Kimball terribly, but I am so grateful for the gospel plan. Hopefully I will have lots more fun posts up soon! Look forward to pictures of our new basement, birthday concerts, family gatherings, and other good stuff!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Battle Creek Falls Hike and the Power of Dirt

This post by Simple Mom and this post by Amy at Super Healthy Kids really got me thinking about the importance of outside time for my little ones. For us it has been way too easy to be sucked inside with our air conditioning and electronic traps. The other day, I opened the back door to take the garbage out and these two little adventurers followed me.

My daughter wanted to pour her leftover water in the dirt. After she decided to shovel some dirt onto the concrete, my son decided to join her as well. I think it was his first time in the dirt -as you can see THEY LOVED IT. Besides the shovel - they only played with dirt, water, and rocks.

Lily found several rocks and decided to make a "rock museum."

Amy recommended a book that I am excited to try: Last Child in the Woods, Saving our children from Nature Deficit Disorder, by Richard Louv.

I recall reading about this book as well from another blog in the last month. It is sad how far removed even my children are from nature sometime. Too scheduled. Too electronically entertained. Too confined. The joy they felt as they basked in the sunshine, squished in the dirt, discovered rolly pollys, etc. was highly apparent. And they didn't need me to tell them what to do (except I did try to keep as much as possible from Cortland's mouth!)

Some of the benefits Simple Mom cited for children playing the dirt are:
1. Dirt can actually make you feel happy - apparently there are types of bacteria that are naturally found in soil which activate the neurons that produce serotonin – a key chemical in many bodily functions, as well as a natural anti-depressant.
2. Dirt is great for kiddos' immune systems.
3. More playtime outside = less childhood obesity.

Check out her post for more benefits and ideas for what to do with your children outside!

As part of more outside time, we've hiked to Battle Creek Falls in Pleasant Grove twice - it's easy even for Lily and very pretty!

Lily saw the boys fishing and asked me if she could fish, too. I told her that she needed a fishing rod like they did. No problem for her - she spent a few minutes searching the trail for the perfect long stick and went and stood right next to them to fish. When they lifted up their rods and tapped the water, she did, too. Toddlers are so observant!

I am loving our Sherpana Rumbi Lightweight. It was perfect for us. Cort loves just chilling in it.

We spent about 45 minutes just sitting and enjoying the two falls and playing in the shallow water.We packed simple snacks for the kids as well.

Lily decided to pretend she was a bird. Cort also mimicked the water fall and kept raising his hands in the air and pushing them down.

They both loved getting wet, muddy, and dirty. This was a hands on hike!

About halfway through the hike, you come to a smaller waterfall and a stream. There was a nice section that we stopped at and played for awhile.

Here are the details of the hike if anyone else is interested in doing it :)

1.8 miles round trip

Description: There is a scenic waterfall on Battle Creek, a short distance up a canyon on the east side of the town of Pleasant Grove. The water falls in two ribbons.

It is easy to hike to the top of the waterfall. Some people rappel down the waterfall, enjoying the cool spray on a hot summer day. We saw a youth group doing this the first time we went and it looked like lots of fun!

The trailhead is easy to find. From the town of Pleasant Grove, just follow 200 S to the east side of town. The street is also known as Battle Creek Drive and it dead-ends at the trailhead.

Battle Creek Falls
From the trailhead, just follow the obvious hiker trail into the canyon. The trail stays in the bottom of the canyon, along the stream, for most of the way, but it climbs up onto the bench as you approach the waterfall. You can easily hike down to the base of the waterfall, or continue up the canyon for several more miles. You return the way you came in.

What are some of your favorite hikes in Utah and Salt Lake County?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Happy Birthday to the Parker Toddlers!

It is so strange to me to think that I have two toddlers now! Cort started taking his first steps about a week before his birthday. He looks so tiny next to Lily, but he is catching up fast. Lily turned 3 on June 16th and Cortland turned 1 on July 21st we did two combined birthday parties - one with the Trosts and one with the Parkers. Both were so much fun and we are thankful to have so many family members nearby to celebrate.

