Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Totally Homemade Christmas

Years ago, I would get together with my good friend Tori, and on the phone with my sister Eliza, and we'd talk about the cutest homemade stuff we'd seen in the last few weeks or so. Back then, we had lots of Christmas/Holiday craft stuff to do at church during the year so that always helped. Like minds working together to make our homes more fun and always a gift ideas for friends would be the main event.

These days, with more kids, more states between us, and more time spent on soccer practices and games, homework, part time jobs, teenage drama and baby drama too (at least in MY house, bless my soul), making things by hand has to be scheduled in. Finding time and sharing ideas has become more of a luxury. Blogs have helped me to keep up my ideas, and boy, they never cease to inspire me.

(look at that cute as heck pie that's made in a tiny mason jar!)

In the past I've made gifts totally by hand. Sometimes, this was in the form of a blanket or a quilt, movie buckets that held candy and popcorn and coupons for movie rentals etc....and you get the idea.

So I'm doing this again. I've got ideas that I've found around the internet, tweaked by my own crazy brain, and some things I'll be making I just came up with on my own. I hope they're enjoyed, and I always hope that my loved ones realize how much thought and care goes into it. It's so easy to buy something, but I will make every gift by hand, and each one will be different.

Ambitious? Yes. Fun? Yes. Worth every tantrum and whine to Mike about how "this looks so stupid! They're going to hate this!"? Yes. I think.

Anyone have any plans to do the same? Ideas? Favorite blogs that inspire you? Share! Leave a comment! I wanna see what you're seeing!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

It's Also Where The Speed Limit Goes To 80 Miles Per Hour. Crazy Right?

      (photo taken by Allison Easley, August 2010)

With family in Southern California and Las Vegas, we do the drive between the Provo area and there quite often. By quite often, I mean almost once a month. I have driven this drive my entire life, what with my parents both having much of their families residing there my entire life. I was born in Bountiful, Utah, my parents went to school at the University of Utah and BYU, and Utah was also the place where I went to college (the short time I did) and where I had my first baby. It is also the place I had Lola, baby #6!

Utah has always been sweet to me. I loved the family of it all. I loved the weather of it all. I loved the spirituality of it all. Most of all, though, I have to say, is how much I love the beauty of it.

That photo up above was taken by me while I was driving a weird stretch of Interstate 15, right before you get to a place called Nephi. There are no exits, there are no homes, no buildings, no people. Occasionally you'll see a line of cows, trudging along a narrow trail, playing follow the leader with their heads down.  In the summers there are storms. Storms that crop up out of no where. Storms that turn a sunny bathroom break at a gas station into a torrential rain storm in seconds!

I come from pioneer stock. In Mormon speak, that means I have ancestors who crossed the plains from the east to come to the Salt Lake Valley, well over a hundred years ago. Being taught by my parents about my heritage was always something I enjoyed. I used to sing songs about pioneer children singing as they walked...and walked...and walked...and walked. I remember thinking that it must have been fun to be able to play outside all the time with their sisters and brothers, totally naive to the harsh reality of them also being homeless, newborns and grandparents alike, pushing and pulling every earthly belonging along a trail, totally in faith that at some point, there would truly be an end in sight that they could call home.

Lately, life's been tough. Life's been a trail, and a trial. It's been up in our faces, showing us that we're really not in charge here. Every morning I wake up and have a choice. Just like my pioneer heritage, I have a decision to make. I can get up and make it a happy day, or I can lay down again and cry.

Everyone who knows me knows that I lived in the desert when I was 15. At that point in my life, I thought it would be the hardest thing I've ever done in my life.  I thought that for sure I'd never have challenges like that again! Ohhhhhhhhhh to be 15 again!

I hear stories of survivors all the time. I read about people who've come through things I cannot even fathom. I look at people around me and see their human traits, see their struggles, and my burdens are so light.

My mom made a comment the other day to me that I think about constantly. She is strong herself, a woman who doesn't express emotions that often, but when she does, boy I listen alright.   She said that the Lord only gives you trials he knows you can overcome. She commented about how strong my back must be to carry these things, and it brought things into perspective for me.  My burdens are light. They really are. These things we bear, they're given to us because we can take it.

Honestly, I can list a billion things that could be worse!  I really could!  It might take me a long time, but I'd sure give it a heck of a try!

