Tuesday, October 27, 2009

BYU Homecoming Parade

We were invited to be in the BYU Homecoming Parade on the 24th (October, not July), as part of our neighbor's entry, the Tarlton Lewis Handcart Company. Our neighbor is a descendant, and he's made his own handcart and totes it out occasionally to give some people the chance to push, others to pull.
Rob and the kids and friends dressed up and pulled the handcart through the streets of Provo, behind the honors students, the hip hop club and the paunchy CDU alumni on their scooters; ahead of the mayor and the international folk dancers.
Joss and I went down and watched the whole parade, sitting next to the BYUSA stand where people got suspiciously green pancakes (supposed to be blue, but they just looked creepy to me).
The family came down the road slapping hands and waving and hallooing the crowds. Maddie said she had "the time of her life".
Once we came home, everyone was tired. Rob was stiff, the kids just flopped around. Maddie tried to make the case that it was harder to pull a handcart on paved asphalt roads than over hills and through rivers on bumpy, rocky trails. Sebi took a nap and woke up with a fever. We waited for it to turn into the trendy swine flu or even the unstylish garden variety, but it seemed that he was just really tired from the walking. Cute as he was here, it's a good thing he wasn't a pioneer or we would have had to bury him before Winter Quarters in Nebraska.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Will Sign for Candy

I took this because I love the way Joss signs "please" right now. You can see Sebi doing the correct signs and Joss doing his own versions here. This also proves what Rob says: "every marriage needs one chocolate lover and one designated driver". Fluff will be looking for a driver . . .

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Wasatch State Park

At the end of fall break we went to Wasatch State Park on Grandma's recommendation. It was another stupendously beautiful fall day.
We took a leisurely walk over to the Johannes Huber homestead. This man was a Swiss convert, the first Swiss mission president, translated the Book of Mormon into German, and wrote poetry in addition to farming and raising his children here. It looked idyllic.

Then we read about how they only had moldy grain one winter and decided it was tougher than he made it sound in the snippets from his journal.

We played in the orchard and in the stream. We picked some apples. We translated his words to a German hymn.

Some of us ran around and got good and muddy and had a ball.
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And we walked back, parents looking at the fall colors and kids picking "scouts' toilet paper" leaves which grew along the path. It's a plant that doesn't make me want to be a scout, unless the only other option is dried corn cobs, like the tough, rural Romanians used that Rob went to visit in 1992. Then I'd happily join the scouts.

Hiking the Y

[this post is not for arachnophobes] During fall break, Rob wanted to take the kids on a hike. He had wanted to take them on a long hike up dry canyon by his family home, but life intervened and he had to spend the morning schmoozing. So he scaled back and took them to hike the Y, which he had actually never done before. Maddie and Will brought friends, and at least their mothers sent water with them.

Rob says the kids were great and didn't complain at all. The boys passed the time imagining destruction at every turn. Rob bet the girls Geri-style bets. These were the kind of bets that he would make with his dear friend Gerilyn in high school. He lost every one, which is how he came to eat a weed, wear a half shirt and play basketball at DT, and sell popcorn car-to-car to the couples parked at Squaw Peak. He was easier on the girls and only made them hike one section with pebbles in their mouths. He had to jog another section when he lost. At least it wasn't in a half shirt.
They ran into this monstrous spider. That is Rob's toe in the picture for size. Anyone know what kind it is?
And they made it to the top! It took them about two hours each way. You feel like you're all that and a bag of chips when you look out over the entire valley and can see all of campus and try to find your house. They called me when they got there so I could go out and wave to the wee specks on the Y. It is the sort of accomplishment that will stick around for a while yet -- last night I gave Sebi a piggyback ride out to the street so that he could see it all lit up for homecoming. He was still impressed that he made it up here. So am I!
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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Washington DC Day Two

The next morning we started by going by the White House. This is as close as we got. There was a bomb threat just as we were walking up, and President Obama was busy finding out he'd just received the Nobel Peace Prize.
Last time I was here was fourteen years ago and this trip made me grateful for my friend Kathryn, who organized my whole tour. She showed me around the capitol building herself and got me into the White House when the Christmas decorations were up and took me to Georgetown, the Jefferson Memorial and Mount Vernon. She was a great guide. Thanks, Kath!
I decided while we were here that we really need to bring our family out here sometime, but I realized this time that it will take a lot more planning and work than I'm used to.

Joss and I sat here and watched the ducks.

And we visited the Vietnam Memorial.

[click to enlarge] We finished the day at the Lincoln Monument where Joss ran around the pillars and practiced on the stairs.
We ate very well, following Jeff's recommendation and going to the Kabob Palace for lunch. Sushi for dinner. Indian. More Thai. More Kabob Palace. Met up with our friend John for a power breakfast at the hotel.

And Rob did actually attend the conference and gave his paper, but he was in the very last session, so Joss and I went home early and he stayed on, networking and listening to the black turtleneck crowd and walking even more of the DC area.

