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Tuesday, August 6th, 2013
Way back in June we made a week long trip to visit various family members. We had decided to visit Jon’s brother Rawlin, and my sister Andrea, but we snuck in a couple other family members as well.

Our first stop was in Ceder Hills, Utah to have a BBQ with my Aunt Robin and Uncle Mike, and some cousins.  I think the last time we saw them was three years ago. My cousin Amanda was getting married, and she now has two kids, so I think it was around 3 years ago.

We didn’t have much time, but it was nice to see those who came, and the kids. Everyone is getting so big, and I did not do a good job getting pictures.

Eden, Lilah, and Elana flying a kit. (Elana is my cousin Mike’s oldest daughter.)
Carston, who belongs to my cousin Kristen. 3 years old. He was a baby at Amanda’s wedding.
Amanda, me, Kristen. (Uncle Mike in the background, my dad’s half brother.)

We left the BBQ around 9:00 and showed up at Jon’s cousin’s house at 10:30 pm. DeEtte and Mark were nice enough to house us.  The two oldest girls were still awake, and waiting up to meet their second cousins. Ava is Lilah’s age, and Brynn is Eden’s age. We saw them briefly two summers ago on our way to Yellowstone, so it was nice to spend two nights, and one day with them.

The first night we stayed there I was awoken by a little girl. The room was still dark, and I thought perhaps it was Eden. The little girl asked a couple questions, and I realized it was not my daughter. It was a little scary, but she was nice enough and didn’t turn into a poltergeist. It had been Cailyn, confused by the adult in her bed, even though she had slept downstairs and knew someone would be sleeping in her bed.

In the morning we enjoyed some yard sales and goodies. The two older daughters had dance  classes, so once home and feed, we went to the one and only water play at a park in Kaysville. It was a little cold for my girls, while it was hot for our Utah family.

Later that evening we enjoyed dinner with more cousins, and Jon’s aunt and uncle.

Draya with chocolate on her face. Jon took a picture just like this two years ago.
Brynn and Eden. Second Cousins.
Draya, Lilah, Ava, then two random boys.
Cousins: Rayanne, DeEtte, Kyson, and Jonathan.
Uncle Kyle, Rayanne, DeEtte, Kyson, Jonathan, Aunt Annette (Sandra’s sister.)
Cailyn, my shadow.
The girls loved playing together.

DeEtte’s youngest two girls really took to me, and Cailyn became my own special friend. She followed me around and ate dinner with me, and Draya followed her. Eden was so preoccupied with the fun slide upstairs, the swing in the basement, and the hammock out front, that we rarely saw her. It was Sunday morning before she realized I had gained a new shadow. She said she was not jealous, but that morning I had three little girls that would not leave my side.

DeEtte and Mark headed off to church, while we finished getting ready and packed up.
Second Cousins: Brynn (7), Eden (7), Lilah (9), Cailyn (5), Ava (9), Draya (3)- The Jensen’s were ready for church, while our children were waiting to get dressed, and mostly played.
The Jensen Family. Mark is even taller than pictured. We joked he was too tall to fit in the picture, and he bent down just a little.
We took time to get some nice pictures with their flowers once we were dressed also.
It was so nice to see Jon’s cousins and I’m happy we decided to include them on our visit, and that they made the time to see us.

July Highlights

Thursday, August 1st, 2013
Getting caught in a flash flood. Mostly because the rail road rails malfunctioned and came down when they shouldn’t have. We had to camp at a friends house till the rain stopped. A tree of theirs had fallen right before we got there.

Getting sick on the 4th of July, so you had to stay home from the family reunion. 🙁

Getting glasses. You kept saying, I can’t see it, now I can. I can’t see, now I can. I remember being amazed when I got my first pair.

You helped to patch some of the drywall in Dad’s library. Now you ask to patch it at least one-three times a week.
Nearly passing out when you had to get blood drawn. You had to fast for it. (Though you say you were fine, and not going to pass out.)
The same day you had to have the purple bump removed from your hand and were very nervous and shaky.
Then we had to go back and get more blood drawn due to them not freezing some of the blood. It was a piece of cake the second time, due to the traumatic experience of the bump removal, and not needing to fast.


Being an only child on the trip with Carolyn and your mom. You played the DS nearly the entire time, whenever we were at the hotel, and a lot in the car.

