There's a lot to love about the Beehive State,
but for this post I'll focus on things I have particularly loved since moving back.
10-Basements and Food Storage
This is kind of silly, but basement storage makes life so much easier.
And on a related note, food-storage is easy to come by here since grocery stores cater to the interests of the general population and offer great case-lot sales.
My mom and I just canned about 120 quarts of peaches,
using the most beautiful, huge peaches I've ever seen, purchased from a local orchard.
Opportunities to collect and store food storage are great here!
(The pineapple shown in the picture was probably a little easier to come by in Texas, though...)
I guess this is more of something Sam loves,
but he can get to work at the University of Utah and BYU easily on public transportation.
Salt Lake City has even recently gained national recognition for its public transportation system.
Sam doesn't mind having a commute when he can sit and work without having to fight traffic.
It's odd that in a city the size of Houston, public transportation options left much to be desired and were virtually non-existent in the city we lived in, which bordered Houston directly.
Sam loves this change!
8-Lack of Scary Bugs
With the exception of some poisonous spiders and the occasional wasps' nest,
Utah's bugs are pretty kid-friendly. (And mom-friendly, too.)
My kids have always loved the fact that they can play in the dirt without the fear of being attacked by fire ants when we're in Utah.
And with nary a tree roach to be found,
I can even walk across the house in the dark without stepping gingerly!
7-Access to Church History sites
How nice is it that in less than 20 minutes we can be in downtown Salt Lake City,
walking around temple square, visiting the Church History museum, attending concerts, and more?
It's great to be surrounded by such a strong connection to our heritage.
And being just a short jaunt away from the temple is incredibly convenient as well.
My kids love spotting temples as we drive around!
Oh, how we've missed our beloved mountains!
Mountain hikes were meaningful in Sam's and my relationship,
and they've served as a place of peace and solitude for me throughout my life.
We are so excited to go camping in the mountains together as a family.
And family hikes...well, I have a feeling they'll become a weekly occurrence before too long!
I'm grateful for the beautiful view of the mountains we have from our backyard.
I might be eating my words come winter and I have to bundle up little boys countless times per day, but we love having 4 seasons!
It's a thrill to feel the chill starting to come into the air, to walk outside into cool evenings, to look up on the mountains and see the bright colors of autumn making their way down.
I love that we can go on walks in the middle of the day without battling ridiculous levels of humidity.
And my boys loved playing in the snow when we visited last Christmas,
so even though it may cause some inconveniences,
we happily await winter as well.
Yes, many of these things I love about Utah have to do with the great outdoors,
but that's because Utah is such a great place to enjoy them!
There are so many opportunities for outdoor recreation here.
Bike paths are just down the street from our house that stretch for miles and miles,
national parks are everywhere,
beautiful hikes and waterfalls are a dime a dozen,
and there are plenty of places to rock-climb, river-raft, and tour caves.
I feel like outdoor recreation is one of the best ways to build a family, so I'm glad to have such easy access to it all!
As much as I loved our little home in Texas,
there were no sidewalks in front of it, and no shoulder on the busy road we lived on.
So we have been so, so happy to have a sidewalk in front of our house
and to live in a fairly quiet residential area where the boys can ride their new trikes
(thanks, Corban and Laura!) with ease
and where we can go for walks without driving somewhere first.
Both boys will be getting bikes in the near-future, because they actually have a place to learn to ride them now!
2-A Fenced Backyard
I know sidewalks and fenced backyards aren't specific to Utah,
but since I'm writing about things that pertain to my current experiences here,
these are close to the top of the list,
simply because they keep my boys so happy!
Our backyard in Texas was virtually a huge, open, bug-infested field.
Our backyard here is small, covered in soft grass, shaded by a large, beautiful tree, and fenced!
It's so great to be able to keep an eye on all three boys out the kitchen window as they happily play and I prepare dinner.
Their clothes may not be very clean anymore,
and I've just realized that Lincoln's persistent diaper rash may be due to the fact that he eats so much dirt, but the boys are seldom happier than when they are playing outside.
I think we may all go through withdrawal when it's too cold for them to go outside at will throughout the day!
1-Time Spent with Family
With all the wonderful things Utah has to offer,
still it remains that the best part about Utah is the many family members we have here.
We feel spoiled to the point of guilt because of all of the support we've received since moving here.
We love family get-togethers, the boys love playing with their cousins,
and we feel so blessed that we are less than an hour away from the majority of our family members.
So, whether our time in Utah only lasts the 3ish years Sam's postdoctoral fellowship will last
or we end up living here more long-term,
we'll enjoy it while we can and rejoice in the opportunity to re-live so many wonderful memories.