Our Huck Finn Christmas Card

This year’s Christmas card theme came naturally after 9 months of living through the pandemic. We feel incredibly grateful to have each other and our small ranch when the world seemed too scary to face. The days blended into months and our children lived their life as only Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer might know – barefoot and muddy without the confinement of the unprecedented and only somewhat civilized world.

Happy Holidays 2020 from the Mellors – John, Kelsi, Charlotte, Johnny, Prissy and Ginger.

Charlotte Turns 9

Charlotte Turns 9

Charlotte is one fierce girl. She is bold, determined, strong, smart and beautiful with a little bit of hot sauce on top. She adds depth and intensity to every moment, even when things are mellow. She pushes almost any boundary she’s given which ultimately makes me respect the heck out of her (but also keeps me on my toes as a parent). Life with Charlotte is never dull or easy and I wouldn’t want it any other way. She makes me laugh with her quick wit, gives me fashion advice, and always has a good song to play in the car. Sometimes it feels like we’re just hanging out like best girlfriends. I’m always a little surprised (and honored) when she still wants me to snuggle at night, but it’s mostly so we can chat more. She continues to inspire me to do more and to be more. I want to impress Charlotte and make her proud of who I am. I’ve always felt like I’m here to learn from her… and just maybe some of her strength will rub off on me. So, yes, I’m one lucky mama to get to call Charlotte mine. Stay strong, baby girl! Happy 9th birthday!

Charlotte finished her third year of Spanish dual immersion and is speaking Spanish very well. She loves school and her friends! She is also an avid dancer and competed in Hip Hop and Jazz with her dance team. She continues to love fashion, hip hop music, dancing and art. She also can be an awesome big sister to Johnny and he is wiser, bolder and stronger because of her (like the rest of us). Below are pictures from Charlotte’s 9th birthday party which happened in May. She chose the tie dye theme and invited a small group of close girlfriends. Not sure I captured the actual tie dying part since my hands were covered with dye as I helped six girls nail an epic tie dye session. We celebrated Charlotte’s actual birthday on April 3rd in Mexico. One last note, Charlotte asked for a cat for her 9th birthday and in June, we were able to rescue an adorable black cat she named Zeus.

Fall and Huck Finn

We had a special Sunday in fall where I whipped out my good camera to document a few moments around the ranch. We were aiming to do a mock-up of our family Christmas card shoot which involved a homemade raft and some very Huck Finn kids living their usual life. It was all too good not to document. Oh and there were some elk that came to visit in the morning while the camera was out.

Hay Day 2020

Hay Day 2020

Make hay while the sun shines… maybe that’s our family motto or at least it’s our annual family holiday (a.k.a. Hay Day)! It’s usually a week long process that blends into this wholesome family activity that feeds our country souls. This year made it feel even more precious as we held on tighter to everything that felt safe and whole and could help us escape the troubling times of COVID. Just get on the tractor and feel the vibration, smell the fresh cut grass, see the dogs chase voles, show the kids what it’s really like to be a (gentleman) farmer.

Also, pictured below is our garden… the newest addition to Mellor Ranch.

Christmas in Playa 2020

Christmas in Playa 2020

So I guess the Mexican flag is also our family’s Christmas flag (at least it’s green and red). We enjoyed another peaceful seven days in Mexico with just our team Mellor to celebrate each others’ company along with the Christmas holiday. Santa came on a jet ski this year and brought a few toys for our stockings. We mostly remember swimming in the ocean, digging in the sand, eating amazing meals (including crickets), talking and playing, talking and playing. And that was our Christmas 2020. (If I could, I would put it in a bag and freeze it forever.)

Playa del Carmen in July

Playa del Carmen in July

This year has definitely been different … let’s just call it the year of COVID (dun dun dun). Most everything has been affected, especially travel. We had big plans to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary in Bora Bora (a bucket list trip for us); we were even going to bring the kids. But, that just wasn’t going to happen this year. Luckily, we were able to get away to one of our favorite spots in Mexico. For just a minute, we felt free from the stress of this crazy year. Socially distanced time in the sun, sand, ocean and a few margaritas fed our wanderlust souls as we celebrated 10 years of love and marriage. What a beautiful life we’ve created, John. Cheers to many more years!

Quarantine 2020

On March 13th, 2020 the world shut down due to the spread of COVID-19. School was canceled and we were asked to shelter-in-place. Thus began quarantine 2020. Originally, it was suppose to be for two weeks which then lead to a month and then just kept going into the summer. It was/still is a time in life we will never forget. We can’t imagine the stories we will tell or the books they will write about this incredibly complicated time in history when a global pandemic took over the world.

The Mellor family grew to love quarantine 2020 and we still miss the simplicity of never leaving the ranch. The hours blended into days and the days blended into weeks and I’m still not sure what happened from March until July. And that is what we miss; the hours and days that just became one and nothing else mattered but being together and safe and… what was for dinner. Of course, there were moments when I completely lost my cool and everything was thrown out the window, especially with online homeschool. There were also the moments when the kids learned to scrub toilets as we cleaned the entire house together. We felt exhausted and completely fulfilled through hard work that connected us to the greater good of our family. I would like to say we had a tiny taste of how our past generations lived life – just forced by a pandemic for us.

