The boys enjoyed scooting around on our lovely back patio in September.


And on September 12, they got to meet their newest nephew, Natalie’s first son, Graham. Both Jonah and Declan just LOVE holding him.


At the end of September we went to a giant pumpkin weigh off at Thanksgiving point. It almost inspired me to grow one next year…but then I thought about how much space these things would take. Our new yard is big, but not that big.
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Me and the boys went for a hike in American Fork canyon. We were hoping to see some fall leaves, but it has been such a warm fall that they are not changing yet. Declan picked up a rock and carried it in the folds of his neck for most of the hike, not sure why, but it was cute.

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We watched a caterpillar that Jonah and his friends found turn into a cocoon and then a butterfly. We learned the hard way that if the butterfly does not have enough room to spread it’s wings in the first hour or so, they will dry curled. And since our butterfly hatched in the middle of the night, it was too late when we found him. Bigger container next time!



We took Grandma Lloyd along for a hike up to Battle Creek falls. We found a lot of strange yellow rocks that looked a lot like Jonah…


Woodbury’s in Utah

In September, my parents came to visit. My brother Cody and his wife live here in Utah so we all hung out. My parents were kind enough to take us all to Park City for the weekends (THANKS Mom and Dad!!!) We did lot’s of fun stuff. We biked all over Park City (pulling Jonah and Declan up a hill is not for the faint of heart),


Did the Alpine slide (Declan was not a fan at all),


Went to a hot air balloon festival (early in the morning and it was COLD! but very beautiful), Declan was scared of the fire that was blowing up the balloons (are we sensing a theme here? this boys has some fears…)








rode a funicular up the mountain to a fancy hotel to see the view.



Went to Olympic Park and watched the ski jumpers practicing their flips into the swimming pool. Jonah decided he wants to be a ski jumper.




And I even managed to sneak in a mountain bike ride while Nick watched kiddos (Thanks Nick!)



Outside of Park City, we did a few fun things such as check out the witches for Halloween at Gardner Village (Declan was not a fan…”Witches, Scawey!”).



The kids and I took my parents and Cody to the kids’ museum. They all played at had fun. Even though the photo does not look like it…it’s the best photo I got.



Thanks for coming to visit, Mama and Papa Woodbury!

Backpacking with kids

For labor day weekend, Nick and I decided to take the kids on a backpacking trip. While we did have fun, let me inform you of two things that we learned: #1: we will not be taking kids backpacking again until all of said children can walk on their own two legs. #2 It would also be very helpful if those children could help carry all the extra stuff required to have them along. Yeah…kids and backpacking…I just don’t know if it’s enjoyable. But flaming gorge was beautiful.
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We did a hike to some dinosaur prints, which was pretty cool. Jonah swore every branch he saw on the ground was a dinosaur bone.

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We hiked a few miles along the rim of the gorge and then set up camp. Nobody got much sleep that night as we were in mountain lion territory. We saw a bunch of deer which was really neat. But Nick saw a mountain lion on our hike and we both heard rustling all night. In the morning there was a track right between our tent and the string of the rain fly. And the leftovers of a fresh kill not too far from our camp. YIKES!

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And our life in Utah begins…

August was an eventful month! We were finally getting settled into our new house (moved in at the beginning of July) and the boys started school! By boys I mean Nick and Jonah. I didn’t think I would get emotional about Jonah going to kindergarten since he has already been in Italian school for two years, but I found myself a little teary eyes as I watched him march off with his class. Cute boy. He was so excited that all the kids would speak ENGLISH! Check out all the Mom’s taking pictures, too cute.
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Sadly, I did not get a photo of Nick on his first day back to school. (And if I had managed to snap a photo he may not have allowed me to post it, in his words “what am I, 5?”) But here is a photo he took from the train station on one of his first days commuting. Nick was willing to take an 1.5 hour commute on the train (each way) in order for us to live in a nicer area and a house that we both liked.


Before school actually started, they had a school fair that we went to. The boys enjoyed it. Popcorn, balloons and games, what more could a kid need?

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We decided it would be a worthy investment to buy a membership to the kids museum/dinosaur museum/ farm (Thanksgiving Point) that is 5 minutes from us. And so far, the kids have LOVED it.

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This photo is hard to see, but Jonah is going through lot’s of layers of bungees, it is super fun.

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And the joys of home ownership have begun….we have already replaced the dishwasher and built a pergola out back. When I say we I mean Nick.

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I have to keep these energetic boys busy so they’ll sleep through the night! Or sometimes pass out in the living room in the day…haha.

Trip to Lake Coeur D’alene

Nick and I were able to get some time off work finally after our super crazy, long summer of working. We took the long journey north in August and spent some time at the lake with my family. It was our first time seeing Tyson in three years and we met his new girlfriend and her cute son, Carson. And our first time meeting Nicole’s three new additions (foster kiddos hopefully soon to be adopted kiddos: Bryson, Mackenzie and Marshall)
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We had a lot of fun. Jonah turned into a fish. I think he may have grown gills. He spent at least two hours a day in the water and could not get enough. We played on the boat and jet skis and spent lot’s of time just relaxing.


