Snowbasin

Yesterday morning we headed to beautiful Snowbasin. The boys and I did this hike with Melly last year and we all loved it. Consequently, I was eager for us to do it again. To get there, we had to drive through the beautiful canyon. The drive through this canyon takes a bit longer as it’s one lane each way and there’s some road construction. Nevertheless, it was a spectacular ride.

Snowbasin was quite busy when we got there due to a Xterra trail race that was happening that morning. Additionally, they also had a Germanfest starting at noon. Surprisingly the top of the mountain was not crowded. The ride up the gondola was breathtaking with fall colors all around us. Fortunately or maybe unfortunately, we were all able to fit into one gondola car. Goalielocks and the Mayor in that close of quarters is never a good combination.

While we went to hike to the summit, my folks walked the area near the ski lodge. The trail up to the summit is fairly easy. Albeit it didn’t feel easy on the way up. The hike starts at 8,500 feet, so it’s only a gain of just over 500 feet. It, however, felt like I hiked an elevation gain of 1,000 feet. Nonetheless, it was a beautiful hike up to the summit of Mount Ogden.

We spent twenty minutes at the summit taking pictures and enjoying the beautiful views of the Great Salt Lake to the west and the valley and mountains to the east. As we sat, the boys started a game of seeing who could hit the sign with the most rocks. It was a funny moment and a great way to catch our breath before heading down the mountain.

After Snowbasin we headed back to the AirBnB to enjoy our leftovers from Hibachi. Post lunch Grandma, Jake, the Mayor and I headed to Walmart to pick up packing supplies and few additional items. I was anxious to get some chapstick as my lips were killing me. The air is so dry out here that I also had buy some hand lotion.

The rest of the day we chilled at home. For dinner, I made beef tacos. I cooked up three pounds of beef and we don’t have too much meat left. We’re trying to eat at the AirBnB as much as possible since it’s cheaper and healthier. After dinner, we played the game Hot Seat, which was a ton of fun.

If you go:

Snowbasin

Games:

Hot Seat

Celebrating Melly

Yesterday was all about acclimating to the altitude and celebrating Melly and her 20th birthday. It was fun to have everyone together here in Utah to celebrate with her. We started our day with a nice pancake breakfast in her honor. In fact, we even got to test the AirBnB’s smoke alarms courtesy of the pound of bacon the Hubby cooked.

After breakfast, we headed to Kohl’s to pick up some hiking boots for the boys and a new suitcase for Melly. Goalielocks had forgotten to pack his boots, while the Mayor had outgrown his old pair. While at Kohl’s I found the perfect opal bracelet for Melly. My parents, my hubby and I, Jake and Melly, and Goalielocks and Isa all started dating in October, so I bought both girls a piece of opal jewelry for their birthday. Jake treated us to Chick-Fil-a before we headed to the mall.

We spent the afternoon chilling at the AirBnb. Before we headed to dinner, we played a rousing and endless game of Uno. Apparently, they added a shuffle hand card with the new edition. Consequently, it turned Uno into a never ending game. Nonetheless, it was super fun.

For dinner, we headed to Tokyo Station in downtown Ogden. It’s a hibachi restaurant that happens to be the only one locally that has yum yum sauce. I’m not sure how a hibachi restaurant could function without yum yum sauce. The wait was long since they don’t take reservations, but the food was worth the wait. Most of us has the filet mignon, while Goalielocks and the Mayor had the chicken and shrimp pairing.

After dinner we headed back to the AirBnB to have birthday cake and play games. I had bought a cheesecake for Melly while we were out and about. Additionally, I had some super cute candles delivered with the cake. The card game was a ton of fun although the name escapes me at the moment. This morning we’re headed over to Snow Basin on the east side of the mountains.

Utah Day One

Utah day one was a big success despite the lack of sleep the night before. Fortunately, our flights out West were smooth sailing. Thank you Delta! Once we got into SLC, I went to get the rental car set before my parents flight landed. Luckily, the logistics we planned worked out perfectly.

I ordered pizza to be delivered to Jake’s apartment as we drove North to Ogden. Since it was around 2:00 by the time we got to Ogden, it was still too early to check into our AirBnB. Thanks to Uber Eats and good timing, our pizza got to Jake’s about a minute after we arrived. Speaking of Jake’s place, it’s absolutely perfect for him. It’s a really nice place.

