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.

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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.

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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. 
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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 (:

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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.

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.”

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??]

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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!

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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.

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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.

Utah Favorites 01

After posting everything that I was loving about the idea of a tiny house life in San Diego it only seemed fair to post about things that I’m loving about Utah. I’ll be the first person to tell you how much I love Utah and that we get to be here. So I’ll post these periodically as we find new things here to love!

The Frontrunner, an easy way to avoid traffic and relax for a bit on your way north to Salt Lake City.

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Antelope Island, where Paityn and I spent a few hours checking out tourist spots + looking for bison while Landon ran his first 50K!
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Mend Juicery, in the Provo Riverwoods. I tried the sweetest green juice that they offered and still need a little help getting used to drinking my veggies.IMG_4113
Getting to see Landon in his element working for Teton Sports and spending a morning in Big Cottonwood Canyon shooting photos with them.IMG_4228
Beautiful hikes in the fall leaves up in Provo Canyon, even if my pregnant self is a little slower than normal. First trimester energy levels are a joke. IMG_4265 IMG_4291
Camping in the Uintas right by Clegg Lake with our buddies Chelsea + Josh. Such a beautiful area and not another person to be seen for miles. Which when hiking in at 10pm in the pitch black was both a negative and a positive. IMG_4399 IMG_4400
3B Yoga. You guys it’s everything I dreamed of in a studio and more. I tried out the Primary Series class on Monday evenings, a 90 minute class, and had so many personal victories because of the contagious encouraging vibe in there. IMG_4417
Studio K, a Bumble and Bumble salon.  I had heard of their salon through The Beyouty Bureau and I can’t see myself ever having to find a different place while we’re here. Ask for Sarah!IMG_4556
Other undocumented favorites from Utah so far are the ultimate grilled cheese from Zupas (pesto sauce, tomatoes + more!), playdates with new friends from our condo, rock climbing wall double dates, temples such a short drive away, Swig cookies, fry sauce, and the pending snow. The standard movie dates in, falling asleep cuddled up, and efforts to make adventure have carried over easily from California.

We might not live in a tiny house with chickens yet, but you guys, life is really good here. And I can’t wait to see what we’ll fall in love with in the next few months.

We’ve Moved!

We are officially settled into a cute condo in Utah! But first, I wanted to share how we got here.

May 23 I woke up and heard that Landon had been able to take the day off from work so that we could spend more time with Avery and Trever who were in town for a few days. It was 8am and I wasn’t exactly jumping at the bit to go workout so I spent a little time on Pinterest on my phone still laying on the mattress in our living room from a sleepover I managed to talk Landon into. I came across a pin that started my day on a perfect note, “live less out of habit and more out of intent.” I realized, with that little push from the quote, that my soul wanted time writing + with Heavenly Father more than anything. I got up, playfully smacked Landon on the head who was emailing a friend instead of blogging with the notebook I had just grabbed and walked back to our bedroom.

After a few minutes of trying to feel focused, and recognizing thoughts that were from the opposite team “you’ll never get pregnant again.” “think of the life it’d be: uninterrupted CLA taking, preworkout drinking, protein chugging..” I was able to tell those thoughts to scram and a stillness settled in. More than anything else right then, I wanted to experience our family growing to 2 children. And for Landon to be in a job that he’s proud of, enjoys, and feels fulfilled.

“Do a MBA program in UVU, you’ll be happy as a family of 4 there.”IMG_2195

This time this thought was clearly from a different source, a source of confidence, trust and truth. I continued to ponder this idea; it sounded nice and that it could be the missing ingredient on Landon’s resume. But Landon had a plan, and it involved going back to school later, down the road. Then, I realized another truth. “But He has a plan too. And have we inquired of Him lately what it is.”

And we had, we totally had in so many facets of our life: we were praying about future babiessetting goals together, eliminating anything unnecessary or distracting from our lives; but the decision about a career is an interesting thing. No part of that comes overnight. So for a year after we made the decision for Landon to not accept any of his Law School offers he worked on his resume and applied to jobs in the outdoor industry from everywhere from Colorado to Texas to Washington DC.

It was after an interview for one last job, this time in Virginia, that Landon got the answer that he needed. His was, “now is the time, get an MBA from UVU” [ready set go].

