Thursday, July 28, 2011

Last but not Least... Laramie!

Laramie! My home away from home! The place that two of my children were born! I love you!

I was, of course, very excited to go to Laramie and see our good friends, the Bades. As I sit here trying to remember everything we did while we were there I'm having a tough time coming up with details. I didn't take pictures of everything we did, and it has all sort of blended into one mass of enjoyable fun and talking.

The kids were excited to see their friends, and they had a LOT of play time while we were there. They played outside in the little pool (sometimes with swimming suits, sometime without [and I don't mean naked, I mean in regular clothes]), they played house and all sorts of imagination games. They played a little Wii (not nearly as much as they played at Grandma's house). Many balls were thrown and hit, and everyone survived in one piece. Success!

Sarah and I did a lot of fun things, like talk, laugh, chat, gab, confide, confer, discuss, talk, talk, talk... I think you get the idea. Oh, we also played cards, dominated Just Dance on the Wii, tried out some delicious recipes, watched movies, and had more fun than is strictly legal.

On Saturday evening Chad was nice enough to keep all of our kids and Sarah and I got to go on a girl date. Here is the traditional "about to leave, we're looking cute" picture.

We stuck with tradition and went to Sweet Melissa's for dinner. I love that place. And we had a great server: Bob. :) Oh, have I mentioned that my friend is a model? Well she is. Let me present to you, exhibit A:
She's definitely selling something high class, like mascara or lip gloss. Me, on the other hand? I just sell sugar. :)
After dinner we decided to try and see a show at UW that Sarah had heard was pretty good. We didn't buy tickets in advance, and when we got to the box office an hour before the show they said they were sold out. We put our names on the waiting list and crossed our fingers. Shortly before the show the guy behind the counter (who looked disturbingly like Robert Pattinson) called us up and gave us two tickets. Even better, they were free! Unfortunately I didn't snap a sneaky picture of our Rob look-alike. I'm so fired!

The show, A... My Name is Alice, was quite good! I'll admit to laughing really hard multiple times. It's a great show to go to with a girl friend. I know Sarah appreciated it a lot more than Joel would have. :)

After the show we went to Coal Creek for some hot snow and a brownie. It was kind of chilly and rainy that evening, so we were totally justified.
The hot snow was delicious, and we were enjoying our conversation, but we decided to leave a little earlier than we normally would have because there was a creepy guy that was acting strange and we both decided to get the heck out of there. But we had a great time!!!

On Sunday we went to church in our old ward. It was fun to see so many people that we knew!

On Monday we went up to Veedawoo for a picnic and to make s'mores. The weather was lovely when we got there, but a cloud (yes, just one cloud. I'm serious) rolled in and rained on us for a little bit. Luckily it never got too heavy and we still had a great time.

The kids found a little cave-like thing made between a tree and a rock with some pine boughs. They were cute, peeking out of it.

I went to take Adam's picture, and he focused on the branched right in front of his face. Hence the crossed eyes.
After I snapped it he said, "I'll fix it, Mom!" And indeed he did. What a guy.

After lunch and s'mores we decided to hike around for just a bit. It was great to stretch our legs a little in the mountains.

Monday night we stayed up way too late talking (we had been fairly reasonable about bedtimes up until then, not staying up past 12:30 or so). I'm pretty there was a point where we were talking with our eyes closed and slurring our words, but we did not give in! Those late-night talks are always the most interesting.

On Tuesday we took the kids to the new splash pad in one of the parks in town. The water was a little cold and Jenna was apparently in a bad mood. She played for a few minutes then took to her towel.
But the boys had a great time!

Jenna saw me taking a picture of her and wasn't going to take that lying down. So she did this...
She's a silly girl. :)

That night after the kids went to bed Sarah and I ate some delicious fried banana bread (with ice cream) from Sweet Melissa's while watching a tear-jerker of a movie. It was a great last night in Laramie.

Unfortunately, we had to leave the next morning. We got up bright and early and hit the road a little after 6. I managed to drive all the way to Mesa in one day. I thought about stopping, but it just made more sense to keep going. With the smallest of cat naps outside of Gallup, NM, the kids and I made it home to Mesa around 9:30 local time (approx. 16.5 hours of drive time).

It was great to see Joel again! We missed him so much, and I know he missed us, too. He had a special surprise waiting for the kids when they got home: a pillow pet for each of them! It has been nice to be home and get back into the swing of things here. We did our school supply shopping today and will need to do school clothes shopping in the next few days. School starts in less than two weeks! Summer has flown by!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Lovell, WY

The drive from Idaho Falls to Lovell was fairly uneventful, though I was outrunning a thunderstorm the entire way. It caught up to be after Cody, but we still made it to Lovell safely.

We had a lovely, relaxing time in Lovell. But we still managed to stay busy. One of the things we did while we were there was drive up to Devil's Canyon overlook. I wanted to take some pictures for Joel, and it's been awhile since we've taken the kids there.

