Saturday, February 22, 2014


Recipe for a perfect Morningstar family vacation? One yurt, three days, six Morningstars and plenty of snow!

In celebration of Sasha's Gotcha Day, Sam's 13th birthday, and just because it's so gosh darn cool we rented a yurt up in Wanship Utah (halfway between Park City and Wyoming) for a few days of quiet family fun.  It was the perfect getaway. Seriously.  Perfect.

It was a mile ski from the parking lot up to the yurt.  It turns out that having two adults pack in six peoples' gear, clothes, and food makes for some seriously heavy pulks!  I mean, we needed a lot of Pop Tarts to keep this crew going for three days of winter romping!  Good thing Mom and Dad are super strong.

WanYing and Mommy on the way up to the yurt
Daddy hauls up the last of our vacation necessities (more Pop Tarts)
We made it!  Let the vacationing commence.
Our Kaz kid celebrates her 5th Gotcha Day in a yurt! Perfection.

You're probably wondering to yourself, "Won't an active family six get bored spending three days in the snowy wilderness in a giant tent?"

Not this family!

We spent the first couple of hours getting settled. This involved a lot of competition over who would get which bed followed by the obvious next step of luring/tugging/carrying the dog into the hard fought victory bunk.

The dog was not thrilled about her place in the top bunk. WanYing and Ben, however, as normal bottom-bunk dwellers, were exceedingly pleased with their lofty positions. That is, until the wood stove got cranking and the temperature in the yurt soared to just short of ten billion degrees.  Then we all competed for comparatively cool places to lay on the wooden floor.

We passed our evenings playing games, with Steve's childhood favorite of Water Works topping the list. The girls really like Water Works (or "the pipe game" as it's called in our house) because it's a strategy game that they can play independently.  The boys adore the pipe game because early on we established a rule that they are allowed to swear while playing this game (and only this game!).  We'll do what it takes to get the whole family to play a game together!

And we spent a lot of time reading.  Sam finished up book 2 of the Mistborn series (no spoilers, please, Ben and I are still working through the series!).  And we all enjoyed taking turns reading Superfudge aloud.  With siblings in Kindergarten and 6th grade, Superfudge ended up being the perfect book for our family - full of zany sibling rivalry and just a little tenderness, just like our kids!

And, of course, we spent time celebrating our fantastic kids!  I think that chocolate cupcakes plus plenty of reading time may be Sam's complete birthday wish package. Oh, right, an Xbox would probably be in that equation.  Well, at least we hit 2 out of 3 essential elements.

We also spent lots of time snowshoeing through the mountains and enjoying great family time and Utah's astounding beauty.

Steve tries out his new sliding snowshoes (nice job, Jamie, best Valentine's gift ever!)  
Admittedly, the sliding snowshoes would be more fun with more powder, but we had a good time nonetheless

We had an amazing couple of days of yurt adventure, capped off by the astounding wilderness stars.  My Valentine's gift from Steve, only slightly less awesome than the sliding snowshoes, was an intervalometer for my camera.

Now we just need to figure out how to get the batteries to last longer than 20 shots in the frigid cold so we can make time lapse video that lasts longer than 3 seconds :)

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