Saturday, April 27, 2013

An Anniversary Trip with the Fam

Well, to make a long story very short, Friday morning we finally settled on some weekend plans:  go to Goblin Valley, camp out that night, and hike in the San Rafael Swell the next day.  I got busy and packed the entire car with all of our camping needs (it was no easy task [especially carrying our huge tent all the way up from the attic] and I felt super empowered after I had done it all).  We got off around 1:30 and headed out to Goblin Valley.  
We went to the area called Valley of the Goblins as soon as we got there.  It's just crazy - these weird  blobs of rocks.  You can run over, under, around, and through them.  The kids absolutely loved it!  It was totally fun - and slightly nerve-racking - watching them.  And joining them in their adventures, too!

 Two cute sisters with goblin rocks behind them.

 They just ran and ran and ran, up and down and up and down.

 A fun child-size tunnel.

 Of course Miles loved and adored this place!

 I thought this looked like a camel laying down.  So I asked the boys to go ride it.  :)

After we spent about an hour and a half  there, we decided to go and get camp set-up.  We found some BLM spot and went to work.
 First things first:  applying charcoal make-up.

 This was our camp.  It was named (we always name our camp-sites) by Jonas:  Camp Boys Not Accomplishing Their Goals.  (The boys had a few goals - like hike up to the layer rocks - that just didn't pan out for various reasons . . .)  It's definitely different that forest-camping.  The wide-open spaces were great for the kids - they could just run far off and play and they just loved every single minute of it.

We did have a campfire and had chocolate-less smores (ahem, the cooler - with the chocolate - was left at home).  We learned a great new game from the OkeeDokee Brothers:  chubby bunnies.  You stuff a marshmallow in your mouth and say "chubby bunny."  You see how many you can stuff in your mouth before you can't say it anymore.  Emmy made it to 1.  Jonas only 2 at first, then 3 on his second attempt.  Miles got 3.  It was pretty great.

We got in our tent a little after 9pm and after getting settled in, Emmy telling a 10-second "scary story," and turning out the light, everyone fell asleep rather easily.  I think Emmy was out in less than 2 minutes.  It was also the best night of camp-sleeping ever for our family.  All the kids slept the entire night without waking up or crying out or anything.  It was dandy.

We woke up at 6:45 - yay, we got to sleep-in!  The kids, after getting dressed (some kids taking longer than others, ahem, Miles . . .), went to run up and down and in and out the area - while Ben and I started heating up our water for oatmeal (too bad our propane was low and ran out before our water got hot . . .) and  breaking down camp.
 So fun, right?!

This is at the start of our hike though Little Wild Horse Canyon in the San Rafael Swell.  The trailhead was like a mile or so from our camp, so that was a nice little drive.  We had read about this hike and that it's a perfect one for kids and adults - it's a neat slot canyon, but without any technical skills required.  There were bunches of people (I bet we saw over 100 boy scouts), yet it never felt crowded or anything.  We were pretty much hiking by ourselves the entire time.

 Miles on "Pride Rock" as he called it.  The boys just were crazy and scrambling everywhere!  They definitely doubled or tripled the amount hiked just due to how much they scrambled up the rock sides.  It was awesome.

 Our littlest rock-climber.  :)

 Cool, huh?!

 A cool rock with some pretty gals.

 Lucy was a great little hiker.  She was held some, for sure, but also managed to do some serious rock-climbing, for a 2-year old.  What a cutie.

 Oh Emmy.  She's a wonder sometimes.  For some reason she was really scared of the slot-canyon.  I mean, I can kind of understand it.  But, at the same time, this wasn't a scary slot canyon and we just had to walk on relatively level ground.  This picture was taken after she had to walk under a huge rock.  She was real interesting.  Then, all of sudden, she declared she wasn't scared anymore, stopped her moaning, and was completely fine for the rest of the hike.  Silly girl.

 The path less traveled.  This is so typical of Miles.  He ventured off a little bit and found this water-spot.  Cool.  Miles was crazy in-love with everything that this hike offered.  Jonas loved it, too, for sure.

 Sweet Lucy.

 The boys always wanted their pictures taken at like every single spot.  The hike was just that cool to them!