It was windy and the kids were looking into the sun. That makes for some great pictures. :)
Then I drove to the causeway to see how high the lake was. The mountain was so beautiful; I wish I could have taken pictures that would do it justice. The lake was the highest I've seen it in awhile, but apparently it got higher after we left! I saw a picture of waves on the road!

We got to spend time in Cowley with Brenda et al. The kids had fun playing with their cousins, Gavin and Kelvin. Gavin and Adam had the funniest conversation and I was quick enough to snap a few pictures of it. Gavin started showing Adam some scrapes that he'd gotten...

Then Adam pulled up his shirt to show Gavin his scars, saying, "See, I got burned."
So Gavin showed Adam the big scrape he had on his knee.
It was hilarious to hear and see these boys compare wounds! The funniest thing was said when Adam showed Gavin his scars. Gavin said, "Ouch! Did you cry?" Adam replied, very matter-of-factly, "Yeah, but I got a band-aid on it." We laughed so hard!

Jenna made a little thing from a kit that Brenda had. She painted it later and was very proud of it.
Jenna and Will love word finds, and as it turns out, so does Grandma K. I frequently found the three of them like this, working together. In this picture Jenna was looking up a word that was in the word find.
The kids (boys especially) played a LOT of Wii at both Grandmas' houses. I'm not sure what game Adam was playing, but he was very into it.
The kids swam at the wading pool in the park behind my Mom's house a few times. It's a great little pool with a fun whale slide.

After while Adam got tired and I guess this was his preferred method of rest.

The Saturday that we were there was Byron's Days. They had a couple blow up water slides in the park that the kids wanted to try. They went down each a couple of times, but the verdict was the lines were too long for not enough fun. They also had a climbing wall that the kids tried. Jenna got about half way up and decided that was high enough.

Will was doing great, even though the holds were a little far apart for his height. The guy in charge noticed that Will swung out a little once and didn't come down at all. He had Will let go, and Will just hung in the air. He wasn't heavy enough to come back down, so he only got to climb to the top of the guy's reach. If he had gone higher someone would have had to climb up and pull him down. So Will went up twice, but they wouldn't let him go to the top.

Adam also wanted to try, and the harness looked so funny on him! They had to tighten the straps so much that they dragged on the ground when he walked! He had a fun time climbing, though.
That night we went to the fireworks in Byron. They were impressive, beautiful, and loud, as always. The kids really liked them, which surprised me a little; I wasn't sure that Adam would like the noise. But he did just fine, and when it was done he even admitted to liking "all the colors."

It was a late night that night, and the kids were exhausted after a long day. I carried Adam in from the car, but when I put him down in the house this was as far as he got. Getting him to walk into the bathroom was hilarious! He kept going down on his knees and collapsing. He had no trouble getting to sleep that night!

On Monday we went up to Five Springs for a little picnic. They recently made some repairs/improvement to the switchbacks to get up there, and it was so nice! No dodging potholes while also trying to stay on the narrow road!

It was so beautiful and green up there; we miss the color green.
The kids had a great time running around and enjoying the fresh air and lovely weather.

We also roasted some marshmallows.
Then we headed up to see the falls.

I knew the falls would be different because the water has been so high this year, but it was even muddier and wetter than I expected. The falls came out a lot farther than usual because so much more water was coming down. It was slippery and muddy where you normally stand to watch the falls. We barely made it to the falls when the kids decided they'd had enough and headed back down. I barely had time to snap a picture.

Adam had a little trouble in some of the mud. :)

Daniel and Brenda joined us a little later, and Daniel Jay was teaching the kids some botany. They loved it.
On Tuesday we got to go to the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody with Brenda. She has a member's pass (or something like that) so we got in for free! We couldn't pass up that opportunity. We visited the museum of Natural History first, and it was very cool. There were lots of buttons for Adam to push, which was his favorite part. I would love to go again without little kids and have a chance to really read about and look at everything.
We also ventured into the Buffalo Bill section. Again, it would be fun to get to read about everything and take time looking at everything. As it was, Adam was getting pretty loud and rambunctious by that time. However, the kids enjoyed sitting on the saddles and trying on the hats.

We didn't even see half of the things that there are to see there. I would love to go back sometime!

That pretty much brings our Lovell trip to a close. The kids had a lot of fun seeing family, playing the Wii, and overall not having any responsibilities. I had a great time with family, I played a lot of cards, ate too much, stayed up late, and got spoiled by my Mom and Bill. It was so great! It was especially wonderful to spend some time with my Mom and Bill because they are leaving on a mission in just a few days! I was actually there when they got their call to Utica, NY! I'm excited for them to have the opportunity to serve another mission, but I'm going to miss them a lot.

It was hard saying goodbye, of course. But I was excited to start the last leg of my trip. Laramie!!!