Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Saying Goodbye

After eight amazing years full of adventure, hiking, camping, mountains, changing seasons, and exploration, we said goodbye to our lovely little house and the great state of Utah. Our little family has so many fond memories of our time there and it will always be such a special place to us, but we are moving on to new adventures and a new kind of life in Orlando, Florida. 
We were so lucky to have such a wonderful home.

Saying goodbye to Utah meant saying goodbye to some amazing people we were fortunate to call our friends. James will especially miss his "very best friend, Mirai" who lived next door for his entire time there. 
Mirai and James playing together as babies.
Mirai and James the day we moved out (taken before the crying started).
Once we sold our house, we planned on living in our little travel trailer for a couple of weeks while Chris finished up working. Our friends, Chris and Kerri, were unbelievably generous and opened up their home to us to stay in until we moved. We had such a great time there and enjoyed spending so much time all together. Kerri and I took the kids on some great adventures up in the mountains to enjoy the fall leaves.
What a great road to drive on!
I love that Grace brings a purse to the woods.
James finds a stick.
I'm going to miss these spectacular views.
My sweet boy.
Autumn at its most stunning.
Maddie, Grace, and James on a nature walk.
Beautiful day for a hike.
Always so happy to be outside. Love him!!
We spent one last afternoon enjoying the Thanksgiving Point Gardens. You guys know I love those gardens. It's just such a peaceful and beautiful place to wander. If you are ever in that area, please make sure you check it out.
I'm relaxing on a bench while James runs through the grass.
Chris and Kerri have an awesome dog, Hercules, whom Leo was very sad to say farewell to. They spent all their time together playing and fighting over toys and then snuggling together. So cute!!
Love these dogs. They are so sweet together.
Chris's parents, Richard & Cindy, were nice enough to come out to Utah to help move us to Florida. We had too much stuff for just one truck so we needed an additional driver. Two trucks with car carriers, my Jeep with the travel trailer, and their car made for quite the caravan. A few days crossing the country and we were no longer residents of Utah.
Enjoying one last trip to the mountains.
James got a "moving buddy". He was ecstatic!
That's a lot of crap. (The second truck wasn't entirely full. Just sayin.)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Better Late Than Never

At this year's Shenk Family Reunion in June, we let the big news slip about our upcoming move to Florida. Aunt Jewel and Uncle JC hurriedly planned a trip out to see us in late August and we were so thrilled to have them come out before we left. It's always a great time for us to show visitors what we love about Utah and they were excited to get to see the places in person they had previously seen in our pictures. Aunt Jewel loves to take pictures almost as much as I do and so I did my best to take her to some of the scenic places I enjoy shooting. It was a fun-filled weekend with lots of hiking, mountain views, and abrupt weather changes. We enjoyed warm, sunshiny days, cold rain, and even hail. Never a dull day in Utah!

On Friday, we went up Little Cottonwood Canyon to enjoy the scenic wildflowers that were still showing up on the mountains at Alta. Even though they were past their peak, it was still gorgeous! We also drove up Big Cottonwood Canyon and took a walk around Silver Lake, enjoying the ducks in the water and some noisy woodpeckers in the trees.
Of course everyone should visit Utah and see these sights!
Uncle JC, Aunt Jewel, and James on a hike.
Let's go see some wildflowers!
The first of many pictures of them in front of beautiful vistas. So cute!
Resting after they "raced" down the trail. James almost won!
"Mom, take my picture in front of the view." Like I need to be convinced...
Nice to get a picture with Aunt Jewel in it, she's always behind the camera.
Watching a rainstorm roll in over the mountains 
I love a waterfall!
On Saturday, Chris joined us for a drive up to the Mirror Lake area where we set out to enjoy the beautiful Provo River Falls and have a lovely picnic. The falls were definitely beautiful, however, the picnic involved cold temperatures, blowing winds, and then hail. Everyone was a good sport and we managed to make quite the adventure out of it. 
James insisted they ride in the back with him, and Leo got to join in the fun as well.
Shenk Family at the Provo River Falls
I still love me some waterfalls!
Uncle JC and James enjoying a close-up view
Here comes the rain and snow
Rainy day at Mirror Lake
Found some sunshine on the drive home
On Sunday, we did a great hike up to Stewart Falls and enjoyed a picnic by the water. At the end of the day, we drove up to a viewpoint that looks out over Utah Lake and the whole Utah Valley. It was a great way to end a great weekend. We are so grateful that Uncle JC and Aunt Jewel took the time to come out and visit us and we look forward to enjoying more adventures with them now that we're back in Florida.
Uncle JC and Aunt Jewel posing with the great Mt. Timpanogos
My favorite boys with my favorite mountain
SO pretty! (Not the last waterfall in this post.)
Sometimes I have no more words for "beautiful mountains", so there's that.
Sweet little thistle
Enjoying a beautiful day for a hike
Leo loves the mountains. Can't you tell? He's got his happy face on.
Survived the hike and enjoying Stewart Falls
This is the last waterfall in this post... or is it?
Silly time on the rocks in the water
We could see that fall was on its way
Three Shenks at a lookout, feel like there's a joke
in there somewhere 
Oh, how we miss the fantastic and impressive Mt. Timpanogos
James convinced Uncle JC to join him in playing Legos. He's very persuasive.
James loved having Aunt Jewel read to him at bedtime

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Red Rocks and Ray

Ray LaMontagne is my favorite singer. If you've never heard of him, then please go get some of his music here and you can thank me profusely later. He's amazing.
Red Rocks is a fantastic outdoor amphitheater just outside of Denver, Colorado that has hosted some truly classic concerts. It has been on my bucket list for a while, but I was hoping for just the right show. 
This past August, Ray was performing at Red Rocks and all the stars in my universe aligned. Chris, who is officially the best husband in the world, got me tickets to the concert for my birthday and all I had to do was find some patience to survive from April (my birthday) until August (to actually go to the concert). I won't lie. It was brutal. 
Finally, it was time. My Aunt Charlotte was awesome enough to watch James for us while we were at the concert and we got to have the evening to ourselves. Just us and Ray. And thousands of other people who clearly did not love him as much as I do and talked too much. Other than that, it was perfection. The weather was amazing; a little drizzle here and there but nothing to complain about, and not too cold, with the sweet smell of legal marijuana wafting in the air. 

You can see the stage in the bottom right and downtown Denver right in the
middle of the picture. The sun shone on it and it looked golden. Beautiful!
So happy!! 
A gorgeous rainbow to add to the perfection of the night
Crappy iPhone picture of Ray, but it's still a picture of Ray!
The rest of the weekend was spent enjoying our time at Aunt Charlotte's house. It's one of our favorite places in the world and we are always happy to be there.

We had to explain to James what this was. He was unconvinced it would work.
Playing ball with Aunt Charlotte
"I LOVE Aunt Charlotte!"
Aunt Charlotte and her "Jamers"
As we were leaving, Leo thought he should ride in a
booster seat for safety.