Those rains come out of no where. They seem crazy and torrential when we're in them. They soak us, they make us uncomfortable, they may even ruin our most favorite dress, but surely, when we're standing back out of it a little way, when we're still close enough to smell the damp soil, you might just see something that takes your breath away with it's beauty.

We're trying to stand back and see it all right now. What we thought was scary and terrible is really just something that's shaping our landscapes.  2 weeks ago we were being drenched, and today, we're like that picture that I pulled over to take a few months ago up there except with less grass and stuff growing on us. Thank heaven, right?

Monday, September 27, 2010

I'm Just Glad He's Mine, and Mine Alone

Mike's 33rd birthday was yesterday. Actually, it ended an hour and 14 minutes ago. He's sleeping soundly behind me, in clean new sheets, his favorite. This is the 3rd night in as many days that we've had "fresh from the dryer" sheets. Why you might ask?

Harper is sick. Harper stayed up the other night in a weird kind of dreamy state, crying for no reason, totally inconsolable til 3 am.

I told Mike "get a bucket really quick while I hold him, he's going to throw up."

"No. He's not. He'll go back to sleep."

3 minutes later?  Throwing up in bed.

I gave Harper a bath which made him feel tons better, but it was 4 a.m., and he made me sit on the skinny, hard edge of the bath with my feet in with his body so he wouldn't be scared. There we sat, Harper finally happy, talking about video games and he made me tell him funny stories about when he was a baby and he tried to eat his cousin Dylan at the beach. He laughed so hard it echoed through the entire upstairs of the house.

Out of the bath he came, wrapped up in a towel, and Mike had put new sheets on. Fantastic!

The next night, Harper's in our room, laying on the bed. Not like himself. Finally, out of nowhere, he throws up again.

Rinse and repeat, except for this time, it was only 7 p.m.  Thank goodness.

This afternoon. Harper on our bed asleep. Out of nowhere, he wakes up and looks at me with a terrified face.  "Mom. I fart-pooped."

Yep. He did. All over our new sheets and the down comforter we'd gotten out that day. (It's cool at night. That means cool white down comforter weather!!!)  Wash, rinse and repeat once again.

So much for a fun birthday today. Mike had naps, we had good food, we watched tv and did the normal Sunday stuff.  He's such a good sport. He got calls from loved ones for his special day and it couldn't have been more peaceful.

I love this man of mine. He's the best dad, the best husband, the best friend I have ever had. Ever.

Oh and speaking of best husband, tonight we watched the premier of TLC's "Sister Wives". Uh, they live in my small town of Lehi. They actually have 3 wives, 13+ kids, and are taking on a 4th. I think this was filmed last year, so now they must already be married.

Anyway, I went into watching it thinking I'd be disgusted and judge them. The people who live polygamy these days just raise questions for my friends and colleagues who know I'm LDS, and who also think that we practice polygamy, or that these polygamists are Mormon too. Well, the people on the show made it perfectly clear that they're NOT Mormon, that the Mormon church does NOT practice polygamy, and with that, I started to really enjoy the show.

Can anyone say "new addiction"?  It's really good. I know it's illegal to live it, and they're sure to be busted now that the proverbial "Cat is out of the bag", but for what it's worth, I think they run a great household.

I know I couldn't do it.

Mike said tonight it would be too much pressure, too many families to take care of. I agree with him, except, I couldn't share Mike with anyone. Not for a second.

Boy I'm glad I'm not a sister wife.  Mercy.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I Can Hardly Wait Til I Don't Have To Be So Darn Cryptic

There's an indicator in my life that always fires off at certain times. When we're living the way we're really supposed to be living, when we're trying our very hardest to be the best people we can be...this is when the indicator is most apparent.

Lately, obviously, things have just hit the fan. In a huge way. Like, holy-cow-is-this-really-happening kind of way.  

So we've been talking about doing certain things again in our lives. Going to places we haven't been to in a long time again. Visiting areas of our spiritual and personal lives that haven't been getting enough attention lately. The plan was set in motion, things were happening and we were slowly and painfully dipping our toes back into water that has been a stranger for the last year or so.

That's when it all fell apart.


Thankfully, our family is tough. We're big tough guys in this house. We're fighters, and that means we freak out for a week or so, and then we say "k, so where do we go from here?" 