We also took a tour of the historic silver mines in Wallace, Idaho. And walked around the cute historic part of town there. (Which used to be known for it’s harlot houses apparently.)


We took a trip into “town” and hit up Chuck E Cheeses. The kids of course had a great time.



My Dad, Nicole and I did the Coeur d’alene triathlon. I was only able to do the sprint distance as this summer was super crazy and I did not have time to train much. But my Dad and Nicole did the Olympic. It was super fun to do this with family! We are already planning for our next one…right guys? And this time I’ll actually train.


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I almost didn’t post that last photo, but it’s too funny not too. I was excited to see my fans!

July 2014, Officially residents of Lehi

We bought a house and moved into it in July. Very exciting month! We moved to Lehi, Utah. Near the lake and the American Fork train station where Nick will commute up to the University of Utah every day. Our household goods arrived just in time for us to move in. Although our storage (which includes our  washer and dryer) has been a little bit harder to track down…it is a huge process trying to get stuff out of Army storage, so we will see how long that takes. Hopefully we can wash our clothes by August!

Now that we have officially closed on our house I have backed my hours down to part time, and Nick quit his night job and has taken on more hours at the University of Utah until school starts. We were going to try to keep doing as many hours as possible but we were both completely dead and when we worked out the numbers it wasn’t worth it.

We are so happy to be out of the Lloyds’ hair! I am sure they are happy too! We spent three months with them and will be forever indebted for their kindness in taking us in during our big transition.





We are loving the view of the Utah lake from across the street from our house.


Nick broke his thumb at work. Luckily it was covered by his work since it happened on the job. He dropped a server on it. Computer guys probably shouldn’t move the giant computers.


Playing at the Highland splash pad.



Fourth of July. We went to a neighborhood party and met a few neighbors. We also were able to watch a ton of fireworks just out our bedroom window. We could even see the big ones from Thanksgiving point, a big place that does fireworks, a little ways away.



Moving is hard work! We were pretty exhausted. Even though the movers bring the boxes to whichever room you want them too, unpacking is still tough.


Found the cutest little bug ever.


Discovered a bike trail that goes a long ways near our house, so pretty!


Went to “foam days”, a local Lehi tradition during rodeo week. (I had to work that day, boo).





And went to the water park as reward for our summer reading program.


June 2014

June happenings…

We found a house in Lehi Utah! We closed on our house and started moving a few things in at the end of the month, but are waiting for our household goods shipment (read: beds) to move in. So we spent June at the Lloyd house and working, working, working.

Nick actually got a second job, working at the University of Utah as a network operator. His plan is to quit working at vivint at the end of the summer and continue working at the U. It is the highest paying student job on campus so he is pretty excited about that, and it’s with computers, so it’s perfect. But for now he is working a full time night job and a part time day job, it’s a little crazy.

Nick took the kiddos to the Hogle zoo.
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Declan wants to be big and open the car door but can’t quite get it. We are so happy to have our car back! Thanks to Grandma and Grandpa Johnson loaning us their jeep we were able to get jobs and work until our car arrived.


The boys love the jumping place.

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Bean museum with Grandma.


Hanging out at the Lloyd house.

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Jonah is in love with the neighbor’s dog, Toby. We may have to get a dog in the near future.



And presenting…our new house!!! It was love at first sight. Probably because it has a bit of an Italian villa feel to it. (Not really…but maybe just a little tiny bit…it’s the entry way). The yard is in rough shape, but everything else it pretty good. It’s close to the train station so Nick will ride the train to the University of Utah every day. It’s a long commute but he loved this house and was willing to do the commute, so here we are!


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May 2014

We spent May living at the Lloyd house. I accepted a job position working as a recreational therapist at Provo Canyon Behavioral Hospital and started on May 1st. Nick is working night shift as desktop support at Vivint. So we juggle our shifts in such a manner that one of us is with the kids the most time possible, but we end up needing a little help about 3 days a week. Nick’s mom Julie has been generous enough to help us with this. I did not want to move to Utah, but I can honestly say that I am not sure how we would have survived this summer without family to live with and help us in so many ways.


Nick, Grandma Julie and Uncle Paul took the kiddos to This is the place to see their baby animals. I wasn’t there due to work, but it sounds like they all had fun!

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Because I started work on May 1, it made it difficult for me to make a cake and prepare for Jonah’s 5th birthday on May 2nd. Grandma Julie came to the rescue though and made this beautiful matchbox car track cake. Jonah loved it. And he got some fun presents so he was set. Happy birthday to my big boy. He is such a sweet soul. While he may be a little energetic at times and has difficulty containing it, when you really get to know him he is a very caring and sensitive little boy.

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May has been one of the hardest months we have had in a long time. Nick is exhausted from working the night shift, I am exhausted from working full time, the kids are missing their own toys and space. But we are surviving. We try to do fun things here and there when we can, since it is getting to be summer time.

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Arriving in the United States of America

April 12, 2014. The day Nick separated from the Army and we all had to fly back to the states. We tried to delay it, but it was not to be. I would have loved to stay in Italy, and a part of me probably always will be there. I miss it so much already. I think I cried more than a few times on the flight. When we arrived at the airport in the states the man at customs said “welcome back”, but for my little Declan it should have just been “welcome”. It’s crazy to think how long we have been away!

