"I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life;
to put to rout all that was not life and not when I had come to die, discover that I had not lived." ~Henry David Thoreau

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Hiking Farmington Creek

This afternoon we decided to go hiking.  This time of year is fantastic for hiking because the air temp has dropped a little and the leaves are starting to change color ever so slightly.  Sundays in Utah are especially great because most recreational places are baron.  I don't know what it is about members of the church (and to each their own) but many people believe being in nature/outdoors is breaking the Sabbath or something.  I don't get it.  To me, I feel closest to God when I am surrounded by His creations and away from the TV and just listening to the silence.  It's my Mecca.  Our Sunday nature outings are my absolute favorite.  Having our afternoons and evenings free is ONE good thing about 9:00 church.

Today we hiked Farmington Creek.  It's a really beautiful hike, but come to find out it's not the easiest one for little kids.  But all of them were champs and did an excellent job!  We hiked about two miles and we were the only humans out there.  We saw a few squirrels and a lot of lizards and that was it.  Thank goodness we didn't run into any rattle snakes.  I led and Cody brought up the rear with Garrett in the backpack.  Although I never tell the kids this, I am always terrified that a rattler is going to spring out at us.  My ears are always on alert for that terrible rattling noise. 

Devin had trouble in some of the steeper places and especially on the more narrow parts of the trail.  I'll admit that my blood pressure kept going up each time we'd come to a part on the trail with a steep drop on one side.  But our kids are seasoned hikers and I think we've taught them a thing or two about trail safety.  We stopped and had snacks of cheese, fruit leather, and granola bars and sat and listened to the creek rushing by and the leaves rustling.  Gosh I love being out there like that.  I love talking to our kids about God and nature and how hiking is great because it pushes you to do something difficult at times.  And when you get back down to the trailhead, you say "Hey, it's cool that I did that!!"  So gratifying. 

We stopped at a big cave that's about 400 feet from the trailhead.  It's a popular place for evening fires and the walls are pitch black as a result.  It was pretty cool to explore.  Everything was going great and we were free of incident, but near the bottom of the trailhead there's a very steep part so I decided to hold Devin so Cody could have his hands free.  I got almost to the bottom when I slipped and caught myself in a terrible position on my legs.  I did NOT need to re-sprain my ankle again, and luckily I landed in a way that sparred my ankles but gave me terrible road rash on both legs as a result.  Oh well.  Devin and my ankles came out unscathed.  It was a fantastic hike and we can't wait to hit another trail soon!


Bike Adventure

Illness has been going around our house for a week now, but Saturday morning we all woke up and everyone "seemed" to be symptom free.  We had family pictures scheduled for that evening, but had a few hours to kill and wanted something fun to do.  We decided to go get frozen yogurt at our local self-serve shop, and I suggested we ride bikes.  It's only about a 1.5 miles from our house and we are all big bike riders.  I made sure everyone had full tires and Cody put the chain back on Hailey's back that had come off during the week.  I loaded the little boys in the trailer and we were all off.

Dad dragged behind with Lauren because her legs are so short and she can't go as fast when she pedals.  The bigger kids and I got to the yogurt shop only to find that it had gone out of business.  Bummer!  Guess we hadn't been there in a while.  But the kids were really disappointed, so Cody suggested we ride the extra half mile to the convenience store (Maverick) and get frozen treats and drinks.  So we meandered our way through parking lots and pushed our bikes through a small feild and got to the store.  After we got our snacks, we sat outside at the table and ate.  Perfect day!

When it was time to hit the road again, I noticed that something was wrong with my bike and realized that the back wheel was coming off.  I got it fixed just enough to make it the two miles back home...maybe.  When I attached the trailer again and got everything situated, I noticed that because the wheel wasn't connected perfectly that the back break was rubbing, making it VERY hard to pedal.  That was going to be a long ride home (btw, we decided to take the back road so we didn't have to depend on parking lots.) Not far into the ride, Lauren's pedal kept coming unscrewed and wouldn't stay on for some reason.  So I loaded her into the trailer with the two boys and hung her bike on the back of the trailer.  So here I was, pedaling a bike that was partially braked, towing about 150 pounds.

