We'd heard from friends here in our neighborhood that the Mapleton Pioneer day fireworks were pretty good. So this year we decided to find out what all the talk was about. We went down to Ira Allan Sports park around 6 o'clock with our neighbors so that we could be there for the ping pong ball drop. We didn't know what that was but were intrigued by it enough to make the effort.

As we walked up a band was playing. It was a fun atmosphere. We were impressed already. We walked around and the boys immediately saw the playground. So the boys played (and ran cars down the slides ) while Derek went to find a spot to get settled.

Around 7 o'clock the call was made for all the kids 4-7 to make their way to the soccer field.

No parents were allowed to be on the field with them so Derek braved the crowds of parents while Noah and I hung back and observed what we could from afar. When we registered they put a green ping pong ball in a bag, then they would drop them from a helicopter.

When they dropped the balls, the bag got caught up and not all of the balls landed in the field. Which meant that not every one of the kids in the 4-7 group got a ball. Hyrum was one of them. :( He was so bummed. When they were giving the bikes away they made sure to mention that if you didn't win you still could redeem your ball in for a prize... but not if you didn't have a ball though. So sad. And yes they gave away probably 25 bikes that night! We didn't have room in the car anyway.

After all the bikes were awarded, the main entertainment began.

Ryan Shupe and the Rubberband. A pretty well known band in the state. They weren't bad. Noah particularly liked it.

While they played we tried our own fireworks. We brought along some sparklers for the boys to do while they waited.

Hyrum is a little more wary of them this year. He kept talking about how it was going to burn him. We didn't attempt more than one. Hope he enjoys them more next year.

We also got some glow sticks out to share. And it's a good thing we did because our neighbor's daughter wandered off after the fireworks and had she not had a glowy necklace on she might have not been found so quickly.

The firworks started around 10:30 but we were none the wiser. We were having fun and the boys were champs. And when they started we were in awe. We had been worried about getting a good spot and which way to face since we didn't know which direction they'd be coming from. As it turned out we had nothing to worry about...they were directly over our heads. This is the way Noah watched them.

There's nothing that can really let you know how it was. I tried to capture a visual with a video clip starting with Noah and panning up to where they were

Not sure if you can really tell. They were soo close. You felt every explosion and at one point I looked down and saw ash on the white shirt I was wearing. Pretty intense.

The music wasn't as coordinated to the fireworks as the Idaho Falls ones but there is no comparing the small venue and close proximity. At the end of the finale sparkling golden ash hung in the air for seriously two full minutes. It was amazing.

Best of all it took us probably 15 minutes to get home. And that was probably only four or five minutes more than it took us to get there. We are definitely going back next year.

What was funny is that a couple of days later ( the day after Pioneer day ) we heard noises and went outside to see this

This year aerial fireworks are legal in Utah and our neighbors have been taking full advantage of the opportunity. Not too bad! That's Noah screaming from excitement at the end. I was surprised that there were relatively few wild fires. The law might just stay. :)

It was Sunday and after church he came over for dinner as he usually did. Then afterwards we went for a walk. I could tell he was wanting to have the dreaded "DTR" ( define the relationship ) talk and I didn't want to define it in words. I didn't want the heaviness of the conversation. He of course just wanted to know what in the world was going on and didn't want to be jerked around or waste anymore time.

We walked up Carterville road in Provo. Every time he began to get the courage up to broach the subject I'd make a joke or change the subject. I didn't want him to date anyone else and I didn't want to date anyone else either but I just wasn't ready to say that we were exclusive. By the time we decided we should turn around it was an hour and a half after we started and we were two and a half miles away in Orem. Right before we turned around though I felt the subject edging it's way towards the conversation and decided to try to avoid it with a different tack and took his hand. We walked the rest of the way back hand in hand.

When we got closer to our apartments we stopped and he finally got some information in a round about way. There was an understanding that neither of us really wanted to date anyone else. But we didn't hold hands when we got close to ward prayer...that was a bit too public yet.

