Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Yeah for Pioneer Day!!

For the first time in a long time Ben actually had Pioneer's Day as a paid holiday!! Of course we were going to fill the day with fun, right? We had promised the kids a parade but weren't sure which parade to go to-the Spanish Fork with some friends or the big one in SLC? We literally decided as we got on the freeway and decided to head north to the Days of '47 Parade. We were totally late and expecting to not find anywhere to sit but totally lucked out finding a great parking place and a spot that was not too shabby and even had a little bit of shade! We had a good time at the parade and got to see some cool floats and all. It was great to see President Eyring and remember that the day was all about our pioneer heritage and the sacrifices they made to come to Utah and establish this great state of ours!!

After the parade, we were trying to decide what to do with the rest of our day. I remembered that we had been wanting to visit the Eccles Dinosaur Park in Ogden and figured we were half way there so it would be a great day to go. We grabbed some lunch and then made a quick stop in Layton to see the Hanamaikai's beautiful new house and invite them along with us on our impromptu adventure. We headed off to the dinosaur park and they joined us soon after.

That place is so cool!! The museum part is not very big but still has tons to see, including a skeleton of a Wooly Mammoth and a Wooly Rhino! There are a lot of cool dinosaur sculptures all over outsde, a cool dinosaur themed playground, and even an animatronix T-Rex and Triceratops thing. It was so much fun that I decided to upgrade our entrance for the day into an annual membership because even if we went even one more time, it'd pay for itself, and we definitely want to go back!!

Our kids were wasted after the Dinosaur Park and took great naps on the drive home. We made a speedy stop at home for dinner and then headed out to the ballgame! It was the most crowded Owlz game ever! We were so far out in Center field that we really couldn't hear anything or even see the score so we were pretty clueless the whole game but apparently the Owlz won. My brother, Jerry, and his kids, Dylan & Katie, joined us which was really fun! The Hanamaikais actually showed up right in time to watch the amazing fireworks after the game. I guess the fireworks were pretty inspirational to Alexis because she decided to pull herself up to standing for the first time right in the middle of them! I was so glad I had the camera out! We had such a great Pioneer Day together as a family! I'm so thankful for the pioneers that sacrificed so much to come to Utah and find a place where they could live without fear of prosecution. I still wish they would've kept on going to California though! Ha ha.

Summer, Week 9-slipping away, slipping away

Last week we:
-Swung around in the backyard a bit.
-Went to see Hotel for Dogs at the Scera movies, which the kids declared the best movie!! I had a different opinion.
-Hit the library for story time & Skylar's last craft class. They made kites.
-Went to the park for playgroup.
-Had cousin, Katie, join us for the day and we went to the mall, out for lunch, and to the Museum of People and Cultures to learn about Africa! The kids got to speak some Bamanaka, play football the way the African kids do, and make some talking drums! Fun stuff!

-Watched this little girl grow a bunch as she discovered the Barbie house (oh no!), said (whispered) her first word-Bye! Bye!, began to finally hands and knees crawl, and pull herself to standing!! All in one week!

-Had a great Pioneer Day which will get it's own post!
-Hit the park for the Pioneer Day Primary activity and some adventures with the new beetles-yuck!

-Cleaned the church as a family. This was a pretty big job but we did it! I hope no one noticed all the tiny fingerprints and big streaks on those doors there.

-As a reward for such awesome cleaning, allowed the kids to have that long requested ice cream for dinner!! Could we be better parents!?

Saturday, July 25, 2009


So my parents offered us the Jensen family cabin in Island Park, ID for the weekend and it just happened to be free entry into National Parks weekend, so we figured we'd take full advantage of all the free stuff and go have a fun, relaxing weekend away from it all! We were not disappointed. We met Ben up in SLC on Thursday night after work and drove up. We didn't get to the cabin until 11 or so and then the kids are always so excited, especially about the stairs of death, so we actually didn't even get them to bed until after midnight and then Alexis decided she was a little freaked out by the new place and stayed up until 2. So, we didn't get much sleep.
The late night made it hard to get up the next morning, get breakfast, and get out of the door so we could do some fishing. We headed down to the river right by the cabin and set out for a day of fishing. Let's just say fishing from noon to 4 pm does not yield many fish. In fact, it didn't yield any for us. After Nick fell off the dock, not one but two times, we decided to let the kids go ahead and jump in the water and join Ben. They had a great time playing in the water, trying to fish, and enjoying the beautiful scenery there along the river.

After the kids were sufficiently wet and wasted we decided to head over and try to get some kind of boating in. The boys crashed while we were waiting to go out but were soon geared up to go. We opted for the canoe since it could hold our entire family and took it out for an hour. It was kind of tricky trying to row with Alexis-thank heavens for the invention of the Bumbo and some very eager kids that were excited to take a turn rowing the boat. We had a really fun time and the kids thought it was the best part of the day.

