Sunday, August 25, 2013

Eaton Zoo Day

Christian's work had a family day at the zoo, with free admission, cariacture-drawing, face painting, food, and prizes. Pretty cool. Our first stop was face painting
(before the lines got too long). 
Aaron picked a snake.

Nathan chose a Tiger.

Hannah loved her monkey face.
 And Rachel loved  her pretty pink and purple party mask.
 The rest of the day, Hannah used her monkey face to photo bomb and make weird faces at unsuspecting kids.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The final week

The last week of vacation was designated Rushton family time.
On Sunday night, we drove up to Sandy to have dinner with my uncles and cousins. It was fun to see not only Dave and his familiy, and Al and his wife, but several of the cousins stopped by, many of whom I hadn't seen in almost 10 years.

On Monday, our plan was to drive to SLC to meet up with family, but first, we took a quick drive down to Payson to see the construction of the new temple. Our van was apparently the cool place to be and was dubbed "The Party Bus."

My brother, Brian, and his wife, Amy, drove down from Washington to spend a few days with us. It is really nice to have time with them, especially since their kids are my kids' only cousins on my side. We got a hotel right by Temple Square so we could have a "home base" near a bunch of kid-friendly stuff. On the first day, My Dad joined us for a trip to the zoo. Unfortunately, it was completely hot and yucky, and I took no pictures. The kids enjoyed the animals...especially the extra active Polar Bear.

Afterwards, we met up with my younger brother and sister, Kevin and Dana, for dinner at the Spaghetti Factory. I can even think of the last time the 4 of us kids were together, and its been even longer since we've been together with Dad. Wish I had taken a photo.

On Tuesday, we took the kids on a walk around Temple Square. We did a short tour of the Conference Center, including the garden roof, which was pretty cool, and then walked back through the Visitor's Center.

Little kids don't last very long on sight-seeing tours, so we cut it short and rode the Trax 2 blocks back to the hotel, where we had a quick lunch and went swimming. Uncle Christian is the best pool toy a kid could have.

That afternoon, we drove down to Provo, where I finally fixed the prongs on my wedding ring (so my diamond doesn't wiggle and/or fall out) and got Jamba Juice at BYU. While waiting for Brian and Amy, we saw this guy, and Christian begged me to take a photo.

Shall we agree that his mustache clashes with his shoes?

We had dinner that night with my cousin, Shelly, and her family. Brian, Shelly, and I had a lot of fun during our Utah summers growing up, and it was fun to reminisce (even though some of the memories included the time they teased me about having a crush on the life-size statue of Santa Clause in my Grandmother's basement, which I would have happily forgot. Um, yeah,--no crush).

Back to the hotel that night. It was really nice having 3 rooms, so the big kids could have a room to themselves. Hannah was an awesome babysitter--she earned the title "Baby Whisperer" because she had a gift for helping kids be happy.

(While it looks like Hannah is asleep, she is actually amazing the kids with her Ipad skills)

On Wednesday, we had a leisurely morning, a short walk to the Planetarium, lunch at McDonalds, and then said good-bye to Brian and his family.

We drove back down to Provo, where we met up with Christian's family up Provo Canyon. The kids spent hours playing in the river and through the trees and fields. I love it that my kids are such good friends with their cousins!

That night, there was more messy playing as we watching for 24th of July fireworks from Jennie's backyard, while the kids played on their dirt mound. Between river water and backyard dirt, our kids were blissfully filthy that night.

(Aunt Jennie and little Eliza)

(Megan, Tanner (Jennie's nephew), Hannah, and Andrew)

Oh, and we brought back the party bus.

24th of July smores...

Sadly, the next day, Thursday, was our last day in Utah. We cleaned the house, the van, and the kids, and bought supplies for the drive home. We left around 1:00--and promptly remembered something we left back and the house. We left the 2nd time around 1:15--- and got a call from Jonathan and DeAnn about something they had left.

Finally we were on our way--with 23 hours of driving ahead of us. Again, we drove through the night. The funny thing was that at our first rest stop, we ran into Jonathan and DeAnn, who had left about 30 minutes before us. After that, we drove within 5 miles of each other through the night, met up again in traffic near Chicago, and had lunch together in Indiana. Shortly after lunch, they split off to head north while we continued on in awful traffic. The last 2 hours of driving were rough, not so much because I was sleepy, which I was, but because we had used up everything I could think of to stay awake. In the end, Christian entertained me by playing YouTube videos (which I listened to, but did not watch while driving!) of 90's music, and we marveled about how different our music tastes were back in the day, and how much I missed even though I grew up near Seattle, and the heart of 90's grunge music. Anyway, it worked and we made it home...and it took us days to recover :)

And....that's a wrap. I'm so thankful for awesome people to spend my summer with!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Motocross? Motorcross? Something like that...

