Ben and I don't get out too often, so when his worked had no surgeries scheduled and so told all the staff to stay home on Thursday, Ben and I took advantage and went mountain biking. It was awesome and fallish - perfect!
We started up in the aspen forest and it was beautiful - and a little wet and rainy. Brigham was loving it, as were Ben and I.
We had done the first part of our biking adventure a couple times before. But this time our original stopping place became our half-way point; we joined up to another trail and just kept going. It was like a single-track path at this point and very beautiful and fun.
Brigham always adds to our adventures. In ways like pooping out balloons (thanks, kids!), charging and barking at all the cows that were near us, and getting a cactus stuck to his paw - which, by licking, became stuck to his tongue and then chin (for a moment I thought he had swallowed it!). Luckily Ben pulled it out - and another little cactus piece on his paw. Poor guy. He probably ran like 15 + miles with us. He did get tired near the end and slowed us down just a teeny-tiny bit (but by the 3rd hour mark, Ben and I were a bit tired ourselves!).
We aren't the selfie type of people . . . more like the "couplie," as I'll call it.
This was a steep and cool section of the tail. Ben rocked it on his country-bike, riding it down the whole way. I tried more than Ben thought I would (he thought I would walk my bike down it all - but I probably rode a little more than half!), so I did okay. Look at how beautiful it is (and how handsome Ben is. . . :).
I got this sticker from my father-in-law months ago and love it. :)
The scenery was awesome!
We finished off the date with some hot cocoa and just a few minutes to spare to go and pick up the kids from school.
So this will be a sweet, but short, "brag post" on Miles. We don't give him enough credit usually, so let's give some brag-credit when due!
So I mentioned in my last & long update how I had received a phone calls from Miles' Home Ec. teacher on how much she adores him. Well she called again to commend him! He made an awesome patch-work pillow and she was just again impressed with him. I'll have to take a picture of him with it . . .
Then I got another phone call from his reading teacher! She mentioned how she was calling parents of kids that were having problems in her class and then thought she should also call parents of the good kids. So she left a very nice message on how she really enjoys Miles, how great he is in class and that she enjoys their discussions after class. She said some very kind compliments about Miles.
So I've wanted to hike Courthouse for a while and finally got the chance last Monday. I went up with a few friends and had a perfect day of hiking - it was awesome! Brigham came along, as well as 2 other dogs. The hike itself is pretty short - 3.8 miles round-trip. But you climb 2,000 feet and so it's pretty steep. There is some rock-scrambling at the end and just really steep - but it was fun and I loved it!
The view at the top was stunning in all directions! Here comes dog Annie and owner Melissa.
Melissa and her dog Annie at the top. It was windy and when the sun was behind the clouds (which was 90% of the time) it was chilly! Yay!
My cool hiking buddy.
I'm always happy when hiking. :)
This is another friend that came - Dawnell. Melissa's dog really likes her. :) Another gal, Jody, came and brought her son and grandson and granddog. :) So there were six humans and 3 dogs.
Here was our August - what an awesome adventure that month was!
Now an update (grab a seat!):
Ben - Well of course it's always stressful being a bishop. But these past few weeks has been a bit more so as he has been working on his Ward Conference talk. He has spent hours and hours writing it, and then more hours scratching out what he had and starting over. :) But Ward Conference is coming up this Sunday, so ready or not . . . He'll be ready and it will be great. As always. Work is going well for him - he gets a few chances each week to first-assist and that is his favorite. He works some Mondays at the hospital solely as a first-assist and that has been pretty good as well. He went sailing three times this summer (four if you count his ALL-day lesson in Annapolis!) - which might not seem like a lot, but it's like three more times than he went last year. :) I went once with him - which, of course, is one more time than last year. Go me. He has a beard and I think it will be a life-long thing with him? We'll see. He's been swimming laps at the pool twice a week, but more on that later.
