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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

My Benless Day #2

So today was alright since the kids were buckled down - literally - for about 6 hours of it.  Our drive out here was just fine.  We listened to Broadway's Lion King, an Alvin Ho book, plus the musical Pinkalicious.  Of course we had to listen to the animal song CD since Lucy asked - all throughout the other music DVDs - for the "monkey song."

We met up with Megs at Kiwanis Park.  And besides it being so super hot that the kids didn't play at the park area, it was fun (we stuck to areas under and near trees).  Megan's kids are super cute and she and Greg looked great.  It was a fun visit.

We got here close to 6pm and Erin had a yummy dinner for us just about finished.  Lucky us.  Lucy went down well.  Emmy and Rhett are sleeping in the same room - well, they should be sleeping, but they are still up. . . hopefully they will fall asleep soon.  The boys are down in their rooms.

Speaking of the boys. . . Jonas lost his first tooth!  Uncle Chuck pulled it out for him.  :)  I'll have to post pictures tomorrow or something.  He was pretty excited!  It was cute and fun to have Uncle Chuck do it (though Chuck did apologize to you that he did did it and not you.  But no way the tooth would have hung on until you came here!).

Well Emmy is requesting me and so I better go.  We 3 adults are enjoying popcorn and the olympics.  Cool.

Monday, July 30, 2012

My Benless Update, Day 1

Not only will I not see Ben for pretty much a solid 6 days (that's happened before), I won't be in any sort of contact with him at all for 5 of those days (that's never happened before).  That's what happens when he's backpacking through the mountains with the Young Men.  So I thought I would give little reports of my days for Ben's sake.  Short, simple, and to the point - hopefully.

How's this for short, simple, and to the point:  An indication of our children's behavior can probably be determined by what happened at FHE.  First of all, Lucy was in bed before it started.  She was ready and I was ready.  Secondly, FHE didn't start with a rousing rendition of the Family Home Evening song.  Instead it started with a good chastisement to each of our kids for their, shall we say, less-than-stellar performances today.  UGH.  Sigh.  Yes, you could say I had a less-than-stellar performance as well when I informed the three kids that if we just did what we wanted, I most certainly wouldn't be sitting there in the living room - I would have been out the door a while ago. . . So not my best moment, but maybe it got them thinking.  Miles did ask me how long I would have stayed out. . . I didn't think "a reeeeeeeeeeeeally long time" would have been a good answer and so I just kept my mouth shut.

The Olympics were fun to watch - but not as nearly fun when there is someone (ahem, you, no not you, Ben) to watch them with.  Swimming was good, I think - I'm pretty sure a girl from the USofA got gold.  Gymnastics was a little crazy.  The men's team finals were on and the USofA team headed in to it in first place.  But, sadly, mistake after mistake by them and they were out.  Then Great Britain came into the forefront with a possibility to medal - which hasn't happened in like 60+ years or something.  Nobody could beat China for the gold, but 2nd and 3rd were up for grabs.  GB thought they had it after Japan (in a tight race with Lithuania?) had a big fumble on the pommel horse.  But. . . the Japanese contested the score. . . and in the end won the rebuttal and claimed 2nd, while GB got the bronze.  It looked a little fishy with the Japanese coach handing over money to the judges for his appeal. . . but I guess it was legit and that's how it's done (if the appeal is granted then you get your money back, if not you lose it).

Good night.  It's much too late.

My tricky little guy


Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Sunday Morning. . .

Lucy in curlers, 2 swimsuits (one is under that you can't see), and turquoise crocs.
Emmy in curlers, cowgirl vest, underwear, and soccer socks.

Not quite ready for church, but getting there. . .

Friday, July 27, 2012

Sailing Away. . .

Last weekend we got the kids out on the sail boat.  It was slightly rushed as the storm was coming in, but the three kids all got turns and all loved it.  It was slightly scary for me watching them!  Luckily the time that things (important things) started falling off the boat was when it was just Ben - solo, without any kid.  Ben was sailing away, he couldn't steer (since his rudder had fallen off), and he was heading not where he wanted to go - so he had to jump ship (literally!).  He was expecting to touch bottom but didn't and that was a little bit of an unwelcoming surprise.  But he made it back to shore. 
 Here is Ben with Jonas and Emmy.  Yes, two minis can fit in the boat with Ben.  Awesome.

