Cherry Hill

Poison Ivy update: Ahhh, poison ivy! Is there a support group for this stuff? A hotline?! I seriously wondered this as I wandered my house at 2:00 a.m. a few nights ago wishing I could clench my fists and produce wolverine claws to scratch it all away. Since last time I posted, it spread to cover both of my inner arms from wrist to armpit, a few bad patches on my legs & stomach, and things just got really ugly. Really ugly. I couldn’t sleep for the itching, couldn’t pick up Drew without, well, getting pus all over him, and the most recent development is that my right arm has swollen up like I’m the Michelin man. That arm and hand honestly looks how they would if I gained 150 pounds. Tanner’s weird med school friends gawked over a picture (because rashes are interesting?) and said it looked like I’d grown bark. I’ve had one of the more miserable weeks of my life and once this heals, I feel like there isn’t much 2nd year could throw at me that will top it. My new mantra will be “at least I don’t have poison ivy!”  The good news though, is that it’s finally turned for the better. I really needed that turn (and Chipotle + help from 2 amazing friends) to help me climb out of my pit of despair, so even though I’m still firmly planted in hot mess territory, there is hope! It’s finally dried up and is healing to my unbounded relief. The parable of the ten lepers will never be the same.

Now that you’re all up to date on my skin, let me tell you about Cherry Hill. It’s kind of a big deal. In our hometown there is this amazing family fun place called Cherry Hill. It started like 100 years ago as an RV campground (this is an unofficial history according to Dana Staples with possible inaccuracies) in a Cherry orchard with a small swimming pool for the guests. A lot of people will do big family reunions there and all stay in RVs. Then they added two big blue water slides, the Pirate’s cove pirate ship and kiddie pool area (that plays that musical pirate diddy all the live long day), and the cardiac canyon river run and it became a really great water park.

cherry hill

My siblings and I had season passes every year and I spent most summer days riding my bike there with friends or my brothers, or getting dropped off by mom and swimming all day long. I would often order big bowls of Farr brand mint chocolate chip ice cream from The Pie Pantry, an on site adorable little home converted into a pie, sandwhich, and soup shop. We’d sit under big umbrellas on its wooden wrap-around porch devouring our ice cream. I liked to play Mrs. PacMan or air hockey in the arcades and duck into the office to buy 25 cent boxes of LemonHeads and Laffy Taffy ropes that we’d eat as we sat on the cement wall at the bottom of a grassy hill, wrapped in beach towels waiting for our ride home. We’d run between the pool and the blue slides, trying not to burn our feet on the sidewalks, always stopping at the gutter that ran between them to cool our feet, then racing off, leaving footprint patterns behind us.

Four out of the six kids in my family worked there many summers, in the office, the Pie Pantry and snack bars, grounds crew. When my older sisters were teenagers, we’d get to go on employee family days and do the extras that didn’t come with our season pass like the mini golf and batting cages. Sometime during my high school years, they expanded to add a much larger pool, and a lazy river that my brother nearly singly handedly dug by hand, the way he tells it.

As much as I loved Cherry Hill, it played a bigger role in Tanner’s life. He had one best friend all growing up– Mitch Lloyd, whose family owned and ran Cherry Hill. Mitch lived next door to the water park, only a few streets away from Tanner, and they pretty much lived there as children. Tanner worked there something like seven summers on grounds crew and as a cashier, handing out entrance wristbands and arcade tokens. I only worked there one summer, 2006, on foods. I flipped burgers, cooked fries and chicken popcorn, distributed slush puppies and soft serve cones. On slow days or rainy days we’d see who could get the most kills with the fly swatters. Tanner and I weren’t really friends back then, but I have a couple of specific memories of talking to him through the windows of this very snack bar.


I also remember one day manning the giftshop right next to it, bored out of my skull, watching Tanner walk by several times within an hour and thinking he was really really cute.

