Thursday, June 27, 2019

Park City, Utah

Hi!  We just wrapped up our summer vacation trip to Utah.

We flew out last Thursday.  We got up pretty early in the morning and Mom was nice enough to drive us to the airport. (thanks, Mom!)

Kiddo and Raylan do their version of waiting patiently for our plane
at Bergstrom International.
We had a connection at Love Field in Dallas.  We got some breakfast before getting back on a plane to get to Salt Lake City.

Flight into Salt Lake City.  The Great Salt Lake and
the Wasatch Mountain Range.
We got into Salt Lake City in the middle of the afternoon.  We rented a minivan and drove out of Salt Lake City and up into the mountains to Park City (stopping at the Whole Foods in Kimball Junction to get some food for our condo).
When we left Austin it was in the high 90's and fairly humid.  We got to Utah and it was in the mid to upper 50's with a few passing showers mixed with blue skies.
The mountains in Utah were really beautiful.  Raylan was amazed that there was snow on the top of some of them, even in the summer.  As we got closer to Park City, the landscape was very green.

We stayed in a condo/townhouse in Park City.  It had three stories, with three bedrooms and two bathrooms.  It was a nice place and worked well for us.  It also had a back porch with a nice view, a table, and a grill.

Raylan tries to squeeze his body through Kiddo in order
to be in the center of the picture
We met up with Jean and Greg and Nathan at the condos.  They had a condo that was about 100 yards from where out condo was located.  It was good to see them.
We settled in and went and picked up some tasty pizza from a local place for dinner.  The kids got to run around and play.
On Friday we all got up and fed the kids and exercised (Jean and Amy ran, and I went to a very nice gym facility which was located adjacent to our condo).
Afterward we wandered into Park City to wander around and see the shops and have lunch.  Park City is a cool little city.  The weather was great (mildly cool and sunny).  We went into some shops, rode on a trolley, and had lunch at Wasatch Brew Pub (which had some good beer and food).  After our lunch, Amy and Jean took Kiddo and Nathan home to rest while Greg and I took Raylan back to our condo on the city bus (which was fun- Raylan enjoyed the ride, and it gave us a little tour of Park City).

Amy, Jean, Kiddo, Raylan, and Nathan in Park City!

Kiddo, Nathan, and Raylan hang out on a bench beside a stunningly
accurate statue of Uncle Ryan

After Kiddo's nap we mostly hung out near the house.  We took the kids to a nearby park to play on the playground.

Raylan enjoys a stone bench near a little creek behind the condo.

Spider boy!
By evening time we had become aware that it was the summer solstice. (thanks, internet!)  We bought some food (hot dogs and salad and potato salad) at the store and had a little summer solstice cookout on the back porch of our condo.

Greg, Amy, Jean, and Natahan (and the top of Raylan's head).
Greg is willing Amy to open the mustard faster.

Summer solstice picnic view of Amy on the back porch.
It was about 100 degrees back in Austin on this day, but in the mid 60s
in Park City

Jean explains Scooby Doo to Raylan (who has never seen it).
This, of course, led to a series of questions about mysteries and
why people would intentionally expose themselves to scary situations

Whenever there was a moment of downtime, Raylan spent
it trying to dam the stream up by throwing rocks into it

Raylan lectures Kiddo about water safety.
Beside the 4 inch deep creek.
On Saturday we drove out to Heber City to take a short ride on a historic railroad.  The ride was meant for families, and it was only about 45 minutes long.  It was a lot of fun!
The kids really enjoyed the railroad, itself, as well as appreciating some of the scenery.  The ride had a sort of hippie theme, and there was a high school aged girl on the train who was getting people to sing along with 60's music that was piped in through the speaker system.  We had a little rain as we were getting on the train, but it soon stopped.

Jean, Nathan, and Raylan with a historic locomotive

All aboard!!!

Raylan explains to Nana how fast he can run up the side of a mountain

I didn't eat the popcorn.  YOU ate the popcorn!

Kiddo and I deboarding the train
On the way back to Park City after the rain ride, we stopped off at Jordanelle State Park, which sits along a lake (created by the dam on the Provo River) called the Jordanelle Reservoir.
The park had a playground and a beach.  The kids had a blast both in the sand and water (feet only) and on the playground.  There were even some large seagulls to feed. (in the middle of Utah?  A mystery!)
Amy helps roll up some pants and take off some shoes

Looking for a "souvenir rock" for Uncle Ryan
After playing at the park for a while we drove back to Park City so the kids could nap.

Jean and Greg were nice enough to watch the kids for a while, so Amy and I could got for a bike ride.  The owners of our condo had a couple of bikes in their garage that they had made avaible for us to use, and the Park City area is covered with paved trails and bike lanes (in addition to more rugged trails for actual mountain biking).  We rode the bikes basically to Kimball Junction and back.  It was almost certainly some of the nicest scenery that I've ever enjoyed in my life on a bike ride.
Just a random shot of some mountains, a church, and a fence on our
bike ride.

Amy gives a wave as we pedal around on the trails
In the evening we all went to dinner at Squatters.  Nice dinner!

Nathan and Raylan, "patiently" waiting for their food
I exercised pretty much every day at the fitness center near our condo. I took the pic below just to show the view of the mountains from the windows while you're working out.

In Austin, our gym does not have windows.  Cause there's nothing out
there to see.
On Sunday we went to the Park City Vacation Resort to ride the gondolas up into the mountains.

Gondola ride.  Not being a fan of heights, the gondola sorta freaked me
out.  Raylan might have been slightly wary, but was actually good with it.
At the top of the gondola we went on a little walk/hike to an alpine lake up on one of the mountains.  It pretty quickly became apparent that the hike was a little too much for Kiddo (or for anyone who was carrying Kiddo).  So Amy took the hit for the team and stayed at the lodge near the top of the gondola with Kiddo while Jean, Greg, Nathan, Raylan and myself hiked up to the lake.  Once again, it was beautiful scenery!

In da woods

Annoyed that I'm asking him for a picture when he wants to be throwing
rocks at trout

Nathan, Jean, and Raylan look for fish in the lake

Raylan and I look out at the mountains 
After the hike we rode the gondola back down and had lunch in the ski village at the resort.

Sunday night we had dinner at the condo.  Amy and jean and Greg made chili cheese chicken with bacon while I supervised Raylan and some other kids from the condo complex who were playing soccer/volleyball/catch out in the grass.
We had a nice dinner.

On Monday we drove into Salt Lake City.  We went to Temple Square and saw the Salt Lake Temple as well as the visitor center.  

The Latter-Day Saints Church is pretty impressive to behold when you see the full power of the organization in Salt Lake City.  Regardless of your opinion about the particular religious aspects of their belief system, it's just sort of wild to stop and consider the fact that this religious sect, entirely created and formed in the United States, beginning in 1830, is now such a fully formed religion.

The Mormons, at times, seem to want to hold themselves out as simply another denomination of Christianity, but even a casual viewing of their materials at the Temple Square visitor center serves as a reminder that their beliefs truly are radically different from those of pretty much every mainstream branch of traditional Christianity (I found Raylan curiously watching a cartoon at the visitor center which explained the Mormon belief that the physical, human bodies of Mormon believers are resurrected after death in perfect physical form to live with their  loved ones and family.  Raylan started to ask me questions, but I distracted him with an offer to get him a cookie during lunch).

I don't really want to weigh in on particular religious beliefs, but the fact that the Mormons have built a massive, powerful, international religious organization since the mid 1800s is genuinely impressive (or, I guess, to some people, a bit scary- their founder, Joseph Smith, was, after all, charged repeatedly with crimes ranging from disorderly conduct to banking fraud to conspiracy to commit murder to treason, with these crimes spreading across at least 4 states).

At any rate, I found the whole thing fascinating.

Amy, Jean, and Raylan in front of the
Salt Lake Temple
Office building headquarters of Church of LDS

Greg keeps watch over Kiddo while she takes in the Temple Square fountains.
We ate lunch at a cafe in Temple Square.  Afterward we drove to This is the Place Heritage Park.

The plan was just to let the kids run around a bit and wear themselves out before driving back.

Driving out of Salt Lake City
It turned out, however, that the Heritage Park was placed on the site where Mormon founders had established their initial settlement (hence, "This is the Place!").
The park had a sort of historical re-enactment town (with Mormon "settlers" in historical clothing), along with a playground, petting zoo, pony ride, a train-like wheeled tram, and a little train on a track (with a scenic view).  We did all of those things.  The park also had blacksmiths, an arts center, a Native American dance recital, quilt museum, etc., etc., etc.  But we didn't make it to everything.

The playground (with a cool zipline swing that Raylan liked)

Nathan, Raylan, Jean, Kiddo, and Greg ride the tram train.

Amy rides the smaller train with the bigger view

I wanna see the whole thing!
After our trip to This is the Place Heritage Park we headed back to Park City so the kids could rest.

Kiddo found the Mormon lifestyle exhausting
We ate leftovers for dinner, packed up, and basically crashed.

The next day we packed up pretty early and drove back to Park City to fly out.

Adios, Utah!

Monday, June 17, 2019

Father's Day

Hi!  I hope everyone had a nice weekend!

On Friday I worked in Court 4, the Domestic Violence Court.  The women on the left are the prosecution team from our office (including some friends of mine), and all of the men are defense attorneys.  Every once in a while I like to post something that shows a bit of my life at work.

