We had a good last week of summer vacation. I had grand plans to entertain them, but they really just wanted to play with each other and had a great time--lots of games, projects, etc. It's a good thing, too, because the weather wasn't particularly cooperative for field trips anyway, and the one time I took them to Trafalga for mini-golf it was closed. Lucky for us we'd had some great field trips the week before to downtown SLC and to also to our local water park (but I don't generally bring a camera to the pool, so...)
Both the boys wanted their picture taken with the Golden Eagle at the very beautiful Tracy Aviary.
|Leslie has a thing for flamingos ever since she was one for Halloween. It's the long legs, I think.|
|The kids in front of the Conference Center on Temple Square. Luke is getting heavy.|
|Boston had fun toy fishing at the Book of Mormon Celabracion' for children exhibit.|
|Cooper and Luke had fun driving this jeep together.|
|Luke's first ever bite of cheeseburger. I usually haven't given my little ones this age cheeseburgers because they'll just chuck it, but after he went down on those Sausage Muffins you made for the kids, Mom, it was worth a try.|
|And....guess who loves cheeseburgers! He actually did eat about half of it. And this smile he now does on demand; we call it his "Cheesy Face".|
|Luke and Cooper on Mars at the Clark Planetarium.|
|The moon-walk came right before Luke's moon-trip and moon-goose egg on his big heavy noggin. Darn gravity! At least I remembered to put him in long pants or he would have also had skinned knees.|
|Boston on the moon.|
|We hiked through a downpour to get into the Planetarium, and when we came out the kids were spellbound by the flooding gutters. This has been the wettest August I can ever remember.|
|Cooper and Macy take advantage of the puddles in the pea rows.|
|I was such a bad mom. I let them play in the mud (okay) but then Mark and I left on a date and made Leslie clean them up. Hope Mark paid her a tip! Of course, maybe she enjoyed being sanctioned to hose down her brothers?|
|This must have been right before they painted the mud mural on the fence. Even after all the buckets of rain we've received, it is somehow still there.|
|Macy, Boston and Luke found a new, baby-worthy use for our Kubb game. Luke got to knock them down with his stick.|
Once we barely (and I mean barely) squeezed into the van, with kids holding sleeping bags on laps, etc, and had reached the general vicinity, I started watching the road for the signs corresponding to the campsites on my map. Closed. Closed. Closed. (Don't know why--maybe there had been some flooding in the spring that ruined some areas?) The kids were getting hungry. Finally, we came upon a group site that was a little ways from the road with a nice pullout to park our van. Also closed. But with the van not easily seen from the road...and with all that space to play...and guarantee of no other campers...and the beautiful stream and cliffs. Well, the gate wasn't even locked. And as I told Mark several times, loudly, we are allowed to primitive camp anywhere on the public lands we dang well please. (He kept mentioning the "federales"). We only used the firepit, so what was the harm?
It turned out pretty nice and Luke especially really loved throwing rocks into the creek. Everyone slept pretty well, even Leslie, who had a pretty good-sized boulder under her sleeping bag. The next morning, several of the kids woke up soaking wet from our tent dripping with condensation. It hadn't rained, but I guess it was just really humid. (Darcy, how the heck do you camp in Oregon?) They were pretty ornery and in no mood to hike, etc., so we just packed up in a hurry and left after feeding them donuts and yogurt out of the van.
|Luke saw this picture and shouted, "Hot Dogs!" The creek is between us and the cliffs, there was quite a bit more depth to this picture than it shows here.|
|Luke LOVED pitching rocks into the creek...but he didn't want to find and pick them up himself. Good thing he's spoiled.|
|Our van is parked between this big rock and the highway.|
|"Sleeping Beauty might be a stretch, mom. How 'bout Sleeping Sister?" Luke slept great and didn't make a peep all night.|
We did decide to loop around and come home through a different canyon so that we could explore more of the state and also be able to come home through Manti. Once again, my map was able to provide us with some adventure. We came through Ferron Canyon, which was beautiful and rugged. The dirt road was surprisingly well kept even though I cowered a bit up one very steep and narrow switchback. Having survived that, when the road started to get a little bumpy, we decided to take what looked like a major road, hopefully paved, as a shortcut to Manti. I think it was called Skyline Drive. Well, we definitely found the sign, even the road number, but it looked a bit questionable. Mark, feeling intrepid, decided to go for it, hoping that it would get better after a little ways. Well, it didn't. Super narrow dirt road with the edges crumbling off down the steep dropoffs of switchbacks. Lots of potholes, etc. Then, we came around a switchback and were suddenly driving the very top ridge of the mountain with BOTH edges of the road crumbling off into nothingness. Cooper started howling. (He was voicing our common emotion.) We drove a few more yards and then gasped as we saw a four-wheeler up ahead of us, zooming around the edge of an even higher cliff, on a very rough road that looked about four feet wide. Our road. My arm shot out to grab Mark and I declared a very definite NO. Skyline Drive indeed--didn't realize it was a literal term. I think someone forgot to put that it was only for four-wheelers, not Dodge Yaks. I got out and luckily, where we stopped there was a gradual slope on one side where we could have a few extra feet to turn around with me directing the back of the van. I've never high-centered on the very top of a mountain before and don't intend to. Ever. I really should have taken a picture when that four-wheeler illuminated our precarious situation, but I was too terrified to think about preserving the moment for posterity at the time.
|This was a ways after we turned around. I wish I would have taken a picture of where the road got so narrow on the Skyline.|
|Some of the view on our way back down, looking east toward Ferron. There were several lakes and I don't remember which one this was.|
|Cooper is chillin' at our picnic.|
|I like this picture because Luke and Leslie here are showing us some proportion. The temple is MASSIVE.|
|Back Row: Dwight, JoAnn, Paul. Front Row: Sharon, DeAnn, Kathy, Mark.|
|Macy wanted her own picture in front of the temple. She thought it was beautiful.|
|Luke also wanted his own picture taken. Awww.|
|Mark's Grandma Melva and Grandpa Newel, sometime in the 70's.|
|Mark's Step-Grandma Lucy and Grandpa Newel, probably in the 80's. Melva and Lucy were sisters. (When Macy read this caption, she got a funny look on her face and said, "That's kinda silly!" Then she asked, "were both of your grandpas brothers?")|
We laughed pretty hard and Boston caught lots of flak about being a ladies' man. Addy was in his class last year and I'm pretty sure the feeling is mutual. She was excited to come over once this summer on a babysitting co-op exchange and she and Boston caught grasshoppers the whole time. We even were friends with her parents when Boss and Addy were babies--maybe it's fate!
Cooper has been pretty nervous about school. He didn't want to go and was complaining plenty the night before the first day, mostly something about that he wouldn't get to play football all day or work on his projects (his latest craze has been writing down every BYU football anyone can name in a notebook. That includes pestering random people that come to our house--he'll ask them if they know the names of any BYU football players. He's only asked me about eight times and I can usually only think of Steve Young, thanks to a pretty gorgeous got-milk ad that hung in my high school locker and on my wall at BYU. Mark made me get rid of it when we were engaged, along with my Sean Connery/James Bond calendar.) Anyway, I was expecting that the nervousness would go away after the first day, but he came home a little disturbed.
|Leslie, first day of 8th Grade.|
|Boston, first day of 3rd grade. He had been bugging me for 45 minutes to go out to the bus stop and was mad that it was finally time to go but I had to take a picture. Plus it was starting to rain.|
|Cooper, first day of 2nd Grade.|
|Waiting for the Umbrella Bus.|