The kids and I just got back from a week in Utah.  It was a really fun, busy and beautiful trip.  We had a baby blessing of my youngest nephew, a baptism of my oldest niece, and trips and hikes up into the mountains, walks around the neighborhood, swimming and picnics, a parade and fireworks for the fourth of July, a family trip to Jungle Jim's, and a day at Lagoon.

The kids and I had so much fun spending time with all their cousins, and with my family.
This is a picture I snapped in my parents backyard.  A whole section of their yard is lined with rose bushes.  They've been there since my Dad planted them twenty-five years ago.  Three of the bushes are called Sunfire roses, which can no longer be purchased.  While we were there my Dad was telling me about these rose bushes, and telling me how beautiful they are when the western sun hits them at the right angle-- they glow the most brilliant hue of red and orange, and deserve their name.  This winter was a hard one on roses in Utah, and he had thought he had lost them, but here they were-- blossoming and radiant.

My entire childhood I spent romping around our backyard, and I don't think I had ever quite appreciated what a beautiful flower they were until my Dad talked to me about them, and I watched them one late afternoon as my kids picked raspberries, strawberries, and peppermint in the backyard.

So many of my trips back home remind me of this-- I spent my entire childhood there, and only now feel like I am gaining an appreciation of the absolute brilliancy and beauty of the valley I grew up in and the mountains that surrounded me.  I could say the same for my family.  I cherish those relationships and each of the members of my family the older I get.

I'm so glad I had some time at home with people I love, to soak it all up for a while.