A Day in the Life

A Photoblog by Joel

Bear Lake. Kind of.

August 26, 2023

We love camping. Most of our adventures have been in spots where you find yourself a nice piece of land and bookdock – stay without any hookups, use only what you bring and what your trailer can do. Which I really like doing! There’s just something cool about being self-sufficient like that.

However, sometimes it’s nice to have full hookups and make it even more like home, especially when you can run the AC as much as you need to stay cool. This weekend we stayed at a KOA campground at Bear Lake and it was SO GREAT. This particular KOA had a fantastic play area for kids, and several activities throughout the day for us to enjoy. Also, we went with some friends and got campsites that faced each other which gave us a great big lawn between us. It was so much fun. The worst part was leaving, because none of us wanted to.

Oh, why is this called Bear Lake, Kind of? Because we didn’t actually visit the Lake itself, just camped close and enjoyed from a distance. I definitely want to stay here again, though, and on that trip we’ll spend a day or more at the beach.

One of the first things we saw going on was a Golf Cart pulling barrels. The kids ran to ride it immediately.
Our first morning there I got a text message from the camp hosts telling us about ceramic painting. Heck yes!
These are really cool looking, and seem really fun. But they are not fun. Not at all fun. It was $35 to rent for an hour, and we wanted to ride it a mile in to town for Raspberry shakes. It was miserable. And more expensive than it would have been to just take an Uber. Or, you know, walk. Which is what my plan was until I lost to the pleadings of the children. I guess they had fun on it.
Does this look like $20 worth of Ice Cream? Cause it was $20. Yeah, I’m kinda bitter about that too. Between the transportation and the ice cream, this was a very expensive lunch trip.
On Friday afternoon we took a trip to Minnetonka Cave, about 45 minutes away. It was really neat… for the 30% I got to explore before Emily had to go to the bathroom.

Actually, there was one more thing that was the worst worst. We had just gotten off I-15 at Brigham City on our way to Bear Lake on Thursday, and started the climb up and over Logan Canyon when the AC decided to stop working. I spent about an hour in Logan trying to bring it back to life with some simple fixes but had no luck, so we had to finish the drive to Bear Lake with the windows down. That part honestly wasn’t too bad as we were in another canyon and the temp was probably 10º or 15º cooler. Saturday, coming home on I-15 in the afternoon on an 85º day… I don’t really want to ever, every do that again. It was loud. It was warm. It was uncomfortable. It was sweaty. Just, no thanks. 0/10 do not recommend.

It only took 15 years and 160,000 miles to kill the AC, so, I guess it had a good life. It’s been rattly and noisy the whole time I’ve had this car so I’m not surprised at all. Fret not, the replacement AC Compressor is already on the way and will be fixed soon. Cool adventures will resume shortly.

First Day of School

August 16, 2023
Pre-school, 5th Grade, 2nd Grade.

Playtime, together

August 13, 2023

Ya know, it can be trough wrangling 3 kids. Friday night was more of a crash and burn, and then I didn’t sleep so well because I had a Monster that morning. Saturday was mostly good. I spent 4 or 5 hours cleaning and organizing my garage while Emmett helped Alicia move to a newer bigger place to live than she’s been. I had the girls and Elle was pretty rough cause she just wants to play on her iPad, and then she gets grumpy and angry because I have the audacity to tell her to play something else. Emily is usually pretty happy go lucky. Things eventually improved and we all had a good Saturday.

Today got better as the day went on, and tonight it ended pretty great with all of us just building LEGOs in the playroom together, calmly. Nobody was fighting.

I might be speaking too soon… sigh.

Sleeping Queens with Emily

August 8, 2023

This game has been out for quite awhile, and it’s just as good as it ever was. Emily loves to play it.

Pool Day

August 7, 2023


August 1, 2023

Ten years ago everything changed and you were the cause. I was a few days shy of turning 34 when you arrived on the scene and made me a Father. Now I’m a few days shy of turning 44 and I absolutely love being your Dad.