For the Parker side, we went to Scera Pool and had a BBQ at the house. The cousins have been wanting to go to the pool for awhile so we thought it would be a good fit!

Lily with Kennedy and Macie. You can tell she'd rather be in the water! We are so glad that Macie has moved to Utah from Madagascar so that Lily has a girl cousin her age to play with. Kennedy is always so sweet with her younger cousins, too!

We had Lily's first birthday party at the Scera Pool, too.
Here is what she looked like two years ago!

So tiny! I think she looks a lot like Cort.

Our camera was being weird so we weren't able to get many more pictures of the Parker Party. But here is one of Cort getting ready for his cupcake!

Tired boy after all the party fun.

Get ready for the next post and the Trostie party! For a preview, you can check out my sister's blog post about it

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Lily the Photographer

Lily is obsessed with cameras and they have to be REAL cameras. She wants to see the pictures on the screen after she is done taking it. The Disney princess camera was fun for our vacation, but now it is back to the real deal for her. Once we explained to her how to keep her finger away from the lense, she has actually done pretty good. Poor Cort is typically her subject. Here are a few she has taken lately.

One of the happier pictures of Cort before he gets tired of the flash.

Cort the crib monster. Lily is Cort's interpreter. She often comes and gets me when he is done with his nap. She says, "Cort told me he wants to get up." Why of course he did. Before or after you poked him?

Self toe portrait. Makes it easy to figure out it wasn't Johnny taking the pictures.

Father's Day Date

I decided that Johnny and I needed to try something new for our date nights ... and maybe even actually take a date night. Typically we get stuck in the dinner and a movie rut. Father's Day provided the perfect opportunity to surprise him. I arranged for a babysitter from 3:30-8:30 pm (a big things for me. I hate leaving my little people more than a few hours).

Clas Ropes Course in Provo had a Father's Day special complete with four hours on the course, a BBQ with smores, and an optional canoe ride down the Provo River. I sprung for it all. Keep in mind - I had just run my first 5K earlier that day. I must have been feeling adventurous!

We arrived just a teensy bit late and they put us in a group with another couple and a Dad with his two preteen kids. The first few activities were typical leadership/bonding/problem solving activities. You know, the one where you both have a rope tied around your wrists and you have to figure out how to get untangled from each other without taking them off? I swear I have done it a dozen times at Girls Camp, but we still couldn't figure it out. No worries, it was much more fun doing it with my husband!

For the next activity, we had to swing from one platform to the next. All of us. Without touching the ground. But first we had to figure out how to get the rope over to us. Johnny saved the day by sacrificing his shoes and using the laces/shoes to lasso the rope over to us. This is where the real fun began. I danced A LOT growing up, but typical sports were not my thing. I am missing whatever type of coordination I needed to be successful. Like the coordination needed to swing across an open space holding onto a rope.

I figured that I was an adult now, how hard could it be? So I grasped the rope, took a running leap, and landed right on my thigh not too far from the first platform. For my second attempt, I stood on Johnny's back (lucky man), and got a higher grip before I leapt across. I almost made it. In fact, the other guy in our group tried to pull me in, but I ended up pulling HIM in instead. Oops. Sorry random man. Our boy scoutish leader took pity on me and allowed me to stay on the platform. Whew!

Next, we had to figure out how to get our team members across a series of boards and stumps without touching the ground. It involved moving the boards around and was quite tricky!

My hubby is on the far right helping the little boy to safety.

And then came our favorite part! The part I was worried we would never get to because it took us so long to finish the bonding activities.

First we took a ride on this giant swing. You held on to a rope and your team mates hoisted you to the top. The hardest part was holding on until the very top. It was such a rush when you let go.

Next we went rock climbing. I am still attempting to figure out how people balance their feet on the itty bitty rocks.

And here we are are sitting and waiting for our turn to go down the zip line. Lucky for us, you get to climb to the top of the zip line pole. I saw lots of kiddos doing it and even a cute Grandma named Earlene doing it. It took Earlene awhile to get up there, but I figured if she could do it, so could I. So I scaled a wooden pole balancing my self on these much too small metal staples. But it was worth it because the zipline was lots of fun!

