From Bryce to Canyon

To pick up where I left off…

After Bryce Canyon, we buckled up for the four-hour drive to Arches, which took six hours, one of which was spent waiting for a single scoop of huckleberry ice cream that Rocco forgot to order. I only slightly exaggerate. The drive was full of yet more breathtaking views: canyons of all colors, a magical snowy forest, huge slabs of orange rocks rising above us. Four of us gaped and gawked while one of us tried to keep the car from plummeting thousands of feet down a cliff, which always seemed to be three feet away from the passenger side of the car. If Kevin were writing this blog, today’s post would have a totally different vibe, with an ominous looking font written in all caps and lots of danger signs.

Also, to be clear, by “four of us gaped and gawked” I mean “two of us gaped and gawked.” Rocco and Leo spent the drive asking if they could stop being forced to look outside and play games on their phones instead. Vincenzo, Gold bless him, gets carsick if he spends too much time on his phone. I know moms aren’t supposed to pick favorites but…

We pulled over in Escalantes for a stroll through the Petrified Forest, which made this Pacific Northwest girl raise her eyebrows and say, “Forest?”


Well, you may see a forest but all I see are Leo’s socks that he wears like this despite my attempts to make him less of a goon.


The Petrified Forest was “truly remarkable,” as the brochure promised. We spent most of it discussing the differences between being truly remarkable and most remarkable and also what it means to be re-Mark-able, which was fun for a bit but then suddenly irritating, as most conversations in the Mouthy family tend to be.

The beginning of the “hike” through the “woods”:


A cool piece of petrified wood:


The boys looking petrified on a piece of petrified wood:


At one point in the road trip we pulled over to see some petroglyphs.


The boys had a hard time seeing them, even with the binoculars.


Welp, the socks are fixed, but the goon part is still there.

That concludes the commented picture section of this blog. Now for a few more:




That’s it for now. Next up, Arches!

Zion & Bryce

After Vegas we started on our four-hour trip to Zion, where a Jeep tour with S’mores awaited us. Between a rental car issue (nothing big, just the BRAKES GIVING OUT ON THE FREEWAY), a stop for boba tea, and a forehead-slapping moment when we realized Utah was an hour ahead, we didn’t make the Jeep tour. Instead, we took our family’s first trip to Cracker Barrel. It felt like a fair trade. Chicken fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, broccoli, and a roll? What reality is this?! Plus, this game of checkers had all the intensity of a red rock Jeep tour.


It was pitch black when we checked in at Zion, which meant we missed all the scenery on the way up, but the starry sky made up for it. They take light pollution seriously at Zion, so  the amount of visible stars rivaled the amount of pictures I took on this vacation. The stars were so spectacular, the only way to talk about them is in cliches. They shined like diamonds. They winked, they twinkled, they peeked and poked, they speckled and freckled and spangled.

I didn’t get a picture, so I made you one in Photoshop.

Starry night

Takes your breath away!

The next day we went on the Emerald Pools hike, which took us first under a waterfall then to the top of it.


The kids bounded in front of us, hopped across the pools on little rocks, scaled bigger ones, and marveled at the sweeping views. It was a magical lesson in perspective. Leo shared his own perspective with us at the trail’s end. “I hope I never have to go on that hike ever again!”

The drive from Zion to Bryce Canyon was even more spectacular than the night sky (the real one, not the Photoshop one). This piece of road must be where someone coined the phrase, “Life’s about the journey, not the destination.”


Miles and miles of that, only ten thousand times bigger. I generally don’t like the feeling of being small and insignificant, but it was a complete joy on this drive.

Bryce Canyon was more magic, mainly in the form of oranges rocks but also in the form of this little restaurant we stumbled on in the town of Tropic.


Finally, s’mores!


The boys played baseball using a broken cornhole set, ate a whole bag of marshmallows, and did some competitive porch swinging in a hexagonal gazebo that had six porch swings hanging in it. Darn it! Forgot to take a picture of that, too, and I exhausted my Photoshop skills in the starry sky picture. At any rate, if I ever get stuck in a Groundhog Day situation, I would like it to be this day please.

The next day we hit up some lookout points…



hiked down into the orange spires…



took some profile pix of V…

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splashed around in the hotel’s pool…


then ditched the boys for a mini hike to Mossy Rock. You have to be careful on these trails though–


there are some real weirdos out there.