We made it back into the neighborhood and as we got close to our street, Hailey's bike chain came off again!  Dad was trailing behind us and I told Hailey to just wait for him.  I had to get home before my legs collapsed.  We finally all made it home and Lordy, I was beat.  My bike will probably be heading into the shop sometime this week.

Later that evening, I spent an hour getting everyone cleaned up and ready for family pictures.  Any mom knows how daunting that can be.  Right as we were heading out the door, Devin started screaming that he needed to throw up.  And a big storm was blowing in, and we were taking pictures out at the Great Salt Lake on the beach.  Halfway to the lake Devin threw up all in his car seat, and then several more times.  My photographer friend, Angalee, met us at the lake and we laughed at the 40 mph winds beating us to death.  Between sick Devin and horrible weather, we decided to reschedule.  It was a CRAZY day!!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

On Finishing a Triathlon

I decided that I should journal exactly everything that happened today during and surrounding the triathlon.  Last night (Friday) we went over to Enos and Audrey's house for a carb loading night.  Audrey made the most delicious homemade pizzas and french bread, and I made fettuccine alfredo and brownies (for Sundaes) for dessert.   We had a really great time, and Missy and Ellie Ackerson ended up coming by for dessert.  The only bad part is Hailey threw up about fifteen minutes after we arrived so Cody took her home and ended up missing out on the fun.

Last night I was a nervous wreck.  I kept switching between overly excited, to feeling like my stomach was turning itself inside out.  Cody kept trying to talk me out of being scared by reminding me of just how prepared I was for this event.  So I got everything ready, my clothes laid out and bag packed, took a sleeping pill and hit the hay about 11:00.

My awesome friend, Erin, has done a very similar triathlon in the same place and has been on of my go-to people for advice as I've been training for this.  Originally she and her family were going to be out of town this weekend, but last minute their plans changed and I called her on Thursday night to pick her brain (once again) and she said "How about I come and pick you up on Saturday morning, load your bike into the truck, I will take you and walk you through everything and be a support, then Cody can get there later with the kids.  That way he doesn't have to come up with you at the butt crack of dawn."  I was speechless at first, because that was a HUGE thing to offer.  Who wants to leave the house at 6:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning and go through all of that if you're not even racing??  ERIN!!  That's who.  My alarm went off at 5:00 and I rolled out of bed, grabbed a quick shower, ate a banana and PBJ sandwich for breakfast, and Erin came over and we left, me following in Cody's car.

We don't have a bike rack on our van so the plan was that I would put the backseats of the van down and leave the little boy's carseats in the second row, and fit my bike into the back.  Cody would drive over with the three big kids in his sedan.  But now that Erin was taking me, we didn't have to get the kids all ready at 5:30 in the morning.  It worked out GREAT because they ended up showing up at the Nadatorium about 8:40, which was 15 minutes before I got in there for the swimming (and final) portion of the race.

Let me back up.  On Friday after lunch, Jessica came over to babysit while I went to the bike shop to get my rental.  That place is amazing and it's hard not to feel overwhelmed and intimidated.  But the guys were so nice and helpful and very encouraging about my race.  The one guy who was fitting the seat said "Even if you come in dead last, you're coming in a million times faster than the people who aren't doing the triathlon."  That made me a feel loads better.  I got the bike home and took it for a practice ride while Jessica stayed with the kids.  That bike was amazing.  It was a Specialized that retailed for almost $3,600 and I felt a little uneasy toting it around.  As I rode down the trail near our house, I realized I was cutting through the asphalt like a knife through soft butter.  All that training on a mountain bike seemed to be paying off.  It's a good thing I took it for a practice ride because I was able to get everything set exactly as I needed it. 

So, we pulled into the Rec parking lot at 6:25 and I about threw up as I saw people showing up for the race with their fancy bikes and attire and just looking like they knew what the hell they were doing.  For a second I felt stupid for even showing up, like I had no business being there at all.  Like I was  fraud.  But then I remembered all the months of training and preparing and I knew that I was where I belonged.

