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.

You’ll see more evidence of the crazy Colorado weather in this post. We’ve had warm enough temps to hang out in shorts and we’ve had more snow storms again. =)

Here are some schooling outside pics:

Spending time as a family outside (including our darling pet Mallards). The boys were working on plans for bird boxes to make when my parents get here and Ethan was doing research for his bird jeopardy game he was creating for us in that picture of us outside and him on the computer.

We’ve had birding excursions with various parties. I have gone out with just Ethan a couple of times and we’ve done some full family trips, too. We really enjoyed going to the Denver Audubon Nature Center for some hiking and photography. (Fun benefit of having two boys taking pictures – we get more pictures of just the two of us. Micah took the one below.)

More updates from around the house include Mallory watching the boys play LEGO and going on the roof to get our attention for more food; finishing up the timeline with Grandpa, Grandma and Auntie Sal; and watching a bird course from Great Courses. Micah has finished level 3 of his reading program and is working on the fourth and final level now! We are finishing up the school year officially on May 7, but may do some learning throughout the summer, too, as usual.

We’ve spent the last two weeks watching Jeopardy as a family after dinner because Aaron Rodgers was hosting it. Turns out we all really enjoyed doing it! And we’ve since made some jeopardy boards of our own. Ethan did one on birds and I did one with CC memory work.

We celebrated Masters Sunday for Mikey with egg salad sandwiches, cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches and pimento cheese sandwiches. We all agreed that the pimento cheese in Denver is super lame. But we had a great time!

Our home is filled with music much of the time. Micah has decided to take 5 lessons over the summer to decide whether he might like to continue in the fall. Ethan and I are working on a fun duet for an upcoming recital. And Micah and E just came up with a little duet this morning! Here’s a link to a short video of it.

The boys went to the orthodontist (at our regular dentist office! yay!) and E will be getting invisaline (braces-ish) soon. Micah will get it when all of his adult teeth are in. Both will need to wear the invisaline for a year and then should be all set. We’ve reached that fun stage in reading when Micah just reads for enjoyment!! He read most of this chapter book at the orthodontist and then spent an evening reading an entire chapter book to me a few nights later by the fire! I started reading a book about the teenage brain by that same fire. Is it really possible that E is almost a teenager?!

We participated in our first town hall meeting on Zoom with our Senator. It was lots of fun. Ethan was invited to it since he has sent in a few emails to our Senator for various environmental causes he cares about. We got ice cream and made it a very exciting evening!

A final update is that we have a new member of the family – Eleanor Grace was born last week and is adored by her whole family!

Colorado Weather

I’m sure I’ve mentioned my love of Colorado weather a number of times. I hope it doesn’t get obnoxious! I’m just so thankful to live in a place that brings such fun turns in the weather. Over the past few weeks, we’ve had a few snowstorms which brought in varying amounts of snow. We’ve also had temps in the high 60s. This post will feature a good mix of both extremes and our adventures in both.

The boys built a new snow fort on the deck during one snowstorm:

We enjoyed a birding expedition at Cherry Creek Reservoir a day or two after that snow:

Not long after that we got a good foot of snow and took the morning off of school to go sledding a bunch. Daddio surprised us and joined for a bit of it!

Over one of the recent weekends we hiked in Roxborough Park. What a gorgeous park! This is one that I’ve done a bunch, but it always amazes me. I even went there when I was coming out to visit my Aunt and Uncle during my high school years.

On Friday after school was done, I took the boys on a bike ride to the ponds. Mike had been skiing – a fantastic COVID-safety-approved activity if you don’t ever have to go to the bathroom! (this is not for me or the boys!) HAHA! And this past Saturday was beautiful. Mike took the boys to City Park in the morning so that I could clean without distraction. Win win!

Saturday afternoon we headed to Mount Zion in Golden and did a short, but gorgeous hike with beautiful views.