Sunday, September 26, 2010

Zion National Park

Zion National Park has a year round $25 entrance fee. However 3 times a year they offer a *free* admission day. Yesterday just happened to be one of those. Needing some much needed family time we decided to take the kids for the day. I can't begin to tell you how much fun we had together. Emily was VERY photogenic. Everytime I turned around she was posing for me.
Our 1st hike of the day was to Weeping Rock. It is this huge rock that "leaks" water. Some parts have a steady stream and others parts are just dripping. This hike was perfect, round trip is only 1/2 a mile making this great for our younger kids.

Hunter tried leaning his head over the edge to collect water droplets on his tongue.
Silly, boy!

There were plenty of spots along the way for Emily to gather her siblings for a fun photo.

At the bottom of Weeping Rock's trail the kids saw stairs and wanted to go exploring

These old cement stairs led to a little stream. I remember this hike the best from my younger years. I remember jumping, playing and trying to catch polywogs in this little stream.

Despite being a little chilly it didn't stop my kids from trying to do the same.

I haven't been to Zion's to go hiking for many, many years. It's a little different now that they no longer allow you to drive yourself but you have to take shuttle buses. Being my kids have never been on a bus they LOVED this part. The shuttles came every 5-7 minutes at the drop off points making it nice not having to wait very long. The part I didn't like about the shuttles was seeing how many people were trying to cram themselves on. The shuttles had seats but then you could stand in the middle of the isles. Seeing how many people were there we left our stroller in the van along with our cooler full with our snacks, lunch and water bottles.

Our 2nd and last hike of our AWSOME day was to the Lower Emerald Pool's.
This hike is just over a mile round trip. By this time the sun was a little higher and we were getting a little hot. Not having snacks or water for the kids we were all getting a little tired.
This was the coolest part of this trail. We got to walk behind a water fall that fell into the lower pool. As your walking behind you can feel the spray of the water. Being quite warm by now the kids loved getting "a little" wet.

With all the water, it didn't take little man too long to find the mud!

Along this trail we took a minor detor to these rocks we saw.
There was a crack that the kids were able to slide through.
You can barely see Maddie going in while Hunter coming out.
More large rocks to climb on.
By the time we had completed this hike we decided EVERYONE was done. Leaving the stroller in the van made Kory and I take turns carrying Brayden. It wasn't that he wouldn't walk, he'd want to walk the opposite way or want to pick up EVERY SINGLE rock, stick, dead bug along the way.
By the end even Emily was being given a piggy back ride.
Even though she was tired and little whiny we were all still in a good mood.
After our hikes we found a little grass and some shade. We quinched our thirst and ate our picnic lunch. We had a great day. It was fun, we had some funny conversations and we saw:
3 lizards
2 squirrels
7+ wild turkeys.
It was a great way to spend some family time with one another.
When we got home everyone was tired. Most of us took a 2+hour nap. Can't beat that.
The next free admission day is Nov. 11,2010. We will definetly be going back again then.
Want to go with us?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

We've had a Birthday Shout HORRAY!

Yesterday was a special day for Little Miss. She turned "4".
Can you believe it?
She has been counting down the days till her birthday all week. Everyone in this house (and there's a lot of us) knew when her birthday was and what she wanted. As with tradition she got to eat 4 pancakes and blow out 4 candles at breakfast.
After breakfast she was able to open her gifts from mom and dad and her older siblings.
All Emily wanted was a big baby that she saw at Wal Mart a few weeks ago. Being she is usually with me to do the shopping I didn't get to Wal Mart, by myself, until the day before her to get her gift. Wouldn't you know they were all GONE! I found an employee who scanned the baby box and said that there should be 1 left. Lucky for us the same employee thought she saw it on the benches by the dressing rooms. I ran over to the dressing rooms and found her big baby. That same morning Emily was telling me she didn't want the blue boy baby but the pink girl baby. Not wanting nor having the time to run into St. George to see if the other Wal Mart had a big girl baby I brought the baby home added some flower buttons and headband. Wal Mart also had a great clearance rack that I was able to get her a 0-3 mo. girl outfit for $2.
And so...............
It's a Girl!

