Summer 2016 Odds and Ends

Here are some of the little things that happened over the summer that I don’t want to forget:

Novalie did Up With Kids summer camp again. She got to be Maleficent which she loved playing. All the little kids loved her and she just shines so much when she is on stage.

She was the perfect villain.

She had to wear this dragon costume and a bunch of little kids were following her holding it up. Cutest thing.

Taking a very well deserved bow. She said that playing a villain is her favorite person to play.

Off to Girl’s Camp! It was a short (2 nights) ward camp this year. Her favorite part was canoeing.

Olive got her first ever Bark Box. She is a fan. I am a fan of Bark Box.

Archery practice.


And more archery. Lots of practice hours logged over the summer.

Trips to the park.

All the floats in the Pioneer Days parade were on display for the public to go look at. There were some impressive floats. I was slowly getting out and about by mid July. I could handle small outings like this one. Anytime spent with Novalie was healing.

I mean…..those are some massive shakes. So yummy.

Time for braces! She was nervous in this picture, not quite sure what to expect.

She is just the cutest thing in her braces. We have hit full on teenage mode.

A trip to the State Fair. Always a good time. My kind of place to be.

I saw people walking around with these turkey legs and I was on the hunt to find one before we could leave the fair. I found one. It was huge and delicious! These cute girlies didn’t know what to think of that thing!

This was my view many, many, many days during the summer. Novalie got a season pass to Lagoon with a couple friends and it was a lifesaver with the kind of summer we had. She LOVES the ride Wicked. They once went on it 30 something times in a row and were sick. Funny girls. It is nice to have this option of entertainment so close by.

Grand Junction, CO

post on February 20th, 2017
Posted in Family, Grand Junction, Novalie, Vacation

When we found out I had breast cancer and would need to get a double mastectomy, our summer plans changed. We had planned a trip to Florida and to Richland, but had to cancel both of those. By the time my birthday came around, I was feeling pretty good, but I had started what would be 6 months of the reconstruction process. I had tissue expanders in (awful things) that my surgeon slowly filled with saline. Every week, I had a little more put in so everything could stretch properly over time. That meant every week, I went through 2-3 days of being sore and in pain. Good times. I couldn’t travel far because of the seat belt positioning and I was just uncomfortable all the time. I had a positive attitude and just went about my life, so those who saw me just didn’t have a clue anything was different with me. I knew my birthday was approaching and I was turning 40! I don’t care all that much about my birthday because I do not like any attention on myself, but this birthday felt significant with where I was in life. I was itching to get away for a couple days. I looked at the map and picked a state Novalie had never been in which was Colorado. Grand Junction was only 4 hours away, so I was certain I could handle that long in the car.

It was a good decision. It was a good getaway. My birthday was fabulous.

I picked a Super 8 which was cheap and decent.

Novalie at the hotel with her BOW! I told her she wouldn’t be shooting her bow, but it had to come. Just like she used to travel with a suitcase full of stuffed animals plus 20 more in the backseat with her. Her bow has replaced her stuffed animals.

We slept in on my birthday and then I had this little Café picked out in old historic downtown Grand Junction for my birthday breakfast. I love breakfast most of all. This Café was so good.

My french toast platter. Perfection.

Novalie got an omelet with those ginormous pancakes! It is the first time she has ever ordered an omelet for breakfast. She is practically a grown up.

Kevin got roasted red peppers, avocados and eggs in a hollandaise sauce. It came with asparagus, but he asked for it without it. The waitress was all like….whoa, what? No asparagus? I guess it is a Colorado thing.

I want to go back just to eat breakfast here, it was that good!

After breakfast, we wondered up and down their historic downtown main street.

I am 40.

We found a quaint used book store where we each got a book. I love books.

Some fun pictures of the cool things they had on main street.

T-Rex, her favorite.

We went into a old time candy/soda shop and eat picked out a soda in a glass bottle. Kevin and Novalie got different brands of root beer and claimed they tasted quite different. I stuck with my classic favorite, Dr. Pepper.

After our main street stroll, we toured the Colorado National Monument. It was rugged and the formations were beautiful.

At 40, my favorite thing in the whole world and the thing I am the best at and most proud of is being this girl’s mom. The sunshine is shining on us, but she is the sunshine to my soul every single day.

Kevin is flying his helicopter in this picture. I snapped this right before his helicopter was in the direct sunlight and Kevin lost sight of it for just a moment long enough to lose it. Sad. Also, I did NOT like how you could walk right up to the edge of the cliff. One wrong step and you were a goner. I was a nervous crazy person about it and didn’t enjoy this stop at all. I much prefer the fenced off areas.

Family selfie. My little family. My everything. No where I would rather be on my birthday.

The sunshine felt glorious. I took a lot of selfies because this trip was about me. I felt good. I felt strong. I felt like I was pretty much kicking butt at life. I was still me even though I had a double mastectomy. It does not define me.

I LOVE being 40!  I GET to be 40!

