Thursday, August 25, 2011

Mad etc. Vacation: Bear Lake

Imagine 9 siblings+ spouses, 1 Grandpa, 1 uncle, 2 aunts, and 20+ cousins (age 11 and under) living for a week in a cabin. Jealous? You should be, because we had a blast!

We spent a big chunk of the week alternating between hanging out at the beach and boating
or using the jet skis.
Unfortunately, many of us didn't use sufficient sunscreen on the first day, so we spent the rest of the week nursing nasty sunburns!

The kids loved the sand...

and the tubes...

Most of the kids tried wake boarding.
Rachel got a bit scared once she was out in the water, attached to the board and decided she just wanted to go swimming, but Hannah tried it twice and even got up once.
Uncle Peter was a huge help while the kids played around.

Aaron and Nathan were pretty content to ride the boat. Grandpa let them drive the boat, too! And both boys tried tubing, and had a blast.

We spent one day visiting the town of Paris, Idaho.
We toured the Paris Tabernacle and played a quick game of frisbee (we never go anywhere anymore without a frisbee on hand).

Some of the cousins :)

Then we took a short, pretty hike up to some springs.

During the week, we enjoyed game nights, a campfire and smores,
a birthday celebration for all the kids, and cake for Isaac's 4th birthday, and thoroughly enjoyed being together.
Thanks to everyone who came, and especially those who helped put it all together!

And yes, I can finally stop posting about my summer vacation now.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Vacation, Part 2

I have to hurry and finish posting about this vacation!

We spent the remainder of our time in Washington playing with cousins. We visited a petting zoo, had a few sleep-overs, and did a nice breakfast together.
I loved seeing the kids play together in my Mom's backyard, the way I used to play with my brothers when I was a kid.

I drove to Utah on my own. The kids did pretty well, and we stayed one night in a hotel to break it up. Once in Utah, I spent a day with my Dad.
We did some of the usual Utah stuff--Temple Square, a little hike in Brighton--
as well as attempt swimming in his neighborhood pool. Since it was raining, with lightning, that didn't last long. The kids really enjoyed getting reacquainted with all their grandparents this summer!

The next day, I got to visit with the Rowley's!
I knew Anna and her family during the one year they lived in Michigan. She has a gorgeous family, plus a new baby, and Hannah and Aaron especially missed their friends Paige
and Boston.
We spent most of the day together, talking, visiting the local splash park, and painting rocks.

We also got to see a re-creation of the Up house, built near Anna's house:

After that, we needed a break! We drove down to Salem to spend the rest of the week with Christian's dad. We had two mostly unscheduled days to play and rest.

I got to see my cousin, Shelly--see her new home in Provo, and meet her son (almost 1 year old).

I also got to spend some time with my old roommates, Joy, Sharilyn, and Sarah. We had an afternoon to play at Joy's home (for C Jane followers, she literally lives right around the corner from Retro house). Our kids are close in age and had fun together.

And then Christian flew into town. We had some fun family dinners, a huge shopping trip to prep for Bear Lake,
and the Mt. Timp hike he posted about.

The only things I didn't get done, but intended to, was a trip to Jamba Juice, Deseret Book and the distribution center, and a visit with my younger brother (he was too busy with friends...Boo). I think getting back to Utah every once in a while is really good for me!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Ode to Dana

This is my sister, Dana.

Dana is almost 18, and starting her senior year of high school this fall. She was in Kindergarten when I left for college. I really don't get to see her very often (maybe once a year, if I'm lucky), so one of my favorite things about my summer trip was getting to spend a week with her.
She's sort of the brown-eyed, brown-haired, way cooler version of me, minus 13 years.

One thing I like about Dana is that she doesn't let a silly thing like standing in a lake stop her from texting with her friends.

And I like that she makes awesome silly faces, behaves like a kid,

and happens to like my kids.

Even goats love her.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Its a mad, mad, mad, mad, mad trip: part 1

I haven't been home to Washington since my brother got married 6 years ago. With Christian's family reunion scheduled for Bear Lake, we decided it was time to make the drive. I was very concerned about the trip, understandably, and how our kids would do. We drove straight through, 36 hours in the car, adding several new states to my list of places visited...and decided that the Dakotas are probably unnecessary, and would make the drive much shorter and more pleasant if they could be nicely removed from the map. And maybe a bit of Nebraska...

Our kids surprised me by doing remarkably well. We had the help of 2 DVD players, some books on CD, and sedatives. Just kidding about the sedatives.
I had a pretty long list of things to do while in Washington. I wanted to do all the fun touristy things with the kids, as well as meet up with friends and have the kids meet their Rushton cousins, who they had only met babies.
(Me and my kid sister, Dana)

(She generously put her life on hold to hang out with me during the week.)

We arrived on Sunday, and I enjoyed going back to the ward I grew up in, even though it has almost completely changed. That afternoon we took the kids to Mukilteo beach to enjoy the very typical Seattle summer weather (i.e. cold, damp, and cloudy...but pretty!)
beach loot

Christian could only stay one day before flying back home for work, so we packed Monday with some downtown activities. Seattle has one of the best Aquariums I've seen (OK, I've seen two. Baltimore's is kind of boring). The kids enjoyed the shallow pools full of sea cucumbers, sea sponges, and crabs. They could touch it all.
My kids ran through the place so fast!
We had a picnic on the pier before heading over to the Pacific Science Center, which wasn't as cool as I remember, but we enjoyed the Science of Fear exhibit, where the kids got to videotape themselves falling--and see their own reaction.
Seeing dinosaurs...
And dressing up as them...

Rachel, our resident bug lover, held this huge roach...
And a close-up: