Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Feels

Right now, I'm feeling all sorts of things. Good things, bad things. Emotions that contradict each other. I think the words "all over the place" describe me well.

Yes, I'm all over the place.

I'm feeling conflicted. Zoe has been in special ed preschool for speech therapy since November, and she hates it. As a result, I hate it. Yesterday, for the first time, I started seriously considering other options.

I'm feeling overwhelmed. I'm taking a class right now that has the reputation for being very difficult. I hoped the rumors were exaggerated, but they're not. I've done 6-8 hours of homework every day this week for ONE class. I've already done 2 hours this morning, and it's only 8:30.

I'm feeling forgotten. It's lonely and uncomfortable here on the back burner.

I'm feeling excited. It's amazing how much of an impact it can have on life when you have something to look forward to. My friend offered to watch my kids on Friday so I can go do something with Scotty. I need this!

I'm feeling blessed. Some things have fallen into place over the past few weeks that allow me to see how involved God is in our lives. Sometimes that can be scary, but I can't help but notice how truly blessed we are.

I'm feeling irresponsible. I made some stupid mistakes and totally messed up our budget for this month. I'm struggling with keeping on top of things financially as I become more and more scatter-brained.

I'm feeling motivated. I listened to a podcast yesterday about morning routines. I am a big believer in morning productivity, so I spent the entire podcast nodding and refraining from yelling YES! (the kids were asleep). Then I remembered that I have very little control over my mornings since I am ruled by a team of tiny dictators.

What are you feeling today?

Monday, April 25, 2016

How to REALLY get to Glitter Mountain

Last week, Scotty went on a trip to Disneyland without us.

Without us!

But no worries. Due to my excellence in wife-ness, I was fully supportive of this abandonment. Scotty went with three friends, and while slightly jealous, I was absolutely fine with it since it meant I'd get a picture of four grown men riding Winnie the Pooh.

Four Boys in a Beehive

While the fellas were in Disneyland, I took off on a southern journey to Saint George with my Nameless Sister-in-Law. I've been to Saint George lots of times, but I haven't really experienced Saint George. I've been to plays at the Tuachan, attended Time Out for Women, and spent a few moments in Zion, but there is a lot of Saint George that I haven't discovered. It's usually just a stopping point on the way to somewhere else, so this is the first time I've gone to Saint George as a "destination." That, of course, meant I had to google "things to do in Saint George," and in doing so, I came up with this idea to go to a place called Glitter Mountain.

I found a couple of obscure blogs with directions that seemed reliable, and Nameless found the same sources and also assumed them reliable, so one night, after dinner, we attempted to go to Glitter Mountain. The whole spiel about Glitter Mountain is that it is a former gypsum mining site, and it sparkles in the sunlight. It's supposed to be beautiful... amazing... and glimmery. It was supposed to knock our socks of.

Our attempt to go to Glitter Mountain went bad right away. The first error in the directions was an incorrect street name. "Turn on Washington Fields Road" it said... Well, let me tell you something about this Washington Fields Road. It's not called "Washington Fields Road" at the intersection where we needed to turn. It's called 300 Freaking East (or 300 East, as the sign reads). So if you drive up and down the street for half an hour looking for Washington Fields Road, you won't find it. But don't worry, 300 East magically turns into Washington Fields Road a few miles later, so if you have psychic powers, you'll probably know that immediately when you see the sign that does not say Washington Fields Road at all.

So let me tell you how to really get to Glitter Mountain.

Saint George

Once you're on 300 East, within a few miles, you will come across some construction with a sign that says "Local Access Only." You can just ignore that because you've already been driving for an hour. You'll drive through the construction and formulate a story about "going to that house right there" in case there is a question of why you are driving on a road you're technically not allowed on.

The construction will pass, and eventually, you'll go under an overpass, and then you can get on the dirt road. But see, the obscure blog directions don't tell you that you are supposed to turn right onto the dirt road, so when the road straight in front of you turns to dirt, you will definitely think you're going the right way.

