Friday, July 31, 2009

The beauties around us

We were picnicking at Pioneer Park in Beaver when a hawk came soaring in overhead. Then in came another, and another and another. By the time they had all "gathered" there were 14 hawks circling above the park. They then all flew off together toward the mountans. It was truly an awesome sight. I zoomed in as best I could and only caught 5 in one shot. Peaks through the trees I was standing on that "fin" just minutes before. You can see such a plethora of colors at BryceMarin captured this picture of a young buckA mama chipmunk. You can tell by her teats and because she was too cautious to come and eat out of Erik's hand. A very skinny hoodoo - wonder how much longer it will be there Beautiful colors in the rock - purple, pink, yellow, orangeFreshly falled rain on ground cover
Someone started this "cairn field" and it looks like everyone who passes adds to it. I know we did.

Bryce Canyon camping with the Cooks

Last year we took our Japanese student, Tomo, on a camping trip with us so she could see some of the sights of Utah. We chose Bryce Canyon because it is up so high (elevation around 8000 ft) that it is cooler during the summer. We had a great time and decided that we would do it every year. This year we invited the Cooks to come with us. What a fabulous idea that was! Camping with your best friends makes everything double the fun. We decided that we need to do this more often! Here are some highlights from our 3 day vacation.

Tricia and Jared in a battle of wits. Games are always a main activity at camp . . .

. . . and bubbles. The kids love bubbles, but we ended up giving several of our bottles to the family behind us because they had littler kids with not a lot to do. The little 2 year old girl fell and cut her forehead open, needing stitches. The bubbles were a good distraction for her siblings. Marin and Kate still had enough to play with too.We had reservations at Ruby's Inn for Sunday night so we spent the afternoon playing in the pool and we all got nice hot showers. We went back Monday morning and the kids played in the pool again before we turned in our keys. Tricia, Craig, Jared and I, of course, played games in the lobby.

The hammock that Tricia and Craig borrowed from a friend was a favorite spot at camp for all the kids. Kate, Erik, Marin and Nicolas were almost constantly in it. We will have to get one of those . . .

I have a weakness for gnarly old trees and here are a few highlights, all from the Rim Trail between Inspiration and Bryce Points which Maddie, Markee, Erik, Kate, Marin, Nicolas and I hiked while everyone else drove. There were some great sights from that trail!

Sitting around the campfire roasting hotdogs, brats, potatoes, hobo dinners and, of course, marshmallows was an every day occurence. Why else do you go camping? Thanks Mom and Dad for all the great wood! We even had some left over to give to our neighbors behind us.

Tricia and the kids fed the chipmunks right out of their hands. Oatmeal cookies and "cardboard cheesies" seemed to be the favorites. Jared doing his best Japanese student pose with The Marshmallow, otherwise known as Thor's Hammer on the Navajo Loop. Hiking Navajo Loop in the rain was great! And we discovered that it is much easier doing it clockwise, coming up the Wall Street side. Can't wait to do it all again next year!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Pioneer Day in Beaver, Utah

So our family vacation is going to have to be broken into pieces in order to post it all. Our first stop was Beaver to visit Mom and Dad and enjoy the Beaver Pioneer Day festivities. This is their big summer celebration and there are nonstop activities. We arrived in Beaver Thursday night so we would be able to do the Beaver River 5K Run first thing in the morning on the 24th. Why it is called the Beaver River Run I have no idea. I never saw any water. . . But I did come in first in my age category, as did Jared (see my previous post! :-))!
After the race comes the parade. This parade is like Halloween in July. The kids end up with bags full of candy. There are hundreds of parade entries and every one is throwing candy. It is like a feeding frenzy. One group threw out frisbees and after the parade the kids tossed one around for a while.

We spent the rest of
the morning at the town center park where they were serving lunch and had blow up slides, concessions, etc.
A trip to Beaver would not be complete without a trip to the Beaver Swimming Pool, and on Pioneer day it's free! So Mom was in her glory, surrounded by her grandchildren and swimming. Mark and Cia even stopped by on their way back from California.
Josh and Tamsyn were, of course, turned into human boogie boards. I was able to capture everyone in our family in one picture there on the left - minus Alison, who was visiting with her family and me, of course.

Here's something you don't see every day - Dad holding a baby. Mark and Cia packed up their kids after swimming and finished their journey back home from California.
Mary and Merrill, Alison's parents, cooked dutch oven chicken and potatoes for us at the park. It was fantastic! The kids ran around and we relaxed after an activity filled day.
And here is the whole motley crew of kids after our dutch oven barbeque at Pioneer Park before going back to Mom and Dad's for fireworks. All in all it was a great day!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


After years and years of 5Ks, I have finally done it. Of course it had to take moving into the old lady category to accomplish my goal of coming in first place in my age group! It, of course, helps that the Beaver Utah Pioneer Day 5K is a small one with only a few hundred runners and it is mostly downhill. But, no matter what the factors, no one can take my trophy away! I ran the race in 25.51 minutes - my fastest time ever. And Jared came in first in his old man category - 45 and up. :-) What a great start to our vacation - which I will post about later.