Me - I started my orientation the first full week of school and it was a little crazy. Thank goodness Jim and Diana (Ben's parents) came for that first week! I worked about 40 hours and it was stressful. I missed just being home and sending my kids off and picking them up each day. And, of course, it was just stressful starting a new job. I haven't done nursing in 7 years and so I felt like a newbie all over. No fun. The second week was slightly better and slightly worse (I had to take my own patients - boohoo, but a necessary!) I ended up having to call in and cancel for Thursday as Lucy was heaving that day. :( But I managed to survive those first weeks of full-time day orientation. This week the floor was closed and then I'll start next week with 2 nights of orientation. Then I'll work the next week - out of orientation, so as a real nurse with her own patients. Sigh. I think this will work out, but I do wonder why I didn't take a year off before getting a job. Oh well. What's done is done.
So I hadn't really gotten much of "alone days" these first few weeks of school. I did have a Friday that first week and it was pretty much spent by running, and then running around getting some final things in order for Emmy's birthday. The next week I had to stay home on Thursday with Lucy. Then the kids were out of school Friday. So nothing that week! I'm not complaining, it was just kind of funny, I guess. This week I've had 4 days without the kids and I feel like I haven't gotten much accomplished! I did a hike (small one), attended a PAC meeting, ran a PAC meeting, went VTing, went mountain biking with Brigham, did a 10-mile run, got dinner for the missionaries ready, took our older-friend to the library and set her up with an email account, etc. So I've done a lot, but not things like clean the house. Or mow the lawn like I said I would. Whoops.
Miles - he is doing well, I think. I can get online and check every day to see where he is at at school, what assignments are due, etc. Instead, I just ask him/tell him each day: "Do your homework." "Are you keeping up with all your classwork?" I guess we'll see if that works when grades come out. :) I don't want to micro-manage him by getting online and looking at everything - that's his job as a student. Right? I feel a little "wrong" as I know many other parents who use that. Maybe someday I will, who knows. Anyways, back to Miles. We got a phone call from his life skills teacher (life skills = home ec.) and she just adores him. Miles has really gotten in to sewing at home (sock creatures mainly) and she was delighted with that. Miles has already finished his project for class and so she is looking to find him something "more challenging." Ha, my little sewer. The kid has matured. Sometimes it's hard to see, but it's happened and is happening. He's a good kid and is actually a great example to his younger siblings - in most areas, not all. He's not a good example on how to not make loud noises all the time at home. He's a neat kid and we're proud of him and his "growing up."
Jonas - I have heard from Jonas' teacher a few times. Unfortunately it wasn't along the same lines as Miles' teacher. Fortunately, it's nothing "serious." :) Just, ya know, Jonas crawling under tables in the classroom - stuff like that. (It was "free-time" as Jonas stated for his defense!) He's a good kid, but not a sit-in-your-seat perfect type of student kid. He's doing well in school and seems to catch on quickly with his math. I've actually been impressed with what he is already doing in 5th grade - and the fact that he gets it (for the most part; I did have to help him fix a couple wrong answers yesterday . . .). Some big news: Jonas made the swim team! I think anyone who could sort-of swim made the team, but still! He even made the second-level team and so we are excited for him. It's a long story, but I was able to convince Ben to take Jonas on the 2nd night of try-outs and Ben came back saying Jonas did great and everyone was happy. :) We've heard really good things about the swim team here and so were are excited and just hope this can be Jonas' "thing." He really needs a "thing" where he can do well and feel good about himself! Cross your fingers, everyone! He'll begin practice next week. Go Jonas.
Emmy - She is enjoying school and her teachers. The 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade kids go to all the teachers in their grade for the core subjects of reading, writing, and math (one teacher teaches one of the core subjects to every classroom - does that make sense?!). She's happy with school and always finds friends. I think it's so interesting how her friends change with classroom assignments. Her best friends have always been in her classroom. Like last year it was Analicia. But she's in another class this year and so Emmy's best-friends this year, so far, are Jordan and Rosa. Both in her class. I should get a picture of the trio - it would be awesome and colorful as one is Caucasian , one is Hispanic, and one is African-American. :) She continues to love gymnastics, but is sad every time I pick her up because she can't do her back-handsprings anymore (every since we took time off to go back east). She'll get them and she has gotten some other skills, so she'll be okay. But it is frustrating to her. Practice makes perfect, right?!
