family vacation 2014

We had such a fun little family vacation! A few months ago, we decided we wanted to do our family vacation this year in Southern Utah. We wanted to take the boys to the Grand Canyon! After our trip to Phoenix in February, we drove home past the Grand Canyon and had been wanting to go back ever since. So we made some reservations and then got an even better idea to invite both of our parents along for the fun. The boys are so lucky to have both sets of Grandparents nearby and we thought we had better take advantage of that while we can. So road trippin' we went!
Eli, Grandpa Glenn, Will, Grandpa Hopkins
at the Grand Canyon Lodge - North Rim
We stayed in a fun little place called Jacob Lake. It is beautiful at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. The boys loved exploring the "forest" and looking for animals. We saw the famous Kaibab squirrel - can only be found at the North Rim! We saw lots of other squirrels, buffalo, tons of cool birds, and several lizards and chipmunks. Will thought it was so great that we saw so many lizards. The boys worked on a scavenger hunt the whole time in order to earn a souvenir at the gift shop. They had a lot of fun with it and loved checking things off their lists!

 The boys with Gigi

 Gigi and our family

 The grandparents enjoying the view... and me freaking out behind the camera about Eli leaning over the edge! Hahahaha!

 The view in these pictures doesn't do it justice. It is pretty breathtaking and unreal. The boys really loved it and kept talking about how amazing it was!
 Gotta have a silly picture! It's more "authentic" :)
 So many amazing views!!

 By this point, we had been to several look outs, it was hot, and the kids were so sick of my taking their picture. They were great travelers and such good sports though!

 All of us!

After a couple days at the Grand Canyon, we headed down the mountain to Zions. We ate at the best Mexican place, called Oscars and then headed into the park. The grandparents decided to wait for us at the big Lodge and hang out there while we did some hiking. The four of us headed to do the Narrows. On our way up to the narrows trail, it was thundering and getting darker and darker. We were talking about it raining and the possibility of a flash flood, but didn't think too much of it.
We got to the Narrows and started heading up the water. It felt so good on our hot and sweaty feet! Ha! It was still thundering, and as we started around a bend in the river, another hiker told us there was a ranger up farther that was telling people to turn around because of the storm. So we started to head back. As we were headed back to the shuttle, it started to POUR. We got completely soaked. But I have never seen anything so beautiful. There was water pouring over the cliffs and rocks. It was pretty spectacular and pretty hilarious that we were running through the rain. The boys were just laughing!! We made it to the shuttle and back to the lodge to get the grandparents. Before we left the lodge, we had to get ice cream! It was the perfect ending to a perfect little day.

 The views were SO awesome. I love Zions and can't wait to go back and do some more hiking!!!

When we got back to the hotel, I took the boys swimming. They wanted to cool off and never pass up swimming! After swimming, and showers, we played Scum in the hotel lobby.... it was the only place we had a big enough table. Will loved it and did so great learning how to play! Eli ate his snacks and played on the ipod.

The next morning we left to come home. We stopped at the cheese factory of course, and then headed to Cove Fort. I had never been there, so I was excited about it. The boys were restless from riding in the car, so it was a good stopping point. It was so pretty and so interesting. I had never visited that church site and didn't know much about it. It was super interesting and fun to see all the things they did in Cove Fort.

We had a great trip and enjoyed being together for several days. We are lucky that Scott has a flexible work schedule where he can take time off to be with us. The boys love when he's around and we loved having their grandparents there with us as well. Until next year! Now.... where should we go?


easter and a baptism

Time for an update!! We had a great springtime! Lots of fun family events and lots of great weather. During conference weekend, we had some special visitors drop by! This family hosted Scott while on his mission in Bolivia. At the time, their kids were just little. Now their oldest son is on a mission and their daughter is in highschool! They were sweet people and it was fun to us to meet them and for Scott to see them again.

We had a really fun Easter! The boys were excited to hunt for their eggs and Easter baskets. We did our traditional egg dying and talked a lot about what Easter truly means to us. I feel so blessed to know that through the Atonement we can be eternal families and live again!

A couple weeks after Easter was this boys birthday! I can't believe I have an 8 year old. I started this blog when he was just a year old.... wow!!! He was SO excited for this birthday, it is a truly special one. He was excited to wake up to his balloons and to his presents of course!

He had school on his birthday but asked if I would check him out early. So of course I did. Then he came home to play with his new Legos and then we went to Red Lobster for dinner. He not only ordered the most expensive thing on the menu (a platter of crab legs, lobster, shrimp) but he also ordered Calamari and ate the entire plate. After Red Lobster we went to Orange Leaf for some frozen yogurt. We had lots of festivities planned for the baptism, so his birthday was pretty low key.

Will's baptism was such a special day for our family! The weather was sunny, but COLD. Will looked so handsome and so grown up in his nice church clothes. He was excited but we could tell that he was a little bit nervous. I was so emotional when I saw him after he had changed into his white clothes. The spirit was so strong! I'm so proud of Will for his decision to be baptized.

After the baptism, we had a big lunch with all our families. Almost everyone was able to come! Will was so happy to be surrounded by cousins and aunts and uncles. We had the lunch at Grandpa and Grandma Hopkins clubhouse, which was nice. It accomodated everyone really great. Will chose Clam Chowder soup (I added a few others too....) shrimp, and salads. We also had bread, and he requested chocolate ice cream for dessert. It was such a fun day! After the luncheon and all that fun, we packed up and drove to Logan. We spent the afternoon/evening with Scott's family and helped Glenn and Martha prepare for their homecoming the next day. It was a weekend full of fun and family time!!

Even though I wish my boys would stay little forever, they just keep growing! Our family is doing great. Life is good, and always an adventure. We are excited for the next few years and all the adventures that will come!