That's where we are. We're mapping out our next route, we're planning the next steps because as my wise friend Crystal said the other day "There's nothing you can do to change it now!  Just love it!" 

And boy are we ever.

One of the crazy things is so exciting to me I can't even tell you how I feel. I'm a big glowy mess.

The other thing is more shocking, more scary, more trying and emotional than I ever thought I could experience. I've been through something similar, and it's a good thing because we'd be lost otherwise. 

I'll share everything in good time with everyone, once we're sure where it's all going to end up.

In the mean time, let's not blog about such sensitive issues for a while yes?


So Halloween is coming!  I made chicken stew, sizzler toast and pumpkin pie with real whipped cream last night. Sadly, it's going to be like 80° today, and that makes me crazy, but give me 3 months and I'll be begging for this weather. The grass is always greener right?


Oh and I'm going to stop taking photos in November for a while. It's a decision our family has made, and we're at a point where I need less stress and more Easley time.  I couldn't be more at peace with this decision.

I'm off to meet for the first time and have lunch with 2 photographer gals I met through Facebook who have become some of my favorite friends in the world.   Whaddya wanna bet none of us brings our cameras to document this momentous occasion?!

Monday, September 20, 2010

So Am I Supposed To Look At The Sky And Yell "Why?!" Or Something?

When you have kids of all ages, you have crisis of different stages. Some really aren't a crisis at all, some are just issues. We have lots of issues, who doesn't. And let's be honest, every once in a while I exaggerate. Ok lots of times. I'm dramatic and I say lots of things, mostly because I'm a jabber-mouth. One thing about me, and the people who know me the best know this, is that when it's a really really big issue, or a real bonafide crisis, I don't talk about it. My husband will know, and eventually my bishop. There have been exactly 2 huge things in my life and they've thankfully been spread out over 20 years. Well right now, we're in the biggest one of our lives so far. It involves everyone in our family. It involves 3 different things.

Mike's health?  That's not even what I'm talking about right now...and that's so super scary, to hear that your husband has the health of a 70 year old man. That's not even close to it, that just makes us say "really life?  REALLY?  Right now???"  Actually, I think the things we just found out about caused the health incident, caused the chest pains, caused him to break down.

I want to pull away from everything in the world. I want to change our number, I want to lock our doors, I want to delete this blog, my facebook, delete my email and all of our cell numbers. I want to go on lockdown because I don't think I can handle what's coming our way. Actually, I'm pretty sure I can't.

Remember that post below about everything happening for a reason?  Well I don't know how I feel about that anymore. There's no reason for all of this. There's absolutely no good reason or lesson I can learn from any of this.

I think all I can do is press forward and take care of the people who live in our home and make sure we're fed and have clean clothes, and when this all comes to a head, you won't see much of me for a while. I am dizzy just thinking about it.

I'm tough. I can live with being poor. I can live with being stressed. I can live with pain. This is too much and I'm just writing about it because it's therapeutic to type this.

I can only read blogs by people like Stephanie and Ruth to understand why and how I can continue. I'm sure you'll all know soon enough about what I'm talking about. I wish it were just one big thing, but it's not. Maybe I'll have Mike blog about it. I don't think I can even type it out. I sure as heck can't speak it aloud, trust me, Mike and I tried to say it to each other and the words just wouldn't come.

For now, I'll just be over here counting my sweet blessings, of which I have many.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

...And Then It Got REAL...

Two nights ago, Mike started having chest pains and light headedness. Yesterday, he woke my from my nap to tell me that he thought we should go to the emergency room because he thought he might be having a heart attack.

Life is standing still right now.

We went to American Fork Hospital emergency room. They immediately took him in to triage to get his vitals. His blood pressure was so high they thought it was wrong. It was not. They retested him and retested him and still it stayed dangerously high.

They rushed him back to get an EKG and after the test, they hooked him up to more machines and wires and IV's and medications. After hours of tests and XRAYS, they finally told him the news. No indication of a heart attack thank heavens, but dangerously high blood pressure and his general health is bad. He's been put on meds and sent to see a specialist next week.

Life is scary. Things get so scary. Stress is really bad on your health.

I'm just so grateful to have him here. These things hit home and make you cling to each other.

