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.

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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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Spring

It’s been a busy spring around Mellor Ranch.  The snow lasted way too long, but we tried to be outside as much as possible.  For Mother’s Day, John and the kids got me a new camera lens so much has been documented.  I still haven’t figured out how to capture the fireflies, but the last photo below was my best attempt.

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Healdsburg

John and I have wanted to do a “wine country” trip for a while and finally had the chance to get away without kids for a couple days this May.  We went to Healdsburg (same general area as Napa and Sonoma) and loved it.  We enjoyed great restaurants and a couple of our favorite wineries that were beautiful in person.  It was a short, but sweet, getaway and we hope to get back soon.20190521-JC3A974820190521-JC3A975720190522-JC3A976520190522-JC3A978020190522-JC3A978720190522-JC3A979020190522-JC3A980620190522-JC3A979820190522-JC3A9817CC105496-AEEB-41C5-9FF3-950974062439B1A14977-3F40-4307-B517-0A8ED4E3B1713357CC5B-A1B0-46C6-8B87-1FB96285292295F4161E-3466-4A94-BE97-6FD4CAC80F16IMG_5052