Parks

In school, I’m working on a project looking at parks in the area of west Salt Lake County. I took the opportunity to visit a bunch of parks in the area as part of that project. I’ve been working getting a degree in landscape architecture in part because I know it can lead to jobs designing parks. After visiting a lot of parks with my children, I would love to start designing ones.

Anyway, I was biased in our trip and picked mostly fun and interesting parks and trails. If you want more info on any of parks, or an example of what I’m doing for school, here’s the result of my school project.

Spring Flowers

Spring is very busy and beautiful. It’s wonderful to go outside and play, and watch the plants grow and flowers bloom. The garden is usually full of children playing now. My kids love to play football, basketball and just play. The neighbor kids are all over the fort and zipline. One day Zack climbed to the top of the fort. I asked Henry to help him down, but he made it down by himself before Henry made it to help him. He’s quite the climber.

Spring is Coming

Well, a new season is here. One that will not have basketball in it. The kids finished up their Jr. Jazz season. We’ve been playing basketball in some form since September, and I think it’ll be a good switch to move to soccer soon.

We had some free time and went to the Ogden Nature Center. The kids didn’t want to go, we went anyway, and they had a great time. That happens a lot. Peter spent almost the whole time playing with Zack. Watching my boys play nicely together is a wonderful, joyful blessing.

Removing Good

Today I pruned my fruit trees. While we were loading up all the branches into the truck, I looked at all the wood we cut. There was a lot. And I thought, those were good branches. They would have produced leaves and fruit. Yet I knew as a gardener that my trees do better as I prune them. More light is able to get to the remaining branches, and the tree spends its energy to produce better fruit. There can often be too much off a good thing.

As I was pondering pruning, I realized that there was a life lesson in all of this. Just like fruit trees, I often have to get rid of good things in my life to make room for things that are more important and critical.

There is also a good time to prune: when the trees are still dormant. And it takes time to learn how to prune, but basically you need to have a vision of what you want the tree to look like. You prune trees to an open center, central leader, etc. Every pruning cut is made back to a bud or branch angle. And its sometimes better to take off two or three big branches rather than pruning 20-30 little ones.

I think there’s good application. First, take time when things aren’t so hectic to analyze your life and see what needs pruning. It’s hard to get rid of things when you are in the thick of things, just like pruning is a lot harder in the summer. Taking quiet moments to analyze our lives is necessary.

Second, have a vision of what you want in life, and be willing to get rid of everything that doesn’t fit into that plan. Look for parts of your life that you want to grow and get stronger, and put energy into those things. Protect those very important branches by getting rid of things that shade them out.

Third, don’t be afraid to make really big changes. Trying to cut back in little ways isn’t as effective as sometimes taking big cuts that get rid of a lot of unnecessary thing altogether.

More Snow

For a couple of weeks, the weather was warm and beautiful. The kids went outside and played football and were covered in grass. Coats turned to jackets. I planted lettuce in the greenhouse. And then the snow has come back. That’s okay. It is February where days off should be spent sledding.

Other than that, we are chugging along. We have basketball most Saturdays, school, work, normal things.

Frozen Lakes

One of my favorite things to do in the winter is to go out on the lake. We don’t actually ice fish there, just walk and play. The kids ran from hole to hole that the ice fishermen had made. We went sledding on the beach. (That sounds weird, but that’s what we did). It was beautiful.

Year End Review

We traveled.

We went to Yellowstone, The Grand Canyon, Goblin Valley, Spiral Jetty, Bryce Canyon, Lava Hot Springs, along with more hikes, camping, and adventures closer to home including hosting a family campout.

We worked.

We grew a garden, raised a baby. We helped my sister build her house, and planted flower in our front garden, and finally got a round to fixing a few things in the house. Joe continued to work, Liz continued her graduate school.

We grew.

Curtis was baptized. The kids did swimming, basketball, football and baseball. We survived lockdowns, quarantines, and tons of canceled activities. We all got used to wearing masks anywhere.

This is Winter

The snow makes winter better. It’s more beautiful, there are fun things to do in the snow. I love seeing the world covered in white.

We made gingerbread houses. We tried using pop-tarts this year, and it was fun. Curtis made a mine and had the most backstory to his. Henry’s was supposed to be ruins. And the rest of ours was more normal.

Henry had a birthday! We didn’t plan much, but had a great impromptu party with neighbor kids, pizza, and carrot cake.

Finally, we finished up fall basketball. When we couldn’t find a comp team for Peter, we made our own and I ended up coaching. I’m way underqualified, but I think we all learned a lot and had fun a time anyways. Even when we only won one game.

Christmas

We had a great Christmas. I didn’t buy a ton, just what the kids asked for. (And they actually didn’t ask for much.) It was a quite day with the family, and it was perfect that way. Earlier that week, we delivered neighbor presents and I loved seeing the kids fight over who was going to deliver them. We went on a little trip afterwards to Pocatello and Lava Hot Springs.