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

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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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Spring Break in Punta Mita 2019

We snuck away from the endless winter in Park City to get warm in Punta Mita.  The days were filled with beach, pool, snacks then repeat.  Johnny couldn’t get enough exploring for sea shells, rocks, and crabs.  Charlotte was in her mermaid element and also enjoyed collecting anything shiny on the beach.  She even set up shop at one point selling or trading her collections.  John and the kids created a new pool game called “Stinky Gorilla” where the kids would attack John and he would throw them across the pool.  I think John looked at it as a way to get some exercise, and the kids just thought it was fun!  I watched from afar and had several moments of a new found freedom with these adventurous, independent kids.

One highlight to remember was our family surf session.  All of us went out to catch a few small waves with surf guides.  John, Charlotte, and I stood up several times.  Johnny still might be a little young to stand up, but at least he got out on a board.  He ended up exploring the beach and was ecstatic to find a live sea urchin.

We were also thrilled to have some friends in Punta Mita at the same time.  One of Johnny’s best friends, Jane, and her family came to visit along with another fun Park City family.  The adults were able to steal away one evening to have a lovely dinner at our favorite spot, Sufi, while the kids stayed home to play.

Punta Mita continues to steal our hearts.  It is truly our happy place where we can completely relax.  There must be something in the air or the margaritas that keeps us coming back.

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Disney Cruise

For winter break we decided to try a Disney cruise through the Caribbean.  Our main motivation was to let Johnny experience some Disney magic since he was too young to remember our first and only trip to Disneyland.  The cruise was Marvel Day At Sea which meant superheroes were everywhere.  Of course, Charlotte was able to get in on the magic when she met and twirled with the princesses.

Our first stop was the island of Cozumel where we were able to kiss, hold, and swim with stingrays.  Afterward we found a beach with a giant floating Wibit out in the ocean.  All four of us played on this thing for hours laughing each time one of us slipped off – probably my favorite moment of the cruise.

The days at sea were filled with lots of people and then even more people.  The kids didn’t mind as movies were blasting from the giant screen.  They also they visited kids club a few times where they made slime, had superhero training, and even became official Marvel Agents.

The evenings on the cruise were quite a delight.  We enjoyed dinner in a different themed dining room each night and also went to the live theater where we saw Cinderella and Tangled.  The kids were in awe and a little Disney magic was felt by all of us.

The last stop was at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay.  We loved having a day with a little less people as we played in the sand and swam in the calm ocean.  Charlotte played alone for hours making us pretend-stew with sand and leaves.  Johnny spent a lot of time underwater looking for seashells.  John and I were happy to have some reprieve from the ship.

Would we do it again, no.  Did Charlotte and Johnny think it was an amazing experience, yes.  And that, I guess, is what parents do.

Things to remember:  a night in Miami, Johnny meeting all of his favorite superheroes, popcorn at the movies and live theater, the stair climbs, dinner with the Tangled cast, passing Cuba, standing in line to meet princesses, ice cream machine, loud movies at the pool, lots of people, fireworks, pirate night, Johnny and Charlotte dressed up as Captain America and American Dream, bubble baths, our waiter and waitress, mama’s anxiety, missing our connecting flight in Atlanta (maybe we shouldn’t remember that one), Disney magic felt by all of us.

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Below are pictures from the stingray experience:

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Christmas Card 2018

We love the annual tradition of exchanging Christmas cards with family and friends.  We like to choose a different theme in hopes of capturing the overall sentiment of that year.  2018 had a magical, Adobe Photoshop twist to it.  Little did we know it would be John’s last year at Adobe so the theme turned out to be even more momentous than expected.

We really do think Charlotte and Johnny hung the moon and stars… and are even there to catch them when they fall.  Thanks to Phillip at Manicproject and Adobe Photoshop, we were able to bring our vision to life (or at least to a 5 x 7 Christmas card).

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