Summer Vacation 2011: More Evanston


Some more highlights from our time in Evanston. Last time we visited it was mid June and Evanston was barely creeping out of winter. Too cold! This time we specifically put off our trip until late July to avoid that and they were still barely warming up, coming off of a record winter. The weather felt divine to us other than the fact that a good chunk of the Uintahs were still closed due to snow. We did get in some hiking (more posts on that later) but not as much as we had hoped. Just can't seem to win on that front.

Heading out to the Rodeo with Dave's sister Nancy and her family. Yee haw!

Playing at Bear River State Park

And having super fun in the paddle boats

Summer Vacation 2011: Evanston

The bulk of our vacation was spent hanging out in Evanston, enjoying the company of Dave's dad and family.
Tessa and Sylvie loved playing non-stop with their cousins that live just down the street. Tessa spent a lot of time on the bike and Sylvie fell in love with the pink jeep. The weather was beautiful for our entire visit and enjoying the outside living was a definite perk

The Handmaid's Tale


The Handmaid's TaleThe Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Great book all around. It's been on my to read list for a while and somehow I was intimidated by all the hype, but it was just a really interesting and accessible book. There are of course some strong feminist themes, but I also just had some really important things to say about human nature and how we can become accustom to reprehensible situations. I'll have to give it another go in a few years to unravel a little more.

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I've noticed that I have a habit of photographing my feet wherever I go. I'm usually the one holding the camera so I suppose it's just easy self portraiture. This vacation saw my tootsies in sand, snow, and high in the air.

My new favorite color

We are home from a lovely long vacation and now I'm living in that "what do I do with all these hundreds of photos" funk. So while I'll contemplate trip documentation strategies I'll leave you a shot from Temple Square, my new favorite color. That yummy intersection between red and orange that makes me hugely happy these days.



Our vacation is winding down and today I'm missing my bed, my dogs, and church. Missing my routine a tiny bit, mostly just regular exercise. Not the cooking, cleaning part of course. Missing my car. My music. My town even though the mountains here have been spectacular. Guess I'm missing more than I thought... Like there's a part of me missing...


And more...

Too much?


Funny thing is (about vacation), it's never enough. Always wanting more...

Lucky for me it seems to be working out that way.

Moment of the day 7.19.2011


A few brief rainstorms and a beautiful sunset. Georgeous evening.



Hiking in the Uintahs today. The beauty is so great that my heart aches, aches, aches...

Elevation + hills =

A spectacularly bad attempt at a "run".

Beautiful though.

On the agenda today: nothing

Well, maybe some daydreaming...


Tunes for Traveling special edition


My traveling music has changed some since my iPad and Rhapsody came on the scene, just don't really plan it out the way I used to. But we're headed out on vacation tomorrow and I'm letting Sylvie borrow my trusty iPod Silverado since he's getting much less use from me these days. (Tessa has her own mp3 player these days and her music selection while not full on Bieber-ish, is not exactly copacetic with my taste.) It was fun to sit down with Sylvie and make up her very first playlist. She doesn't know many band names except of course her primary request that the Beatles be heavily represented. Much agreed. So I proudly present Sylvie's first playlist. Pretty good if I do say so myself.
  • The B-52's
  • The Bangles
  • Barenaked Ladies
  • The Beach Boys
  • The Beatles
  • Blues Traveler
  • The Concretes
  • Eddie Vedder (the new Ukulele album)
  • Emiliana Torini
  • Erasure
  • Jewel
  • Los Lobos
  • M. Ward
  • Natalie Merchant
  • Norah Jones
  • Old 97's
  • Phoenix
  • She & Him
  • The Shins
  • Simon & Garfunkel
  • Sufjan Stevens (gotta start them young!)
  • Tapes 'n Tapes
  • They Might Be Giants

Moment of the day 7.11.2011


This is why I love dogs. Sad girl working out her woes with a friend.

State of Wonder

State of WonderState of Wonder by Ann Patchett

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Loved this book. It was so beautifully drawn. The characters and the questions they ask are only 90% articulated and I love that gray area that the author leaves. Artfully done.

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Independence Day


It is true that we have skipped fireworks more years than not. It just doesn't always feel worth it with the heat and the crowds and the parking. But this year I was determined to make a real go of it. Only the state of Texas disagreed with me and not only were all the city fireworks all canceled, the precious few legal fireworks were all banned as well. No more sparklers for us. Sadness.

The day ended up full and fun regardless and I was glad for all of it. We got up early to hike Barton Creek but it was really too muggy to be very enjoyable. But the girls love climbing the river bed though and we haven't been out for a while. Good start to the day.

We headed for a dip in the pool when we got back. There was a neighborhood parade we were going to attempt, but cool water just sounded like a better option.

We went to Magnolia Cafe for brunch to say goodbye to Ben and his friend Joe. Sad to see them go but the magnolia omelet (my fav!) and gingerbread pancakes did a lot to sooth my sorrow.

I was pretty proud of my first ever attempt at a holiday themed dessert. Made me feel very domestic indeed. We had a BBQ at a friend's house and it was nice to chat and get to know people.

We had some party poppers and such to play with in the driveway but it didn't take much time before the annoyance of mosquitoes outweighed the fun of making things go pop. Still missing fireworks here. We'll be in Utah in a few weeks for my hometown's big firework celebration so I'll just bank on that.

I am so full


Out of town guests = Salt Lick.

My brother Ben and his friend Joe are at Los Alamos this summer studying highly important things. But Los Alamos is currently trying to burn up in flames so they've evacuated to Austin. Perhaps not the closest safe destination, but definitely the most awesome. We are glad to have them staying with us. Especially because it means we have an excuse to remember all of favorite restaurants.

Sylvie is not a fan of BBQ so she got a little bored during the meal (you can only eat so many slices of Texas white bread). I gave her my camera to keep her occupied and some really interesting pictures resulted. I pruned out the truly scary ones.


I've been taking my girls over to the neighborhood pool for a swim first thing each morning all this week. I've discovered many benefits to our routine and it might just carry us through the summer. It is first and foremost a fabulous way to get my girls out of bed. They love to sleep in and I generally like to indulge them since I happen to be of a similar constitution (even though this summer I'm waking up every day before 6 to work out) but it often results in grumpy girls. So up and out is a good thing indeed and they are so excited about the pool that they jump out of bed in the morning. I'm enjoying the pool more in the mornings as it's nice and quiet without the kiddie fountain (and without all the kiddies too).

This summer is generally going much better for me and the sanity than any year prior. I guess my girls are older now and more self sufficient. But also they have had a few more scheduled activities and that has given our days more structure and interest. And I must have also made some personal growth somewhere along the way because I'm not feeling the need to make lists and organize and tame it all into an agenda. I'm just enjoying having them around. Enjoying the breathing, changing nature of our days.