Confessions of a (Horrible) Cat and Fish Sitter

My friend Jana was looking for someone to check in on her cat and fish over Spring Break so I volunteered my middle schooler Hadley. She loves animals and her career aspiration in first grade was to run a Cat Hotel until she later learned it’s not cool to be the crazy cat lady until you’re over 50 years old.

I figured she’d be better equipped to take care of animals since she got off to a rocky start babysitting humans when my friend Sarah asked her:

“Hey, Hadley. Do you babysit?”

“I’m not really good with kids.”

As a former publicist, I was appalled at her pitch.  She later told me she was caught off-guard and meant to say I’m not comfortable taking care of babies. She repented of her trespass by volunteering to watch Sarah’s kids for free while she attended a church event. Hadley limped through the door several hours later.

“How was it?”

“Exhausting. I spent the entire night running around after three boys. How do you do this EVERYDAY?”

And suddenly, the heavens opened and the herald angels sang the Hallelujah shout to the tune of “PAYBACK” for all those sleepless, colicky nights.

As it turns out, she enjoys babysitting (or at least the money she makes) so how much better would a gig be for beasts you don’t have to chase?

Hadley’s responsibilities were simple. Replenish Kitty’s food and water every day, clean the kitty litter box and feed the fish. Jana hadn’t formed an attachment to Fishy and went as far as to say she wouldn’t be sad if he didn’t survive, which made us wonder if we were hired to be fish sitters or assasins. Jana told us we probably wouldn’t even see Kitty who accesses the house via a cat door after partying all night with her feline friends and sleeps all day. Easiest cat-sitting gig ever.

Or was it?

Day 1: Hadley opens garage door, goes about her responsibilities with Kitty. Starts to feed Fishy. He is dead.

Or is he?

We text Jana to ask if we should give him a watery burial. She responds, “He sometimes just looks dead and doesn’t move for a while.”

Cool fish.

Day 2: Fishy appears dead in a different position so we figure he’s still alive in his own way. No sign of Kitty but food has been eaten so we’re in business.

Day 3:  Fishy is moving. It’s an Easter resurrection miracle.

Days 4 and 5: Hadley stays at Grandma’s so I take over duties. All seems in order.

Day 6: Hadley continues her responsibilities. Goes to enter mudroom via the garage but the door is locked, which means we can’t access the house and that I was the person who inadvertently locked it the day before. Panic sets in but fortunately, Kitty’s food and water are in the garage so we can take care of her. Tragically, Fishy will go from resurrection to famine within three days. The irony is not lost on me.

Day 7: When we arrive THE GARAGE DOOR IS ALREADY OPEN. “We closed it when we left yesterday, I’m 100% sure of it,” Hadley wails.

We hesitantly make our way through the garage to the mudroom door, which mysteriously opens. Even though it’s been less than 24 hours since our last visit, Fishy appears really dead this time and is floating on his side at the bottom of the bowl. We feed him anyway because he’s a master manipulator and as we’re attempting to leave the house, we realize the doorknob will not budge and we’re locked inside with a fish who could come to life at any moment.

It takes a few panicked minutes until we position the doorknob just right and we make our escape…but not before I put something in the door jam for the next time we get locked out. Or in. Really, the whole thing is confusing.

I hesitantly text Jana that we were able to get back in the house.

“Oh, our friend needed to grab something today,” she responds. “He probably left the garage door open! I also remembered that mudroom door is sometimes hard to open, so you have to twist the knob really hard.”

Hallelujah shout Take 2.

Day 8: Fishy confirmed dead and Kitty is alive. Allegedly. We didn’t see her all week but she ate all her food. It was probably for the best because we saw Fishy every day and look what happened to him.

Day 9: Jana’s family returns home. Hallelujah shout Take 3 as we are relieved of our pet sitting duties.

When I was relaying the tale of our memorable Spring Break to my son Bode, I joked, “Don’t you want to be a pet sitter?”

