Archive for the 'Life trips' Category


Monday, September 2nd, 2013
Tuesday, June 11th, was our final day in Brigham. We packed up the car and met Shauntae and the boys at the Logan Tabernacle. Our girls had never been in one, so we stopped by and took a look around. Two of their 2nd cousins had also been baptized there.
blake07Us outside the Logan Tabernacle.

After the tour we split ways for lunch.  I had my eye on the Chuck A’ Rama we had passed in town. I love Chuck A’ Rama’s rolls. They are so yummy, so we often make a stop at my favorite buffet when in Utah.

We stopped by to say one last goodbye to Rawlin after lunch. I was sad to say goodbye. It’s hard to believe that two years have passed since he moved up there.

After lunch we visited the little zoo, and I picked on Ethan. Austin really enjoyed seeing me pick on Ethan, since he rarely gets pick on being the oldest. I was also Austin’s defense against Ethan, since he was avoiding me the best he could.

blake08Austin, Eden, Ethan, Matthew, and Lilah.

Lilah with the ostrich.
You can see Austin picking on Ethan, and Ethan trying so hard to keep away from me. I’m a mean Great Aunt.

After our time at the zoo we said our goodbyes to Shauntae and the boys, and took the not too long drive to Spring Creek, Nevada to see the Park family.

I hope we get to see them in Vegas sometime soon. It was so wonderful to spend time with family.


Sunday, September 1st, 2013
Monday we decided to make a short visit my Uncle Bud and Aunt Sheri, my mother’s eldest brother and sister-in-law. So  on our way out of town to Logan, we stopped to visit them and drink some of their delicious homegrown, homemade grapejuice. I’m sure that purple elixir has helped my aunt and uncle live so long. (They’re in their 80’s and still going strong!)

After our visit we went to lunch with the whole Draper family. Nick took his lunch hour to be with us! The boys and girls shared a table, while the adults ate quickly to make sure Nick made it back to work  in time.


Our eyes were all watering and tearing up as we took pictures, since we were looking the direction of the sun.
The boys were looking a little out of it during lunch, so instead of hiking after lunch, we let them play, while Jon, Shauntae, Rawlin, and I all talked. While I’m sure the hike would have been awesome, I loved just hanging out with Shauntae and Rawlin. We think the kids played Wii games, and Austin introduced them to the world of Mine Craft. I’m sure Nick was only a little surprised to see us at his house when he got home, but if he knows his wife, I’m sure that we were talking and lost track of time was no surprise.
Us with Rawlin.
That evening I started to not feel well, so I had a snack, and slept on our way back to Brigham, and slept till 8 once at my cousin’s house. I don’t know what my family did, as I was passed out, but they all seemed to have a good time.


Friday, August 9th, 2013
When we left Kaysville, our destination was Logan, Utah, to see Shauntae and her father. I was so excited to see my niece and her family. She use to come down regularly to help Rawlin, and since he moved up there two years ago, we have not seen her. I was excited to see Rawlin too, I just love that family, but the highlight was seeing my favorite niece.
The Drapers were nice enough to feed us lunch before the girls and I went to church with them. At church I actually saw the brother to a mommy blog I follow. I remember the sister blogging about his mission return, and then his wedding.  It was pretty fun to see them in real life, but I did not say anything, because I’m shy like that.
Jon stayed at the house and had a visit with his brother Rawlin while we were at church. Lilah and the two older boys walked home from church, which I loved. I wasn’t sure how my girls were going to relate to these three boys, but Austin, who is 11, had no problem talking to them and playing with them. Ethan, 12, was a little more reserved, as was Matthew,7, but they all got along.
We had a lovely BBQ at their house that evening, and just visited.  I did not get many pictures. 🙁 The kids played on the trampoline, while I discouraged them from getting water on the adult, that were sitting near the trampoline, with the water guns.blake01

Rawlin and I enjoying the outdoors.(I was going to lift pictures off my niece’s blog, because we did not have many, but I can’t due to computer difficulties.)

While visiting Shauntae, we stayed in Brigham City with my cousin Ruth. She was nice enough to let us stay there, and we saw Sherilynn, my cousin once removed,  and her new baby Callen. Sherilynn use to live in Las Vegas, so her two older kids had lots of fun playing with my girls, their “old friends”, while staying at grandma’s. Emrilynn, 4 1/2, would often be upstairs waiting to play when we woke up, and there as soon as we returned in the evenings from Logan.


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.

Family Vacation 2011 Pictures- Part 10

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

Here are the pictures that go with this post: Family Vacation 2011- Part 10.


A family of squirrels Lilah was enthralled with. She took tons of pictures of them playing. (At Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho.)


Give a girl and camera and she will take a self portrait, even with the zoom on.


View of Craters of the Moon National Monument, from Inferno Cone, a dead volcano.


