Wednesday, August 31, 2011

First Day of School

Is summer really over? School started so early this year (Aug. 22) and it really felt like our summer was cut short. Oh well. Everyone was excited to go back and begin another year of academic growth. Mitchel is in 5th grade this year. It blows my mind because I can remember my fifth grade year like it was yesterday. I was so boy crazy by then, I had the most fabulous teachers, and that was the year I knew I would also be a school teacher someday. I hope Mitchel loves it as much as I did.
Mitchel's teacher is Ms. Miller. He also will rotate into Ms. Laver's class for some of the subjects. His cute friend Hayden is in his class so that will make it nice for him.

Of all my kids, Max was the most excited to go back to school. He is so social and loves being around people. He is also very smart and loves to learn. Max is in 2nd grade this year. He is by far the tallest and most people think he is in 3rd or 4th. His teacher is Mrs. Duckworth. Mitchel had her too and we absolutely love her! She is so kind and caring and fun. I love how she makes the kids feel and she gives them so much confidence in themselves. He is going to have a great year with her.

My sunshine Mason started Kindergarten this year. I had him all signed up to go to morning Kindergarten, then my principal wanted me to switch to working in the afternoon. Luckily, Mason had qualified for the "advanced" Kindergarten and they wanted him in that class in the afternoon.

He was so excited to go and be like his big brothers.

His teacher is Mrs. Andrews. She is a short little lady who loves these little Kindergartners. (The sun was shining right in their faces when I took this picture.)

And I had my first day of school too. Like I said, I switched to afternoons, but I'm not sure what I will be doing yet. The 4th and 5th grade teachers are trying to decide how they want to use me the best, so we shall see. My classroom is all ready though for whatever they throw at me. So another year begins. I hope we all have success and learn a lot. School is a great place to be!

Thursday, August 18, 2011


I wish I was eloquent enough to describe our trip to Yellowstone and all the beautiful, amazing, inspiring, fun, and amazing things we were able to see and do. But since I'm not, I will let some of my pictures do the talking.

We are so grateful and lucky that Grandma and Grandpa Harker came on this trip with us. Not only are they so much fun to be with, they make rounding up the boys much easier for me and the boys love being with them.

Miles was pretty lucky. He got rides from Dad almost every where we went.

We love playing in the rivers at Yellowstone. They are at least 20 degrees warmer than the water in Utah rivers and lakes because of all the heated water that gets poured into them by the thermal features.

My one shot of Old Faithful. Actually not even one of my favorite features in Yellowstone. We saw other geysers, hot pots, hot springs, and steam vents that are even more impressive.

One afternoon they offered a Jr. Ranger "Animal Olympics" for the kids. They competed against animals in holding their breath, jumping, running, balancing, smell, staring, and other activities.


Cooling off with a sweet treat. We got ice cream almost every where we went. Very yummy!

We hiked our boys to death, and they loved it. This was by far our longest hike to Fairy Falls, 5 miles round trip.

And this is my favorite thermal feature called "Dragon's Breath." It totally sounds and looks like a dragon could be living in this cave.

For our last lunch we decided to splurge and went into a little town just North of Yellowstone. I had my very first buffalo burger. It tasted like a really good hamburger, but cost more.

Yellowstone might be one of my favorite places on earth. It was a wonderful week full of great adventures, good company, fabulous food, cool temperatures, beautiful sites, and memories that will last forever (with the 120 pictures that I took). It was the perfect way to end our summer.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

More Summer Fun

Oh how time flies when you're having fun! This summer has felt like the fastest one yet! I can't believe it will be over in a week. Here are some of the things we have been doing these last few weeks.

On the 24th of July, I ran the Deseret News 10K. This is my favorite race because I love the course. This is right before the finish line where I am sprinting with all my might. I came in with a time of 57 minutes. I was pretty happy with that and I felt great!
Then I met my family along the parade route to watch the parade. One of my favorite traditions.