“I think I could have done a better job than you and Hadley,” he retorted.

The [low] bar has been set.

P.S. Did I mentioned we’re available for hire?

Time Travel

I occasionally like to check my “On This Day” Facebook feed to see what I was doing 1, 2 or even 5 years ago. Today’s reminder was a cool one: Seven years ago today is when I learned I had won the Microsoft Office’s Winter Games Contest and would spend 10 days hobnobbing with celebrity athletes including Bonnie Blair and Wayne Gretzky during the 2010 Vancouver Games.

I’m thinking I need to do several strolls down memory lane next month to keep all the fun alive!

Small Town Livin’ Updates

I’ve never lived in a small town. Sure, I went to college in Rexburg, ID and served as a missionary in several small villes in France and Switzerland but it’s just not the same. I find it rather humorous that when I was single, I was the PR rep for a popular musician who lives in the Heber Valley…and I remember thinking “why on earth would anyone ever live out there?”

Park City has many of the amenities of a big city (Home Depot, Walmart, numerous franchises) so it’s been interesting to adapt to our little hamlet with a population of just 4,000.

A few observations thus far:

  • The mountains, views and sunrises. When we sat on our front porch one evening before we moved in, it was complete stillness and peace under a blanket of stars. It took me exactly 20 seconds to get used to it.
  • Whenever I hear Salt Lake City’s traffic reports, I give a little chuckle of gratitude and am SO glad I don’t have to deal with that on a daily basis.
  • There are very few radio stations out here so KPCW public radio in Park City has become my go-to station in the mornings. I love all the evidences of small-town life including their lost and found reports.
  • There are a few private Facebook groups for the Heber Valley that crack me up on a daily basis as people sell, swap and ask any question under the sun. Takeaway: people in small towns are ready to help their neighbors. And sometimes get snippy with them, too.
  • The kids’ recreation guide included gems like “hunter safety, concealed weapons class and wilderness circuit rodeo finals.
  • Bode’s teacher “rodeos” and she was absent from class because her husband won the lottery…for a sought-after hunting permit.
  • Bode missed the competitive soccer tryouts and by fifth grade, most kids are playing competitive. We’ve found out why on his rec team this year. Some of these boys have never played before (which is fine) but our frustration is the league’s horrid policies on rules…as in they don’t enforce them. Offside? No problem. Let’s teach kids to cherry-pick. You’ve stepped three feet over the line for a throw-in? Throw away! I’m surprised how much it has bugged me. I don’t expect perfection but my gosh, can we please teach the kids how to play soccer?  The good news is not only was Bode the oldest but he was the superstar of the team–he scored more goals this season than he did the last few years combined in our city league. It’s been great for his confidence but not his skills. Better luck next season!


  • We were given a stipend from our builder for our front lawn so we immediately hired someone to do the sprinklers and sod. The problem was there was no grass to be found this late in the season so we are lucky enough to be the only house in the neighborhood who will have a mucky lawn all winter.
  • There are so many things we need to buy for this house in order to truly fit–cabinets for the laundry room and garage, an end table, lamp, rug and an addition to our too-small couch (that’s just the tip of the iceberg) but my top priority has been getting these kids skiing. We can’t afford season passes this year so are biting the bullet to do the skiing through our rec program. For just $350/kid, they get six weeks of half-day ski lessons and passes to Sundance Ski Resort and transportation up there. There goes our entire budget but really, all I want for Christmas is to get these kids of ours on the slopes.
  • Juggling my new job with Mosaico Travel along with all my other gigs has kicked my can. The good news is it’s been baptism by fire and I’ve been literally thrown into their busy Christmas travel season.
  • I look forward to life calming down a bit so I can actually get out and explore this glorious place we get to call home. Soon, right?

