Sunday, February 19, 2012


 "Dinner...books...blanket...jammies....dinner...books...blanket...jammies..." Ellie slogs through the mud to the steady rhythm of these motivational words.  She's on her way down from the longest hike we've done in a while.  The Wind Cave trail is a popular destination point in Logan Canyon, and we've never hiked it as a family before. We spent the morning cleaning the house using this hike as bribery, and now Ellie is wishing she'd never cleaned her room so we wouldn't have been able to make it.

The day started out glorious but quickly turned colder, with intermittent snow flurries.  I am grateful that Jason packed his backpack full of quick-energy snacks for the kids.  We stop several times to load their pockets full so they can munch while we walk.

On the last few hikes we've taken, Ethan has developed a fear of walking on the outer edge of the trail.  His patient Papa trades places with him at every switchback, holding his hand all the way.

The sun pops through the clouds every so often, giving us a small taste of the spring weather we're all anxious for.  Though the winter has been very mild, I am ready for more time outside and green growth rather than the brownish-gray bare branches.

As we trudge along, we discuss which kind(s) of magic would be best to possess.  Ellie ultimately decides she'd like a mixture of fairy magic ("where you just think about things or nod your head and it appears"), Harry Potter magic (requiring a wand) and the ability to make rocks and dirt come alive (like Hugo, the golem in Fablehaven).

Once Ellie decides on her magical preferences, she is quiet for a while.  The sloppy mud and occasional snow-covered section of trail makes hiking treacherous.  She suddenly loses patience, and in an effort to restore harmony before long-lasting damage is done to our hiking memories, I attempt to distract her with one of her favorite games.

Ellie is a word-lover, like her Mama.  One of the most effective ways to help her communicate, express her feelings and bring her quickly out of a bad mood is our "Name This Feeling" Game.  To play, just make one word out of the mixture of emotions you are feeling.  Tired and Hungry becomes Tungry, or Hired.  Angry and Disappointed becomes Angrappointed or Disappangry.  In an attempt to lighten the mood, I say, "Ellie describe the it goopy and sloppy equals gloppy?"  I am surprised by her response.  "It's detestable," she says,  "that means horrid."

She's not the only one worn out by the trek.  Ethan, who walked the entire way up the trail, is now riding on Jason's shoulders.  He is trying to find a comfortable spot on the top of Jason's head to lay down.  Sweet Daddy readjusts the tuckered-out boy and before long, Ethan is asleep in Jason's arms.

As I watch Jason carry our son down the trail, I am happy.  Happy to be outside with my family in the somewhat-sunshine. Happy to be able to discuss important things like magic, and the remains of an animal we discovered along the trail, with my daughter.  Happily and overwhelmingly in love with this man:

He gave his jacket to Ellie when she complained of the cold and carried Ethan's dead-asleep weight down the entire trail.  He has mud on his forehead from Ethan's shoes as the boy clambered onto his shoulders.  He is our hero and provider.  He has dreams in which he is a ninja.  On the way home from our adventure, he tells me that not only was his backpack filled with water and snacks but he also threw in a hatchet, matches and rope. 

Just in case.

How lucky am I?


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  2. I loved the wind caves the one time that I made the hike. Such fun memories for you guys. As for Jason, he sounds a lot like my Jeff, willing to lug the kids anywhere and super prepared!

    Janell and jeff

  3. I didn't know this post was going to turn into a love story. I might have gotten a little misty eyed. Love you all.

  4. Oh I miss your cute kids. Already they look so much older. You guys sure do lots and lots of fun stuff!

  5. I love your family, and I hardly know you. Adorable!! sally