Love Where You Live Series: Zion National Park

A Love Where You Live series was inspired by two thoughts —

kicking the mindset of wishing for a better day/week/life somewhere tropical to the curb
+ all of the places that I regretted not visiting when we moved away from utah for california in 2012

I hoping to inspire you in some little way to love where you live, wherever that may be, through this series. If you happen to live or plan to visit Utah I hope these posts will be helpful as you look for adventures to do on your own! So get your national park pass and let’s do this.


The first stop for our series this summer led us to Zion National Park, in Southern Utah. I spent my freshman year of college a few minutes west of the park but managed to only go once that entire year. Landon and I had been once, the first year we were married, but when the weather showed it as the only stop on our bucket list not getting rain or snow this past weekend we didn’t mind.


Once Landon got home from work Friday evening — we packed a few bags, through a tent and sleeping bags in the car (changed a headlight or two) and headed south to Cedar City for the night. Normally I’d be all for staying the night a little closer to the park, and camping it up, but we grabbed a hotel room off of Priceline and cuddled up for the night: three of us in the bed and Paityn on the floor in her sleeping bag, because she saw Landon pack it in the car and wasn’t so keen on having to wait till the next night to sleep in it.

In the morning we got ready for the day, grabbed breakfast together still at the hotel then headed off to find sunscreen and groceries. I was optimistic and looking forward to getting some sun on my arms and having sandal tan lines by the end of the weekend. Turns out we spent the morning with our jackets + hoods on… but it was nice to not have to worry about protecting little Hudson from the sun for our first real adventure together. I’m a silver lining kinda girl. 
Though 90% of the time when you hear about Zion National Park, you’re hearing about a stretch on the south end of the park — there’s a lot more to explore than that. Landon talked me into switching it up and scoping out the Kolab Canyon/north-west side of Zion’s that morning. And oh that husband of mine has the best ideas sometimes. Even when I don’t recognize it at first haha.

We checked in at the visitor’s center to show them our pass then had our jaws hit the floor as we began to drive through the Canyons. You guys, Southern Utah is gorgeous. That red rock just makes my heart giddy.

I’m not going to lie — everything took longer this trip than I expected. We found an area/trail that we wanted to explore, parked and then Hudson had to nurse. And then Paityn needed a diaper change. And then Hudson needed her diaper changed. And then a storm blew in so we changed her into warmer clothes. But I tried to not stress, figuring at 5 weeks postpartum I could pat myself on the back for whatever happened that day. We ended up taking the Lee Pass Trailhead which was easy peezy for the bit that we did. Beautiful views of the canyons without much work (:


Around noon or so, give or take an hour, we were on the shuttle (having driven the rest of the way down to Springvale) headed to the Visitor’s Center. Not wanting to do a play by play for the rest of the day, here are things that worked (or didn’t work for us) —

  • Get there early if you can! (haha) The parking lots inside of the park fill up quickly. Have no fear — they’ve planned for this and have street parking starting in Springvale with frequent stops to get you into the park. But this does add time which can be a bugger if you’re wanting to be on a trail
  • Have a plan. Map out a few hikes you’d like to do — Landon and I loved Angel’s Landing and Riverside Walk continued with the Narrows day hike last time we’d been but didn’t feel up for either with two littles. The first has sketchier footings at the top and the second includes a decent amount of wading through water through the Narrows.
  • There are plenty of simple trails to do with kids so we chose the shorter Emerald Pool Trail and grabbed lunch at the Zion’s Lodge stop and ate that $13 burger combo out on the large field of grass while letting Paityn run around.
  • Skip having to grab overpriced burgers or slices of pizza in the canyon if you can. See above mistake haha. But that’s just me! I’m always thinking in terms of — this could’ve been sushi.
  • Stop and take in the views, don’t let the rush of people doing their own thing throw you off. Take those extra moments, tell your significant other to wait just one more second for you. Take a billion pictures, or just enjoy it camera free. You can’t go wrong.

