Thursday, May 29, 2014

thanksgiving point

Growing up, my cousins lived in Connecticut, Oregon, and Montana.  Needless to say, I didn't see them as often as I would have liked.

A few years ago, a couple of them moved to Utah to go to school.  And then a couple more moved.  And a couple more.  Some of them have now moved to other places again, but a few of them still live in Utah.  Which means, for the first time in my life, I have cousins nearby.  And I'm loving it.

My cousins are the kind of people that you brag about in casual conversation.  [Oh wait...I'm the only one that does this?!]  They are accomplished and cultured and musical and they married people who are accomplished and cultured and musical and they are having prodigy children who are accomplished and cultured and musical.  I would be totally intimidated were it not for the fact that they are also really nice.  I just wish they hadn't hogged all the good genes!

Last week, I drove down to Herriman to see my cousin Meg and her two boys.  Meg and I aren't actually blood related, but the good-gene-hogging principle still applies.  We decided to drive over to Thanksgiving Point.  I'd never been there, and Meg has a membership, so we thought it'd be fun to take the kids.

But who am I kidding?  I probably would have wanted to go whether we'd had kids with us or not.

We went to the Farm Country portion of Thanksgiving Point.  It reminded me of being in 4-H and I was pretty much in heaven the entire time.  Ellie enjoyed pointing out animals and trying to make animal noises.  Which, all bias aside, is the cutest thing in the world.

First, Ellie and Meg's oldest son got to go on the pony ride.  Oh my, I thought those were amazing as a child, but they're even more fun as a parent.  Ellie was scared at first [read: terrified], but once the ride started going, she relaxed and just smiled and made excited noises the entire time.  Life is better when seen through a child's eyes.

Next, we got to go for a carriage ride.  I couldn't help but think of the scene in Emma with Gwyneth Paltrow.  Sit back, and kindly refrain from the intimacy of whispering!

 Sorry this one turned out so blurry!  My bad.

After the carriage ride, we just kinda walked around and looked at all the animals.  I say "just" but really I mean, WE GOT TO LOOK AT ALL THE ANIMALS AND IT WAS AMAZING AND OMG TIM DO YOU WANT TO BUY A FARM?!  Ellie better like animals when she's older because otherwise she'll be one very unhappy 4-H member with one very happy mama.

 This is Ellie's "I'm contemplating life now" face.  It happens a lot.

The turkey was Ellie's new animal sound of the day.  ["Gah gah gah!"]

We had such a fun time!  I loved talking to Meg, and her kids are adorable.  

And well, the animals didn't hurt either.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

please move up here, mom and dad

When we moved up to Utah, my dad told me I'd be lucky if they made it up once a year.

Last Saturday, they returned from their second trip so far this year.

Good thing they miss me so much.  [Read: Good thing they miss Ellie so much.]

We had all kinds of fun adventures whilst they were here.  Daily soda runs, walks around the neighborhood, a trip to Golden Spike, a hike, and a trip up to Idaho.  Not to mention watching The Croods and countless episodes of Studio C.  Oh, and all the food.  Let's never forget all the food.

They got here on Mother's Day, and I tried my hand at making a floral arrangement:

Not too bad for my first time, right?  [Right?  Right, Mom?]  JK, I could tell she wasn't very impressed.  I have as much artistic ability in my entire body as she does in her pinky finger.  But she was nice about it.  Reminded me of the time when I was about five when my grandma asked me to sing for her.  Wow, Katie, that was so...nice.  [But she never asked me that again.  Can't imagine why.]

Remember how I just wrote an entire post about going to the Golden Spike Historical Site?  I took my family there just a few days later.  My dad and brother are history buffs [read: nerds] and I knew they'd enjoy it.

Made the big bro take a picture with me and everything:

And sometimes I make my parents take pictures together, too.

We tried, in vain, to find a hike near Golden Spike, but all the private land makes for very few trails.

The next day, however, we went on a tried and true hike up Willard Canyon.  Or maybe it's called Perry Canyon.  I'm not really sure.  Either way, it's a beautiful hike with a beautiful view.

Ellie really wanted to be held, as you can see:

And kissed...

Oh, sure, be good for Dad...

Last time my parents visited, I was just recovering from surgery.  This time, I got whatever nasty virus Ellie'd had the week prior.  I tried not to be too lame this time, but we did make a quick stop off at the doctors office - just to make sure.  Thankfully, I had quite a bit of energy most of the time, but my throat hurt like the dickens.

On Thursday, we headed up to the McGregor Family Farm in Idaho.  It's where my grandpa (on my mom's side) grew up, and his nephews still run the place.  I've only been up twice before, but in my memories it will always be a magical place.

Ellie looooved all of the animals and spent pretty much the entire time saying things like "quack quack" and "woof woof."

This is the house my grandpa grew up in.  They don't use it anymore because it's become infested with bats, but it has so much sentimental value that they just haven't had the heart to tear it down yet.

My mom's cousin Craig had all kinds of fun stories for us.

It was a great trip.  We ate out three times, if that tells you anything.  The only thing that would have made it better was if my grandma, aunt, and uncle could have come like they'd been planning!  My grandma said she had shingles.  Such a drama queen, that one.  Just kidding, Grandma!  You get better, ya hear!

Mom and Dad, if you moved up here, I wouldn't even be mad.

adventuring with friends

We've been making new friends 'round these parts.

I love new friends!

A couple of weeks ago, we went hiking with a cute family from our ward at church.  The weather was finally nice enough to go, so we took advantage of it!

We were attempting to hike up to the "B" on the side of the mountain.

It never happened.

But we had a good time trying to get there.

Not too far from where we live is the Golden Spike National Historic Site.  It's commemorative of the spot where the Central Pacific and the Union Pacific Railroads met for the first time, creating the first transcontinental railroad.  A little over a week ago was the 145th anniversary, so they had a little reenactment of the ceremonious driving of the gold spike - period costuming included!

We headed over there with that same family on a Saturday morning.

We all loved it!  Even poor Ellie, who had been struggling with some sort of nasty virus for about a week, clapped enthusiastically every time the crowd clapped.  Sometimes with an added, "AHHHH!" for good measure.

Ellie and I have also been to playgroups and playdates lately and it's fun to meet new people and watch her try to interact with other kids.

The world would be a place of constant hilarity if adults interacted like children.