We started celebrating the 4th of July (Independence Day, not sure why we don’t call it that in our common vernacular) on Thursday when Melissa and I took our first hot air balloon ride. This was particularly meaningful for me since I was able to get a cool aerial shut of the construction on the Utah Vally Hospital (a project I have been leading for 3 years).

Our pilot was very talkative and a little quirky. That quirkiness is what made him fun. He also had a Blue Heeler dog that accompanied us on the ride. It was a pretty cool experience, but we wish we could have taken our kids with us.

We started Saturday early with a 6:00am bike ride with the VeLove team. We went up to South Fork. It was a great 65 mile ride with great people, weather, conversation.

After the ride, we picked up Hannah from the University of Utah, where she is living while at a ballet summer intensive. Not having her with us makes us feel incomplete, so it was nice to be reunited with her. We made our way to Provo for a BBQ and fireworks. The kids love seeing their cousins.


For the second year in a row, Maxwell served as the pyrotechnical master. Aerial fireworks became legal in Utah last year and they are awesome. Maxwell has fun lighting fireworks, but he is also very kind when the little kids want to give it a try.









On Sunday, we had a Brooks Family gathering where we had another BBQ and night of fireworks. It was great to relax and hang out with family for a few hours.


On Monday morning we all woke up early and drove to Provo for the Freedom Festival 5 & 10k. The plan was for Hannah, Norah and Truman to run the 5k and Melissa, Maxwell, and I would run the 10k. However, about 10 minutes before the start, we realized the 5k was a couple miles away and would require us to drive their to make it on time. As a result, I took Hannah, Norah and Tru over to the 5k start line and opted to run with them. This proved to be a great experience. Hannah ran/walk with Truman (such a great big sister), while I ran with Norah.

I really wanted to pace Norah and teach her how to run without stopping. With the exception of one aid station and the time to briefly pose for the above temple shot, we ran the whole time. Sure, Norah wanted to stop a few times, but I just coached her that we could slow down, let our heart rates slow a little, and then pick it back up. She was also motivated by passing other people. On the last hill, she was feeling pretty tires and asked to walk. I pretended to sprinkle unicorn dust on her and sure enough, she found her second wind. She finished it the last two-tenths of a mile very strong. Compared to her AFCRAC 5k time two weeks earlier, she improved by 6 minutes (from 39 to 33).




The Freedom Run was a great experience for us all and we will definitely be back in subsequent years.


Started the day in front of The Brick Oven for the Freedom Fest 5k. Finished the day at The Pie as we dropped off Hannah for her final two weeks at her summer intensive ballet program at the U. We already miss her!