Sunday, October 25, 2009

Rocks and Smiles

Give boys some rocks to climb in,
and it's remarkable how happy they are.

I haven't seen a smile this big and genuine on Caleb's face
for quite a long time!

Car Entertainment

Ah, twenty-first century technology.
All the way down to Canyonlands and back,
the boys stayed peaceful and well contained in the car,
while listening to "Howl's Moving Castle"
and "House of Many Ways"
on my iPod, connected to a little mini-speaker.
When they weren't sleeping, that is.
Dad commented on what a nice peace-keeping device
the iPod is!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Chesler Park

I had been wanting to hike to Chesler Park for years,
as it is one of the more popular and famous sites of Needles Canyonlands.
However, the view was rather anticlimactic.
A lot of this was probably due to the fact that we arrived in midafternoon,
and I am told that the best light for viewing Chesler Park
is in the morning.
But on the way there, we had some great views.
This is the rock wall right before the park-
the gap between cliffs is where the trail climbs and enters
Chesler Park proper.

This is an overlook about halfway through the hike:

The late light on the return hike was very lovely:

More Hiking with Kids

Last weekend I went to Canyonlands (Needles District).
There were 4 adults from the family (including me)
and 8 kids.
My brother took the older kids on an 11 mile hike.
My sister in law and I took the younger kids on a 6 mile hike,
out to the Chesler Park overlook.
(My dad wisely decided to stay in camp and relax.)
Hiking with ages 5-11 was an interesting experience.
There was a lot of playing in the dirt (above).
And looking for landmarks (below).

Rest stops tended to fill up with creative games
and rock climbing:

And though for the most part they were all full of energy
and had no problem going the distance,
there were a few moments when the youngest needed to be carried:

(I believe he had just lost an argument with his brother,
and wanted the comfort.)
My heroic sister in law carried him and TWO back packs,
because at some point, nearly everyone complained that their water bottles were too heavy.

Hiking with Kids

When you take little boys hiking,
expect them to get wet and dirty.
Even if the water is so cold no right-thinking person would venture in.

With smaller kids, it's best to hold their hands.

This can make multitasking interesting...
Our hikes at Glenwood Canyon (above)
and Colorado National Monument (below)
did add some interest to a long and dull car-bound trip!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Trip Scenes

When we left Kansas, the temperature began to drop.
Soon we were seeing frost on the fields as we passed.
By the Kansas/Colorado border, there was a freezing drizzle
that iced our windshields and slowed us down.
We drove slowly and cautiously to Denver.
The next morning, we left the Denver area at 8 am,
and the countryside was frosted over,
as if it were December and not mid October:

Over the mountain ridges bordering Denver,
and behind the cold front,
the temperature tripled-- from 22 to mid 60s,
and we had a nice stop at a rest area along the Colorado River,
in Glenwood Canyon.
The boys played in the stream that fed into the river
and we watched kayakers go by.

Evening on I-70 in mid Utah was warm and dry.
We reached the San Rafael swell at sunset,
and just before then,
this view of the Book Cliffs caught the lingering late light:

Baby on the Trip

My niece, the Rabbit, on the Great Move
(inside the car of chaos).
She was mostly a good traveler,
except for the last few hours of the last day,
when we were all fed up with being in the car so long.

The Rabbit likes to be in charge.
At the rest areas when we let her out of her car seat,
her preferred spot was the driver's seat.

Here's my favorite Rabbit incident.
When we stopped overnight in Denver with Sarah's friend Alex,
the kids had a blast playing with Alex's two boys.
They looked so cute dressed up for Sunday church.
The youngest patiently ate the cheerios the Rabbit wanted to feed him.

Last Meal in Kansas

When Sarah and her family first moved to Wichita,
we went out to dinner, and this was the first place we found.
It's a rather dreadfully inauthentic Mexican restaurant.
It actually appears to be a chain.
There was another in Hays, Kansas,
and when we stopped for dinner,
this was the most convenient place.
It seemed to be fate to have our last meal there,
as well as our first meal.

I had a taco salad.
It was tolerable.
The kids enjoyed their burritos and french fries.

The kids liked the sippy cups.
The main thing was that it was hot and filling.
But WHO ever thought of calling a MEXICAN restaurant

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Birthday Cupcakes

After the cake up the canyon,
we also had a birthday dinner for Sophie
while all of the guys were off at priesthood meeting.
Sophie wanted macaroni and cheese,
and mermaid cupcakes.
Well, she got two mermaid dolls as presents,
and harvest color cupcakes,
ginormous ones from Costco.
Emily put a candle on one for her.

Sophie turns Four

Sophie loves presents.
She especially loves opening them.
She would open them,
and then as soon as one was opened,
would turn instantly to her dad,
and ask, "Is there another present?"

There were quite a lot of presents, actually.
And a cake.
It was a pumpkin cake
with a silly face.
Emily let Sophie dip her fingers in it,
since it was her birthday.

Frosting fingers!!

Conference Cookout

Our annual conference cookout up the canyon...
Dad builds a mean fire.

Listening to conference talks on the radio...

Are the cousins having fun yet?

It was a little chilly and the colors hadn't quite turned yet,
but we had a jolly picnic.