And Ben and Miles.

And some videos, but warning:  they might make you sea-sick.  I was watching Lucy at the same time and wanted to make sure she didn't wade out too far.  Sorry!  The second one is the worst.



Monday, July 23, 2012

Merit Badge Updates

 So we are slowly but surely getting merit badges earned around here.  It's a lot of work with four kids, I think!  But I'm still glad we're doing it - though I wonder if we'll really finish them all before summer is over (or the end of August, really).  We'll see.  Emmy has earned her art and hiking badges and is close to getting her "health and exercise" one, too.  The boys have gotten their cooking, hiking, art, and health & exercise badges.  And that other merit badge board is one that Miles made for Lucy.  As you can see she has earned a few badges.  I can't remember what they are.  But she did have a requirement to run up and down our path in our backyard.  Awesome.

I took a few pictures of our merit badge activity we did this morning:  the track.  Among a few other requirements for their "health and exercise" badge, they each had to run/walk the track three different times - doing as many laps as old they are.

 Warm up time with jumping jacks.  None of my kids can quite do them right.  I love it.

 Lucy did some running and walking.  It was adorable.  Of course.

 Emmy is our little Super Star Runner.  She is really quite good.  She's the only one that can really go fast and endure, too.  It's awesome to watch her.  She's only suppose to do 4 laps, but the first and third time we went she did 6 and the second time she did 8 laps.  She rocks and I can't wait to do Girls on the Run with her someday!

Jonas is usually the slowest poke.  In fact, Emmy once finished her 8 laps before he had done his 6.  But that's okay.  But today!?  Wow, Emmy must have revved him up because he stayed with her the whole time and did a whole lot more running than well, than ever.  It was pretty cool and he seemed happy!

Miles did good on his third go on the track.  He never did as great as the first time when he ran 2.5 miles and walked 0.5 (surpassing his required 8 laps by 4).  I was really hoping he'd have a little bit of a runner in him, but who knows.  He's still young.  :)  He still does well and runs and walks and doesn't complain much.

We've still got lots to do, like memorizing poems, building a bird house (we've started at least!), journaling about some nature walks, cleaning up a park, etc.

We'll keep on keeping on those merit badges and see what we get done!

Friday, July 20, 2012

FHE

So Monday nights = Family Home Evening (FHE) in Mormondom.  We usually start FHE with a rousing rendition of "The Family Home Evening Song"  (it probably has a better name).  And Wilson, our dog, always comes and joins us.  Always (as long as he is inside).  He's been doing this for months and months now.  He'll come running down the stairs (okay, the word running might be a stretch for our old, fat dog), or wherever he is, to our family room.  And not only does he greet us with his presence, he also sings:


Ha!  And, yes, I know he has a better voice than me. . .

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Curb Appeal

We, Ben and I, had always hated the tiny rocks that surrounded our house.  They were these little red lava-rocks or something.  They never stayed put, the kids got them all over the sidewalks and grass, the paper thing underneath (to prevent weeds from popping up) was showing all over, and it was just unsightly.  So finally we (i.e, mainly Ben) did something about it.

We dug up the rocks, ripped up the paper stuff, smoothed the ground, dug, etc., etc. - finally laying down paving stones and surrounding sod (our paving stone path wasn't as wide as the rocks had been, thus the sod).  And I finally got some pots to put flowers in - whaahoo!

I think it totally cleans up the front of our home and I love it.


Sunday, July 15, 2012

(foreward:  I do not have the gift of brevity when it comes to words or pictures on my posts. . .)
We decided to go hiking for 2 reasons:  1.  To fulfill the kids' merit badge requirement and 2.  Because I wanted to!  We had recently gotten a nice topo map and so I started scouring it for hikes.  I found two that looked beautiful, checked it out online, talked to a hiker in our ward (both of these were some of her favorites), and decided to go.  Ben and I were both a little weary because we knew it would be a challenging hike for our kids.  It was 6.6 miles roundtrip, with some good elevation gain of 1,600 feet.  But I really, really wanted to do it.  The lake was suppose to be this amazing blue color and it just looked like some real good hiking.  So we headed out right after breakfast and spent the entire day in the mountains.  It was heavenly:
 The three kids at the trailhead - happy and eager to go!

