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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Timpanogos Cave

A few months ago I promised my niece, Emma, that we would go hiking when she came to visit this summer. Well, her visit finally came and we made good on that promise by checking off a hike that has long been on my bucket list: Timpanogos Cave!


You have to make reservations to tour the cave, so it has never fit into our spontaneous lifestyle before. But since I knew the week Emma would be here, it enticed me to plan ahead and get tickets. I also worried about our kids on this hike. It's only 3 miles round trip, but it's steep switchbacks with dangerous drop-offs the entire way. I shouldn't have worried. They did great, and when the ledges became too close for comfort, we put Sawyer and Izzy in backpacks to calm our nerves (and work our quads).



Though steep, the entire trail was paved and had multiple "caves" to pass through on the way up to keep things interesting. And every switchback greeted us with breathtaking views. Absolutely stunning.


We reached the cave entrance in the nick of time and met our guide to begin our tour. Isabelle was selected to unlock the door and let us in, but ended up needing multiple hands to help her get it open.


I hadn't realized that the tour actually took us through three natural caves, connected by manmade tunnels. At one point we turned off the lights to experience true darkness, and it was unlike anything I have ever experienced before. You never realize how much you appreciate even a little bit of light until it is completely and utterly gone.


We got to see the "heart" of Timpanogos Cave - the largest stalactite in the cave - along with a whole assortment of colored stalactites due to the various mineral deposits found in that area. There was also this stalactite/stalagmite duo trying to form a column. When I first saw it, I thought there was water beneath the stalactite and I was seeing a reflection.


After our hour long cave tour (which Isabelle loudly declared after 5 minutes was "boring"), we started our hike back down. I really enjoyed the cave, but the hike was the star of the morning for me. I seriously could not get enough of these views.


Oh, and this view, too. Shh... don't tell the rangers.

Balloon Fest


As part of our city days, there was a hot air balloon festival two mornings in a row. The first morning I wimped out and didn't get up for because we had all stayed up so late the night before, but then the kids were mad that I didn't wake them up. So the next day I woke up the older three before the sun rose and took them out to see the balloons launch.




It was really fun to watch them inflate and appreciate the beauty and vivid color of the balloons up close. It took quite the coordination to get them up, but we were able to sit pretty close as they did it because they have the process down to an art.





When all the balloons were inflated, we were allowed to walk right up to them and see them from all angles. The sun was just peaking over the mountains and it was an awe inspiring site. Then, just when I thought we might see one take flight, they brought them down! Apparently a storm was on it's way and it was too windy to take them up, even though it was calm as anything on the ground.




Afterwards I learned that this is pretty common. In recent years, it has been rare to have a day when the balloons do launch. That was a bit of a letdown, but we still enjoyed watching them and free donuts and helium balloons definitely made it worth the effort. As an added bonus, the kids were asked to come help put one of the hot air balloons away. Maybe we'll give it another go next year and hope for a launch!



Monday, June 27, 2016

Fun-o-rama!


As our first year as official Springville residents, we tried a little bit of everything when Springville Art Days rolled around. The first agenda item on our list was the Fun-o-rama, a smallish carnival set up for just a couple hours designed specifically for younger kids. A $5 wristband let them ride and bounce on everything, plus a magic show, hair dye, and temporary tattoos to boot. What a great way to kick off the summer!


This ride encompassed a dream I have had for many years now: all my children in a single cage!





The colored hair spray was a lot of fun, but weeks later I am still finding pink spots on Savannah's scalp!





Thursday, June 16, 2016

Sunday at Cascade Springs


One Sunday a few weeks back we thought we'd take a nice leisurely drive and stroll through the mountains after church. I suggested Cascade Springs, a quiet spot past Sundance that I had been to in college. Well, our drive was quite a bit bumpier and dustier than expected (although with incredible views of Soldier's Hollow), and the stroll had lots of hills that we weren't entire equipped for in our Sunday finery (luckily we'd at least changed shoes), but we still had a nice time in the heat walking around the springs. Our plans for an intimate family testimony meeting were thwarted by the crowds, so we saved that for later that night around the dinner table.



We cooled off by walking through the spring on our way back. That water felt amazing!


It was fun to see Timpanogos from the backside. These mountains have a unique, rugged beauty to them and they seem to change from each new angle.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Summer!!

School is out, summer is here, and I am officially CAUGHT UP on the blog! I haven't pulled out my camera once since summer started, but my phone has been busy documenting all the nothingness we've been up to. It's been a blissful week so far, especially since it started with Memorial Day weekend and we got Dad to ourselves for three straight days! The weather finally decided to actually warm up and we've spent every day out in our yard sandbox trying to get started on something resembling landscaping. Here's a little bit of proof...

A yardwork tan/burn.



It may not look like much, but the weeds are gone! Hallelujah!


Putting the kids to work. Those blocks weigh 22 pounds each!



Progress.



Summer hair, how I've missed you! 2 minutes from shower to done.


Three boys under 3 on .3 acres of dirt = very, very happy but very, very messy.


Dirt parties in the backyard lead to swimsuit baths on the driveway.


All that fun makes us sleeeeeeepy.


But the next morning we'll start it all over again with PJ dance parties! We have an awesome summer playlist going that you should check out if you need something to brighten your day. 

Dance Festival

Dance Festival (n): a school tradition in which each grade learns a dance and performs it during a school wide event, typically towards the end of the school year.

For years I've seen our Utah friends post pictures of their kids' school dance festivals and thought it looked like such a fun thing to do. I don't know if it is limited to (or entirely adopted by) Utah, but I've heard of several within the state and never experienced one outside of it. I was really looking forward to having one of my own to attend, and it did not disappoint! We were also fortunate to have Aunts Amy and Ashley come watch with us. It's such a treat to have family attend our little celebrations!

Fourth grade performed to a medley that started with some good old fashioned hoedown, followed by Fight Song and Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae). Logan got pretty into his dance and was incredibly entertaining to watch. I loaned him my sunglasses for the dance and they weren't really too big at all. Say what?




Second grade did some sort of Scandinavian traditional dance. It was very cute, but relatively simple and I think Savannah was a little bored.


At the end, the whole school came onto the field to do a dance together. Savannah was really in her element with this one and stole a spot right smack in front just a few feet away from their cute principal, who was also a treat to watch dance.



Here's a little montage of the three dances. Such a fun tradition! I will be looking forward to this in future years.