After hanging out at Jake’s for a bit, we headed over to our AirBnB. The place is just over 3 miles north east of Jake’s place, which is perfect. Thankfully, the AirBnB is as perfect in person as it looked on the website. Moreover, the owners decked it out completely with everything you could need and more. I love the place!

We spent the evening at home, I had groceries delivered via Shipt. Afterwards, we headed to Smith’s to buy meats for dinner. The house has a nice gas grill, which we were more than happy to use. For dinner, we had burger, brats and Luke’s grilled potatoes. It was really nice to be able to eat outside under the stars without sweating off my weight in water.

Today is Mel’s birthday, so we’ll be celebrating her all day as we acclimate to the altitude. We’re hoping to the mountains behind us tomorrow morning before heading to Antelope Island for family pictures in the evening. Hopefully, this time we’ll actually see some Antelope on the island! Utah day one was a success. I love Utah!

On My Way

I’m on my way to see my boy!!! We left the house at 4:00 am, which sucked. Needless to say, we’re all going to need naps on the flight. Our first flight is a quick jaunt to Atlanta, so I probably won’t sleep until the second flight. I am hoping that the MacDonald’s in Atlanta isn’t out if egg mcmuffins again because that was a real buzz kill last time.

This is the first time I’ve taken a long vacation since starting my new job. I have to say it was nice setting the out of office notification and knowing I won’t check email until I’m back. Thankfully, its a complete 180 from my last job where the expected you to be plugged in 24/7. Obviously, I don’t miss those days at all!! Well, I’m on my way and I’m going to enjoy watching Dumb and Dumber.

Launch

Well Spacex had launch this evening that was spectacular and beautiful. Naturally, I completely forgot about it until I saw all the great pictures on Facebook. Oh fiddlesticks! They didn’t deliver our Hellofresh box until almost 8:00 pm tonight, so i got a late start to dinner, which distracted me from the launch.

For dinner this evening, I made the meatloaf brushed with barbecue sauce and served with shingled potatoes and green beans. Thankfully, this recipe was super easy to make. It was also delicious. I’d definitely make it again.

We’re now at nine days until I have all my boys in one place and I can’t wait. It will also be the first time I’ve seen my folks since the pandemic started. Moreover, I’m looking forward to the beautiful fall weather. Oh yes, the day time temperatures will be in the mid 70s and the night time temperatures will be in the 50s. Needless to say, it will be a lot easier to hike the mountains this weather versus our last trip. I do plan to fearlessly rappel down to the waterfall I wasn’t able to see last year.

Here’s a list of our day’s activities:

*I’m reading Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel.

*One week and three days until I’ll have all my boys in one place!

*I still can’t run because my toe. Honestly, I’m going to try running on it on tomorrow.

*We’re tracking the Tropics here in Florida. Fortunately, it looks like none of these waves will be impacting Florida.

*I made meatloaf, shingled potatoes and green beans via HelloFresh. It’s definitely a do again.

*The word of the day is digitally. One of the benefits of being in a digitally connected age is the ability to work from home I love working from home.

*I took my puppies including sweet Anakin for a. I put on his harness every morning. Fortunately, we had no run-ins with the toads, lizards or grasshoppers today.

Fifteen Days

In only fifteen days, we’ll be headed West to visit our airman. I’m absolutely so excited to see my boy. It will also be nice to have time off and spend it with all four of my boys. Moreover, my parents and Melly will be joining us, which is great. Since Covid started, we’ve been unable to see my parents in person.

I booked an amazing AirBnB, a cabin, at the base of a mountain. It’s a gorgeous property with a great hot tub and a trail access in the backyard. I can’t wait to hike the mountains again. Naturally, it’s going to be tough since I haven’t been able to run since July. However, the weather should be a lot nicer than the last time we were there.

We’re all adjusting to Maya’s absence and it hasn’t been easy. So far we’ve left her crate set up as it was before we lost her. Since Maya passed, we decided to try keeping Athena at night. Previously, we crated both Athena and Maya because they tended to have accidents at night. Although Goalielocks tried it one night to see how they would fair. It went well until Maya peed right next to his head just after dawn.

