Grove Creek backpacking with the kids

Last year, I took Katelyn and Megan backpacking up American Fork canyon. This year, we brought Jacob and Claire along with us too. We were also joined by the Rowberry family. My Uncle Greg and I were out talking one night and he expressed some interest in exploring the trails just east of the Pleasant Grove bench.

We had been up Battle Creek canyon before, rappelling for a family home evening, but I hadn’t been backpacking up either Battle Creek or Grove Creek, nor the valley that connects those two canyons behind the “G” mountain.


We planned on camping up at Indian springs (GPS Coordinates 40.3941925, -111.704204). Since we started later than we had planned, we didn’t have time to dilly-dally, but we couldn’t pass up on some of the incredible views of Utah county.



As the lone rookie backpacker in our family, Claire did great. Just like the other girls did last year, Claire insisted on packing up her stuffed animal (“Lammy”). The trail was tough and steep, but Claire did great.


We passed a pretty good camping spot in the pines, but decided to press on another half a mile until Indian spring even though it was getting dark.

Unfortunately, when we got there someone was already occupying the spot we had targeted, so we had to try to find some semi-flat ground and set up our camp in the dark. But, when we awoke in the morning we found we were in a pretty nice spot.


We hiked back down after cooking some breakfast and filling our water bottles at the springs. The kids had an activity they had to be at by noon.


It was another successful backpacking trip with the kids, even though this one was significantly more difficult than last year.


Lessons learned:

  1. If possible, scout the location beforehand, especially if bringing new backpackers
  2. Leave stuffed animals at home
  3. Leave plenty early to avoid setting up camp in the dark
  4. Avoid the rush; allow for more unstructured time
  5. Brian said mid-May is an ideal time for that hike


Jake’s summer business: Lawn Rangers

In the summer of 2014, Jake started his own business. He started edging lawns and got several neighbors interested. So, Jake plunged in.

We had an old edger that Manina bought from a yard sale. But Jake knew from edging our own lawn that that machine just wasn’t an option for a commercial lawn care business. So in April 2014, he secured a $400 loan from his grandpa Mike with the promise to pay it back in August with $5 interest. He researched a few models and ended up purchasing a McLane 801 edger and Hitachi leaf blower from Amazon. He also invested in a hand edger for curves and tricky-to-reach spots. He worked hard that summer and had no trouble paying back the loan.


Jacob has worked hard the last couple summers, slowly adding more clients. He takes pride in his work and loves to drive by his customer’s lawns and point out how good they look.

For this 2016 lawn season, Jake purchased a new weed whacker and a new self-propelled lawn mower to add to his equipment. He’s offering full-service lawn care and has even talked a friend into working with Jake on some of his bigger jobs — his first “employee”.

He has a bunch of clients around the neighborhood and seems to add new ones all the time. This keeps him plenty busy during the summer.


For Jake’s birthday, we made him a couple T-shirts with a logo we had designed by his Uncle Matt Thurman (thanks, Matt!).


I’ve had more than one of his customers come up and tell me what a great job Jake is doing. Even the owner of Bunker Lawn Care (Jake’s biggest competition) came up to me and told me how proud I should be of how hard Jake works. People are taking notice and it’s starting to pay off.

Keep up the good work, Jake!

Spring Soccer Season

Soccer season kept us very busy this spring to say the least. We usually had 3 games every day! Drew was quite a superstar and generally scored a goal or two every game. His team finished the season undefeated.

Ellie likewise finished her season undefeated and although she played up a level to be with her friend, she dominated and came away being one of the strongest players on the team. Way to go yellow laser sharks!

Megan keep excelling and can pretty much outplay anyone that comes against her on the field. She has amazing footwork and can dribble like nobody’s business.

Although we kept very busy going from soccer game to soccer game, we loved watching our kiddos work hard and grow more confidence with each game.



Drew Soccer2



IMG_9934G’ma Kathy & G’pa Gary made a special trip to visit us and go to all the soccer games. They toughed it out even though it was cold and rainy most of the day!




Midsummer Night’s Dream

Mrs. Yingling, Katelyn’s sixth grade teacher, has her class perform a Shakespeare play every year. She assigns a student as the director and the director assigns all other parts and roles. They also tweak the play so it has its own little twist. It is ALL done by the kids…no adult help on anything. The kids even make the costumes, choreography, do lights and sound. It is a pretty awesome experience.

Sweet Katelyn was chosen as Helena in the play, Midsummer Night’s Dream. It was one of the main roles and even gave her a solo at the beginning. Don’t be confused, the song is from the Beauty and the Beast, but that was part of the Disney twist they used throughout the play. Katelyn has a beautiful voice but she is also quiet and a little bit shy so I was super excited to see her accept this role and go full-speed ahead memorizing all of her lines and practicing her parts.

When the performance day rolled around she was ready. They had four performances. I love watching her so much that I attended three of the four of them! It was so fun to see her having fun and showing off her talents. I was extra proud of her for trying something new and killing it!

This is the best video I got of her singing. Unfortunately the microphones were sub-par so you will have to crank up your volume to be able to hear her. I think she should make a habit of this acting/singing thing!






Ellie’s Kindergarten Graduation

Little Miss Ellie had her kindergarten graduation this week. It was bitter-sweet for me as it was my last kiddo to go through kindergarten and I may have shed a tear or two. Ellie has loved being in school. She has a real love of learning and working hard. She loved being a mother hen and always made sure the kids were on task and following the rules.

Her teacher was Mrs. Beck. We love her! She taught Katelyn, Claire, and Drew as well so she is one of our favorites. I have had the opportunity to volunteer in the class every other week and help with centers. I have loved getting to know the kids and see them learn and grow throughout the year.







We are so happy that G’ma Jan came to support Ellie!