These days, Tanner’s friend Mitch is on his way to taking over the family business.  He lives with his wife and baby in a trailer home between the mini golf and the pool, his parents still live next door, and there are like 5 Lloyd satellite families living behind, next to, and within the park–it’s a hilarious commune. He was kind enough to get us in for free and we promised vericose vein surgery in the future in return should his wife ever need it 😉

One of the best parts of being from the same place as your husband is that these kind of places mean something to both of us! We were really excited to take our kids there and let them experience a family fun day at the greatest fun spot you’ll ever know (says their slogan and commercial that I’ve had stuck in my head the whole time writing this

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We should probably be the poster family for their website or somethingIMG_1659

Late afternoon, a doomsday storm rolled in and out and totally cleared out the pool. We stayed and had the whole thing to ourselves.IMG_1661  IMG_1674

we’re 1000 times happier than we look, promiseIMG_3049

After we took the kids home and put them to bed, we came back for mini golf at a course that Tanner could do in his sleep. IMG_1680  IMG_1685 IMG_1686  IMG_1683

Thanks Cherry Hill for a fun day and years of memories!


Bear Lake + back to reality

For part of our trip home, we spent a week at Bear Lake with the Staples. We stayed in Paris, Idaho at Tanner’s sister’s husband’s parent’s cabin (got that? ) It was pretty much picture perfect summer getaway bliss. My sister and brother in law spent just about every other weekend here with their boat and I am jeeeeeealous. I’m still having major cabin envy over here (not to mention actual-participation-in-these-things-called-weekends envy, but that’s for another day). Just look at this adorable place.

IMG_2811 Though if I’m going to be totally honest, I was head over heads smitten with the one across the street. . .IMG_2849

How cute is that?!?! Once we dig ourselves out from under mountains of med school loans,(we just hit 6 figures! no turning back!) a vacation home is definitely something we’ve got our hearts set on.


This cracked me up–Camryn is apparently already too cool to smile for a photo with her dad!

We hiked,IMG_2829 IMG_2834



and ate fruit loops with cousins. These girls. Oh man. They fought like crazy the whole time but were joined at the hips. Camryn may not be able to grow hair past her shoulders but she’s about a head taller than them!IMG_3097IMG_3099 IMG_3100 IMG_3124   IMG_2852 IMG_2854

siblings reunitedIMG_3127

The lake was gorgeous and amazing and isn’t Idaho just so underrated?IMG_3128

the kiddos “hot tub”IMG_3130 IMG_3131 IMG_1520 IMG_1526 IMG_1528 wakeboardingIMG_1530 IMG_1535

a couple “staples family photoshoot” outtakesIMG_1537 IMG_1550 IMG_1578 IMG_2867

We hiked up to this beautiful Bloomington Lake, where Dana and Maren (go Maren!) + the men jumped off a rope swing into the freezing cold water because I haven’t grown up from my 12 year old self who can’t not jump off the cliff, down the mountain, into the river, etc. if all the boys are doing it. IMG_2862IMG_2871


Anne just got back from Tokyo and is throwing down peace signs like she’s our aisian foreign exchange student. But I mean, doesn’t she actually look like she could be?IMG_2887

Thank you, Staples for the wonderful vacation! The older we get, the more trips we plan ourselves, and the more children we schlep along with us, we realize how much time, energy, money, and planning that goes into these things, so thank you thank you thank you!

As I write this I am exercising all of my will power not to scratch the crap out of my arms which are covered in what I think is poison ivy but could potentially be leprosy. While I am practically drowning myself in calamine lotion and hydrocortisone cream, Tanner is pulling his 4th 17 hour on campus day in a row. So I think it’s safe to say that we are having significantly less fun after our return from vacation.

On the bright side, I hit a curb this week, blew a tire, and had to replace all 4 which cost me enough to almost make me cry. Oh wait no, that was also crappy.

But for reals on the bright side, I got to sneak away for shakes last night with some great friends. If second year is going to be a whole lot harder than first year, at least I already have friends this time around! Also, I grilled pizza tonight for the first time and I feel like I’ve just opened a new chapter in our lives where I am on a quest/journey to perfect this art and we just eat a whole dang lot of grilled pizza. I definitely get like a D for presentation and photography, but it was delicious and thats all that matters.


That pitiful little huddle of cherry tomatoes represents the entirety of my crop so far. 5. And I lost half of one through the grill grate, so really 4 1/2. WTF Missouri, why aren’t I getting tomatoes? But the real question is, why don’t I have even one single zucchini?? I didn’t even know it was even possible to fail at growing zucchini. At least my basil is flourishing.


I have no good ending so. . . The End.