It was dinner time by the time we got through the whole Monument, so we stopped at Old Chicago. My pizza was so so good! The atmosphere was loud and there were some kids that were running around which drives me NUTS in a restaurant. I wish we would have just gotten our food to go when we saw it wasn’t going to stop any time soon. However, my pizza was so good, it might have just be worth the misbehaved parents…that’s right, teach your kids to sit at a restaurant.

I never go for this type of cake. The chocolate just looked so shiny and fudgy. It was okay, but I won’t be fooled by shiny objects next time and stick to my white cake with buttercream frosting.

I enjoyed that cake while watching some Olympics. I was probably crying. I always cry when they play our anthem and I know how those athletes dreams just came true. I cry every single time.

That is a wrap on my 40th birthday! It was perfect.

The next morning, we packed up the car and drove through the Grand Mesa National Forest before heading for home. It has over 300 lakes throughout. We would drive a little ways and ooh and ahh at another lake. It was a beautiful drive.

Grand Mesa National Forest. It was peaceful.

We came across this little general store and some cabins where you can stay. It was adorable. We want to go back and stay there.

One of the many lakes.

We end on another selfie of me in front of a gorgeous lake.

I wasn’t sure if my little vision for this get away would come true. But, it did. It was relaxing. It was healing. It was fantastic.

~Happy Grand Junction, Colorado!~

Food Trucks

post on February 20th, 2017
Posted in Food Trucks

Food trucks are a big thing in Utah right now. Every Friday night, our local park hosts a food truck night. I had wanted to go all summer, but seemed like we were busy or I physically couldn’t go. Novalie and I finally went the very end of July and it was yummy.

Fiz is a pretty big deal around here. This was our first time trying it. Novalie was a fan. Me, not so much. I am not big on flavors added to my soda. I was curious what all the hype was about, so I was glad I tried it. Don’t know that I will again though.

This is a pizza in a crust cone. I loved it.

Garlic bites…I think that is what they were called. I thought they yummy, Novalie did not.

Novalie’s piece of pizza. I can’t remember the name of the pizza truck. She liked it.

These mini donuts melted in your melt. For reals. So super duper delicious.

Okay, at this point we were pretty much stuffed, but I saw lots of people walking around with these pineapple desserts and I had to have one. It was so good. Especially when you get to the bottom with lots of pineapple chunks.

The food trucks did not disappoint.

Camping at Tony Grove

post on February 20th, 2017
Posted in Camping, Cousins, Family, Hiking, Sunshine, Swimming

My older sister and I decided to take our kids on an overnight camping trip. I was feeling great and ready to get out and LIVE. Having cancer and being out of commission for 6 weeks sure makes you motivated to get out and feel alive. I love camping. I love just sitting and soaking up God’s beautiful earth. It was healing. Anytime Novalie can hang out with her cousins, she is a happy girl. We went to Tony Grove, which I camped at with my Grandma and Grandpa when I was a kid and Kevin and I camped there once in our early years. It felt familiar and I was happy to make new memories there. We went to the lake, played games, walked the campsite, ate yummy food and treats.

Novalie loves camping and the outdoors just as much as I do. We feel at home.

Started out being careful on rocks…

To being drenched. 

So happy to be in the sunshine in the mountains.

The morning after. I did not sleep. Maybe 30 mins total in 5 minute increments here and there. I was convinced that bears were going to attack us….”did we put all the food away good enough” went through my head every 5 seconds. Sleeping on a hard ground 7 weeks after having a double mastectomy was not a brilliant idea. I later learned that my tissue expander that was in for temporary reconstruction work turned 90 degrees that night. Whoops. I don’t regret it though. One night in the mountain air did wonders for my soul.

A goodbye selfie with Novalie and Sophie.

~Happy Tony Grove Camping Trip!~

4th of July 2016

post on February 20th, 2017
Posted in 4th of July, Family, Novalie, Snowcones, Traditions

The 4th of July was one month and two days after my double mastectomy. I was still very much in recovery, but I love the 4th of July. I was going to make it work. It was low key and quiet. Filled with a few of my favorite things. Family. Snowcones. BBQ. Fireworks.

My all American baby girl.

I made Novalie take a picture with me because I got dressed, did my hair and put makeup on. Big accomplishments for me this 4th of July.

Our snowcone flavors just happened to be red and blue…not on purpose.

Can’t leave Olive out of the 4th of July celebration. She had a red bandana on at one point, but fought endlessly to get it off.

BBQ chicken with grilled onions and peppers, avocado and tomatoes. It was delicious. 

I lined our table with fireworks for our table decorations. 

We got a big multi pack of fireworks. I was cozy and warm bundled up in a camp chair happily watching Kevin and Novalie set off fireworks.

Sparkler fun.

It was quieter than our usual traditions of going to the parade and swimming. We did get in our traditional snowcone, bbq and fireworks. Considering the circumstances I was under, I will call our 4th of July 2016 a definite success!

~Happy 4th of July!~