 Here we are at our first little rest.  The first two miles were full of switchbacks and were a little steep.  But everyone did well and no one complained much.

 A cute little Lucy hiking with her dad.

 The Trash Monsters.  That's what they called themselves.  It sprinkled for just a few minutes on the way up. On the way down we got a good 15-minute rainstorm.  The kids were more-than-happy to put on their fancy rain jackets again!  I think the Trash Monsters made the rain a happy event rather than a discouraging one.  :)

 Lucy was tuckered out from all her hiking!  Pretty beautiful up there!

 A little ways before the lake we got a view of this beautiful waterfall.  It was really impressive.

 
And here we are at the lake - check out that color!  Turquoise!  It was so incredible and the whole family was just so excited about it and at finally being there!  It took us 3 hours to get to the lake.  It was a cool day because of the partly cloudy skies.  That made it nice for hiking, but at the lake when the sun went behind the clouds it was definitely chilly (we were at about 12,000+ elevation)!  Then the sun would come out and heat us up, then the clouds would cover the sun again and we'd get chilly, etc.  But it's always nice to feel a little chilly in July - loved it!

 We had our lunch right by the lake.  I just had to post this picture because I think it's so funny.  I had just set Lucy on a little rock to sit and eat - well she quickly toppled over.  But I love this because 1.  she held on tightly to her sandwich and never let go and 2.  she didn't even cry.  She's awesome.

 One of my favorite pictures ever.  They are such wonderful sisters!  And cute ones, too.

 Laughing at each other - so sweet!

 Sorry, I just can't get enough of them.  This is what happens when you tell Lucy to "smile."

 Cute Jonas trying to sit among the tall flowers (weeds?) and eat his trail-mix.  The kids had a couple of last requirements to get their hiking merit badge.  They had to do another 5-miler, plus they had to plan and carry their snacks and water.  Each kid had their little backpacks and carried their things in it; not one kid ever complained about it!

 Just two cute girls with their cute father.

 I had Jonas take a picture of me and the wildflowers.  They were something amazing!  Pictures, of course, don't do it justice.

 Throwing rocks - of course!  Again, check out that color.  It was just too beautiful and I was absolutely in love with that lake.

 Sweet Jonas among the flowers.  Whoops, he picked one!

 Ben and I enjoying a rest on a log.  We pretty much rested as long as it took to take the picture.  :)

 Another, "Smile, Lucy" picture.

 The kids had fun exploring this area too.  The water was definitely freezing, though!  This is Miles and Jonas on "the island."

 Oh man - this picture is totally for my mom!  Jonas is doing a peace sign.  Where he got that I have no idea!  But it cracks me up.  My mom has mentioned how all the Japanese just love to flash the peace sign when their pictures are taken - it's true!  So funny that Jonas did this.

 Miles wound always go to a spot and say, "Take my picture, Mom!"  Sometimes I would oblige, a lot of times I wouldn't. . .

 Cute Emmy hiking back down the trail.  She's such an adorable little hiker.  The first 1/2 of the hike down she just told a bunch of silly princess stories.  She would just go on and on, then to the next story, and so on.  One time she told me, "I am just so tired!"  I told her if she stopped talking for a couple of seconds she might be able to catch her breath!  She didn't want to.  The last 1/2 of the hike I carried her down, piggy-back style.  She would yawn, then say, "I am getting more tired!"  30 seconds later she would repeat:  yawn, then "I am getting more tired!"  She said this so much.  It was really cute.  She also did great hiking up - I think I maybe had to piggy-back her for only 1/4 of the hike up.  And she hardly had a complaint - except those few times when she slipped and then would scream how she hated this!  But other than that she was pretty much a super-star of a hiker.  I was super impressed.

 Little Lucy got in a couple hundred feet of hiking.  :)  She's a pretty cute hiker, for sure.  Emmy even let her borrow her walking stick.