Being the only cousin for our family at the reunion, you weren’t sure how to handle Zarina’s enthusiasm.
Getting lost at the Children’s Museum with Britta. You thought I said second floor, when I said to meet me and Sam on the third floor. I went looking for you two and found you right as you had started to ask workers for help.
Turning 8! I can’t believe you’re getting so big.
I learned you do not like cantaloupe at all, and you only kinda like watermelon.
Buying a bike.
Riding your bike to work.

End of an Era

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013
(I wrote this back in May, before the house closed, but I’m a terrible blogger. The house closed on May 23, 2013. We celebrated by going to Jason’s Deli.)

Our first home, really second now, is finally closing. The short sale took around 4 months and is finally reaching an end. Any day now, it will no longer be ours.

I am so sad.

It was a small home, but it was our home for 7 1/2 years. We brought Eden home from the hospital there, and our children enjoyed their childhood within and outside the walls of that house on Cool Valley.  Mostly within, but we definitely had some fun times outside too.

Ironically, it feels like we’ve lived in this new house forever, though it’s only been 5 months.

I’ve been visiting the old house weekly to make sure no crazy person takes up residence, or steals all the copper from wherever they get copper from. It’s just a quick run into the house and out, with the occasional pulling of weeds out front to help it look less deserted and turning off or on the light outside, again to make sure people know it’s still being taken care of and watched closely. Eden had speech at the school over there, and so it worked out well to keep an eye on the place, and let her finish the year with the speech pathologist that she really enjoyed. Since the school year is ending, it’s perfect that the house is closing. I won’t be driving to that end of town regularly.

It really doesn’t feel like home there anymore. It’s empty, you can see the fireplace that my poor children never got to use because our desk was there, and it has a weird smell that empty homes get.

It’s just our old house now.
Our “new” home has all our stuff, and we’ve settled in. No pictures hang on the wall, but that’s more because I have commitment phobia when it comes to decorating and hanging things.
I don’t have to think as much to make sure I take the correct exit home, and the girls take over any space we let them. We’re making plans and preparing for the future at the new house, not at the old.
A weight will be lifted once we close and only have one home, but it was still sad to close the door one the last.


Here we are in front of the fireplace that we never used. Our last picture, in our old home.


House Tour!

Friday, January 11th, 2013

I just realized I’ve yet to post anything of Christmas or our holidays, but people have been wondering about my house. I only have “before” pictures and then a video of the after, but after our move with all our boxes. I’ll have to take some after pictures once we settle in. I was only going to post the video, but I think to appreciate the video fully, you have to see all the work we did to change this place. This post is dedicated to Shauntae, because she’s the only one who comments, and I know she’ll see and enjoy it. 🙂


Living room


A view of our stairs from the living room.


The view from the living room looking into the dining room.


The view from the dining room looking into the kitchen.


The kitchen, and an Eden who was running around.


Wall in family room. (Our desk is on this wall in the video.)


The fireplace.


The back door in the family room. Only half the blinds are there. That’s not us, not closing the window.


The “bar” and hallway.


The downstairs bathroom.


The parrot window above the front door. We felt like we were taking down their like family flag or symbol when we removed it.

A better picture of the parrot window. At night, this thing shined so bright when the entry light was on.


A view looking upstairs from the front door.


Hallway to the sewing and library.




Library closet and door to hallway.


Sewing room


Girls’ room. It was OK for a kids room, but not what they wanted.


Girls’ room


Hallway leading to master bedroom.

We haven’t done anything to the master bedroom. I’m waiting to paint and change it till we get some sort of style going for it. I’m not much of a decorator, or I haven’t had much space to decorate, so we didn’t spend lots of money on furniture in the old house. We were kinda poor for a while, while we were having to buy our furniture.

Here’s the video tour of the house and it’s many changes. We re-floored the entire house, and have painted most of it. It was lots of work, but transformed it and was totally worth it.

I have been making my bed each day, and am trying to close all the shelves and drawers. 🙂


Thursday, November 8th, 2012

I’m not one to always welcome change. It can be fun and exciting, but then it can be really sad.

I have a lot of friends and family going through change right now, including us. All this change means we will probably see these people less, and have to work harder at keeping in touch. Our lives will still meet, but not as much. It’s wonderful to see all these new experiences happen, but so sad to know we’ll all be moving on to new chapters in our lives, and consequently, will not be as much a part of one another’s lives.

