Monday, August 15, 2011

What I love about Utah {Part one}

I am finally back from a long summer vacation.  I was able to take my kids to my home state for a good portion of our summer.  I went with the kids for 3 weeks with out Jonathan, and then he joined us for a week at the end of it all. 

This trip was very important to me.  It was one of those trips that will always be very memorable.  Although we have visited Utah many times, we haven’t stayed there long enough for me to actually be able to share parts of my childhood with my kids.  I actually went with a list of all these things I wanted to share with them.  All along the way, every where we went I talked and talked, and shared and shared everything I could think to tell the kids about my childhood.  I loved actually being able to show them what I was talking about.  It made me realize that I truly loved growing up in a small town.  There is nothing I love more then taking the back roads through the fields.  It helped me realize that I want the same for our children.  While I was there, I couldn’t help but think about how great it would be to live there someday.  It has taken me some time to actually feel like I wanted to move back there; but now I know.  Life is always good at home.

I have also come to learn in all the years that we have been away that home is where my husband and children are.  I just secretly wish that my childhood home, and the home I have in my family could grow a little closer.

Before I went to Utah, I thought I would have so much time to blog.  I even planned out some posts that I wanted to do while I was gone.  I didn’t even get a chance to think about my blog.  Now, after being back from Utah for less then a week; I have finally caught up around home, got my kids back in school, and want to reconnect with my blog and blogging friends.

To all my blogging friends: I have missed you.  I can’t wait to catch up on your summers. 

Here is what we did this summer, and why I loved growing up in Utah.

(we did so much, and I took so many pictures that I condensed this post by putting the pictures in to collages)

Family

Tess and Lindsay

Utah is home to my whole family, and Jonathan’s whole family.  We haven’t lived by them for 8 years.  It was so nice to be there with them, and let our kids get reacquainted.  We were there long enough to be able to do that.  Tessa really took a liking to my sister Lindsay.  I love this picture; they have the same smile.

Band-concerts

Fourth of July1

Every Sunday night in the summer, the city park in my hometown holds a band concert.  Local members of the community come together and play music in the park.  Payson citizens come with homemade treat and lawn chairs ready to listen.  It is my favorite way to spend a Sunday evening in the summer.  Our kids loved it too.

Pioneer day

Fourth of July

The Pioneers came in to the Salt Lake Valley on July 24th.  Every year, we celebrate pioneer day with my extended family.  Jonathan’s hometown has a big Pioneer day celebration.  My mom grew up there, so we get together with her parents and siblings families.

Family

We always go to the parade, the park for all the festivities, and have a nice lunch.  Our kids enjoyed being with their cousins. (my cousins kids and sisters kids)

Grandkids 2

Ice cream at the Red Barn

Icecream at Red Barn

The red barn is just down the freeway a few miles from where I grew up.  They have the best ice cream, and fun atmosphere.  It was one of those things I had to cross off my list.  I am thankful my sisters wanted to go also.

Salem Pond

Salem Pond

Salem is this cutest little town, with a pond in the very heart of it.  You go there to feed the ducks.  My sisters and I gathered up our own little ducklings, bought a few pizzas, and made the short 7 minute drive to the pond.  We even invited this handsome man, and his sweet wife.

Grandpa  Grandma

Our grandparents.  My grandpa is in kidney failure.  I made the most of this trip, by spending as much time with them as possible.

Peteetneet Slip n Slide

Slip and slide

One of the old historic schools in my hometown sits on top of a huge hill.  When I was a kid we went there to go snow sledding. (Utah is the best snow on earth.) Now not only do they sled, but they also use it as a giant slip n slide in the summer.  Our kids were fortunate enough to try a new Payson tradition. They loved every minute of it, and laughed the whole way down.

Splash Pad

splash pad

This little beauty was not in Utah County when I grew up there, but my sisters wanted to share it with my kiddos.  It was so much fun.  Tess surprised me.  I thought she would hate it, but she loved it.  What I loved about it.  1)The mountains in the background, aren’t they beautiful?  2) all the modest bathing suits.   It is so nice to be around people who actually cover up parts of their body that I don’t care to see.  Utah is a very modest state, and since we are trying to instill that quality in our girls it was nice to be around it.

Family Parties

London's First Birthday

When you live away, you only get to attend family parties via phone calls and pictures.  This summer we got to be at my niece’s first birthday.  It was so nice to be a part of it.  London is the most adorable baby.  Lindsay even let me help her make some of the food.  It felt so good to actually watch London dive into her cake instead of just hearing about it.  Lindsay let each of the kids decorate their own cupcake with all sorts of treats.  Our kids were in heaven.

