Sunday, July 26, 2015


Gater is two. This low-key little guy isn't much for being the center of attention (unlike his big brother), so we opted for a longer-lasting, slower-paced birthday celebration. He opened one present each day during the week - getting to enjoy every one. The tent, the lawnmower, the remote control car, the fireman outfit, the basketball hoop (affectionately called "hoop ball"), the tennis racquet - this kid enjoys a lot of different stuff. We ended the week with a very low-key birthday BBQ, just his style. And he absolutely loved it. He also got to hang out with his crush Poppy...
The annual doctor's visit reported that Gates remains in the 85% weight range - no surprise. I'd tell you his height but he protested being measured, and by "protested" I mean that he screamed like his leg was being cut off and then curled up into a tiny ball so that his measurement was less than the last time he was at the doctor's office - and none of us believe he is shrinking. With all of the screaming, we were reassured that his lungs work perfectly.

Gates has an infectious laugh. It sounds like the cross between an old man on a park bench and a sneaky teenager. He loves playing hoop ball, shooting more than 100 shots a day. He could stir, cut, and mix pretend food for hours (he's wishing for a kitchen set to explore his chef talents, but his parents haven't succumbed to the pressure...yet). He throws, kicks, and plays with every size ball he can find. If a toy makes noise or music, Gater is glued to it. And if Dave or Bodie is doing it - no matter how mundane - mowing the lawn, cleaning the bathroom, brushing their teeth, Gates will gleefully follow. He LOVES his dad and big brother. We are SOOOOOOOOOO lucky to have this funny two year old in our family.

Here are some photo highlights of Gater's birthday week...

Monday, July 6, 2015

10 Days of Heaven - Mountain Highlights

This is us. Well, 35 of 37 of us because two people were looking for lost car keys, dealing with the locksmith, calling the car dealership about replacements, setting off their own car alarm, and then ultimately finding the keys on the towel hook on the back of the hotel bathroom door. I'm too short to reach the towel hook on the back of the bathroom door, so no one blamed me, thank goodness. But like I said, this is us. I'm the second newest addition to the group and I can already tell you, there isn't a completely normal one in the bunch - I promise; and that's what makes our annual family reunions so much fun.
We stayed in Park City at The Canyons and spent endless hours outdoors. I was the youngest hiker this year, riding the gondola and chair lift up to the top of the mountain and then hiking back down - about a two mile stretch. We stopped at the pond on the way down to rent paddle boats and fish. Unfortunately the fish are well fed - lots of visitors - so you can see them swim right by the bait on your hook. Well, my big brother got tired of watching them swim by so he walked over and got the
big net used by the staff to help pull a fish in once it's caught. He laid down on the dock and scooped a fish right out of the lake - it was HILARIOUS! The staff said they'd never seen someone do that. I'm pretty sure the fish was surprised as well. Good job Bodie!

We swam, played kickball, red rover, and a fierce game of corn hole. If it can be turned into a competition, our family loves it. Good weather, fun activities, and awesome people - kind of sounds like Heaven to me!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

10 Days of Heaven

What do you get when you have four days in the mountains and six days at the lake? Four VERY happy Piantanidas.

There is WAY too much fun for just one blog, so we're breaking it down by location. I will highlight the lake fun and Gates will highlight our mountain adventures.

We spent the beginning and end of our Utah trip at Last Chance Lakes. From a giant piece of dirt to two big holes for water to amazing lakes, this place knows how to create memories. It gets more amazing each time and we always find something new to do/try. And the weather was better-than-perfect every day we were there. 
Of course we swam and skied until the fish started to wonder if they had new neighbors in the lake. My dad figured out that he water skied over 75 MILES while we were there - seventy-five!!! When I ski, an adult holds the ski rope in the boat - it's another way to keep my safe (you can pull me in quickly, etc).
One time when I was skiing, my dad was holding the rope and started to sing. He got a bit into his song and started flinging his arms up into the air and back down, TOTALLY forgetting that I was attached to the other end. I jerked forward a few times, hoping he'd notice the impact of his dancing, but he was lost in the moment. Next thing I knew, he did this huge arm dance and I flipped into the lake. My dad was totally surprised and wondered what had happened. Everyone in the boat was laughing and told him HE was the cause of my fall. After that I told him no more dancing while I water skied. He agreed.

When my mom wasn't skiing, she could be found on the paddle board...
Gates fell in love with the four-wheel ATVs. He would beg for rides saying, "ride? ride? ride?" and point to the ATVs. When a ride was over, often 30-60 minutes in length, he would cry and beg for another ride (which was usually granted while explaining, "this is the last ride for now..."). He even got to sit on the driver's lap for most of the rides, so I'm pretty sure he's officially addicted to the ATVs. Is there a cure for this disease?

In the evenings we fished; our cousin Troy caught a trout and let me reel it in. We also roasted marshmallows and ate s'mores every night. I may - or may not - have eaten nearly 20 s'mores during the trip. The only proof would be the size of my tummy and because I'm growing, that proof is inaccurate. I can say that I'm a skilled marshmallow roaster and happy to share my talents.
Other fun was had on the trampoline, in the sand, playing basketball, board games, and on the swing set and even washing windows.

Surprisingly, Gater has some decent window washing skills and he helped for more than an hour!

We also celebrated Father's Day while we were at the lake. Three dads in one place - my dad, my grandpa, and my Uncle Rick. Pretty cool. While there are endless activities to do at the lake, the best part is the people we get to spend time with and make lasting memories. A little slice of Heaven...


Thursday, July 2, 2015

Rhymes with Vanilla

Our friends just got married in Anguilla, an island in the Caribbean owned by the British West Indies. It's a small island with ice blue water and when our friends told us where they were getting married, one of the first things they said is, it rhymes with vanilla.The pictures are amazing and still don't do the place justice -  it's beautiful.
So what is a perfect, relaxing vacation for us? Non-stop activities! Every day before breakfast we played tennis and swam laps in the pool. Then we ate breakfast with the rest of the wedding guests - we had the whole resort to ourselves (so nice!) - and headed to the beach for the water sports. We enjoyed water skiing, wakeboarding, tubing, paddle boarding, cliff jumping, snorkeling, and kayaking. Doesn't this tubing look relaxing!?!?! My abs hurt from laughing so hard.
This was a first for me and Dave, we traveled without the boys. My folks came to town and the boys were in Heaven. The first sign of this was on our daily video calls with them, Bodie would highlight all of the fast food restaurants and parks they frequented that day while Gates would show off the daily "prize" received from Grandma and Grandpa. I'd like to think they were paralyzed with sadness missing us, but the reality was they had a blast. Thanks Grandma and Grandpa.

Sunday, June 7, 2015


 When most people think of Vermont, they think of beautiful fall foliage, impressive ski slopes, or the best maple syrup on the planet. And while all of that is true, the BEST stuff in Vermont is our family. My cousins, Luke, Katie and Bridget, are the coolest. Luke is in college and still hangs out with me and my little brother; we raced paper airplanes for hours in our grandparents backyard.

We headed to the farmer's market, went to the local festival, and all played basketball for ever - my dad even slam dunked a few shots (and mentioned something about how fun the huge 7 foot hoop was). Luke even made time to blow dandelions with my little brother - those guys are the best.
Thanks to my Nana and PopPop and Aunt Kathy and Uncle Jimmy for feeding us the most delicious food and making our visit so fun. Vermont, we agree, you're a pretty great state and we'll definitely be back.