After we stopped for lunch (really a glorified snack since our lunch items were at home in our cooler . . .), we split off:  I went with the boys and Ben with the girls.  The boys wanted to try and do the entire loop (Little Wild Horse canyon to Bell Canyon) and so I wanted to go with them.  Ben headed back down with the girls.  We had probably gone for about 15 minutes and stopped and talked with a father and son who were heading back down.  I asked him about Bell Canyon and he said it's more open desert, with less slots. After deliberating for like 2 seconds, we decided to go back down Little Wild Horse canyon and enjoy the slots once again.  I know we were all so glad we choose that route.

 Soooo cool.

Oh it was so neat!  I really enjoyed this hike, too.

We met up with the rest of our crew and then headed out.  We did stop in Grand Junction for an "anniversary dinner" at Cafe Rio.  It was an early dinner - 4pm  - but we hadn't really had lunch.

It was a really different camping and hiking adventure for all of us - but super neat and great.

P.S.  Happy 11th anniversary to me and Ben!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Let's Just Say . . .

1.  Suddenly you are asked, by a visiting Church Area Authority, to get up in sacrament meeting and share your testimony (indeed, perhaps, your bishop/husband had something to do with this, you might later find out).

2.  The whole week before you had specific thoughts in your head about Christ.  Then the Area Authority tells you to speak for 3 minutes and to speak about Christ.  Because of this you forget every thought you had during the week.

3.  So you talk about what you and your kids read that morning in The Friend.

4.  Including the song you read in The Friend, If The Savior Stood Beside Me.

5.  Ward Music Leader is somewhere in the audience and especially tunes in when music is talked about.

6.  After the meeting, the above W.M.L. then asks you if you and your family would sing this song in a sacrament meeting.

7.  ALL REASON and SANITY and, frankly, COMMON SENSE leave you.

8.  You tell W.M.L. "Yes."

9.  Your family, all except ONE, can not carry a tune to save anyone's life.

10.  You practice the song at most Family Home Evenings and instead of things getting better, they just get worse.

11.  Your bishop/husband tries to explain this to the W.M.L. but apparently she doesn't get it and/or doesn't take no for an answer.  (You do think the W.M.L. is a great lady, just so you know.)


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

They did it again . . .

On Friday night the boys had another sleep-out.  This time in a tent.  This time completely on their own.  Awesome.

Friday, April 19, 2013

This past Thursday . . .

I signed up this cutie for Kindergarten:

All About Me

My cousin Emily posted this on her blog, called the Liebster Award, and then asked/nominated others to do the same. I, like my sister, will do the first 2 parts of it. So here I go: Part 1: 11 Things about Me

1. I am running a 1/2 marathon on June 1st - it's in Moab and is girl's only. I'm excited. Should I run with a tutu?

2. I made a self-rule (like maybe 6 months ago?) to not eat sweets/treats during the day. I make it 9/10 days, usually. Oh, it's just on the weekdays.

3. I love eating Edamame beans. At first, I thought, cool, I'm actually snacking on veggies! Then I thought, no, they are probably a legume. Now I found out that the USDA actually classifies beans as either in the veggie group or in the protein group. Awesome. Not only are they yummy, they are so fun to pop out and eat!

4. I would love to take my family and go live in a 3-world country. I would love to work/serve down there all together as a family. For like a year. I really wish we could. Somewhere like Guatemala. Bonus: If we went to Guatemala, I would be considered tall! Okay, maybe not tall, but definitely "average"!

5. I'm a pretty good jump-roper and hula-hooper.

6. My one and only goal for 2013 is to read all 4 Standard Works (the Bible, Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price, and Doctrine and Covenants). I saw this outline and it gives me what page I should be at each day in order to have read them all by the end of the year. So far, so good. I'm almost to 500 pages in the Bible - more than I've ever read in my entire life, probably.

7. I wish I could get a school nurse job in 3 years.

8. These are currently on my nightstand: a lamp, an alarm clock, my patriarchal blessing, Quebec brochures, Cellist of Sarajevo, hair-ties, The 5 Love Languages of Children, Pioneer Trek 2013 packet, three Ensigns, The Teachings of George Albert Smith, a bookmark, and Happier at Home.

9. After 3 years (3 years people!) my library card is back in good-standing! I had a $20 fine I refused to pay for several reasons. 1. I did turn in the puppet they claimed I hadn't. and 2. The homemade felt puppet was only probably worth $5, if I'm being generous. But, for some reason, some nice lady cleared me of the charges last week. (I'd been using my kids' cards these past years.) The missing puppet still shows up under my card, but no longer a fine. So silly.

