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If it weren’t for great-great-great grandma Cora…

Yesterday, as a continuation of our weeklong SLC adventure with the Harris family, we had dinner at a sweet Italian restaurant, which Bell Captain Joe recommended for pizza (and he should know, ’cause he’s from Bwah-ston). There I got to snap a few portraits of my family (and even had a couple of myself taken, I know…. ME ON MY OWN BLOG, can you believe it?!). Love that beautiful window light…

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We like to poke fun at my mom all the time because she’s about as Nervous Nancy as it gets. My dad likes to tease her for always anticipating the Worst Case Scenario. To this day, she’ll gasp and grab onto everyone if she thinks a car three miles away might be going too fast and won’t stop as we’re crossing the street EVEN THOUGH THEY HAVE A STOP LIGHT. It’s pretty funny. So here in Salt Lake, which is a very pedestrian-friendly city, there are these buckets of orange flags you can grab at certain intersections to walk across the street with to be more visible to oncoming traffic. So my mom got to play safety patrol, pretty much her dream job. :) Just teasing, Mom. We love you for it.

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Thankfully, Mom got us safely over to Temple Square, where we went to poke around the Family Search Center to see if we could piece together any of our genealogy. See, the Mormons LOVE genealogy… One of their favorite little phrases is “Families are Forever” (and oh yes, there was most definitely a cross-stitching of this in the library). They believe that you can be baptized or married on behalf of someone in your family who has already died. This is also why temple marriages and baptisms are so sacred and private… They believe that you are being joined not only to your earthly family, but also to the entire family of God. Also, the family you have on earth is also the family you will have in eternity. This is part of the reason why many Mormon families have oodles of kids and grandkids, and why some super-fundamentalists still adhere to polygamy… quite literally, the more family members you have, the happier you will be not only in this life but for all eternity. Needless to say, there’s a lot of pressure within the community to marry young and start having children immediately. I can’t imagine what it must be like for couples who struggle with infertility… the guilt, the feelings of failure, etc. etc.

So anyway, with Salt Lake being one of the genealogy capitals of the world, we thought it might be fun to see if we could find anything, just for the heck of it. We didn’t really have a whole lot of luck, because we didn’t have much information to begin with, but we did go back as far as Jamie’s great-great-grandmother Cora, who may have been from Czechoslovakia or Austria, depending on which census you look at. It was really cool to see the actual copies of the censuses, knowing that whoever took the census was actually there with our family at that time.

Jamie is further convinced that Cora MUST be short for Coraline, so if this comes up as a possible name for one of our children one day, don’t look at me!

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And then we milled about in front of the temple some more…

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Meanwhile, at doggie daycare, Gretchen got into a fight with Nicky and Tyson. Gretchen’s behavioral report says something to the effect of that Gretchen bumped into Nicky, who growled at her, and Gretchen took the bait and they started fighting, and then Tyson jumped in for who knows what reason, but in the end Gretchen had Nicky pinned to the ground by his neck and they had to put her in timeout. Naughty, naughty girl. But of course Jamie thought it was kind of awesome, and asked the girls if Gretchen held her own well enough.

I think she did.

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Elisa - Awww…these are so great, Morgan. One of your gifts is being able to take a pretty mundane thing (i.e. family search in what looks like a library) and make it beauteous! Looks like y’all are having a fantastic time!

Paula - Cora was my Nana’s name, and My aunt who passed away. It was always the girls name I wanted, but alas, no girls. I now have 2 2nd cousins named Cora (2 of her would be 40+ great grand children) But…..I love Coraline! That is Beautiful!!!! Hope Utah is treating you well.

Where the deer and the antelope play…

This morning the fam and I drove up north to the Great Salt Lake (which I can’t believe we haven’t visited yet since we’ve lived here!). It was way more gorgeous than I even expected it to be, because it’s definitely more than just a glorified lake. It is seriously like stepping into the Old West. All around, we saw buffalo and jack rabbits and lizards and spiders and all sorts of creatures roaming free, and the reflection of the surrounding mountains off of the glass-like surface of the water was AMAZING. Plus it was hot as blazes, so we got the full effect. If only we had had a covered wagon…

This big blue sky is one of the biggest reasons Jamie wanted to move here….

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There were spiders EVERYWHERE! I am not exaggerating. It was actually pretty creepy, because I hate things with lots of little legs to begin with, but to see so many of them hanging all over their webs was a wee bit eerie. Even so, I had to get some images…. you can’t deny the beauty of the intricate and delicate webs they weave.

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Just in case you’re not sure which wild animal is charging at you from the top of the mountain…

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Yellow sunflower against a brilliant blue sky? THIS is summer. A western summer, anyway. :)

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My mom looked at this picture and said she couldn’t believe how old she and my dad are getting. I say, pffffttt….

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Did I jump out of the car to run up close and get this image of the buffalo? Yep, because I’m just hardcore like that. :)

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ellen - aww… it looks like ya’ll are having so much fun! We miss you! I have been brainstorming of how we can get together. I am just dying for you to take pictures of Caroline… You are a natural! Please tell jamie, your mom, dad and seth that we said hello! Love you!

Heather - I know ya’ll are enjoying every last second of this week. The scenery is gorgeous!! I hope your taking some pictures with yourself included!!!! Can’t wait to see more….

Tara - Ok, I really love that picture of the Buffalo.

Life from a mountaintop.

This past Friday my parents and brother flew in to spend a week with us and see our new home firsthand. Well, for one it’s nice just to be off work for a bit… but it’s also great to spend time with my family and continue exploring this new city of ours. On Saturday, we got up early (well, early by vacation standards) and climbed to the top of Ensign Peak, which is at the veeery top of Capitol Hill, where we live. The view is unmatched. You can see the whole city, all the mountains, the Salt Lake… everything. Gorgeous. Totally worth fighting my pathetic asthmatic lungs to get to the top! :)

So I don’t have much to time to blog, but I definitely wanted to share some images with you. Enjoy!

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Pretty much only my brother would hike in a polo and Sperrys with a cup of coffee in hand.

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Holy moly, look at that vieeeewww….

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You can see how happy Gretchen is here, despite the fact that she didn’t manage to snatch that chocolate muffin out of one of the other hiker’s hands.

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I’m all about underexposing to get that amazing blue sky. Yay morning light!

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Have a fabulous Monday!

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Amanda - I love the pictures!!! I am so happy you get to spend time with your Mom, Dad and Seth. I am sure you are having a blast showing them around.

Amy - Aww Harris family! And The Trinkers, too :) Still amazing work!

megan - Wow!! That is an amazing view of Salt Lake City, and I thought our view on the 4th was great, but this is beautiful!

admin - Thanks guys! It’s been a pretty fun adventure. :)

Sawyer - Ensign Peak. What a beautiful place to watch the sun come up or go down. Great shots.