And here were are - minus picture-taker Ben - all smiles at the end of our 6.6 mile hike.  I love the cute expressions on all the kid's faces.  They really did such a fabulous job on the hike - I was so pleasantly surprised!   The only time I heard Miles complain was when we were about 10 minutes from the lake - he was ready to stop and eat lunch (we all were!).  But that was pretty much it from him - oh, except for the time, on the way down, when he asked if I would put Emmy down and carry him instead.  NO.  He was great!  And Jonas, too!  He's a horrible whiner, even just at home.  But he really did a super job, too.  He had very minimal complaints on the way up, and then just talked a whole bunch to Ben (about BB guns of course!) on the way down that his mind was taken off the long trek.  It was a very full and a very fun day spent in the wilderness.  Oh yeah.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

My Running Monologues

So this might be boring to all - except me.  So I write this for me.  :)  I had these thoughts last week as I was out running and wanted to write them all down.

Running is important to me.  I truly love it.  I always hesitate in calling myself a runner because I feel like I don't look like one.  But, really, what does looks have to do with it, right?!  I run every week, have run a marathon, have done 3-4 half-marathons, and many other racing events.  I run in the winter and in the cold - just not in the heat of the summer (hello 5:30am summer runs!).  So perhaps I can call myself a runner even if I don't have those long slender legs nor those lovely toned calves that I would love!

So I've mentioned several racing events I have done - a marathon, 1/2s, etc.  While those have all been pretty good experiences, they usually aren't what I remember when I think of running.  When I think of running, I think of the different locations I have lived in and what my runs were like there.  Each place I have lived, since my late teens, I have run.  Each place very unique.

I'll start with Jackson, Wyoming.  I lived at Jackson the first summer after my freshman year of college.  My sister had worked there (my mom had even worked on a dude-ranch there years ago. . . :) and so I did what any little sister would do:  I worked there, too.  I worked at the restaurant at Jackson Lake Lodge.  It was kind of crazy - my boss was a complete alcoholic (and not a funny one; rather a despicable one).  And a lot of other kids were drunks and there just to party.  I was there to hike and live in the beautiful Tetons.  Anyways. . . I went running most every morning or evening, depending on my work schedule.  I was always scared of running in to wildlife.  Luckily I never did see a bear on my runs, but I did come across many a moose.  I would either change my direction, or anxiously run by.  Moose made me nervous, but at the same time they are so common place there that it was just a given to see them.  As I would make my way back to my dorm I would run by the lodge.  There was a little cafe inside that made pastries, served coffee, etc.  Oh it smelled really good.  And now when I go running I usually end up running past our local Coffee Trader - and it always takes me back to running in the Tetons.

Next I'll talk about Connecticut.  I worked there one summer as a camp-nurse of sorts (I had barely started the nursing program - if at all? - and was originally hired as the nurses' assistant.  Well, the RN quit after 1 or 2 weeks and so I was left "in charge."  Luckily I mostly had to deal with homesickness from cute little girls.  I could handle that.)  Anyways. . . it was kind of crazy, too - again, all the "staff" (seasonal employees) mainly came to get drunk, hook up, and party.  I was such an outsider here - at least in the Tetons there was a good group of people with my same morals.  Here, I had found one that had similar morals - pretty much everyone else had none.   I did get to go running every morning.  Running in the east was hard - as my sister can attest to.  It never, in the summer, is crisp and cool in the morning.  It's already muggy and feels warm - even at 6am.  Also, I could never see anything but. . . trees!  It was densely amazing.  Finally, my hair would have these little ringlet curls all around my face - due to the humidity.  It was funny and awesome.