One Week Move-in-anniversary

I’m writing this blog post on Saturday, October 15, 2016. One week ago today we unloaded our PODs and officially moved into our house the following Tuesday. Life has been a whirlwind for 10 months but nothing (except for when we moved from Colorado) has been more exhausting than the last seven days. I injured my good knee running down the Mid-Mountain Trail so I’ve been hobbling around on two sore knees because the pace of unpacking and getting organized has been unrelenting. I’ve been too busy to be homesick for Denver and that is a good thing. In Utah’s mountains, September hits in glorious full force but by October, the fall colors are winding down and, though the temperatures are still mild in the 60s, winter is knocking on the door. October in Denver was my favorite month of the year and I’m trying not to think about it.

What I want to remember about this week:

Last Saturday.

We unloaded the PODs. We were so grateful to have several men from the Elder’s Quorum at church come help as well as friends and family. We took about two hours to unload and thanks to my friend Sarah and Jamie’s mom Linda, we were able to unpack the kitchen that afternoon. Having a mostly functional kitchen is my first step in feeling at home; Jamie’s is apparently hooking up the TVs because that’s how he spent most of his time. #Priorities.

Friends Lori and Robert come to help that afternoon and drive with Jamie to Park City to pickup our large farm table, only to realize it doesn’t fit through our front door. Yay. Need to either take off the door or remove the legs so it has been housed in our garage.

Bode has been missing our Denver life like crazy. We flew Hadley to Utah for Girl’s Camp last summer so she had an instant network of friends but Bode has been slower to make connections. My heart was so full to see neighborhood boys flock to our house to hang out…and they’ve continued to knock on our door every day to invite him to play.

Early evening, we drove back to Park City to sleep in the townhome for the next few nights. Bode and I hot-tubbed under the stars, a memorable wind-down to a memorable two months.


Drove back to Midway for church, enjoyed meeting a lot of new people at our ward’s “Linger Longer” after church with root beer floats and super friendly people. I looooove how inclusive our new ward is and we’re already making a lot of friends.

Day II of Operation Declutter the House. Our goal was to dig out the beds and find the sheets. Mostly successful but the amount of boxes everywhere was still overwhelming. Bunked in Park City. Hot-tubbed to soak our sore muscles, relishing every last drop.


After driving to Midway and dropping off the kids for school, I spent the day unpacking our bedrooms, working with the Dish Network guy (who was from my mom’s hometown Raymond) and a gazillion other miscellaneous projects. Tried not to have a sore attitude about the Master Bedroom, the room I hate the most in the house (it’s so small we can’t fit both dressers and the closet is such a joke I have nowhere to put my shoes or laundry basket). Master plan once we finish the basement is for Bode and Hadley to move downstairs and we’ll knock out the closet into Bode’s current room to give us more space. My only consolation of the Master bedroom? This view.

We’d planned to move in by Wednesday but I announced to Jamie the house might be functional enough to sleep in by Tuesday night.


Jamie drove the kids to school while I stayed at the townhome in Park City to finish packing and cleaning. What I thought would take a couple of hours took six and I was so exhausted by the end of it, that I rewarded myself with my mushroom bisque obsession from Cafe Zupas. And then unloaded and unpacked everything once I arrived at our house. Moving sucks!

I’ve missed the majority of Bode’s soccer season due to the insane amount of driving I’ve been doing but was delighted to take in his final game where his team won and he scored a hat trick. The advantage of missing competitive try-outs and being the oldest on your rec league team: superstar! 

That night before bed, we stood out on the deck marveling at the stars and the twilight outline of the mountains. We were home!


Got the kids out the door on time fed and mostly clothed. Hailed that glorious thing called THE NEIGHBORHOOD SCHOOL bus after surviving 160+ hours shuttling the kids back and forth from Park City. The house is total chaos with the landscaping crew digging out our front yard’s sprinkler system and the basement under construction. Our house has three very small bedrooms upstairs so we hired a great local contractor, Jordan, to finish two rooms in the basement: Hadley’s bedroom and Jamie’s den. By Wednesday, he already had the two rooms framed. Progress!