MrsMouthy’s Spring Break Vacation Extravaganza

For spring break we went on a four-part trip to the southwest: from Vegas to Zion to Bryce to Arches. It felt like cheating, having four vacations in one…but our family motto is “Cheat to win,” so I won’t say anything if you won’t.

The extravaganza began with Easter weekend at my sister’s house in Vegas. Instead of going to church to see all the baptisms, we just did them ourselves.


There weren’t any crosses to carry lying around, so we improvised that, too.


On Easter morning the kids dyed pancakes, since Jesus dyed for us.


(God doesn’t read blogs anymore, does he? If so, let me beg forgiveness!)

Don and I felt that the Mrs. Butterworths bottle doesn’t seem exactly PC, but the more syrup we used, the less offensive she became.


After breakfast, we went outside for pictures. Here are the cousins, all smiling at once.


My sister insisted she wasn’t doing anything behind my back to get the kids to smile, but she forgot about the selfie button.



No snarky comment for this next one, just a nice family picture:


See? No snark! Sometimes I have to prove I can do it.

After that, it was off to the national parks. There’s a lot to blog about, so I’ll split it up over a few posts. Here are the cliff notes (pun intended).

Each bend of the road opened up to another spectacular wave of cliffs, either rising dramatically above us or plunging drastically below us. Each viewpoint was spectacular and unique, and I captured them all in a bazillion photos that look more or less the same.


Well, there was that one rock that stood out from the rest…


But let’s keep our maturity intact and move on.

I was a bit anxious about this trip because it would involve a lot of hiking. Hiking has not been a pleasurable activity for my family. As soon as we set foot on a trail, someone needs a snack, someone has to pee, someone’s shoe is untied, someone found a stick, someone needs another snack, someone wants everyone to know how much they hate hiking…and that’s just Kevin. Imagine how the boys are!

Only it wasn’t like that this time. We were able to hike. To really hike! To take big, strong strides, to feel the burn in our quads, to breathe heavily, to work up a good sweat.

At least, that’s how it was for me and Kevin. Way up ahead of us, casually strolling along with their hands in their pockets, were our boys, somehow going twice as fast as us, talking and laughing like they weren’t out of breath at all.


They literally left us in their dust.


It’s hard to remember that just last year, we called the boys the Cabbage, the Goat, and the Wolf, like from that one brain teaser. We had to be careful who we put in the boat at the same time. Now we can put them all in the boat and not worry about anyone eating anyone else. The only thing we have to worry about is the boat leaving me and Kevin stranded on the shore.


We’re not too worried though. They still need us for some things, like teaching them how to do a power walk instead of looking like a bunch of bouncy-stepped goons with strings for arms. We keep giving them advice. “Walk like your thighs are so muscular they can’t quite touch,” or “Walk like someone might have insulted your mom and you’re on your way to find out,” or “More shoulders!” or “Less gorilla!” They usually end up looking like they wet their pants or dislocated their knees, but I did manage to get one shot where everything is going right.


Just don’t click on the video.

All right, that’s enough for today. Tomorrow, onto Zion—or, as Rocco calls it, Zeeon!

Easter Inspired Cookies

My boys and their cousin decorated Easter cookies last week. They have a history of decorating cookies for the wrong holiday.

In fact, I was shocked last month when Rocco decorated a shamrock that actually looked like a shamrock for St. Patrick’s Day:


…and then he flipped it over.


Here’s what he did with a different shamrock:


I’m not sure what holiday this one goes with. Juneteenth?

They do this despite me making holiday-specific colors of frosting, like pink, orange, and yellow for Easter. They do it despite me hiding the edible eyes. They do this despite me saying we never did this when we decorated cookies in the 1900s.

To my delight, this year Vincenzo decided to make a real effort to decorate cookies the right way.


So close!

His second attempt was equally well-intentioned.


Well at least he tried, which is more than I can say for the others.




Don’t even get me started on the Easter eggs.



It’s times like these that I recall the words of the serenity prayer:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and a basic knowledge of Photoshop to also change things.

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Sweet revenge.

(Did you spy another attempt at a carrot in there? That’s what they call an Easter egg which, in this specific instance, is what you call confusing.)