Utah 2023 for ELLA FEST: Part 2

Hey friends! Here’s PART 2 of my recap of our recent trip to Utah! We flew to visit my sister, attend my niece’s official adoption, and celebrate that sweet baby Ellie.

If you missed PART 1 of this trip, you can read it here!


Good morning! Dayton had a conversation with my aunt Jeanne while he waited for his breakfast.

And Milo had an exciting game of soccer(ish) in the downstairs den. BTW this giant “bonus” space was so wonderful on our trip! The boys loved using it to play soccer, run around, hang out with family, have dance parties, and just enjoy!

Good morning! Dayton and I loaded up in the car to drive to Salt Lake City to pick up my sisters Cara and Kaila from the airport.

Aaaand a few minutes into our drive I saw this. Ha! I’m noting all these instances of my babies falling asleep in the car because it NEVER happens when we’re at home! The early mornings and time changes really got to them.

Side note: the drive to the SLC airport is gorgeous. I enjoyed the cool sunny morning and the view of the mountains and drove with some peaceful music on while Dayton napped.

We drove back to meet up with family at the weekend farmer’s market. It was packed!

I’m really glad I brought our double stroller on this trip. Look at all that stuff I’m carting around!

Donut truck! The line was crazy long, and Courtney told me she usually doesn’t stand in line for them because the wait is insane. But donut’s are Nate’s love language, so he and the boys waited in line and got a 1/2 dozen. I was worried that wouldn’t be enough for everyone, but Courtney said the donuts are pretty big…

…and she wasn’t lying!

Happiness at the farmers market!

At the farmers market in 2023, but look at this throwback pic…

^5 years ago at the same market from this 2018 trip to Utah.

Donut time!

This child convinced me to give him an entire (giant) donut to himself.

A mess! 🙂

We got some coffee, listened to live music, strolled by the booths, and bought some fresh peaches, berries, and a loaf of bread to have on hand in our airbnb for the weekend.

^ Back to SLC to meet up with Kylee and Tyler who had just flown in, and this time Milo came along with me. Aaaaand fell asleep.

We headed to Squatter’s for some lunch and drinks. I was craving something a bit lighter/healthier, so I got the poke bowl from the menu. It was “meh” but the beer I ordered with it was delicious! Poke + beer? Sure, why not. I do whatever I want when I’m on a trip. We hung out for a bit, talked, and then more people came to downtown SLC to meet up at…

Templin Family Brewing. It was a beautiful space!


Actually, Nate was really the one who was in heaven! This brewery has won multiple GABF awards, and they have a pretty impressive lineup of traditional European lagers. We enjoyed a few .5 liters. One of  my favorite parts of this place (other than the fantastic brews and beautiful space) was the beautiful glassware!

Ok, the evening fell apart a little bit at this point with the various children and trading out cars and travelers and some people not feeling well, so I don’t have any photos of the rest of the night. It’s ok! It’s all a part of traveling, especially when you’re with a group of 15 people! We made it back home, got the kids to bed, and Nate ordered some Thai takeout that he, Cara, and I all enjoyed outside in the yard at dusk.

Day 3

Good morning!

Look at this sleepy little bear. He’s always double fisting TWO elephants. When he’s holding only one, he’ll proclaim “TWO ELFA!” until this second one is found.

I got outside for a morning hike. Our airbnb was a couple blocks from a trailhead, so it made getting into the mountains really easy.

I absolutely love getting outside in the mornings, but mornings in Texas have been a little less than awesome. I mean, honestly, they’ve been unbearable. Like all hot and sticky and humid at 7 am. So this dry, cool air felt amazing for a morning hike!

I stopped by the stream and listened to the sound of running water for a few minutes before turning around and walking to…

…my sister’s house! Good morning, baby b! Gosh, her bedhead curly hair is SO good!

I mean, look at those curls! We sat around in the backyard and drank coffee and got a slow start to the day. It was perfect.

Milo was absolutely obsessed with these toys the entire trip.

He played with the magna-tiles for hours!

Ok, one thing about this trip: my entire family was there, plus significant others, Courtney’s local friends, and some of her lifelong friends who flew in to Utah for the weekend. So we had FOUR different airbnb houses that we were staying in to accommodate a group this size. Organizing and moving a group of this size was kind of like herding cats, so getting everyone from point A (Courtney’s neighborhood) to point B (the next location) always took like 3 hours. It was always a scramble of “where’s dad?” and “should I move this carseat to your car?” and “can we swing by my house so we can pick up the diaper wipes?” and “how many extra seats do you have in your car?” and “is Will awake yet?” and “who still needs to drink coffee?” for a few hours until we finally got every to…

…the Dinosaur Park!

Please note that right when we walked in Dayton barreled over the rope in the picture above and wanted to pet that coyote (fox? what is that?) on the floor. We were all over buying tickets and then turned around and there was Dayton inside the exhibit!

This place was so much fun! It’s this giant park with dozens of life-size dinosaurs, trails, playgrounds, and…

…a dinosaur bone digging pit. The 3 little ones loved this part the most.

Go baby B!

Dayton and Kylee’s boyfriend, Tyler. I’m pretty sure Tyler got in about 10,000 steps at this dinosaur park. Every time I looked up he was running around with Dayton and kicking a pine cone like a soccer ball.

Feeding this fish with Ama and Grandpa.

And checking out the ducks with Uncle Will!

Have I mentioned how happy I am that these three are cousins now? Because I’ll keep reminding you. I’m reeeaaally thankful!

^ The group. What you can’t see in this picture is little Milo in the very front, leading the line. We walked through the park and Milo wanted to go first, so wherever he went, the 12 adults followed.

The dinosaur park was loads of fun, but we were all hungry afterward!

So we headed over to…

…UTOG brewing company! (The boys got a bit distracted by corn hole at the entrance.)

Just a few months ago I was standing in this exact spot….

…and now I can! ^ We took this photo when I was in Utah in June. My girl.

^ And my crazy son who makes up his own corn hole rules. This game is called “can the toddler get out of the corn hole?”

We eventually made it back to the back patio of UTOG (which has a playground, btw!) and ordered some beers and food with the group.

Nate and I snuck inside to the “bar” area (different from the “restaurant” area) to try one particular beer they had on tap.

We got that Spent Hops IPA (the one with the recycle sign on it) because it’s a pretty rare beer to see! After a hoppy beer is made, the brewery basically recycles the “spent hops” and uses them to brew another batch. A lot of the pungent hop character is gone, obviously, but there’s still a pretty nice floral aftertaste. I wouldn’t seek out this beer very often on its own, but it was fun to try it. And I like that it’s a way to get a second use out of the ingredients.


That evening, the boys played a bit more. ^ This was in Kylee and Tyler’s airbnb, and it had a fun little playground area in the backyard.

And we spent the evening lounging and relaxing! Nate offered to put the boys to bed that night (he’s the best!!!) so I sat on this chair and drank my sparkling water and it was lovely.

My little sister Kaila offered to babysit at my house so that Nate and I could hang out with the group on Courtney’s back patio. She had quite the spread of snacks for us! We drank some beer, talked, and enjoyed the cool evening.

And that was day 3.

I’ll be back with the final PART 3 of this trip next time! XO.






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