Back at home, all was not well. As soon as we left, Sebastian came down with a stomach flu. The next day Will got it. Maddie the day after that. Grandma and Grandpa had their hands full with sick kids, running to the doctor and the pharmacy and the grocery store. Then I came down with it on the flight home.

It was my worst. flight. ever.
Try flying alone with a 17 month old who is coming down with a double ear infection and then lose your lunch in the middle of the Eddie Murphy movie and pass out upon landing. Come to only to find that you've thrown up all over your clothes and a grizzled flight attendant is spongeing you with cold washcloths. Better yet, don't try it. Take my word for it. It was ugly.

Thankfully Grandma and Grandpa took care of me too and eventually everyone got better, even Grandma, who succumbed on Monday night.Posted by Picasa

The Capitol Day One

When we popped up out of the metro on the Mall, we found ourselves in the middle of the Solar Decathlon: 20 teams competing in 10 events in the building and running of their solar-powered idea houses. We wandered around admiring them for quite a while. I should go check and see who is winning.
We stopped in at the Smithsonian, which is beautiful.

We let Joss have a ride on the carousel on the Mall. I thought he'd be scared, but it was just his speed. He smiled and laughed and looked for Papa and loved it.

Then he fell asleep and Rob and I visited the National Gallery. It was just our speed.
It was wonderful. They have a fantastic collection.

We especially enjoyed the Calders for Maddie's sake. She's read The Calder Game by Blue Balliet and has loved it. I like the diverse protagonists, the art history, and the puzzling and codebreaking in all of her books.
I really didn't get Rothko in college. Now I completely understand the appeal.

Then Joss woke up and we took him down to the cafeteria for a late lunch.

Here he is plotting his next exploits: he has both parents paying attention and a full plate of food. Hmmmm. Where could we go with this?

[click to enlarge] We walked around the supreme courthouse.

[click to enlarge] And we visited the capitol. We were too late for a tour, but we did get to see the new visitors center which was very well done. Then we met my brother, who happened to be in town for meetings for two days, and went out to Thai food with him and his friends. We didn't take a single picture! But we had a fun time, Barb and Ryan took us back to their house for dessert and even drove us back to the hotel. We were worn out by then! Well, Joss and I were worn out. I always get the impression that Rob could keep walking around the clock when we're touring someplace interesting.

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GSA Conference

Rob had a conference in Washington DC and Joss and I tagged along with frequent flyer miles. We stayed in a lovely hotel in Crystal City, which was advantageously located above a lot of shops and a metro station. Joss enjoyed emptying drawers opening doors running down corridors and spinning the chair as he does anywhere. I enjoyed not cleaning the room. Rob loved walking the city.
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We brought along the trusty stroller. Washington DC Metro got pretty high marks for ease of use. Popular with the under-two crowd as well.
And there was a pool in the hotel, which always helps.

Yay! Friends!

At the beginning of October we got to see our dear friends Mike and Ashley. We knew them in the University Ward while we were all dating. We attended their wedding in LA, two months after ours. We talked them into living in the apartment below ours on MLK. Then when we moved up to Smyth-Fernwald, we talked them into moving there, too. They were breezing through town and once again we talked them into sleeping underneath us, this time in the basement.
It was great to see them and catch up. And fantastic for the kids, who, you can see, didn't lose any time with reminiscing and just cut straight to playing. Marah and Maddie were finger knitting, crocheting, making calligraphy place cards and comparing book reviews. Ethan, Will and Sebi jumped around and made loud noises, either on the trampoline or in front of the Wii.
I had a wonderful time sharing counter duty with Ashley and finding out about life in Oregon.
And Rob and Mike seemed to be perpetually on PizzaQuest. They brought home three phenomenal pies from Pizzeria 712 (and crap pizza for the kids).
We can't wait until they come through town again. Maybe we'll have to pack up and go there next time!
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Cascade Springs

Blog posts are backing up at an alarming rate around here. I have been trying to finish our photo book from Vienna this summer, and the attempt has almost killed off my current computer. Now the book is sent off and I am still going to try and go in chronological order (or at least the way things happened in my brain). Several Saturdays ago (September 26th) we decided to play first and do our work after our fun was done. Maddie had a photography assignment to take a picture of something seasonal and we decided to drive up the Alpine Loop. We gave her the point-and-shoot camera and kept the good one for ourselves, but look what great shots she got! She had a hard time choosing what image to use.
We went to Cascade Springs and walked the loop there, which very nearly satisfied Will's need for a hike. Then everyone was starving because Mama didn't pack anything to eat and it was past Joss's naptime. We drove down the back side of the mountain into Heber and had lunch at Chick's Cafe. It was a brave thing to do with Joss past his prime, but the kids were thrilled with their burgers and plentiful sides and scones for dessert. And we did eventually do our chores.
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