Tuesday, September 18, 2018

July Fun in Thirty Words or Less

At West High School, morning announcements must be thirty words of less.  I thought I'd try a similar strategy for this blog post.  Ready, set, go.

Hot July?  Try break-dancing at the library.

Ride bikes at Liberty Park.

Discover the International Peace Gardens.









Take a stroll through the Salt Lake City cemetery.

Brother Brigham may join you.

Sing Pioneer songs with a bonnet.


Play colorful Qwirkle.


Mountain life is glorious.


Well, I may not have made it in less than thirty words, but I think that's less than fifty.   Wishing you all a minimalist nite nite.

Monday, September 10, 2018

A week in the life of July

Wonder of wonders,  I'm less than two months behind on this blog.  Yay?

So we got back from our east coast travels on Friday, July 13th.  (Luckily we escaped major misfortune.)  The next day Annika attended her preschool graduation for Upstart, an online program run by Waterford.  Good-bye Rusty and Rosy.  We will miss you--sort of.

The following Monday Brooklyn left for Brighton Beehive camp.  Here she is with her cute friend Hannah.  While I don't have any pictures, I know they had a fantastic time.

I dropped Talia off a couple hours later at Camp Cloud Rim for Girl Scout Camp .

Here's Annika saying goodbye.  I'm super proud of Talia having the courage to go back to camp this year after leaving early last year due to sickness.  I think she had a great time.

The theme for her camp?  Backpacker.  They spent three two days and two nights out on the trails.  I'm more than a little jealous.


One of Talia's counselors shared a bunch of photos.  Such a gorgeous place! 



They actually backpacked around Brighton, hiking many of the same trails that Brooklyn did.  They passed Lake Mary, Lake Martha, Lake Catherine...

...and ended up on Clayton Peak.

You know you've climbed far when you reach the top of the chairlift.




I hope the weather is as beautiful when our family backpacks next weekend.


To celebrate their return to camp, they apparently jumped in the lake fully clothed.  That's one way to cool off.

Meanwhile, the littles and I entertained ourselves with some mountaineering of our own.

Silver Lake may not be rugged, but it certainly is beautiful!

Plus, we got to enjoy all the brazenly cute ground squirrels.

One of them ran right across Eli's foot with hopes of getting a treat.

No treats from us, little squirrel.  Better luck next time.

During the week, Eli, Annie, and I also spent some time caring for the Emerson Garden.

Nicest school garden I've ever experienced.



Most of the produce wasn't mature, but we did pick a few beans, raspberries...

...and basil.

Later in the week Eli spent a couple of days at Cubshire Scout Camp with his friend Joshua.

They were both elated to come home with pocketknives of their very own.

More scary than a pocket knife is this tarantula that Annika held.  While I wasn't there, I imagine she loved it.

Aunt Brianna took Annie, Eli, and Ruby to a super cool program called Scales 'n Tails.


We, in turn, took Ruby to Sam's Club.  Guess we know who the cool Wheelers are.

At least there were samples?

At the end of the week, Eli was so thrilled to be reunited with his sisters that he carried their packs...

...and gave them a great big hug.
Sometimes it's nice to say goodbye just so you realize how much you miss each other.

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Quote Board Round Two

So I know that I just posted some Annika quotes, but I forgot a batch.  Here goes.

Transcript of a recent prayer:
"Bless that I will see a dolphin today.
Bless that Mommy will find my roller skates.
Bless the food.
Bless that we can all go to heaven.
Bless Jesus in heaven.
Bless that we can all get married."

Mom (as Annika is trying to log on to the computer): Do you know the password?
Annika: Please.

Annika (observing her pancake):  It's a slug... No, it's a fish...  It's a PENGUIN!

Annika (bored in her car seat):  Ouch!  My invisible nail is poking me!

Mom (while recapping at the dinner table): What was your high for today?
Annika: Painting rocks.

Annika: Mom, today can we go see a dolphin?
Me: No, dolphins live far away in the ocean.
Annika: Can we take an airplane and then see a dolphin?  (This conversation gets repeated daily.  In fact, she has a special towel that I'm not allowed to use because she's saving it to rescue all the injured dolphins.)

Annika: Let's play foo foo ball.  (She was trying to say wiffle ball.)

And last but not least: "I think my swim teacher's going to like me because I like me."

I like you too, sweetie, I like you too.

Gotta Love Glitter: The Avenues Community Parade Float

You may be wondering what Jason was up to while the kids and I were mega-vacationing all the way from New York to Omaha.  While work consumed most of his days, he found some time in the evenings for trimming ivy...


...eating Brianna's Fourth of July pie

...and watching our bulbs sprout.

Mostly, however, he built a float.

The Emigration stake had been assigned a float for Salt Lake's Days of '47 Parade on Pioneer Day.  Thanks to some inspiration and encouragement from our friend and neighbor Chuck Clark, the float evolved into an Avenues Community float instead of just a church thing.  Jason has been involved from the beginning with the planning and architectural design work.  Now it was time for construction.


It's amazing how many of our neighbors came together to see the float to completion.

Glitter for days and days.  Some of it hitchhiked a ride to our house on Jason's clothing.

It feels like something's still missing.  But what?

A cute cat?


Some corn stalks?

How about a rock quarry for the foundations?

Nope, sunflowers.

 Pretty fancy schmancy, if I do say so myself.


Rewind six weeks to before we left on vacation, and the kids and I helped paint these sunflowers.  Can't say we contributed a lot to this float, but at least it was something.

Plus, it was really fun.

These two might be the youngest contributors.  I figure you can't really mess up slapping on yellow paint.

With flowers added, it was time for the finishing touch--a puppy.

Annika thought the sparkly porch was great.

At last, here's the float on exhibition before the parade.  Pretty gorgeous, huh.  I love how it captures the rich history of the Avenues with its diverse housing types.  The Avenues attracts a wide range of peoples, but really, we all come because we love the homes.


Building the float took work--lots of hard work.  Even harder than lifting this dumbell.

Nearly every time I called Jason in the evenings from New York, he was out at the warehouse helping out.  Even more, he biked there and back every day since I had the minivan.  I have no idea how many hours he invested into the craftsmanship of this float, but I promise that it was a lot.

I confess, at first I didn't quite get the vision of the float.  I felt a bit resentful that it consumed so much of my hubby's time and energy.  When I came home, he was so stressed about being behind on projects at work.  I couldn't understand why he'd spent his evenings glittering when he needed more time for drafting.  A couple of Sundays ago, this perspective changed for me completely.  We had an atypical sacrament meeting that focused on inclusion and love in our neighborhood as experienced through the Avenues Community float.   Chuck Clark and our bishop spoke, as did two dedicated volunteers who are not members of our faith: David Alderman who lives on our block, and Regina, a neighbor of the Clark's who recently lost her partner to breast cancer.  Both David and Regina's remarks were beautiful and Christ-centered, bringing to light his injunction to "Love One Another." They felt loved through their experience with the float.

At last, I got it.  I finally understood why a silly parade float could be the very highest priority.  You see, it didn't have anything to do with the float--it had everything to do with the people.

Thank you, Jason, for catching this vision even when I couldn't see it.  Well done, mi amor.  I love you.