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All in all it was a beautiful weekend. Southern Utah completely has my heart, and I’m looking forward to spending all summer exploring the red rock parts of this state. Hike wise I’m realizing now we really only got two in this weekend — but I must not have noticed at the time because that wasn’t why we were really there. I wasn’t there for a workout or to work off lunch; we were there to take in the beautiful scenes of the area and to spend time with the girls. Mission freaking accomplished.

Bonus: Paityn picked up the words “hike” and “tent” and has asked to do it again all day today. Oh we love that girl.

Life Lately

one of my favorite moms Karra shared this tag on her blog just us & the babes, and I wanted to join in to keep it going. here’s a few thoughts from our life this week:

EXCITED ABOUT | our little 10’x4′ raised bed garden and Landon’s cheerful face as of late
LOVING | photos of tiny houses and walks in the evening with the girls
WORKING ON  | creating a backdrop for photos of our baby girl later this week // tutorials here + here
READING  | Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin. the short review: two thumbs up
BROWSING | summer hat options, determined to find one I love this year. send help
HULU – ING | brooklyn nine -nine, fresh off the boat ++ shark tank
WISHING FOR | well, a little home gym to workout in while the girls nap this afternoon wouldn’t suck
SIPPING | diet coke
WONDERING | where we’ll be this fall and all about herb gardens. and if I’m deficient in magnesium.
LOOKING FORWARD TO | bryce canyon this weekend!
NERVOUS ABOUT | money + if I’m on track with postpartum progress. thankfully both are fixable  ♡


Temple Square in the Springtime

As my due date neared at the end of March/beginning of April I started crossing my fingers that I’d go into labor right before General Conference and Easter weekend. Nothing sounded quite as lovely as watching conference in our hospital room with a new babe to cuddle. Of course I didn’t go into labor early and spent conference weekend having false contraction… but! being on temple square with that new babe this past weekend felt almost as sweet.

We let Paityn lead the way as we walked through the gates — through rows and rows of flowers she stopped to smell as many as she could. When we found ourselves on the East side, I hung back a bit and let she and Landon run around, taking in the peace that can always be found on those grounds as well as all of the other families happily running around and wedding parties taking photos outside of the temple.

The sweet moments passed as a storm blew in and we ran for cover inside the visitor’s center. It all went downhill from there with a blowout diaper, realizing all of our diapers were back in the car, an all out tantrum from Paityn over not getting a glass bottled San Pellegrino in Blue Lemon where we stopped for a quick sugar cookie only to find out they were out, and continued meltdown city till we’d wrangled her back in her carseat and begun to drive home. But for a few moments there, oh I could’ve sworn we were in heaven. (:

IMG_8497IMG_8483IMG_8521-2 IMG_8488IMG_8468“Some old-fashioned things like fresh air and sunshine are hard to beat.”

Love Where You Live: Rockport State Park, UT

When Landon and I started making a plan for what to do last weekend and camping came up I didn’t miss a beat: “yes, yes, yes!” We hadn’t been camping since last winter when we camped in the snow with Chelsea and Josh. It was time to get outside again.

Friday after work we packed up and headed up to SLC to meet up with Avery and Trever and head over to Rockport State Park. It was late and dark by the time we got in, so we picked a site at random and begun to pitch our tents and get settled in for the night — all the while being surrounded by (what felt like) hundreds of deer and a cool breeze.

The temperature quickly dropped in the short time it took till Landon, Paityn and I were all cuddled up in our tent but I didn’t think anything of it. That was until I woke up 500 times in the middle of the night on account of a full bladder, because, hello I’m 37 weeks pregnant and why didn’t I think of this? At some point late into the night the potential of facing a deer and the certain cold and darkness wasn’t as miserable sounding as I felt staying in the tent. Moments later, tucked back in our sleeping bag I was suddenly beyond hungry; you know because there was now room for food. Pregnancy is so awkward sometimes. IMG_4626

Somehow I got enough sleep that night and joined everyone for breakfast in the morning and a bit of slack-lining. As the day continued to warm up with packed up the cars and went off to explore our surroundings. We didn’t have to go far to find a beautiful sandy beach and blue waters of the resolver. Paityn was immediately tugging her shirt up and asking to “shwim! shwim!”