You can then drive 10 miles at 15 mph and wonder why one of the blogs said you can take a van when clearly everyone else who drives there owns a truck or an ATV. People will pass you and look at you funny, but mostly, you will be completely isolated and wonder how long it will take to hike back to civilization by foot in an emergency.

At some point, you will find cattle.

  Saint George 

They will block the road. They will moo in your window. Their babies will look at you like you're a monster. The babies will run away from you, and as a result, head the opposite direction of their mommies and blame you for a lifetime of insecurity.

Saint George 

You will only have to drive for like forty minutes before the road ends in the middle of a cattle corral. You will almost drive into the corral but then you'll think, "Wait, why am I driving into a cattle corral?"

At that point, your sister-in-law will look at her phone and realize she has one tiny bar of service. You will hold absolutely still while she looks up the directions on multiple blogs to compare. One of the blogs will mention turning right after the overpass. You will look at each other and discuss the possibility of a second dirt road 10 miles back that you didn't notice. You will drive back. The kids will be very upset. You will have many feelings that you should just return to your hotel, but pride will keep you on the hunt for Glitter Mountain. You will think, "By darn! Even if I arrive by dark of night, I am finding that stupid mountain, and then I am writing hate mail to all of these bloggers with their useless directions!"

Saint George 

You will drive forty minutes back to the underpass where you will discover that, indeed, there is a dirt road to the right. You will rejoice because the road is smooth and you can drive fast. But then you will be sad because it gets washboardy and you will have to go slow.

At some point, you will realize you are heading north, which makes no sense because you are supposed to cross the Arizona border. You will come to a place where the road narrows and only ATVs can continue on. You will turn around and drive back to a fork in the road where you turn south. You will find the Arizona/Utah border, and at that point, maniacal laughter will flow from your very soul.

 Saint George 

You will continue on for who-knows-how-long, and just when you begin to question your path, you will see a few cars parked by a small, rocky hill.

You will realize that there is nothing about the hill that stands out. If you hadn't seen cars there, you would have missed it, but sure enough, upon closer inspection, it is Glitter Mountain, but there is no glitter because the sun is behind the clouds and it's nearly dusk.

You will yell at Glitter Mountain for being stupid. You will also curse all those people on the internet who said Glitter Mountain was cool, because good heavens! You just spent three hours lost on dirt roads to end up at a small hill that didn't even shimmer!

You will swear to go home and write correct directions on your blog to help all the people on the internets who want to see Glitter Mountain. But then, you will go to get your baby out of the car and decide to change her diaper, removing it promptly, only to discover that she is poopy (unbeknownst to you), and while you are attempting to find wipes with one hand, your baby will stand up in her car seat while you hold her dirty diaper to her bottom with the other hand. And right in that instant, you will feel something wet splattering on your foot, and it will be your son standing next to you. Peeing.

Saint George

At that point, you won't really remember how you got to Glitter Mountain. You will just know that you did, and that it took a really long time.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

The Castle Amphitheater

From the time I was very young, I have been fascinated by the social sciences, particularly behavior and mental health. In my AP Psychology course in high school, we learned about some of the historically controversial means for mental health treatment - isolation, lobotomies, and ice baths to name a few - and I became interested in the way mental healthcare has advanced through history, particularly the reformation of what used to be termed the "insane" or "lunatic" asylum.

I wouldn't go so far to as to say that I know a lot on the subject, but I would say that I dabble in it. I enjoy reading historical articles and journals on the topic (I am currently working through Ten Days in a Mad-House by Nellie Bly), and I also enjoy fictional explorations, such as the book What She Left Behind by Ellen Marie Wiseman (which is terribly written, but the subject of the insane asylum is there) and the movie Stonehearst Asylum.

When I was a child, I went to visit a family member at the Utah State Hospital in Provo, which is a psychiatric facility. Up on the hill above the hospital, there was an old "castle" that was part of the original hospital campus. While my family was visiting the hospital, we went up to the castle (which is actually an amphitheater) and looked around. I misunderstood what the building was, so I found it quite spooky at the time. All I knew was that it was part of an old mental hospital and that it was used as a haunted house during Halloween, and the patients were the cast. I imagined (as many people do) that the castle was full of crazy, dangerous people. There were all sorts of rumors about violent patients and even a story of someone getting stabbed, but that wasn't true. I didn't know that, though, so I walked around the castle as a child, peering into windows and imagining a slew of horrific things. I was eerily fascinated by the place.