One change is bittersweet. A friend of our teaches Science Saturday at the Natural History Museum. I suppose really, she taught there and then became our friend. Jon first took Eden and Lilah to the activities while I had Wizard of Oz rehearsal, way back in 2009. They made a friendship, and she even came to the play Wizard of Oz to see Lilah. We’ve continued to go as a family to the classes, sometimes together, sometimes just one parent with the girls because the other had rehearsal, some big assignment, a lesson to prepare. She came to Cinderella and Seussical, was interested in our family vacations and little things the girls do, and honestly we saw her more than we saw either of our families. We’ve really grown to love this woman, and are sad to see her leave. It’s bittersweet. She’s moving on to a teaching position at a school she enjoys, with students she loves, and with much better benefits than what she was receiving at the museum. She’s completing her masters and moving on. It makes us sad to know we can’t go each Saturday and have a lengthly conversation with her, but I’m happy for this new part of her life.

Another change is my sister Andrea has moved farther away. When she live in Ely, she was just a mere 4 1/2 hours from everywhere, read Las Vegas and Salt Lake City, and we visited her once a year. We also saw her family throughout the year for holidays, or dentists appointments, when they would come to Las Vegas. Now her husband has been transfered to the big city of Elko, and will be 7 1/2 hours from Las Vegas, but still just 4 1/2 from Salt Lake City, where his family is. I’m envious that his parents will be able to enjoy the shorter drive to see them. While I hope to still visit once a year, I know their visits to Las Vegas will be fewer. Elko will be able to provide a lot more for them and they won’t need to go to the even bigger cities. I know I can call Andrea and talk and catch up any time, but I ache that the cousins will see less of one another. I really want Lilah and Eden to know Poppy and Zarina. I guess we’ll have to plan more camping trips together and they’ll need to stock up on chicken thighs.

Then there is the moving of my dear friend Sam. While she’s not moving far from where we are now, it makes me sad to see her go. I suppose it’s just the same manifest of emotions I felt earlier this year at the thought of moving away from her, as we first put an offer on a house. It breaks my heart that we’ll both find new friends to help with last minute babysitting, or ingredients that one or the other might need. I know we’ll keep in touch, and will continue to see one another, but sometimes it’s the little things that strengthen a friendship and being close really helps. It’s the small things that make me grateful that we’ve had each other these past few years.

We’re also experiencing change, but it’s not definite just yet. It’s been 10 months since we put an offer on a house, and while it’s finally moving along, nothing is definite till you have the keys. Some days I think we’re going to be moving, while other days it feels like it’s never going to happen. Today is a day that it feels like it’s never going to happen.

I think it’s interesting that so many people I know are moving and experiencing change in their lives. I am really excited for the changes, but really sad also.


Sunday, September 2nd, 2012

To say I was excited to see Wicked is an understatement. I was so very, very, excited to go, and almost cried from joy as Lilah and I found our seats in the very front row.

We were not going to take the girls to see Wicked. Both girls wanted to see Wicked, and are very familiar with the music because we have a Wicked CD, which we listen to on our trips. Eden expressed that she wanted to see Wicked for her show with me at The Smith Center, but that wasn’t going to happen. ( Her choices were Beauty and the Beast and Shrek.) For a few days I tried to convince Jon that we should purchase two extra seats and take them to see Wicked, but they were just a little bit too pricey for us.

A little before Wicked opened, I saw a Facebook post that the Smith Center would be doing a Wicked Ticket Lottery before each show. If your name was drawn you could purchase a limited number of orchestra seat tickets, read 1 to 2 tickets, for just $25 a piece. The seats are normally sold for $109. The rules: Show up 2 1/2 hours before, put your name in a drawing, then at 2 hours before the show they’d draw the winners, who need cash in hand to buy their one or two tickets.

I didn’t think too much about the Wicked Ticket Lottery because I was already going twice, but as our day to attend approached, I thought it would be cool to get Orchestra seats and sit up close. Jon thought it would be cool too, so he was fine with indulging me and my desire to put my name in a drawing and win. His one question: What would we do with our seats if we won the chance to purchase the $25 tickets?