Today he slid close to me in the kitchen to plant a sweet kiss on my lips, and it was all I could do to not cry. I love this  man. His 33rd birthday is next week. I need a billion more birthdays with him. I need them so much you can't even imagine.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

If You Really Wanted To Know...

I'm going to be honest with you here. I really dislike it a lot when the weather plays tricks with you. Last week the days cooled down to a delicous 72° and the kids and I all got the urge to get the fall decorations out. It is after all...September. And this is how the decorating schedule works:

September - Fall stuff
October - Halloween stuff
November - Thanksgiving and Christmas things
December - Christmas things

So you see, September is my month for my fall things. Yes, some of these things might be interchangeable, like the fall things could also double as the Thanksgiving things but really, I just look forward to fall. 

Most of the reasons are completely vain. I love scarves. I love sweaters. I love boots and jeans and hats. I love it. 

So if you wouldn't mind, Mother Nature, could you please send Mr. Summer away?  He's worn out his welcome  at my house.  Thank you ever so much.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

teeny tiny, shiny, sweet, felty, pretty fun little things!

I find myself in love quite often. I'll be walking down the street in Salt Lake City and see a little shop of antiques or consignments and I'll see a little green chair and I fall in love. We'll be in a book store on the coast in Santa Barbara and there will be a children's book from the 50's that explained the main differences between a boy and a girl and it will be excruciating for me to not buy it! (I have enough books for forty five people) Point is, I fall in love with cute little things. The internet has only worsened my love affair by making said "window shopping" possible not only with a quick click of the mouse, but I can do it in my jammies while eating a peach with a knife in my bed. (like I'm doing right now)

Today, I found this:

It's a teapot charm! Could you just DIE?!  I saw it on this etsy shop today and seriously, I gasped. I am in love. Honestly, is there anything cuter than a tiny porcelain creamer charm?  I can't even STAND it.

And then I came across these:

Those my friends, are shortbread button cookies. They're from here, who borrowed the idea from Eva Juliet (another Etsy gal I adore). (click the links!)

My sister Eliza and I both (I think she's worse than me though) stalk a ton of bloggers who do home decorating projects that cost next to nothing. If you haven't seen, Eliza and her hubby recently re-modeled their laundry room after she'd caught an idea from a crafty blogger. I think Eliza's turned out better than the other girls' did!  Go see Eliza's laundry room here! (clickity click!)

Since Lola will be pulling herself up to everything if not walking by Christmas, I've been fretting over what kind of ornaments to use. We have a lot of glass and breakable things, a lot of wiry dangerous pretty things but I was hoping to find a really cool way to incorporate my love for all things "birdie!" and felt. Here's what I discovered:

You guys, look at their little beaded feet!  Stop it right now!!!  I am making these. Like, this weekend.  Oh and I got the idea from here! (click-away!)

Anyway. such is my love affair. I have a husband who is patient and lets me ramble on and on about things and these things are some of the things he lets me ramble on about. Things. Little handmade or sweet things. At least it's free to window shop right?

UPDATE!!!  Look at all the awesomeness on this lady's etsy!  I want EVERYTHING. The end.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

talk about elephant tears...

Sweet Lola-bird has been squeezing these out her entire life. Even when she was born, the nurses would remark "oh my heavens, that one sure knows how to cry when she wants to" and "Hollywood can't teach people how to get natural tears that big!!!"  You got that right. This one's genuinely sad when she cries, but boy oh boy does she know how to get the waterworks flowing.

This is because I didn't put on the Jack Black episode of The Gabba today fast enough for her liking. (The episode was about Friends, she loves it. Who doesn't love friends?  And who doesn't love Jack Black? I mean really...)

Poor thing, laying in a big fluffy bed with her mama til 10 am watching her shows and she had to wait for 2 seconds while the DVR loaded?!  She has the patience of Job.

Monday, September 13, 2010

I'm In Need of Ganache

I've decided I either really love chocolate or I really hate it. Just thought you should know that.

Friday, September 10, 2010

These letter things are so weird, but I'm making one anyway

H - happy all the time
A - always smiling
P - probably the best husband ever
P - peppy
Y - yellow, since he's 1/2 asian

A - another man couldn't ever take his place
N - nifty and
N - nice
I  -  intelligent
V - versed in all things philosophical
E - energetic when he wants to be
R - ridiculously handsome
S - smooches me all day long
A - a real winner
R - rock star
Y - you can't believe how lucky I am to have him

I love you, Mr. Easley.  Happy Anniversary...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

I like listening to the Gorillaz new album while I work, FYI

I'm getting behind in work. It's not because I want to. It's because there's something WRONG with me. I'm sick, I'm tired, I'm emotional, and I blame the birth control pills.

