Back to School Cousin Party

TJ’s parents threw a little Back to School cousin party one Saturday in August. They all played in the backyard for hours and then celebrated the start of a new year with a fun, special package from Grandma and Grandpa. It’s unbelievable how our families have all grown and that our oldest kids are now in Kindergarten!

Cousin Camp

It has been such a long time since I’ve blogged! I’m so behind! And going through all my pictures on my phone just makes me so sad that Summer is over. Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited for Fall but I just can’t believe how quickly it all went.

Well, picking up where we left off… The first week of August, my sister-in-law and her husband went on a trip and we got to watch my cute niece and nephew for a few days. Each day we tried to do something fun!

On Sunday night, we roasted marshmallows for s’mores in the backyard with them and our neighbors.

Monday, we went to the pool.

On Tuesday, we headed to the movies for $5 Tuesday and saw Despicable Me 3.

Wednesday, we brought out the hose and played in the sprinkler all afternoon.

We also hit up a splash-pad with some friends, and although it was busy, the kids had a great time!

One sweet thing I want to remember while they were visiting is that on the first evening, I was reading them books before bed then asked who wanted to say the night prayer. They all volunteered and all begged me to choose each one of them, so that night and each one following, they all took turns saying their own nighttime prayers together. It was so sweet! Thanks for visiting, C&H!

A Visit from the Parentals

My dad had a convention he needed to attend for work here in SLC last week which meant we were spoiled and had my parents in town for a few days. On Tuesday, we went up to Temple Square and City Creek. It had rained in the morning which cooled down the afternoon making it perfect weather to explore. The flowers were beautiful and we really loved walking through parts of the visitor’s center we hadn’t been to in a while. 

Wednesday was the Outdoor Retailer show that my dad and I attended all day long while my mom watched the kids. It was really fun spending the day with my dad. I was thinking while working with him how grateful I am to get to do stuff like this with my dad. He’s a pretty good boss 😉 !

Then our last day, we went up to Tibble Fork for a little hike and then picnic there at the reservoir. The water was pretty cold though, so when the kids were done splashing, we kept heading up the canyon to Silver Lake. I feel like we could have spent the rest of the day up there because the views were incredible and it was just so serene. We played in the creeks, Finn threw rocks forever, and we took in the beautiful scenery all around us. When we got home, we went to the pool after Finn’s nap and wrapped up the day with s’mores in the backyard. It was such a dreamy day!

My parents left early on Friday. I cried on and off for the rest of the day because it was so hard to say goodbye! Till we meet again!



State Capitol

A few weeks ago, my sister-in-law had a presentation here in Utah so she and my brother came to down for the weekend. We got to spend a few hours with them up in SLC and explored the Capitol a bit. It was the first time for any of us going inside and we were all blown away with how beautiful it was.

Fun fact (sarcasm): Finn had a diaper blowout, I didn’t have diapers or wipes with me because I had thought we were just going on a short nature walk and I had just changed him (blowouts don’t happen anymore with this kid, so it was a surprise). It was one of the worst ones ever and was straight out of some movie where I was in the bathroom with him, trying to make the situation a little better, but the diaper had to be thrown away, leaving him diaper-less and sitting on my back in my ergo for another half hour. By some sort of miracle (and a lot of paper towels that I shoved down the front of his pants), he didn’t have any accidents and I was able to get a diaper on him without any leakage on my back. Oh man… of course it happened THAT day!

Provo Date Nights

Since TJ works down in Provo right by the Riverwoods, we tend to have dinner there often and make a family date night out of it. One of my goals for the year is to plan a date with TJ each week and most of the time we get a babysitter and go out but sometimes that doesn’t work out so we make it a date night with the kids. I don’t mind doubling with those goofs too much.

One of the nights at Riverwoods was the ice sculpture festival. It was pretty neat and just a fun night to get out with the family. Another night we tried out the Rockwell ice cream shop, which deserves the hype because it was soooo good!

My Dad Visits!

Right after I visited Kentucky, my dad had a convention in SLC and Vegas in January so he flew back with us. I’ve never had another adult fly with me and the two kids, so it was really nice having the extra hands. The second flight was from Atlanta to SLC and was soooo long. Finn was pretty much a terror, but I don’t think he was feeling too great and being stuck on a five hour flight was not his ideal situation. My dad has respiratory issues, so he wore a mask quite a lot. I couldn’t help but to laugh a little bit… Eva was so embarrassed!

My dad stayed for about a week and I was able to help him some up at the show. It was a neat experience to get to go to the outdoor retailer show! We miss you, Dad (and mom), come back soon!