The truth was that, yes, patients from the hospital ran the haunted house. They set it up and acted the roles, but it was a source of recreation, fundraising, and responsibility for those patients. They were not dangerous or violent, but the public fed off of the mental patient stigma, and eventually NAMI shut down the haunted house for ethical reasons, which is completely understandable. It is sad, though, because those who worked in the haunted house reported positive experiences in doing so (you can see this as you click through the comments on various blogs and news articles about the amphitheater, where former patients have chimed in).

I only went to the castle once as a child, but I have always wanted to go back. Two weeks ago, Scotty and I drove down to Provo with the kids to see if we could get to it. The road is gated, and there is a sign that makes it pretty clear that you're not supposed to be there without permission, so we were bummed and thought we probably wouldn't get to see it. Scotty stopped at the administration building and talked to an employee, though, and she told us we could go up. I didn't realize it until I'd been given permission that I needed to go there. For reasons I can't explain, I needed to see it again and understand it better, not only the castle, but the entire campus of the hospital.

Provo Adventures

Provo AdventuresProvo Adventures

I think the castle amphitheater is really cool, and now that I've been there again, I can imagine it better as a setting from my childhood.  I didn't understand, as a child, that it was an amphitheater. I think I thought it was an abandoned torture chamber for the mentally ill that conveniently deteriorated in the shape of stairs.

As you can tell from my crappy cell phone pictures, it makes a great place for wedding photos. It's probably a landmark that everyone in Provo easily recognizes, but for me (being from an hour north) it was pretty exciting.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Bathroom Update

Back in February, I did a small update on my bathroom. I didn't get around to posting before and after pictures, and frankly, it doesn't matter if I do or don't because it really isn't that amazing, but for the sake of blog fodder, here I go. 

(Also, taking decent pictures of a bathroom is incredibly difficult, especially when you're lazy). 

Two things happened that started my bathroom renovation (it wasn't exactly planned):

Thing #1: A friend offered me some leftover chalk paint (black) and encouraged me to find something to use it on.

Thing #2: I found a mistinted quart of paint in a pretty blue shade at Lowe's for $5.

I decided to use the black chalk paint on my vanity and use the blue paint on the wall. In a plot twist, my friend couldn't find the chalk paint she promised me, so I ended up texting Cyndi all day long for two days in a row and gleaning from her knowledge of home-made chalk paint (which I made with some white mistinted paint I'd purchased over a year ago and had never used).

Here is what my bathroom looked like before the re-do (pretend the medicine cabinet is still on the wall):

Bathroom "Before"

Here is the wall behind the door (note the hardware falling off the wall - that went on for about three years because we are classy people):

Bathroom "Before"

Here is my bathroom now:

Bathroom Reno
(apparently my size options for this photo - a panoramic shot - are HECKA HUGE or too small)

I wanted to add something kind of unique to the bathroom, so when I found that funky, mosaic mirror at Ross, I decided to give it a try. I knew I would probably regret not finding some type of cabinet for storage, but I got the mirror anyway! So far it hasn't been a problem, but in a few years when I have three teenage daughters, I'm probably going to need a wall cabinet of some sort.

Here is a better look of the newly painted vanity with an introduction of a life lesson:

Bathroom Reno

Since I've lived with my choices for two months now, I can give you some insider information based on experience. The black rug is so messy. It shows every little speck, and it won't come clean! No amount of washing, beating, or vacuuming can make that rug look clean, so I'm already in the market for something different. Luckily, rugs are easily replaceable.

Anyway, I'm mostly satisfied with the re-do I wish I could have done something for the flooring and the faucet, but those things will have to wait. The paint on the vanity is holding up well (last week I coated it with polyurethane for extra protection). The vanity cost me less than $12 to update, and the paint for the walls was $5, so it was a very affordable update (you know, before I bought expensive shelves and a light fixture). 