So the day after the blind date I knew I'd be seeing Derek and have some explaining to do. We got together that afternoon to have a BBQ and Derek was naturally rather stand offish. He had pretty much decided he was done with me. I tried to act normally and talk to him. I don't think he was mean to me at all but he certainly was guarded. After the BBQ we went to a Provo Angels game (a Pioneer league team that played their games at Miller Park on BYU campus - they later became the Orem Owlz) I made sure to sit beside Derek at the game. During the game I tried to give subtle hints like resting my hand on his back when he leaned forward, he smelled really good and I'm pretty sure I told him that. This was also the night of the "Y Mountain" wild fire and we could feel the heat from the fire in our seats at the game. Crazy!

On the way in to the game they were giving these little envelope with a "baseball diamond" in it. Pretty much a ploy to drum up business. Both Derek and I got one. This little thing will come in to play later.

After the game we went back to our apartment to watch a movie. I snuggled right up to him for the rest of the night. Neither of us can remember what movie we watched. His head was completely scrambled and he was completely confused but I think I successfully changed his mind about writing me off...at least for a day.

Derek and I had been going on dates and hanging out for a little under two months but there was yet to be a clear understanding between the two of us. Honestly I don't know if I was ready for a clear understanding to be between us.

Also for a long time a old roommate of mine who was also one of the florists I would sell to at work had been telling me she needed to set me up on a blind date with a guy she knew. She set up this date on July 20, 2001 to go to the Days of '47 Rodeo in Salt Lake City.

When I got home from work that night I found this from Derek, who got home later than me from work.

Which sent me on a scavenger hunt around my house with coupons for things in each clue...

At the end of the scavenger hunt I found these

He had talked to my roommates to have them figure out what my favorite flowers were and had a bouquet made up of all of them.

I. felt. a w f u l.

I called him and got his voice mail and left him a pitiful message where I said something like this

"Uh, Hi Derek, that was super nice what you did. I thought it was great, ... the flowers are beautiful but ... uh ... so I'm not going to be here when you get off work because... uh... I'm kinda going on a blind date tonight... dang I'm really sorry, uh ... bye"

I don't really remember much about the date except we went to the rodeo which was interesting and then went to get some ice cream and the guy had issues with me being older than him. It was a group date and I don't even think that my old roommate was there. Lame.

Hyrum's friends in the neighborhood have a pretty big blow up pool that they put a slide into and make a mini water park in their back yard. Hyrum thought it was really cool so today we went out and bought a smaller blow up pool and put our smaller slide into it for the boys to play in. They loved it!!!

Hyrum is one of those brothers.

Poor Noah! It's tough to be the little guy. :)

Of course Noah gets himself into trouble all by himself too. Little brother syndrome for sure. He thinks he can do everything Hyrum can do.

I don't know what it is with boys and ramps at least my boys and ramps they LOVE running cars down them...they will be ready for the pinewood derby someday.

Those cars go down the slide every bit as much as the boys do...a lot of the time more.

Of course these types of activities are fun for the parents too.

I can't show you the video when he got his hair wet because there was a full moon out ( I really need to do something about those swim trunks- why do they make them so big?!?)

I love that despite it all my boys are friends.

P.S. I LOVE my backyard.

What is more fun in the summer than a fudgesicle. As far as Noah is concerned...NOTHING.

Noah is a momma's boy...always has been. Probably because he doesn't get access to Dad very often but he calls everybody "Momma" Derek has worked tirelessly to get him to say "Dadda" and he flat refuses.It's only fair. I was "Dadda" forever with Hyrum. But he does know his own name. (I'm pointing to Derek first and then to myself)

His face was still coated in a thin layer of fudgesicle so his skin was really tight that's what the squint was at the end.

Really I think "Momma" is his title for everyone in his family. Everyone that loves him. We sure do.

