Saturday, July 31, 2010

Albion, we love thee

Oh, Albion Basin, how I love you. Your cool breezes, hallucination-inducing elevation, astounding wildflowers, and ever-present moose. Add camping under a ski lift and you had me at, "hello."

Camping under Superior Lift (Albion Basin is Alta Ski Resort in the winter)
Late July in the high mountains is wildflower heaven
A heated game of war with friends (Cody was fresh meat - Steve and I are pretty burned out with the exhausting intellectual strain of war)
Who needs dinner when you have watermelon?
And each evening had to end with s'mores by the fire, of course. S'mores taste really good at 9,500 feet

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Waiting a month for fingerprints

One small step closer to Mei Mei - we finally got our USCIS fingerprinting appointment! This is the last prerequisite for the pre-approval for Mei Mei's visa (the hallowed I-800A), which is the last piece of paper we need in order for our dossier to be complete.

Unfortunately, the appointment isn't until August 20th, and then it will probably take 2 or 3 weeks beyond that for the I-800A to be issued, but at least we finally have an appointment!

After receiving our I-800A, all of our paperwork needs to be verified by the Utah Lt. Governor's office, the Dept. of State in DC, and the Chinese Consulate in DC, but those steps should be pretty short.

Timeline updated - and we're still within striking distance of a match in late September or October, traveling 4 to 6 months after that.

We're coming, little one, we just have a few jillion more bureaucratic hurdles to transcend!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Happy Pioneer Day

We finally found a reason to celebrate Pioneer Day - another day to enjoy incendiaries!Now to wait until New Years and then Chinese New Year to enjoy the rest of our stash.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


If you're vacationing in Park City and it's Monday and Mom has to go to work, how do you pass the hours until her return? Bouncing off the walls!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Park City Morningstar-Style

One of the most important goals for our staycation in Park City was a trip on the Alpine Coaster. Our attendance at the Snowboard Grand Prix this winter was marred by the early closure of the coaster (lame!) and we promised ourselves that we would make it up to Park City again this year to ride the slide.

But first we had to get there.

We all walked down from our condo to Park City's Main Street for the Sunday market. Thinking ahead, Sasha brought provisions - a leftover pork rib from our bbq the night before. That's a lot of foresight for a toddler. Nauseating foresight. Cold ribs before noon are not on my personal menu.

The children scaled the bronze bear, ate copious amounts of kettle corn, and wilted in the sun while Steve and I split a lobster roll. Yes, a lobster roll in Utah. And it rocked. Of course, a lobster roll in Utah costs $15 because they fly the lobster in from Maine every day, but it was worth every penny. Lobster = good before noon.

Then we were faced with decisions - how should we get to the Alpine Coaster? Take the free bus? Mundane. Walk? Hot. Ride the town lift and hike down the mountain to the coaster? Ding ding ding! Hiking down mountains is our kind of exercise.

I swear, she begged me to put the bow in her hair. I think this is a perfect illustration of why I don't do Sasha's hair more often

In retrospect, we could have made more appropriate footwear choices for a hike. Sasha was the only one with sturdy shoes and she rode on Steve's back

Always fun to hike past the slope signs

The dandelions were a huge hit with the under-four set

The bigger kids went with bigger dandelions of course!

Happy hiker

And finally we arrived at the slide-and-coaster zone and it was time to enjoy the ride. A very pleasant Sunday morning indeed.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Ski Jumping... in July

We spent last weekend with some friends in a condo in Park City - a little stay-cation :) It was a great time, and one of the highlights was the aerials class that Ben took up at the Olympic Park. Watching your seven-year-old don skis and a wetsuit and fly off of a ramp into a pool is an experience not soon forgotten.

Here's Ben's description of the adventure:
I had trouble swimming with skis on.

I was jumping off of a jump into a pool that was pretty cold. I was doing it because it looked pretty fun. It looked easy from the start when everybody else was doing it 'cause they were professionals.

I didn't really ever get to the really big jumps. The only things that I did was mini trampoline, a rampless jump (by rampless I mean that it didn't go into the water) and a ramp jump. My favorite picture is the one where I did a belly flop trying to do a flip. Maybe sometime I'll do it again but hopefully the water won't be so cold and we won't need dry or wet suits. The reason that we didn't like the wetsuits was because that they were pretty hard to put on and get off.

The best part was the jump that had a ramp. The worst part was probably the rampless jumps; you had to climb up it so it was pretty hard to climb up but the medium part was the mini-tramp.

The end.

And here are a few more shots from the afternoon:

The pros show us how it's done (granted, they are probably a little older than seven)

Sasha watches her bro in style

Exiting the pool with skis was a challenge

I think he has perfected his on-ramp form

This year, summer camp. Next year, Olympic training?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Sam's Baptism

by Sam

On the 2010 church picnic, I got baptized and even managed to squeeze in a hot dog and a chocolate donut when we weren't even planning to eat there.

We descended from our Park City condo to the church picnic. When I was baptized, I was wearing, I just wanted to note, my new hiking Crocs.

I think baptism matters to show the world that I belong to Jesus.Editor's note: We are so proud of our boy for deciding to get baptized and for braving the frigid waters of the Provo to show the world that he belongs to Jesus. Way to go, Sam!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

12 is such a nice number

One dozen years ago I was blessed and honored to become Mrs. Stephen Carle Morningstar. 3 degrees, 4 moves, 2,000 miles, 3 1/2 kids, and innumerable adventures later I look back in awed gratitude at this life with which I have been blessed. The privilege of enjoying the present and anticipating the future alongside such a man is an astounding gift.

Happy Anniversary, baby.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Last week I had 2 days of work meetings up at Snowbird and while I was off world-changing (ok, the meetings may not have been that exciting) Steve and the kids made good use of a hotel room on the mountain. Given the choice, I'd prefer to be playing with my family, but if they're going to be Mommyless for a couple of days it assuages the Mommy-guilt to know that they're benefiting from my business in some way.

Bull riding was a popular event with the boys... I think they're ready to do some mutton bustin' next time we hit the rodeo
Sam's hair definitely adds to the bull riding drama... although admiring my son's flowing tresses as he tames a mechanical steed seems incongruous.

And, of course, everybody loves the Alpine Slide! Whenever Sash sees this photo she chants, "I swide, I swide. I yike it!"

Yep, almost as much fun as a sales conference...


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