10. My favorite movie is "While You Were Sleeping."

11. It took me a really long time to come up with 11 things about ME. Not about my kids, but just me. I'm even cheating, and using this as my 11th, since I can't think of anything else!

Part 2: 11 Questions Answered

1. Favorite go-to recipe: Oh this is hard. But this is a Sunday-favorite: http://thefoodees.blogspot.com/2009/03/whole-roasted-chicken.html

2. If I could change one aspect of my life, what would it be: I think it would be that I wouldn't have to get up at 5:20 AM 9 out of 10 of my weekday mornings. I'm getting really, really tired of it. But I do love exercising in the morning, so I'll continue to do it as long as I have to. Why 5:20, though? Well I workout for about 45 minutes most mornings (except Fridays are closer to 30-minutes), then I read my scriptures, maybe check my email for a few minutes, then shower. I need to have this all done by 7am - the time I need to get my four kids up and ready for school/the day.

3. Childhood regrets: Hmmmm. Maybe just that I was nicer. I was by no means a Mean Girl. But I just wish I would have been more thoughtful to those kids that didn't have friends, etc.

4. Dog or cat person: Dogs. Hands down.

5. One favorite memory: This is a totally random memory. I had worked at a summer camp in Connecticut one year. It was kind of rough. My sister came out to get me when it was over and we toured the east coast - visiting New Hampshire, Vermont, etc. The whole trip was pretty cool. But I vividly remember my sister driving up to the camp to pick me up and me literally running to her car. I wanted outta there fast! See ya Camp Chinqueka!

6. Fave book character and why: Ramona? Why? 2 reasons: 1. I can't think of anyone else, which is ridiculous. and 2. Ramona is honest and funny. My sister said Scarlet O'Hara - that's pretty good. Gone with the Wind is one of my favorite books . . .

7. Least fave day: The days when Ben is only home for an hour or less.

8. Which parent am I most like and why: Seriously, I think I'm like them both.

9. Article of clothing owned longest: I have a skirt from my college days. So it's at least 12 years old.

10. Disneyland fave ride: Um, I went as a kid, but I don't really remember much. I'm not a Disneyland fan, really. Also, as I get older, rides are definitely less-appealing.

11. Fave kids book: Oh this is hard. I love The Seven Silly Eaters. I love all Fancy Nancy books. I loved reading Owls in the Family to my boys. I love The Best Loved Doll and think anyone who gives a doll to anyone must accompany it with this book. I love all books by McCloskey.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


All week last week the boys were busy digging holes and trenches in our garden spot.  They loved it.  As soon as they were home from school, they went out there and dug until we made them come in.  On Friday the boys (and thus the girls) were pleading and begging for the chance to sleep outside in their trenches.  Ben and I thought that it would be fine, but we told them we weren't going to do it with them.  They were on their own.  That did not deter them.  Emmy was bummed she wasn't allowed (for various reasons) and Lucy was a little too, but they got over it quickly and fell asleep in their soft, warm beds.

The boys took some time in getting things ready:  their sleeping bags, flashlights that had working batteries, and the such.  When we went out to check on them once, Jonas started asking us about raccoons, foxes, and wolves.  I was sure they'd be in soon.

But they weren't.  In fact, by about 9:30-10ish, they were sound asleep.  Darn it!  One reason I let them do it was because I didn't think they'd actually do it!  I was a little worried, but Ben seemed okay and so that was that . . . until Ben and I were upstairs getting ourselves to bed.   There was just some random car that parked right alongside our house/fence and a bunch of teenagers hopped out - with flashlights.  Weird.  But then Ben just assumed they were friends of our neighbors who have teenagers.  But, no, they just walked past our neighbor's home and went who knows where for who knows what reasons.  Then a strange man walked down the street.  Then I got nervous.  Yes, it was a little silly b/c no one could see 2 boys sleeping in our backyard, but I just didn't want some commotion to happen and it to waken/scare our kids, etc.  So, to make this short:  Ben slept (or did not sleep) outside on the lawn (not in the trenches - they were not big enough).

I still credit the boys for doing it on their own since they didn't even know Ben was there until they awoke.  It was a cold night - reaching freezing point.  I don't know how they did it.  But I think it was pretty neat and Ben and I were both proud of them.
Crazy boys.  Fun brothers.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

She's the first to admit . . .