Finished unpacking the majority of the main level and cleaned up all the clutter so the house looked almost presentable! My friend Lori came to help setup Bode’s bed and tackle the disastrous basement by setting up shelves. I worked long into the night and posted this on Facebook:

“Our neighbors unloaded their PODs on the same day as us and I spotted the sweet wife yesterday. She: 1) Parked her car in the garage (where is all their crap?) 2) Already has her house decorated for Halloween and 3) Took a shower. #AreTheseUtahnsForReal?”  I didn’t post that to criticize; I was merely in awe.

We don’t have a table, chairs, washer or dryer hooked up and a million other things…but you can rest easily knowing the pumpkin patch/greenhouse was being prepped.


Electrician finished up on the two rooms in the basement. $#&*$# builder didn’t install an electrical panel big enough to support any other outlets so we had to replace the whole thing (another unbudgeted $1,000 down the tubes). Worked my arse off to finish organizing the basement into five areas: cold storage, regular storage room, great room storage, den/Hadley’s crafting space and home theater room. It will be a while until we can afford to finish the entire basement but we want to make it as functional as possible. Once Hadley and Jamie are moved in downstairs (hopefully within the next few wees), we’ll make the adjacent Great Room Bode’s play area (mostly because he can’t fit his toys in his bedroom).


Organized the garage (oh, the horror with all of Jamie’s pumpkin C-R-A-P). Priority after finishing the basement: Build a shed. Needed Jamie’s help to build all the metal shelves in the basement and garage so temporarily organized our three-car garage into two general areas: Jamie’s stuff and recreational equipment. Wading through it all put me in a worse mood than the basement, primarily because we have a ton more space downstairs. The good news is we’ll now be able to park our cars and trailer in the garage once the snow flies. We likely won’t have time to setup shelves and truly organize the garage until spring and I’m totally OK with that.

Went to the Heber Valley dumping station (nicest “dump” I’ve ever seen) and rewarded ourselves with pumpkin cheesecake shakes from Dairy Keen. Oh, how our Friday nights have changed.

That night as Jamie prayed at dinner, he said he was thankful for the “food upon this table” to which I irreverently interjected, “we don’t have a table.”  Vowed to get that blasted table inside by the end of the weekend.


Slept in until 7 p.m. After my manic week of 3:30 and 4:30 a.m. wake-ups, this felt like a dream! Jamie left the house early to unload compost for the yard while I had my first leisurely morning in months. Worked from bed (looked at our view every few seconds), made fresh strawberry syrup  from scratch for our pancakes and it felt wonderful to finally spend some time in the kitchen!

The afternoon, we organized Bode’s room and cleaned the house. That evening while Hadley babysat Bode and our friends Ben and Sarah’s kids, we went on a double-date to dinner and the evening session of Stake Conference. The perfect end to one crazy week.


Thus ends our first full week in the Heber Valley!

My first impressions of our home? I love it overall. Everything is crisp, new and beautiful. We have granite countertops, white cabinets and hardwood floor, which we never had in our old house. I especially love the larger kitchen and pantry! But we’ve downsized. Significantly. And until we finish the basement (especially those two rooms), we have essentially crammed two levels from our old house into just one and it’s causing a lot of headaches. Hadley is temporarily bunking down in my office and since my closet only has shelves, she has split her wardrobe between Bode’s and my closet. Bode’s toys are still in in boxes because there’s nowhere to unpack them and Jamie’s office is crammed into the bay window of our very small Master bedroom.

And somehow with all the headaches, stress and sore bodies, this gorgeous little plot already feels like home.

A Life in Limbo

FRUSTRATION. I typed up an awesome blog post about all the things we’ve loved about living in Park City and it has completely disappeared from WordPress. Such is life when living in limbo! Sure, I’ve spent 20+ hours a week chauffeuring kids around but my gosh, how blessed are we to live in such an amazing place!