Night one with Athena sleeping out ended with me stepping on a piece of poop. Now that was fun. Last night I discovered Athena peed on the carpet in our bedroom hallway while walking to the bathroom. Fortunately, we got a new carpet cleaner, which made it easy to clean up Athena’s mess.

The bigger mystery, however, is what happened to my pink hoody. I left it next to the bed last night before I fell asleep. This morning when I awoke it was missing. In fact, I have yet to find said hoody. To make matters worse, my new hoody now has a hole in it. Interestingly enough the size of the hole corresponds perfectly with the size of our puppies’ mouths. Apparently, they were quite naughty last night.

I really miss my sweet Maya girl. It still doesn’t feel real. One of the best parts of working from home is getting to spend everyday with my puppies. They truly are the best co-workers. Anakin and Maya would always lay near me in my office, while Athena would sit on the couch. Now both Anakin and Athena lay near me while I work. At any rate, the countdown is on! Fifteen Days until I see my boy!

Here’s a list of our day’s activities:

*I’m reading Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel.

*I still can’t run because my toe. I’ll be unable to run for at least four weeks. It’s now been two weeks since I broke it. Honestly, I’m going to try running on it on Sunday.

*We’re tracking the Tropics here in Florida. Fortunately, it looks like none of these waves will be impacting Florida.

*Uber Eats delivered my coffee for me today and will do so until we get another vehicle. 

*For dinner, I made chicken, black beans and rice for the Mayor and I. Goalielocks and Coach Hubby are in Miami for hockey practice tonight.

*The word of the day is ping pong. Maya’s passing has my emotions ping ponging all over the place.

*I took my puppies including sweet Anakin for a. I put on his harness every morning. Otherwise, I have difficulty controlling him on the leash. He’s incredible strong and can pull me off balance, which is why I’m now wearing a boot to protect my poor broken toe.

Parenting

Parenting an adult is a completely different beast from parenting a child. It brings a whole host of issues and questions that are sometimes difficult to balance. The emotional tie, the worry doesn’t diminish when your child becomes an adult, but our role in their life does. It’s not that we disappear from their life, but we’re no longer making decisions for them. It’s a balancing act between enabling and empowering.

So why all this parenting talk? Last night as we started getting ready for bed, Jake texted that he was no stranded at DFW. They diverted his flight to Tulsa due to the weather. In the interim, American canceled his connection to Tallahassee. Unfortunately, American Airlines didn’t notify him until he landed in Dallas. This was, of course, hours after the flight had been canceled.

When I spoke with him on the phone he sounded fried. It was awful. Honestly, it sucks to be so far away when your kid is in trouble. The FAA closed the Dallas airports due to weather, so there was no possibility of him getting on a flight last night. I quickly started trying to book him a hotel at or near the airport. It took six tries as each hotel would show sold out by the time I put my information in. This mama was not about to let him sleep at the airport.

American wasn’t helpful and wasn’t forthcoming with information. After waiting for an hour, he finally got rebooked on a flight today. Moreover, they didn’t mention to him or any of his fellow passengers that the airline had already. placed their baggage on their rebooked flight. This would have been helpful to know before folks sat at baggage claim waiting for their bags. Honestly, after his experience yesterday and today, I would never fly American.

Once he got to the hotel, I could finally go to bed. Until this point, I felt helpless. It was horrible to be 1,000 miles away and he battled through an impossible evening at DFW. I know these travel hiccups are almost of the right of passage, but it doesn’t make the situation easier. At least I could sleep in peace.

Unfortunately, Jake’s travel troubles continued into today. As his flight was about to board, they delayed his flight due to maintenance issues. My poor kid was sitting waiting for his flight to board for over two hours. As was the situation last night, the communication from the airline continued to be poor. When he finally took off, we all breathed a collective sigh of relief. Now he’s in Tallahassee and happy to be through his travel ordeal.

Tonight I’m relaxing on the couch happy in the knowledge he’s finally safely in Tallahassee. Parenting never gets easier even as our children become adults. The rules of engagement do change as they become adults, but the emotional investment never diminishes.

Here are some great resources for parenting an adult child:

Here’s a list of our day’s activities:

*I’m reading Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy last night. This is quite the departure from the world of Queen Asa.