Friday, April 15, 2016

Celebrating Eva

It's tax day.

But more than that, today is Eva's first birthday. A year ago yesterday, Salt Lake City was hit with a freak snowstorm that put enough other women in labor that I was booted from the hospital (I was first in line to be induced that day) until after 11:00 p.m.

After a very calm and peaceful labor (my first without problems), Eva came into the world. She barely beat the sunrise the next morning (I'd hoped to finally have a baby during daylight hours).

We named her Evalene after my grandparents, Evans and Marlene. It is the perfect name for her since she was born with a serious face, pokey-outey ears, and a large head - all common traits in that side of the family.

New Baby April 2015 

Also, my grandpa passed away within the year.

Eva fit into our family right away. It wasn't long before we knew how feisty an opinionated she is - just like her sisters. She likes to yell to get people's attention. She will hit you if you make her mad. She screams with every emotion, positive or negative.

Eva is adored by her siblings. She has been smothered, squished, and loved to no end. She's also been sat on, dropped, and steam-rolled. It's not easy being the fourth, but we know one thing: she is a tough little cookie!


Eva was my first bald baby, so it was fun to watch and wait for her hair to come in. She is the blondest and will, perhaps, will be a tow-head like her daddy was.

Little Cody0002 

She was born with a scowl, and it hasn't gone away. All of my kids have been somewhat serious babies, but none so much as Eva. People are always commenting on her serious face. It is what it is.


But when she does smile, you can catch a glimpse of her unique bottom tooth. It has a slit in it, and when it first started growing in, I was terrified because I thought it was two teeth, and I didn't know how teeth so thin could survive the first five or six years of her life.


Eva likes to play with hoodie strings and cell phones. She loves eating french fries, beans, goldfish crackers, and cheese (especially cheese). She wants to help wipe things and will often try to wipe the table, the floor, and even her older sister's bottom.

She doesn't show a lot of interest in walking just yet, but she gets to where she wants to be by crawling. She is lightning fast at climbing up the stairs, and she recently started climbing up the playground at the park. She also likes climbing onto the rocking chair at home.


Eva has a a naughty streak already. She has no problem sorting through her food and throwing anything she doesn't like on the floor (green beans and eggs). Sometimes she'll sneakily set the food she doesn't want next to me on the table when I'm looking away, and then she acts like she doesn't know how it got there.

She has been known to chuck things out of anger. Don't try to sooth her with a toy or a sippy cup when she's angry because she'll nail you between the eyes. And she's not afraid to slam her head into your face and give you a fat lip.

Eva is not a snuggly baby, but she likes to give hugs. She waves bye and can say "Hi," "Bye," "Mom," and "Dad." Mostly, though, she just yells, "Eh!" and points at things. She's pretty good at getting everyone's attention by being loud (my neighbors can attest to this since they've heard her yelling across the street), and you have something she wants, she'll motion with her hands to "gimme, gimme!"

It's hard to believe that a year has already gone by, but at the same time, I can't imagine that there was ever a time when we didn't have Eva. She has been a wonderful addition to our family, and we love her so much! I can't wait to see where she goes from here!


Saturday, April 9, 2016

Currently {April 2016 Edition}

Reading: I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak. This is one of my favorite books and fits with my New Years resolution of re-reading five books (I have re-read one other book so far, Jurassic Park, which, actually, is the only non-school book I've read this year. I used to read 2-3 books a week! Wow! Things have changed!)

Painting: a bedroom, a closet, a nightstand, a hallway, a door, two beds (with a third in queue), and a chicken coop. I started all of these this week and will hopefully finish all of them before I start school in a week.

Learning: that perhaps I should start and finish one project at a time rather than start twenty projects and finish none of them. 

Watching: Hayley Mills movies. Scotty and I disagree about which movie has the worse ending - Summer Magic or Pollyanna. I think Summer Magic's ending is terrible and inconclusive. Scotty and Nicky think Pollyanna is worse. I don't think the movie did as good a job as the book at ending Pollyanna's story, but it's better than Summer Magic, for Heaven's sake!