Christian came back to join us for our last week of vacation--and we packed in a lot of fun! DeAnn and Jonathan invited us to join them at their parents' home in Glenwood, a small little town about 2 hours south of Provo. Its a small little country town--the kind of place you want to sit outside, drink the mountain water, and put down your phone. Oh, yeah--and ride 4 wheelers. 

DeAnn's parents had several 4 wheelers (including 1 razor and 1 kid-sized 4-wheeler), so everyone got to try them. They also had an empty field behind their home where the kids could ride in circles for hours...and when they kicked up too much dust, they would turn on the sprinklers and the kids would keep on going :)

Hannah was a bit nervous at first, but eventually, with Grandpa Warner's help, she warmed up to the 4-wheelers.

Before we got there, my nephew, Jacob, (11-yrs old), rolled a 4-wheeler down the mountainside with my nephew, Isaac (5 yrs old), on the back. Miraculously, they were safe, aside from some bruises and a nasty cut from landing on barbed wire. Also, my other nephew, Sammy (5 yrs old), rolled the small one and was totally fine. 

The first evening, we drove out to this private motocross track at the base of the mountain. Its hard to see in the pictures because everything in brown, but it was a 5-min or so course of hills and turns and was pretty awesome. My first time ever driving a 4-wheeler, they sent me on the track. Christian said I drove so slowly he could have walked next to me, but I lived to tell about it and eventually got comfortable with a bit of speed :)

 Rachel especially loved it, and became a frightening speed demon.

We also took them on a 14-mile (I think?) drive through the mountains--to see the "Bat Cave," which turned out to be more like a bat potty. Then we drove down a scary pass full of rocks, streams, and more scary stuff, but I lived to tell about that, too.

In our evenings, or when we were taking turns on the 4-wheelers, we played at a nearby park, played The Great Dalmuti, and talked and ate, but seriously the kids stayed on the 4-wheelers until late at night.

So much fun, way outside my comfort zone, and I'm so glad we did it!

Friday, August 9, 2013

The lazy days

After all that crazy fun, we had two weeks of low-key vacationing. Christian flew back to Pennsylvania (has to actually work so I can afford to vacation!) and we stayed with Daddy (Christian's father). Hannah was thrilled to have her own bedroom for a while, and set up this awesome bed in Daddy's office. On top of the chaise, it had pillows, a blanket to hold in them in place, and then a few other blankets to sleep with. The other kids shared a room.
I took the kids to Salem Pond, which is one of my favorite places in Utah. Christian and I *almost* got engaged here, but we have lots of good memories of dates, family pictures, and picnics here. The kids played on the playground for a while, and then we chased ducks.

 Oh, and my kids loved having a kitty around all the time. Having her own room and a pet are two things she will never have at home, so Hannah thoroughly enjoyed them. The cat maybe didn't like it quite so much.
The kids also enjoyed seeing horses just over the fence in Grandpa's backyard.

DeAnn and I took the kids to see the Temple Square and some of the downtown SLC sites together.

At the church history museum...

Sweeping? On vacation? He's pretending to be Harry Potter/a Pioneer.

At City Creek for lunch...

At the balcony of the church Administration Building (I have never been here before, but the view was amazing)

 Inside the Conference Center...

At the Visitor's Center, while the other kids watched a movie at the Joseph Smith Building (without subtitles, Rachel didn't want to watch).

 Unfortunately, we had a few mishaps, including loosing a few kids and watching Aaron get stuck in a revolving door. A bit stressful.
Afterwards, we stopped by my Dad's work to see Grandpa. Unfortunately, I didn't end up with ANY pictures of my family, but I swear we saw them, too.

Later that week, we went on a hike with DeAnn and her Dad, Grandpa Warner. It was a gorgeous (and, thankfully, fairly short and kid-friendly) hike to a creek. Their tradition is to build a dam to redirect the creek out of its normal way, so the kids enjoyed getting in the cold water and building a dam out of rocks. It worked!

Later in the week, we went back to BYU to see the art museum. My Great Grandfather has some art on display in the museum and in the Wilk, so I wanted to show the kids. We also climbed on the displays in the art garden and got some Jamba Juice (which is one of the things I miss most about living out west).