Emmett you are so smart, and kind, and caring. I am so proud of you and just love watching you learn and expand and grow – although I wish you’d grow up slower! The years go by too fast. You are such a good big brother and son.

Happy 10th, kiddo. I sure do love you.

For Emmett’s birthday we rented a bounce house and invited a bunch of his friends over – it was a huge hit. The bounce house barely fit in the front yard but we managed to squeeze it in there. I think kids were slippin’ and slidin’ for 3 hours with a few short breaks for Otter Pops and Hot Dogs. Emmett got some great presents from his friends and then it was done! This was all done yesterday, on the 31st.

Today – his actual birthday – was a normal day until dinner time, where I let Emmett choose where he wanted to go for dinner. Anywhere, I told him, that he wanted. He chose Burger King. They have the best fries. Alrighty then. Off to Burger King we went! We had a good time eating inside.

Ya know what I love? Window light.
I’m glad that Elle gave me a genuine smile for her picture.
For some reason, french-fry-fangs became the thing to do.

After dinner we still had plenty of time, so I offered to take the kids to Macey’s for the best Ice Cream deal in town. Surprise! Everyone said yes to that idea.

I sincerely don’t know if Emmett enjoys the Ice Cream cones or the car-carts more.
Indoors under crappy lighting without that glorious window light made me want to switch over to high ISO Black and White. Because why not?


July 27, 2023
The playroom is never clean. Well, I shouldn’t say never clean, but rather never clean for long. I should be grateful that it gets messy like this because it means Emily is still using her imagination and playing with physical toys instead of a digital screen.

Stay up late. Or not.

July 21, 2023

There was no reason to rush the kids off to bed tonight, I was “busy” migrating my PLEX library from some faulty drives to a more stable set up. My PLEX had been down for a few days and the kids were having withdrawals (it’s the only streaming I have anymore, so when the server is down there isn’t much for the kids to watch). I got it working around 9:30 and the kids were just chillin’ on the couch while I was in the next room migrating files. Eventually it got pretty quiet and I found them all zonked out. So, I got back to my migration task and went to bed a little bit later. Eventually everyone made it back upstairs to their beds.

A long weekend in Idaho

July 5, 2023

July 4th fell on a Tuesday this year, which makes work vacations kinda weird. So, to avoid the weird I just took Monday thru Wednesday off and headed to Idaho to spend some time with my sister Katie and her family, as well as other Utah siblings that made the trek up. We left Saturday afternoon and arrived in the early evening after a nice drive.

The evening sky and light show was absolutely beautiful. Perfect temperature outside, a nice breeze to keep ya cool, and then a long and colorful sunset. I spent about 20 minutes outside by myself watching it all unfold.

We had a lot of fun over the long weekend. Katie and Clint have built a fantastic home filled with all sorts of things to do both inside and out. Kids had fun playing with cousins, adults had fun relaxing and just spending time together. Already lookin’ forward to next summer where we hopefully do it again.

We all love Cosmo, but Emily really loves Cosmo. He’s such a good boy.
Elle really loved making and playing with slime. I loved that it kept her occupied.
Who doesn’t love a big movie night in a home theater? Tonight was Grandpas choice – Secretariat. Great movie!
Clint always goes above and beyond to make sure we’re well fed. This is only a few of the many ribeyes consumed.
The Snake River is not far off from their house and was a little chilly to play in but we all had fun.
The more adventurous adults wanted to spend a few hours floating the river. You’ll need to play the Lord of the Rings Fellowship Theme in your mind while you watch the video below.
Just up the road from their house is a nice reservoir perfect for jet skis.

Great Salt Lake Adventure

June 25, 2023

Emmett and I have been wanting to take a camping trip with just the two of us for quite awhile now, and this weekend it finally happened. After considering a few different destinations, we decided to tent camp in Davis County and then head out to the Golden Spike National Monument, Spiral Jetty, and Pink Lake.