Emily's favorite person in her little world is GG (my grandma). GG and GGpa live across the driveway and most mornings Emily and her GG walk up and down the driveway getting their excercise. GG hasn't been feeling well lately and so has missed several morning walks. Emily was so pleased that GG wasn't "sick" and would be able to walk with her on her birthday.

I finished Emily's Care Bear Cake while Emily played with her new toys all morning.

For dinner we had a family bbq and invited another family over to join in on the festivities.

GGpa & GG with the Birthday Girl!
Emily swinging on Grandpa's tire horse swing.

The Cake!

Emily getting ready to blow out her candles.

Opening more presents.
The day before her Birthday, Emily was looking at Hunter's library book called A-Z Horses. Emily was so excited to see all the horses and ponies. After a while Emily started to let everyone know that for her birthday she wanted a pony!
Sorry sweet girl. Not this year!
We couldn't get Emily her own pony so we did the next best thing.
Our friends, the Ballards, the family we invited over brought the grand finale.
They brought Chief, and Midnight.
Brayden and Elena sitting on top of Chief. Elena was so sweet to give Brayden lots of hugs and kisses.

Emily got to ride Midnight, her borrowed pony for the night.

After the kiddo's all had a turn on midnight, Chief was saddled to the wagon and we all took turns going on a ride.
Emily had a wonderful day surrounded by family, friends and her borrowed pony.

Happy Birthday, Sweet Girl. We love you!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Peach Days

This past weekend Hurricane had their annual Peach Day Celebration's. We had a great weekend participating in some of the festivities. Saturday morning we started off with a parade. I just love the facial expression on my nephews face when the parade began. There was plenty of candy to go around. I don't think Brayden knew what to do with himself with all that candy.
Not only was candy being thrown out but melted popsicles too.
Mmm Yum!

Some of my kids were able to be in the parade this year. It was a little different for Kory and I only having Brayden with us. Hunter and Maddie rode Romeo. They said they loved seeing all there new friends watching them.
Emily got to ride with Grandpa on his horse, Bandit.

The kids had fun! They want to ride again next year in the parade but this time have candy to throw out like other people did. I don't know if I trust them to throw candy. I'm afraid they'd eat it and forget they were suppose to be throwing it to there friends. I have to say I didn't even think about having candy for them to pass out this year. Maybe next year I'll be a little more on the ball.


After the parade Saturday morning the family headed over to Aunt Sheri's for a few hours of swimming. Brayden is our little fish. He just walks into the water and WON'T stop. He just keeps going until the water is over his head. He'll let us put arm floaties on and he does really well. He really suprises me with as young as he is how well he does on his own. He still makes us nervous so we are never to far from him but he loves the water and he loves being on his own. He pushes our hands away so that we are not holding on to him. Hunter had a blast being thrown into the air by his daddy and Uncle Jason.
Emily was thrilled she could swim where ever she wanted with her new floaties. She's loving the independence the floatie device gives her.

Little Elena has the cutest giggle. She really loved being thrown into the air by her daddy.

Brayden does not like being in the infant floatie. We tried putting him in it thinking he'd like it. He's still in the water. His head is far above the water line and you'd think he'd like it better. But no sirree he wants the arm floaties.

Grand Finale

The grand finale to our Peach Day Celeration Weekend was the Rodeo.
When we first moved to Hurricane my sister, Hanna, asked me if I'd let my kids participate in the rodeo this year. I was little hesitant as this kind of thing is new to me. I grew up in Las Vegas. I think of myself as a city girl not someone who would have kids that would know how to participate in a rodeo. After hearing both of my kids wanting to participate we started our own private lessons given by Aunt Hanna and Grandpa. They have both done very well during their practices. The week of the rodeo we took the horses to where the rodeo would be and let the kids practice in the arena. Maddie concentrates so hard to do it the right way. She really enjoys her time on Romeo.
I love the way her piggies flap in the wind when she gets Romeo to lope.