A Visit from my Parents

My parents got to visit for a long weekend in October since it was my mom’s Fall break. My brother also got to come for part of their trip, it was nice to have them all in town!

On Friday morning, while Eva was in school and my dad got some work done, my mom, Finn and I hiked the Battle Creek Falls trail. It was such a beautiful hike that morning and fun to show her a new place she hadn’t been to before. When Eva was done with school, we went to the farm and then headed up to Temple Square/City Creek for the evening. We got to watch one of the new Mormon Messages clips and it was so great. I wish we could have seen more! Make sure you check those new clips out at the visitor’s center.

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Saturday, my mom and I went to a High class early that morning and then we all went to Cornbelly’s for a few hours. It was such a nice day, it even got a little too hot for the kids! After having lunch, we went on a drive and little walk up at Cascade Springs, which none of them had been to. It was a bit crowded, but the leaves on the drive made up for it! That evening, my parents graciously babysat the kids while TJ, Sam, and I went to Vivint’s work party where One Republic sang. I didn’t know much about them but it turns out I actually know a bunch of their songs. It was an awesome concert and so much fun to have my brother with us!

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My brother left Sunday morning, we went to church, then just took it easy around the house. It was really cold and windy that day, unfortunately. But we did take my parents to TJ’s office in Lehi, just to get out for a bit.

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Let’s see… Monday we went shopping at the outlets, walked around Cabela’s, and ate at Tsunami for dinner. It was delicious, but now I know why Asians are all so skinny. After eating all the sushi, I felt like I could eat a whole other meal! Ha! We finished the night off getting gelato at Harmon’s.


On Tuesday, my parents headed home and I pretty much cried nonstop for the next three days 🙁 ! It was just so nice to have them visit! I miss them so much already. Just move out here, already!


Family Photos: The Derrick Side

I’m hoping this post will encourage my dad to finally get us the family photos we took on the Swainhart side 😉 ! But back in May, we had family photos with TJ’s family. Mostly, we just wanted to get one big group photo since we didn’t have one with Finn. My sister-in-law Lacey did the photos, and as usual, killed it. Guys. Hire her for your family photos. She’s so great!

Here are just a couple of my favorites:

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Iowa Cousins!

I had some cousins from my dad’s side stay with us for two nights last week because they were moving from Iowa to Oregon. Eva loved playing with their kids and we spent the afternoon up at City Creek and Temple Square. I can’t get enough of that place! We so enjoyed getting to know our cousins better and wish them the best in this next step of life!




Kentucky Trip

In January, my siblings and I started talking about getting together this year. Good thing we started months in advance because it took that long to figure out the date we all could make! Somehow though, we were able to find a weekend in July that worked for all of us! I came a couple days before and stayed a couple days after everyone else was there, which I loved so I could also have one-on-one time with my parents. Honestly, I wish I could have stayed an extra week but I had stuff in Utah I needed to get back for. I just wish my parents lived in Utah. And all of my siblings. You all who have your family all close do not know how blessed you are, so don’t take it for granted!

This was the first time all of us with our spouses and families have ever been together and the first time all of us siblings have been together for five years! So, it was a long time coming and was really special! We took family pictures one evening and I teared up thinking about how long it had been and how long it may be until next time. But I’m so grateful for all of their love and friendship. Each of my siblings and sibling-in-laws are all so different but great in their own ways!

We made the trip like a Cincinnati stay-cation. We did SO much! This is all for journaling purposes, so sorry for the snooze fest, but I have to write it all down!

Thursday, we went to the pool with my parents. Finn sat so contently in my lap in the tube the whole time. It was the best. My mom and I went grocery shopping for the week to prepare for all the meals! It was quite the feat and pretty fun to plan it all out! Mary Beth’s family arrived late that night.

On Friday, TJ arrived in the afternoon and Sam and Ashley got in late that night. We had another pool day with all the cousins.

Saturday, we had a delicious goetta breakfast with everyone and then went up to a bike trail in Cincinnati. It was so much fun and I wish we could have gone longer but Finn was not having it by the end. TJ pulled Finn and Spencer in one trailer and I pulled Eva behind me. Amelia was on a bike for two with her dad and the rest of the gang were on bikes. We were like a huge parade and it was awesome. The trail was so gorgeous, right next to the Little Miami River, and covered by huge trees. We had a picnic afterwards all together and the kids played at a nearby park. In the evening, we had a birthday party for my niece Amelia at the pool with dinner, dancing, and even a piñata!