This year my stake had a float in the parade. One of my young woman got to ride on it for this parade and I was out in the street yelling and cheering for her. Our stake won the animation award.

That night, my Dad had two extra tickets to the Bees game so I took Max who is becoming quite the lover of the game. He asked about all the rules and was really interested the whole game. There were fireworks afterward which was fun.

The first Tuesday of August we took advantage of the $2 Tuesdays down at Thanksgiving Point. We went after lunch to the gardens and so it really wasn't even very crowded.

Another afternoon we used my City Deals coupon I had bought months ago to go to the Dinosaur Park in Ogden. Miles loved seeing all the "real" dinosaurs and hear all the noises they make.

We also went to the Herriman/Riverton "Beach" one afternoon. My kids loved digging in the sand and splashing around while I sat on the beach and read a book. Very relaxing! Until the clouds rolled in and it started to rain, so our trip was cut a little short.

All of these events took place in the first week of August. We then packed up and left for Yellowstone for a week, so that will be my next post. We've had some fun and I am glad the boys are still at an age where they will hang out with their mother. I don't know how many more summers I'll get like this, so I am grateful for the time I do get to spend with my boys. They are awesome!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


How lucky am I to have a sister who is also my best friend? Pretty lucky I would say. She has wanted to go to Vegas for a while to jump off the Stratosphere, so finally, we made it happen. Here we are arriving at the airport in Vegas ready for the fun to begin. The first afternoon there we drove to see the Hover Dam. That thing was huge and amazing. We went on the tour through the power plant and got to see how it all works. We also went to the visitor center where it shows how and why they built the whole thing. Totally amazing that man was able to figure out how to control the massive Colorado River.
This is the new highway bridge they just built last year so they would have less traffic going over the dam for security reasons. That is also an engineering marvel.

It was very hot!!!

That night we went with our tour guide Julie, my friend who lives in Vegas and who let us stay at her house, down to the strip. We went through some of the casinos and watched the shows that they do on the street.

I loved the Billagio fountain show. Very impressive!

The next morning, we set out to do what we came for, watch Tracy jump off the Stratosphere. You can't believe how high up it is. 855 ft from the top of the tower all the way to the bottom. She payed a hefty penny to do it, but it really was awesome!

All suited up and ready to go!

The Clemens family came with us to watch the jump and have lunch with us after...if Tracy lived.

She lived and loved it! She screamed the whole way down. Later that afternoon we went back to the strip to look at some of the other casinos and do the Coke and M&M museums.

We then returned that evening to the top of the Stratosphere to ride all the crazy rides they have on top. Way fun and a little scary.

This is the picture they took of us on the one that shoots you to the top of the needle on the Stratosphere. I am on the left and Tracy is in the middle. Pretty funny we think.

The last day of our trip we had some time to kill before going to the airport. We had gotten our fill of the strip and done everything good Mormon girls could, so instead we went to see the movie "Captain America." LOVED it!

I thought I should at least put in a dollar to the nickel slots. I put it in, pushed the button a few times and was up to $1.20. Then I pushed it a few more times and got down to $0.20. One more push put me at $0.70 so I figured I would cash out then. So I took my ticket and went to the window and got my 70 cents. Funny huh! The picture was totally worth my 30 cents!

We still didn't have to be to the airport quite yet and decided that we better eat at at least one all-you-can-eat buffet while in Vegas. The Clemens told us about one in a new casino that they thought was the best and they were right! It had everything for a great price and was so yummy. This is my dessert plate at the end. Do you think I gained weight on this trip? You bettcha! We rolled on out of there and went to the airport to go home.

It was so much fun to be in Vegas with my sister and friend Julie. It was great to take a break from being a mom and wife for a few days and just have some girl time. I am so glad that Tracy and I are such good friends. I love spending time with her and just being ourselves together. I am so lucky to have her as my sister. Good times!