Sunday, May 29, 2016


We crammed all our last minute to-dos for our last full day in Southern Utah. We started out by going to Pioneer Park. Can I just say Pioneer Park is probably my most favorite place of all time. It's SO FUN! 
My FitBit said I climbed 35 flights of stairs and this is why. Exploring, climbing, jumping, wandering. It is the perfect little place for a family of boys to go wild and get adventurous.
 It wasn't just fun for the kids! Jeff and I loved feeling like kids again hiking through, above, around and under all the rock formations. 
We were all in heaven. We spent about 2 hours happily scaling the red rocks. It was my most favorite thing we've ever done in St. George and a new tradition for every time we go back. 

The boys were humming Star Wars whenever they ran out of things to say during our hiking. By the end of our hiking, I noticed Lincoln was also humming. As I listened closer, it was clear he was also humming the Star Wars theme song nearly perfectly. 
Seriously you guys. Go to Pioneer Park! It's awesome!

We stopped for a fruit snack/granola bar break. It was the first time Lincoln has sat at a table without a booster or high chair and he looked so grown up to me. Tear. 

Now I will draw your attention to my hair. It is long. And one year overdue for a cut. I took advantage of the trendiness of St. George to schedule my yearly hair cut. I had an appointment right after our hike. Jeff ran the kids home for a little down time while I ran off for a little down time of my own. 
I went in for what I considered a trim, which was about 4-6" after all the dead ends were finally taken care of. I had a really fun, energetic guy cut my hair and it was the most fun hair cut of my life. I think he felt bad that I only manage to get my hair cut once a year when we go to St. George and really wanted to pamper me for the occasion. He gave me a full scalp massage, excitedly "chopped" my hair, adding little touches that he thought would look good on me and then insisting on giving me a beachy curl after he found out we were planning to go to the lake that evening. 

I gave in to all of the royal treatment. It was so fun to be spoiled and pampered and it felt just like the movies when people get a full make over. Never mind that I was there for nearly 2 hours, it was just what the doctor ordered! 
I came home to a cheese ball eating cheese balls. Ever since Disney, it's now tradition to get a bucket of cheese balls anytime we're on vacation.
Eli's been dying to go back to the beach ever since California. We made it to Sand Hollow to give Eli the beach he's been begging for one the last 6 months. 
The weather was *perfect* the whole time we were there. It wasn't terribly hot, but it was hot enough to give us that little taste of summer we had been craving. 

While the boys played in the water, I tried time after time to get a good shot of my new beachy curls, but it was mostly a series of failed attempts. 

Here's a little look at our campsite while we were there. Everyone had fun doing their own thing and just enjoying the sunshine and warm sand. 

This day was so perfect. It was my favorite, favorite. We had a lot of fun. It was the perfect close of our trip. Until we meet again, sunny St. George!

St. George Part 3

On Monday morning we met up with my high school friend Ashlee! We each have 3 boys, so we let our kids run wild at the park while we caught up. It was so fun to see her. 
We were going to go to the splash pad with Ashlee, but it was a little too cold in the morning, so we went after lunch instead. Lincoln seemed to regret all the french fries he had for lunch after slipping into his swimsuit. 
Extra fries or not, he's still swimsuit model material. 
We talked about Grandma and Grandpa Excell a lot while we were in St. George because they usually join us for some of our festivities. Eli often requested I take a picture of him to send to Grandma and Grandpa to let them know we were thinking of them. This was one such picture. 

My children aren't typically big performers, but every once in a while Carson will surprise me with a song, dance, or sometimes both. It seemed as though Carson interpreted the rock wall at the splash pad as a stage. He really let loose up there for a minute, putting on quite the variety show until he caught me looking at him and bashfully ran into hiding.
Monday is the night the boys discovered Grandpa's motorcycle helmets. 
They insisted on wearing them for a little stroll around the neighborhood with me that evening. Every time we passed the neighborhood map, we had to stop and decide which way we were headed. 

New rule in the family is it's okay to walk in the middle of the road as long as you have the proper headgear on. Stay tuned for Tuesday's adventures!

Sunday in St. George

Our favorite Sunday activity while we're in St. George is to visit the St. George Temple grounds with our kids and reminisce of stories of where it all began. 

The boys always insist on running up the big stairs to touch the doors and I always insist on chasing them up the stairs to get a picture of them. 

We chilled in the lawn for a while.
Gazed at the temple.
And just hung out for a while. 

After the temple, we hopped in the car to go visit new baby Helen!

