Sunday, August 29, 2010

Kate comes to Zion (National Park)

Meet lovely Kate Wheeler.

Even though our first and last names may differ by only two letters, we actually hail from different continents. Kate comes from England, but we met in Lyon, France where Katie was studying as part of an exchange program. We share a similar love for languages as Kate speaks not only French, but German and Spanish as well. Katie recently graduated from the University of Essex and is celebrating with a whirlwind tour to visit friends in the United States.

We felt so lucky to have Katie as our first visitor in Saint George. We stayed quite busy over the five days we had together, experiencing everything from serving school lunch to packing peaches at the cannery. We stuffed ourselves on sweet pork burritos at Cafe Río, nearly got rained out of "Crazy for You" at Tuacahn's red rock amphitheater, and gabbed for hours like, well, girls. :)

Another highlight of our time together was our trip to Zion National Park. Here's a photo journey of our day together. It was after eleven by the time we got up to the canyon, so we ate our picnic lunch near the Visitor's Center. Here's Brooklyn fixing PB&J. I love how she sticks out her tongue when she's concentrating (just like her mother!)


A well-fed child is a happy child. (The same holds true for parents...)

Talia liked the chips.

Uh oh! Messy fingers!

Problem solved.

Eli joins in the lunchtime fun.

Water, please!

Well-hydrated, we were ready to start our hike.

Destination: the Emerald Pools.

Talia was fascinated by the water dripping off the cliffs in the lower pool.

Family pictures have a rather low success rate with five faces to capture.

Fortunately, Katie was immensely helpful when it came to wrangling the youngsters.

The middle pool had plenty of water to splash in...

...and fun logs to explore.

Life is always sweeter with a sister.

Awestruck by the majesty of Zions.

A glimpse of the wildlife.

Billy goats gruff.

And finally, we arrive at the upper Emerald pool, complete with lots of fun sand to play in.


Eli decides to nap in the peaceful serenity of the canyon.

He may be growing, but he's still got baby toes.

Katie was well-prepared with Starbursts to congratulate our little hikers on making it to the top.

Even this temporary sugar high was not enough to revive Talia, however. Jason ended up toting both her and Eli on the way down. Brooklyn had it right when she commented, "It's a good thing we've got such a big, strong Daddy!"

And finally, no trip to St. George would be complete without a visit to the temple.

While we have been blessed in many ways by coming to St. George, we're particularly excited to live so close to this holy place.

Talia, however, was still recovering from our hike the day before. Shortly before we made it back to the car, she plopped down in the grass and said, "I'm all done walking!"

Thanks for sharing the week with us, Kate.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Brooklyn can be very creative in the way she expresses emotion. One evening, she was upset before going to bed. (While I can't remember why, it probably had something to do with not getting dessert.) When Jason and I came upstairs to bed, we stumbled across the following display outside our door.

Well, to be completely honest, we are a bit sad right now, too. While we may have pasted on our happy faces as we left Illinois, the truth is that leaving was bittersweet.

It's been especially tough to leave good friends.

It's perhaps true that genuine friendship can be measured by those willing to load your junk into a 26' moving van, even when your paths are separating. To the special friends who helped us move, thank you.

Bruce and Brittney, Settlers of Catan just isn't the same without you!

It's also sad to move farther away from some family members.

Justin and Brianna, we've loved sharing the Midwest with you. Thank you both so much for your tremendous help moving, as well as the great memories of less stressful moments shared.

Happy as we are to be building a new home here, our hearts still long for the friends and family we left behind in the plains. We miss U.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Apples to Kiwis

My little sister is the coolest. She and her amazing husband recently put their lives in Washington on hold in order to skip off to New Zealand for a year. After securing leaves of absences from their regular jobs, they applied for tourist work visas that will allow them to (hopefully) pick up enough extra employment in New Zealand to fund their adventure. Still, they hopped a plane without having a precise idea of what they will be doing or even where they will be living.

That takes guts. (Plus parents kind enough to adopt their lovely pug for a year.)

You can follow their fantastic adventure at

Callie and Adam, we're so excited for you both. And anybody else out there with a wild dream--go for it!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Glimpse Inside

Hooray! After an entire week of unloading box after box, we are 99% unpacked! I am so excited! Now that the moving is done, I feel like we can finally start living in our new home.

As motivation to clean up all of the random odds and ends, I spent yesterday picking up enough to shoot a photo of each room. So in case you're interested, here's a photo journey through our new home.

When you enter the house, you first come into the living room.

Straight behind it, we have the kitchen. Jason has plans to knock out the window and put in french doors that open up onto the patio instead. Serious plans--as in, we've already special ordered the door. I love being married to an architect who studied construction! :) Oh, and the fridge is a new acquisition. Jason wishes that it were stainless steel to match the other appliances, but I'm secretly grateful for aluminum since it doesn't show fingerprints.

The girls wanted to show off a few of the grapes they picked in the backyard.

I don't have a picture of the inside of our one-car garage, but I'm proud to say that it's now empty enough to actually park in it. There's not much extra wiggle room, so that means it's almost completely bare.

Moving upstairs, we have the master bedroom. (This room is in major need of a make-over, beginning with a new bed. We were very grateful to acquire this one as newlyweds, but we're definitely ready to move on to something that isn't accompanied by a fifty-year genealogy of all the people who have slept in it.)

On the positive side, the view outside is nice.

The upstairs bathroom is looking better, thanks to a new shower curtain and towels.

And, Eli finally has a crib of his own. Up until now, he's been in a co-sleeper next to our bed. This is the first time we've had the space to set up a nursery, so I'm excited to finally use this adorable train bed set. (It was purchased years ago when we thought Talia might be a boy.)

Eli likes his new room, too. (Even if it does mean finally learning how to sleep on his own.)

Downstairs we have the girls room.

It may look like they sleep in bunk beds, but they informed me last night that it's actually a canoe. Here they are paddling with ice cream spoons.

Their bathroom has a small shower with a laundry closet--not much to brag about.

But the photographer is sure cute!

And here, Kara models the downstairs playroom.

One more photo of the downstairs playspace/office/guest room. And thus concludes our virtual tour. Yippee!

Coming soon: outside pics.