*I’m still under the weather. Consequently, I took another rest day today.  Unfortunately, there will be no rollicking or running until I’m better.

*We’re tracking the Tropics here in Florida. Fortunately, all the tropical weather is moving away from us! Unfortunately, the heat has really cranked up with heat indexes in the triple digits.

*Uber Eats delivered my Dunkin’ this morning, which was awesome sauce.

*For dinner, I made myself some soup.

*My favorite surprise on the underwater cams, I watch during work, is seeing an octopus. Today I watched the safari cam, which never disappoints.

*Today’s word of the day is figure. I figured it was going to be faster to take a train to Tallahassee than by flying on American.

*I took my puppies including sweet Anakin for a walk. Today he didn’t pull my arm off or anything like that. I put on his harness

Packing for the Perfect Beach Vacation

Packing for the perfect beach vacation is key to a successful tropical vacation. If you forgot certain items, you can end up in tremendous pain. Hello my sunburnt legs! Fortunately, I’ve put together a list of must have items for any successful beach vacation.

  • Copious amounts of waterproof sunscreen that’s at least 50 SPF.
    • I love Sun Bum’s products as they protect well while not causing breakouts. Plus it’s reef safe, which is super important here in Florida.
    • I also love using Coppertone’s Sunscreen Spray. The ease of use is undeniable and it does a great job protecting the skin.
  • Nice beach towels as you can’t rely on the hotel or AirBnB to provide enough. We learned this lesson the hard way at Hawk’s Cay.
  • A nice sun hat to protect your scalp. Nothing sucks more than a severely sun burnt scalp!
  • A high quality cooler, like a Yeti, for a day on the boat or at the beach. Otherwise, your food and drinks will soon be warm.
  • I also like to bring a cooler bag as they take up less room and are the perfect option for carrying snacks.
  • SPF clothing is crucial to protecting your skin especially if you’re out on the water. My SPF shirt protected my upper body. Unfortunately, I didn’t have SPF pants on and my legs paid the price. Lily Pulitzer also offers a full line of SPF protection clothing.
  • What would a day on the boat or at the beach be without some great music. A Bluetooth speaker, like this one from Bose, is the perfect way to bring the party everywhere you go.
  • Snorkel gear!! There’s no better way to explore at the beach than by snorkeling.
  • Naturally, you’ll need something to carry all this awesomeness in and a great beach bag is exactly what you need. I bought an expensive one years ago at Atlantis, but it quickly broke. This year I bought one by Shylero for under $50 off of Amazon. Honestly, it’s amazing for the price. It even comes with a waterproof bag for your phone and wallet. You can check it out here.
  • Another must have is after sun lotion or aloe Vera to help heal and moisturize your skin after a day in the sun.

These are some of the key items to have as you embark on your perfect beach vacation. Some of these items are a matter of convenience, but others are crucial to protecting your health. Now that my fabulous beach vacation is over, l’m making notes of my must haves for next year’s trip. All of which are in the list above. What are your must have beach items?

Here’s a list of our day’s activities:

*I’m now reading Rebecca by Daphne De Maurier.

*I ran 2 miles and walked a mile. It went quite well.

*Did I mention it was vacation time?

*Tonight we’re enjoying ice cream and watching the NHL draft.

*Jake was able to have a nice lunch with Jon and Brandi before they headed for Yellowstone. I’m so jealous.

*For dinner, the hubby made vodka sauce pasta. 

*My favorite surprise on the underwater cams, I watch during work, is seeing an octopus. Today I watched the safari cam, which never disappoints.

*Today’s word of the day is curvaceous. After eating too much on vacation, I’m more curvaceous than I’d like.

*I took my puppies including sweet Anakin for a walk. Today he didn’t pull my arm off or anything like that. I put on his harness, so I’d have more control over him outside. Also, the flies are still here. Did I mention I hate gnats, flies, and mosquitos? I was finally able to hang the fly traps. Nobody loves flies.

Boat Day

Monday was our boat day in the Keys. This was the first time we rented a boat and it will not be the last. Initially, our boat day got off to a bit of a rocky start since someone blew up the engine on our boat the previous day. Fortunately, the staff at A1A Watersports was first class and upgraded our boat, threw in some fishing rods and even knocked 14 gallons off our gas charge. We ended up with a Grady dual console boat, which was super nice.


