The week after being at the temple with Nate's sister's family, we headed to a family reunion for his side of the family. We spent the night at a camp together with lot of cousins, aunts, and uncles. We got to go through a "challenge" course with a zip line, row around on the lake in a canoe, play some volleyball, go on a short hike, roast marshmallows, eat lots of good food, and play card games. Austin had a lot of fun running around and playing with his cousins too.
Jul 30, 2017
In April, Nate's sister's family adopted a young girl from Kyrgyzstan. She is a year younger than Austin, and she is blind. She is so sweet, and we are so happy for Nate's sister's family. They have wanted to have a girl in their family for a long time given that the rest of the eight children they've had are boys. We were able to be in the temple with their family a couple weeks ago, so this is the picture that was taken after we came out.
Jul 19, 2017
For the last several years, we have been out of town on the fourth of July. However, since we were at home this year, we decided to go to the town parade. Good thing we did, because Austin loved it! He went right up to the front to watch everyone going by and got so excited that he waved his arms in the air while jumping up and down. He eagerly collected the thrown candy with great zeal and brought it to us to hold onto for him, while exclaiming, "I'm going to win!" We weren't sure what he thought he was winning, but we loved his enthusiasm! After awhile of watching the parade, Austin observed the mess of streamers and other odds and ends left behind by the floats. He turned to us and loudly asked, "Who will clean up the mess after this party?"
That evening we had a BBQ dinner at Nate's aunt's house and then watched fireworks at Rebecca's grandma's house right next to a park. Unfortunately, we left our camera at the dinner. This wasn't very close to where we live, and we just got it back, which is why this post is so late...we couldn't get our pictures from the camera! We did have a fun Independence Day though! We are so grateful for the freedoms we are able to enjoy as citizens of this country, and we are stand in reverence for the sacrifices made by so many to bring us and protect those freedoms that we enjoy.
Rocky Mountain National Park
Jul 12, 2017
We recently took a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park as a family. We stayed at a little cabin just outside the park, since we decided we would be too cold at night camping in our tent. Austin loved that there was a playground area by our cabin there full of various toy trucks, boats, and sand castle molds to play with in the sand there.
We spent three fabulous days exploring the park. We went to lakes, waterfalls, and incredible view points. Above is a picture of us at Emerald Lake, which was the last (and most beautiful) lake along a trail to three different lakes. We drove the length of Trail Ridge Road, the highest road in the continental United States that climbs high up into the harsh and windy alpine tundra sections of the park. Apparently the winds get up to 150 mph up there, and are frequently 100 mph. We saw all sorts of wildlife from elk and mule deer to muskrats, marmots, hummingbirds, and woodpeckers. We learned about the plants and animals living in the park at the visitor's center and on a ranger-guided hike. Austin even earned the Rocky Mountain National Park Jr. Ranger badge.
Below is a video of Austin climbing up the rocky part at the very end of the trail to the top of Lily Mountain. Austin loves to climb up rocks now and has continued to become a strong hiker for his age. During our three days at the park we hiked a total of about 17 miles together.
Jul 03, 2017
We celebrated Father's Day this year with a BBQ chicken dinner, a homemade cherry pie with pie cherries from our tree, and a couple of gifts. Austin made a card for his dad in which he filled in a lot of blanks describing his dad and drew some pictures of him. He also bought him a bag of candy that he thought his dad would like.
Austin's Piano Recital
Jun 20, 2017
A couple weeks ago, Austin played at his first piano recital. He has been taking piano lessons for a while from a talented young pianist who is the sister of one of his good friends (pictured with him above). He worked really hard on his piece, and it was fun to watch him play it at the recital. Unfortunately, our camera battery died at just the wrong time, so we weren't able to record him playing at the actual recital, but we did record him playing his piece at home.
Memorial Day Hike
Jun 07, 2017
We sort of have a tradition of going hiking on Memorial Day, and then attending a family "hot dog roast." This year we hiked to Elephant Rock, which was just over 7 miles round trip. We went with Rebecca's brother and his family. We were pretty happy that Austin made it the whole way, even though this was our first hike of the season. It was a bit longer, but it was an easy trail without a lot of elevation gain. The picture above is us at the end of the trail, but unfortunately the person who volunteered to take the picture didn't get the rock or the nice view into the frame.
May 22, 2017
Last week we had a very nice Mother's Day. We had a delicious family dinner that evening, and Nate made an amazing fruit tart for dessert!!! I am so lucky to have a husband who can/will make special treats for me! As frustrating and discouraging as it often is that we do not have more children, I am very grateful for the opportunity I have to be the mother to the amazing son that we do have. For Mother's Day, he bought me a balloon that says "Mom, your the best."
I am also incredibly grateful for my own mother. I have such a wonderful relationship with her. She has never stopped being a great mom, and Austin thinks she is an amazing grandma too! Really, having dedicated parents who are good examples of what parenthood is all about has been one of the great blessings in my life. I am also grateful for my mother-in-law, who is so easy to get along with and patient.
May 18, 2017
This last weekend we celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. We went back to the temple we were married in, we went horseback riding, and we browsed galleries in Park City. We also went out to a nice restaurant for dinner and spent a night at a romantically themed bed and breakfast. The next morning we played a game of miniature golf.
We feel incredibly blessed to have a strong marriage. Over the years, our relationship has grown stronger and better as we have celebrated good times and as we have worked through various difficulties and challenges that have been a part of our lives. We are so grateful to be together!
May 03, 2017
We recently were able to celebrate Austin's sixth birthday! This year, in addition to celebrating with the family, we let him have a party with his friends. Luckily, the weather cooperated so we could have it outside. We played a number of games like moving M&Ms with a straw onto plates, trying to shake ping-pong balls out of tissue boxes strapped onto kids backs without using hands, balance the ping-pong ball on a spoon relay race, freeze tag, and a bean bag toss. Below is a video of the kids trying to get the ping-pong balls out of their tissue boxes:
Additionally, we had face painting. At first, none of the kids were interested in having their face painted. However, after finally convincing one person to get painted, most of the other kids followed suit, and some happily went back for more later after everyone else who wanted a turn had one.
Of course, we ended with some cake and ice cream. Cupcakes actually... All the kids seems to enjoy the party, so we are counting it as a success!