Jared set his trophy on the dashboard so it looks bigger than mine - but it isn't!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Year of the Grasshopper

What a year to decide to document gardening. I have never in my life experienced a plague of grasshoppers like we have this year. When you step off the porch, they are like a wave jumping away from you. They ate every leaf off of my lilac bush in the back, they topped off all the carrots and decimated some of the lettuce plants. The sunflower leaves look like green lace and we have lost some of the potato plants. I caught a glimpse of what the pioneers must have felt as the crickets came and began devouring their crops - completely helpless and hopeless. Especially since they couldn't jump in the car and run down to Smiths or Costco if the grasshoppers eat the whole garden. I wonder if I have enough faith to bring the seagulls to Eagle Mountain? By the pictures you can't tell how destructive the grasshoppers have been - they haven't found everything yet, knock on wood. The peas are doing well and the kids snack every time they go out to weed. The peas hardly ever make it into the house. The beans are doing well also, although only Nicolas' bean plant has produced beans yet. The corn that hasn't been blown over in the wind looks good, we have had a few tomatoes and the plants are loaded, and we have brought in 3 zucchini so far. We have had lettuce coming out our ears (so we haven't been too sad about the grasshoppers eating them) and have given bags and bags of it away. The spinach hasn't been as good this year - not like last year - and it is about done. The pepper plants look good but aren't producing very many peppers and the little plants that we started inside - that were doing well - were completely devoured by grasshoppers. Cantaloupe and watermelon and cucumbers are finally taking off but I hope its not too late for them to produce. One grapevine is being destroyed by grasshoppers, but the other 2 are doing great and the strawberries are too. Hopefully most of the garden will make it to harvest time. If I could upload video (can't figure out why I can't. . . ) I would video Jared out in the garden with a flyswatter, going after the grasshoppers. Funny show!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

4th of July!

Independence Day has been our major holiday for years. Living off of Center Street in Provo forces you to be a parade-goer and Jared and I have made the parade a tradition from the first year we were married. After we moved from Provo, we still went back and set up at the same spot on our former neighbor's yard. When I started running seriously, the Freedom Run 5K became a part of the tradition and for the last few years, Peter and Erik have run it too. So our Independence Day fun starts at 5:30 am, getting up early enough to get the kids down to our parade spot and walking down to the race start by the 7am start. After the parade, we hang out with Mark and Jeff's families and whoever else we are lucky enough to get here for the holiday (this year we had everyone for a short time!). Then we watch fireworks. It turns into a really long day which doesn't work so well on weekdays (Jared gets really cranky! :-)) but this year, to make it even more perfect, it was Saturday so we could sleep in on the 5th - 11am church is great!

This year was a keeper. The run was great, the weather was perfect - it even rained a little right before the parade and it was a lot cooler than usual - and Mom and Dad were here and Marcia's Mom so we had a huge group at the parade. After the parade came the family festivities . . .

The standard we-all-look-so-great-after-running-and-sitting-at-the-parade-all-morning family picture. Can we plan these next time?

After running and hanging out at the parade and the obligatory family photo op, we were finally able to relax and eat and play at Mark and Cia's. What an absolutely wonderful family filled afternoon with the perfect weather continuing. While the adults were doing this . . .

the kids were doing this, and this . . .

and this . . . and this.

After a full day of family fun festivities, it was time for the fireworks. For the last few years we had been setting up on the road outside Thanksgiving Point to watch the fireworks. We had fun, but decided we could do better. Jeff's family and we arrived at Thanksgiving Point really early - around 7pm, and set up on the grassy parkstrip in the parking lot to the theaters. We had lovely soft grass to sit on, shade trees and a perfect view of the fireworks. We hung out playing games and enjoying each other's company while the boys made videos and who knows what boys come up with to do. We brought treats and had a great time relaxing before, during and after the firework show.

Taking a page from the "Cook's book" we set up a game of Werewolves after the fireworks ended and sat playing until the parking lot was empty. NO traffic! A fabulous end to a fantastic 4th of July weekend. God bless America!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Garden update

It's growing!! Looks like it is on par with our killer garden last year - maybe even better! We have lettuce and spinach coming out our ears - we have salad every night. We have tomatoes on the plants and it is way past time to get them put up on the fencing to hold them up. The jalapeno and Anaheim pepper plants that we started from seed inside are doing well and the beans and peas have lots of blossoms on them. We even have at least 4 apricots on the tree - first year ever they have lasted into July with the wind out here. We are keeping our fingers crossed! As you can see by the sky, the cool, rainy days are still coming back from time to time. Hot dry days and then one or two cool, rainy days. I couldn't have ordered in better weather this year!

And finally, the pumpkins. Still going strong. They are starting to creep out into the driveway and we will have to decide which is more important - cars or pumpkins? :-)