The nervousness never ever went away.  After I got checked in and numbered and my ankle tracker on, Erin and I got my bike put on the rack and I set up my transition camp. I stretched and we talked and took a few pictures, then I downed my Gatorade prime liquid and gels and got ready for the start of the race. 

I decided to go in the first wave of people.  I figured that if I fell behind, I would fall somewhere in the second wave of people coming up behind me and that way I would never be alone.  The race began and Erin stood on the sidelines snapping pictures of me going through (I will get those pictures from her sometime).  The rush of adrenaline I felt was intense.  You could feel it in the air amongst all the athletes.  There was this sense of togetherness that's hard to describe.  The run was going great until the start of mile two when I felt my previously sprained ankle give out.  I had injured the tendon all over again!!  I about cried, and had to slow to a walk for 20 seconds or so.  This ended up being the pattern for the rest of the run.  But not only was my ankle sprained again, the problems in my right foot where acting up worse than ever before and it felt like there was a burning hot coal inside my foot where the tumors are (yes, I have tumors growing in the nerves in that foot and need surgery again.  But that's another story.) So right off the bat, in the FIRST leg of the race, I was doubly injured below the knees.

There were several times during the run when I thought to myself "Screw it.  Who am I kidding.  My body is old and falling apart and I have no business attempting this."  But then I'd hear another voice telling me to keep moving ahead, to not stop, to push through the pain.  I finished the run and about cried, but my adrenaline carried me through transition and I am impressed with myself for how smoothly that went.  As I ran into the transition station, I pulled my hair down from the knot on my head and put it in a low ponytail at the base of my neck so I could put my helmet on.  I never stopped running the whole time, hopped on my bike, put my helmet on, all in one stride.  I was off to the second leg.

I was sooooo relieved to be on the bike.  It gave my ankle and foot a little break, until my foot started throbbing again and going tingly and numb.  Those nerves were furious at me!!  I was flying by people on that amazing bike, and I almost wiped out at the first turn because I went to brakw and forgot that the brakes were in a different part of the handle bars than I was used to with my mountain bike.  But, I didn't wipe out.

The cycling portion was good, hard, exhilarating, and quite painful.  My foot was killing me as I pedaled.  When I approached the steepest part of the ride, which was a giant overpass, I watched as the racers struggled to get to the highest part.  I geared myself up and pedaled as fast as I could.  Keane's "Somewhere Only We Know" was blaring in my ears and I thought how appropriate those lyrics were at the moment.  I felt like me and my fellow racers were alone in this, all pushing for the same finish line, all struggling, all tired, but all experiencing the same rush and excitement.  So push ahead we all did.  Getting to the other side of that overpass was freeing.

I should mention that my water bottle fell out of the holder only one mile into the ride.  No bueno.  I was DYING of thirst.  Luckily I had been drinking a liquid that was intended to keep you hydrated longer, I never got dehydrated, just seriously cotton mouthed.  And my shoe lace came untied at one point and wrapped itself into the chain.  I caught it before it caused any harm, but it was a set back.

Several cyclists were stranded along the way with flat tires.  That was my biggest fear while cycling, aside from crashing.  I probably could have gone faster, but I was so busy watching the road to make sure I didn't hit rocks or debris.  Being accustomed to large mountain bike wheels that are far more forgiving, this was a tedious event.  There was NO WAY I was going to get stranded with a flat and have the race be over.  I almost crashed two more times because of other cyclist not following the rules, like when we went through a long dark tunnel and people were trying to pass one another.  Everyone kept yelling "Stay in your own lanes!!!"  Luckily, I made it back to the transition station after many painful miles on my foot.  I hopped off my bike and stripped my outer clothes and shoes off (just threw them on the ground like everyone elses clothes were) again ran while I re-did my hair into a bun, threw my swim cap and goggles on, and grabbed two cups of water at the water station.  One to douse myself with, and the other to drink.  I was sooooo thirsty!