Summer I love you

Suuuuuuuummmmer.  Summer summer summer. I LOVE summer. Summer was amazing. Many other med school families told us to enjoy having an actually summer break because after 1st and 2nd years, “summer break” as we know it will cease to exist. As will Christmas break and all holidays in general for that matter, but anyways–we did. We enjoyed the hell out of it. We completely and utterly exhausted ourselves with fun.

We had 5 weeks total–a week here in Kansas City, 3 weeks in Utah (our first time back since moving last summer), and then another week back home in KC to recuperate, relax, not unpack 10 luggages, and gear back up for the new school year.

We camped, hiked, swam, boated, beached, napped, and dated. We literally went on twice as many dates during our stay in Utah as we had during the entire school year before it. Gotta take advantage of the abundance of free babysitters while we can! We’d put the kids to bed most nights, hand our parents the baby monitor, and then go to a movie. Because the Kaysville theater is the greatest and only $2! We really miss having a dollar theater around. And, you know, our parents, we miss them too 😉 We saw Woman in Gold, Age of Adaline, Inside Out, & one night my sister let us borrow her truck and we took it to the drive in to see Jurassic Park. I loved them all and loved spending so much time with Tanner, and just doing a normal thing like going to a movie without it being this whole scheduling circus of figuring out a night Tanner can actually go and arranging a babysitter, and arranging when I can go babysit for whoever is babysitting for me, (to avoid, heaven forbid, actually paying a babysitter) and having a movie night out be an ultra special occasion. In hindsight, that’s what July was for me–the immense relief and joy of having certain things be a matter of course instead of a rare luxury–working out and going to yoga classes without having to arrange ahead of time, going out with friends, conversations with Tanner without a time limit, sleeping in half the mornings, having a second parent around and the whole sub-list that comes with that! Oh, and being outside at night. I hadn’t really realized that I am almost never ever ever outside past like 6 p.m. because that’s when I feed my kids dinner and put them to bed and it was just so so glorious to be outside every night.

I’m holding on to pictures of a couple of the trips we took with our families to post later, but here’s everything else we did!

Gladstone Community Pool

It’s kind of a new thing that you can evaluate Tanner stress level by the length of his facial hair.  This is a couple days after finals when he hadn’t quite recovered yet.   IMG_2685 IMG_2690

We went to this place and watched this rad marble making demonstration, and I think Tanner was so tired he wanted to die but I thought it was sooooo cool, and made us stay for another. IMG_2727IMG_1504

Tanner took Camryn to Chuckie Cheese on a daddy daughter date and I’m pretty sure she had the best day of her lifeIMG_2709 IMG_2712  IMG_2716 IMG_2719

Barbeque with some other 1st year (now 2nd year!) med school families. You know you’re in med school when all the guys are over-grilling the meat and discussing the various diseases we’d all get if it’s not thouroughly cooked. IMG_2728

Raspberry picking with the Johnsons and HanchettsIMG_2737

4th of July fireworks at Davis HighIMG_2750

Pace’s! Cherry rainbows forever and ever IMG_1513

Date night to antelope island. Tanner just walked in and came up behind me and said “oh my gosh look how happy we were, that seems so far away! It’s over, it’s all over!” #medschool.  It seriously was one of my favorite dates we’ve ever been on. Why have I never been to antelope island?? This is 15 minutes from the house I’ve lived in my whole life and I really don’t think I’ve ever set foot on it.  It was gorgeous, we “hiked” a mile up to this spot and watched the best sunset ever. Antelope island has one of the largest remaining populations of bison left in North America, and even though we were on the other side and didn’t see a single one, I had buffalo nightmares the entire night long. Did you people know I am terrified of animals? I’m learning this as an adult. Like, what is scarier than a real live giant mean ugly buffalo for reals??IMG_1637 IMG_1642 IMG_1635  Camryn is super into UNO these days and begged anyone and everyone all day long to play it with her.  My parents took the brunt of it, but here is Maddy serving her time.   IMG_2754

We blessed Drew 🙂 It was most of our families first time meeting him. This picture makes me so happy, look at all these amazing men in my sons life! Especially his awesome dad. Ryan and Zach we missed you!IMG_2757 IMG_2788 IMG_2767IMG_2778

ok really though, the following 2 pictures: Bramhall hair (that’s my little sister Maddy)+ Villavicencio hair (I don’t have a picture of my sister in law, but these are her daughters Jazzlyne and Kassandra) and my brothers babies are going to have amazing hair!!