Also, I blame the fact that it's my 5 year wedding anniversary in 2 days and there's no money for gifts. He's probably got some nifty clever card he made himself all ready in his secret place and when I see it, it will just scream "Mike made this and it's awesome!" and I will cry and sadly hand him the bag of  Jolly Ranchers I will probably get him.

I hate being poor, but I hate not having something to show Mike my appreciation even harder. I guess I could just scrub my bathroom for him. He'd feign happy and say "aw. Thanks honey. I love a clean toilet!" with real believability, but yeah. I'd rather take him to Morton's (click!) Do they even have Morton's in Utah?  I don't think so. Utah doesn't like to be that fancy.

Anyway...mais non, it's not for this year either. Every year I say "on our 5th anniversary, I'll do something really really nice for him"...but yeah. Here we go and no. Not this year either.

I'm thinking he probably won't want me to get him a bike but that's totally doable. There's a dude down the street who NEVER puts his bike away.  If Michael wants it, I'll totally steal it for him.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

reasons schmeasons here come the seasons!

There's something that crosses my mind a lot. Do things just happen or do they happen for a reason?  I usually flip back and forth between these thoughts and wonder what is going on when good and bad things occur in my life.

Lately, I'm leaning toward "for a reason". 

My daughter Mackenzie is 16 on Tuesday. Tuesday is the anniversary of her birth. She was early, hair covering her sweet tiny head, and when she got here Tiffany finally had a sister. We were beyond excited and she was the easiest baby I've ever seen. She smiled early, walked early and couldn't wait to run. She talked on her first birthday video...a tiny little thing with a shoulder length bob...sitting on the front porch of our house. The video turns to her, binkie in her mouth, and her grandmother Sharla asked her "Hey Kenzie...what'cha doin?" and Miss Mackenzie pulled out her bink and perfectly said "Wanna ride a bike?"  Yes. On her very first birthday.   This week is sad for me because it's a bad year. Things are getting better with Mike starting his new job today but for the most part, there will be no presents for a month. She's sweet and won't complain, but I know it hurts her. We're trying, Mackenzie. Things are getting better.  You know we love you so so so much.  

These things happen for a reason. This year, maybe she'll remember that we can give her love instead of monetary things.  Hopefully, she'll remember it later and say "I learned something about love that day..."

Mike and I got to a point the other night where we realized that we needed to work on some things. No, things aren't bad, but there comes a time where you look at each other and say "whoa, we're totally on different roads!"  Thankfully, these roads weren't far from each other.  Just side-by-side sort of. Marriages shouldn't be two people living side by side. They should be two people walking together, holding hands, so that if something dangerous comes down the road, the other one can yank them out of the way of trouble. We were there on Saturday. I noticed that we were on two roads. I woke him up at 11:30 at night and said "lets go for a walk". It was warm at first but after 2 hours, it got cold. We were sitting at the park and the sprinklers came on, and still we stayed and talked. I talked mostly at first. I talked while we did an entire lap around our neighborhood. Then he talked. I interrupted saying that he'd misunderstood what I was saying before and he asked me to just listen. I listened. I'm so glad I did. We walked home at 3 am. I know I didn't sleep at first, and from how he was breathing, I know he didn't either. Lots of thinking, I assume, like me. 

This morning, we were brand new. What a terrific feeling. We don't argue, Michael and I. We never fight. It's weird and awesome. We just get busy and forget sometimes that we're madly in love with each other. 3 weeks ago we were at a concert just totally dancing to the music and as close as you can be, and then a few weeks later, we would take care of family things and work and then fall into bed asleep. We both decided that we need to spend every night with the tv off so we can talk about the day and I can giggle at his dry humor and he can laugh at my stupid jokes.  This is where we find each other. In humor, and in friendship. I love this man.

These things happen for a reason. This year, especially, has been difficult. We've had financial trouble, but things are really looking up. This new job of his is giving us lots of hope. I know this happened right now so we could be ready for the good things coming our way.

