Utah’s National Parks

The idea to visit each of Utah’s National Parks with my parents and Grandpa was born a few years ago now. At the time, the drive to Utah would have been treacherous with the potential of a lot of snow. In fact, one of the roads may have been closed for the season or something. The details are fuzzy. At any rate, this trip has been a long time coming and I was exceptionally thrilled to get to do this with my Grandpa, who I used to travel with as a kid. The idea that my 94-year-old Grandpa could make a trip like this with our kids was just too good to be true! We all had a delightful time together.

Little caveat to this trip – I can’t remember which day goes with which picture anymore. Yikes! So, take my journal entries with a grain of salt. The main idea is this: we had an amazing time every day. =D

Here’s a cute little shot of Ethan and his Great-Grandpa shooting the breeze at a rest stop on the way:

We started with Arches National Park. Visiting the parks in the late afternoon is definitely the way to see the most with the fewest other visitors nearby. Plus, the weather is much cooler and more enjoyable in the evening hours!

Here’s a fun comparison from the last time our family was in Arches:

The following day Mike and my Dad went for an early morning hike to see Delicate Arch. Later that morning, we were unable to get back into Arches, so we headed over to Canyonlands.

We spent two nights in Moab and then drove over to Bryce. This may have been my favorite of the four National Parks we visited.

I especially enjoyed the 3-mile hike through the canyons with my dad and the three Cleve Crew boys. Gorgeous.

Lastly, we spent time at Capitol Reef.

These pictures are from various stops/houses along the way. It was very nice to spend the evenings all together at whichever home we had rented for the night.

Pictures can never do this trip justice. It was incredible. So thankful we were able to make it happen!

*I may do another post with a few of Ethan’s pictures since he captured some fun ones and I didn’t grab them, yet.

Grandpa, Grandma and GGpa’s Trip

My parents drove out here with my Grandpa last week. Then we all drove out to Utah to experience four of the “big five” National Parks there. We bookended (is that a true verb? Hmm…) that trip with time at our home (Grandpa at Auntie Mel’s). This post will highlight the time in Colorado.

As you can imagine, not seeing them in person since COVID began (we were in Florida visiting them when things went south very quickly) made for a very sweet reunion. Highlights included catching up and hanging out at the house, a lot of Ethan and Grandpa birding trips (including one with me and one with Micah), lots of yard work in our backyard (yay for bird houses, planting grasses and flowers, and hanging lights!), and piano duets.

Hanging at the house:

Birding:

Yardwork:

Piano Duets (including one that I played with Ethan at his outdoor recital – I was way more nervous than he was and totally messed up more than once! Eek!):

Here’s a link for a Grandma and Micah duet. He’s starting piano lessons tomorrow! (although he will tell you that he’d rather just do lessons with Grandma over Zoom)

Coming up next will be highlights from our time in Utah!

Other notable events of the past couple of weeks include haircuts for Ethan (his first in well over a year!) and Mike!

We’ve gone on quite a few birding excursions, including one on “Global Big Day” and another just today with some friends to see owls:

Grandma Cleve and Great Granny A flew out for a wedding and we were happy to spend a couple evenings outside with them! It, of course, wasn’t a typical trip with them but we were excited to *finally* see them again! Something is definitely better than nothing!

We celebrated Mother’s Day – sweet time back at our church for worship with my littlest guy, followed by sushi for lunch and Italian for dinner the following night. The boys also did a little coin trading while I napped. =D

Other highlights: Ethan and I enjoyed a native plant gardening class online. Mike was back in Missouri visiting his dad for a week and we enjoyed Skyping with them. And we did another variety show with the family over a Sunday afternoon zoom call. Ethan and I played our duet (we’ll be playing in an outdoor recital on Saturday, too!). Uncle Ger played “His Cheeseburger” on the ukulele. Ger and Grandma did a duet with the cello and uke and Grandma and Grandpa did a trombone/piano duet. Others showed LEGO creations. And I’m probably missing some other fun parts. So much fun!

And now we’re in summer mode. This means we are still doing some schooling, but are a lot more laid back. We’ve done some cleaning and organizing (including taking down a wall poster of the US), some math games, and the boys have their own version of slack where they write notes back and forth and make plans for how to use the playroom. =D

The start of the holiday season!

As is our tradition, Grandpa Russ came out to celebrate Thanksgiving with us. He actually needed to be out here in order to pursue some help regarding his health, but we were thrilled that the timing worked out that we could host him over the holiday and help him get some health insights. This was honestly one of the moments in 2020 that felt the most normal, even though it was filled with hospital visits and whatnot. Hosting, getting hugs and being close to a person outside of our little crew of four has not happened since March, so this was a treat for all of us! We always love having him, but it was especially meaningful for all of us this year.

We didn’t take a lot of pictures together, so I’m sad to show very little from our time together. Here are a couple I snagged from hanging out around the house:

Thanksgiving Eve brought exciting news from the Bertilsons – they are having a girl! She is due in April and we’re all excited!

Thanksgiving day was filled with lots of food and things written down for which we give thanks. It was an absolutely lovely day together. We filled that poster with loads of blessings!

The day after Thanksgiving is one of my favorite days of the year – decoration day! It’s the first day I allow myself to listen to Christmas music and it’s the day we get all of our decorations up! We have Christmas lights outside for the first time ever – it felt like the year we needed to do a little spoiling. =)

My mom made all the grandkids Christmas pillowcases! It was a very special gift and everyone was thrilled with them! They opened them on our weekly zoom after a day filled with clues to try to help us guess the gift.

These pics come from during the time period that Grandpa Russ was with us, but generally happened on days he was at the hospital. We got in some schooling (there’s a very big difference between the way Ethan does math and Micah does it), some walks, some artwork, time with Daddio, a CC Christmas celebration, time at the piano, virtual church with our advent candles, etc.