Lucy's first crush:  Elder Koyle.

He and his companion were just over for dinner this evening.  And man Lucy gushed, shied away, hid, giggled, got silly-embarrassed, kept demanding his attention - and all other things that girls do when they have a crush!  It was crazy.  Ben even brought it up to me before I said anything to him!

And as I was getting Lucy ready for bed, I said, "I think you think that Elder Koyle is cute and so nice."

Her reply says it all:


Friday, April 12, 2013

San Diego and More, 2013 (Last Part)

This part won't be much.  But I realized I forgot some simple things.

Like we headed back home Friday and got to St. George by the afternoon.  We quickly changed in to swimsuits and had a really fun time at the pool.  We then got out, got dressed in dry clothes, and headed to the movie theater.  We watched The Croods.  I thought it was super cute.  It was also super expensive and know we now why we've never been to the movies as a family!  The kids all liked it and it was Lucy's first time at the theater.  Fun.

Then we went and had Cafe Rio.  Long story, made short:  the line was HUGE.  I dropped Ben off with our order and we wondered around St. George and ended up at the Temple's Visitor Center.  It was nice.  Then we got Ben and drove home and ate on the patio.  Another 7:30 dinner!

Saturday we drove back home and were actually able to catch and listen (! with 4 kids in the car!) to the first session of General Conference.  Awesome.  We drove and drove and drove and made it home.

But my vacation summary just wouldn't be complete without mentioning the OkeeDokee Brothers.  Go check them out HERE.  I love them.  I had gotten one of their CDs for Miles' birthday and we had never listened to it all.  Until this trip.  We listened to them A LOT and hardly (if at all?) tired of them!  The kids would even start singing along as soon as certain songs came on ("M-I-double S-I-double-S-I-P-P-I").  The CD also came with a DVD that is just delightful, too.  Whenever we listen to that CD, I think we'll all be reminded of our wonderful trip!

The end.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

San Diego and More, 2013 (Part Two)

(This is Part Two.  If you missed Part One, just scroll down one post.  It's long.  This will be long, too!)
We had the perfect plan for both Wednesday and Thursday:  Sea World in the morning and then the beach all afternoon.  It couldn't have worked out better.  The mornings are quite cool, with low clouds.  But by about noon the clouds finally give way and the sun shines out.  So it was great to be at Sea World in the morning (we were chilly both mornings for the first 1/2 hour or so) and then enjoy the beach with the sunshine.

On Wednesday morning we went to Sea World and saw the "Antarctic Exhibit" and then 2 shows:  Dolphins and Shamu.  I loved the penguins - there were several different kinds there.  Then the birds were so neat, too - puffins and terns, I think?  They would dive underwater and swim so speedily - like bird bullets.  It was incredible to me!  The shows were fun to watch - especially since we did not sit in the soak-zones.

 Feeding time.  So cool!

 Not the best picture, but oh well.  I remember puffins from my Alaska-trip many years ago.  I tried to get a picture of them swimming underwater, but they didn't turn out.  :(

 Sitting and awaiting the dolphin show.


The orcas were pretty impressive, too.  Amazing.

Then after Sea World we were off to the beach.  I had read about Coronado Island (not really an island but a peninsula) and we decided to go there.  It was so nice!  Just clean and nice.  Gorgeous homes and hotels.  And a beach that is sparkly gold, no joke.  (The sparkly gold comes from the mineral mica, I just read.)  It was breezy and a little chilly, but we all got used to it sooner or later.  There were also some neat tide pool rocks and we saw dozens of tiny hermit crabs crawling around and anemones, etc.  The boys really had fun at that spot for quite some time.

 Their expressions say it all.

 The boys were lovin' it!

 I LOVE everything about this picture.

 Jonas having fun.

 The boys and their blobs.

 Tangent:  For FHE on Monday we kind of just did a "review" of our trip.  We showed the kids all the pictures we had taken and handed out some "awards."  Lucy's award was "Best Excited Screams at the Beach-Waves."  See, this picture is total proof!  :)  Oh, we also did this treat for FHE:  sand pudding.  It turned out great; in fact, it was so great that Lucy started crying because she didn't want to eat sand!  Ha.

 Classic Lucy at the beach:  she would dirty up her hands and then say, "I have to go and wash my hands!"  And then she'd go in the water and wash up.  Then repeat.

