Monday, July 28, 2014

I love it when...

I find my boys being sweet. 
I walked into my son's room to found his brothers sharing his bed while he was at a sleep over.  All day long I feel like I am reminding them to use soft hands or helping hands, telling them not to kick or bite and to share and not throw your brothers stuff.  I love this gentle reminder.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Finding water

Last weekend we left St. George in search of water.  Living in the Southwestern corner of Utah I am amazed that there is any water at all, but there are so many options for water play! When we go camping I tend to prefer not to get reservations in case when we get there we don't feel safe (like there isn't anyone else there) or if I can get a spot closer to the bathrooms or the lake by just driving up.  This method of camping has gotten me into trouble the last few weeks.  
On Thursday I had the boys pack up their backpacks and we prepped the back of the car for Friday night camping! Luckily I didn't have work Friday, but I did have commitments with Thing 1 until 1:00 so we had the car packed (including our freezer chest with plenty of ice) and ready to go.  After he was done we ran over the grocery store and grabbed a few last minute things that I should have picked up on Thursday, but didn't have time and then picked up the 2 littles and headed out of town.
I knew going into our adventure that there was no camping in Pine Valley, but I knew that there was other campgrounds in the area so we could still be close to the reservoir.
 One of the things I am still so grateful that I did this year was to get an annual National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass.  It's $80 for the year long pass and I can get into all the parks for free!!! It has been great to have and it means I can go to Zion for a picnic just for kicks or to Pine Valley to go fishing in the cool water. Well worth it and if your over the age of 62 it's $10 for a lifetime make your mom/dad/grandma/grandpa get one and do some bonding!
 Here is thing 1 bent over attempting to put together a make-shift fishing pole out of old fishing line, a stick and a sharp rock.  Love these kids!
 From the Pine Valley Reservoir there was this great little  stream that goes throughout the park. The boys had fun walking down the side of the stream and wanted to follow it longer, but I didn't want to get my shoes wet, so I made them turn around...mean mom. I learned a hard truth when we got up to Pine Valley...all those campgrounds that I saw...they are all part of the National Park system and were all reserved...nuts! So we headed off down the road and we will put that one on our list to try again later!
 From what I have been told Veyo Pies is world famous and we just happen to drive past it! We looked at the case together and decided on a Valcano Pie since we couldn't have a wood fire to toast our s'mores on.  The boys were so excited to be standing there in front of all those pies...we almost left with 2 pies, but I won when I reminded them we didn't have a lot of room in the cooler!
The closest body of water to Pine Valley was Gunlock State Park so we headed southwest.  It took me a while to find it because it is such a small little park that just had one little sign, but we found it and the greenery was welcomed.
Thing 2, "I'm the King of the Rock."
 I couldn't get him to open his eyes!
We used this as a diving board.
 It was about this point that we were going to leave for Enterprise Reservoir because it was 4:00 and the people that were at the campground weren't planning on actually camping and there were only 5 sites.  As we were about to leave we noticed that there was one car with 2 girls in it that we hadn't asked yet, so we got super creepy and asked if they were going to stay and to our surprise they were having the same argument! Apparently all our moms taught us the same lesson not to camp if there aren't any other campers, so we camped next to each other and kept each other safe.
 Such a nice sunset at Gunlock State Park.
 Guess who learn how to dive this summer? It was fun to go out for a swim after we had cleaned up the campsite before the 30 minute drive home.  All of us got in the water this time, Thing 3 had been worried about jumping off the dock the night before, but got a little more brave when I jumped in to cool off and clean off some of the sweat from the long night before.

 The water was nice and warm, but so was the ground.  It was tough to fall asleep when your sweaty hot without much of a cross breeze.  All of us had already stripped down as far as we could go and it was still too hot.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Weekend Adventures

At work last week I was in the right place at the right time when the usual end of the week, "what are you doing this weekend" question came up.  When I heard Johanna say that she was going to see hot air balloons a few hours away...I'm not going to lie, I was a little jealous. So when Johanna extended the invitation I jumped all over the chance to do something new. We left early Saturday morning and drove through Zion National Park on our way to Bryce Canyon.  It was 2 1/2 hours gorgeous scenery and of course it was a beautiful day in Southern Utah.  After ditching our first campground and setting up camp at one that better suited our needs we went hiking up the Mossy Cave Trail.  This was a really easy hike that was perfect for kids! It had a mossy cave that dripped water and a waterfall...what more could a kid ask for in a hike?