Another view from the top of Inferno Cone, you can see some of the other cones, which were also volcanoes. These cones are a series of volcanoes that erupted at different times, thousands of years a part, they were fed from the same super volcano that is under Yellowstone.


On our way to the caves.


Pretty flower bush growing in the lava field.


In Dew Drop Cave.


Part of the collapsed ceiling of Indian Tunnel. It had a series of these and we had to climb over at least one big rock pile. The ceiling was 40 feet high, at least.


Me being odd for Jon.


The lava field we hiked over once out of Indian Tunnel.


Entering Beauty Cave.


Junior Rangers of Craters of the Moon National Monument.


This is my favorite picture with us by one of the signs, too bad I’m not in it, but they’re so dang cute anyways. Wheeler Peak, the tallest mountain in Nevada is behind them.

A nice man stopped and took our picture for us.


Leeman’s cave, Great Basin NP.



I’ve lost my head, or my head lost me?




Taking their final junior ranger oath for the trip.

Family Vacation 2011-Part 10

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

This is the final post for our vacation. Hooray! I’m so happy finally have it complete.

Thursday the 21st, we headed off to Craters of the Moon National Monument. It was a good halfway point between Hungry Horse and Ely. Even though Andrea and Brien weren’t going to be in town, we decided we still wanted to go to Great Basin.

We got to Craters in time for setting up and making dinner. It was a beautiful clear night so we slept with the rain fly off and were able to watch shooting stars from our tent. It turned out to be a mild night, and much warmer than our stay at Yellowstone. (Much warmer in that I wasn’t fitting the urge to stay in my sleeping bag because it was so cold.) We took down camp, got info on the junior ranger badge and headed out on some hikes.

We first hiked Inferno Cone, then headed towards the caves. The plan was to just walk through Indian Tunnel, but we decided to visit every cave. Craters of the Moon is a lave feed, so all the caves and tunnels are accessed because the lave tubes have broken and then we are able to access the caves which were formed from the lava tubes. (The top layer hardens as the lava flows, and then hot lava continues to flow underneath and creates tunnels.) Most of Craters is a lava field of lava tubes and pretty awesome to see.

We first stopped at Dew Cave, which is pretty small, then hiked Indian Tunnel, which is a large tunnel, that is very open because of many fallen holes in the ceiling of the cave. Once out of Indian Tunnel we decided to navigate across the lava field, they had helpful markers, and even though there have not been any collapses of lava tubes since 1924, it was still a little scary to not know if the ground beneath you would decide to fall.

After the tunnel the girls and Jon decided to investigate Boy Scout Cave. I opted to stay and wait at the surface. I’m not one for tight spaces and crawling. The girls loved it and Lilah loved that there was ice on the floor of the cave. We then headed towards Beauty Cave. I thought I’d join them because this cave is large and open, around 30 feet high and 200-300 deep. The girls had our headlamps, Jon carried his red light flashlight and I held Eden’s hand to stay close to someone with a light. I was fine as we entered the cave, but once it became super dark, and only our lights were guiding us, I started to feel claustrophobic and had to leave. I was able to turn back and find my way because I was going towards the entrance of the cave. The girls and Jon continued to explore and enjoyed their time in the dark.

Then we headed back to the visitor’s center, and got their junior ranger badges. Then onto the road once more, Highway 93 to be exact, the highway we drove for nearly the entire drive from Hungry Horse till we got home to Vegas.

We stayed in a hotel in Ely, NV on Friday night, then traveled to Great Basin National Park on Saturday. The girls and Jon got the packet for the Junior Rangers badges, and we bought tickets for the longer cave tour for Leeman’s Cave. We had visited the smaller tour in 2009, and decided to take the longer one this time. We enjoyed our time in the cave and they had fun filling out the packets. We enjoyed our traditional ice cream cone, and hit the road for our final stretch of highway home that afternoon.

It was a really fun trip but we were all happy to be home and in our own beds that night.

To see the pictures that go with this post visit: Family Vacation 2011- Part 10.

Crossing the Creek

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

This video is probably only funny to my girls, and maybe Anna, but this is us as we prepared to cross the creek at Avalanche Lake. If you listen carefully you can hear Eden’s reaction when she decides to put her foot in, at 7 seconds into the video, and my reaction is at the very end, second 58. Kevin is pretty funny too.

Family Vacation 2011 Pictures- Part 9

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

If you’d like to read more about what this pictures are about, or whatever I decided to write about, you can visit Family Vacation 2011-Part 9. I’m also please to say I only have one more post to write, which makes me happy because then I can go back to my regularly non-blogging self, or post about things like the play and Eden’s birthday.



Eden next to some Bear Grass, a flower Anna taught her how to identify, and she let us know each time she saw Bear Grass.


I believe this is Lake Josephine, the lake we hiked too. It began to rain on us about 10 minutes later.



I just keep thinking, “The ants go marching one by one,” every time I see this picture of us walking in our ponchos. This is before it began to pour.