I went to Guatemala for about 6 weeks for a "study-abroad" nursing experience.  Running there was definitely memorable.  I never went on a weekday morning because we'd get up early (something like 5) and walk a few miles to the hospital.  We'd work/observe/whatever at the hospital for 4 or so hours and then walk back.  We'd always stop at the awesome town of Antiqua, which was were we lived (just not in the "downtown" area).  We'd get lunch (though I lived mainly on tortillas and Luna Bars), shop, look around, and do our spanish-class (I so hated that since I'm horrible with learning languages!).  So my running there always took place in the afternoon - when I was tired and it was hot and humid!  But I was training for my marathon a couple months away and was on a specific schedule that I wanted to somewhat stick to.  It was definitely hot, however afternoon thunderstorms could be counted on and they definitely helped cool things off a bit.  The pollution there was terrible - no restrictions on the amount of exhaust that could come out of one's car!  Ugh.  I always thought, "I'm I healthier for running here, or less healthy for all that crud I'm breathing in?!"  But the one thing I hated most were the feral dogs there.  I don't know if they were truly feral, but I'm pretty sure they had no home but the streets.  They were so skinny and ugly and so scary!  Luckily I had a good friend there with me, Brian, and he'd usually run with me - and scare the ugly dogs away.  Thank heavens for him.  Whenever I get an overload of exhaust-smell, I think of my running in the streets of Guatemala!

Of course I ran in Provo.  Doesn't everybody?  I mean, no matter what time of day or night it is, someone is out running.  I kid not.  I liked the run up to the temple - that was always nice.  But the most memorable run I have in Provo was when I got up real early (5am, or perhaps even 4-something) to run with my great friend Aubrey.  She was heading out on a long airplane trip (to England) and wanted to get in some exercise before she just had to sit and sit and sit.  So of course I'd said I'd go with her.  It was an awesome run - dark, cool, and totally rainy.  We were soaked by the end of our run.  That was a great run.

I got married and then lived in what will probably be the nicest neighborhood we will ever live in - Sugarhouse.  It was dreamy running the streets of our neighborhood because every house was just beautiful.  Not overly huge, but oh so, so, so nice.  Most were brick houses and I adore brick houses.  All had wonderful yards and delightful styles.  This wasn't a new neighborhood and so the houses were unique and full of character.  I was probably slow because I was always gawking at the lovely homes.

Then we moved to Grand Junction, CO.  Not to knock GJ, but it was quite the opposite of where we lived in Utah!  I adored our little house and we have so many wonderful memories of that home, but the neighborhood just didn't compare (obviously there are nicer neighborhoods in GJ). There were a few nice homes amid the run-down and uncared-for homes.  Green grass was a luxury there.  I did run with some good friends, Dan and Katie, on some cool paths - but other than that, nothing really sticks out about my running here.

Next stop, New York.  Not the city, but up-state New York.  Our town was called Maine and it was the country, in my opinion.  We found an adorable home, definitely off the beaten-path, and enjoyed our brief one-year stay there (while we enjoyed home-life and such, Ben's work-life was pretty miserable - thus the one-year only stay).  I was back east and so the little ringlet curls returned in my hair.  I also missed my crisp, cool mornings in the summer.  But if I ever wanted a chance to run in the snow, this was the perfect place!  Not only snow, though, extreme coldness, too!  Like negatives.  I ran no matter the weather, really - even when it was -10.  When we first moved out there we just had one car.  So I usually ended up taking Ben to work (with itty-bitty Miles, too) and  would pick him up.  On the way back from picking him up he would drop me off about 3-4 miles from our home and I would run home - practically all of it up-hill, until the final 1/2 mile descent on our street to our home.  I remember one run in particular:  it was very cold and very snowy.  But whatever.  So I ran.  But it just got snowier and snowier.  To the point that I could no longer see and just had to keep my head down because of the snow falling right at my face - and the chill, too.  It was crazy.  And I was getting wet.  I probably was about 1/2 way home when my neighbor (Liz - loved her and her whole family!) drove up, pulled over and said, "I don't care what you say, you are getting in this car right  now and I am driving you home."  I didn't object one bit.  But I was always associate running in New York with turkeys.  Wild Turkeys.  Big Wild Turkeys.  There were herds of them (herds?  I don't know.  flocks?) and they were scary!  Remember, I'm scared of birds?  Can you imagine then having to run by about 2 dozen birds that are almost as tall as you!  I learned if I made some type of ridiculous noise, they would scatter.  Yay!  Although I know there were some runs that I just turned around and went another way because of those darn turkeys.  Good gravy (haha, get it?).