I got into the Nadatorium and wanted to cry.  I saw that pool, saw my family and Erin in the stands, and knew I wasn't done.  But oh how I wanted to be done!!  14 laps in the pool.  It wasn't far and I could do that swim like cake on a normal day if I wasn't so tired.  But at that moment, it looks like swimming across Lake Ontario.  I jumped in and all I wanted to do was sink to the bottom.  I had prepared myself for the possibility that I was going to be too tired to do any real swimming, so I had been practicing side stroke and a lot of superficial breaststroke and freestyle.  It's a good thing I'd been practicing those strokes and not just freestyle.  I could barely put my head under water because my lungs and muscles kept screaming at me for oxygen. 

I could hear my family, especially Chudda, screaming at me from the stands.  I never once stopped.  Several swimmers where taking breaks my standing in the pool, but i never stopped and never lost speed.  I wasn't going terribly fast, but I was going at a steady pace.  At some point I yelled "I am too tired!" I snaked my way around that Olympic pool, lane by lane.  And then I realized that there was only one lap to go.  I pushed so hard and touched the wall.  I climbed up the ladder and felt like jelly.  I could barely stand on my legs but managed to run to the other side of the pool and cross through the sensors.

I was finished.  I did it.  All of it, and never stopped.  Not even once.
That's me in the blue cap and white goggles.

The whole race I kept thinking "There's no way in hell I'm doing this again.  Never.  That'd be stupid and pure torture." But as soon as I finished, all I could think of was that I was going to do the next one in May.  Okay, I was also thinking that I wanted to throw up.
Me in my new Tri shirt.  All the writing is on the back but I didn't get a picture.

I was just a tad tired and fatigued here.
Erin finally took off, but I was so happy she was there.  I feel like I owe her so much for being there for me.  Can't wait to do one of these races with her one day!  We went and ate some of the after race snacks, but everyone was ravenous (especially me) and we needed real food.  After we loaded everything up, we headed to Ihop.  I don't know that I have ever eaten that fast in my life.  My body was screaming at me to fuel it!!
After we got my bike returned and back home, I showered and the crashed in bed.  I just woke up from a 2 1/2 hour nap and in spite of feeling exhausted, I feel incredible.  There are not a lot of people in this world who can say they have done a triathlon, especially not women in their mid thirties who have five kids.  This race wasn't easy for me,  nor have the months of training.  But I did well and I finished.  People think I'm nuts for doing an intermediate-advanced tri as my first one.  I say either go big or go home!!  I really am going to attempt the Spudman next summer.  If I can get my foot operated on and fixed, go through physical therapy and not lose my game too much, I will start training again in a few months.  This experience was amazing and I feel so good about myself. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Triathlon Training & My Play List

 When I was in my late teens and even in my [very] early twenties, I considered myself to be an active and healthy person who was in great physical shape.  I life guarded for several years and competed in lifeguard competitions.  I swam every day and spent a lot of time at the gym.  Aside from looking good, I felt good.  My muscles and bones were strong and my lung capacity was impressive.

And then babies started coming at age 23 and my physical health got put on the back burner a lot of the time.  For ten years I have tried to exercise and stay on top of my game, but with five kids and a very busy household, it's nearly impossible a lot of the time.

Or at least that was the excuse I used for years.

The Bountiful Triathlon has been a goal of mine for years.  I think Lauren was a baby when I first saw it advertised and every August I have wanted to attempt it.  But pregnancy and breastfeeding and taking care of babies has interfered with a lot over the years, especially anything in the category of training for a triathlon.  But early in the spring of this year, I thought to myself that my youngest baby was about to turn two years old.  My body was finally my own again.  For the first time in many years I was getting adequate sleep and life in general seemed a little less demanding in certain ways.  At least my childbearing days were behind me!