After grabbing the boat, we cruised back to the house to pick up the rest of our group. As we left the canal to head towards the Gulf, there were dolphins swimming in the canal. I was a little nervous as there were dark clouds off on the horizon and some heavy rain in the Gulf. Fortunately, we ended up having perfect weather all day. I love being on the water!


Our first trip was out to the light house and Alligator Reef for some snorkeling. It was incredibly beautiful! As we headed to the location, the seas were pretty calm. Unfortunately, the seas picked up when we dropped anchor near the reef. They started rolling in at 3-4 feet, which wasn’t great for several of our passengers. All of us, except for Captain Hubby hit the water to swim and snorkel. The water was absolutely perfect, however, we had to head back to the house due to sea sickness.


Our second trip of the day had us exploring the islands on the bay side. It was pretty hot out there with little wind, so we ended up pulling up our rods almost as soon we we had put them in. Unfortunately, there was no good way to keep our sweet Ava cool. Thankfully, we hadn’t ventured too far from the house.

Our third trip was a mix of snorkeling and fishing. We had folks fishing on one side of the boat while others swam on the other. The fish, however, were apparently avoiding both sides of our boat as we got only a few bites. Consequently, we moved under the bridge into the Atlantic to see if we could get on some fish. Sadly, not everyone was happy with this move. T was mad at the Captain for not dropping him off at the bridge pylon. Naturally, the Captain had no idea that T was wanting to be dropped off.

Since we forgot to drop him off at the pylon, he decided he would walk to it and climb up it. Of course this was a bad idea given the strength of the current where the Atlantic and Gulf water meet. Not too mention that the barnacles would cut him up as he tried to climb up into the platform. You gotta love teenagers and their ingenuity.

Afterwards, we headed into the Gulf to find the fish. After a couple false starts, the Hubby guided us to the Gopher Cut. Finally, we were on the fish! They were biting as soon as the lines hit the water. In fact, the kids started reeling in some respectable snappers. Unfortunately, the sea sickness started to kick in again as we were anchored. We pulled up anchor and headed back to the house. Thankfully, the sea sickness abated as we started moving again.

Our last trip of the day had us heading back into the open water of the Atlantic. In the afternoon, the seas were significantly calmer. We initially started fishing off the waters of Indian Key, but had no luck. Goalielocks and Captain Hubby decided to head out to a wreck 3.5 miles to the southeast. Truly, we should have started there because the fish were biting like mad. Goalielocks girlfriend put her line in the water and pulled up three snappers almost immediately, I had a similar experience. On her next cast, she pulled up another three snappers. It was awesome! Not to mention it was an absolutely gorgeous location. Next time we’ll start our day at this location.

The boat cost less than $600 for the day and it was well worth every penny. We all carried away some wonderful and funny memories from our adventures on the water. Obviously, the sea sickness sucked and we weren’t properly prepared. Next time I’ll be sure to have Dramamine on hand to help mitigate the sea sickness. Lastly, after the sun and salt water exsiccate my skin, I’m going to be covered head to toe in sunscreen and spf clothing. Long story short if you are in the Keys and considering renting a boat, do it and use A1A Watersports in Islamorada.


As an aside, I think they were so generous to us because we were kind and patient when they told us our boat had broken. In contrast, an asshole form New York pulled an attitude with the entire staff (all of whom were super nice and professional) as soon as he got there. Keep in mind, his boat was there and ready to go immediately. The staff, in my opinion, was way more patient and professional with him than I would have been.

He was still complaining when we brought the boat back. The man was charged for 28 gallons, which was the amount of gas he used. Thankfully, we came off akin to angels due to his poor behavior. In fact, we used 44 gallons of gas, but were only charged for 30. I guess it pays to be nice.

We finished our night with an adults only dinner at Morada Bay’s Pierre. It was quite the contrast to their Beach Cafe, but the food was awesome. The service at Pierre’s is was impeccable. We enjoyed an appetizer of shrimp cocktail and escargot. Both are amazing. For dinner, I had the fish du jour, which was a snapper in browned butter sauce. Lastly, we capped off the dinner with a key lime tart and creme brûlée. I love it!