Then we came here, Montrose.  Our neighborhood is similar to the neighborhood in GJ, but maybe a little nicer?  Our home is definitely nicer and bigger.  But we live in the "downtown" area and so, again, the houses are hits and misses when it comes to being nice.  I try to run more in the direction of the nicer areas when I run here.  When I do my long runs on Saturday I always run by this spot that smells like fox (which smells a lot like skunk).  Sadly, last week on my run I had to run right past a dead fox.  It was a little nerve-wracking, really.  There was no place I could run that I wouldn't be close to it.  Yuck.  Sad.  I will admit that I was happy a car drove past it (not over it) a few seconds before I got to it - it didn't flinch and so I at least knew it was dead-dead.  I mean, I wouldn't want a maimed fox chasing me!  Ha.  Of course I'll always remember the run where the crazy, psychotic lady chased me down and sent her pack of yorkies to attack me.  What a weirdo.

Anyways, there are some of the ups and downs and all-arounds of my running history.  Some great memories of just me and my running.

P.S. Erin (kuddos if you make it here!), there is some where white-out in the GJ section.  I only see it when publish the post - not in the editing section.  Do you get the white-out, too?  Any idea why?  Can you fix it?!


Sunday, July 08, 2012

The Adventure on the Sabot

Technically, I think our Sabot was christened Grassy Rose many years ago. . . And what is a sabot?  Go and look here.

Ben has been aching to get back out on his sailboat.  I guess sailing every five years is not enough for him.  He was also aching to take me out on it as well.  So a date was planned, a life-jacket was borrowed, a funky car-rack was made by Ben to hoist our boat on to, and a babysitter was secured.

We headed out Saturday afternoon.  The skies were a little worrisome, but since it like hardly ever rains here (Thursday was a fluke!) and we did see some blue sky, we went forward with our plans.  The sky got worse as we got closer to the reservoir, but whatever we thought.

So we got there, got the boat set up, and sailed off!  We had a very smooth beginning - sometimes it can be a little tricky.  And then we caught some great winds and were off and sailing - yes, at one point, I did scream, "Oh Ben, oh Ben, do you know what you are doing?!"  The winds were quite strong then and was moving us quite fast (for a little sailboat, of course) and really I had no clue about anything and had no clue what Ben was doing either.  I mean, when you have to be taught/shown what to do if the boat tipped over, it does make you worry and wonder, right?  :)  But I was laughing lots - at the fun time and my own silliness.  It was pretty much all fun and games. . .

Until the storm came and the winds died down.

We had really cruised far out there.  The rain was the drenching type.  In one minute I was darn chilly.  In five minutes, Ben was darn chilly.  And then we just had to wait and wait and stare at the long-off shore until we finally got little snippets of wind here and there and made it back to land - ho!  We got our towel, dried off, wrapped ourselves in the wool blanket that stays in the back of our car, and ate Pringles (dates and pringles - something we enjoy like twice a year.  :)  It was wonderful.  Then we were still chilly, but the rains had gone.  So we ran around, did some jumping jacks to get warm, and decided to give it another go.

We gave it another go.  But the winds were completely gone.  Which is not good for sailing.  Duh.  But even then it was just fun.

I did tell Ben that he was lucky to have married someone who is 4'10 1/4" (the 1/4 is important) because anyone even slightly taller would not have fit in his little boat.  He agreed.

Good times - hopefully we can do it again. . . and sooner than five years from now.

Rain, rain, don't go away

We got our first rainstorm of the year on Thursday.  It was truly heaven sent and loved by us all!


P.S.  In response to my sister's question posed on facebook.  Emmy and Lucy had enjoyed the puddles, too.  They ran and played and floated their shoes, just like their brothers.  But by this time they had gone to the porch to play with Emmy's "new" toys she bought from Salvation Army.  With Lucy on the porch I felt safe in going in the house and grabbing the picture and video.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

July Fourth, 2012

We had a good day - a full day.  A full day with four kids 8 and under can be risky.  We had our moments, for sure, but all in all it was pretty darn great.

We decorated our bikes on Tuesday night and then rode our bikes to our church's pancake breakfast that morning.  It was a fabulous morning bike ride:
 The bike gang in front of our house.

