Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort

We are setting out on the first ever Essley Family joint vacation this weekend. We are heading to Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort in Mount Carmel Utah for an entire week. This is the first time we have done this as a family on the Essley side and we are hoping a week together in a large cabin will not ignite any fights or feuds. To say the very least personal space will very much be tested, but then again we are family. We will post many pictures of the event when we get home next weekend.

We will stay in something like this

Some fun Activities


Memorial Day Fun!

We woke up Monday morning, and since Gracie does not have much of an opinion yet, we decided to let the boys decide what we would do since dad did not have to go in to work. We gave them a few options, but the boys decided they wanted to go slip n sliding. So we spent the entire day sitting around the backyard soaking up the sun just hanging out. Most of us were acclimated to the sun and absorbed the rays pretty well, but to put it simply, Dane just burned! I guess sitting behind a desk really makes your skin sensitive. After nearly 5 hours of playing in the sun, we had the Essley families over for a hamburger cookout and movie. Dane borrowed his dad’s projector and we watched “A Night at the Museum” projected on to the wall of the house. It was better than a drive in and so much fun. If anyone’s interested we should all get together some time and have a movie night. The day was just perfect, nothing better than getting to spend quality time as a family and just make memories. We hope everyone had a great Memorial Day.

The Boys
Gracie, Wyatt, Mom, & Jesse

Coming Down

My Boys - After going down the slide they would jump in the waiting pool to get worm

The kids drove "Girl" (thats what they call thier car) all over the back yard to dry off and get worm


The best Pets in the World!

I must say that we have the absolute best pets in the world. Let me explain. We moved in to our place at the beginning of the year, and almost immediately the boys started asking for pets. Alysen and I would counter with the same excuse we used to get as kids, “pets are a lot of work and you have to pick up their poop all the time.” We found a frog, they named him Toad and put him in the sprinkler box where he lived for a couple of months until their cousins came over and killed him. We would find a new frog to replace it but frogs just aren’t very fun to play with? This satisfied for a while, but very soon not a week went by that we didn’t hear, “dad I would take care of a pet and pick up its poop.” Sure they say that now, but when it really gets down to it mom or dad are out there taking care of and picking up after a pet we didn’t even want in the first place. Well Alysen and I started to give in and began talking about pet possibilities. This was strictly because we are suckers when it comes to our kids and have had a hard time learning to tell them no. That’s right we will not be earning parent of the year status any time soon. I started to pray that the boys would forget about the pet thing and that’s when our fortunes started to change. Our great neighbors have a very friendly dog named Cooter. There is a hole in the fence that allows Cooter to come into our yard whenever he wants. Cooter is able to come over and play fetch with the kids while his owners are away at work. This is great a dog that is friendly and patient with the kids yet goes home to sleep, home to eat, and home to poop! Are you kidding me can life get any better? The answer is yes! A few days latter a cat starts to show up at our house every day. It is very obvious that this is someone else’s pet, I think the owner puts the cat out in the morning while they go to work and brings it in at night when they get home. This is the nicest cat I have ever seen. It plays with the kids, snuggles with the kids and yet at night goes home to sleep, home to eat, and home to poop! The kids named the cat TigerByger. Our pet prayers have been answered and yes we do have the best pets in the world!

Thats our TigerByger


Our little "sleepwalker"

Over the past few weeks, since switching from the crib to a bed, Gracie has been getting out of bed and sleeping on the floor. We wake up in the morning to find her curled up with her blankie in such places as the hall, the foot of her bed, the boy’s room, and even under the crib? It has become very common to find her outside of bed on the floor or within a few steps of her room. Last night I woke up around 1:30 to use the little boy’s room and get a drink of water. As I past Gracie’s room, I noticed that she again was gone. I went in her room expecting to find my little boots (one of daddy’s many nicknames for my girl) curled up awkwardly on the floor, but this time their was no such luck. I checked all the "regular" spots again with no luck. I went and woke up Alysen and we proceeded to search for our little boots. It has never taken us very long to find her, so after a few minutes a little panic started to set in. As we made our way down the hall and into the living room we finally found our little girl slumped over the edge of the couch with her arms tightly wrapped around her blankie. This was the farthest from her room that she has ever traveled at night. I am starting to think we might have a sleepwalker on our hands.


