Thursday, May 30, 2013

Sebi & the Last Day of School

 We had great seats at the Wasatch Dance Festival because Betsy saved us some in the front row. YAY! Coming from the other side of town with so much construction, we never make it in time for the fold down seats.

 The third graders always do this stick dance. It looks like you'd get your ankles banged a lot during practices.

I love this move, whatever it is. The girl in front looks so cute!

I had to run off to work as soon as I took this picture, but I was glad I came. Rob's colleague Ruth showed up even though she doesn't have kids at Wasatch. She just wanted to see a bona fide maypole dance. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Snow Canyon, Heading Home

 The morning we left, Molly found a gecko in their tent. Or rather, Nate found it. Molly removed it.

 We went back to the sand dunes so the kids could play.  Here they are burying Maddie.

 We soon realized that late afternoon was a better time to go, without the sun beating down on us. The adults still managed to cover education and technology and a bunch of other topics before we headed back for lunch.

 The campsite Molly got was tricked out. This pavilion was had lights and outlets and there were showers, which made going to church feasible.

And here Joss and I are standing outside the new tent we got Rob for his birthday. Pretty spectacular backdrop, no?
Molly & Nate took Will & Sebi with them so that we could fit in our car with Rob. Joss and Maddie slept most of the way home. We ran into two accidents which were holding up traffic just outside of Spanish Fork, but we did make it home. 
Great trip -- now let the washing begin!!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Beaching it

 It was decided that we needed to go somewhere with water. So we researched the options and chose Quail Creek Reservoir.

 People managed to get themselves wet.

 Or stay dry . . .

 But not burned.

 Several of us swam out to this island.

 Noah found pretzel sticks and everyone chowed on dried fruit mix.

 Zinnia. 'Nuff said.

Rob and kids swam back from the island. They were very proud of themselves because there has been so little swim practice since we got booted from the Provo pool.

 We stopped by for frozen yogurt on the way back to camp.

 Zach & Arinn

Nate & Molly

Me & Maddie. I got hooked on the tart stuff here. Mmmmm!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Snow Canyon, Lava Tubes and Sand Dunes

 After the picnic and the splashing, the kids wanted to come back to Snow Canyon, so we did. It is really a breathtaking park.
 I convinced Maddie, Sebi and Joss to come with me on a short hike to the lava tubes. It was short, but hot and with challenging terrain. We saw a young family with a wailing toddler and I was so grateful that my kids were older and more independent and helpful. This trip would not have been possible even two years ago without Rob.
 We went back to the campsite and convinced Will that he had to come with us. Once we got here to the sand dunes I think he was glad he came.
 As they all were. They ran and slid and posed and played.
We stayed and played until we saw the other two vans driving by and we followed them back to the campsite for dinner.
The plan at this point was that I'd put all of the kids to bed and drive the 15 minutes down to pick up Rob at midnight in downtown St. George at the shuttle stop. However, he'd had lots of trouble on the way out to Chapel Hill because of tornados in Texas.
As the evening wore on, Molly got some strange message from Rob in some airport. My phone of course had no reception and no minutes left. But Molly patiently helped me reload more minutes on my phone and I had seven messages from Rob.
I went into town to buy something and listened to them all in Walgreens, growing more and more concerned. First he called to say that he was stuck in Austin on the Tarmac. Then he called from Dallas/Ft. Worth and couldn't get out at all. Then that he was thinking of flying either to Tuscon or Albuquerque and driving (!) up to meet us in a rental car. Finally that he'd wangled his way onto a flight back to Las Vegas and they'd bumped him to first class (Rob's never flown first class anywhere, and this was definitely an item on his bucket list). That was the good news. The bad news was that he was going to miss the last shuttle to St. George and wouldn't make it that night. 
I considered my options very carefully for a full two minutes as I was in the Walgreens.
I had mentally paced myself to be a single parent only until Saturday at midnight. I was not prepared to deal with camping alone or taking the four kids to his family's farewell the next morning. 
So I bought a Wild Cherry Pepsi and checked out of the Walgreens determined to drive down to Las Vegas and pick him up myself (precisely the thing I had told him I would not do weeks earlier when he was changing his reservation). I had to take Maddie back to the campsite or I would have just left from there. I extracted a promise that she'd get the boys to bed and I'd have a dad for her in the morning.
When I got back, Molly said that she'd come with me and that we'd take her van (I think she was certain that the old camry wouldn't have made it, or maybe that I wouldn't have).
The drive is a full 2 hours and smidgen from Snow Canyon to Las Vegas airport and since I didn't get his messages earlier, we didn't leave until after 10:00pm. We thought he'd be on the ground waiting for us for a long time, but we forgot about the time change. So by the time Rob called to let me know that he'd arrived safely in Las Vegas, we were only about half an hour away. He was audibly relieved when I told him that we had gone rogue and were coming to pick him up -- it had been a long day of travel.
Molly drove down and I drove back, and that Pepsi works wonders when you haven't had any in years -- even after we got back to Snow Canyon at about 2:40am and the other two were asleep, I was on top of my sleeping bag and wired.
It was insanity and we got away with it. The kids were SO happy to see him in the morning!