In April I set out to start training for this goal.  It was a goal that terrified be beyond belief, but it was a goal that I'd had for a long time.  I started small by going to the gym three days a week to run and weight train.  Running has always been an obstacle for me, but I began with one mile at a time.  And then I added time and distance and over the course of several weeks my mileage and stamina increased dramatically.  Four months later it's hard to believe that I was such a poor runner in the beginning.  I have grown to CRAVE running.  I think I"m addicted to it.  It's no longer scary to me, but something that I really look forward to every day.

In the beginning cycling was a bit of a challenge because I just wasn't used to it.  But like running, a few weeks and several LONG rides went by and before I knew it, cycling was really exhilarating!!  I have been training on my mountain bike because it's all I have.  For the race, however, I need a road bike so I am renting a really good one from a local bike shop.  I have a huge advantage because I have been training for months on a mountain bike, which is more difficult to pedal and accelerate on pavement.  So when I cross over to the road bike this weekend, I'm told I should be able to ride really fast and really well.  I hope that plays out!

The swimming portion is just fun for me.  I have been in water my whole life and swimming feels as natural as breathing to me (let's just hope I don't ever breathe under water...it's not THAT natural.)  I have spent many many swimming sessions at the gym and I feel very confidant in that area.  The swim isn't long at all- only 350 meters, which equates to 14 laps.  To some tht may seem like a lot, but I'm excited about it.

So the day of the bug race is this Saturday.  The gun goes off at 7:30 in the morning and I"m so grateful to my good friend Erin who has done this exact triathlon a couple of years ago.  She won't be racing, but she is picking me up very early that morning, loading my bike into her truck, and we're going up to teh race together.  She will walk me through everything and even warm up with me for a bit on the treadmill.  Cody and the kids will follow a couple of hours later, in time to get there for the swimming (and final) portion of the race.  I'm so thankful to Cody for being such a support in these months.  Training has taken up a lot of my time, but he has never complained or resented me for it.  Accomplishing this race is something that means a great deal to me.  When I finish, I am considering getting inked like this-
What'd ya think?  Yeah, it may not look as great across my stretch marked belly.  One thing that is kind of frustrating about my training is that I have seen no evidence that my body has changed.  I haven't lost weight and my pant size hasn't really gone down.  People around me say I look different, but I don't see it.  But the evidence that I DO see and feel is what's happened to my body from within.  I don't know that I have ever been in this great of shape, even at my peak at 19 or 20 years old.  I feel amazing and strong.  My body is super healthy and that's what matters!  Hopefully the rest will start to melt away as time goes on, as long as I keep up with it. 

I am sooooo excited about this race.  I've had to take sleeping pills this week because I am so excited and nervous and can't get my tired brain to shut off at night.  Music is possibly my biggest training motivator, and in the last four months I have changed my running/cycling playlist numerous times.  This week I have tweaked it to the exact songs I need and want to stay motivated and strong during the race.  I thought I'd share these songs with you.  Keep in mind that every song motivates the bajeezus out of me and all of them have very personal meaning.  So, even if a song seems silly to you...well.  I don't see YOU getting off your but to go run miles at a time, now do I.  But you SHOULD get off you butt and train like I have.  If I can do this, absolutely anyone can!!  Here is my playlist in no particular order-

We Will Rock You- Queen (my pace setter song)
I'm Gonna Be- The Proclaimers
Raise Your Glass- Pink
Starlight- Muse
Respect- Erasure
Babel- Mumford and Sons
Paparazzi- Lady Gaga
Bend and Break- Keane
Magic Dance- David Bowie
Princes of the Universe- Queen
Supermassive Black Hole- Muse
I'm Too Sexy- Right Said Fred
The Cave- Mumford and Sons
Danger Zone- Kenny Loggins
Rolling in the Deep- Adele
Love Story- Taylor Swift
Somewhere Only We Know- Keane
Poker Face- Lady Gaga
Human Touch- Springsteen
Gliserine- Bush
Always- Erasure
Poker Face- Lady Gaga
Move Along- All American Rejects
Set Fire to the Rain- Adele
Everybody's Changing- Keane
Uprising- Muse
Just Give Me a Reason- Pink
Freedom- George Michael
Hey Ho- The Lumineers
Demon- Imagine Dragons
Under Pressure- Queen and Bowie
Eye of the Tiger- Survivor
Little Lion Man- Mumford and Sons
God Blessed Texas- Little Texas
Beautiful Day- U2
Love is a Battlefield- Pat Benatar
Surrender- Cheap Trick
Edge of Glory- Lady Gaga
Stupid Girl- Garbage
I Will Wait- Mumford and Sons
Paradise- Coldplay
Born in the USA- Sprinsteen
Madness- Muse
Someone Like You- Adele
This I Promise You- Nsync
Smells Like Teen Spirit- Nirvana