IMG_0116IMG_0107 I’m convinced this girl was made to live by the ocean. Or at least some body of water. We made promises to take her swimming at the pool sometime this week and to return once summer hits for sure. To be fair when we offered to let her dip her toes in she suddenly wasn’t so keen on even that. But playing in the sand and watching Roamer runner around just made her day.

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The closer the due date comes for this little babe of ours, the more I’m itching to get out and explore Utah. I’m over here like “forget nesting! let’s go on a long drive!”  Luckily Landon is level headed and responsible and found this gem on such short notice. By early afternoon we were back in Park City grabbing lunch all together, comparing sun burnt faces and making plans to do it again soon. Which is perfect because I’m hoping to turn this into a summer series — all about loving where you live + sharing spots around where we live. Let me know if you have any can’t-miss spots in UT for us to explore.


a Weekend In Idaho

This past weekend we headed over to Idaho to visit my brother Kyle and his cute wife and son Riddick. When we moved away to California a few years ago I felt bad that we hadn’t made more of an effort to see them — feeling like they were so far away, when in reality they were a 3 hour drive away, and that once in California they’d be 12+ hours away. So once we planned to move back to UT I thought hooray! a second chance at not sucking at visiting family. And then before we knew it and it was March and we hadn’t seen them yet. *womp womp*

I take that back, they drove out to see us the second week that we’d moved in! So by “we hadn’t seen them yet” I meant, we hadn’t made the effort to go see them in ID yet. So learn from us! If you have family or friends within a 5 hour radius schedule in a time to see them in the next month. I promise it’s a shorter drive than you think.

Paityn and I drove up to Salt Lake to meet Landon at his office which in of itself was a victory. Once of my goals last year was to become more comfortable with driving, so let me just, ah, pat myself on the back.



We got in to Rexburg later Friday night than we’d expected — totally our fault with taking too long with “just a few short stops” in Salt Lake  before we hit the road. But Saturday we woke up ready to party. Kyle and Heather fixed us up a tasty breakfast then we all got ready and headed up to Idaho Falls. My favorite part of day was watching Paityn and Riddick run around near the Idaho Falls Greenbelt, feeding the ducks, and running after the geese. Which I’ll admit it, freaked me out.

Later that evening after the babies had a chance to take a nap we went to check out the BYU Idaho campus where Kyle and Heather met.

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That night, after some pizza we grabbed Big Hero 6 which Landon was so stoked to watch. Not exactly my cup of tea, don’t hate me! But he and Paityn were happy as can be with how it went. In the morning we got to go to church together then hit the road by early afternoon to head back home. It was so nice to see them again, and to feel like with each time we see them, or any part of the family — that those relationships are strengthened. I’m ready to make time with family + getting out on adventures here in Utah such a larger priority this Spring and Summer. My bucket list is growing.


Hogle Zoo | Salt Lake City, UT

Wednesdays are notorious for being difficult, but this Wednesday was a gem for Paityn and I. My aunt texted first this morning and invited us to tag along with them up to Salt Lake City to take advantage of the free day at the Hogle Zoo. We of course immediately said yes.

IMG_1953I had expected Paityn to be smiling ear to ear with each new animal that we saw. Instead, she spent the first half reserved and taking everything in. I don’t blame the little one, it was babies, strollers and animals galore. By early afternoon however she was begging to be let down from the stroller and soon ran free with my cousins holding their hands and checking everything out. It was just the reaction I’d be waiting for from her.

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I loved learning that the zoo opened up with an initial investment of $153 in 1912. I love a good success story! Now over 100 years later it’s a beautiful zoo that’s focused on making good things happen. I have sweet memories of visiting the Hogle Zoo during summer trips that our family would take to visit family in the states from Alaska.