Maddie did an AWSOME job in the barrel race. Romeo who is the oldest, most calm and easy going horse my parent owns acted up on her turn. Romeo did not want to go towards the barrels. She really had to pull on those reigns to get him going. And then he even bucked her a few times. She did great at holding on. She did not fall off and by the end she was able to get Romeo to complete the barrels. I was so proud of her for not giving up, not getting upset, not getting to frightened. She stuck it through and was able to get Romeo to complete the race at something like 160+seconds. Way to go Maddie. The best part is she wants to do it again next year. Yes!!!!

Hunter loves riding too.
He heard that the winner gets $100. Every day he would tell me that he just knew he was going to win that money.

Hunter did good but unfortunately he did not win that $100. He was the 1st to go in his age group and Romeo didn't act out on him. He did a great job at leading Romeo to where he needed to go. Hunter came in at 70+ seconds. The winner in my kids age group came in at under 17 seconds. It was amazing to see how fast and young those kids were. Hunter wants to participate again next year. Maybe with a whole year of practices he'll have a better chance at winning that $100. He also wants to do the Hide Pull but I don't know if I'm ready for that one.
My camera did not work very well the night of the Rodeo. There was too much commotion and it couldn't seem to focus. The lighting and it being dusk outside didn't help either. By the end of the night all I got was a lot of grainy, blurry smudgy pictures. The rodeo was so fun for our family. There was a chicken chase and a oiled pig chase that the kids got to participate in. We did not come home with any new pets, though they tried.
The rodeo also had a Mutton Bustin ' Race which is HILARIOUS to watch. Kids are put on the back of a sheep and it's a race to see how long they can hang on for. Every year there are so many kids that want to participate but there just isn't enough time to allow them all too. This year all that wanted to participate had to sign up and then only 20 names were drawn from a hat. Both Madelyn's name and Emily's was drawn. Maddie refused to participate from the beginning. She kept telling me she only wanted to chase chickens, pigs and the barrells. I couldn't believe it. I really wish she would have tried but I couldn't get her to change her mind.
Emily was so excited she got to ride a sheep. I think if she could have gone 1st she would have done it but she was more around the 10th child. After seeing a few kids fall off she had no desire to do it. Kory was with her trying to talk her into it but she just wouldn't budge. She was a kicken' and a screamin' the closer it got to be her turn. Seriously, what were the chances that I'd get 2 of my kids names drawn? Oh well! Maybe next year. We need to find someone with sheep and let them practice. The rodeo was definely the highlight of our weekend. We had so much fun. I think I'm even excited for years events.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Emily's 1st Day Of Preschool

I moved the kids and I to Utah a little before school started on purpose. One, I wanted the kids to be able to make friends with the primary kids in their class before school started. And two, I wanted to get to know other moms that may want to do a preschool with their 3/4 year olds. Starting up a preschool here wasn't as easy as I had hoped. I met with several moms the first couple of weeks I was here and thought I had a group together. However, I soon learned that many of them for one reason or another wasn't going to be able to participate. It's taken me a little while but I have found some other mom's and this time have had success. This week ended up being our 1st week of Preschool.
Emily was so EXCITED!Oops! Apparently not enough shade. Still had to squint.
So photogenic! The 1st week was a success. She enjoyed herself and likes school. Next week we will be having school at our house. She is excited to show off her toys to her new friends.
I love you Emily.

Elena turns "1"

Meet my brother Travis, his wife Chrisina and their baby Elena.
(Christina, I didn't have any of my own so I had to borrow a pict off your blog.")
They too recently moved into my parents basement.
It can get a little crazy sometimes with 3 different families all living
under one roof but we are all surviving quite well.
I am so thankful that my parents house can sustain all of us and still give each family their "own" space. This past monday this beautiful little girl turned the big "1".
And we were all together to celebrate this big milestone.
Isn't she cute!
I took all the party picts on Christina's camera and only a pict of the cake with mine.
This means you'll have to check out her blog to see all the partying that went on.
(You may have to give her a few more days as we are having technical difficulties getting everyone's computers connected to the internet.)
Doing the cake was kind of last minute but I think it turned out pretty cute.

Happy Birthday Elena, We love you!