Saturday will be here before I know it!!! This may premature to say this, but if this race tomorrow doesn't kill me and if I enjoy it in the slightest, I plan on doing on next May (of the same caliber) and then on to the Spudman in Idaho at the end of July 2014.  The Spudman is an Olympic distance triathlon and it's a difficult one.  It's the goal and Cody said he'll buy me my OWN road bike if I get through this race and train for the ones next year.  Wish me luck!!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Swimming With the Kleckners

Brevin's really mad because they made him get out of the pool for the picture!
We've been so sad since the Kleckners moved from across the street.  Our kids have become such great friends over the last couple of years, and Devin and Brevin became best friends.  They moved just a few miles away into Bountiful, but sometimes it may as well be to another state because we are all so busy and making time to get together is a challenge.  I miss the days of hanging out on the front lawn talking while the kids played and rode bikes around.  I miss my Megan!  But yesterday was Brevin's birthday and they had a little party at his Grandma's neighborhood pool.  It was a lot of fun getting together with them and Devin got to swim all over the pool with no life jacket.  We have been working on this skill a LOT this summer since the boy is completely fearless and wants to jump into any body of water at any time.  You can see for yourself that he is doing great!!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Goodbye, Crib!

Our kids have outgrown the crib at a younger and younger age, and now Garrett's time has come.  Back in June I would put him in his crib for a nap and he would protest and put on leg up on the rails as if to climb out, but I would chastise him and say "NO!!" and he would fuss and pout but lie back down and go to sleep.  But toward the end of the month, he discovered that he actually could climb out and that dumb old Mom had no say in it after that door closed.

Because Devin has always been an evil genius who loves to play Houdini, we have duct taped doorknob covers on several doors in the house, including the inside and outside of their bedroom door.  But of course, he figured those out as well.  One afternoon during nap time I heard funny noises coming from their room and opened the door to find Devin INSIDE the crib with Garrett showing him exactly how to climb out of it.  The stinker!!

For some reason I didn't think Garrett would follow in his footsteps, but the next day I put him down door a nap, closed the door and heard a loud "thud" a minute later, then the door would open, and his little legs would carry him out of the room at lightening speed.  He had figured out how to pop the doorknob cover right off!  So, needless to say the crib came down that afternoon.  It's more of a hazard to keep it up because it serves as a death trap for the little boys as they do their stunts out of it. 

I won't lie-  I totally cried as I took the crib down.  I cried because it was the end of an era and as I unscrewed each piece of hardware, I remembered being 20 weeks pregnant with Ethan and shopping for that very crib with my mom when she came into town.  I remembered picking out the cute bedding and putting it all together as we anxiously awaited the arrival of our first baby.  And with the exception of taking it apart to move it from apartment to house and then room to room, it has never been apart for an extended period of time. 

But I also cried because Garrett and Devin drive me to my wits end most days and the crib was my only course of sanity during nap time because it kept Garrett contained.  I cried because I wasn't ready to let go of that!!  The first week of Garrett being in his big boy bed was rough.  Devin moved to the top bunk and Garrett was down below and of course it was play time whenever the boys were supposed to be sleeping.  And then we went to Texas and when we came back, it seemed to be a lot easier.  Now all I have to do is lock Garrett in there with a sippy cup of milk during nap time and he yells at me for half a minute but then climbs into bed and falls right to sleep.  The same is true for bedtime, and now that Devin is a lot better at staying awake all day (and not falling asleep in the evening and catching a second wind and staying up til midnight) he is so tired come bedtime that he goes right to sleep and Garrett gets bored and follows suit. 

