Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pumpkin Carving

Last night we helped the kids carve their pumpkins. (Well, Colin didn't require any help. Isn't that nice!) What they chose for their pumpkins: Colin-pumpkin face stabbed with blood dripping down, Micah-pumpkin barfing its' insides out, Ella-ghost peeking out of a door (from a template), Mira-zombie hand (template), Matthew-traditional triangle eyes face (not that he cared). And outside the boys really thought our house needed spiffing up for Halloween. They put out their own decorations. A baby stabbed with a stick pin with fake blood dripping, a doll hanging from a rope by our garage door, a werewolf's head coming out of the ground, stuffed pants and shirt lying on the grass. It's fun that they get so into it!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Micah's Halloween Party

Micah hosted a Halloween party for a few friends. I told him as long as he was in charge of it all, I was fine with it. He had just a few requests of me: cookies, Cheetos, brownies, donuts, apple cider (which I bought, but he was unhappy with because he'd meant sparkling cider), and popcorn. He also asked that I make slime for them. I thought, "It's an overload of junk, but why the heck not?" Here are Ella (hiding mysteriously), Caleb Anglin (white shirt), Strider Fountaine (very back), Cooper Hutchinson, Jackson Pearce (mask), Micah, and Orion Badger.
 Going at all the junk:
Micah and Colin set up a haunted basement with sharp-toothed animals eating other animals, warning signs, scary baby, etc. They had a cd with spooky sounds playing. I stayed upstairs while they took the friends through it. But I could hear them from upstairs! They watched "Monster House," which had good reviews and the kids all really liked it. Success!

You Turn Your Back...

Mira screamed from the bathroom, "Mom! It's an emergency!!" I come half-running and discover an inch of water on the bathroom floor, coming out onto the carpet. Matthew had unrolled an entire MEGA roll of Charmin, stuffed it in the toilet, and flushed. (Thankfully, I had just cleaned and bleached the toilet, so I wasn't freaked out too much.) But I used every spare towel in the closet to sop up the mess.
 And when Matthew saw I'd made spaghetti noodles for dinner, he thought he'd hop up on the counter and help himself. He's normally a pretty mild-mannered kid. But once in a while...

Monday, October 22, 2012

Trip to Arches National Park

After our night near Goblin Valley, we drove the two hours to Moab to set up camp at a great little campsite with a stream running behind our site. The older four had a blast heading down to the stream, throwing rocks, exploring, and whatnot. There was a little playground which kept Matthew entertained. The boys and girls were all really good with Matthew. If we needed them to take Matthew to the playground, they would for a bit. It was great! We brought a ton of food, and enjoyed much of it. We roasted hot dogs and did s'mores one night, tin foil dinners another. We even toasted bagels and bread for breakfast. The campfires were so nice to have at the end of the day and first thing on a chilly morning.
 The stream running behind our tent:
 Here we are the first time we entered Arches. Chad and I haven't been here since our honeymoon, and this was the kids' first time. On our way here, they asked, "Is there going to be a lot of red rocks and sand?" in a whiny voice. They were still red-sanded-out from our trip to Lake Powell and Grand Canyon. But they overcame it and enjoyed. Our first stop were the Windows: North and South Windows, and Turret Window (or, as Chad likes to call it, "Tourette Window." That got some miles.)
 Thanks to Chad, who carried Matthew miles in the backpack. The highest temp was around 80, which was hot enough for me, but I can't imagine coming in the summer!
 Ella, overlooking the view below one of the windows.
And Mira
 Chad with a smiley Matthew
 Micah was our champion scrambler. I kept having to tame his drive to climb up to the highest points. Ella would follow wherever he went. My mother's mind kept going to the "what ifs." So they heard plenty of, "Okay, that's high enough!"
 Colin graciously allowed me a photo opportunity.
 "Tourette" Window, as we now fondly know it.
 They were pretty high up, I know you can't tell from this, thanks to the zooming camera.
 Too cool for school, Colin
 Micah, the explorer
 Checking out all the nooks and crannies.
 What a great little camper/traveller!
 So fun to have with us.
 Colin is his special buddy. Oh, and that mouthful Matthew's got is Tootsie Rolls. I'll tell you, those saved the day. We'd bribe the kids with them if they'd make it to certain points along the trail. They loved it.
 We made an unplanned stop at Double Arch. Colin took a break in the car with his DS. This is such a great place for a family vacation! All the exploring and climbing makes it a whole lot of fun for kids.
Inside Double Arch was a teeny tiny little cave which Matthew liked.