…and last but not least the event I looked forward to for several months

the tradition previously known as KOA

When I was a kid we went to a nearby KOA campground each summer for the Fourth of July.  My grandparents and their 3 friends started doing this when my mom was a kid.  It was a tradition that stuck, and each of those four families grew until my grandparents and their  friends offspring were covering the entire campground.  Eight years ago the couple who ran the KOA for over 30 years leased it out a Camperworld, and our yearly trip to KOA ceased.  We didn’t have a membership to camp there.  It was a sad sad day, and then while under the new lease the mountain caught fire and burned portions of our favorite summer memory to the ground.  I remember the day that my cousin sent me the news release on the fire; and I actually cried.  Good news folks, the family who owns the KOA has it under their care once again.  They have also re-built all the structures that they lost in the fire.  It is no longer a KOA, but now call Oakey’s Big Mountain Ranch.  My sisters and I finally have our favorite summer time memory back.  It is open for business and available for our offspring to grow to love; just as we did.  We decided to make this a family tradition once again.  It actually seemed a little strange to have children of my own there; but so wonderful to share one of the parts of my childhood that I loved so much.

KOA5

My top 3 favorite KOA memories:

1. My dad cooking dutch oven for us the entire time we our camping.  YUMMO!! Breakfast has always been my favorite.

2.  Playing night games with all the kids up at the campground.

3.  Sitting with my Grandma early in the morning in her trailer watching her put her makeup on.  I can still remember the smell of her trailer.

Thank you Utah for a good trip down memory lane, and allowing me to share my memories with my sweet children.

Stay tuned for Part Two when I share all the fun we had with Jonathan’s family.

11 comments:

Candice said...

How fun! It actually made me get a little lump in my throat because I miss my home state of Utah too. We have lived in TN for the past 7 years, but Utah will always feel like home to me. I whole heartedly agree about the modest bathing suit thing- drives me nuts! Hard to teach my daughter to wear one when no one around here does. :( Glad you had a nice trip!

Roxanne said...

Looks like you needed some family time. I also got that you wont be living by me anytime soon ;-D Which is totally fine you will always be a close dear friend to me no matter where you go. Thanks so much for your comment on my blog!

Darlene said...

Andrea it looks like a blast! How awesome that your hometown has so much to do for the kiddos!! I loved all of the pictures and the stroll down memory lane. It made me think of my own childhood :). Thanks for sharing :)).

Letti said...

You grew up in such a fun little town. Do you know the Finch Family. The ones that own Finch Family Games? I lived in Utah for a while and I helped make there books. I worked at my Aunt and Uncles print shop in Orem. I had never heard of Payson until then.

I am so glad that you are back and I can't wait to catch up :)

amoena said...

Wonderful post!
I am thoroughly homesick for Utah now :- }

KW said...

It was so great to have you here for most of the summer with us. Can't wait for camping next year too!!

Marji said...

glad ya'll had such a good time, even though we missed you here in Arkansas :) I love the picture of Isaac with Cosmo :) go cougars!

Jerri-Lea said...

Looks like you had an amazing holiday!! We too have been busy and I wouldn't have it any other way! I love spending time with my two little princesses!

Stella said...

Wow; this is such a wonderful post. I had so much fun reading and looking at the pictures. Here in Holland all my family lives nearby. Relatively spoken; it's only a few hours drive to see each other. Living in the USA distance between familis is much much more. And I realise it must be hard to live so far apart. I can see you had a great summer and I am so happy for you. Your photography skills are amazing. Too bad summer vacation has ended but yes; you do have a lot of fabulous memeories. But I also understand you miss your families dearly...
THank you so much for sharing; I can hardly wait to see the rest of the pictures.
Have a lovely day....

Krysta said...

I am so glad you had such a fun time and made some great memories. I miss Utah too and especially now after reading your post. I am glad you got to share so many fun memories with your family. You will never forget them! The thing I miss the most about summer in Utah, is that you can actually play outside and enjoy it. That is such a big part of what summer is all about! It is so hard to enjoy that when it is hot and humid out!

Emily said...

What fun! How in the world were you in Utah for a month and I not know?! I meet up with you next time I guess! Sounds like it was filled with so much fun, I'm sure your kids will have memories of this trip forever.

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