I got home from an trip back east for the Hill Comorah pageant with my sister Nikki and her family and found this

From a young man who I asked to water my plants while I was gone.

It was a trip I almost didn't go on. When I got to the airport I almost missed my flight and then when I got on the plane the overhead bin where I put my things wouldn't close. Then there was something wrong with the plane so we had to all get off and get on a new flight so our take off was delayed. I would miss my connecting flight so I was sent to Ohio instead of Michigan where my sister and her family would pick me up there on the way to New York by way of a Six Flags amusement park in Ohio. While I waited for my flight I considered just going home and not going. Just kept feeling I should stay in Utah.

While on the vacation my thoughts frequently turned to a young man I had recently gone to Timp caves with. I had pictures from that trip at the end of June with me and even though I'd had a crush on someone else that was there I found myself looking longer than I thought I would at Derek Tangren, the young man who I asked to water my plants for me when I was gone. I ended up picking up a leaf from the Sacred Grove to bring back to him and a pamphlet in German that they had at one of the sites because I knew he spoke German.

A bunch of us had gone up to Timpanogos caves together. Derek being one of them. The hike up to Timp caves is a long winding and tiring.

Along the way I stopped to rest and although most of the group was on ahead of me, Derek stopped to wait with me and talk. At the time I thought it was just him being nice. In retrospect it was probably more interest than simply being nice. Regardless of intent it made an impact on me. It further made an impact to come home to fresh flowers on my dresser ( complete with hand made card) , burned out lights replaced in my bathroom and a full container of bleach ( we'd been running low ) in our laundry cupboard.

I was more excited than I thought I would be to see him when I got home.

We thought abut going up to Idaho Falls for the 4th of July. We hadn't been up there since Thanksgiving the previous year so we were well past due for a visit. Then one day talking to Derek's parent's on the phone Hyrum asked them if he could come to their house. They of course agreed and we were committed.

We left town after a crazy three plus hours at church ( the three hours being me and the boys the plus is Derek's of course) On the way up instead of saying "Are we there yet?" Hyrum kept saying"Why are we not THERE yet?" We introduced Hyrum to the Alphabet game which he had a tough time getting into. And we discovered how hard it is to play the alphabet game in the middle of nowhere Idaho. By the time we got there it was after the boys bed time but could not be kept from Daddy and Uncle Dave's old He-man and Transformer toys and all the other "new" toys at Grandma's house.

That was in fact why Hyrum asked to go to their house...to play with the toys. :) We finally got them to sleep at around 11 and we worried if we could wake up with enough time to make it to the parade at 9am. But the boys woke up at 7 bright eyed and bushy tailed. We headed to the parade route well after we should have been there but we ended up unintentionally imposing on the kindness of friends once again and had a pretty good spot to watch.

Hyrum filled his coffers of parade candy and we counted it a win. Hyrum and Noah are big into wearing their shades.

We relaxed and played during the day until we headed to the river to stake our claim of a piece of grass to watch the fireworks on. We were fortunate to find that piece of ground where there was a playground very close by and the boys and I headed out while Derek sat enjoyed the view

and kept our spot. It was a little crazy and nerve racking to keep track of my boys among all the other kids at the park. Hyrum was off to the biggest slides and Noah was happy at the little slide.

Noah needed a more watchful eye so I stayed near him but it made me nervous to have Hyrum so far away and out of reach. Hyrum was none the wiser. He was having fun.

Noah hit his mouth on a bar so we went back to the spot for awhile to see Derek and when his family got there we went back to the park. It was nice to have more eyes on the boys. Noah discovered that Hyrum was on another part of the playground and wanted to go with him Hyrum was good enough to watch out for him...at least once.

He's got a hold of Noah's shirt to keep track of him and make sure he doesn't get stepped on or lost. The next times he just raced up without him but Noah was none the wiser he just kept climbing.

