Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sunday Afternoon

Today after church, I was making lunch or dinner and I came into the living room to see this happening.  Isabel and Papi snuggling eating popcorn (they are always eating popcorn together), Lili sitting on top of the loveseat & Gaby playing the piano.  I love my little family!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Isabel's in Soccer

Isabel chose to do soccer this year.  Tonight was her first practice.  She was very excited.  We got her her uniform tonight also.  She was hoping her jersey would be pink......she was right.  Her jersey and socks are pink.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Gaby's First Day of School

Gaby has been waiting for today for a while.  She has been super excited for school to start.  She was up and ready really early too. 

She is in 2nd grade this year.  Her teacher is Mrs. Smith, whom she absolutely loves.  She is in our ward and is a wonderful lady.  I taught her girls in young women's and now she's teaching Gaby. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Escalante, UT

We cleaned up camp and left Goblin Valley pretty early.  We stopped and the kids got their Junior Ranger badges.  Every state or national park we go to, the girls want to do the Junior Ranger program.  It is a really neat little program.  They have to fill out a little booklet about that particular park, turn it in to the Ranger and then the Ranger signs it, gives the kids their badges, and they are sworn in.  They raise their hands and repeat the 'oath' and they become Junior Rangers.  They wear their badges proudly and with honor!

We were on our way to Escalante and had several stops along they way.  Our first stop was just outside of Goblin Valley to see some pictographs.  They were pretty cool. 

Our next stop took us to find some dinosaur bones.  Lili fell asleep so I stayed in the van while everyone else got out looking or bones.  They found 2, so Mark was pretty excited.  I can't remember which bones they were, I think one was a rib.

We stopped at Zions National Park.  Holly's ancestors discovered it and there cabin is still there, which we got out and looked at.  She was telling us some pretty cool stories about them.  We stopped to see more pictographs further in Zions.  It was good for the kids to get out and run for a while.

Our next stop was in Capital Reef National Park.  We got to the visitor center, the girls did their booklet and the rest of the kids wanted to do it too.  However, at that time, most of the parents were too hungry and grumpy to do it with them.  So they promised the Ranger they would finish on their way.  Our girls were the only ones finished and then got their badges.  We stopped a bit after to go on another hike.  We got all geared up, everyone left we hurried to catch up.  By the time we were on our way up, Dave & Sean's families were coming down to leave.  Then Mark came back to get us and took the kids and told them to be careful because we were on the top of a massive cliff, so we had to be extra cautious.

Dave & Sean's family went up to the next little town to eat.  We caught up to them and waited for them to finish eating.  We got the kids ice cream while everyone else was eating.  It was a nice little break to be out of the van.

As we drove from Capital Reef to Escalante, the scenery changed drastically.  We went from complete desert to lush green forest back to waste land mountains and boulders, to greenery again.  We saw many different animals and birds.  It was a beautiful drive.

Sean pulled over to show us more pictographs when we first got into Escalante, his old stomping ground for his field school before he graduated college.  That is where him & Erika met, both archeology majors.  Then off to the camp ground we went.  It was nothing like I pictured in my head.  I was thinking an archeology field school to be like the Indiana Jones movie kind I guess.  I know that sounds silly but it's true.  But nope, it was red rocks, greenery, petrified wood everywhere.  We camped at the reservoir.  After we set up camp, we went swimming.  It was like ice water.  It was freezing but the kids loved it, even Lili.  My kids were purple before they wanted to get out.  I couldn't go in past my armpitties.  Boy, I sure cooled off after that.  I was super hot before but after I was a bit chilly but it was a welcomed change.

That night it stormed all night.  I was so glad we put the rain cover over the tent.  There was a nice breeze the whole time, so no over heating!

We woke up, everyone taking their time to pack up and leave.  I thought the plan was to get out early again, so we were waiting around a bit.  Dave & Holly took off for home and didn't stay the last day to see Escalante or Bryce Canyon, but the rest of us did.

However, during the night, Enrique started having an allergy attack, which continued until we left the camp grounds.  Then off and on again that morning while we were still in Escalante.  There was some weed he is highly allergic too that was around.  The one spot was terrible.  It was the site Sean actually did his field work.  We saw 2 rattle snakes and Enrique had to have his shirt over his mouth and nose 10 minutes into it so he could breath.  He went back to the can and he was awful.  If he would have been out for another 5 minutes, he probably would have had to been seen by a doctor and get medicine in him right away.  I felt bad for Sean at the same time.  Here we are, finally at his field school and we had to cut it super short.  Once he realized how bad Enrique was, he was ok but we still felt bad rushing him.

We went to the visitor center,Sean had to for a work project, and they had a booklet for the Junior Ranger program.  So the girls promised to finish it before they would wear their badges.  They gave us the badges early because we wouldn't be back there.  After Sean took us to this place that was really cool,  we hiked up the mountain a ways to get to it but it was more pictographs.  They were really awesome!  We  went right back down because Lili was sleeping in the van, the others followed shortly after.