 The fun times never end at the beach.  They were working on sand castles that "can withstand a wave coming up" as Miles just dictated to me.

 The girls had fun, too!

Such a cute bunch of beach babes.

So Thursday was very similar to Wednesday - Sea World in the morning and beach in the afternoon.  We checked out a few of the exhibits at Sea World:  Antarctic again, Turtle Reef, Sharks, the Arctic (including Beluga whales, a Polar bear, and walruses).  Everything was just splendid.  We also did a few rides there, too.  There was this one section, Sesame Bay of Play, in which Lucy could ride all three of the rides - accompanied by an adult.  It was perfect and Lucy exclaimed, "I am big now!"  Awwwww.

 The kids had just watched "Finding Nemo" at our place the night before and so it was fun to see a bunch of "Nemo's" and "Dory's."  :)

 Lucy couldn't ride this ride (see below picture), but she could pretend!

 This was Jonas' favorite ride ever!  As he declares.  There was no line in the morning and so each boy got to do it several times with either Ben or myself (Emmy was too short, even, for this ride.).

We saw the Sea Lion show and it was rather cute.  They were dancing at this point.  Miles wants me to add that "it was really funny, too."  Fun times.

Then it was to the beach!  We tried Pacific Beach but it was just too . . . something.  Too rowdy, if that makes sense.  It was more crowded, more dirty, more grungy.  So Ben was definitely opposed to it and it didn't matter much to me, so we decided to go back to Torrey Pines State Park.  I knew we could play at the beach on the other side of the tide pool rock - hardly anyone was there last time and it's just cool.  So we parked at the top and hiked down to the beach.  And who did we pass on the way?!  Mitt Romney.  Yes way.  Ha, I didn't even notice him, though.  Ben did.  I did notice his wife and son, though.  So that was pretty cool.

When we walked down the final steps to the beach, right there at the bottom, was a rock.  And guess what was on the rock?!  JONAS' SHOES?  NOPE!  EMMY'S SHOES!  Ha, here is the rest of the shoe-story.  I had to do it in CAPS because I've been leading up to it in my previous post and I am now not sure it will live up to its suspense.  :)  But the funny thing is:  we never knew Emmy left her shoes at the beach.  Ha.  We had gotten her new crocs at Legoland and she had worn those the past few days and so we never even bothered to find her other tennis shoes.  And apparently we didn't notice after our hike on Monday that she was shoeless.  Awesome.  We never did find Jonas' shoes.

The beach spot was perfect.  No one there long-term (nice term, huh?) except for us.
 Everyone out and getting wet!

 See how awesome the shoreline is?!  I love it.  We found lots of big and small anemones on those rocks that Miles is on.  Pretty cool.  I even found a tiny baby crab - too bad it was dead.

 Ben had found a mussel and wanted to crack it open to show us all what was inside.  It was quite hard to crack.  So he found a rock to help.  Well, the rock turned out to be quite hilarious because every time Ben would hit the shell, the rock would break, and not the shell!  Silly rock!  The kids just thought it was oh so funny!

An endless supply of sand is not a bad thing at all.

Love it.

Fun times for sure.  It was a great way to end our great trip.

And just for fun I'll mention the other "awards" given for our trip:
Ben - Best and Most Handsome Chauffeur

Miles - Best Rice Cake-Bag Retriever
     Story behind this one:  While at the beach on Thursday a seagull came over to our stuff and grabbed our bag of rice cakes.  I wasn't too worried about not having our rice cakes, but I didn't want the bird to have that plastic bag because . . . well, you know, plastic is dangerous.  But I didn't really do anything about it because it was a Bird!  But Miles, on his own, just ran right after that bird, got really close to it, and the bird dropped the bag.  Ha!  It was very cool.

Miles (yes, he got 2) - Best Over-All
     Miles was really a great kid on this trip.  Hardly a complaint - if any at all.  He never even complained on any of our long car-rides.  He's a pretty neat kid.

Jonas - Best and Faster Easter
     Man he chowed down his dinner like way super fast.  Then wanted more.  We don't know where he hides all that food he eats!

Emmy - Best Beach-Gymnast
     See above picture.  :)

Me - I didn't get one because I created all the awards.  Moms always get the shaft.  :)

We had a great time and we're all sad, in a way, to have to come home to regular life.  It doesn't help when it snows 5 inches and was 18 degrees this morning!  Sigh.

I hope we can do a similar trip again . . . someday.