For Geneva, who is 8 years old

Snow day

A lovely snow day

Eight years and one day ago I was sitting on the kitchen chair in our rent house in Sand Springs, listening to the same song on loop on my iPod. We were minutes away from driving Katie to the hospital for the scheduled delivery of Geneva. Thirty-six hours later, I saw my first daughter for the first time. Eight years and 1,200 miles later, I am convinced that was the best day of my life up til then, and every day after that has only been better.

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For Norah, on her 6th birthday

Geneva and Norah at Bryce

Geneva and Norah at Bryce

Dear Norah,

I heard your voice before I saw you. I think that’s how the world will take note of you some day, after you’ve made your impact on this place. I heard your voice in the operating room, announcing your presence, and then I saw my beautiful daughter for the first time, and my world was complete.

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Hiking With Kids: Lower calf Creek Falls

Lower Calf Creek Falls

Lower Calf Creek Falls

GRAND STAIRCASE-ESCALANTE NATIONAL MONUMENT, UTAH — Even at the most crowded time of the year (UEA weekend  an annual four-day break from school in Utah), we had the falls to ourselves.

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Happy birthday Geneva, 7 years old



Today you turn 7.

It’s inevitable, but you’ve grown so unbelievably fast. Yet every day fills me with a lifetime of joy and awe of the force of life you are.

There’s good in the world still, and it was renewed on the day you were born. You have the gift of brightness. Long may you shine.

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Goatspotting in Little Cottonwood Canyon


Spotting mountain goats

This Saturday, the girls didn’t have soccer, my wife didn’t have work, and it wasn’t raining. After a long winter and wet spring, we were ready to get outside. So when my wife emailed me Tuesday asking if we could go mountain goat spotting Saturday, I was all in.

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A big warm wet hole in the ground

Katie and the girls in the hot spring

Katie and the girls in the hot spring

MIDWAY, UTAH — “Staycation” is one of those things that sound pretty stupid, and usually pretty is. But when you live in Utah, there’s plenty of ways to spend a few days off, all within a short drive from your door.

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For Geneva, at 6 years old

Near 6

Near 6, in Zion

Now she is 6. She is a friend to birds. She talks to trees. She draws cats and spins her own elaborate mythology about the inner workings of this world. Her mind is in magic and her heart is full of sunshine. April 27, 2016. Happy birthday to my oldest child, one of the three rays of sunshine in my life, the keeper of magic and goodness.

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Utah with Kids: Canyonlands National Park (Needles)




SOUTH OF MOAB — Of all the Christmas gifts we’ve gotten as a family, we plan on getting the most mileage out of our National Parks annual pass from Katie’s sister Mandie.

That free admission to any National Park in the country, plus the fact that Utah’s home to five national parks (and within easy weekend distance of quite a few more) make a visit to a park as easy as hopping in and going.

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Route planning our Oklahoma Road Trip

Cadillac Ranch

Cadillac Ranch

We’re driving from the Salt Lake Valley to Oklahoma next week to see my family, and show the girls around my old stomping grounds, and to visit Coney Islander, El Maguey, Whataburger, Arnie’s Bar, and maybe a Ron’s. You know, important stuff.

I’m route planning here based on: How likely we are to get blizzarded, and what roadside attractions we can find. Here we go:

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Utah with Kids: Zion National Park


“The Lord loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwelling places of Jacob.” – Psalm 87:2

There are less-memorable places to lose your first baby tooth. And my 5-year-old’s gap-toothed grin, sparked by the towering canyon walls above us, the Virgin River below us, and the warm sunshine surrounding us, showed that she would remember this hike for the rest of her life. And not just because we popped out her first baby tooth the night before.

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