Wearing: a thing that is like a robe but not quite robe. It has pockets and a hood, and it zips up. I bought it to take to the hospital when I had Nicky. Sometimes I call it my housecoat, which inspired me to Google "housecoat" just for this blog post, and I ended up reading this article. While I found it interesting, it didn't help me decide what to call the piece of clothing I am wearing, so I'm just gonna go with "the thing." What I am wearing? The thing. And while I'm on the topic, everyone should really get a thing. I love it! I've had it for  over nine years, and I wear it almost every morning.

Looking forward to: game night.

Eating: Pioneer Woman's macaroni and cheese (as per Nicky's request), Caesar salad, and grapes, followed by crepes for dessert (that's our game night menu for this week).

Craving: banana pancakes with coconut syrup. It's approaching 7:00 a.m. Why am I not making this right now?

(Because I don't have all of the ingredients, and I'm headed to a workout group).

Laughing about: several week ago, while purchasing some anti-chaffing product online, I stumbled across this product, so I took a screenshot and sent it to Scotty. Nicky just found the picture on Scotty's phone, and he has a million questions.

Dreading: a possible tonsillectomy for Zoe. We had a really awful experience with Daisy's (she refused to take her medication, and if we forced it, she would scream until she threw up (screaming + freshly removed tonsils = disaster!) so I had to have Lortab suppositories custom made every five days for two weeks).

Procrastinating: getting dressed, but it's time, so farewell for now. I need to go change out of the thing.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016


I'm following the lead of my pal Feisty Harriet and posting a Love/Hate list today. This used to be a "thing," but I never did it. I'm always a fan of being ten years behind, which is why I only recently watched the Gilmore Girls.

Love: that the local Smith's grocery store has white blossomed trees throughout the parking lot, and it makes a hideous place look almost beautiful.

Hate: our local Smith's.

Love: the Smith's in the next city over.

Hate: that I feel like I'm cheating on my city if I drive into the next city to go to Smith's.

Love: that both Smith's have free fruit for children.

Hate: that this has become a post about Smith's.

Love: texting friends about TV shows.

Love: that my kid are able to play outside most days now.

Hate: that my friend is moving, but I'm not going to mention her by name because I don't want to make her feel bad, and maybe if I don't say her name, she'll think I'm talking about someone else, and there won't be any guilt on either of our parts.

Hate: that Ross treats customers like garbage, and yet, I just can't stop going there. I mean, what kind of store won't let their employees hand you a receipt? Thank you, Ross, for doing your part to eliminate humanity.

Love: My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2. Last week Scotty and I snuck away for an evening and saw the movie, and we had a great laugh.

Hate: That My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 was much filthier than the original. Part of what I liked about the first movie is that it was relatively clean and still hilarious.

Love: that old TV shows are doing revivals, which leads me to this genius idea: old bloggers should also do revivals. All in favor of the return of all the oldies, say "I."

Love: fresh coats of paint. Our remodel is moving along slowly but surely. We're working on painting Daisy's room, and today I bought a sample to try on Nicky's room.

Love: that I am actually sad about this semester of school ending. I loved my classes, and I'm not ready to be done with them.

Love: well-written final exams that adequately test a person's knowledge of the subject matter. I love taking a good test (key word: 'good' because we all know there are some horribly written tests out there, and to them I say, "Poo poo!")

Hate: waiting for my instructor to grade my final. You guys... I actually think there's a chance I'll get 100%. It just depends on how she grades a few of my essay questions. I studied my butt off, so a 100% would be so amazing! But a 97% would keep me humble, so...

Hate: that my kids fight in the backyard, and I have to parent them through the window. (And to think, I used to get so annoyed with my neighbor for yelling at her dogs. At least the dogs didn't yell back).

Love: that my book exchange group is getting up and running again.

Hate: that the book I ordered for my book group isn't going to be delivered until April 16 at the earliest, so I might need to make a last-minute switch. 

Love: that my baby is going to turn one next week.

Hate: that my baby is going to turn one next week.


