Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Summer Odyssey 2011 - St. George Part III

As if getting to see family wasn't enough, we had the incredible good fortune of getting to meet up with two sets of friends in St George. Through Facebook posts on our drive there, we discovered that friends Jens & Karen (from our time at UW) were on vacation at Zion National Park. We got to meet up with them for lunch before they left town - what a fun surprise! I guess we were too busy visiting to take any pictures...

We also found out that our good friends April and Dave (from our early years in Grand Forks) were going to be in St. George at the same time we were. There may or may not have been some shrieking on the part of April and/or myself as it had been several years since we'd seen them. We tried not to hog ALL of their time and attention, but we enjoyed every minute with them we could. One day we met at a local splash park and let the kids play while we talked. Hopefully it could become an annual reunion....hint, hint, Barnes family!

Can't you just picture them, 7 or eight years down the road, getting ready to go to dances?

Haley and Morgan have been friends since they were infants, and Jake and Abby are the same age and get along well. But sorry buddy, you'll probably always be the shortest one in the group. She has much taller parents than you do.

We just love these guys!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Summer Odyssey 2011 - St. George Part II

Taking advantage of the proximity of Zion National Park to St. George, we headed up there one day for some hiking and sight-seeing. We were lucky enough to be joined by our friends the Barnes/Fuller family, as well as our cousins and grandparents. We took a tram through the park to the base of the trail, then hiked the (very short) distance to Weeping Rock. It was H-O-T so we let the kids wade in the stream on the way back. Grandma and Grandpa had brought their motor home, which gave us a great place to enjoy a picnic lunch and put the babies down for naps. I see many more hikes through this stunning National Park in our future visits.

I think Alex managed to get the wettest out of all of us.

Haley & Morgan.
Sand + buckets + friends = great afternoon.

Picasa SlideshowPicasa Web AlbumsFullscreen

Friday, June 24, 2011

Summer Odyssey 2011 - St. George Part I

We started out this year's summer vacation in St. George, visiting the Wood family. After so many hectic weeks (see previous post), it was nice to get on the road and enjoy some time together. Lots of time. Lots and lots of time.

The first day - after I taught cycling and we did our last-minute (last-hour-or-two) packing - we made it through an enormous thunderstorm and major detour to arrive in Omaha at 1:00 a.m. Since the motel we wound up at didn't exactly entice us to linger, we headed right back out the next morning and made it to Denver by dinnertime. The third and final day started out great, with a picnic lunch at a fabulous park in Vail, CO. But by late afternoon we were tired of the car, tired of our snacks, tired of fast food, and maybe a just a teeny bit tired of all that family togetherness. We finally - finally! - rolled into grandma and grandpa's driveway after dark and knew instantly it was worth the drive.

Grandpa Wood with Alex and cousin James.

The cousins got to eat outside, which they thought was pretty cool.
The misters that Grandpa made kept them even more cool.
An evening walk with cousins down to the river. Plenty of silliness to go around.

Haley and cousin Natalie.

A recent tradition at Grandma and Grandpa's - endless slip n' slide.

Parks, slip n' slides, playing with wears these boys out!

Picasa SlideshowPicasa Web AlbumsFullscreen

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Busy, Busy, Busy

It has been a flurry of activity around here as we try to get projects done before leaving on our summer trip. Cake baking, a garage sale, a local duathlon, baby showers, art festivals, ballet classes, art classes, kindergarten-prep classes, and putting in a veggie garden have kept us busy, not to mention the biggest project by far - starting to build the fence around the back yard. I can't believe it's only been a few weeks since school got out!

Speaking of busy, Alex keeps us on our toes ALL the time. Whether re-organizing the tupperware cupboard for me or finding his way outside all by himself, he is living up to the toddler stereotype. But at least he has cute boots on while doing it!

Jake signed up for a kindergarten-readiness class at the local school, where he gets to experience a little of what school will be like next year. He says it's pretty much like pre-school, but he's made some good friends and can't wait for the fall. All the rest of the time he can be found playing with the huge clumps of clay that were dug up for the fence-post holes. He makes Transformers, super heroes, and enormous (and heavy) balls out of it. He says it's like "super PlayDough."

Haley decided to return to ballet after a few years' break. She loves it so far but says it is hard work! She also signed up for a two-week summer art class and is excited to go every day. I think she would take ten art classes if she could.

A very poor camera-phone picture of a cake I made for a church event. Pink roses, white apple blossoms, and brown satin ribbon.

The spot for the future front gate with an arbor over it. After much researching and studying, Rob rented a huge auger to dig 4-foot holes for the fence posts. They are lined with a super-thick cardboard tube (so the frozen ground can't grab and lift them when it heaves all winter). The extra-long posts are placed in the cardboard tubes and then concrete is poured around the posts. They should be VERY secure and stand up to our harsh winds and winters. The goal is to have all the posts set before we leave town...

What the neighbors used to see from their side yard...

Also from the neighbors' yard.

If we're recovered from fence-building by next summer, we'll be building a deck, paved dining area, and in-ground fire pit in the back yard, with perennial beds along the house and fence.

We moved the swing set over...the kids seem to like the new placement.

Our current view from the backyard.

This is the "easement" area behind our yard. It will be outside the fence, but I'm planning to plant raspberries back there eventually.

The garden sure seemed huuuuge when I was digging out the grass for it. Eventually it will be raised beds but for now we just dug some peat moss into the existing soil. We're looking forward to lots of tomatoes (cherry, grape, and slicing), bell peppers, purple ruffled and Genovese basil, Italian parsley, tons of cucumbers, carrots, and zucchini squash.

Between activities the kids have had lots of fun with neighborhood friends. A favorite pastime is catching bugs and butterflies (with MUCH screaming and shrieking). Hurray for summer break!