Sunday in St. George

 Thanks to the wonders of Facebook, I'd seen that's Bob's daughter Brenna was going on a mission and that her farewell was the very day that we'd be in Snow Canyon. So we looked up the directions and showed up at church. They were plenty surprised to see us (we hadn't said anything to anyone in case we didn't make it or it was tornado season or our car broke down or something). Brenna did a lovely job. She and Aleia and Julene sang a trio that Bob accompanied and it was beautiful. Here we are with Todd and Donna and Bob outside his house.
 And here is Rob with his cousins, Karen and Missy. OK, it does look like he got in at 2:40am, but we're there. That counts for something, right? It was so good to see them.
 Later we went to visit the St. George temple. We walked around the grounds and looked inside the visitors' center.
 Joss and Noah, defending the temple from some sort of space creepy.

Brigham Young's winter home (so much to do on the next trip!).


Saturday, May 25, 2013

NOT Zion National Park

Molly had made reservations to go camping over Memorial Day weekend months ago. She had made them for Snow Canyon this time mostly because we were so wimpy about the cold nights in Flaming Gorge last year. We were excited to go, and we bought Rob lots of camping gear for his birthday (an awesome tent, two sleeping bags especially for people with claustrophobic feet . . .). Then we figured out that Rob was going to be at a conference in North Carolina when we left on our trip. 
Rob changed his reservations so that he could fly into Las Vegas instead of Salt Lake. There is a very reasonable shuttle from Vegas into St. George, which was only 15 or 20 minutes away from our campsite. 
Then our van died. 
I was driving my niece's backup car around while she was on study abroad. Things were not looking good. I would have just stayed home, but by that time Rob had changed his reservation.
So we went, and I'm glad we did. I'll think it was crazy in retrospect, and it was, but it was fun crazy.
We took off later than we wanted to, and we got into camp when the light was almost gone. I had packed everything I could into a Toyota Camry and had outsourced one child to Molly and Nate. 
My kids were champs! They picked out tent sites and unpacked the car and had the two tents set up in less than five minutes. They blew up air mattresses and found the sleeping bags and food and clothes and the flashlights. I only had to get up and tell the boys it was time to turn out the lights because it was after 11:00pm.  But we did well.
The next day we were going to Zion's, not least because our kids had never been. However it was Memorial Day weekend and horrifically busy. We couldn't find parking, and then we couldn't get onto a shuttle bus to take us into the park. A couple of the kids were not happy. I told them if we didn't get onto the next shuttle that we'd go. Sure enough, the next shuttle only took a few people. 
So we left the others (Zach said I did the 'I'm-outta-here' clap) and went back to our car. The kids really only wanted two things: to eat their picnic lunch and to get wet. That's all they ever actually want, and I should just get a motel room with a pool for vacations.
Instead I drove about five minutes back the way we came, and found a small city park which was just perfect. Like a little South Fork, it had a grassy area where we ate our lunch. I bought the white cheddar popcorn because Rob hates it (almost as much as Cheetos) and was gratified that the kids love it.
After our picnic, we headed down to the river at the side of the park. There was excellent wading for all. And we found a couple of crawdads and some little fishies.
Beautiful scenery.
Maddie and Joss made a sand castle.

We had a great time. Zion will have to wait for a less crowded time of year, though we will probably dedicate more time to it that way.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Doves

We had to send our camera in for service last month, and it just came back. This picture isn't a great measure of success because I took it through the dirty window in our bedroom, but I was charmed by the two birds fluffing themselves and settling in for a downpour. This pair has been in our backyard this spring. They frequent the bird feeder that Rob and Sebi made for cub scouts, found nesting materials in the garden, and they're probably in one of our trees -- I just haven't figured out which one yet.

I haven't blogged much at all both because of the camera, and also because I've been working two days a week up in Salt Lake. I've been looking for something for over a year now and I submitted resumes for two different positions in town, but they both wanted more hours than was practical with a preschooler.

Rob's brother offered to let me come up just two days a week and that seemed feasible. He owns a film production company in Salt Lake and he had just moved into an office in City Creek and a stage out by the airport. So I began by organizing their wardrobe, then moved into a catalogue of their exploits for future reference. I've made epic Costco runs and grabbed lunch and office supplies. I've gone in search of wardrobe and props like three tap dancing costumes, a railroad car that we could graffiti, an interior decorator's layout, two soccer teams, school uniforms and then I've made returns of I don't know how many unused items. I like the variety. I never know what the day will be like when I begin. 

I also like working again. I go for eight hours and people are polite and professional. There are no time outs, no one tell me I'm stupid or that they hate me (even if I am or they do), and I have yet to be used as a human hankie. In the meantime, Rob has come home to watch kids on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and he's organized my kids and my friends like I never had -- he's got playdates and carpools set up and he is often ambitious about the work or the play they're going to accomplish. One Thursday he moved about a ton of rocks he'd removed from our garden. 

When I began working I had lots of meals made for him to thaw and bake. Now he's up and running and he manages all on his own. He has routines -- a Tuesday run to Sprouts with Joss and Zinnia, or letting Joss ride the slides after his swim lesson. I don't know how much longer I'll do this, but it's been a good experience all around.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Mother's Day Camping

 For two Sundays we had Noah and Cannon over for the day while their parents were out of town. Rob built a tent in the backyard for their reading pleasure.
There were Star Wars pop-up books, calls on Skype, and we even inducted them into the Saladeaters Club.