Saturday, October 8, 2016

HIKING MOUNT NEBO

My hiking buddy, A, and I set a goal to hike Mt. Nebo again. We did it about 7 years ago and were in really great shape then. It was a REALLY HARD HIKE. This year, I was NOT in great shape and probably weigh 20 pounds (or more, ahem) than I did then.
At the start. Bright, shiny, happy faces.
We knew before we even got there that we wouldn't make it all the way to the top, but we wanted do to do what we could. We waited a little too long into the fall and it had snowed up there. Needless to say it was VERY MUDDY!
A snapchat on the way up, showing our altitude.
It was a beautiful day, and despite the mud, we had a great time and loved the hike! Plus, it was great to reach our goal.
Our goal: The Saddle- 10,680 ft.

Friday, October 7, 2016

UTAH WATERCOLOR SOCIETY FALL SHOW

One of my paintings made it into the Utah Watercolor Society Fall Show and I was so excited! I just had to go to the opening. It's the first show one of my watercolor paintings has ever been accepted into. A milestone in my art career.
Me, my painting and my proud daughter, Sister S.
Sister S and my older sister, A, came with me to the opening and afterward we went out to dinner. It was some great girl-bonding time and we had a blast! I am so grateful I have such wonderful, supportive family in my life.

Waiting for our table at Mimi's...
We had a great time!!

Friday, September 30, 2016

WATERCOLORS

I've been inspired to do some painting lately. I sure do love creating...
Petunias, I'm not super fond of this one except for the leaves.
Plums from our tree.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

IT'S BEGINNING TO FEEL LIKE FALL

Fall is one of my favorite times of year. The weather starts to cool and its so nice to be outside. We also have lots of family birthdays and it's a fun excuse to get together.
C Man climbing in Maple Canyon.
Princess P and I at a family birthday party.
C Man with baby W at the birthday party.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

MY BIRTH MOM

I was adopted when I was 3 days old. I grew up in a wonderful family with 4 other adopted siblings. I always knew I was adopted and my parents were very willing to talk about it and open to the idea of us finding our birth parents when we turned 18 if that was what we wanted. I never felt the need. I had great respect for my birth mom and was so grateful she was willing to give me up so that I could have a better life, but I didn't want to interrupt her life and cause chaos if she hadn't ever told anyone about me. I've heard horror stories of that kind of confrontation going very wrong and lots of feelings being hurt. I loved my family and my life and never felt like anything was missing, but in the back of my mind I was always curious about my genetic line and where I came from. I was definitely open to meeting my birth mother if she should ever reach out.

Well, that's what happened! Right after we got home from our trip to Moab earlier in the month, I was contacted by an adoption PI who told me that my birth family was looking for me, particularly my birth mother. I was blown away. It was so out of the blue, but I was very willing to let her contact me.  We jumped through the legal hoops and she called me. I had big butterflies in my stomach, but otherwise was just excited to hear from her. She introduced herself and told me about her family and I told her about mine. We talked about how I came to be and the circumstances leading to and surrounding my birth. Much of the information my mom had been told had been inaccurate and it was so interesting to hear the real story. She is a wonderful lady and I am thrilled to know her. We set up a time to get together and she came to my house today. We went through my baby pictures and then to lunch where we talked and talked for hours. It was so fun to meet her and get to know her. We are friends on Facebook and I have even talked with two of her daughters- my half sisters. It has really opened a door for me that I never really thought would. I'm thrilled!
My birth mom and I.

Monday, September 5, 2016

LABOR DAY RIVERS

We had a pretty fun Labor Day weekend- full of adventure, rivers, camping, and lots of fun. First off, we headed down to the San Rafael Swell to camp the first night. We love this place. It is SO beautiful and very remote, so not very crowded. It was a little rainy (and thus, muddy) but that cleared up and then it was nice.
Princess P and the 'hair extension angels.' (That's what she and Sister S named this part of the Buckhorn petroglyphs.
After dinner Big C decided some of the crew needed to brush up on their rappelling skills for the adventure the next day, so they practiced off a cliff right by our campsite. It was dark by the time most of them got down, but hey, who needs light to back off a cliff, right? (Sarcasm). Our family is crazy sometimes...
Princess P, Sister S and Companion B rappelled in the dark! New sport!
We woke up the next day and went to hike the Black Box in the San Rafael. It is one of my favorite hikes, but also holds very intense memories for our family- Sister S almost died there about five years ago. We definitely respect that place! It's a beautiful gorge/slot canyon cut out of stone by the San Rafael River, so we hike in water pretty much the entire way, even swimming sometimes (that's why the kids have life jackets in the photo).
The Black Box crew at Mexican Mountain! Ready to go!
After an amazing hike and some much needed lunch we packed up and drove to Moab to meet more friends. Moab was PACKED with people. It is a madhouse down there and I will be happy to never go there again on a holiday. What a joke! We ended up camping in a parking lot. Not the worst place we've ever camped, but not the nicest by far. 
Extra large piggy back on C Man. What a tough guy!
The next day was Sunday, so we put skirts and ties on and went to Church in Moab, then hiked, explored and played the rest of the day. We finally found a campsite by the river that opened up and go to move to a prettier spot. 