We left Friday after work and arrived at our campsite for the night at Willard Bay South Marina. Gotta be honest, I was pretty disappointed. The photos of our site online looked much, much better than what we ended up with. Online our spot was grassy and green; in reality it was patch and very dead. Spending the night on grass is great! Spending the night on patchy grass is not so great. We didn’t have any level ground, and the best spot we could find was bumpy. Despite all of us (we brought a friend for Emmett) having good pads to sleep on, it was still pretty rough sleeping.

Also, mosquitos. EVERYWHERE, and so very very many of them. When we pulled up Friday evening it wasn’t too bad, but then I set up my lantern to light our spot during setup and they flocked over to us, arriving by the hundreds every minute. We quickly threw all our gear in the tent and zipped us up safe inside and managed to only have a few enter.

I set up my lamp inside the tent so we could see for set up. On the outside, this made us a huge, orange lightbulb to attract everything. All the mosquitos landing on the tent sounded like rain. It was crazy! And then, I made a mistake. I needed to go to the bathroom, and I opened the tent door as fast as I could and WHOOSH the army started working their way in. Coming back in from the bathroom invited many more. I then spent the next ten minutes in the dark tent with just my flashlight to attract the mosquitos and killed off as many as I could. And then we slept – as good as we could.

The sun was coming in strong from the right, and in the morning casted some large mosquito shadows on the outside of the tent.

We bugged out early Saturday morning and headed for our first stop of the day – Golden Spike National Monument. This is the place where the East-West connection of the railroad across the continental United States met thus connecting both coasts. It was a big deal! The monument has 2 working steam-engine replicas of the two steam engines that met that day, and it was SO COOL to see and hear them pull out and park in front of us. Shortly after both trains came out, there was a re-enactment of that ceremony that took place wherein several spikes of precious medals were ceremoniously hammered in to the final track thus completing the railway. That was actually pretty cool to watch. I came in to this with medium expectations, and left with high praise. Totally worth doing.

Once the ceremony wrapped up it was time for our next destination just a handful of miles down a dirt road that became a washboard bumpy dirt road – the Spiral Jetty.

I had medium expectations for this and left with low satisfaction. It was pretty … whatever. I flew my drone around for a moment and took some neat photos but really there’s no big wow moment about it. While there, two women were leaving in a sedan that ended up having a flat tire from the drive out there, so we helped them figure out that situation. I say figure out instead of putting on the spare because this modern Ford sedan didn’t have a spare; it had an airpump that would also fill your tire with fix-it goop. But we had some problems getting set up because somehow the battery also died and we needed to jump the car… but really she was trying to start the car (to run the pump) with her foot on the gas instead of the brake. Anyway, they limped away, we left shortly after and caught up with them and progress was going fine and I think they were set!

Neat! Right? I guess.

Next, it was time for the last stop – the thing I was most excited for! There’s a train track causeway that crosses the whole Great Salt Lake, on the south side the water is blue, and on the north side the water is pink because of the bacteria. Super cool, right? Well, it’s an hour drive to get there, and half of it is more bumpy dirt road. And then you end up on UPRR land and can only drive so far… and it was a complete let down. From where we had to stop the car there was no pink water to see anywhere. But there was stench, and there was mosquitos. I sent my drone up to scout out further west hoping I’d quickly see the good stuff. A mile away I finally saw some red water, that looked kinda dirty, and was really anti-climatic. I had high expectations for this stop, and this was by far the biggest let down.

This was actually the best part of the drive. The view here was quite stunning on such a clear day.
A mile away from where we parked this finally came in to view, and yes there are two colors of water but I was expecting a more vibrant pink and just less… disappointment.
Not worth the drive to see this only from a drone.
This was kind of a neat view on the way back from the drone. We’re parked at the faaaaar end of the train track there.

We lasted about 15 minutes here before getting back in the car for the long drive back to the main road for the long drive home to Utah County. On the way back though, we did stop for a quick water break and I took some photos of the gorgeous farm fields that we were driving past.

We ended up home pretty late in the day, around 6pm. It took a good 3 hours to get home. We spent a lot of time in the car and I was pretty wiped out afterwards. Overall it was fun, and some good memories with Emmett.