Next we were on our way to Bryce Canyon National Park.  It was amazing there.  Once again the kids & Sean's kids this time got the Junior Ranger booklets.  We were in this park for most of the day, 7 or 8 hours or so.  I was doing the booklets with my kids and Sean asked if I would help his kids because he kept getting to frustrated with it. hahahha  So we drove the entire park length.  We went to the end and came back and stopped to see many parts of the Park.  We also had to stop to go potty a lot.  It was amazing there.  It made you feel so tiny in such a huge world. 

Just to think, we did 4 state and national parks in 3 days.  We hardly heard any English, it was all foreign languages, most every park we were in.  To think, it is only a 5 hour drive or so for us and so many people make this their huge vacations, flying from over seas to do what we did.  It really made us think about how we need to do more in our own state and surrounding states.

At the end of our time there, we took the kids back and they turned in their booklets.  The Ranger asked them questions and they answered.  Then they were sworn in and got their badges.  Then we thought about how much our girls love doing that program, so we bought them their our Junior Ranger hats.  They look similar to the real rangers hats.  They were very excited and proud to be wearing them.

We stopped along the way to eat and then got home at 1:30 am.  Enrique had to work the next day too.  He said it was worth it to him to have done everything we did, it didn't matter what time it was when we got home.  This was a very memorable vacation.  We all had a great time.  I think it is going to become a yearly event...camping with all our families.  It would have been so different if it was just us, but it was so much better because all my brothers and their families were able to go.  It was a great 4 days!  Thanks Sean for putting so much into it!  (I'll) post the photos later, our camera died so I have to get them all from Sean, Mark, & Jake's cameras.)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Hide & Seek

After the hike we went back to camp and everyone stayed in the little shade we had.  The kids went climbing all over the mountains.  Lili thought she was as big as the big kids and decided to go after them.  She was super high on bit of a cliff and Enrique sprinted to her, as you can see him walking her down.  She also kept stealing Enrique's cup and hiding with it, as you can see her doing it below as well.
Mark, Sean, Kenzie, & Joe got back to camp about an hour after we did.  The never made it to the half way point and decided to turn around and come back.  Then Sean went off on another hike while Mark drove his kids around in the a/c.
After dinner, we all went over to Goblin Valley.  Everyone, except me, went down into the valley and played hide & seek.  It was so cool sitting up on the top looking down at them and watching everyone hiding and trying to get away.  It was so much fun watching them have so much fun.....if that makes any sense. 
We left before everyone else, showered the kids, had s'mores and our kids wanted to go to bed and they were out right away.  Even the adults didn't make it very long that second night, after the long hike.  It was another fun packed day.

Hiking Little Wild Horse Canyon

We started our hike around 9am.  The sun was already beating down and everyone was sweating bullets.  Once we started the sun wasn't so much a bother beating down on us.  Most of the hike up the canyon was shaded.  It was so beautiful.  This particular hike is a 9 mile hike if you do the whole circle.  After hiking in 3 1/2 hours we stopped and ate lunch in this huge open area that was shaded.  The kids played and climbed and had a great time.
 Then it was time to decide which way to go. If we were close to the half way point, we were just going to go forward and do the whole hike, but if we weren't then we'd go back the way we came in.  Well, Sean, Kenzie, Mark, & Joe went forward while the rest of the troops went back the same way we came in.  It took us 1 1/2 hours to get back down the canyon.  The kids leading the way most of the time, climbing up and over and down big boulders helping each other.  The way back down, however, was all in the sun, so it was hotter, much much hotter by 1:30ish. 
On the way down, I twisted my ankle.  It was good that we were still in the slotted part of the canyon so my ankle didn't do a full roll, the wall was there to stop it a few inches later.  So it hurt but I was still able to keep going.  Lili fell asleep in the hiking pack and poor thing was a red as a tomato.  She get hot and red fast but I have never seen her that red.  Enrique and I were super worried that she might get over heated or dehydrated or something.  So he went as fast as possible to the shaded areas, then waited there until we all caught up.  Jake became my wonderful helper.  I was so exhausted by the time were were about a mile from the van, I had to grab Jake's arm and he had to keep me at a steady pace because I was getting slower and slower.  By this time, everyone was going slow, even the kids, and everyone just wanted to be sitting in shade or the a/c in the vans.
It was a great experience and our family loved it.  It wouldn't have been the same if we did it just our little family but it was great doing it with all my brothers and their families.  Sean has been asking us all to go down there and camp and hike for some time now.  It's been over a year in the making.  He did a great job planning it out.

Camping at Goblin Valley State Park

Our family and my 5 brothers, and their families all went camping for 4 days and 3 nights.  It was so much fun.  We were the last ones to leave because Enrique had to work a full day, everyone else took off in the morning.  It was about a 4 1/2 drive to Goblin Valley State Park.  We got there are night, so we couldn't really appreciate the splendor of our surroundings.  We sat by the fire after the kids went to bed, as we were all chatting, we saw so many shooting stars.  It was pretty romantic if you ask me- hehehe.
The sun greeted us beautifully as you can tell.  Then we got to see what was around us.  It was breathtakingly beautiful.  The kids were instantly climbing up and sliding down the mountains, playing in the sand, running around where ever they wanted. It was great. They didn't really want to eat or get ready, they (all 9) wanted to play and play and play.