The view as we were leaving Many Glacier in Glacier NP.


Our Junior Rangers saying the pledge, or taking the oath, or promising to be nice to the parks, at St. Mary’s visitor center in Glacier NP.


Daddy being woken up from his nap.

He had been sleeping until Lilah decided he needed some toys to sleep with. (Kevin took this picture for me.)


I was able to actually look normal for one day, since we weren’t hiking. Lilah took this picture, and I’m not sure why Eden’s eyes are so wide.

A spider on the tree outside of the cabin. We saw several that looked like this guy. Eden took this picture.


Playing Uno and eating dessert.


We regularly found the girls in positions similar to this in the morning, since they were sharing the bed. One time Eden had her leg over Lilah. They apparently are very heavy sleepers.

Family Vacation 2011-Part 9

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

Anna and I had been going hiking at Red Rock to prepare for Glacier. Both our husbands are pretty fit, and she would have to carry Alex in the hiking carrier, and I wanted my girls to be ready for longer hikes. One week we had planned on going on a smaller hike, but ended up hiking 7 miles. We were wanting to hike to Iceberg Lake, in the Many Glacier area of the park and that’s what most of our preparation was for. The main problem being, Iceberg Lake would be at a incline the whole time and was still snow covered in some areas while we were there. The weather for Tuesday, or the planned day for our hike, was also not looking good, so we decided we’d just head out to the Many Glacier area, and do a small hike and explore the area.

We headed out on Tuesday morning, the 19th, and stopped to get gas, since we’d be driving the whole park, but a nice person pointed out that we had a flat tire, so our morning was greatly delayed and we left closer to lunch time since we had to get the tire patched.

It was already stormy looking at Many Glacier when we arrived, but mostly with cloud coverage, so we headed out on a hike that took us around one lake, I think Swift Current Lake, and then to another, I think Lake Josephine. As we were approaching the other lake, some of the hikers told us there was a grizzly on an opposite shore, so we hoped to spot it, but it had decided to go back into the forest. We hung out and skipped rocks and then some rain chased us away. We decided to take a different way back to the hotel, and it ended up being the longer trail, then it ended up raining and it even began to hail. Lilah thought it was great fun, except for her mom rushing her a long, and Eden got a nice piggy back ride because we had forgotten Jon’s poncho and the rain started to come down really hard. I’m pretty sure carrying Eden was the fastest way to return to the lodge though.

We eventually made it back to the lodge at Many Glacier and hide from the rain with all the other visitors. Anna and Kevin were waiting for us, because they had gone on ahead of us slow pokes. We decided we’d head down stairs to the cafe and bought some hot chocolate to warm up, where we also enjoyed some wonderful cinnamon rolls and a brownie in Jon’s case, for only $1 each, a steal. By this point the skies had cleared and beautiful clouds were the only thing that remained, besides it being colder and windier.

After we enjoyed our hot chocolate and snack we started back towards the cabin but we stopped first at the St. Mary’s visitor center to get their junior ranger badges. The main problem with returning home was the storm was right on the Going to the Sun Road, and that was our way back. One ranger said the road was fine, but another ranger said they had experience some fallen rock and heavy rain, and thought we should take a different route. We decided to take the route she told us too, but in some ways it was just as dangerous as the Going to the Sun Road. We drove a road that obviously was regularly washed out, and we had to drive really slow because of the curves and rain. It was beautiful and we were able to see more of Montana and pass through East Glacier, were we used the bathroom in a hostel, (I thought that was kinda cool.) but it also made us get home a lot later than Anna and Kevin.

We did get home safely and enjoyed a warm meal at the cabin that night.

After Glacier our plans were to hear towards Ely and spend a couple days with my sister Andrea and her family and visit Great Basin National Park. Sadly, while we were at Glacier, Brien’s grandfather passed away and the funeral was planned for the day we were to arrive in Ely. We debated on what we should do, and in the end we decided we’d stay an extra day in Hungry Horse with the Cotton’s, then head towards Ely as planned, but only stay one night and visit Great Basin on our way home. Our extra day in Montana was mostly used to decompress and relax. It was cloudy and rainy all day, so we did laundry, took naps and just enjoyed not doing anything or being anywhere. We organized our things and prepared to hit the road the next day.

Visit Family Vacation 2011 Pictures -Part 9 to view the pictures that go with this post.

Family Vacation 2011 Pictures- Part 8

Monday, August 8th, 2011

Here are the pictures that go with the Family Vacation 2011- Part 8 post.


Anna took our picture in front of Glacier’s sign.


Some waterfalls that I’m pretty sure fed into Avalanche Lake.


Avalanche Lake through some trees as we hiked a little farther.


A deer we that was using our path.


Avalanche Lake, Glacier National Park


McDonald Creek. They had the biggest creeks I’d ever seen.


Me trying to look normal while the sun was shining in my eyes.


The girls playing in the water.