Now I’m dreaming of being back on a warm summer day in sandals, playing in the splash ponds and spending more time letting Paityn take it all in.

We’re now dealing with a lack of a nap breakdown while I try to blog and whip out a few papers for school. And it’s suddenly feeling a little more like Wednesday after all.

Feel free to join in on the It’s The Little Things tag with Jess at Sadie Sky Boutique Blog HERE and see our past posts on this tag HERE

a Weekend in Park City

This past week I got to spend three days with Columbia up in Deer Valley as Landon’s ‘plus one’. They recently chose him to be their newest OmniTen member, a group they started in early 2012 of outdoor enthusiasts who could join along in adventures and testing out their gear, sometimes around the world. This past round they only chose 1 instead of 10, and it just so happened to be my handsome bearded husband.

Before we left for Alaska, packages full of apparel started arriving at our door. We immediately popped off the tags and put them to use in Alaska — the jackets + base layers especially (so warm!).

Then after being home for just a few days from our Christmas trip we got to take off again, but this time without Paityn. This was our first overnight trip without her. I felt a little teary eyed on the drive over that Thursday morning to my aunt’s house who’d amazingly agreed to watch her while we were gone. Seeing Paityn excitedly run off and start playing dolls with my cousin her age when we arrived made getting back in the car without her so much easier.

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We got to stay at the Lodges at Deer Valley and spent the first little bit getting settled in and freshening up before meeting up with Tori Lesikar our trusty leader + alumni OmniTen member Rebecca and her husband David. The positives of the hotel included an amazing breakfast in the morning, walk in closets, a deep tub and a little kitchenette. The negatives included just one thing: having a King sized bed. You guys, that is just entirely too much room for two people. I was missing our Full sized bed back home by the end of the trip. [Who does that??]

Thursday afternoon, once everyone was settled in — Tori having flown in from Columbia HQ in Portland + Rebecca and David having flown in from San Jose, we met up and took off to tour the USSA Center of Excellence in Park City. Let me tell you, I sure wouldn’t mind training surrounded by posters of Olympic medalists everywhere! Talk about motivation. Together we were guided by one of the coaches himself through some of the fitness, altitude/elevation and nutrition training that they are perfecting. It was a quiet day for training but we ended up running into Columbia sponsored athlete Hannah Kearney mid post-workout ice bath and got to see her later on that weekend competing in the World Cup. Which brings us to why we were in Deer Valley for the weekend. The FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup!


Every evening we bundled up and headed up to the event to cheer on the US skiers. Thursday we watched Aerial Finals (above), Friday Moguls Finals and Saturday evening Dual Moguls Finals. I might not be a skier, but you can’t not be impressed when watching. Speaking of not being a skier, that also meant that I wasn’t cleared by my midwives to join in on the free ski time Friday and Saturday mornings. Which turned out to be so ok. I curled up with a steamer in the lodge near the fireplace and relaxed Friday, then rested my achy eyes and took my time getting ready Saturday before taking a car to meet up with the group for lunch.


One of my favorite parts of the weekend was Friday evening walking around downtown Park City then grabbing dinner at Handle. It was a new to us restaurant as well as being new to the space. Our driver let us know it was the third or so place that had been in that spot in the past five years, so I’m hoping it sticks around! From the simple yellow craspedia on the tables, their logo, the atmosphere, to the small plate concept I was in love. I was so in love.IMG_7308 IMG_7313

Saturday’s World Cup Events wrapped up around 9pm or so with fireworks, awards and the biggest, fluffiest snow I have seen in a long time. After it was all over, and we’d attempted photos by the platform, we headed back to the Lodge. Everyone else headed up to grab drinks + Landon and I went back to our rooms to finish the talks we had to give in church the next morning. (doh!) Shoutout to Columbia for hosting such a fun filled weekend and for letting me tag along.

I can’t wait to try skiing next season, and to get Paityn on a pair of her own little skis. Oh I would just die.