I thought I could call up a friend who might be interested in buying our regular seats, and if they couldn’t go, post it on Facebook. Jon was skeptical that I’d be able to get our seats sold so quickly, so I joked we could always just bring the girls.
He said, “Well, I know which one of us would get to sit up close, but how do we decide which child sits in the good seat with you for the show?”
I replied, “We could switch at intermission.”

As we got in the car to leave, we decided that it would be better to take the girls with us, rather than try to sell our seats, and we’d just switch at intermission. The main reason we weren’t going to take them was the price, but at $25 a seat it was doable.

I dropped the three of them off at the Natural History Museum, and then I went to put my name in the drawing to get tickets for Wicked cheaply. At this point we hadn’t told the girls our plan to bring them if I won.

I got there and shortly after they explained the rules: Anyone over the age of four can have their name entered into the drawing, as long as a parent or guardian was with them. One entry per person, and at 12:00 pm the names would be drawn. You must be present to win. I filled out my slip of paper and saw a family of 6, 4 kids and 2 adults, fill out theirs. I walked around a little, and sat, then decided to call Jon.

I told him all four of us could enter, and since we plan on taking the girls, why don’t I come pick them up, so we can have a better chance of winning. He was game so with just 20 minutes till drawing I zoomed over to The Natural History Museum and picked them up. We zoomed back and they entered with just 5 minutes to spare. (It helps that The Smith Center and museum are just 5 to 7 minutes away from one another.)

As the final moments past, I was getting antsy. I’m terribly competitive and really wanted to win. They drew the first name, and it wasn’t any of us. They drew the second name and he read off: Lilah Blake.
My heart leaped and began beating faster and we high fived before we went and claimed our chance to buy two tickets for $25 a piece. The girls would see Wicked after all!

I was so excited. We had front row seats, row A seats 204 and 203. After all the names were called I could tell Eden was a little sad that her name wasn’t called. We hadn’t explained that we’d be able to get two tickets if any of our names were called, so by Lilah winning she would be able to attend also, since we already had our two season tickets for the show. She seemed to cheer up as we explained that we all could go to Wicked because I only need to buy two tickets.

We went home, explained that Lilah would sit up front with me first, then at intermission Eden would come sit up front with me. Jon was wonderful enough to allow me to sit up front the whole time, because I love Wicked so much.

With having the front row seats it was a little hard for Lilah to see the whole stage over the orchestra wall. She sat on my lap for about half of the first act. At intermission the kind woman next to me offered her cushion to us so Lilah wouldn’t have to sit on my lap, which helped Eden, since it was her turn to sit up front.

At the very end of bows Glinda noticed Eden, and I saw her wave towards her. Eden didn’t see it, but I sure did!

Wicked was absolutely wonderful! I am so happy I was able to see it, and for our stroke of luck that allowed us to be so close to the stage.

I wish I could enter at least one more time and see the show up close again, but I will be happy to go once more with my sisters and my mom later in the month.

Lilah with her pins for winning the Wicked Lottery.

The girls and I after Wicked.

The whole family after Wicked.

I bought the blue gingham dress at Old Navy this summer. I know I look like Dorothy when I wear it, but I liked it, it looks cute on me, and only my family teases me about looking like Dorothy. I just don’t wear it around them anymore. I decided to wear it to Wicked for fun, but not necessarily to dress up as Dorothy, but because I like the dress. It’s just unfortunate that if you have dark hair and wear blue gingham, everyone thinks you’re Dorothy. 🙂

August Highlights

Saturday, September 1st, 2012


Playing in the rain at Pine Valley. You didn’t mind, but your parents made you come inside so you didn’t get struck by lightening.

Picking all the blackberries you could, plus some that probably should have stayed on the bush a little longer.


“You’re walking to the mailbox. It’s not a fashion show.” (I had just said I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go outside in my house clothes, which are old yoga pants with an old shirt.)

You asked if rut was a word. I told you to look it up in the dictionary. You found this definition: the periodic sexual excitement of certain male mammals. You were surprised it meant that. We had a good chuckle and I showed you that it was the secondary definition and pointed out the primary definition.

You accidentally got a drop of nail polish on your bedroom carpet. I found out because you confessed after I asked why your room smelled like nail polish. After we were cleaning it up you said that your brain thought painting the whole carpet purple might be a way to solve the spot on the carpet. We’re all happy you didn’t try that.