 Emmy on her "fancy, like Fancy Nancy" bike.

 The gang riding down the street.  So festive and patriotic.

 Jonas cruising and enjoying it.

Miles and his fun bike, too.

I knew we wouldn't have time to ride our bikes back home and then go to our next stop, the parade, so Ben drove the car over to the church on Tuesday night and rode his bike home.  So we locked our bikes up at church and got in the car and headed to Ouray for the parade and other festivities.

 My cute gang of red, white, and blues.  We found a good spot for parade-watching.

Not a bad backdrop for a parade, huh?!

 Of course no parade is complete without a camel.  A camel - what?!

 This is how Lucy was for the entire parade - cowardly cuddled.  The LOUD noises (so loud and so frequent!) and spraying water (a tradition at this parade apparently) are 2 things that Lucy detests.  Luckily she didn't cry or anything, just cuddled her head on me.

After the parade we went to the town's park for more games and playing at the park:
There was a fire engine there and Lucy just loved to hang!  She loves hanging on bars!

They also had a bunch of races - determined by age and sex.  Here is Miles running in his group.  He didn't win.  Too bad because the winner won a couple of bucks!  We'll need to practice our starts.  :)

After playing at the park and walking to the pond where huge fish live and turtles bask on the rocks, we were on to our next activity:  hiking.  So we walked back to our, ate our sack lunches in the car,  then headed to the trailhead.

Miles was IN LOVE with this hike.  He kept exclaiming, "This is the best hike ever."  He loved the little details found in the rocks, the formations, etc.

 Cute little Lucy enjoyed it, too.  She was just a teeny-tiny bit slow. . .

Unfortunately we had to end the hike right about here.  It was raining pretty good (it's been a drought for so long, so of course of all days it would rain on the 4th!  i'm so not complaining, though. . .we need every bit of it).  The thunder was impressive.  I hadn't seen lightning, but it was just cold.  No-body-fat Emmy and Jonas were already freezing after a few minutes of the rain.  We weren't prepared for the rain and thought it best if we headed back to the car.  To say Miles was upset would be an understatement.  He was so upset and mad.  We understood, yet were still frustrated with him as he wouldn't even listen to us.  He did exclaim, "I haven't had any fun days in such a long time!"  Woe was Miles.

 Ben wanted to check out some camping areas he had heard about and so we drove back in the mountains.  It was a delightful drive in the rain - the mountain air fresh with rain was heavenly!  Lucy got in a little nap, but it short-lived because we decided to try the hike again (Miles had calmed down by now) because the rain had stopped.  I wanted to hike probably as much as Miles, too.  :)

 So we went back and did our little hike - little as in less than a mile.  But it was perfect.  We hiked up to a wonderful spot full of fun waterfalls, pools (the hike is called Baby Bathtubs), and lots of rocks for climbing.  It was so, so, so nice!  Here Emmy was busting some moves while Jonas was busting a pose.  Wow, awesome.

 Cute Emmy lovin' it all, too.

 Lucy rock-climbing!

 I mean, how could kids not have fun here?  It was the perfect spot.

 The deepest "bathtub" we saw.  It was cold - not freezing, but definitely cool.

 It started drizzling on the way back.  After weeks of above-average summer temps, the chill was so grand.  Jonas fashioned himself an umbrella.  :)

Then we drove home.  We had to stop by the church to load our bikes on the car.  Jonas and Emmy wanted to ride back home and so I gladly agreed and went with them.

 Here I am with my patriotic bike.  (The wheels did look better in the morning. . .but still super fun, I think.)

And here Jonas and I are riding back - Emmy was a little behind.  Another fun bike ride - yay!

We ended the holiday with a movie for the kids, a typical July 4th dinner (untypical for us) of hot dogs, corn, and beans.  We also had a lovely flag-decorated (with blueberries and strawberries) cake.  This cake to be exact.  I love this cake - and it's even low-fat.  :)

A pretty great fourth.  And, yes, there was even some singing in the car of patriotic songs by Ben and myself.  My poor kids. . .(because of my voice, not Ben's!).

I am proud to be an American.