Friday We're In Love Google

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Strawberry Days Rodeo

Date Info: 
Price: $30 for two tickets 
Location: Any small town- we're in Pleasant Grove, UT

While in Utah post Alt Summit, I was joined by Jacob for a weekend of fun dates enjoyed outside in the perfect summer weather. I relished in the time to explore the state I was raised in and take him to some places I knew and loved. One of those places is Pleasant Grove, UT, where many of my junior high friends went to high school. It's a little more rural in those parts, even though they are 15 minutes from where I grew up. Consequently, they have one of the best rodeos in the country, and I somehow never made it to one growing up. So we decided it was time to get our cowboy on and change that! 

We bought tickets in advance, something I'd highly recommend, because they sell out the day of.

We also found a $5 Walmart hat helps you fit in better.

I kind of adored that they advertised it as a great date, with a date meal special ready to go.

 We were lucky enough to double with two of our favorite people on the planet. We were able to steal them away from their twin toddlers for the night and laugh and catch up. They moved to Utah after a grad school stint in AZ, and I've been friends with the husband since high school. She did our wedding flowers, and taught us how to refinish our cabinets. I can't say it enough- we love our Seales and wish we still lived in the same state!

Oh man, being first time rodeo attendees made us sad we didn't jump on these sooner, they are so much fun!

The patriotism of small towns we adore, and it was awesome to see the National Anthem be played and a prayer be said publicly before the event.

It was also amazing to see the many events! I couldn't get over the variety and excitement of each event. It started with bareback riding where it's timing how long a rider can stay on the horse.

We watched team cattle roping.

And cattle wresting (and apologies to my PETA friends for posting these pics).

The surprise favorite event- wild cow milking. You read that right. A wild cow is released, and a team has to catch them, hold them, and milk a certain amount of them. The first team to finish wins the event. This may be one of the funniest things I've ever seen in my life!

 Learning about the "8 Second Rule" made that Luke Perry movie title make so much more sense.

Man it was exciting to watch and count each suspenseful second for each participant. 

Of course there was the rodeo clown show, which I didn't have much expectations towards. It really was hilarious and this is probably the best trained horse with the most amount of tricks you can you imagine.

And then it was back to the events- including single cattle roping.

And barrel racing- which took place just feet away from us.

We were all smiles people watching and eavesdropping on conversations. We live very different lives than the folks in Pleasant Grove, and it was truly fun to hear a different way of speaking/living/interacting with others.

The rodeo was enough, but watching fireworks in 70 degree weather when it's 100 degrees at night back at home, was the perfect ending to what I think may be the perfect summer date.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Molly Butler Lodge- Greer, AZ

Date Info: 
Molly Butler Lodge Dinner 
Price: $20-$30 a plate 
Location: Greer, AZ

While staying at our Cabin in Greer, we decided to hit up a place that is well known in Jacob's family as the best restaurant in Northeast AZ. It's the nice place people go to for a delicious steak dinner to celebrate events and special occasions. 

It's also a popular Prom dining location, so we made sure to get a Prom picture to celebrate.

The lodge has been around a long time, since 1910, and it's a place to stay and grab a great meal.
So we did the latter. And it started with some delicious bread. 

Jacob has been a few times, but never tried their famous prime rib, so this trip made sure to change that. He was a fan and could see why it's so popular!

I wanted to try a steak since that's what the entire Whiting clan has raved about for years. Even with some fancy steakhouses on our dining resume, I have to admit this was still one excellent steak!

This was also one really fun date to hit up in the midst of our very chill weekend at the cabin. It was awesome to find a lot of cute little dining places, but even more awesome to go to a nicer place and experience "The best meal in Northeast AZ!" 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Greer Cabin

Date Info: 
Greer Cabin Rental
Price: Starting at $75 a night
Location: Greer, AZ
Website: Greer Cabin Rentals 

I just wouldn't feel right not sharing one of the best kept secrets of Arizona. During the 4th of July weekend we decided to escape the Phoenix heat and head North to a cooler climate. Jacob grew up in a small town in Northeast AZ, and he was always close to the cabin/resort town of Greer. With so much family we find we usually need to book our own place to stay, and we couldn't resist the opportunity to get a little cabin of our own for the weekend.  

We pulled in to a mid 50's temp late Thursday night, and almost died of joy! 110 to 56, yep, we'd take it! Plus how cute are these little loft-style cabins? 

We were thrilled to call this place home for a couple nights. 

It's amazing when you can just sit and enjoy your surroundings, porch swings, perfect weather, and gorgeous scenery will do that to you! 

We had big ambitions to hike and explore a lot of nature, but down pouring rain had other plans for us. And you know what, that was fine in our books! 123 days without a drop of rain in our area made us love and soak up the rain. Rainy days have always made me happy, and I felt so lucky to watch thick drops fall from the sky.  

It also gave us the perfect excuse to sit and read, talk, nap, edit pictures, and work on a big blog project that's almost complete- details coming in the next week or two- we're excited! 

And who wouldn't love a very relaxing weekend in this cozy little cabin, curled up with your significant other? 

If you need a weekend getaway, a place to beat the heat, or a retreat to relax and reconnect, add Greer, Arizona to your list!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

4th of July: Small Town Parades

Date Info: 
Round Valley 4th of July Parade
Price: - Free
Location:Eagar/Springerville, AZ
Time: 1 hour- but get there an hour early for a good spot! 

*Post edit- This parade was featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal on July 5th- so we were onto something here! 

I'm going to go out on a limb and say you've never really lived unless you've experienced the 4th of July in small town America. 

Driving a few hours North to cooler weather, overcast skies, family, and the real small town parade experience while holding hands made for the perfect 4th of July.
 Small town patriotism includes not being humanly able to get enough red, white, and blue clothing on your body. Bonus if there are stars hanging in some way, multiple flags, and sparkles of any kind.

It means giving out free flags for every person in attendance of the parade, so true patriotism shines.

It means rodeo queens.

And horses, which are kind of a big deal in these parts.

It means even those on the clean-up crew get to have a hand-sewn uniform and proudly wear the flag.

And there are definitely floats that don't seem to make much sense.

It means awards for parade entries- including a "Best Religious" award.

Because people in small towns seem to really understand what it means to be a Christian- loving, accepting, and kind to everyone who enters their town.

Patriotism is so strong, people even breed that love and enthusiasm in the young- teaching about America's founders and dressing children as them.

And in this place, tiny pony rides exist.

So do tractors as floats in the parade- which even won the "1st Place Individual" award.

And class reunions are a big deal, those celebrating get to be in the parade. We got to enjoy the smile and wave from one of the greatest mothers on the planet- thrilled to see her family cheering for her!
In retrospect, we should have made sure she had hanging sparkly stars coming from her body.

We held up two of our nephews to wave at their dad while he passed by.

Small town parades include hilarious floats with a certain sense of humor.

And hometown heroes that everyone knows and loves.

Loud cannons, floats that pay tribute to the 2nd Amendment, candy galore, and many other glorious things can be experienced in perfect weather. And these things remind us where the heart of America really is, and how blessed we are to live in this great country. 


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