You caught tons of bugs when we were at the cabin in Pine Valley. You wanted to keep a grasshopper as a pet, but I would not let you.

Being sad that it rained so much at Pine Valley. You wanted to be out exploring.

We were discussing cello practice and you said, “Cello is overrunning my life.”


I interrupted you playing with your ponies to have you fold wash cloths. I walked by while you were folding the wash cloths and heard you still talking like you were playing with your ponies.

You give me a special smirk whenever you think I’m doing something silly now.

School. You are on it. We have a new system where at the beginning of each week I write Mon, Tues, etc. on the pages you’re suppose to do during the week in your workbooks. You’re on it right after breakfast.

You are a wonderful speller. You help Lilah spell words. You seem to take after your daddy.

You jump right up to help almost every time we ask you to do something.


Me: “Aren’t Almond Joys you’re favorite?”
Jon: “No, I like Mounds better.”
Me: “What! I thought you like the almonds?”
Jon: “No I tolerate the nuts.”
Me: “That’s the story of your life.”

Promising me that the kitchen will be our first priority once we move in and save money to fix up other areas of the house.

Arguing with me about decorating and what I want to do. Telling me you get to do whatever you want to your library and work area in the garage. Relenting that I will probably get most of my way throughout the house. (You say you forget conversations so we’ll see if you remember this one.) 😉

Working together to get things done.

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

The alternative title would be: How much the little things my husband does, has made a big difference.

Lately I feel productive. Like most of what I want to accomplish is getting accomplished, even though there are things that don’t get done, but those things aren’t the important ones, or are the things that will be OK if I neglect. (Yes, I meant for that to be a run-on sentence.)

Here’s my list of things to do each day:
get dressed
cello practice with Lilah
make dinner

Like really. It’s a good day if I get dressed, we do school together, practice Lilah’s cello, and I make dinner. I suppose that’s why I feel like I’m getting things done, because I set my bar low and if I do more, it’s an awesome day. It’s not like any one thing takes us all day, but with other distractions my goal is to do each of these things, and whatever else needs to get done.

There are other things I toss into the mix each day, depending on what we have scheduled for the day:
hand wash dishes
random cleaning around house
check for houses
talk to friends
avoid doing things by being on the internet.

Here are the things the girls and Jon do each day to help out:
sort recyclables
clean random things that I tell them too.

Jon has been the big motivator in having the girls do more around the house, and it helps tons. I now have children who can: do laundry, load and start the dishwasher, fry an egg, make me toast, take out the trash, sweep, mop, vacuum, clean toilets, and do other random things around this house. All because he decided to start making the girls do more, and the patience to teach them. Of course, I’m teaching them too, but I’ve decided this is a magical time in our lives. It’s the age the children start pulling their own weight, and even do things for us.

July Highlights

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

Saving your allowance for Sea World. It helped that you got a little bit for your birthday, but you faithfully spent very little so you would reach your goal of $30. With your birthday money you saved $43! (With only getting $5 in allowance a month, this was a long term goal.)

Talking about the illegal fireworks and wanting to get a license so you could put on your own aerial firework show, legally.

Being excited for the noise of cicadas. You love finding their shells. You said the sound of cicadas meant Summer really was here.

Waking up nicely for Daddy the morning we left for Sea World. You said he was nice and I was annoying.

Something happened and your reaction was, “Shit.” then, “Schucks…” It went so fast, Carolyn, your dad, and I had to confirm silently with one another that you had said what you said. We didn’t say anything because you knew it was not a word you’re suppose to say, and corrected yourself.

The Tooth Fairy missed taking your tooth one night. You vowed to not put your tooth under you pillow the night before a holiday, because the Tooth Fairy must be on vacation.

Staying outside for all the fireworks. You usually go inside. You even tried a sparkler this year, and got hooked! You enjoyed two more after you got over your fear of them.

Being a big trooper on the Sea World sleepover. I heard you rolled up all your gear and took care of yourself. I was so worried about letting you two go without me.

You were waiting to give daddy a hug when he came home. I finished giving him a hug and saw you so I said, “Aw, you’re here to give me a hug?” You then straightened you body up with your arms to your side like soldier and proceeded to not give me a hug as I lifted you in the air for our normal monkey hug.