So, I’ll make a feeble tempt to recreate all the things we’ve loved about living in Park City.

1) 45 days of sunrises. The kids and I leave the townhome every morning at 7 a.m. to drive to the Heber Valley and every day is like unwrapping a gift. The morning we were greeted with a rainbow-sunrise directly behind our condo was something I’ll never forget but we’ve seen it all: fog, rain, cotton-candy clouds and the evolution of summer to fall. The kids and I have fallen in love with this area through its sunrises.

2) So many amazing adventures. I’ve long loved Park City in winter and summer but fall is somethin’ else. Details forthcoming.

3) My favorite drive is Old Ranch Road past $million$ mansions, expansive farmlands and a gorgeous mountain backdrop.

4) Crack bread. ‘Nuff said.

5) New friendships with the Mosses, Severesons, Lexi and Sheri while celebrating the old by hosting Kristen, the Taylors, Waddells, Porters and my in-laws.

6) The best of both worlds. Park City has grown from the cowtown of yesteryear to a place that has still maintained its small-town feel with incredible recreation while also boasting great amenities.

7) Farmer’s markets on Wednesdays just down the street and my pluot addiction with Smith’s Orchards.

8) Riding the funicular at the St. Regis and the “S’mores Sommelier.”

9) This luxury townhome. Truly, my friend Kristen has been a huge blessing to let us rent and there are so many things I’ll miss: *The  (count ‘em) FOUR fireplaces (one in each bedroom), hot tubbing under the stars, swimming in the expansive pool, watching movies on a rainy night with homemade chicken noodle soup, s’mores in the outdoor firepit, each bedroom’s huge closet, private balcony and bathroom, fun parties, snuggling up to the fireplace with Bode, the gourmet kitchen and a truly magical place to live in limbo.

We couldn’t be more grateful.

Updates, updates, updates

I’m writing this on Tuesday, Sept 27, 2016. We were supposed to move to our house on October 1st but it didn’t happen.  There is still so much to be done.   They just barely got started on the deck last night, the cabinets aren’t finished, we’re battling them on our sloped sidewalk and a myriad of other last-minute headaches. The good news: they painted the house the wrong color and corrected that without much backlash. I say that because we’ve received push-back on so so so many of their design center staffers’ communication screw-ups and we’ve had to eat the cost. Remind me to never build again.


We’ve been doing this Park City to Heber to Midway commute for about six weeks now and though the days are long, the weeks are short. I will truly miss our glorious townhome at the base of The Canyons and even more glorious Park City in the fall. Here are a few of our happenings.

Bode. Still slowly getting settled and it’s surprising to me how long it’s taking him to make meaningful connections because he finds BFFs everywhere he goes. Spoke in church a couple of weeks ago and I got a glimpse at the dynamic of the boys his age: pretty unruly. For a rule-abiding kid like Bode, this isn’t a great fit. He hangs with my friend Sarah’s three boys in the morning before school and has fun with them; hopefully more friends will follow soon after our move. Academically, he’s doing great. He was selected as one of two students from his class to attend the “Math Bus,” which is essentially an advanced math outing every month at the high school. He proudly says that the kids check their math answers against his for their corrections, a great compliment, indeed.  I received the following email from his Assistant Principal today: “I just wanted to let you know that Bode’s name was drawn out in our Mustang Buck drawing this morning.  I appreciate the great things he does each day to earn those Mustang Bucks.  I am so glad to have students like Bode at TIS.  He stands out as an example to other students.” Straight-A report card at mid-term.

