Monday, August 8, 2016

Family Time

 Colin wants me to say, "Colin is Jack's favorite." Normally, they don't pay too much attention to each other. And for the longest time, Colin was not comfortable picking him up. But here we go:
 Jack gets pretty stinky, and Ella can't stand to smell him. Matthew gave him a nice bath to remedy the situation.
 Matthew's old shoes were getting so worn, so Matthew picked out a new pair at the Nike factory, which he was happy about.
Cute Ella with her long hair. (This was taken in Pullman months ago.)
 When Ella saw my new haircut, she immediately insisted she get one, too. She was very happy with the results. And I'm happy there are fewer tangles.We BOTH are!
 Micah's had a great year in the band. He's been taking lessons from BJ Cox, which have been helpful. Micah enjoys Mr. Neves and his classmates. He has learned a lot. I'm so glad he has an instrument that he loves.
 Cuddles with Jack:
 I received a note from Mira's teachers that Mira was going to be awarded the Super Sailor award for her class this month. She is such a great student. Her teachers love having her.

 This has been a good year for Mira. She has made several very nice friends (or at least become better friends with them). Mikell Gardner and Hinckley Van Orden are a couple of her adorable friends.
 We took a little vacation to St. George to stay with Mom and Dad for Easter. They made us delicious meals! This was breakfast, and everyone pitched in.
  A little game-playing:
 Good morning! Thanks for breakfast! Mom and Dad always spoil us. There is no excuse for going away hungry!
 Mom went with us on our first visit to Red Cliffs Recreation Area. What a great place! It is beautiful, and there was a cool old stump the kids had fun
Matthew wanted to be known by and referred to as the king of this stump.

I was glad we got the chance to explore Red Cliffs. It's a wonderland of exploration. And this was a great time of year to visit it.
Here our group made our way along a trail to a very steep spot where you could get a great view.
The pool here is the highlight for most travelers, I'm sure. We saw some people jumping in from an overhang. I always feel a little leery of that, especially when I don't know for sure what is beneath the water. Matthew climbed up top and kept nearing the edge, peering over as if he was contemplating a jump himself. It put me on edge as I kept telling him to move back. He's got a little daredevil in him, I do believe.
Great picture of Mom and Dad:
Mom and I took these three around for some fun while Chad, Colin, and Micah went on a backpacking trip. We fed the ducks at Tonaquint Nature Center and discovered a pretty cemetery that deserved a visit.

St. George has some great playgrounds and parks. They had fun playing around here for a little bit, but we eventually made our way over to the volleyball court where there was lots of sand to play with.
We ended up spending most time here. Played catch with balls and frisbees, and dug in the sand.

We wanted to visit a splash pad, and Mom mentioned a great one in the middle of town. Unbeknownst to us, there was an arts festival happening. This made it even more fun with the music.

All three had so much fun running around the rocks, and up and down the "stream." Oh, to be a kid again!
There were free activities for kids, and they got to paint and create.
Got their faces painted, too!
There was spin art, which was cool. The kids got to add their own colors to spinning paper. They loved that!
And, of course we needed to take a dozen pictures with these:

Back at Grandma's house, we took to the pool. Boy, they had fun!
I love this shot:
And we colored Easter eggs!
As it started to cool down, the kids and I walked over to the park to give Mom and Dad some quiet time.

Easter morning brought the Easter egg hunt before church. Gorgeous children!
Trying to remember what gift each got in their baskets...Matthew: jump rope, Mira: lunch box (which she'd been wanting), Ella: necklace (she loved it), Micah: LifeStraw (which he'd been talking about buying), Colin: we'd bought him a very nice tennis racquet, which we told him was part of his Easter gift. (He was thrilled to have a nice new racquet.)

Everyone looking spiffy:

After church, we headed over to Grafton, a ghost town. As we walked around, I was thinking it looked awfully familiar. We agreed that we'd been here before. The funny thing is that within a couple of days returning from St. George, I was picking up the basement and saw an open photo album with picture from the time we'd visited Grafton. Ella was just a baby, and the boys were so cute and little!
Everyone had a turn on the swing hanging from the big old tree:

Watching the cattle:
Ella was the only one who wanted to go exploring a trail with Chad and me above the cemetery.

Once we called down to the van, Mira and Matthew wanted to find a shortcut to come join us.
Our last outing as we finished our trip to Dixie was a stop up Kolob Canyon--so beautiful. We'd planned a family hike up Taylor Creek Trail. Note the sign "Entering Zion Wilderness." I don't know that I should, but I get the willies a little bit when I see a sign like that. As if civilization is too far away to rescue us if we need it! But we saw others along the trail. The kids may have been a little less than enthused, but we try not to let that keep our family from adventures. I think Colin talked the entire 3 miles in. Talked about riddles, survival, etc. He loves this kind of thing.
It was cool, but thankfully didn't rain!
We crossed the stream many times.

Family pic:
I think Ella loves nature.
Look at those strong, capable human beings!
There were a couple of cabins up here. Strange to think about living so far away from anyone or anything. And these were built back in the 1930's!
Pictures just don't do the scenery justice.
Here is Double-Arch Alcove, a partial cave. Because sandstone is so porous, the water that seeps through undercuts the rock and forms this.
Once we stopped moving and sat down for lunch, we stared getting pretty chilled. (That's when some murmurs may have broken out.)

Poor Mira.  I don't remember when this was exactly, but she obviously wasn't well. Regardless, there was somewhere we had to be, so she didn't have any choice but to get as comfortable as possible while riding in the car. (Sad face!)
For one merit badge, Chad had the boys come over for cooking. We made garlic cheese biscuits and sausage-potato skillet. Yum!
At this time, Ella was into historic fiction. (I realize the book in the picture, Anne Frank's diary, is not fiction.) I think it began "Fever 1793." I started reading it out loud to her, and we both loved it. In fact, she would sneak away with it to read on her own, so I'd have to wait for times when she didn't have it so that I could have a chance to catch up! We read "Number the Stars" together with Mira. They liked that one. Ella continued with "Sophia's War." Currently, Ella has declared that she now wants to read realistic fiction. She read "One for the Murphys" in about a day, which started her in that genre. I love to see her read.

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