My kidneys are full of stones. I went to the doctor and they told me they'd pass. They scheduled me for a CAT scan, and on the day of the scan, I canceled. This was a month ago. Something told me not to get radiation. I really was sick about it. I stayed up all night, I got up in the morning to call the doctor to tell him I was worried, and he said "let's postpone it. We know they're there from ultrasounds, but we can just wait to do the scan for a while."  I worry a bit that this stupid feeling I'm having means something is really wrong, or that I shouldn't be radiated any more than I have been in the past. I've had so many CAT scans, what with gallbladder issues and stones in the past. Really, minor things. But radiation no less.  We'll see. I'll do it in a month. Maybe this feeling is because our insurance cancels this month. I have no insurance for 90 days.  We'll see.

These things happen for a reason. I'm unsure of what that reason is, but maybe I'll find out, maybe not. That's the way inspiration works.  

In other news, these birth control pills are making me sick. SICK!  Too much information?  Oh well. Deal with it. 

This too happens for a reason, but it's totally a hormonal, scientific reason, so I don't wonder too much about the reasoning here.  

Oh and I really love my family. Taylor and Mandy were here, they brought their boys!  We had a party at Eliza and Curtis' house tonight, Curtis ran the bbq (seriously, he's the best bbq'er I've honestly ever met. He nails the chicken EVERY TIME. It's always moist!  How does he do that??? Also, he knows how I like my steak...bloody and as rare as it gets but just barely brown on the edges. He nails that  every time, too. He deserves a trophy or something. I should look into getting him one) while the kids played. Harper got tired and so did his cousins and fights ensued but really funny ones where 6 year old Isaac said awesome stuff that I wrote down in my cell phone notes because seriously, that kid is awesome. Yes, they were sort of mean to Harper but I layed on the stairs with my face in the carpet just laughing at the comments even while Harper cried. Why?  Because honestly...Isaac is a comedic genius. I adore that kid.

I sure love Eliza. She's always willing to have parties at her house. Appropriately, her house is the biggest so it works that way, but she cleans up the mess that I know we leave, and she's generous and sweet and she's the best. And we're only 16 months apart in age. This makes her even more awesome. Every year when I turn the next age, I know she'll be right behind me, turning into the year I just left. She just turned an age last week. I won't say which, but it starts with a 2 and ends with a 9. Right Eliza?  

Now, to get my bedroom clean since I just unpacked today from my trip that I got home from on Tuesday. Lazy much?

Oh and fall is here. I like living where there are seasons. Mmhmm...

Thursday, September 2, 2010

blogging is dumb but it really isn't, so I do it. It's also my 8th year anniversary of blogging. Weird.

Mackenzie got asked to Homecoming. Thing is, I'd feel really super old but she's a junior. And Tiffany is an adult. I have an adult child. I'm in my mid 30's. What the???  So wanna make it even more crazy?  Sure!  Why not?  I have an adult child, I have one in high school, I have one in middle school, I have one in elementary school, I have one in pre-school and an infant. I have one in every phase of young life. Isn't that bizarre?

I love it. I really really love it.

P.S. Tomorrow is Mike's last day at his job. He's been there over 2 years and has learned all he can from that place, and he's moving on to an Ad Agency. Something that is really super interesting to him. When Daddy's happy, Mommy's happy, and vice versa.

P.P.S It's our 5th wedding anniversary next week.

P.P.P.S. Have I mentioned that he's The One?  Ok good, cuz he is.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

a whole lot of rambling, but mostly because I like to ramble

there's an unmistakable feeling in the air. It's the same feeling I get every year at this time. We sleep with our windows open and in the morning we're almost too chilly to only have our light summertime blanket over our bodies. Every morning I say to Mike "should we get the down comforter out?" and he always says "maybe". That means "you decide" because he's really sweet like that. He will make due with whatever I choose.

I drove home to Utah late last night from this last trip to Las Vegas and Southern California. The drive was long and Tiffany puked all over herself and all over the car, but for the most part, it was beautiful. Honestly, when you're coming from Vegas, almost anything is more nice to look at but the drive north home is stunning and it comes incrementally. First, The Gorge. Really?  It's just stunning. You see these cliffs that reach so high up you almost can't see the tops even when you crane your neck out the window. Then you automatically look down below the road and the valleys are red and sparse, but with a muddy river crawling across it. I could tell you a joke about that river but I won't. (yes I will. I once heard this from a Young Women's/church leader on the way back from Girls' Camp in Brian Head. question "why do they call it the Virgin River?" answer "because you never see the bottom of it!")