Hadley. Still settling in surprisingly well (maybe I should have prayed harder for the rest of us and not just her? :-) She attended her science club field trip to UVU on Saturday, has been hanging out with her new friend Zoie and is somehow juggling her busy middle school schedule. Zoie is my new hero when, being bullied by a boy at school who called her a weakling (among other things), she countered: “Can YOU lift more than your weight and mountain bike for miles?” Hadley has taken a new interest in her appearance, watching a lot of hair and make-up tutorials on YouTube. This is fine and dandy except her room and bathroom constantly look like a bomb exploded. Our new house isn’t move-in ready so she’ll be cramped for a while. We have three small bedrooms on the main level so she will be temporarily living in what will become my den while we hire someone to finish two rooms in the basement ASAP. We’ll then boot her to the basement and Jamie’s office will be next to her.

Jamie. Rock star. Despite having a multi-week rheumatism attack, barely sleeping and a lot of back pain, he’s been a warrior through this whole process. He’s been on the front lines of battles with our builder to get everything right and handles all the documentation with the exception of setting up all our utilities, which he put me in charge of. Translation: we’ll probably end up without power, water and sanitation. Surprised me with a lovely romantic lunch he grilled of steaks, scallop and shrimp with roses. This guy is a keeper.

Me. After suffering a “what am I supposed to do with my career” panic attack last week, I’m feeling temporarily peaceful knowing now is not the time to worry about jobs and that we just need to get settled. Missing Colorado daily (especially all the amazing event invites I’m getting) but am truly happy most of the time to live in Park City. I’m a pretty simplistic person; put me in a beautiful place with lots of trails to explore and I’m good.

Here’s for hoping all goes well with this crazy move of ours!

A week at play in the greatest city on earth

My original plan: Put the house on the market in early Spring. Sell. Spend most of the summer in Utah and Canada.

What happened: Didn’t move until the 11th hour before school started. Endured a lot of stress but also extra time with wonderful Colorado friends.

And Canada. What would I do without my annual trip home for the summer? We usually spend most of July in Calgary and at the Lakehouse in B.C. Due to our unknown schedule, my family accommodated bumping the Lakehouse back a week so the kids and I could come. Jamie, unfortunately, stayed in Denver to hold down the fort. You know, the one that wasn’t selling.

A major factor in making this trip happen is my mom’s MS has grown from bad to worse and I know this would likely be the last time she could travel. Not only has her physical condition deteriorated but mentally as well and it’s so difficult to see my beautiful mother barely coherent. That said, I’m so grateful for her lucid moments and the time we got to spend with the family.

Every year, my dad has a family reunion for his side of the family and every year, I’ve missed it due to the timing. So, this time around I was delighted to become reacquainted with them. Pat and Jane had everyone over for a glorious dinner where they cooked pizzas in their new pizza oven.

I have only one cousin on my dad’s side of the family (and just one on my mom’s) so it was awesomely fun to meet my cousin Richard for the first time. Shamefully, I didn’t get a picture of him but he just got his PhD and was in town competing in the Ironman. So, pretty much he takes after me in every way.

Calgary is the best city in the world and despite rain when we first arrived, we had a blast at the Calgary Stampede with my bestie Stacey. As a favor to her, I didn’t take any pictures (you’re welcome, dearie) but I present unto you Bode. With Beaver Balls. You can’t make this (Canadian) stuff up.

Beaver Balls. Yes, that’s a thing.

Bode braved his first upside-down ride, the Brain Drain.

Despite three years of coaxing them, Hadley still refuses to do it and that’s the good thing about her. No amount of bribery or pressure will make her do something she doesn’t want to do. That’s also the bad thing about her.

Usually my dad and I go on daily bike rides through Fish Creek Provincial Park but this year, I didn’t bring my bike, he didn’t have time to borrow my brother Pat’s and so we just went on a lot of individual bike rides including my annual 30 miler.

Bow River

I’ve long told the kids life is too short to live somewhere ugly. Growing up in Calgary set the bar incredibly high.

Usually we celebrate Bode’s birthday at the Lakehouse but since we bumped it back a week, Jane threw a wonderful 10th birthday soiree at her house with pizza and a movie in their awesome home theater.