We’ve never felt more incredibly grateful and sustained to live in Park City. The term “love where you live” is still ringing in our ears. We miss Europe and airplanes and the excitement of travel, but Park City has shown up for us in every way. We are lucky to have amazing friends and schools open to see us through to the other side. We can’t wait to see what that new world looks like, post-pandemic. As I’m writing this at the end of October, cases are surging all over the world and breaking records in Utah. It’s starting to feel scary again; the great unknown of what this looks like come December makes us cringe. However, we figured it out before and now we might even look forward to the next time our family quarantines at Mellor Ranch… as long as we continue to avoid getting sick. Who knows, we may even get to eat those 200 frozen burritos John bought back in March 😉

We hope all of our family, extended family and friends continue to stay safe and healthy. We hope our country learns from these tragic and confusing times. We also hope our family never forgets quarantine 2020 and knows we now hold this secret super power called “quarantine”. Until this never happens again…

Some of our favorite journalistic photos below… not necessarily in order because it really all does blend in (and there were like 500 good photos). Feeling overwhelmed with gratitude to be alive and to live on through these moments.

Charlotte Turns 8!

20200403-JC3A2544Watch out world, Charlotte turned 8!  That fire in her eyes gets stronger every year.  I’m about to hang up my hat and let her take over… like she was born to do.

The depth and strength of Charlotte is hard to follow and especially mother.  She’s exhausting… in all the right ways.  I truly adore her and want to spend all of my time with her, until I grow weary from her endless curiosity, determination, and intensity.  She makes every day better just because she is Charlotte and I get be around her (for now), and then I need to go to bed.

I’m afraid of saying everything is “for now” because that’s the hard truth.  I don’t ever want her to stop talking or ask questions or demand that Alexa play her favorite pop song.  I also don’t want her to stop asking for snuggles so we can have girl time chats or stop adoring her little brother.  But then, she’s already eluding to her older self and I’m about to protest.  That internal fire she has keeps leading her and guiding her far beyond her years.

So yes she is 8… for now.  But it feels as though her spirit is older than mine and it’s trying to live in this special place she calls Charlotte.  I’ll try to keep up with her and keep her close for as long as I can.  The only thing okay about her getting older is witnessing the evolution of Charlotte.

Keep that fire, baby girl!

This past year Charlotte has been into ice skating, Spanish, skiing, dance, hip hop, fashion, make-up, roller blading, cooking, crafting, and always creating.

Charlotte’s birthday was on April 3rd – deep into quarantine 2020.  She still had the best day.  The morning started with an electric scooter and a pass on virtual school work then an awesome drive-by parade with our friends and neighbors inspired by her theme the 1980’s.  It was topped off with take-out sushi and a beautiful cake.  A day to remember in all of our books.

20200403-JC3A254920200403-JC3A256120200403-JC3A256420200403-JC3A250420200403-JC3A252420200403-JC3A252820200403-JC3A257920200403-JC3A2582

Christmas in Playa del Carmen 2019

The Christmas holiday seems to get better and better as the kids get older.  I’m sure that will change at some point, but for now we love to sneak away and spend a week with our little crew where we all have plenty of activities we love.  Our favorite part is how we open a few small presents on Christmas morning and by 9:00 am they’re all forgotten and we’re on the beach.
This year was about building sand creatures, jumping off paddle boards, snorkeling, shell hunting, and pretty much anything else you can do in an ocean.
We visited Tulum to take in a little history and culture.  Charlotte was intrigued.  Johnny spotted every iguana.
My personal highlight of the trip was our catamaran trip.  We got lucky with the weather and upgrade on our boat due to mechanical issues.  It was a beautiful day on the crystal clear water as we sailed with our music jamming.  When we anchored, we snorkeled to see all of the bright happy fish and even found a few starfishes.  It was calm and so beautiful.  To top it off, the kids decided to jump off the boat into the perfect ocean like it was a swimming pool.  John and I followed suit.  Video below.  Dreamy times.
Thank you, Santa, for another amazing Christmas in paradise!  I’ll keep hiding our Park City address from you for now.  Xoxo

20191222-JC3A203620191222-JC3A204120191222-JC3A205020191222-JC3A205320191222-JC3A20604A459CF2-F778-4EDE-B385-6A11EE9920FC 220191223-JC3A207020191223-JC3A207920191223-JC3A208620191223-JC3A209720191223-JC3A210420191223-JC3A210720191223-JC3A211020191223-JC3A211620191223-JC3A212120191223-JC3A213020191223-JC3A2156IMG_3463IMG_346420191225-JC3A218620191225-JC3A219220191225-JC3A219520191225-JC3A220720191225-JC3A221620191225-JC3A222720191225-JC3A223620191225-JC3A227420191225-JC3A230320191225-JC3A230720191225-JC3A232020191225-JC3A233420191226-JC3A237120191226-JC3A239520191226-JC3A2406IMG_3664

IMG_125020191226-JC3A241920191227-JC3A242720191227-JC3A243420191227-JC3A244820191227-JC3A245320191227-JC3A2460IMG_359820191225-JC3A2260