After The Gorge, you reach St. George. St. George...where do I start?  I spent a zillion summers there as a kid. We had a family condo on a golf course there. Every summer we'd go and mostly during the 4th of July. Tennis would be on tv and our parents would watch it while we'd go outside on the lower deck and eat a billion otter pops. Dads would go golfing at 6 am to beat the heat and they'd be back around noon to take the kids swimming. I loved it! I realize now they were trying to cool off since St. George frequently reaches over 100° during the days. Sometimes over 110°!  Heaven love them and their dedication to the sport!  Anyway, we'd play mermaid or superman and wonderwoman all while jumping in and out of that pool. I loved that pool.

Around noon we would head inside to have some kind of lunch, most often tuna fish sandwiches or pb&j, which was just fine to us because we also got to have as many fresh picked apricots as we could stand. Chips were abundant and so was kool-aid!  After that, the mom's would go golf. In the heat. Really?  Now that I'm an old lady, I wonder how they did that. Bless their hearts. While the moms were golfing, we'd all smear lotion on our burnt backs and cheeks and play Uno upstairs in the cool bedrooms that are still where I imagine my "happy place" to be even to this day when I'm in need of going to such a place in my head.  Imagine cool rooms with fluffy beds and plenty of paper and crayons and markers to use.

Dinner was either made at home or we'd go to the famous Pizza Factory that was/is owned by our family friend Bill. All of us and the cousins would get pizza and a salad bar. Even as little kids. SALAD BAR!  I realize now how strange that is but even my own kids and even my brother's kids still do that. As a matter of fact, in Vegas yesterday I was visiting with my sweet sister in law Mandy as she got her boys ready for school. (Side note, she was in a cute dress with an apron on. She's adorable and I love her.) She asked them what they wanted for lunch. Derek, who is 5 asked for toast with jam. Dylan asked for salad with ranch. How cute is that?  Anyway, dinner-pizza factory. Good. Oh and then we'd beg for a new tshirt from there. Most often we'd get matching shorts too. The 80's were awesome.

Anyway that was a super long rant about St. George, but that's where my memories lie. I could go on and on about St. George but I'll save it for another time. PS to my blogging cousins and siblings, I reserve the right to blog about the Ghost Hunt. It's mine. SO there.

Next you crawl up I15 up toward Cedar City. Lava rocks and green trees and red sand and cliffs?  What else can I even say?

Then miles and miles and miles of open grassy areas pouring out in the middle of hills covered with trees. Farmers water their land with those big long pipes with huge wagon wheels on them. I've always been fascinated with those watering devices. What are they called, anyone?  Anyone?  So curious!

Beaver!  Cheese factory!  Super clean X-Large bathrooms at the Texaco!  That's all I know about Beaver.

Fillmore, no reception on my phone.

Nephi!  All I can say about Nephi is that when my adorable soon-to-be husband Mike was getting baptized, we made a trip up to Utah with Tiffany. We took him to see all the sights of SLC, and Temple Square. It was the most spiritual trip of my life, and I loved every second of it. What does that have to do with Nephi? We were stopped in Nephi and saw my old van. The one I shared with my ex-husband. See, our divorce had been final for about a week and Mike and I were on our first "real" date and we stopped in Nephi to go to the restroom and there it was. I guess my ex-husband was meeting a girl for the first time there, she lived in Idaho. Anyway, it was weird to see my old car at a random gas station in the middle of nowhere. My ex married that gal about a week later. Mhmmm.

So then you come over this hill into the Utah Valley. I always get happy there, and it is called Happy Valley, so it fits. The mountains are awesome, you see Timpanogos in the background hovering over everything and the legend of that mountain (click!)  is so beautiful and sad at the same time, it just feels spiritual even looking at it.

Anyway, the drive yesterday was long and tiring, but the sights and views were astounding as always and waking up to the crisp air that reminded me that fall is peeking over the horizon just made it an even happier homecoming. Hey fall, hurry up. I have scarves I wanna wear.