We went on lots of walks with the dogs to the playground and Grandma came along for one of our adventures.

Not even 24 hours after my brother Jade and his boys arrived, the cops came knocking on our door. A neighbor busted the kids for golf carting in the gully.

The infamous gully


Jade and I introduced our little American offspring to the wonders of 5-pin bowling, followed by My Favorite Ice Cream Shoppe.

And, of course, the hallowed MUD PITS. My niece Emily came along for the first time and was a wonderful sport despite slipping down the mountainside and landing in a tree. Never a dull moment, I tell ya!


Hadley and Jade: Tough mudders

We cleaned off in Fish Creek and played for a while before walking to Annie’s for ice cream.

All in all, we had a fabulous week with my dad’s siblings and the rest of our family. I stayed behind an extra day with my dad in Calgary while he wrapped the family reunion and to help him with the 9-hour drive to Vernon. Bode drove over with Jade while Hadley rode with the girls. The boys won for this stopover at Moraine Lake in Banff National Park.

Canada wins for lack of ugliness but the boys lose for those expressions.


Adjusting to the adjustments

First World Problems. That’s what I keep reminding myself when I’m tempted to whine and complain about this wild ride my family has been on living in limbo while our house is being finished. It doesn’t help that I haven’t been feeling well with allergies and teeth pain. I’m hoping for a reprieve on many, many levels.

The frustrating

The commute. So much driving. I’m in the car a minimum of four hours per day. Jamie had a business trip in AZ for five days and I miraculously survived (though I’ve averaged one meltdown per week; usually a nap in the back of the car assuages nervous breakdowns).

I miss Colorado. I spent more than a decade building friendships and an awesome online and offline community. I’ve been blessed with an amazing team of writers who are handling all the on-the-ground coverage while I manage everything else (advertising, editorial calendar, etc.). But here’s the problem: I love all those trips, VIP pre-screenings, restaurant openings, etc. It’s tough not to feel depressed after repeatedly turning down invites; that’s why I started blogging in the first place.

Lack of direction. I have no doubts we were supposed to move to Utah but until we can get settled in our house and I have some time, my hands are tied with pursuing new career paths. I put out some feelers for freelance magazine writing with my former editors and already heard back, only to realize I have zero time to travel and pursue these opportunities. Patience, little grasshopper. I’d really like to get back into Utah’s travel and tourism industry but have no idea what that will look like.

The “coming along”

Friendships are slowly forming.

Hadley is probably adjusting better than any of us and has joined the Science Club, has a group of friends at school and has bonded with the girls in our ward.

Bode was really attached to our life in Colorado and despite usually being able to make friends immediately, he has been slower to form meaningful connections. He is extremely frustrated by this but I have no worries once we’re finally in our house, he’ll make a lot of friends in our neighborhood.

Jamie. Lives in the basement working all day. So, not much has changed from his days in Colorado.

Me.  I’ve met some really great ladies and we’ve been on some adventures together. Have passed out in the backseat of the car more times than I’d care to admit. #Survivalmode

The awesome

As bi-polar as I feel about being here (“I love this place!” “What the crap” are we doing here?) the good far outweigh the bad.

I’m driving back and forth to the Heber Valley several times a day but we’ve been privileged to watch fall unfold in all its crimson magnificence. Truly, the 30-minute drive from Park City to Heber is gorgeous x 100. The kids and I listen to Audible or the scriptures, talk about nothing or everything and marvel at the mountain majesty that surrounds us.

Our luxury 3-story townhome. On Wednesdays, I stroll down to the farmer’s market at Canyons Village to eat peach cobbler ice cream, pluots, peaches and corn on the cob.

New adventures. Though I’m itching to explore the Heber Valley, I can’t pass up the opportunity to tackle Park City while we’re living here. I have had a grand time hiking and biking in my spare time, often with new friends.


