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After a wonderful two wonderful trips and a week to recover, I’m finally feeling replenished. Both of our July/August trips were soul-soothing and nurturing. Admittedly, I had a much harder time leaving Utah than I did leave the Keys. I’m not sure I’ll ever get used to leaving my oldest son behind. Thus, in leaving Utah, I left a big piece of my heart there. My goal was to write every day, but I found myself, selfishly, wanting to savor every last minute with my airmen. And even once on the plane home, I found myself cherishing the visit and not wanting to share my feelings. Lest that feeling of deep internal happiness and peace be lost upon sharing my feelings.

My mom warned me halfway through the trip that I should probably take it easy because it was going to hit me like a truck when I got back to Florida. Naturally, she was right. However, there were so many trails to hike so many new vistas and waterfalls to explore, I couldn’t hold it back. After all, the Rockies weren’t going to climb themselves. Of course, this is probably why it took me over a week to feel replenished.

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I planned our last two days out west to be action-packed. On Friday, we took it pretty easy comparatively and went back to the Hill Aerospace Museum. We had gone the day before, but Jake wanted to explore it with us. This quickly became one of our favorite spots. Unfortunately, they were assembling an F-117 stealth fighter, so the fighter wing was still closed. All the more reason to go back for another visit when we head back that way later this year. It was fun to take in the history of the Air Force with my man in uniform. It was even more fun to see kids react to him in uniform.

Afterward, we headed back on base to grab lunch at the BX and hang out at his dorm. The BX was nice because it offered variety at the perfect price point. Once we had our lunch, we enjoyed some vintage Simpsons episodes as we ate. The boys were itching to play COD against each other, so they spent the next hour or so playing Xbox. As a mom, I’ve never been so gratified to watch my boys play Xbox. Perhaps because they’ve been apart for so long or perhaps it was the big smiles on their faces. Either way, I was one happy mama. For dinner, we went back to our favorite Rovalis before heading back to the Airbnb. Sadly, I had to pack us up, so we were ready to leave the next day. The highlight of our Friday night was a dip in the hot tub.

I woke up Saturday morning to my alarm followed by a text that Jake had made it to our AirBnB. Fortunately, for me big brother was willing to risk life and limb to wake up Goalielocks. Truly, it was nice not to have to face that epic task. Once everybody was up and ready to go, we packed our cars and headed south to Big Cottonwood Canyon. Jake wasn’t able to hike with us to Donut Falls, so I wanted to be sure he saw the Canyon before we left. This time we chose a hike up the Willow Lake Trail, which was just a few miles west of Donut Falls. As expected, Jake was blown away by the natural beauty of the canyon.

Jake and I stayed together for much of the hike. Goalielocks quickly sprinted ahead, while the Mayor not so quietly complained ahead of us. On this hike, we gained about 1,600 feet. The hike started at nearly 7,000 feet above sea level. My calves hated the beginning of this hike. Jake and I stopped multiple times to stretch our calves. Admittedly, I also needed to take a moment to let my heart rate drop a bit. This hike was through a beautiful birch and conifer forest with views of the surrounding peaks everywhere you looked. When we got near the top, it opened up into a meadow of wildflowers with a backdrop of the forest and mountains. As I told Jake, the view did not suck.

We finally made it up to the lake where Goalielocks had made friends with a mama duck and her ducklings. It was incredibly peaceful at the lake. The trail was never crowded. Since we were now up over 8,500 feet, the temperature was cool and the gentle breeze felt wonderful. After making the effort to climb to the lake, we hung out for awhile taking in the scenery. Next time I’ll bring a blanket and some snacks as there are plenty of spots near the lake to enjoy a picnic lunch. Naturally, the hike back down the mountain was much easier and enjoyed it together. Hiking Utah and enjoying nature with my boys and Melody was my favorite part of the trip.

I booked a red-eye flight, so we could spend all Saturday exploring the area with Jake. As a hockey family, we made the obligatory pilgrimage to Pure Hockey and the local rink in Murray. I found an awesome brewery just south of Pure Hockey for us to try for lunch. We had an amazing meal! I can’t tell you how much we enjoyed supporting the locally-owned restaurants and stores. Anyway back to lunch, I ate the best BBQ wings I’ve ever had. We finished off our day, with a tour of downtown Salt Lake City including Temple Square, the Capitol building, and the mall. By the time, we headed to the airport, we had seen and done a lot for one day.

As the time of our departure drew nearer, my heart grew heavier. I couldn’t help lamenting that this incredible trip was about to be over. Honestly, I drew it out as long as I could by hanging out at the cell phone lot for as long as we could. When it was time to say goodbye, my heart was full of joy and pride, but also a little broken. I don’t suppose it will ever get easier to leave one behind, but I am blessed that he is in a great place. He’s got a wonderful job, boss, and community of support surrounding him every day. Reluctantly, I boarded that plane back to Florida and then spent all of last week recovering. Thankfully, I’m back to my regular routine.

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

*I read The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath

*Vinyasa yoga with Jennifer at Open Heart Yoga Studio

*I went for a two mile run. Yesterday, I ran a mile.

*BBG 2.0. week 10 day 2: Cardio and yoga

*It’s tough to be a parent, especially in this environment. I am lamenting the start of a new virtual school year.

*Goalielocks has his first official practice this evening. The new season has started. Party on!

*Have you ever seen a proboscis?

*Today my hubby sent me the best picture of my sweet Anakin.

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