What I learned while hiking Utah’s Ensign Peak.

We hiked to the top of Ensign Peak last week. 

Hiking Ensign Peak | The R House

(This summer Josh was all, “I NEED to be in the mountains.” So, we’ve been doing a lot of hiking as of late with our little fam. Camping is still not on my radar though. Let’s not get carried away.)

Ensign Peak for Kids | The R House

This was a different kind of terrain than our previous hikes this summer. More deserty. Tyson took one look around and said, “What the heck? I thought hiking was supposed to be about exploring in the forest.” So, there’s that.

To Tyson’s point, what the heck is Ensign Peak? On July 24, 1847 Brigham Young lay ill in his wagon after traveling thousands of miles to escape religious persecution. When he arrived at Ensign Peak, B.Y. looked down at the Salt Lake valley and proclaimed, “It is enough. This is the right place. Drive on.” It’s one of my favorite quotes. I mean, there’s a difference between “this is the place” and “this is the right place.”

Desert Mountain Beauty | The R House


The last time I did this hike was on my mission in 2002. I served on Temple Square.

When our family arrived at the summit, we were greeted with “Oohs!” and “Awws!” and cheers from a zone of Temple Square missionaries. We saw them hiking up (the more difficult way than we were taking) and Josh made a point to tell the boys that they were missionaries like mommy was before we got married. I listened to them discuss how cool that was. I’ve never been so proud of that decision I made at the last minute 13 years ago. I love my husband for that moment he created.

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My kids have heard about my mission so many times that they must have felt comfortable just jumping into the zone picture the missionaries asked me to take at the the peak. The sisters were enthusiastic and incredibly sweet to the boys …and when I told them I served on TMSQ as well, they erupted into cheers. I had to choke back a few tears, friends. I’m not sure why, but I loved it so much. Sisterhood! Solidarity!

Ensign Peak | The R House

View from Ensign Peak | The R House

As Josh and I overlooked the valley with the kids and were pointing out all the cool things you could see from the view to our kids, the sisters started a little devotional. We listened to them sing High On a Mountain Top each in their own language–English, Spanish, French, Korean, Mandarin. I was overwhelmed with love, the Spirit, and nostalgia. In their prayer to start the devotional I heard them thank God for us and asked Him to bless “The Family.”

Top of Ensign Peak | The R House

You guys. It was so choice.

They didn’t have to love on us like they did. I mean, they didn’t even know us! What great examples.

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Let’s be more enthusiastic. Let’s embrace people. Let’s take time to learn about them and their families. Let’s sing more. Let’s pray for people who come into our lives–even the relative strangers. Let’s love more. More heart.


Semi-related: Check out Jackson’s form as he jumped over the log “steps” on the way down the mountain. I can’t handle the cute, you guys.

Jack Attack Jump | The R House

Free Family Event | Utah’s Ultimate Athlete

My SIL and her husband own a really cool gym in American Fork called Velocity Sports Performance

We had the most amazing and competitive “rehearsal dinner” there the night before she got married. You guys. So fun. I cannot express that enough. (Email me if you want to do it for your wedding. I can hook you up.)

Utah's Ultimate Athlete  therhouse.com.jpg

Tomorrow (Saturday, March 29th), Velocity is hosting Utah’s Ultimate Athlete  and I just entered my family as a team. It’s obvious that I am the most athletic person both in my family and in Utah. I’ve always had this athletic prowess …ever since I was little. I mean, just look at this form:

Bad Dance Photos | therhouse.com

Me. 10 years old. Nailing it. 


Further proof: My first soccer team was named the Blue Unicorns. I came up with the name and then somehow convinced the rest of the team to allow it. I think it was the bowl hair cut that I had at the time. Unicorns though? It does not get much more athletic than that. 

All those NFL players and BYU superstars that will be there on Saturday better watch out. Blue Unicorn Alum comin’ at ya!

Seriously though. This is a competition for you super intense competitive folks (like me) as well as families. My very pregnant SIL is even joining in the festivities.



And just because he is adorable and will hate me for posting this, here’s my bro-in-law dancing on the news! HA! (Aaron, you will never live this down. It will be reenacted at every family dinner.)



It is going to be so much fun!

Bring your family. Great prizes. Activities for kids. Raffle. Velocity trial memberships. Your children can get their wiggles out. (The #1 thing I look for in a family activity.)

OH AND THIS: It’s free.

Utah's Ultimate Athlete | AMP Athletics | therhouse.com


And you can support an amazing organization. Learn more about AMP Athletics.


See you tomorrow!



Floor to ceiling gratitude tree

Need a fun project to do with your family this month?

How about a floor to ceiling gratitude tree made from wrapping paper, paper grocery bags and scrapbook paper?


I took pieces of kraft wrapping paper and rolled, crumpled and twisted them together with pieces of brown grocery paper bags that I cut apart. This made the trunk and branches. I just attached it to the wall using foam tape for walls.

And then the fun part: I took scrap pieces of scrapbook paper (I have a box full of them #hoarderprobs), cut out leaves and let my kids write things they were grateful for. We got everything from “Jesus” to “Dad’s iPad” to “And Pupes!!!!!” …puppies that is.


I personally wrote down each of my kids’ birthparents …they’ve changed and continue to change my life for the good, all 6 of them. Love them so much.



There is something so powerful about the power of gratitude. It’s kind of addicting! We just keep adding and adding leaves to our tree and hope to have it all full by the time Thanksgiving rolls around.

“And Pupes!!!!!”