Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Camping with cousins

But time makes you bolder 
Even children get older 
And I'm getting older too
As my children get bigger, and their cousin gets bigger, we are doing more "big kid" things. Emilia was hoping to go camping so we decided to join them on her first camping trip. The kids (all three for them!) had such a fun time.
Camping trips of any type include a lot of water exploring.

Our co-hosts.
Emilia makes both kids laugh so much.
James hugs.
The next morning was quite chilly so we lit a fire and enjoyed the sun coming up over the mountains. 
A small hike around Silver Lake.
Happy hiker (which is a rare treat).
Showing off their fierceness. James loves playing warrior.
I take my love, take it down
I climb a mountain and turn around 
And if you see my reflection in the snow-covered hills
Will the landslide bring you down 

 And if you see my reflection in the snow-covered hills 
Will the landslide bring you down, oh, oh 
The landslide bring you down

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Cows and rainbows

Remember how my last post I mentioned that my life isn't always grand adventures and golden light? Well, I may have been a little wrong, because that could be my life's subtitle: adventures and golden light. ;)

We went to the farmhouse over the weekend just to relax, ride bikes and spend time with E's parents.
The kids love the farmhouse. They've been coming their entire lives, and they always can't wait to go back.
We often take a drive out west at sunset. It's one of our favorite traditions. We always spot beautiful birds including: wrens, morning lark, red winged blackbirds, hawks, sand cranes, and more. It's a bird lover's paradise.
Golden light, my favorite. Also rainbow sun flares.

The country at dusk, there are few things as beautiful.
I called E to ask him if my solo walk was ok, and if I should come back, and he told me to turn around, because there was a double rainbow arching across the sky.
Colors and cows. Or bows and bovine. ;)

This one always has her "vee-noculars" to look for birds.
Before Damma and Grandpa left for the night we ate more ribs than our stomachs could hold and Damma didn't leave without reading these two a bedtime story.
The kids did great through the night (much better than our previous overnight there), and woke up happy and excited to dig into the huge stack of farmhouse coloring books.
We took a lot of bike rides. James has become such a good rider, he and E went one morning for quite awhile.
She is a great rider when she's in the mood. If she's not in the mood, watch out, little monster on wheels.
One thing E and I loved doing before kids was exploring all the dilapidated homes in Sanpete County. There are hundreds. They are magical in a way, so many stories and life in these walls, and they are left to crumble. James and Juliet were entranced. They thought seeing abandoned homes was fascinating.
So many layers of wallpaper. Three? Four? Many many stories and memories.

We even took the kid's to Mabel's house (the house where we found our kitty alone and abandoned ten years ago).
The bathroom was just how I remember it (except I swear there were vines in the tub last time I was here) but the kitchen was collapsed. Sad how fast it happens.
I was right about the vines! I went back and looked for old pictures. I found this from November 19, 2004! So over ten years ago. Crazy how much changes, how much stays the same. 
Farmhouse weekends are by far some of the best weekends (along with camping weekends, cabin weekends, garden weekends, and any other weekend really). Can't wait to go back. 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Day to day life {little playdates and this and that}

Most of my blog is filled with epic weekends of beautiful light, perfect sunsets, dinners out, and adventures had by all. That is our life. weekends are filled to the brim with fun and activities and doing fun things. But weekday life is not even close to that.

I don't have the energy to take kids up the mountains or out to eat by myself. E is out of the house ten hours a day, so the majority of my life is just me and the kids. Once upon a time we did lots of playdates, lots of activities, and lots of go, go, go.

Now my kids are much more happy to stay home and play with what they own. A few minutes ago I asked them if they'd like to go to the aquarium with me and they responded "no, we want to stay home and play legos, we are happy." Awesome!

Most of or playdates are with the kids that are across the street. Neighborhood friends are so important for kids, we love these little friends and see them a lot.
The crew. For a long while Juliet was the only girl, but now there is another little girl in the mix.
Backyard swimming with buddies. And don't you love my new garden boxes that E built? I need to do a proper backyard post soon. They look incredible.
Every Wednesday we have a standing playdate at our friend's house who has a pool. This is the highlight of the week, we LOVE it. I've been friends with all these mamas since James was a year old, so we've literally seen these kids grow up. And Juliet is there too, must not wanting to jump off the edge.
Lots of neighborhood walks when it's not too hot. We love visiting the goats and playing on the neighbor's playground.
When it's hot we are always in the water.
Day to day life is not nearly as photo worthy as weekends, but its just as sweet.
Warming up on towels after playing in the splash pad.
Another day at the splash pad with different friends. Such fun.
(I document the majority of my day to day life with Instagram. Lots and lots of photos of taking walks, going on bike rides, and just playing. Follow me @happierstill, if you aren't already!)

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Flaming Gorge camping!

Before kids E and I were out of the house every single weekend all summer long, it was blissfuly wonderful and busy and a little bit dirty, because we did a lot of camping. For six years we've been waiting for this day to come. A day where both of our kids were big enough to camp, be away from home (and enjoy it!) and adore the outdoors as much as E and I do.
Once my mom learned that the kids did beautifully in Zion National Park earlier this year, she was quick to make a reservation too, not wanting to miss out on this magical time when the kids are little and so full of wonder.
She reserved a spot in Red Canyon near Flaming Gorge. We were a little worried at first, the campsite was high above the water, and a drive to the beach took nearly forty minutes.

But we really shouldn't have worried. The spot was spectacular. The view above was a ten second walk from our tent. There was a well known mountain biking trail directly next to our site and both kids tried mountain biking for the first time. The high alpine meadows were filled with rabbits, marmots, big horned sheep, tons of birds (we even heard owls at night!) and the weather was perfection.
We've waited a long seven years to return to our beloved mountain biking!
The kids did perfectly at nighttime and were excited to check out the view of the canyon and gorge first thing every morning.
On Saturday we were lucky enough to reserve a speed boat for the day, and spent the entire day zooming down the huge gorge, with miles and miles of steep shoreline.
E was more than happy to drive the boat and was giddy that he could crank it up to 60mph. We were flying!
Almost all of the shoreline is steep cliffs or embankments. Almost no beach at all. Which worked perfectly for me, because I love nothing more than jumping off cliffs. (Remember I did it even while pregnant with James?!)
Our handsome captain.
Our co-captain who would beg to go faster, no matter the speed we were currently going.
I jumped off a lot of beautiful spots. And the water was dreamy! Not cold and perfectly green blue, and clear!
Campsite time was filled with lots of giggles, bike rides, animal spotting, and fire building.
A huge heard of big horned sheep moved through the campsite more than once. It was magical to see.

On the last day we took a tour of the Flaming Gorge Dam. James, particularly, was so excited. James has a connection to water, particularly moving water. I think he may work as a hydrologist one day.
Dam that's awesome. ;)
After our tour, before we headed home, we decided to play in the perfectly clear river below the dam.
When it comes to my kids and rivers, clothing only lasts minutes. Soon it was an undie swimming party. The water is 55 degrees leaving the dam, but no worries. Cold water just makes the swim extra brisk!
Undies always. Just like I did growing up. I swam into my undies until... wait, now that I think about it, it's never stopped. I stripped down to my undies only two weeks ago at a local waterfall. ;) Shhh...
Flaming Gorge, you will be missed. We CANNOT wait to go back.
Next camping trip is in only two weeks. LOVE!

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