Lucy - She is doing great in school, as far as I know! She's happy going and she's happy when I pick her up. So those are good signs. I will start volunteering in the classrooms - all of them (well, not Miles, I guess!) - next week and so that will be fun to see the kids in their classrooms, especially Lucy as I have never seen her in school before! She continues to play with her 2 neighborhood friends, Dory and Genevieve, at lunchtime and recess. But she talks about a lot of other kids and says they are nice (except the one that supposedly pushed her down a slide . . .). She loves art and PE - of course. She enjoys having hot-lunch once a week. :) She has started her 2nd year of music class and just loves it. This year is keyboard and so it's pretty exciting. She does get tired by the end of the day still, but still is doing great overall. She's thoughtful and amazing. I miss her, but love that she is finally in school, too!
The dogs are well. Wilson's appetite always seems to wax and wane - currently it has "waxed." He can't wait for someone to pour his breakfast! He is pretty deaf. Brigham had a good week of hiking with me, running while I biked, going on a long run, etc. He's great.
Family - So we are training for a mini-triathlon. Yes, we were inspired by the Olympics! We woke up one Saturday and watched the women's triathlon and it was awesome. I have known about a local triathlon that happens right here in town and so I thought maybe the three oldest kids could do it (I've known that kids can enter as a team and each do one event.). Anyways, I got online and saw that families could enter in teams of 3 - perfect, we've got 2 teams then! Ben and the little girls and me and the boys. You swim/bike/run according to your age. So for Ben's team, Ben is the swimmer and will swim 10 laps; Lucy is the biker and will bike a 5K (with Ben riding alongside her . . .); Emmy is the runner and will run a 2K. For my team, Jonas will start us off by swimming 2 laps; Miles will bike a 10K, and I will run a 5K. Fun, huh?! I'm super excited about it and so are the kids. We've all been doing some "triathlon training" - about twice a week. Ben and Jonas go swimming and both are increasing their endurance. Yay. I take the other kids out for some running and biking training a couple of times a week.. This week, I've taken the kids to Miles' school's track and have run with Emmy (6 laps) and then run with Lucy as she finishes up her 10 laps of biking. Brigham came, too, and had fun running around. Miles had fun on my road-bike - it's fast on a track. Jonas took a few turns on my road-bike, too. They love how fast it can go. :) Guess what Jonas wants for his birthday?! Yep, a road-bike. :
Anyways, that's enough. Life is crazy. Life is good.
Happy birthday to my mother! (Although she's probably in bed, or close to it, by now - German- time is about 9pm.)
I learned a lot from my mother in my 37 years and have no doubt I'll continue to learn more. :)
A random bit of info: I never beat my mom in a full tennis match (maybe I would win a game or 2, but never a match). Perhaps we should have some re-matches . . . her "old" age may be my advantage. But probably not.
Anyways, my mom is pretty fantastic and so I hope she had a fantastic day! Love you!
P.S. Be glad you live far away or else this might have happened:
So we went on a short-but-awesome trip to Goblin Valley. My kids LOVE this place and don't care that it is an almost 4-hour drive there. I really think it's one of their favorite places to go. Ben and I think it's pretty great, too! We headed out after lunch on Friday (the kids were out of school and Ben's work didn't have any surgeries going on . . .) and made it home Saturday night in time for the 8:30 BYU football game. :) I have a TON of pictures, so here I go:
We basically got to the Goblin Valley area and found our campsite and set-up. I am sad this is the only picture I got - it was a really cool nook and I just didn't get a great shot of it! The kids loved this campsite and we are calling it "Camp of the Disappearing Green Poop." That's a disgusting story that I don't wish to share. It will be a family secret. :)
The kids didn't take long to start exploring and climbing! Can you find the boys?
