Katelyn’s cute brace face

Katelyn got braces today. She was pretty excited about it, but wanted to keep it a secret from her family and friends so she could share her big reveal. She wouldn’t even tell Drew and Ellie why she wasn’t going to school.

The procedure went well and she came home with all sorts of goodies. A new toothbrush, a voucher for a free smoothie, a new t-shirt, and a face full of metal.



She enjoyed the attention from everyone for the first little bit, but that quickly wore off and the discomfort set in. Her mouth was pretty painful by late afternoon.

Still, she was positive when making her obligatory Instagram post which announced that she was “Officially a BRACE FACE”. It was flooded with likes and supportive comments from all of Katelyn’s many friends, many of whom are also sporting braces.


See, cute as ever, even with braces.

Miss Katelyn turns Twelve

I am not sure why but when my kiddos turn twelve, it feels monumental. They are finishing up six grade, going to junior high. They leave their younger church class and go with the young men/young women. It is also the age my girls are allowed to wear make-up. It just signifies change I guess. So for me, it is a emotional day – both happy and sad at the same time.


Katelyn couldn’t decide if she wanted a party or if she wanted a date with me. For weeks she went back and forth. Finally she opted for lunch and shopping with me.

The American Girl store opened up in Salt Lake so we went and grabbed lunch at JCW and then drove up for some shopping at the store. I am afraid I love the store as much as she does. I just wish it wasn’t so expensive. The store is only a temporary store for the holidays so it was a bit of a disappointment but that didn’t keep her from spending the gift cards my mom gave her for her birthday.


We also stopped at several other stores along the way. Our last stop was Target where we picked out a few things for her to try for make-up. She is beautiful and doesn’t need a lick of make-up but you can’t tell her that. She is too excited.

The only real item she wanted from Seth and I was a new bike. She has outgrown hers and has been searching the internet and stores for months trying to find the perfect one. We settled on an adorable little cruiser from Target. Ain’t it cute?!


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On Friday, I did allow her to take two friends to a movie to celebrate. I thought it was fitting for her to see “Once I was a Beehive.” They loved it!


I am so grateful for Katelyn and the unique role she plays in our family. She is so creative and happy. Her voice is beautiful. She loves her mama and is always willing to help me out when needed. Most importantly, she is kind and tries to be a good friend to those around her. I expect to see some amazing things out of this girly as she grows up. I love her!

Katelyn’s Week at Clear Creek

Our school district runs a summer camp for to-be sixth-graders. None of our older kids have ever been involved, but Katelyn had some friends going so we thought we’d check it out this year.

When investigating whether Katelyn should join her friends we found out several key points about Clear Creek. Several parents we talked to said that Clear Creek was one of the high points of their childhood and they had a bunch of great memories. The downsides are that it is expensive and that it fills up quickly — when registration opens you have to jump online and reserve a spot.

Manina got Katelyn registered in the same session with several of her friends, so Katelyn went to Clear Creek and had a great time there.

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They kept the kids busy the entire week and there was very little downtime. Katelyn came home with a live animal trap (she’d caught and released several critters) and a lot of stories about the things she had learned.

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When Katelyn came home she was incredibly tired. She spent the next couple days singing camp songs and teaching them to Claire, Drew, and Ellie. She had a great time and made some wonderful memories.

Girls can backpack too

Megan turns 13 here in a couple weeks. Katelyn is 11. The weather forecast was perfect, and there weren’t any other conflicts, so we decided to head out on their first overnight backpacking trip.

The girls seemed pretty excited to go. I gave them general directions of what to bring and what not to bring, and they did a great job of packing themselves. When I got home from work Friday afternoon they were eager to hit the trail. I packed up the all the food, the tent, my Jetboil, and standard backpacking equipment. But, they each carried their own sleeping bags, pads, water, extra clothing, toothbrushes, and stuffed animals and brushes (they are still little girls, after all).

Ready to hike

We decided to go up to the Ridge Trail (157) up at the top of American Fork Canyon. We parked up at the Alpine Loop summit parking lot, got on our packs and hit the trail. Uncle Eli and his little puppy Bert (short for Albert Einstein) came along with us. We were immediately hit with the rugged beauty of the Utah mountains and came upon many beautiful vistas.



The trail was pretty up-and-down, but there weren’t a lot of big climbs. We passed a great camping spot about 1.25 miles in which was occupied by a group of Boy Scouts. But, we had looked on the map and set our sights on the Mud Springs trail intersection (about 2 miles in).

The girls did great. They frequently commented on the beauty of the forest. The pretty flowers. The scenic views. They were already talking about what their Instagram posts would be.


We got to the Mud Springs intersection and found a place to make camp. The girls helped setup the tent as I started making dinner. Katelyn was scared when I lit the stove, and Megan had a hard time figuring out how to attach the tent poles, but they caught on quickly. We enjoyed a delicious freeze-dried meal and the girls raved about how much better food tastes when you’re in the outdoors. We made a dessert too and then got ready for bed.

We slept in until about 8AM. We didn’t have a schedule, which was really nice. The girls huddled around the fire, ate some instant oatmeal for breakfast, played with Bert and then started packing up to head back home.


The hike home felt longer, but the girls still didn’t whine, complain, or belly-ache at all. They just hiked. However, they were definitely happy to get back to the parking lot and take off their packs.

Along the way, we passed several mountain bikers and other hikers who commented on these tough, cute girls out backpacking in the Utah wilderness. Megan and Katelyn did a great job and I was sure proud of them. We will definitely be doing this again.


Happy 11th Birthday Katelyn!

It wasn’t Katelyn’s turn for a friend party this year so I downplayed it and just told her we would have cake and ice-cream in the evening. Little did she know, I had planned on checking her out and taking her to lunch and then to “Color Me Mine”. She has been dying to go there and I thought this was as good of an excuse as any.

Seth decided to make the surprise even better. When I checked Katelyn out of class Seth went in to get her dressed as her Uncle Joe Billy, a completely fictional character. Nothing I write will portray the scene that took place. Seth jammed out in his best air guitar impersonation and made quite a lasting impression on both her classmates and teacher. (As you may have read in earlier posts, Seth enjoys humiliating his kids.)


After chuckling about the whole situation – Katelyn handled it very well – we got in the car and headed to lunch. Katelyn really wanted Megan to join her so we checked Megan out as well and went to JCW’s for lunch (Katelyn’s choice). Afterward, we went to “Color Me Mine” where we spent a small fortunate coloring a few pieces of pottery.


Following tradition, we went to dinner as a family and then headed home for cake and presents. We all had a great day. I hope Katelyn felt as special as she is. I just adore her. She is the sweetest, most tender child. She has a knack for making everyone feel special. She is always aware of people’s feelings and makes friends easily. She has a soft but caring voice that everyone seems to love. Creative is a word that describes Katelyn well. She can create or make just about anything out of just about anything. She is a special girl that adds a wonderful spirit in our home. I love you baby girl!