This was probably the point when the boys asked if they could take their shoes off.
Mom and Logan behind the waterfall!
Carson was too scared to go over to the waterfall and I didn't want to carry him but I kind of wanted to touch the waterfall, so he waited for us on the rock!
The kids being brave in the cave! Logan, Carson, Peter, and Melody! I'm kind of annoyed that I didn't take a better picture of the cave but it was covered in soft green moss that we have back at home. 
Just look at this super women, Johanna is a rockstar!
 After we got snacks from the car we headed over to Sunset Point on the Rim Trail at Bryce Canyon.  Heading into the park there are 2 of these tunnels that are amazing and the boys wanted to hike them...Probably not this year (or ever). This time the hike was paved and Johanna could use her double stroller for her 2 sleepy kids!
 This chipmunk caught our attention and didn't even seem to mind us standing so close to it.  We've never seem them gathering like this before! It was neat!
 Logan was done! He was asking to go back to the tent and sleep!
So happy that at least one of my kids can maintain a sense of humor when tired!
 Mom and Logan at Sunset Point at Bryce Canyon.
After only the adults got sunburned we headed back to the campground for some hot dogs and s'mores! We tried to divide the supplies need between the families and I was in charge of the stove and the fire...well at least I remembered the fire! I made a little fire for hot dogs and poor Johanna only got coals when it was her turn to make dinner! But at least everyone got fed and that's all the moms cared about.  
In Panguitch, Utah they were having a Hot Air Balloon Rally and so after dinner we went out to see what that was all about!
My genius friend Johanna said, "oh let's just buy one and make them share." I said, "OK." But in my head I was thinking...are you crazy?
   Look at how cute the 3 of them shared!
Cotton Candy Beard
They lined the street with the hot air balloons! Some of the teams laid down this protective layer that went from curb to curb and some teams just put down the hot air balloon on the asphalt. 
Balloons everywhere!
It was exciting watching them fill it up, the boys didn't even complain, much, about staying in place and watching.  They start out by laying down the basket and the balloon with a large fan, like the fan that you have when you are drying out your carpets after a flood.  It isn't until after the balloon is almost blown up that they turn on the fire to raise it .

 I am sorry that this is sideways, but I really liked it.
 These balloons where amazing once they were blown up! Especially against the deep blue sky.
 Sunday morning we got up before the sun and started cleaning up camp.  While Johanna cleaned up her camp I figured out how to make pancakes cooked on the campground grill with blueberries and chocolate chips.  It actually thought that they were really good, some were a little smoky, but most were good! I was grateful that we didn't have anywhere we didn't have to be, so we waited until after the morning festivities before cleaning up.
 The night before we had seen Main Street in Panguitch, Utah lined with 10-12 hot air balloons and now a sunrise launch in an open field with more then 25.
 The balloons were on both sides of the road and the shoulder was lined with cars!
 On the way home we stopped a few times for a little excitement...
 Dude, are you a lady or a man? lol
Kids had fun going to jail. 
and pretending to be Lady Liberty!
 Now that Thing 2 can read he has lots of questions, like why does that sign say Dixie mom? Are we almost to Dixie Kids? What does Dixie mean? Why does it have an "x" in it?
 Pit stop at Forscher German Bakery for some treats in Orderville, Utah!
 And then we got lost.  Going back and looking the map after we got home we were supposed to start heading west after the above bakery, but we were probably in a sugar coma and ignored the gps and continued south on 89.  Some how we ended up in Arizona before I really realized something had really gone wrong.  I thought that things had looked familiar from our Lake Powell trip, but didn't connect the dots! Once we got home hours later we all emptied the car, started the laundry,  took showers and snuggled in for naps.  Overall it was a perfect weekend and I am grateful for the opportunities to make memories with my boys!