Jonah was super excited for the in flight movies, I think he watched at least three. The only other flights he can remember are Ryan air within Europe…no movies on those flights!


The army allows 4 checked bags per person and one carry on. We were worried about our shipment being overweight so we maxed out what we could bring on the plane. We brought 16 bags (mostly in boxes because no one has that much luggage!), 4 carry-ons, a stroller with two children in it, two car seats and a pack and play. We were worried about our transfer in the states, but apparently they are used to crazy people like us (or knew we were coming??) because these two guys with huge carts started loading all our stuff up without even asking. We were so jet lagged we just said thank you…and they stood there with angry looks on their faces. I think they had to tell us they required tips…we were so out of it.


When we arrived in Salt Lake we had three or four vehicles there to pick us up. Thank you so much Lloyd family! We all made it and so did all our stuff!

The boys were excited to have a delayed Christmas at Grandma’s (we didn’t want anything sent at Christmas as we were preparing to move).

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April was a whirlwind. Nick and I both hit the ground running. We thought the bank would let us use the GI bill for a loan for a house (it provides a generous housing stipend while you are in school), but apparently that doesn’t count as income. So we spent April job hunting first before we can house hunt. The Lloyd’s have been kind enough to take us in while we figure out where we are going to settle.


We enjoyed our first holiday back in the USA, Easter with the Lloyds. They even provided my kids with their own personal Easter egg hunt. I think we are going to like living near family!

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We did lot’s of fun things in April. including going to the nickelcade.

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Hiking to bridal veil falls.


Shooting Nick’s new gun (now that we are stateside he feels it is his responsibility to add himself to the list of responsible gun owners in the states. Not something he ever would have considered before the military.)


Adjusting to the time zone…jet lag!


The jumping place (trampolines and foam pits! So fun!)

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Eating GOOD mexican food!!!! And Declan apparently like SPICY!!


And just going for a stroll.


We managed to get a photo of all the Lloyd kids in one place for the first time in at least three years.


Ciao ciao bella Italia!

April marked our last month in Italy. What a difficult thing it is to say good bye to a country that you have grown to love so much and know that you will probably never live in again. (I hope and dream that we do, but I’m also a realist and know it may never happen). We spent our last few months in Italy trying to squeeze in as much adventure as we could (actually, we spent our entire time doing it!). And trying to buy all the little things I had wanted but had kept putting off. I’m not usually a shopper, but when you know it’s your last chance…let’s just say I shopped this month.

This is Jonah’s last day at his Italian preschool in Creazzo.


His teacher, Maestra Lisa left the school a few months ago. She was replaced by maestra Ana, who is in this photo, sorry it’s not a great photo. We loved Maestra Lisa and I wish we had a photo with her.


Here is his class. I don’t know too many names, the one standing and scowling is Emanuele, he invited Jonah to his birthday party. The boy just next to him is Matteo. The brown little girl on the right in the back is Malak, Jonah’s “girl friend”.


Jonah in front of his locker with Matteo. When Jonah was new, Matteo’s Mom told him to play with Jonah. Matteo responded “but he doesn’t speak Italian!” and his Mom responded “play anyways!”


My boys, they have no idea how their worlds are about to change!


One last quick trip to the lovely city of Verona.

And the movers arrived. Now it’s getting real. They were pretty careful with our stuff. I did catch one guy about to drag a box of polish pottery down the stairs and I yelled at him. The movers were funny, they like me because I spoke Italian, but they also didn’t like me because I watched them like a hawk. We have things we have gotten that we just can’t replace.

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Right after the movers left I found Jonah like this. I think he is feeling some emotions about moving…

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We moved into the hotel for just a few nights before flying out. It was nice to be on base to wrap up the last few things for Nick’s out processing.


We went out to eat with some friends from our apartment building at a restaurant on top of Monte Berico. Such a beautiful view of Vicenza.


Not only are we saying goodbye to Italy but we are saying good bye to the military. No more Sergeant Nick. No more man in uniform. This is all we have known while we’ve been married, so it’s a little crazy!


Kissing my soldier one last time. Love him!


I love this one. The boys with their Daddy in uniform for the last time.



We spent our last day in Vicenza trying to get a good family photo with the local scenery. Us in front of La Rotunda and the beautiful yellow flowers. And below is us under the archway of the Basilica in the heart of Vicenza.


One of the things that I have learned from living in Italy is that my bucket list never gets shorter. I am always adding things faster than I can cross them off. I think that is good though. It just goes to show how much beauty there is on this earth, so much to see and do and people to connect with and learn about. I am sad to be going back to my own country where the opportunities for adventure will not feel as abundant as they do here, but I try to remind myself that Italians think the same thing. I remember when I lived in New Zealand, my host family remarked that we had done more in their country in 4 months than they had done in a lifetime. That got me thinking, do we appreciate what is in our own back yard? As sad as I am to be going back to the states I want to try to appreciate my own back yard as well.