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Video of Christian doing a side flip off the rocks at the big sand hill just north of Moab.
Gemini Bridges.   
The last day (Labor Day) we ran the Colorado River with some friends. Sister S and her friends went home, so it was just Princess P and C Man with Big C and I. We had a good day even though the river was pretty mellow (boring, as the kids said). It was a great last summer trip. 
Princess P in the kayak with C Man on the paddle board.
One of my favorite pics from the trip: My friend, hauling up her 'gear' from the river. hahaha
Loading up the truck after our big weekend. We were pooped!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

PRINCESS P BECOMES A TEEN

I can't believe I don't have anymore 'kids'! Princess P reached the big 1-3 today! She's so cute. I am so glad she's growing up to be such an amazing person. She's so kind and loving and willing to help. I hope she stays that way...
Princess P opens gifts.
Blow out that fire on top of your brownies!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

BACK TO SCHOOL PICS

If you know me at all, you know I hate going back to school. When I had tons of littles at home, it was different, but my kids take care of themselves now and they are my buddies and I really miss them when they're gone all day. I also hate going back to a regimented schedule. I love the freedom and spontaneousness of summer and I miss it dreadfully when I get back into the school routine.
My youngest two- C Man 10th grade, Princess P 7th grade.
C Man had a friend take some pictures of he and his buddies. Looks like they're in a band.

Nice socks! I feel a vibe of the 80's...
Our McDonald's opened back up this month after being closed all summer. Here's the girls going in to check it out.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

FAREWELL, ELDER C

Another Elder from my side of the family has gone out! He got called to Arizona and is such a cute, good kid. I know he'll do wonderful. I'm sure my parents are up in heaven dancing the jitterbug in happiness!
Future Elders- cousins: M, M and C Man.
We had a good time in Price listening to him speak, eating at the luncheon, visiting with family and friends and saying good-bye.
Cousins: M, C Man, RM A, and the man of the hour- Elder C.
The family that was there from my side.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

MAPLE CANYON DAY

We decided to go to Maple Canyon yesterday for the family to climb and me to paint. It started out a little rainy, but that passed after five minutes and it ended up being a pretty nice day. Most of Big C's family came too, so it was quite a group.
Princess P makes friends with a dog.
Big C lead climbs.
Yes, I actually belay sometimes.
Cute climbing cousins!
My small plein air watercolor.

Monday, August 1, 2016

APRICOT OVERLOAD

I'm not sure why, but this year has been an amazing growing year for our fruit. Our apricot tree has never produced more than a half a dozen pieces of fruit until this year. The tree was in danger of broken limbs because it was so loaded with apricots. Big C was so happy! He loves them. I don't like them so they were a irritation to me. More work- cleaning up the dropping fruit every day, making bags and bags of dehydrated fruit and dozens of pints of jam. It is safe to say we are done with them!
Family Night drying.
We got together for a combined family night and filled my in-laws' industrial sized dehydrator with every piece of fruit we could get to. It's actually pretty tall for a fruit tree.

My new niece and her mommy.
Who's going to eat all these? Not me!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

SNAPCHAT

I know that Snapchat is greatly debated and often criticized, but I have a serious love for it. Sister S and I have THE BEST time with it. I was able to keep up with her life when she was in Logan at school, in Ukraine and in Mexico. I get to see a little snippet of what she's doing and I get to send her little snippets of what I'm doing. It has been a wonderful tool for us to stay connected.

On a way less serious side, it is also a blast to use! They have the best filters and we laugh and play with them all the time. 
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I just had to send this one to my sister (she's not on SnapChat, but you can save them if  you want). It is such a flattering filter and I just crack myself up!

Some of their filters are very age-defying- they smooth out my skin and put lipstick on better than I do.
I get to catalog little moments of life that I might have forgotten.

I can send my kids pictures of their newest niece.
Elder D on Harry Potter's birthday.
I can whine about how sick I am while I binge watch Fringe and drink peppermint tea and it only lasts for 24 hours.
Overall, it is definitely one of the most used apps on my phone, and while I know it's not right for everyone, it has a special place in my life right now. 


Sunday, July 24, 2016

GORDON FAMILY REUNIONS ROCK!

My husband's family really does put on a great reunion. We have such a blast even though we do almost the same thing every year. It just never gets old.

BREAKFAST IN THE MOUNTAINS:
Princess P holds her new cousin! Aren't they pretty in pink??
When your mom gives you a tattoo...
Awesome A, Sister S and Elder D wait patiently for their breakfast.
We sure do love cousin time!
The guys gotta mountain bike down!
RED NECK SLIP-N-SLIDE:
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One of the all time favorite traditions of the reunion.

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Then, because going down on your bum gets boring, we have to go down standing up.

Sister S helps Little W.
Me with my cute boys!
Princess P, Miss G and Miss J- the Middle School girls.