To conclude the evening, we canoed down the Provo River to Utah Lake. BEAUTIFUL! It was so relaxing and our arms definitely got a work out!

My honey on the dock.

All in all - a fantastic evening. What did I learn?
1. My kiddos will survive for an evening without me.
2. It's good to try new things and step out of your comfort zone.
3. Anything is fun with my Johnny.
4. My body can do hard things.
5. It's worth it to plan date nights!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Lily's Birthday

Lily is three! She has been awaiting her birthday for a very, very long time. Every day she would ask me, "Is today my birthday? Will I blow out my birthday candles? Will I open my pink present and get a puppy inside?" (that's a no on the last one!).

So she was very happy when her big day finally arrived. Lucky for Lily, the celebrating actually began a little early this year. Saturday night we went to the Mayan to see my Dad. The kids love going because he always takes them to see the divers and other fun things. At the end of the meal, my dad brought out a piece of chocolate cake with a huge sparkler - Lily was thrilled! She said, "Papa Scotty just knew it was my birthday this week. I get to blow out my candle!"

The day of her birthday, she didn't wake up very happy so Cort and I went in her room singing Happy Birthday. She perked up pretty fast! I made her Mickey Mouse pancakes which she ate while watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. We spent the day doing all her favorite things - bubbles, playing in the water, reading books and all that fun stuff. She loved getting phone calls from Aunt Ada, Mom Mom, Papa Scotty, and most especially - her cousin Kyrie.

Lily LOVED talking to Kyrie. I think most of the conversation consisted of both of the little girls trying to get the other to come over to their house. They can't wait to see each other!

When Johnny got home from work we were off to Pirate Island - Lily's favorite restaurant.

The pirate behind us is much to exciting to look at I guess!

More ice cream and candles to blow out.

Isn't it fun to have two kids that want to do things all by themselves? Cort is Lily's little shadow.

He thought ski-ball was pretty exciting.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Only in Utah

This was yesterday morning ...

... and this was yesterday evening.

From snow pants and hats to sun dresses and picnic blankets. My babies loved them both.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Where Fun Is!

This picture describes our Saturday PERFECTLY! After the week we had (I rear ended another car last Friday ... no injuries no damage to the other car totaled our car because it's old and it dented the frame), we were ready for some FUN. We headed up to Lagoon in our new to us Swagger Wagon (can I say how much I love the storage?). So glad we found a car before the weekend. We're a one car family so we definitely need something fast!

Anyways, back to the picture. I remember some fun Lagoon day trips. The senior year trip, many clogging competitions, the Scrollie day, etc., and, don't get me wrong - those were fabulous, but this day took the cake. And we didn't even make it to any of the new, big rides. We spent about six hours in kiddie land and loved every second of it. My girl Lily LOVES LOVES LOVES rides.

She's our little thrill seeker. This ride (above) is a smaller version of the one that shoots you straight up and then drops you. Lily saw the larger one and wanted to go on it. Johny said told her that she was too little, but she had no fear. She responded, "I WANT FEAR! I NEED FEAR!" I think she thought that was the name of the ride or a requirement to go on the ride.

Lily's day to drive a car finally came. The ride attendant had a fine time trying to get her out of it. She told him that it wasn't her stop. She is going to be tearing up the Autopia track at Disneyland soon.

Rides where she was in control were definitely her favorite. Her eyes lit up when she discovered that she controlled the going up and down. Bytheway - when did she get big enough to go on a ride by herself?

This little man had some fun, too. He made it on the ferris wheel (or Pharisee wheel as Lily calls it), the animal train, the carousel, and a lovely squirting water ride that his not so smart mommy put him on.

Doesn't he look ADORABLE? This is the one that I didn't notice you got wet on until it was too late and I had to steer our fish through crazy squirting sea animals. But he did look pretty adorable in his little seat belt and he liked it.

A ride where you get to drive a boat and ring a bell - now that is exciting!

The little boy behind me was crying and didn't like the ride. Notice how he is at least five years older than Lily. Lily was shouting "HIGHER! FASTER!"

One content little girl. Definitely the best Lagoon trip yet. It was too much fun to see her so happy. I couldn't stop grinning all day.