I just can't believe that we are a cribless family.  That crib has served as a permanent fixture of this house for a decade.  The last year has pushed us further and further into the babyless stage of life and it seems surreal at times.  Part of me LOVES the new found freedom of not being pregnant, nursing, and carrying for a totally dependent baby.  But at the same time, a huge part of me grieves for that time that is now in the past. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Park City Staycation

My parents always have a difficult time coming up with a good Christmas present for our family, because we have more toys than we know what to do with and the kids are clothed from closets that are over flowing.  In a family of seven people, clutter is the last thing we need.  This year they came up with the perfect gift- a certificate (in the form of a check and a cute gift card that my dad made) for us to spend a weekend somewhere doing something fun.  We LOVE staycations so this was the ideal gift!!

Last year for our anniversary Cody and I got away for two nights and stayed at Hotel Park City.  That place is unbelievable and they don't skimp at all when it comes to luxury.  They pull out all of the stops!!  When I started hunting around for a fun place for our family to stay in June, I looked into Hotel Park City but for all of us, it was going to be out of our budget.  I called the reservation office and talked to them to see what kind of deal they could cut us.  I guess I called at the perfect time when they were trying to get rooms filled, because they gave us an incredible deal on one of the cottage units.

On the kids' last day of school on June 28th, they came home at 1:30 and we immediately loaded up and drove the 45 minutes up to Park City.  As much as I miss Texas and will never claim to be a Utahn, I can't deny that there are beautiful parts of this state and many of them are only an hour drive from us.  Park City is definitely one of those places! 

After we got checked in an moved into our "cottage", the first thing the kids wanted to do was jump in the huge hot tub sitting on our private deck.  Our view and all the amenities were absolutely amazing!!  After the kids played and played, I ran to the market to load up on groceries for the weekend.  Our unit had a full kitchen so we took total advantage of that.  We didn't have to eat a single meal out.

The next morning we all slept in until about 9:00, which was possible thanks to the black out curtains covering all of the GIANT windows.  We love that our kids are late sleepers.  Luckily we have never had a kid that is up at the crack of dawn if they are not sick or being awakened by someone else.
After yummy breakfast burritos, we headed out to the pool.  This was the first time I'd swam in a salt water pool and it was interesting.  It took some getting used to, that's for sure.  Devin worked on his swimming sans life jacket and did pretty well for a while, but then got tired and wanted to wear it again. 


We played and played until it was time to head back to our cottage for lunch at about 2:00.  Then we came back out to the pool and swam the rest of the afternoon.  I taught the kids how to play "categories" which was one of our favorite games to play at our neighborhood pool growing up.  I realized that day that one of the best ways to get a kid to be a strong swimmer is through swimming games.  Marco Polo, Sharks and Minos...etc.  It really is a good way to get them independent in the water.  Lots of other families were at the pool and before the end of the day, we had about 20 other kids playing games with us.  Most of them had never played pool games before and they thought it was a novelty!

When the kids were finally water logged from the pool, we headed back to the cottage.....so they could do MORE swimming in the hot tub.  Geeze, you' think these kids had gills!!  They had fun exploring the beautiful duck ponds around the hotel while I made spaghetti inside. 

Everyone was finally tired and we turned on the TV to find "Apollo 13" showing.  We watched it while I finished up dinner and like always, I cried my eyes out during the movie.  It's one of my all time favorites. 

A vacation wouldn't be complete without a dunk in the jetted tub!!

Uh oh, a bad Mommy forgot to reapply sunscreen after lunch!!

Sunday morning we had donuts for breakfast.  The last day of vacation is always a bummer, but everyone was really sun beaten from the day before.  After breakfast we got all packed up and cleaned the place a little and headed out to explore the hotel property.  The grounds and scenery are pretty breath taking.  Cody and I love it so much that we decided we want to have some sort of 20th wedding anniversary celebration there with our family in a few years.