Are you loving/hating anything today?

Sunday, April 3, 2016

The Half Marathon Diaries

My history with half marathons is this:

I ran one once.

That was two years ago this month.

Since having Eva, it's been a little hard for me to get into a good place physically. I started running again, but I struggled to make it a regular practice. It's hard when you have to start over. I fell into a habit of comparing myself to myself, and that can be brutal.

Nine weeks ago, my friend, Rachael, asked me if I wanted to do a half marathon. I had no intention of doing any races this year. Not even a 5k. When she asked me, I spent the next 18 hours mulling it over. I was barely making it through 3 milers at the time, and when I mapped out what my training would look like over nine short weeks, I needed to double my mileage within a week. It seemed impossible, so I didn't commit to the race, but I committed to attempt one month of training, and if I stayed on track, I'd register.

In a shocking turn of events, I went from 3 miles to 13.1 miles by week 6. I ran 13.1 again on week 7. Then I tapered and did the half marathon on week 9. I definitely could have used some more thorough training, but it was good to know that I could do it. I just needed to be patient with myself and not worry about speed.

The two things that got me through my training were:

1. Running with other people
2. Taking photos along the way

I always tried to find something to take a picture of to document my run. This motivated me to get out, and it helped me enjoy the experience. Here are some of my pictures from my training:

3 miles 

4 miles 

6 miles 

8 miles 

9 miles

13 miles

13 miles 

Like I said, I did my training runs with other people (the long ones, at least), but for the actual race, I would be running solo. This terrified me, to some degree, because when I'm alone, it's easy to give up. 

The race was Saturday, and things went well, for the most part. I did a lot of mental and emotional prep. I had music ready, and I downloaded the Mormon Channel app so I could stream General Conference.

Around mile 10, I started to feel the craziness setting in, though. I was starting to daydream about laying down in the gutter and waiting for my family to come find me. It didn't help when I passed a couch on the curb with a FREE sign on it. I needed to do something to keep myself going, so I turned my music up and started dancing. I can't remember what I was listening to when I hit mile 11, but I started skipping. Skipping is probably counterproductive in a race since it expends more energy and covers less ground over time, but you gotta do what you gotta do. I skipped until the runner in front of me turned around to see where his friend was and then I felt a little awkward, so I stopped, but as soon as the dude turned around, I started doing the robot.

I danced for about two miles, and then I hit a four-way stop with lots of cars and police officers doing traffic control, and I was a little too visible to keep up with my dancing.

The last mile was a combination of running and walking. Rachael met me before the finish line and ran me in. My family was also waiting for me, and that's always a good feeling.

Daisy presented me with my medal


One thing that was a little bit challenging about this race it that I was used to running in cold weather and in the dark. The race started at 9:00 a.m. so there was sun shining on me the entire time, and it was about 20 degrees warmer than I'm acclimated to. I definitely had some heat exhaustion going on, and it caught up to me about an hour after the race. I also had some pretty intense welts on both arms from my arm band. This was never a problem in my training because I always wore long sleeves.

It wouldn't be a proper racing experience without a few horrifying consequences, though.

I'm just glad I can say I did it!

Me & Rachael

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Little Journeys

Last week we took off for a little getaway. I'd been itching to go somewhere, so a few weeks ago, I proposed the idea to Scotty, and he was on board. We decided to head south-east and hit Goblin Valley and Arches National Park.

Traveling with children is not easy. Let's establish this early in this post.

Hotel rooms and campgrounds were scarce, so we ended up booking two nights at the Motel 6 in Green River.

Remember how I said traveling with children is not easy? Well, staying at the Motel 6 in Green River with children is especially not easy. And here is my question: when a hotel is terrible, should I write an online review, or should it just be expected that a Motel 6 in Green River isn't going to be great? Part of me thinks it should be assumed, but the other part of me really wants to type out all of the reasons.

But I digress.

On Thursday, we drove straight to Goblin Valley. One thing that's great about Goblin Valley is that you don't have to walk very far to enjoy the rock formations. You just go down a slope and then your kids can run from rock to rock to their hearts' content. The bad things about Goblin Valley is that you could lose a kid very easily. Regardless, our family enjoys the state park. My kids love climbing, so it's perfect for them.