On Sunday, we had church in the morning then had my Uncle and Aunt over for lunch. It was such a hot and humid day, I remember sweating so much outside and thinking, “How are we going to take pictures in this tonight??” But we did! We all got changed and headed over to Devou Park in Covington. It was such a fun evening being there together as a family. We were all a little silly and thinking of dumb poses like jumping together (which turned out terribly, obviously) but we really just had fun together as siblings! After the kids went to bed, Sam, Ashley H, MB, TJ, and I went on a little walk in Fort Thomas which was fun talking about the old days growing up there.

Moving right along to Monday, we had planned on going to Coney Island but there was rain that morning so we went bowling instead at the Levee and was able to meet up with my dad since his office is there! Afterwards, we went to the Contemporary Arts Museum downtown. TJ and I loved it and took funny snapchats together with the artwork. We walked around the square for a bit and had a scoop of Graeter’s. Sam and his wife, TJ, and I decided we wanted to go to Kings Island that night which turned out to be the best night because the park was nearly empty. We walked on all the rides, saw a couple fun shows, and got to watch fireworks at the end of the night. Thank goodness for dramamine because those rides are no joke!

On Tuesday, we took the kids to Coney Island on another ridiculously hot and humid day but they loved it so much! We all rested up a bit afterwards and then went to the Reds Game! It was Eva’s first time at a professional Baseball game and I think first time watching Baseball, ever! But she and the rest of the girls LOVED it! It probably stemmed around the fact that they got to eat peanuts, kettle corn, soda, cotton candy, and ice-cream. Hahaha! We left the boys with a babysitter that night which was really nice to not worry about Finn and just enjoy the game! We parked at the Levee and walked across the river to get there and back, and on the way home, we turned on exercises and did them on the bridge. It was such a funny moment!

That night we finally put Eva in our room to sleep on a blowup mattress since the other nights she had slept in a bed with Amelia and they had been waking each other up at the crack of dawn. Thankfully Eva slept in the next morning because we all had gone to bed so late!

On Wednesday, it was Sam’s birthday so we had a birthday brunch and a delicious lunch made by Ashley. We also put on a talent show where TJ and I did the Mormon Rap (video of that to come haha!). Sam and Ashley left for the airport that afternoon and I’m pretty sure that afternoon we just went to the pool, it’s all blurring together!

My sister and her husband also had a wedding anniversary over the trip so they slipped away for an overnight in Clifty Falls. We took the kids downtown to the Banks where they did the carousel and played in the splash pad. Afterwards, the boys napped and TJ and I took the girls to see Finding Dory! It was nice to have a little rest since we had been in the sun so much, so the downtime was much needed. We loved getting to spend that individual time too with my nieces and just get to hang out with them! When we got back, we went to the pool again (those girls loveeeed swimming together and it was so hot, the pool was a necessity) and then watched Interstellar once the kids went to sleep.

Gosh, what day does that bring me to? Friday? TJ left and so I took him to the airport while everyone swam. We enjoyed Larosa’s pizza together and then my sister, mom, and I snuck out for an hour for a little shopping. We had my favorite mexican restaurant for dinner that night and finished up the movie together.

Saturday, the rest of the gang left which was hard to see them go and was strange to have such a quiet/empty house. My mom, the kids, and I went shopping for a bit and then we met my dad at the park for the Ward Pioneer Day picnic. I had a great talk with the missionaries and it kind of relit a fire in me that was a little dim, so thanks missionaries! We all have a ups and downs in our spiritual journey, so it made me want to stop being lazy!

Woo, this is getting long but we are almost at the end! Sunday we had church and I got to watch my sweet dad teach the primary children music. He’s such a good primary chorister! Afterwards, I met up with my friend Lelia and we just talked each other’s ears off about life, 21 Day Fix, and everything else imaginable! It was so great catching up.

On Monday, the kids and I left and had a looooong journey home. Eva fell asleep at the layover and it was so entertaining to see how she wouldn’t wake up. I’m not kidding. She was in the stroller at the gate and she needed to get out to walk to her seat. But I was like shaking her, tickling her, SHOUTING ,” EVA, YOU NEED TO WAKE UP!!!” Everyone passing by was laughing and I was laughing so hard at the situation. Finally, she got up, I folded the stroller, then she tried to get back ON the folded stroller. She and Finn slept the entire second flight, thank goodness. It was the same ordeal trying to get Eva to wake up when we landed, but when she finally was *awake* and aware in the stroller walking to baggage claim, she said, “Mom, don’t we have another flight?” I told her we already went on the second airplane and she slept through it all. She was so confused. Hilarious!

Obviously, we had a great trip. One that we will remember forever. And just to make sure we don’t forget, here’s a video of it all! Pictures will come in another post. I’m way too tired to do anymore after writing this epic-long post.