Thursday, June 26, 2014

Orem Summerfest

Two weeks ago we enjoyed the high holy day of the Orem calendar - Orem Summerfest!

Where some might see a small community carnival, we see a wonderland in our own backyard - parades, rides, cotton candy, and other sundry marvels all a mere block away. We love living within walking distance of parks, groceries, and the library, but having Summerfest at the end of our street, well, that eclipses every other benefit of our home.

As usual, our children performed marvelously in the Summerfest Children's Parade. Streamers were applied, helmets donned, and our girls happily rode alongside their neighbors and friends the three crowded blocks filled with adoring fans to the Smith's grocery store where they were sustained by cookies.

It was perfect.

You can see that WanYing took her parade responsibilities very seriously and rode with honor.
The whole crew hanging out to watch the parade after the Children's Parade (it paled in comparison, of course)
Our record of no puking on Summerfest rides was sustained... barely... apparenlty the Tilt-a-Whirl was almost too much for our Benjamin
Our kids love all the rides, the mundane...
...and the extreme!  We were glad they had friends to "enjoy" the Gravitron with this year so no adults had to endure the agony.
Summerfest was a wild success. The rides, the food, the parades, the fireworks, we loved it all. And, I cannot emphasize this enough, we remain proud and grateful that we have had zero puking in our whole Summerfest history.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Sum Sum Summertime

Summer is here and we are soaking it all in! I keep thinking that we need to slow down... but then we keep having another opportunity to do something awesome and we just can't resist the bike ride, playground romp, picnic, concert, parade, and/or evening at a friend's house. And as tired as I am, I can't imagine us any other way.

So here's the Morningstar late-May and early-June Summer photo review!

Kites in the park - we only lost one kite's spars in the process (apparently they don't do well when run over by cars) and drew blood once (apparently Kevlar line is stronger than Steve's thumb skin) so overall a very successful day of flying!
May brought garden planting and the little onions and lettuces in this picture are now ready for first harvests
We're all loving homemade strawberry shortcakes made with berries from our garden!
We've explored a few new parks in the area and have deemed every playground superb.
The girls have been attending Sundance Kids Camp while Steve works and are having a blast. Morning yoga in the mountains is a great way for them to start their days!
The Hogle Zoo just opened a new African Savannah area so, of course, we've needed to visit the zoo several times.
And no zoo trip is complete without a carousel ride!
Ben and I have enjoyed several bike rides to the 7-Eleven. He convinced me to spring for the mustache straw - I think it was a wise purchase.
Strawberry Days Rodeo was a good time for all - the kids even managed to stay awake for the fireworks.
And the Cash Cow at the rodeo was sheer hilarity - watching a sea of hundreds of kids chasing 3 calves with money taped to them kept us all entertained. Those calves are faster than you'd think!
And, of course, we've attended several great concerts this year - Mavis Staples and Robert Cray Band and also Emmilou Harris. And the concert year has only begun!
As you can see, we've had a full and fun summer so far - and it's only late June! Combine all of this with camping, bike riding in 2 centuries and a 140 (woah!), and a new job and you have one very happy family. Shew, I'm tired just writing about all of this!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Goblin Camping

Sorry for the lapse in blog posts!  We've been having so much fun having fun that we haven't had much time for writing!

Last weekend we took a mini-vacation down to the BLM land near Goblin Valley State Park. Isn't it amazing how a weekend can become an adventure when it's spent in the dirt?!?

We found a spectacular campsite and spent the remainder of the weekend romping, climbing, playing in the sand, and thoroughly enjoying the beauty of the Utah desert.

The van is getting a little full with 6 people and a dog - it may be time for an auxiliary tent or little sleeping trailer next year!
The desert was wildly, beautifully in bloom and we were so lucky to arrive during one of the few days when the cacti are flowering.
We enjoyed romping around our campsite, but on day 2 we decided to strike out along the numerous dirt roads around Goblin Valley to hike Farnsworth Slot. We tried really hard to find Farnsworth last year... and failed... but this year we were triumphant in our back road meandering.

Yes, the kids enjoyed the roller coaster dirt road ride a lot.

A-hiking we go
The slot canyon was great fun for all
Taking a little break from the sun
And home again we go!
And of course we had to visit Goblin Valley State Park to finish out our weekend of desert romping. The children happily climbed for hours, no arms were broken, and no goblins were toppled - success!

See those little specs on top of the very tall goblin on the left? Yeah, those are my boys.

Great weather, fab scenery, and fun family time - it was a heck of a weekend.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Cycling for Cure - Little Red

Yesterday our family enjoyed the very best ride of the season (or at least the season so far!) - Little Red Riding Hood! Little Red is a women's-only cycling event that benefits the Huntsman Cancer Institute.  It's a girl power great ride for a great cause and this year I got to share the ride with a favorite cycling buddy - my mom!

One of my favorite things about Little Red (besides the great food, great atmosphere, great cause, and fun miles) is that the whole family gets in on the action. The gals celebrate with glitter tattoos. The guys volunteer. We all eat a lot. And we camp out in Cache Valley the night before, making a one day ride into a little family vacation.

Emphasis is on the glitter tattoos.  They are an essential part of the celebration.

And off we go!  Mom and I were able to coordinate our routes and ride a good 10 or 15 miles together, which made a great day even better. Mom completed her 50 miles (wowzers!) in high style and kindly waited around for me to finish my route.

I was proud to complete Little Red this year wearing my Team Cycle for Cure (C4C) colors. C4C is a group of like-minded cyclists who love to ride and also love to ride for a purpose. We raise money and awareness for cancer research and perhaps even more importantly we hold a cancer victim in our hearts as we ride, praying for them dedicating the journey to them.

Saturday was a beautiful day to debut my C4C colors and an especially poignant one as my friend Pat passed away during Little Red. Saturday's ride is dedicated to Pat and especially to the wife, children, two small girls, and extended family grieving his loss. Please add them to your prayers in this sad and tough time.

Lastly, you have a great opportunity to fund the fight by supporting me and Team C4C in the Huntsman 140 ride later this month. I'm close to my fundraising goal, and your support matters so much to me and to all those we ride for.  You could sponsor me for $1 an hour (it'll take me about 10 hours to ride 140 miles), 25¢ a mile ($35), or a flat donation in memory or support of someone struggling with cancer. All donations got to the Huntsman Cancer Institute, are tax-deductible, and donating is super easy at Thanks for your supporting me, Team C4C, and all those who are cycling for a cure.


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