End of Summer

Well, the summer has ended. School has begun, the leaves are starting to turn colors.

For our last summer activity, we went back to the Ogden River and went tubing. We had visited a park briefly with my sister, and I talked about how we went tubing there the year before. And a couple of weeks later, we met up and went tubing together. My niece said it was the best thing she ever did. It was fun, even though the river was rather low. We also took the tubes out to the lake, they worked great towed behind our canoe.

We’ve been to the County Fair, played at a splash pad, played at home, went to the Aviary. Really, it was a great summer. But I’m okay with it being over and going back to school.

Everyone is gone this year. I’m up on campus, the three older kids go to school all day, and Zack started daycare. It’s been a change, but I am happy to report the house stays cleaner.

Summer Vacation

I actually changed vacation plans several weeks before we left. I found cheap flights from Los Angeles to home, and realized we could drive out, and then send Joe back with the kids, and I would drive the car back. It avoided the worst part of vacation, which is dealing with grumpy kids while driving 12 hours. I still had to drive the twelve hours back home by myself, but it was boring rather than full of kids throwing up and whining.

On the way out we stopped by Seven Magic Mountain, and that made up the bulk of my vacation photos and the only time I used my camera rather than my phone.

While we were in California, we visited several beaches, saw the Hollywood sign, and visited Universal Studios. We also walked down Hollywood Walk of Fame, but went in the evening and ended up in a part that was rather sketchy. That was interesting…also Curtis ended up throwing up all over the parking garage of our hotel…I was super glad he didn’t do it in our hotel.

At the beach, the kids loved playing in the waves, and mostly building sand castles. Universal Studios was the highlight. We went on a day with hardly any lines, and everyone had a great time. The boys loved the rides, Zack loved the escalators, and I loved walking through Hogwarts.

River Run

I have been craving going out on the river for tubing, rafting, etc. However, there are several problems. I have a two year old and other small children which makes rapids rather complicated and rules out most commercial options. We do own an inflatable boat and canoe, which are not for rapids though. So we took them out on the complacent Bear River several miles from our home.

The river is slow. When I saw slow, I mean like if you don’t paddle you stand still. We towed the raft behind the canoe and I paddled for over an hour. The kids were rather bored with the whole thing. But I still thoroughly enjoyed myself. It was beautiful, not as hot when you were on the river, and great exercise.

It took longer than expected, the kids were all hungry and tired when we were done and there might have been a lot of frustration and fighting trying to get all packed up and home. I still got to go down the river, and I’m glad we went.

Wyoming Adventure

We met up with my family in Wyoming and Montana for a campout.

One the way up, we stopped at Bear Lake, South Pass and Thermopolis at the Hot Spring State Park. I loved Thermopolis. It was so fun to wave and swim in the water where the hot springs met the river.

We spent the next couple night with my family, swimming in the lake, hanging out. We did a hike to Medicinal Wheel, which was scenic and meaningful. As we left, I saw an older gentlemen walking with a significant limp up to the Medicine Wheel with an offering in hand. It is neat to be able to share in the sacred experiences of others.

So most of my family went home from Wyoming to Utah at the same time, and we’d pass each other on the highway. At one point, we pulled off on the side of the road to deal with the toddler who was woken up by a brother and then cried so hard he threw up. My brother called us, because he passed us while we were on the side of the road, and we ended up in the next town sharing ice cream.

Waterfalls, Adventures, Fireworks

We have been so many beautiful places: Bridal Veil Falls, Ogden Nature Center, Heber Valley Railroad, Mirror Lake Highway, Provo River Falls, Naomi Peak, Hill Aerospace Museum. We’ve spent a lot of time with family for reunions, fireworks, kid swaps. It’s been quite the summer. I’ve taken so many pictures that I had to upgrade my website…I usually split up long posts like this one, but didn’t feel like it today.

I grew lisianthus and other cut flowers for the first time this year in my traditional vegetable bed. I will continue to do so. I love being able to go cut flowers from the garden.