We are supposed to be closing on our house next week but a lot of things need to happen before then. A deck. Cabinets. Carpet. Driveway. Fingers are crossed it will all go down according to schedule. This time in Park City has been a lot like new motherhood: the days are loooong but the weeks are short.

Here’s to starting a new adventure!



The Final Countdown

Our last two weeks in Colorado were a blur full of packing, stress and lots of sad good-byes.

We have dearly loved Skyline Estates. There was nothing quite like building our homes together for the first time, being pregnant together and raising our kids in the same space. Most of the kids have gravitated to other friends at school and church but they’ll always be bonded for life. Our neighbors threw a going-away party for us and Joe and Sherry, who moved a week after us. Some of the original families included the Kings, Schultzs, Morgans, Trinders, Ames, Franklins, Grandma Jean, Ron and Joyce, and the Haymonds.

Most of these kids in this picture were born after we moved in on tax day–April 15, 2004. Hadley was born one month later so she was always our benchmark for how long we lived there. Such an amazing group!

Tina and I met in a hiking group for new moms and she was my first dear friend in Colorado. We capped our friendship by hiking iconic Red Rocks while reminiscing our countless hikes, when I dragged her every Saturday to the Red Rocks Fitness Challenge and she dragged me on the Mind Eraser. And she was the first one to make me cry saying our good-byes.

We were thrilled to have one last hurrah for the Morgan’s backyard movie nights and it was a very befitting send-off to feature Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Mostly because we really love candy.

Andy’s blurry photobomb

One of our favorite summer traditions is helping with our stake’s community-wide service project. We were busy packing our garage but that didn’t stop us from going to the BBQ that night. Because we’re moochers like that.

Hadley was thrilled to go to the LDS Denver Temple for one last time with her besties. Truly, an amazingly supportive, GOOD, drama-free group of girls.

When Bode and I pulled up to our beloved home one night, we found Fat Kitty sitting in his window–something he has never done. It’s like he was saying his own farewells.

Funny how he almost looks fatter by moonlight.

Bode enjoyed playing Pokemon our final couple of weeks of summer. I didn’t complain–it was a fabulous way to explore our favorite haunts in Arvada. One evening took us to the top of what was once our neighborhood water tower. Though it’s no longer there, I have so many fond memories of climbing atop the hill when the kids were little and playing hide ‘n go seek as we marveled at the view.

It’s one of the many things we’ll never forget about our wonderful life in Arvada.

The Retirement of The Cheese Touch

Last summer, my friend Lisa was living a content existence in a cozy house with her beautiful family when her husband came home  and announced they should move into a ramshackle house (with an equally rundown pool) a few miles away. He saw the potential; she didn’t but our ward was awesome with helping them fix it up. I spent an afternoon doing a crappy paint job in her closet and as we helped them move I thought “I’m so glad we’re not going anywhere for a very long time.”

Fast-forward one year later and they threw us a going-away pool party in their backyard. Who would have thought?

I truly love each one of these families–the Larsons, Laras, Carrolls, Maugers and Haymonds. Their kids have grown up with mine, I thought they’d be in Young Men/Young Women together and eventually marry each other. It’s tough to pull myself away from this tight, comfortable cocoon where we feel understood, accepted and loved.

Cincinnati Chili Send-off

Eva, Lisa, Alexis and Jenn

Women folk

I’m not sure how our battle with “The Cheese Touch” started with the Carrolls but it has been going on for years. If you’re not familiar with the Diary of a Wimpy Kid’s dreaded cheese, go here for the background. We’ve been sneaking the cheese to the Carrolls (and vice versa) for years, the most creative being the time Eva covertly inserted it into Rice Krispie treats she gifted us, the worst when I dropped the cheese in their mailbox with our Christmas card and they totally busted me when they happened to be looking out their window.

So, it was only appropriate that for their going away present they gifted us with the cheese touch, framed and signed for us to have forever and ever.

I’m still debating if that is actually a good thing but we’ll take it.