Mowing the Lawn

With summer officially upon us, that means it is time that the dormant winter lawns have woke up and started growing like crazy. While we are absolutely loving our new yard, it has been quite a chore keeping up with the lawn. After spending around 2 hours a week sitting on my riding mower, I decided I had to take some action. Most of you are aware that I purchased a landscaping company about a year ago. I have lots of extra lawn equipment at my disposal, and that is where my plan started to develop. I brought the smaller mower to the house and started letting Wyatt follow me around, with the blades off, and learn to operate the machine. After about 2 weeks I have Wyatt so excited about the idea of mowing the lawn, and he really does a good job operating the mower. So if everything goes as planned, the only lawn work I will have responsibility for is edging the lawn.

Wyatt & Dad


This year we decided to give gardening a try. I spent the better part of three Saturdays, a total of 16 hours, rota tilling and preparing the soil. I have always considered myself as a manly man (easy on the comments) but tilling that soil really beat me up. Well after all of this preparation we finally planted tomatoes, peppers, spinach, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, onions, green beans, sweet peas, carrots, corn, watermelon, cantaloupe, & pumpkins. We spent the better part of three weeks looking for anything to pop out of the soil and even got very excited at the sight of a few weeds. Finally we began to see our garden start to take shape only to find Gracie decided to pick most of our small plants setting us back on our quest for produce. After much patience and love we have finally started to reap the benefits of fresh produce. It has really been a fun learning experience for Alysen and I, the garden has literally been like a child. We have had to spend a lot of time in order for our small little garden to survive and succeed. In fact I am giving a fireside in a few weeks to the youth based on the garden lessons we have learned, but that’s another post for another time. Anyway we are very proud of our garden, hear are a few pics, hope you enjoy.


McCormick Railroad

It is rare that all the Chaffee cousins get together with Lee & Ness living in Pennsylvania and Lafe & Lacey going to Cleveland we have to take advantage of these fun times. Here are a few gems from The McCormick Railroad Park in Scottsdale.

Arden, Gracie, & Lilly
"The Girls"

Jesse Gracie Wyatt


Goodbye IBC

IBC root beer is one of my favorite indulgences. Alysen likes chocolate and sweets, but when I think of treats, I think IBC root beer. I don’t know what it is, but IBC is just better than any other root beer out there. The other night Wyatt went next door to play with his neighbor friend DJ. While playing in the back yard Wyatt noticed DJ’s father, who was mowing the lawn, drinking a beverage from a bottle. Wyatt watched him put the drink down and thinking this was “the same thing daddy drinks” he went over and picked it up. DJ quickly realized what Wyatt was doing and screamed to him, “put that down, that’s my daddy’s beer”. Wyatt came home and explained the entire instance to us. Alysen asked him if he had tasted or smelled the drink to which he replied, “No way, that’s not good for our bodies”. It made us so proud, but at the same time made us realize just how impressionable our children are. We then had to explain the difference between root beer and beer to our 5 year old son. It was very difficult to explain why they both were called “beer” and both in a dark bottle, but one was ok and the other was not. The more we tried to explain the more questions Wyatt asked. He had a very hard time understanding. Needless to say, we will be making some changes in our home. It is amazing how much we can learn from our children if we are just open to listening.


After nearly 10 years of advanced schooling, 5 at MCC, and I still don’t think he ever received an associates degree? Dane finally finished his MBA! It seems like he has been in school forever, but we are very excited to “get our daddy back”. He graduated on April 15th from the University of Phoenix. The plan is for him to sit and pass the CPA exam within the next year. They say the average person sits for the CPA exam 3 times before passing; we really hope this does not take that long. Anyway we are so proud and excited that he is done!