Tuesday, September 25, 2012

lava rock campout

Last weekend we headed out for an adventure as a family to the lava rocks for a campout.  There was not the regular lush scenery as you would normally envision with a camping trip, but definitely its own style of beauty.  And we were completely alone in this wilderness and it was very dark.  But the sunset could not be beat: 
 We roasted marshmallows and sang songs around the fire.  It was really so much fun!!  Lily kept us laughing with how much she loved to sing the primary song "I love to sing."  It was so very cute.  We sang rounds and all sorts of primary songs and had a great time.  We settled in the camper and unwound with Toy Story and some popcorn.
 This campout really was a remarkable in the way that there was no major meltdowns on anyone's part, not much fighting, and no one getting into trouble.  With all of those things combined it sure makes for a great trip!!
Lily is a major fan of all things motorcyclish.  She would hardly let anyone else have a ride.
 Some entertainment while everyone else was on a ride:
 Here is Lily going for a ride in the go-kart.
 Let's get a better look at those big beautiful eyes under that helmet.  And let's get a better look at how she put on her helmet...  :)
 It was a pretty fun place to zip around on motorcycles and stuff.  I even brushed the dust off my motorcycle and rode around and had a good time!  Drew thought it was fun to ride around together....we are kind of at the same level.  :)
 After some rides we took off on a different style of hike:
 We hiked the loop around this lava field. 
 We had sporadic geology lessons by Jed as we hiked around.  Jed and I both have an interest in geology.  I put off taking any science courses in college to the veeeerrry end, and then discovered I loved both of the science classes I took: geology and human biology.  Who knew?!
 It was very dry and hot.....in fact Jed and his brothers went for a motorcycle ride here a week before our trip and it was one to remember I guess.  Something involving ditching motorcyles, running out of water, throwing up, etc. 
 Miss Claire is always a trooper on hikes.
Here are the kids taking some respite in some sparse shade.
 I liked the looks of this tree: 
  All in all, a very fun campout.
Lily helped pack up the camper.  Just makin sure our oven doesn't go anywhere.  :)
 Madelyn likes to ride motorcycles this way.  Stationary.
 It has been so much fun to take these weekend excursions with our family and I hope we can squeeze in atleast one more!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Summertime Activities

 Summer flew by quickly, and I was too busy living life to record it.  So I'm going to nip it in the bud right here and throw up a gigantic post of summer activities.  First up, the fourth of July.  Jed and Drew were fishing and missed out on our berry breakfast, so I made it for the girls.
We had a BBQ at my parents then went to the fireworks with just our family.  Our seats were awesome and I fed Claire the whole time....because that was during her screamy stage and that was the only way people could tolerate us being around!!
 Then we had soccer.  Drew had a fun time with soccer this year.  It seems like it was
ages ago! 
 The soccer competition is getting a little more stiff nowadays.  There were some aggressive players on Drew's team that were pretty darn good!
 The girls entertained themselves at the games.
 They picked flowers.
 And they made new friends.
 We attended the opening ceremonies of the International Folk Dance Festival.  It was something that my family did every year growing up.  It was so fun to relive those memories, but with my own family. 
 It is practically the exact same.

 I always used to love watching these balloons fly away into the distance!

 It brought back those familiar feelings of unity despite cultural differences.  I love it.  
 The kids earned carousel rides through the reading program.
 When given the choice of anything, Hannah will always choose blue.
 Drew chose an airplane ride instead.
 We spent a couple days at the lake this summer.  I didn't get any actual pictures at the lake....but here is Claire in her swimsuit.....
One of those days at the lake was spent with my old roommates from college.  It was so fun to catch up and see each other.
 Drew worked on some big building projects.  He is quite the architect.
 This roller coaster is nearly taller than me, and it really works!!  Pretty awesome.
 Of course we had to spend some days at the splash park.
 Lily was so cute in her little sling.

 And Lily made a lot of mischief.
 She is one messy girl.  She even painted our carpet blue, luckily it was just water colors!
Some other fun things we did, that I did not get any pictures of were:
  • Bear World with Grandma.  We saw so many bears!!  We were lucky enough to be right behind the feeding truck and just watched all of those bears come out of the woodwork.  They would just sit on their bottoms on the road and wave their paws for food.  It was absolutely cute!!  When they act that way, it is so hard to believe they are actually wild and dangerous animals!  (yet of course I do believe it).  We all got to ride on their amusement rides too.  Claire rode her first roller coaster at one month!  Dare devil!  I thought my kids would never let us leave!  It was so much fun!
  • We went to the museum and learned about King Tut and ate free sandwiches there.  The kids got pretty spooked out by the mummy.  It was kind of gross I must admit.
  • We also went to a Chukars game and ate hot dogs, pop, and junk food.  In true American baseball fashion.
  • Watched the Olympics together.  We mostly enjoyed the gymnastics--my all-time favorite.  I practically lived in my swimsuit as a child, always pretending to be a gymnast.  My kids and I would watch the events, then during the commercials we would do our own Olympic challenges like push-ups, the wall sit, jumping jacks, etc.  Nothing like the Olympics to inspire physical exertion.
  • Lots of campouts and hiking, which I will write more about later.
Oh, it makes me miss summer already!!