Zoomed in - there they are!
After we cooked and ate dinner, we went to Goblin Valley State Park and explored! We need to go when it's cooler so the kids can spend the entire day there! Yep, we brought Brigham along.
This place is just so cool - and I LOVE that kids are just allowed to climb and explore. It's the perfect "playground," as it calls itself.
So fun! Miles always wanted to go to the very top of everything. We didn't always let him . . .
We made it to the top of this "white" hill and had a great vista. So amazing.
As you walk around this place you just feel like you're on another planet. It's crazy cool.
Of course they had to go and explore the cave. Emmy was scared for Miles as he kept going in further and further. She'll be a great mother someday. :)
Jonas! Shirtless! He had a bloody-nose and I didn't want it all over his shirt. :) This was the first of many, many bloody-noses he had on this trip.
Haha, I have the PERFECT blackmail picture ever.
Oh this was a dandy of a story. The kids were running all around and it was getting a little dark. Jonas and Emmy were "black ninjas" and Lucy was a "green ninja" (aka, Ninja in training). Well Lucy ended up jumping in to a big mud puddle. We all thought it was pretty funny. But not Lucy - she does not like getting messy or wet. She was not happy. We wanted a picture but she just ran away from us . . . .we eventually convinced her to just take off her shorts. That made her a little happier. :)
We got back to camp, got our PJs on, ate some treats, went in our tent, played some Bop-It, then went to bed. It was a nice and uneventful night. Oh, except Miles went out to the bathroom and saw a shooting-star - just what he wanted to see!
Breakfast on the rocks, anyone?
We headed out for our hike by about 8:30. We've hiked Little Wild Horse Canyon a bunch and so this time we wanted to do the loop hike - combining LWH with Bell's canyon. We went backwards from what most everyone does - and went up Bell's Canyon and then out LWH. 8-miles in all!
This was the first of several (several meaning close to 10?) spots in which Brigham needed some help. Ben literally had to pick him up and carry, shove, or do something to get Brigham up and over or even down. Brigham apparently does not like rock-scrambling! But he enjoyed all other aspects of the hike. :)
We had a "big" water-crossing in Bell's and that made for an adventure. Brigham swam across but then needed to be hoisted over the rocks. It was a fun time at this spot!
Jonas made it on his own!
Lucky Emmy. Great Dad.
Lucky Lucy. Great Dad.
Here were are getting out of Bell's slot-canyon. It was a neat canyon and we're glad we finally did it!
This idea came from my sis: giving the kids "power beans" (or whatever she calls them!). Yeah for skittles!
Lunch time. "Great Dad" taking a well-deserved break and resting his feet some.
Emmy having some fun jumping off the rocks!
Lucy was the Queen of "Take my picture!" :)
Jonas' 4th or 5th bloody nose! Poor kid.
What a cool hiker chick.
We were getting close to entering in to Little Wild Horse canyon at this point. So beautiful!
We finally made it to the slot-part of Little Wild Horse canyon. It's just so cool!
What a cute, little hiker. :) She hiked for probably 6 of the 8 miles - not bad at all!
Jonas found and caught a friend. No, we didn't take him home.
This is such a fun place!
A messy, yet beautiful, Emmy Ryan.
The kids in their "hole-homes." Awesome.
Me trying to make amends with Brigham (I had given him a shove or two or three to get him down some rocks. I felt badly about it!). I think he still loves me. :)
A boy and his gatorade.
We had a "before" picture and here is the "after." A little more tired and dirty, but still happy. They did such a great job on the hike!
So did Brigham - except at times. :) He's a fun guy to have around . . . but I'm not sure I'd take him to Goblin Valley again . . .
We headed out and even got to have dinner at Cafe Rio in Junction on the way home. And we made it in time to unpack, send out emails (Ben - church stuff), get sharing time ready (me), and watch the BYU football game. A fun weekend!