Johnny Turns 6

Six years ago our family was completed by John Forrest Mellor, Jr. (aka Johnny). He’s quite possibly the sweetest and coolest little man I know. This world is a better place because Johnny is in it.  He is kind, thoughtful, generous, funny, hardworking, and has an enthusiasm for life that is hard to match.

Johnny’s favorite thing to do is to be outside. It really doesn’t matter what it is, he just “needs to be in nature” as he puts it.  He is usually muddy or dirty and/or carrying a hammer or shovel … unless it’s a recently caught critter.  He is the modern day Huck Finn around Mellor Ranch.  Quarantine has been the best thing that happened to Johnny because he gets to be home (outside) on the ranch.  His love for all things is felt by the earth, wind, trees, dogs, insects, worms, creek, rocks and whatever else might come in his path. I’m pretty sure he is the reason the sun greets us every morning. Johnny is my sunshine. But every once in a while, we get to see the spicy stubborn side of Johnny. It’s usually to combat Charlotte or to make sure we know exactly how deeply he feels. I rarely have to discipline him because he just innately knows when he did something wrong and then truly feels bad. I’m not sure how we got Johnny, but I’ll keep counting my lucky stars.

Johnny is currently loving his kindergarten year at Parley’s Park Elementary. He enjoys school, his friends, his teachers, recess, and special classes such as P.E. and art. Sports are also a major part of Johnny’s day. Soccer has been a highlight but he also loves T-ball, basketball and skiing. As of late, when I ask Johnny what he wants to be when he grows up, he says he wants to be a dog trainer. He is counting down the years until he can have his own dog which will be a black lab.

Through Johnny, our whole family is elevated with love and kindness and a special appreciation for nature. His giggle makes us all feel funny, even when we aren’t – everyone deserves to have Johnny as an audience for a moment because he makes you feel funny, creative and special. In our minds, Johnny is always winning and therefore we are too. Thanks for the last six years. Love you, buddy!

Below are pictures from Johnny’s 6th birthday party. He chose the theme of nacho cheese. We kept it small due to COVID restrictions and were lucky enough to have a beautiful day outside in September. The finale of the party was when Johnny ran through a nacho spray cheese (aka cheese whiz) tunnel. He even went back for one more round. Like I said, the coolest dude I know.

One more moment to remember … Johnny’s actual birthday which fell during the week so we did our best to celebrate on a school night. John even got out the power tools to drill a candle into his ice cream cake. Like father, like son.

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.

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

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Kauai 2019

Kauai 2019

We had the wonderful opportunity to go to Kauai in October for John’s niece’s wedding.  Hawaii + family = bliss.

Most days we woke up before the sun to hunt for shells and critters in the tide pools, sometimes in our pajamas.  As we made sand castles, we watched the clock, waiting for Starbucks to open.  We eventually forgot about time and soaked in every juicy moment.  There were crabs, sea cucumbers, geckos, fish, a giant toad, and breaks for shaved ice to top it all off.  Our back flips and diving skills were perfected and the whole family even went down the water slide.

One of our favorite days was an incredible hike up to Secret Falls with Uncle Roy, Aunt Patrice, and cousins Timothy and Jesse.  It started with a kayak trip down the river and then hiking for miles through mud … literally.  We finally arrived at the Secret Falls (which it turns out aren’t so secret) where we took a dip to clean off and enjoyed a picnic lunch.  It was a messy, magical day!

Of course the icing on the cake, was the wedding.  Emily and Jordan chose a special spot in the woods of Kauai where they had a lovely ceremony and were pronounced husband and wife.  Afterward, we all spent the evening at a beautiful dinner where Charlotte and Johnny got to act like grown ups (with their own coloring books) to celebrate the newlyweds.  We were amazed to see so much love.  It will forever be engrained in our memory.  We were grateful to witness such a special event.

Congratulations to the newlyweds and thank you, Hawaii, for all of your beauty!

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Wolf Creek

Wolf Creek has become that little place we can call a home away from home.  It’s only an hour away but far enough that we have to pack a bag and never see humans.  Maybe that’s it.  Words only fall short from here… it’s quaint, removed, majestic, the quiet place in your head, a little bit of work, the journey, our place.  We catch lizards, sleep in a yurt, fish in the daytime, ride four-wheelers, get really dirty, skinny dip in the pond, cook hot-dogs over the fire, constantly try to perfect our marshmallow roasting, look for new constellations, and wake-up happy.

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Summer 2019

Summer… we love you, long for you, and wish you never left.  I suppose that is part of your appeal.  So here you go, a collection of pictures to possibly keep you close to our hearts all winter long.  Come back soon:)

Things to remember:  John taking the whole summer off of work.  Daddy was elevated to sainthood in the eyes of Charlotte and Johnny (and myself).  I hope we never forget this blessed time in life.  We went to Italy and Paris and spent amazing moments in Wolf Creek, but our souls need to remember life with daddy all day at home on the ranch.  Johnny never came inside, critters and reptiles were caught, four-wheelers became normal, wranglers made sense all day, sunsets were discussions of color, fireflies were put in jars, the creek was the newest member of the family, a baby raccoon was fostered, baby bunnies were rescued from Ginger, and then somehow days turned into weeks.  Our family existed at a new level of wholesomeness and simplicity.  No turning back now.