Goblin Valley

Goblin Valley  

We spent about two hours playing among the hoodoos, and then we decided to leave and head over to Little Wild Horse to hike the slot canyons. 

(I have no idea why the text is now blue, but I can't get it to stay black). 

After the short drive, Zoe was asleep, and Daisy was super cranky, so we hung out in the van for a while to "rest." As we were sitting there, I realized that attempting the hike had "bad idea" written all over it. You have to hike for quite a while to get to the slots - not far for an adult, but far for kids, and if Zoe got two miles in and threw a tantrum, we'd be in big trouble. I was sad to admit the truth, but I knew we shouldn't do it. I told Scotty, and he agreed, so with much sorrow, we left. 

We needed to burn some time before we retired to our hotel for the night, so we went to dinner at Ray's Tavern. It has great reviews online, but we weren't very impressed. Partially because a bar isn't very equipped to deal with large families. Also, it was full of spring breakers who had come for Jeep Safari Week in Moab.

After dinner we went to Swasay Beach, and our kids were in heaven, especially Zoe who is our little beach bum. 

The beach is right along the river, so it was a lot of fun. We let Eva crawl around in the sand, and it was hilarious to watch her. 

Swasay Beach 

We also stuck her in a hole, and she wasn't very thrilled with that. 

Swasay Beach

There weren't many people there, so that was nice, but we were a little shocked when we saw a dad walk down to the water right in front of us and hold his daughter naked-bottomed over the river so she could pee in it. There was an outhouse right there!

After everyone's pants were full of sand, we went to our hotel and spent a long, miserable night in beds that were way too small. The good news is we had no problem having everyone up and ready to get to Arches National Park when they opened at 8:00, and because we arrived so early, they were short staffed, and we got in for free!

We saw a lot of the arches. We didn't do the hike to Delicate Arch, but we went and saw it from the lookout point below. Nicky wanted to hike it, and I was going to take him while Scotty stayed in the car with sleeping children, but he changed his mind after he ate lunch. 




Arches National Park is incredible, so if you ever have the chance to go, you have my recommendation. I've been three times, and each time, it has blown my mind. It's like entering another world.


When we left Arches, we wanted to stop at a little malt shop in Moab. We went around 3:00, thinking it wouldn't be packed, but oh my! It was ridiculously crowded, so we opted for the Moab Diner instead.

Then we went to Hole N the Rock, which is a quirky little tourist spot where, 60 years ago, a family dug out a huge hole in a rock and built a house in it.

On our way out of Moab, we stopped at the large sand dune across the street from the entrance to Arches. Our kids love sand. It's not my favorite thing, but I deal with it so they will think they had a magical, sand-filled childhood.

The hill is intense, though the picture doesn't do it justice. Nicky and Daisy climbed to the top, and it took them several minutes. After a while, I decided I wanted to climb it, so I set out on the journey. For every step forward, you slide half a step back. I had to stop and rest several times. It was quite a calf burner. 

A little while later, Scotty climbed it, and he too had to take a few rests on the way up. It's a crazy workout!

(If anyone has climbed this dune, you need to chime in!)

After our dune climbing adventures, we went to Crystal Geyser. The drive there is the type of route that makes me think, "We could break down out here and die and no one would find us for days!!!" Fortunately we didn't test that theory. 

When we got there, it was windy and freezing, so we didn't stay long. In fact, most of this trip was very cold. 

We stayed away from our hotel for as long as possible. Then we had another long, miserable night. Kids started getting up at 4:30, and we had to keep them quiet until 6:40 when we left for a restaurant that opened at 7:00. We had a delicious breakfast at the Tamarisk Restaurant (I had the Tamarisk omelet, which had mushrooms, bacon, and cream cheese).

From there we began our journey home.

Like I said, traveling with kids isn't easy, but by the time it's done, all of the awful parts melt away. Unless you stay at Motel 6. You don't forget that part.