Later on we headed over to the pool at my parent's condo. That place brings back so many memories for me from my childhood. I guess all of Island Park does but for some reason, it really hits me there. I love the kiddie pool there because it's so warm and just the right size (just ignore the mascara all over my face). It is so fun! The kids had such a great time showing off their stuff to Ben who hasn't been swimming with us yet this year. Ben and I had a great time taking turns in the hot tubs and relaxing after such a long day!

The next morning we planned on getting up bright and early and out the door but Ben and I have a hard time with bright and early so we didn't actually hit Yellowstone Park until around 11 am. We thought it may be crowded with all of the freeness of it but we were not even prepared. When you first get into the park a few miles there is a Bald Eagle's nest. It's always a little slow by there because of that but it was literally bumper to bumper for about a mile before and then continued afterwards. We were dreading how the day was going to be. After we got out awhile it suddenly opened up and then the rest of the day was totally easy going without bad traffic at all-even in the section where they were doing construction. It was great!!
We decided to drive the entire South loop of the park so that we could hit all of our favorite parts as well as check out some new places. First we stopped at Old Faithful. We arrived right as it was about to go off so Ben dropped us off and we ran up to watch it. We were glad we saw it and didn't have to wait another 80 minutes to see it. While we were there we ate our picnic lunch up on the patio in the lodge and walked around in the lodge a little. I love that old lodge.
We then decided to go down and hit the geyser basin at West Thumb by the lake. Okay, so my family has been to Yellowstone a million times yet we have never even been there! It was so amazingly beautiful!! It was so cool to see so many geysers, hot springs, paint pots, etc. in one spot overlooking the gorgeous lake! There's even a small little cone in the lake-too cool! It is now my new favorite place and we will definitely be going back.

Next we drove up past the Yellowstone Lake Hotel and up to the Mud Volcano area. We did the really steep hike up-way to go kids!-and checked out some pretty cool and pretty hot things like Dragon's Cauldron and Dragon's Mouth. There was one hotspring that was 170 degrees-the breeze off that thing was less than pleasant! It was a beautiful little hike and it was fun to see things we haven't seen before.

We then drove up to the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone to see the falls. Along the way we saw a ton of bison and elk. The kids were pretty stoked about that. Canyon was beautiful as always, and we got our Christmas card picture taken there. Since we're not sending one out this year though I'll just say Merry Christmas in July!!!

After Canyon, we saw our favorite little buffalo that we see every year, ERL. It's always a little freaky to have that ginormous beast within 2 feet of the car! Then to reward the kids for all their awesome hiking skills and lack of (okay, minimal) complaining we stopped at the Canyon visitor's center to get some yummerlicious Huckleberry ice cream.

We headed out towards West Yellowstone and made a stop so the kids could look for some souveniers and we could eat some dinner finally. We made it back to the cabin around 11 and were all pretty wasted. Little did we know that we still had quite the adventure in store. About 2:30 Ben wakes me up whisper/screaming "What's that? What's that?" and flashing the flashlight around the room. He spotlights some flying object which turns out to be a bat!! So we're freaking out a bit but grab all of our stuff, including sleeping Alexis, and head downstairs, closing the door behind us so that we would trap the bat in the bedroom upstairs. I took a quick pic of the bat before heading down-what a freaky looking thing!! We pulled out the mattress from the couch in the living room and settled back down to get some sleep. A little while later, I wake up to Ben freaking out because there is another, much bigger bat, that has decided to actually swoop down near our heads. So I ran to the front door and opened it while Ben grabs the fishing nets and is trying to encourage it to fly outside. It was totally the scene from the movie the Great Outdoors and I couldn't help but laugh my butt off even though Ben was not amused himself. It was hilarious!! So the bat finally flies up into the rafters and into this tiny 2 inch hole where the lodge pole goes into the ceiling and we didn't see it again. Ben was ready to head home that instant but I convinced him that it was pretty ridiculous to make a 6 hour trip at 3 in the morning. So, we settled back down, but I really don't think Ben got much sleep after that. The funny thing is that the kids slept through the entire thing. The next morning, Ben was ready to laugh about it though and let me take a picture or two to reenact the episode the night before.

Anyway, we once again slept in too late (but can you blame us?) and didn't make it over to church the next morning. We packed up and cleaned up, took some pictures in front of the cabin, and then headed out for home.
We made a stop at Big Springs to go see all the giant fish up there that you can feed. We saw about 3 fish and about fifty seagulls who have apparently taken over the whole fish feeding thing. It's still so beautiful up there though.

We had such a fun little trip and I'm so glad we had the opportunity to go. I'm so glad that the kids are able to start forming memories of going to Island Park and Yellowstone just like I did as a kid. It's so beautiful and peaceful there and it's such a great place to get away from it all and just have a great time!!