Laura's family met us there for dinner. Laura set up a photoshoot for Helen while I got a behind-the-scenes shot of her working her magic. 
I always love to get people's perspective on becoming parents for the first time, so it was fun to catch up with Bryan and Celeste and meet the newest member of the family. The kids enjoyed huddling around electronic devices while we discussed the glamours of child birth. 
We said goodbye to everyone and made our way back down to St. George to rest up for another day of fun. 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Carson's 4 in St. George!

We survived another busy season which meant we were due for our annual St. George getaway. We had the trip all planned and on the calendar for months, but somehow it wasn't until the week before we left that I realized Eli would be in school that week.


I'm clearly not used to the commitment of Kindergarten as I had completely forgotten we can't just get up and go somewhere quite like we used to. My heart sank when I realized we may have to ditch our tradition in the name of Eli's education. 

At the realization, I gasped, looked at Jeff and said, "Eli has SCHOOL!" and then waited for the realization to also hit him. 

The problem with SCHOOL for us right now is that it's a whopping 2 hours every day, so it's a little hard for me to take seriously. So yeah, every once in a while we'll permit Eli to miss 7 straight days for a Disneyland vacation, but other than that, he's been there every day this year. We figured another 3 absences wouldn't hurt... (with a little tinge of guilt.)

Throughout our trip, I did come to terms with the fact that this will probably be the last time we can skip town mid April for our post busy season tradition, so we sure lived it up while we were there!

Starting with Carson's 4th Birthday!
Carson insisted he get to open his presents first thing birthday morning. 
He got some Alpha Bots...
Some sand toys, some dot paint, and Iron Man and Spiderman costumes. 
They spent the rest of the morning bopping around the house under their new identities. 

In the afternoon, we went to the Children's Museum. The boys loved the submarine part. I'm glad there wasn't a real person under that equipment, because Carson determined whether or not he was real by punching him. Multiple times. In the groin. 
The boys oddly loved the dress-up-and-perform-karaoke room. I wouldn't consider any of them big performers, so it was fun to see them break out of their norm a little bit to take the stage and put on a little show. 
Eli and Carson found it hilarious to plop different hats on Lincoln and then spastically run around the room laughing at each silly hat. 
Lincoln's favorite room was the play kitchen. 

We finished up at the museum and then came trouble. I had a cake to decorate. Have you ever decorated a cake on vacation? It's not easy, folks. 

I will acknowledge that this is one of my weaker cake designs, but considering I wasn't at my house in my cake decorating element, I'll call it a success. And Carson seemed to think it was awesome so who cares if the eyes are chunky?!

This is how Lincoln liked to spend his time in St. George. 
Climbing out of his crib at my every attempt to give him a nap. And then innocently looking up at me like this to reiterate that he has no intention of napping. 
Eli spent his free time taking full advantage of Carson's new birthday presents. 
And Carson loved to get Grandma and Grandpa's toy cars at to race them around the house. 
In the evening, we went on a walk to see the swans. Eli had been there with Grandma before, but Jeff and I had never been, so he scoped out the map to show us the way. 
Jeff was shuffling through the garage before we left finding a stroller for Lincoln. Jeff pulled out a stroller and popped it open. Carson ran over and made himself comfortable in the newly discovered stroller and said, "But where's Lincoln going to sit?"

That's just it, Cars. He was going to sit right there. 
Since it was Carson's birthday, we let it slide and gave him the royal treatment, which left Jeff and Lincoln strolling through the neighborhood like this:
As we approached the swans, one of them immediately and fiercely began swimming straight for us. It got right up to the fence and started biting at the fence and making it very clear it wanted us no where close to the pond. We circled around the pond and that swan stalked us with ruffled feathers the entire time.

When we got to the other side of the pond, I saw a sign that said, "Please do not feed or annoy the swans." It became very clear that was a swan that was easy to annoy, so we slowly backed away and left the crabby swan alone.
We had a great first day celebrating Carson in St. George! Carson is such a sweet boy. He is easy going, hilarious, and a great big brother and little brother to both of his siblings. The thing I love about Carson is his sense of humor. He understands jokes and sarcasm and is funny to joke around with. 

And Carson is so smart! He loves watching Eli do his homework which has helped him learn all his letters and numbers, the letter sounds, and he's even started sounding out and spelling words. He intently watches everything Eli does and soaks it up, eager to catch up to all the things Eli's doing. 

Carson loves to EAT! He's always the first to get to the table for dinner and the last to leave. If there's any mention of food, Carson comes running. He still loves helping me in the kitchen and is still pretty adventurous in the foods he'll try. It's fun to have a kid who enjoys my cooking!

Carson is my boy who will speak his mind. He's the one that will ask a pregnant woman (or not pregnant woman) if she's pregnant. He's the one who will loudly ask about something he finds weird. He's the one who will shamelessly invite himself over to other people's houses. He calls it like it is.

We love our Carson boy and are so glad he's in our family.