We left the park after awhile but Noah wasn't done. He had a bee in his bonnet and needed to explore so off he went. We were lucky to notice before he was down the street. He took to walking by some older ladies down the street from us and would smile, wave and later blow kisses. He had them in the palm of his little hand. He's a charmer that one.

As Noah was off getting as lost as he possibly could Hyrum stayed close to roost aided by an unbrella to shield him from the blazing and glaring sun.

As dusk fell we decided to get out the glowy things which is a tradition we started after spending a 4th of July with our friends the Jenkins who are much more fun than we are. Hyrum couldn't wait and Noah got right in there with the glowy stick fighting.

Then the fireworks began and we were serenaded throughout.

Noah loved them too, he kept pointing and laughing and at the end he just clapped and clapped.

On our long walk back to the car Hyrum piped up and said "I love you Momma! I Love you Daddy" We told him we loved him too then he said "I love Momma and Daddy and Noah" We smiled as he spontaneously professed his love for us all and we said " We love you too buddy, we have a great family huh?" Then he said "Yeah, I love myself too!" Glad to know my little man has a lot of self confidence. :)

The next day we were going to go to Bear World but after seeing how much it was and knowing there was no way my boys were going to get anywhere near a live bear we opted to go to the zoo in IF. On our way into town we passed signs for the zoo. I turned to Derek and said "Why have I never known there is a zoo here and why haven't we gone to it?" Derek remembered it being kinda little and broken down so they were almost apologetic when we went but it was SOOO GREAT!

It was perfect and so cute! I seriously want to go every time we go up now. Here are some highlights

Noah connecting with the animals from the stroller

Baby camel feeding ( there were so many baby animals at the zoo. It was fun!)

The Lion drinking fountain

Everyone had to try it

And Lions!!

( Hogel zoo doesn't have lions despite having a lion drinking fountain...it was Hyrum and Noah's first glimpse at a real lion)

Otters! ( they were hiding that day but someday I'm sure we'll see them )

Monkeys! They were so intrigued by Hyrum so Derek was being voice for them and Hyrum LOVED it. Every time we talk about the monkeys he says "They liked my hat and thought it was funny that I wore it backwards and then forwards"

Right next to the zoo there is a place called "Funland" that we went to after the zoo. It's a hard place to describe. It's kinda like a traveling city carnival that doesn't travel. We were all but the only people there when we went. We got there and Hyrum conned his grandma into getting him popcorn. Then we decided what to do with the 10 tickets we got. Noah knew immediately what he wanted to do.

Hyrum wanted to do the ferris wheel. He said he was going to be super brave. As Derek and he walked up to it and they started it up...seriously....and they got on. It was a ride for two. Hyrum loved it.

Did you know John Lennon is living in Idaho Falls? :)

Then came the moment Noah was waiting for. His first amusement park ride ever!

Would you look at that smile?

When we got home we got the boys outside to play on the riding toys awhile before we hopped in the car to go home

When I saw Hyrum on the worm toy suddenly I saw this in my minds eye

This might have helped me see that.

Such a good time and so much fun playing with and connecting with grandparents. I just have to tell this story. Derek's dad is notorious for slipping little creatures scraps of food most of the time that little creature is the family dog Blossom but it seems as though Noah picked up on his tendency pretty quickly and was rewarded for his patience.

Of course it wasn't long before the dog noticed someone cutting in on her gravy train.
She was all too happy to see the little ones leave. :)

Road trip classic:
On the way home we were playing the alphabet game again but in a more populated area so it was going faster. Hyrum was much more into it this time too. We were looking for the letter "K" and Hyrum said "There it is" pointing at an "R V park" sign. I told him that "R V park" didn't have a K ( thinking of the big letters R and V) then I noticed my mistake and said "You're right Hyrum it does have a K. Momma's a little dumb" Hyrum started to laugh and said "Momma, You're dumb!" Guess I asked for that. :)