 Mira wasn't wearing the best climbing shoes, so I was sure to be close by. She and I are total buds, anyway. We love being together.
 And there goes Micah...off to new adventures!
 Aw, I love the moments.

 Our last stop for Friday was Balanced Rock. The rock formations are pretty spectacular. Again, lots of climbing around for the kids.

 And, again, with the spitting in the dirt. It must be fascinating.

 While here, the middle three kids participated in the Junior Ranger program which is available at all national parks. It's a fantastic way for children to feel more invested in the trip. They help pick up litter, look for animal tracks, learn about the history and contents of the parks. It's really important to them, especially because there's a cool badge involved for completing the booklet and activities.Saturday was our last day at Arches and you can't do Arches without seeing the most famous arch, Delicate Arch. It is a relatively strenuous 1.5 mile hike to the arch. Chad, Colin, Micah, Ella, and Matthew blew through it, but Mira and I brought up the rear. It was hard work for our 5 year-old. She'd done a lot of walking and hiking, and was getting tired. We made lots of stops. I kept her motivated with stories, Q&A's about pioneer times, and Tootsie Rolls! And we made it. So worth it!
 I got a few good shots of Chad and the kids at the arch. It's hard to get one without anyone else in the picture, though.

 On our way back from the arch we stopped by this rock with petroglyphs on it. It it thought these date back to 1650-1850 AD. (I would've guessed older.) Micah was excited about this since he's learning about Utah history in school. We snagged this picture for him to share with his teacher. In fact, he got to stand up in front of his class today and his teacher had him tell about the petroglyphs. There are a couple of people riding horses with bighorn sheep and perhaps a couple of dogs around. Very close to this is the John Wesley Wilde homestead. It is very primitive. It's an old cabin which he built at the request of his daughter, who joined him with her husband and 2 young children. I try to imagine what life would have been like for them out there. No neighbors, no school, no grass, summer temps upwards of 100 degrees, no mail service...they were tough people!

 Our very last site for the trip was to Landscape Arch. This is the widest and thinnest arch in the park. (By the way, this park has over 2,500 arches in it. An arch is considered such if it has at least a 3 foot wide/long opening.) At the start of the hike is this fun sandy area which lots of kids were loving. Run up, run/fall/slide down. I was worried they'd spend all their energy playing on this before we got to the arch!

 I piggybacked Mira nearly the whole way. (5 year-olds are not meant to be carried for distances!) Landscape is a fitting name for this arch. The hike is really beautiful and portions of it were in shade in the afternoon, which felt great. More greenery here, and it was lovely.

 Mira wanted a picture, and she was cheesing it when I snapped. We all cracked up at her expression. So funny! (And completely adorable, of course.)

 Colin made me promise I wouldn't post the picture of him being silly in it. So I'm not. But here, the other kids are.
 Matthew, dropping sand. Sand, sand everywhere! (Ask me how many loads of laundry I've done since being home!)
 And our last morning camping. We had a great time.
 Are those Tootie Fruities on your roasting stick, Micah?
 Ella, properly toasting her bread. No peanut butter for her, thank you very much. Nice and dry is the way she likes it.
 Yep, Micah goes for toasted Tootie Fruities.
 Mira snuggling with her blankie. Still waking up.
Yep, we're going to make camping at parks a habit over UEA weekend. It's perfect!