It was late July, a few months after I had first had my significant answer but this time it was a call to act. Where mine was a suggestion from the most divine sources of suggestions, his meant it was time. 

We had just enough time to put in a 30 day notice for our apartment (“So we think we’re going to Utah. Like, next month?) As things progressed, Landon was able to apply to UVU even this late in the game, so he put in his two weeks at his job. Two weeks and two days later he was officially unemployed and we were packing up the last few boxes of our house.

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Since our drive out east last Thursday we’ve gone apartment hunting, found a condo to rent, moved in Saturday and had the Uhaul returned early that morning. A day early even! Landon had two job interviews and two job offers by that next Monday, one that he is overjoyed about. He’s started working on prerequisite classes for the MBA program, we’ve unpacked all of our boxes and officially started life in Utah.

I can’t believe how flawlessly this move and transition has gone. I don’t know why I acted like help would leave as soon as we acted on the prompting. This has been such a sweet experience for our family already, and I love that I have this space to share it with you. My three biggest takeaway points from this has been :

  • write down experiences when you have them! You’ll likely need the reminder or reassurance down the road
  • have greater faith. expect that God can and wants to do big things for you.
  • don’t live life out of habit. check in with your soul more often to see what it needs. I’m so glad that I listened that morning and skipped out on the gym that morning. our little family needed it

 

What’s something you’ve learned or been reminded of after taking a leap of faith?



 

University of Utah Graduation | Roadtrip

Last Friday Landon and I headed out to Utah with his parents for Trever’s graduation from the U. We left Thursday afternoon, spent the night in Nevada and made it to Salt Lake with an hour to change, check into the hotel and meet up with Avery to TRAX up to campus.

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Two years earlier we were gathered in the same building celebrating Landon earning his degree in Psychology. The year after was Avery at UVU and then this year Trever. As we all sat together and watched the grads gather in and the commencement began I started to feel a bit emotional. Turns out I like graduations almost as much as weddings, which is a lot. I held it together, through students earning their PhD, wives + babies in the hallway running up to hug their graduate, and other tender moments. But I’ll admit I teared up a bit, whether from being startled or from the outpouring of love, as the three rows down below us unabashedly erupted with cheering + noisemakers for their graduate. I could just feel their pride for her and oh, it was beautiful. One of the guys turned around and up towards us, and proudly said, “sorry, [for the noise] that’s my sister!” I loved that for that large family, it wasn’t just a bachelor’s degree.

I spent a good portion out in the hallway with Paityn, but we made some friends. She’s got her waving down, which is a great icebreaker. We made it back to our seat just in time to see Trever’s line standing up from their seats and heading down to receive their degrees. 
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In the morning, Landon had an adventurous hike as the sun rose on Mount Olympus and returned back to our hotel room with blistered feet and a large appetite for breakfast downstairs. After packing our things we met with Avery + Trever and headed over to the Pet Super Adoption that was running that weekend. The shelter they volunteer for every weekend was there, along with 30+ other shelters in the area. The website explains it best, “It’s a cooperative effort where shelters and rescue groups come together in a free, fun, festival-like atmosphere to find homes for hundreds of animals during one exciting weekend. It’s a fun way to meet a huge variety of adoptable animals in a celebratory setting.”

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I made it my mission to try to find a type of dog that fit with me. Not being an animal person at all, and still fairly scared of most, I knew there still HAD to be some type of dog out there for me. By the end I’d found a few I could call cute, or that had amazing eyes, but mostly left with a larger appreciation of pets and the role they play in families. Paityn however loved them all. From the large fluffy malemute to the tiny little puppies.

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Pizzeria Limone for lunch then the rest of the afternoon playing at Liberty Park. That park was such a central location to me for my few years in SLC, whether with roommates on Sunday afternoons, or with my growing relationship with Landon, from our first date to our proposal, to spending time with friends there later when we were married. It felt so good to not only be back in Utah but spending time in places that used to be such a part of our lives. Then just like that, by late afternoon on Saturday it was time to head home.

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Though such a quick trip to Utah it was so good to be there for Trever’s graduation. Here’s to hoping I’m not far behind with mine!