Claire’s 11th Birthday

For Claire’s 11th birthday, Claire got checked out of school to go to lunch with mom and dad. We went to Cubby’s and she loved it. While we were there we asked her about some of her favorite things.

List of Claire’s favorite things at age 11:

  • Cereal: cocoa pebbles
  • Dinner that mom makes: homemade mac and cheese
  • Restaurant: Cafe Rio
  • After school activity: jumping on the tramp with music when it’s warm out
  • Favorite sport: basketball
  • Best friend: Andie Aagard
  • Future occupation: scientist, artist, or athlete
  • Dream vacation spot: Bahamas or Fiji
  • Dream birthday present: puppy
  • School subject: science
  • Recess game: basketball

Claire is definitely one of our favorites. We sure love her. Happy birthday Claire!

What is Your Story: Reflections 2016

Every year a few of my kids like to enter the Reflections contest that we have at our school. Claire had taken this picture of trails splitting on a hike we had gone on this summer. She entered it into reflections relating it to how your story is determined by the path we take and no matter what path you take, you can get a great story. It was pretty creative and she won the Award of Excellence (the highest award) for photography and advanced on to the next level. Nice job Claire!

Claire and Principal Reed Hodson

Claire’s field trip to Timpanogos Cave

I volunteered to go with Claire’s class to hike up to Timpanogos Cave in American Fork Canyon. I have been fortunate enough to have gone on this fifth grade field trip with Miss Louw’s class three times in the past. I always volunteer because I love it. If you’re going to go on a field trip with 35 fifth graders, it is hard to beat being outside with beautiful scenery and lots of excited kids. Plus, it provides a some good morning exercise as well.


The class was broken up into six groups. We were the lead group and Miss Louw spaced every group about five minutes apart. We had to stop at each number and read the brochure and discuss the rocks, lichen, canyon, animals, etc. Then the students document it by taking notes and pictures.



Unfortunately, because of all the stops we are unable to tour the cave at the top of the canyon. However, our group made really good time getting to the top and the ranger, Deb, really took a liking to us and let us take a sneak peak in the first two caves. The kids were so excited so see the rocks and formations.

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We enjoyed walking down the trail on our way back catching views of the things we missed on the way up. It is such a great little hike. The kids were surprisingly well behaved. Plus, I got to spend some quality time with Claire, which doesn’t happen nearly enough in our big family of eight.


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Lunch at the end…food never tasted so good! ūüôā

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


Young Women’s 5K Chalk Run

This is our second annual Young Women’s color run. They have chalk stations all along the way, each color representing the values in the young woman program in our church. As you get to the station they throw chalk.

None of my girls trained for the 5K so there was a lot of walking and running involved but we all had a great time running up to the temple (a good ending even it was uphill!).