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game night @ the RawsonsIMG_3061

El burrito with my parentsIMG_3091 IMG_3093

A big highlight of the trip for me was dinner with these lovely just really really really awesome bff’s of mine. Oh guys I miss you.IMG_2912

they’re funny and fun and make me happyIMG_2924

holla to Taeler and Kelsey who I also loved hanging out with and didn’t get pictures with which I’m annoyed at myself for! And I’m really sad I didn’t get to see more of you, especially my Provo friends, so next time!

Drive-inIMG_2933 IMG_2909 IMG_2906

My dad is really into biking and Tanner is really into France so they watch the Tour de France together. Also, Tanner got my mom totally hooked on HGTV.IMG_2897

Kaysville splash padIMG_2901 IMG_2900

Raiding the parentals garden.  All the raspberries I could eat!IMG_2805

Croquet with the Staples. Tanner and I killed it.  I mean, it’s croquet, so I don’t actually care. . . but we won.  For the record. IMG_3121

This beautiful lady on the left is Kelsey (my little brother’s wife) and she’s having a baby next month, so we threw her a shower. I’m really sad I won’t be there to meet the little guy when he’s still brand new and tiny! You only get so many opportunities in life to hold a new new baby.

The beautiful lady on the right works at H & M and has this awesome new habit of cleaning out her closet into my suitcase because she’s a sucker for her employee discount and has way too many clothes. It’s really working out for me.

The lady in the middle is my mom, she’s beautiful too!IMG_3321 IMG_3320_2

Camryn was super proud and insistent that she pull her own luggage all around the airport.  We had a 5:15 flight. oh the things to do to save $$.IMG_3140

This is the only picture we have from the entire last week of vacation because all we did was lay around and binge watch the Mindy Project.IMG_1725

Bye Summer, it’s been real.

Well hi

I’m just poking my head in to break my dry blogging spell over here! I’ll probably post about our lovely awesome soul rejuvenating month long summer break later (count on it, I’m like, 90% committed) but that’s a behemoth post the likes of which has been known to stop bloggers in their tracks for months, and I don’t believe in catch-ups. Tanner started school on Monday and it was really really sad to see him go after getting to spend pretty much every second with him for all of July. It was so great though and I feel like all the areas where I felt so depleted are all filled back up to the brim again. Life is good. Most of the break was go go go (we had things to do and people to see!) and now I’m mostly sticking around home which typically makes me crazy and lonely and bored, but is what I totally need right now. (And what my house needs too because oh man I did the absolute bare minimum of housework during our break and the place looks it!) After being gone so long (we were in Utah for 3 1/2 weeks) it’s always nice that old boring routine things are new again and my wanderlust has been satisfied. Days spent cleaning, reading stories, bathing children and making dinner are totally doing it for me for now, and it’s been really awesome to get back to bookbinding–I totally missed it ! I forced myself to take the entire month off even though I was tempted to work even more than normal since I had tanner around to watch the kids. I needed and he needed that not to happen though and I’m glad I took it off. 2nd year is apparently one big bad beast. That’s because they take step 1 boards (big scary tests) at the end of it which play a large role in determining where you get a residency and what kind of doctor you’ll get to be for the rest of your life, no biggie. Tanner was accepted to be an anatomy TA and tutor which we are really excited about but adds to his stress and hours. He’s pretty dead set these days on vascular surgery which is hard to get into and wants to do everything he can to make sure he’s able to get the residency he wants, so don’t feel bad if you don’t hear from him much this year! (Says his wife to herself)  

 Playing letters bingo this morning because this girl starts preschool next month! I read to her a ton but I’ve been pretty terrible about teaching her letters and sounds (probably because she usually yells at me to stop trying to make her learn -true story- THREE oh three you are. . . a challenge) but I bribed her with a game and ok candy, I bribed her with candy and that is always astoundingly effective 

This pretty much speaks volumes about drew’s life, poor guy. He’s such a good sport.

  And no matter what she does he thinks she’s the funniest person alive. No one can make him laugh like Camryn, even when she’s, like, spraying water in his eyes. 

Later you lovely people you