Oh and the summer dinners every night outside should also be remembered (seen below).

Summer 2019:

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The first part of summer was spent at a family reunion for John’s family at Rockin’ R Ranch in Southern Utah.  Pictures below:IMG_1228IMG_0317IMG_1231IMG_0273IMG_0294IMG_1229 3

Back at the ranch:IMG_0599IMG_0614IMG_1410IMG_1373IMG_1365IMG_1421IMG_0246IMG_0249IMG_1605IMG_1520IMG_1475IMG_0345IMG_1857-EFFECTS 2IMG_2344IMG_0628IMG_0637IMG_0648IMG_0813

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Summer Dinners:

Johnny Turns 5

I can’t believe our baby is 5!  Where has the time gone?  Each day with Johnny just flies by.  He is a delight to be around.  He is tender and enthusiastic and still thinks most days are “the best day ever”.   He tells me almost daily how grateful he is to have a family like ours.  In turn I tell him “oh buddy, you have no idea how grateful we are to have YOU, our Johnny boo boo” as I hold back tears.

Johnny is finishing his last year of preschool and absolutely loves school.  Everyday he is greeted happily by all of his friends.  He is eager to learn, to work, to earn money, to play, to help others, to tell a joke, and of course, to find shiny rocks.  His favorite pastime is to look for treasures and/or hunt for worms, snakes, and lizards.  He had a lot of time this summer with daddy honing his skills.  I suppose that is when his love for reptiles took over.

Naturally, Johnny requested to have a reptile birthday.  He hand picked all of his guests and asked for Kim (from Kim’s Cold Blooded Creatures) to perform a live reptile show.  At one point, he had at least 5 snakes crawling on him – a dream come true.  He also has been asking for a pet gecko for over a year.  I told him when he was 5, he could take on that responsibility.  That came sooner than I wanted.  So yes, the morning of his actual birthday I took Johnny to a pet store in Salt Lake to choose an awesome leopard gecko he named Strike.  There’s never been anyone more deserving.

Johnny recently told me he is a “sporty kind of dude”.  He loves tee-ball, soccer, swimming, riding his bike, running competitions, skiing, and recently his gymnastics ninja class.  He always wants to be a good team player, even if that means not wanting to score a goal against one of his best friends.

At home, Johnny completes our family.  He brings the wild, the happy, the tenderness we all need.  He and Charlotte are usually the best of friends and he still will always take her side first out of pure love and loyalty.  He also isn’t afraid to rile her up like every good brother should.  

Dear Johnny, happy birthday!  We all couldn’t love you any more.  Thank you for that last 5 years.  You can stop growing now.

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Rome, Sorrento, Paris

John took a few months off this summer and we got to plan a dreamy trip to Europe.  It started with Rome; three days and possibly a lifetime of history for Charlotte and Johnny.  The Colosseum and the Vatican blew our minds and helped us cure our jet lag.  The Trevi Fountain accepted our wishes with a coin toss, especially Johnny’s as he snuck a coin to take home.  The Spanish Steps made us feel like we were in the hub of all things Europe – alive and vibrant with street performers and vendors.  Charlotte and I loved window shopping and chatting about the fancy displays.  By the the end of every day, we were ready to wind down at a quiet restaurant and enjoy a long Italian meal.  We celebrated our ninth anniversary here where we walked to a lovely restaurant and spent the evening with Charlotte and Johnny enjoying life, love, and culture.  Our cup runneth over with gratitude, especially to have these moments together as a family.

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We then headed south to Sorrento – a place we had only ever seen in pictures.  It’s hard to put it into words, but it’s like the perfect “Mexico meets Europe”.  The ocean, the culture, the food, the doing nothing.  Our hotel, Grand Hotel Ambasciatori, was magical.  The day started with an amazing breakfast overlooking the ocean and Mount Vesuvius, then a quick change into our swimsuits and down the elevator to the ocean.  Instantly the kids disappeared into their own world exploring the rocks and swimming in the calm water.  John and I could actually relax on a lounge chair observing them from afar.  When it got hot, we took dips in the ocean and swam around in what felt like a giant swimming pool.  The evenings were filled with amazing meals and sunsets that took our breath away.  It was bliss.

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We did a day at Capri and the sites were amazing.  There was also a day at Pompeii.  The kids soaked in the history in kid-doses and Charlotte impressed us with the depth of her questions.  Johnny (still only 4) was mostly into his Italian Fanta and finding rocks. 

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And then there was Paris…

It was a short stop but the best way to end.  We spent half a day at the Louvre for Charlotte.  Johnny maxed out after two hours.  Mama and Johnny played in the fountains while daddy and Charlotte took in more.  What an experience to see our sweet 7-year-old Charlotte wanting more art and history.  Afterward, we stumbled upon a fair at the Tuileries with rides and lollipops and all the things.  Paris never disappoints.  Our last dinner in Europe was spent at a perfect Parisian bistro where we commemorated this incredible journey as a family, and the kids ate snails 😉

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