This was a great hike, to the top of Naomi Peak. My sister and I switched children for the week: I took hers for a few days, and she took mine. While we were kid-free, Joe and I went on the hike. I did start out carsick, and no idea if I would make it, but we kept going and made it to the top.

Summer Update

Summer has been beautiful and fun. I’ve been working on self-talk, so I’ve also been a lot happier than I sometimes am. I have found that I often harp on myself to be more productive instead of paying attention to what is happening in my life. Telling myself to be productive doesn’t actually make me a productive person. But paying attention to life does make me happier.

First, pictures from home. We got a decent sized pool, and the kids love it. The temperatures were very hot right after we got it, so it has been used almost daily. We’ve also had lots of kids over and the yard has been well used. It also is full of flowers, and berries to eat. The garden is doing pretty well, although there is still quite a few pest problems, and the heat has been rough.

I’ve tried to keep the kids busy so far during the summer. We’ve hiked Little Knull with cousins, gone to Cherry Hill with cousins, went to the poppy fields with cousins, played Minecraft with cousins, and gone to the trampoline park with cousins. (We’ve done a lot with my sister and her family.) The kids have done scout camp, basketball camp, swim lessons, and t-ball, We’ve also gone canoeing and biking at the lake. Not bad for three weeks of summer.

We also (finally) painted the house, and my husband managed to fall about 20 feet when the ladder slipped, but luckily ended up with a lot of bruises but no other injuries.

It is hot. But still beautiful.

It’s been hot, but also so much fun to be out enjoying nature. We took the kids out on a hike. They were not enthused about it (you can tell in the pictures). We cut the hike short. I still think the kids enjoy going out, the highpoint were all the silk worms.

Another time, we went camping at Willard Bay. They have a new beach, and no one else was there when we were. It was great fun and a beautiful weekend.

This is what our house looks like right now. It’s a mess, but also it’s getting close to painting.

No Room

The room was small.

I was a little late, and peered in. My son saved me a seat. But I didn’t go in immediately. Because there were a lot of people still waiting to get in. 

The man next to me said, “I think we can fit.”

I counted. 12 more people. Maybe enough seats?

I said, “There’s a lot of people still out here.”

Because there were probably others that would still be later. Others that wouldn’t want to sit with someone and couldn’t. Or others who would feel uncomfortable with the small space. We might have fit. But it was so tight that it would have been so easy to have someone excluded. 

I waited, worried…and then relieved. The person in charge gave the order. Everyone stood up, grabbed their chairs and moved to the other room. A big room with more space, more chairs to set up.

Everyone could be included. 

Do we sometimes try to fit people into places they might not comfortably fit? Fit people into our bias, stereotypes, schedules…

Maybe it’s time to stand up and move to a bigger room. So anyone that is late can still come. Anyone that needs more space can have it. Everyone will be included and no one will be listening from outside the door.

Let’s not squeeze people into stereotypes. Let’s free up time on schedules for unanticipated opportunities to connect with others. Let’s open up and make sure everyone has a place to belong and be included.

Rethinking what I desire

In a couple of books I was reading, two separate authors talked about growing up without a lot of money. They made their gifts, decorations in their homes, and did without a lot of normal thing. They still had a loving family, and mentioned that they found these times in their lives full of joy and didn’t mind the lack of material things.

A lot of things are easy to desire: wealth, indulging in pleasures, have an easy life and doing lazy things. But I know those things don’t really make me happy. I often hate how they make me feel. I played a game on my phone the other day because I was tired, and it was fun. But a couple of hours later, I felt more tired, depressed, and less in control of myself. I neglected more important things.

Other thing make me feel so much better. Working, helping others, spending time in nature, being creative, learning. Those things aren’t at all dependent on wealth: and sometimes without wealth we are forced into situations where we have to do them. I remember the homemade gifts I made for people when I didn’t have that much money to buy nice things. They meant a whole lot more.

Do I want to live in a home full of love, creativity, and work, even if it might be poor? Or a rich home full of nice things, even when devoid of the things that bring meaning? And if the answer is obvious, is that how I am actually living life?