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Bear Lake: Heart & Soul

Bear Lake

You’ve made it to the very last post I will do about our summer travels to Bear Lake this year.  But this is my very very favorite part.  Each year we make it up to Bear Lake I have to take my kids to the top of the canyon right outside our driveway.  This is one of those rides I could do in my sleep I’ve taken it so many times & each time it takes my breath away.  If you are unsure there is a God, you should take this ride.  I love the beauty around each bend.

Bear Lake

At the very top you run into the last stream crossing, where I have to park & let my kids rip their shoes off & play…and make crazy eyes when I ask for a picture.  We cross here & keep hiking up a bit.  And there…there is where you will find my initials carved into a tree almost 20 years ago by my grandfather.

Bear Lake

For whatever reason I didn’t snap a picture this year…took this one a few years back.

My grandparents are really the heart & soul of Bear Lake & perhaps that is why it is so sentimental to me.  My grandfather passed away right before I got married 10 years ago & in that time, I’ve never visited his grave, but I always find this darn tree, you can read more about it here.  It is here that I feel the closest to him & so I always have to get my kids up here so I can tell them all about him.  This year was no exception — I even managed to convince Liv to come for the long ride.

Bear Lake

As we were driving up, the clouds were gathering & when you realize you are by yourself on a mountain with your two kids, you start second guessing your thought process.  Not to worry, I, of course, pressed on to the top.

Bear Lake

But right when we parked, the rain started coming…not that that stopped us!  We were getting wet anyway, but it did cut our time a little shorter.

Bear Lake

The tree is just up that dirt road in front of Zack.

Bear Lake

Bear Lake

Bear Lake

Back to School: Printable Templates

One of my favorite printable templates that I find myself using time & time again is my  ‘Lunchbox Love Notes’ one.  Now don’t go get all crazy & think you need to have the perfect lunch with the perfect note every single day — that might kill us all.  But occasionally, I like to throw in a few surprises just to remind my kids that I’m thinking about them.  My motivation is two fold:  One I want them to know I love them, but second, I also want them to remember who they are & that I’m paying attention.  I knew better than to ever cross my mom & I hope my kids feel the same. #truestory

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Print them out here and add your own little note & start spreading the love.

Bear Lake: The Cabin & Quads

Family Vacation
These are the pictures I will cherish forever from my kids childhood.  Mostly because I have pictures of myself looking exactly the same.  Braided hair.  Messy face.  The whole shebang.  Okay, lets be honest, Liv is a million times cuter at 5 than I was — I already had glasses & snaggle teeth & was well on my way to an eye patch & head gear.  BUT…you know, mostly the same.

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There is a real magic in reliving your childhood with your kids. 
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There are so many times my mind drifts during the hecticness of my days & I wish & long for the long lazy days of Bear Lake. I wrote a whole post about it back here and my thoughts are still the same.  I love those barefoot toes & what I like to call ‘Tom Sawyer moments.’  
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Those moments where kids are just kids.  Building forts together & playing make-believe.  Before video games & organized sports…and the expectations that come with all of it.  
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It’s really easy to be ‘super mom’ at Bear Lake because it means you ditch all those silly rules of having your kids’ clothes match & hair done before they leave the house.  Instead, they roll out of bed & slip on the same thing they wore yesterday, forget their shoes & their hair? Tangled mess.  It’s the stuff of 5-year-old dreams.  To be super mom, all I have to do is push a tire swing at 8 am. 
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And in the afternoon, build a fire & start roasting marshmallows…
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Loving this look for the occasion!

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She was kinda on a roll.

Family Vacation

We sewed early in the morning…

Family Vacation

and into the afternoon.  Moving from the inside to the porch.

 Family Vacation

We visited my aunt’s and got to know her resident horse. 

Family Vacation

Went on walks to see, you guessed it, more horses.

Family Vacation

We had a celebratory selfie when it started to rain, something us desert dwellers never take for granted.  And let’s be honest, rain on a tin roof…best ever.

Family Vacation

We swang some more…

Family Vacation

Took the quads for a spin..

Family Vacation

and of course, managed to catch some wildlife.

Summer Lovin’: Printable Templates

Summer Love Notes, the perfect way to fill your kids love tank with free printable templates.

In the desert we are on the tail end of summer…as in today is the last ‘official’ day of summer for my kids.  At the beginning of summer I had grand ideas of all the reading we would do.  Our chores would be perfected.  Our mornings lazy, but organized all at the same time.  You know those visions of skipping through meadows with your children?  Those are always my visions & then the heat sets in, the arguments begin & some days I find myself wanting to pull my hair out.  And then snap.  It’s over & I’m left scratching my head wondering what, if anything, was accomplished.  Luckily my head scratching started about 10 days ago & instead of just throwing my hands up in the air, I thought shoot…we still have 10 days!

As I thought about what I wanted to accomplish, it was pretty simple.  I wanted my kids heading back to school with their love tanks full.  I wanted them taking those first steps back to school full of confidence & ready to conquer the world.  I wanted them to feel anchored at home, allowing them the ability to be strong & and a light to others.  And so, I started leaving them so love notes.

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I left them on their beds throughout the day, or in their pool bags…

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on nightstands, or in their lockers.  Just a little surprise to let them know I love them & little reminders of who they are.  I think they will show up in some lunchboxes this year too.

Snag yours here and here and then head over to I Heart Nap Time where I am guest posting with more summer lovin.

Family Vacation: Bear Lake & The Zoo?

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I know the pictures from this family vacation are going on & on, but seriously, look at that face?  Another new thing we added to our agendas this year was visiting the ‘petting zoo.’  I’m using the term petting zoo very loosely, because it is not a public zoo by any means.  Just a person’s house who is friends with my aunt.  And he houses all….these…animals…

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This was the first animal he showed us.  I can’t even tell you the name of it, but he did not like us & might have come at the fence more than once while we were standing there.  The owner says, he’s great when its just him, but he gets nervous with crowds.  No joke, the owner walks around with him without any problems.  I’d be a tad nervous with those horns.

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From there, we checked out the peacocks — lots of them & even brand new babies!
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and the goats…

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the dogs…who about licked Max’s face off.  Luckily Zack came to the rescue to distract them so his brother could get by.
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Fed some ponies, chased some chickens…

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checked out the yaks…and the rolling hills behind them.

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And finished off at the racoons.  Yes, you read that right.  Racoons.  You should know that this raccoon is not attacking my niece & she in fact, wanted to hold him, but you should also know I might have peed my pants a little.  Little do you know, I have actually had dreams, that I’ll go ahead & classify as nightmares about being trapped in a car with rabid racoons.  No joke.

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My heart might have been beating a little faster & I’d have laughed about it, except it interrupted my deep breathing treatments.

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The owner, was so so nice to let us visit & show us all around.  We were quite a crew!