If you go, check out:

  • A1A Water Sports and Boat Rental in Islamorada had several types of boats, jet skis, fishing equipment and snorkel gear for rent at a great price point.  There service is also fantastic. It’s the perfect place to supply your boat day!
  • Pierre at Morada Bay.  Their price point is high, but so is the quality.  You will love it!  I recommend the escargot, shrimp cocktail, fish du jour and creme brûlée. The views of the sunset are first rate.  

Island Adventure

Our island adventure in Islamorada sadly came to an end yesterday after an incredible weekend in the Keys. I unplugged completely from the blog and all social media. Honestly, it was fantastic. The truth of the matter is I was far too busy having fun and enjoying the company to be bothered with technology. That is the hallmark of a good vacation.

This year we stayed at Su Casa, in Islamorada, which is a private rental I booked on AirBnB. It was absolutely perfect for our large group. We had the main house and the one bedroom apartment. The two bedroom apartment was rented out to a fantastic couple from Sarasota. Additionally, it was on a canal and had a beautiful dock. Allegedly their are crocodiles in the canal, but I wasn’t lucky enough to see one. Honestly, I can’t recommend the property highly enough. It was absolutely the perfect spot for our island adventure!

Speaking of perfect, it’s location was superb. We had quick access to the gulf and ocean from the canal, which was nice when we rented the boat. Also, it was a short walk to Robbie’s where you can feed the tarpon, engage in a number of fun water sports, shop or get a nice drink at the bar. Robbie’s parking lot is always overflowing, so it was nice that we could simply walk there.



Saturday night we enjoyed a wonderful dinner at Morada Bay’s Beach Side cafe. The food was wonderful and relatively cheap given the size of our group. We were initially sitting outside, but it quickly became too hot. Fortunately, they were able to accommodate us inside near the bar. I ordered the Key West pink shrimp scampi pasta, which was awesome. For my drink, I had a nice vodka cocktail with watermelons purée and an herbal note. I highly recommend trying it if you ever find yourself there.

Post dinner, we headed next door to the sports store for fishing supplies. While there, Goalielocks, his girlfriend and I checked out the docks. Unbelievably, we saw a manatee eating the remnants of fish thrown into the water after having been cleaned and filleted. As the manatee munched away the fish, three sharks (two black-tips and a Bullsharks) circled the area hoping to get some fish. Needless to say that’s the closest I ever want to be to a Bullsharks.

Sunday morning we grabbed some awesome cafe con leche from Cuban cafe on Plantation Key. We also grabbed some empanadas, pastelitos, and cachitos. After breakfast we headed south to go fishing off a bridge. Last year, we had little success fishing from the bridge, so we were all skeptical. Fortunately, this year the bridge fishing delivered. All of us were on the fish almost immediately. We caught several pork fish, wrasses, and some snappers. After an hour or two, we headed back to the house to get ready for lunch.

Sunday afternoon Hanh and I took the kids on a kayak trip through the mangroves. The Mayor and I shared a double kayak, which worked well. Truly, the scenery was absolutely gorgeous, but of course the kids thought it was boring since we saw no wildlife. I had hoped to see a manatee or a crocodile, but I still enjoyed the beauty of the mangroves even though I didn’t see many animals.

Sunday nights we had an early dinner/late lunch at the house instead of eating out. While we were on the kayak trip, the Hubby and John cooked us dinner. After all, we had worked up an appetite on our kayak trip, so it was perfect timing on their part. The rest of the evening we spent chilling under the tiki hut watching the sunset and hoping to spy a croc. Meanwhile, the kids continued to fish from the dock. Incredibly, Goalielocks caught a nurse shark that evening.

If you go on your own island adventure in Islamorada, be sure to check out:

  • Robbie’s of Islamorada: it’s well worth the hassle of the parking lot, but being able to walk there was priceless. There is so much to do here and yes you should feed the tarpon.
  • Su Casa vacation rentals offered a superior vacation experience in Islamorada. Last year, we stayed at Hawk’s Cay, which wasn’t a great stay.
  • Mrs. G’s, located on Plantation Key, was our go to spot in the Keys for our morning coffee. It’s also an ice cream place, but we only went for the coffee and breakfast pastries.
  • Morado Bay has a casual option in the Beach Cafe and a formal option with Pierre’s on the same beautiful property.