Summer Girl


Tomorrow our sweet MaeMae will turn 7 years old.



I am so excited for her.

Every year this girl just gets better and better. 


She is fun and fearless.

Kind and nurturing.


When she laughs you laugh too. 

A loyal friend. 

Helpful and bold. 


I can't wait to see the woman she will become.

Because this girl…she will no doubt move mountains. 


Wild and Wonderful Wyoming


For the 4th of July we ventured up to the most northwestern part of Wyoming to explore the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Parks. 

Most of my experiences in Wyoming consist of driving along I-80 through the flat, dry, empty land. Its boring. And ugly.


But that little northwest corner is utterly breathtaking. The air is cool and crisp, the mountains burst thousands of feet up toward the never-ending sky, the lakes are filled with fresh snowmelt that rumbles down the mountains with amazing force, and the wildlife flourish. 

Easy and I kept wondering why we hadn't come here more when we lived in Rexburg. Then we remembered we were students, and working, and newly married. And broke.


Our first day there we rented 2 canoes and paddled around Jackson Lake. Ava and GM loved being big enough to help with the paddling. 

I'm not sure we did as much paddling as we did staring at those magnificent mountains.  We raced though and I made up silly songs for the girls as we went along. Rosie and Roo were the perfect little passengers. 


That afternoon we took a ferry across Jenny Lake and hiked up to Inspiration Point and Cascade Falls. 

Those Peaks! 

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In Yellowstone we timed Old Faithful just perfectly. Then saw it again after a little hike up the mountain with our crew. Watching that geysers blow is so epic.


Easy's sister and her husband are the ones who invited us on this grand adventure and they were the perfect people to have around. 


They engage the girls and are easy going, loving, helpful, and best of all so much fun!


Of course yellowstone is full of all sorts of geological wonders.


Grand Prismatic Spring was a favorite.


I loved Black Pool. 


And of course the Lower Falls were wild. I have never seen so much water pouring. I wish the pictures did more justice. Most of the bigger waterfalls I have seen are long and beautiful (Bridal Veil in UT, Multnomah in OR, Treasure in So CO) but this waterfall is downright scary! It's beautiful but scary-beautiful. Is there a word for that??? It kinda makes my hands shake a little just typing about it. Sheesh, Hayley get a grip! 

We sat staring at it for a long time and it kind of exhausted me. Probably because it made me so nervous as I imagined my own tragic death going over the edge. Hah! 


Onto something more relaxing - in the park we came across a lot of wildlife! Yay! Let's talk about fuzzy animals! 


We saw elk, buffalo, a grizzly from faaaaaar away, a coyote, and an eagle. 


We learned that a big black bear came into our camp a few sites away from our own and scared a family off their dinner table then went to town on their feast when rangers ran by our site yelling at us, "Stay close to your cars!" They eventually hit him with a bean-bag gun and he ran off. 


All the sightseeing is quite amazing, but with our little crew we have to balance it with time-off.

Tired hikers. 


Really, all they want to do is find a cool place to let their imaginations run wild. We had a picnic dinner at Yellowstone Lake and they played forever on the trees jetting out into the water. They hated it when we forced them away.


They are super good at accepting bribes and will usually power through a tough hike for the promise of ice cream. 


Luckily camp is quite fun too.

Sunday was quite nice as we just went to String Lake and enjoyed another picnic, sitting by the water, and wading a little. It was quite frigid. Actually, very frigid and we wished for a canoe or raft again - I think one is in our future.

That evening we attended the Jackson Lake Lodge branch for sacrament meeting and 2 of our 4 kiddos crashed in the middle of the meeting. Rosie in E's arm and GM against his shoulder. I think we did a pretty great job wearing them out.


We left Wyoming with our hearts so full. I love these grand little adventures with our family. Getting out and exploring the world is our absolute favorite pastime. It's hard and yes, exhausting, but it's worth it every. single. time.



Bishop Castle


In the hills east of Pueblo, CO lies a project that trumps all other projects. A single man has been constructing a castle since the 1960's. 


The structure doesn't adhere to building codes of any sort and as you tour around it you conclude from the constant pit in your stomach that it is very unsafe, but of course we traversed the precarious walkways holding onto questionable railings, and prayed no one would step on a nail or fall off a ledge.



There is no room or area that is off limits, the building is a work in progress where there is occasionally a little red tape, but for the most part you just wander around and admire the craftsmanship.


We did not run into Jim Bishop that day, but the word is that he us up there most weekends working on his project.



The Great Sand Dunes


I can't believe I neglected to post about our trip to the sand dunes! It was at the tail end of our Mesa Verde trip, I had gotten all my photos ready a few weeks ago, and then I just missed it posting it. Weird. 


Near the sand dunes is a waterfall called Zapata Falls. You can't actually see the falls in this pic - it is around the corner. What you can see is that huge block of ice melting directly into the stream, which is why wet are holding the girls and cringing a little. There were tears - mostly my own. 


The sand dunes are amazing, but the stream of fresh snowmelt coming down the mountains and creating Medano Creek throughout the dunes make it the perfect "beachy" getaway. The kids played all day long running up and down the changing stream bed.


We made sand castles and had water fights while soaking up the sun while wrapping our heads around the incredible views. 


We had some friends that met us and camped with us making it even more fun. 


The next day, before taking off we hiked the dunes a little and did some sand-sledding.

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This GM is such an adventurer at heart.


Easy's dad made a great video for us that sums it all up better than I ever could in words: 


Good Reads


We are doing American Girl Book Club again this summer and couldn't be more excited about it. Every week a new book is read and on Monday's the girls meet together with their dolls for activities and a little book talk. 

This time we chose to read Lanie - a cute northeastern girl with a love for the outdoors. Kinda perfect for us, right? 

We started out making roasting sticks. For the girls I cute 1" round dowels into 5" pieces then drilled a hole in one end for the wire. I also cut up a 1/4" round dowel into 1.5" pieces for them to make skewers for their dolls. The girls sanded, painted, and I sealed their sticks then we glued the wires in with Gorilla Glue.

After they were all ready to go we roasted "mini smores" with mini marshmallows, Golden Grahams, and chocolate chips. The girls absolutely died over this and my girls continued to roast for hours after the party was over. 

We also picked radishes from my garden, pitched tent and made bird feeders from birdseed and gelatin (first pic) then ate watermelon and trail mix for a snack. 

I cannot tell you how fun this is for these sweet girls. 

So far this summer they have read:

Kaya's Escape and made doll teepee's
Kit and made binoculars and their own journals to keep track of all this fun
Kirsten and made aprons for them selves + their dolls and homemade butter
and just this week they read Isabelle and made ballet tutus and barres for their dolls + learned a dance

Our book club last year.

I have also been reading up a storm lately. 


I just finished Free-Range Kids which I loved and will forever think about. 

Other recent favorites: 

What are you reading?

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