youth conference

Jed and I both were needed at a Youth Conference we held for the youth in our ward--which meant the whole family came along!
I wrote a really big draft on this earlier, and decided I need to make it more brief, so here goes.  Some of the highlights were:
  • rappelling/slack lining
  • our family entertaining the stake president while we waited for the big group to return from rappelling where he would then give a fireside.
  • setting up traps for chipmunks--they did eat our oreos!
  • Being woken up at 4 A.M. by Brother Olsen who was running around screaming and yelling to get everyone up.  Scared Madelyn to death.
  • Hiking with baby Claire up Devil's Staircase--we made it!!!  With a lot of support from my little beehive friends who did not leave my side the entire hike.  They pointed out every rock in my path, and held my hand in every treacherous area--what sweet girls!  I made it safe and sound without slipping once.
  • spiritual activities along the trail.  Carrying rock (sin) along the trail and unloading (repentance) when we saw the bishop (forgiveness).  Setting goals and committing to them with rope bracelets singed onto their wrists.  When the goal is completed they can cut the bracelets off.  And then my favorite spiritual activity that needs more exlpanation:
The end of the youth conference was seriously amazing.  Jed had stayed behind with the other children and chopped up fruit (all morning!) for the dessert when everyone got back from the hike.  A leader asked a boy if he wanted a fruit pizza (of course he said yes) and then told him he had to do 10 push-ups to get one.  Then he asked the next person if they wanted one...similar response, but this time the same boy would have to pay the price for the other persons treat.  And so it continued:  if anyone wanted one, and pretty much everyone did, then that same boy would have to pay the price of 10 push-ups for each person.  It was kind of funny to everyone in the beginning, but as it went on and the leaders really kept pushing this boy to carry out the bargain, things started clicking in the youths hearts.  It was tough for this boy to do.  He was really struggling, but he always said he would do it for every person that wanted one.  One girl didn't want one, and the boy still had to pay the price for her.  After a while it got painful for the youth to watch their friend struggle as he physically paid for their pizzas. 
Finally, the boy couldn't do it anymore and another boy finished the push-ups for the rest of those that wanted one.  This activity was such a powerful lesson to everyone present of the Savior's atonement.  The Savior paid the price for us to have the ultimate prize of eternal life.  He did it for all, even those who don't accept it.  It was incredible to hear the "push-up" boy's testimony in the following fast and testimony meeting.  He had been praying for a meaningful experience at youth conference and then was asked to participate in an activity even though what he would have to do was hard.  I don't think he will ever forget that experience, and how it represented what the Savior did for him and for all of us.  He mentioned in his testimony "I couldn't finish what I was asked to do, but the Savior did."  So incredible.  It was such a neat experience.

After the youth conference was officially over, our family stayed and camped an extra night.  Our kids were totally thrilled with that!
Hannah was making potties ( holes in the dirt) and really wanted to use one......that didn't fly with me since we had a real potty in the camper.  :)  It was just so random and funny!
Drew helped make the fire...until he got a little too dangerously comfortable with the fire and then was banned from it for the night.
Claire was cute.  We read "Freckle Juice" as a family, and everyone enjoyed that.
We took the family to hike Devil's staircase.  Lily got to drive.....she didn't like that at all...... :)

My little camping ragmuffins enjoying the first part of the trail.
Such a beautiful hike.  The scenery is so gorgeous.  I especially loved this crazy tree:
It was fun to take the family on the hike after I had done it the day before, so I could show them what I loved.
Lily had to sit on pretty much every rock and log in sight.  It's a lot slower to hike with the family.  But, also a lot more fun in ways because you have more time to notice small things.
Drew thinks he's really funny:    :)
Frequent breaks are a must.

I loved the burnt orange weeds surfacing even in late August:
Hannah sure was a trooper.  We really pushed (gently) to get as far as we could.  We probably made it atleast half way.  We atleast got to see the ridge where the hike ends....way above us.  That hike doesn't really get serious til about the last third--so that was perfect for us.  Unfortunately, we have been living in smoke filled (everything off in the distance is hazy) air for the last two months, making the views not quite as grand and sweeping as they would usually be, but still beautiful.
I love getting out and enjoying the beauties of nature with the family!