Some fierce ladies in this picture.
Saturday we went back out to Steiner to spend some time swimming and hanging out with my folks.  We had a little bit of a mini Father's Day celebration.  We went to the pool, got some pizza, did some hanging out (the kids took naps), and then eventually went to Galaxy Cafe for dinner (with frozen yogurt afterward).  We really enjoy our weekends in Steiner with the family.
Kiddo once again tries to use the railing as a slide,
Amy waves, and Raylan seeks out some deeper water for daredevil
swim moves.
Dad's Day pool time

Mom tries to restrain Raylan as Raylan tries to sink Kiddo's lil' boat.
Amy manages to look cute while hiding behind a hat and sunglasses in the pool

Raylan teaches Kiddo the meaning of reckless driving

Papa explains something to Raylan at Galaxy Cafe.  I was too tired to pay
attention by this point.  It might have been about volcanoes or something.
Maybe light fixtures.  I remember something about light fixtures...
On Sunday, Father's Day, we got up and I got Father's Day presents from Amy and the kids (mostly Amy).  A set of cool beer coozies for my bike and a small little Buddhist statue that is pretty cool (I don't really know much about it, but the statue is cool).
We went out to breakfast Sunday morning at La Posada.

Father's Day with Raylan

Later we went to the gym and the kids played in the Kids' Club while we worked out for a little bit.

After the gym we went home and I watched the U.S. team play Chile in the Women's World Cup.  We won 3 to 0.  We have some really skilled players.  I feel like, as the years have gone by, that women's soccer has just gotten more and more impressive in terms of the skill level and the athleticism of the players.  I'm not sure how great all of the teams are across the board (I haven't been watching that many games in the tournament), but the U.S. women's team plays some really great soccer.

Amy played with the kids in our backyard pool while I watched the game.  Between Kids' Club and the pool, they must've been worn out because Raylan took a long, hard nap in the afternoon.

In the evening I got together with Frank and we played some music.  I think we sounded pretty good.  I played my new Danelectro 12 string for a few songs, so that was fun.

And that was Father's Day!  It was a good one!  

Have a great week!

Monday, June 10, 2019


How's it going?  Things are going pretty well at our house.
Work was pretty busy for me last week, and then both kids got sick during the week- first Kiddo and then Raylan.  I was helping out a colleague at the DA's office with a felony trial last week, so the illnesses were sorta poorly timed, and Amy (who gets the gold parenting star) stayed home with each of them.
When Kiddo got sick during the first part of the week, it coincided with Amy's work from home day (she works from home one day a week).  Amy was pretty busy, in the middle of something work-related, when we got home (I left work and picked them both up from school), so I took the kids outside to pay with chalk on the sidewalk.

Dad, the good thing about my little sister getting sick is that I just get
a free half day off, and there's no way that I'm going to get sick, too, right?
Later in the week, Raylan got to spend the night and a day with his grandparents (he had fun), but then he got sick...

when you want to have summertime fun, but you
don't feel well enough to pull if off...

Anyway, we made it through the sick week.  Friday night we ate some pizza.

On Saturday we went out to Grandma and Papa's house out in Steiner.  We went to the pool.  Uncle Ryan and Aunt Jamie joined us.  Also, my friend, Ruben, joined us with his son, Diego.  Ruben's husband, Miguel, is out of town for 6 weeks doing a training in Charleston, so Ruben is doing some single parenting for a one and a half year old.  I figured he could use some family help with the parenting for the day. 
Anyway, we all went out to Steiner and went to the pool and ate turkey burgers out there.  The kids took naps after lunch, and the grownups got to talk a bit.

Our family with  Ruben and Diego at a Steiner kiddie pool

Packing up to leave after a whole lotta swimming

We had a really nice time out at Steiner Ranch.  It felt very summery.  Thanks, Mom and Dad, for having us!

Saturday night I think we all slept pretty hard.

On Sunday we got up and went out to breakfast.  We got groceries.  We worked out and then went to the Garrison Park pool for a while.  The temperatures hit 100 or higher on Sunday, so we sorta had to take the kids to the pool if we wanted to get them out of the house.  Raylan did a great job swimming, and Kiddo seems to be making a little progress as well.  She really seems to love the water.

Poolside snack service!

For dinner we grilled hot dogs and veggies.  Pretty tasty.

A strong storm blew through on Sunday night.  It was really dark out about an hour and a half before the sun set, and then the wind picked up and the rain came in driving sheets.  Lots of lightening and thunder.  The storm arrived right about the normal time that we put the kids to bed, but we let them stay up to watch the storm through the window. 

"Good thing there are no tornadoes, Dad."
"Well, there actually is a tornado watch."

And that was the weekend!  The storm dies down, the temperatures dropped by almost 20 degrees, and everyone fell asleep!

Hope you had a good weekend!