Making up rules about when I can zerbert you, or tickle you. I can only zerbert you once a day at bedtime, and there is a small time frame I can tickle you. I tickle you whenever I want and mostly stick to zerberting you once a day. (Not sure how to spell zerbert, but it’s when I blow on your belly to make the farting noise.)

Turning 7 years old! You’re getting too big.

I got you a fan on your birthday, and decided to give it to you for your birthday, and you still liked it. I guess you haven’t learned to not like practical gifts. (You get pretty hot being on the bottom bunk.)

Cutting up the watermelon for dinner when I just could not do one.more.thing. for the dinner for your extended family. (It was because of other craziness of the day that I was so stressed, not because they were coming over.)

The morning we left for Sea World I asked if you would go wake up the girls since it was so early. I then remembered it might be the one day Lilah would enjoy being woken up, and you then raced to the room and woke her up before me.

Teaching our children work and having them become a part of more of yours and our daily chores. While I don’t have them help me load the dishwasher, you’re a wonderful example of patience as you teach our girls work and service in the home.

Taking 499 pictures at The San Diego Zoo. You wanted a picture of every animal and the description to remind you about the animal. Then we had only two low batteries at the safari park and got only a handful in comparison.

Helping me with canning. You picked cherry stems off of cherries and you both shucked a lot of corn for me. Lilah also enjoyed pitting the cherries and was a little faster at shucking the corn.

I had asked who wanted to vacuum the rug and who wanted to clean the toilets. I heard two, “Vacuum!” I then said I would show how to clean the toilet and I got two girls who wanted to clean the toilet. Since we have two toilets, I taught you each clean how to clean a toilet.

Sitting in the Soak zone during the Shamu show. Laughing about the other side getting so wet, then we got soaked. Daddy got the worst of it.

Being patient with me and my house craziness. Real Estate is such a game, and it’s definitely one that gets me stressed. I’m grateful to have a real estate agent whom I can take my worries and thoughts to.

June Highlights

Sunday, July 1st, 2012


Going to Sonic for half price smoothies on June 20th, the Summer Soltice.

Being obsessed with feet. You’re writing a story about feet and you like to play with Eden’s feet like they are a pet. Pretty strange. and even stranger is she lets you.

Making fun pancake shapes for dinner. I got distracted talking to Carolyn and you made a flower, a ladybug, and letters for everyone in our family.

Being sick the day of your party, then on your birthday. Staying sick for five days.

Starting a collection of pins for your backpack. Being so happy at Zion when someone noticed all your junior ranger badges and mentioned that you had been to lots of places.

Being excited for our tradition of getting a treat at the grocery store in Alamo, NV, on our way home from Ely.


I showed you a picture of an older sister changing the diaper of her new baby sister. I asked you who would change the babies diapers if we had a new baby. You replied in your straight face that is nor very happy, “Me and Lilah.” I told you you wouldn’t have to change all the diapers. 🙂
Then I told you if we had a new baby you’d have to share cuddles and maybe you could cuddle the baby. You were not very happy with this either and told me you would not be sharing cuddles with the baby. (We are not having a baby, but this obsession goes back to me being bipolar and seeing cute pictures of big sisters with a new baby. )

Your two front teeth are so loose, but have not fallen out. You’re pretty much waiting for the dentist to pull them for you I think.

You were bored and wanting to watch TV. I was trying to wean you and your sister off since she had been sick, I told you to go draw with the dry erase board. You did draw, but you mostly talked to yourself and created your own world with the markers.

Letting me pull your tooth. It was so loose for so long. We were lucky that the Tooth Fairy found you in Ely.

I said you could be a hobo with your toothless smile. You asked what a hobo was.

I bought a new dress and mentioned how I just needed some white sandals. you replied, “What? Out of all the shoes you have you don’t have any white sandals?”

Teaching the girls how to load the dirty dishes for the dishwasher.

I said when we retire we should move into one of those adult communities. You replied, “That’s one thing labeled “adult” that I’m not interested in.”

Introducing a Summer Solstice Celebration. We made yummy cheese stuffed hamburgers and enjoyed a very summer-foods dinner.

Changing our clock to military time and Celsius for the temperature.

Driving with Lilah, Eden and Britta to Zion, so I could ride with Sam.