Monday, November 30, 2009

can you spare some change?




i honestly think that this is the first time that i have placed either of my children in a quarter machine ride.

and yes, they loved it as much as i remember loving them as a kid.

it's good to know that simple things can make my kids grin.

i only wish that it wasn't so hard to find a quarter in the depths of my bag, it's scary down there.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

my aha moment

each day i take bayli to preschool, we drive by a soccer field.
and every time we drive by it. i see at least one car parked on the side of the road adjacent to the park where a lone tree and picnic table are.
sometimes the passengers are in their vehicles. sometimes they are sitting at the table looking out across the field of green. other times they are far off in the distance walking through the park.
at 9:30 in the morning i can understand why someone would be out walking through the park, but i did not understand why they were parked on the side of the road adjacent to this tree.
i began to notice that the vehicles and passengers were often the same. there were around 15 different vehicles that i could easily pick out as previous parkers (i know that sounds bad). majority of them were males with a few females from their late 30s to 70s.
i began to wonder why time and time again i would see these same vehicles and passengers at this location. i mean, who parks at a soccer field at 9:30 in the morning anyways?
sometimes there would be more than one vehicle at a time.

i began to think that it was someones drug drop zone. i imagined the events that were taking place there each time i drove by with my babies in the backseat and cringed. i speculated calling the local police department and having them pull a little stakeout job to see what was really going on.
i thought of doing this myself. i was experienced with this type of work once in my life, like 11 yrs ago. my sister-in-law angie's vehicle had been broken into in the apartment complex her family was living in at the time, along with a slew of others. her wallet had been stolen. somehow (my memory is a little shady on the details because i am getting older) we found out the location of the culprit. jed, angie, and i decided to do our own stakeout. we were eager to see the cops pull up to the thieves home, brandish their weapons, and take the villain back to headquarters in cuffs. after we sat there for at least an hour, we realized that the cops weren't showing up that night. sadly we drove back home, our excitement fizzling away.
i decided that doing my own stakeout of the park would be lame, boring work.
so i continued with my drive by speculations.

i pass the park 4 times, between drop off and pick up, 3 times a week. that's 12 times a week that i was able to check out the goings on at the park. i was very keen to the surroundings, at least i thought.

it took a snow storm the day before and a bright beautiful blue sky morning, nearly four months after i began these drivebys, for me to realize the events that were really taking place.

as i glanced at the vehicle ahead, recognizing it and it's passenger immediately, it hit me. in the distance, past the park, across the valley, was the most perfect uninterrupted view of the wasatch mountains. it was a breathtaking view, made more breathtaking by the white magic gracing it.

don't act like i don't notice the mountains that i am graced with each day. because i do view them each and every day. we have beautiful mountain views from our home (at least until the neighbors trees grow and block the view). the roadways surrounding our neighborhood offer many views of both the oquirrh and the wasatch mountains.
most of the time i am driving and only get moments to view their beauty.

this location at the park offered you the ability to stop and enjoy the moment.

so gone are the days of imagining crack and meth dealers meeting to give their regular clients a little fix. and don't get the idea that i live in "a bad part of town," because i don't. these drug exchanges can take place in any kind of area, at least that is what the discovery and history channels tells me.

i am grateful that my eyes were opened to see what others were relishing. their secret spot for daily exchange with mother earth is now my own.
and if you happen to be driving by when i am pulled off to the side of the road adjacent to the tree at the edge of the soccer field, no i am not up to bad business, i am merely getting my daily dose of god is greatness. and if you want, stop and take a minute with me, you will not be disappointed.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

giving thanks

we had a wonderful thanksgiving day.
we were surrounded by people that we love.
we ate the food that the people that we love made.
with our bellies full, we watched football and searched the ads.
then we ate some more food.

major accomplishments:
chase lasted the entire day without a nap
chase never once screamed with exhaustion
gertrude, my dad's resident wild turkey, survived the festivities

overall, a great day.

i am so thankful for my loving family and the great country that we live in. the ability to gather together and give thanks. those who came before us and fought and struggled to make our country better. those who still fight and struggle to improve us. we have much to be thankful for.

Monday, November 23, 2009

our little reader

what an amazing sight i get to see.

before preschool started this year(back in august), bayli decided that she wanted to learn how to read.
she had completed learning her letters and the sounds that they make over a year ago. she new a few words: mom, dad, cat, bayli, poop (thanks to her cousin), and some others i can't remember at the moment.
but, i had no clue how to teach her to read. i don't have a grandma reader like my good friend (pay me for your plug).

my sister-in-law, a book lover and mother to 4 amazing kids, had mentioned that she had found something that worked for her daughter. her daughter is the same age as bayli and can read well beyond a 1st grade level.

so i got the info and bought a book.
teach your child to read in 100 easy lessons.
and i must say, A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!

we made it through over half the book in about 2 months time. we go at bayli's pace. which some days is 2 lessons and others 1/2 a lesson.
she loves it!
and i love it. i don't pressure her to do a lesson every day. instead i here this, "mommy it's time for a lesson!" she motivates herself to want to read.


i am amazed at what she has learned. silent or as we like to call them tricky letters. sounds like sh, ch, th, ow. sentence structure and the use of question marks and quotation marks. i can't believe how fast she is learning. the human mind and that of a child blows me away.

i am so proud of my little reader!

Friday, November 20, 2009

outside

the irresistible chatter of the boy.
he proclaims his desires.
he works his magic.
he smiles.
we can't resist.
your wish is my command.

the first big snow storm arrived last week. bayli was super excited to dawn her snow gear and head out into the white stuff.

chase just longed to be outside. he stared out the window, examining the strangeness of the back yard. "ousi, ousi," he jabbered continuously. he had never played in snow, this was an exciting event. he ran about the house impatiently and excitedly awaiting his turn for snow prep.

i must say, he has the coolest snow pants in town. thank-you my beloved target!

video

touching the snow for the first time. well, at least trying to. his mittens are bayli's old ones, i guess you could say they are a little big.

taking his first steps. very unsure indeed. he reminded us of randy from a christmas story. a must see if you have never experienced its awesomeness-funniest holiday movie ever!


he pretty much stood in this same spot for about 1o minutes. working up courage is pretty tough for this little guy in such strange surroundings, very unusual indeed.

at least he was too nervous to worry about his hat, hats are his nemesis.

tank joined him, it was his first snow as well. he was a little more adventuresome than chase.


meanwhile, this cute little snow princess was having a grand time. no fear in this one. then again, she is a little more experienced with the white stuff.

we decided to try out the sled. bayli plopped right on her tummy awaiting the thrill. chase took a little coaxing, bayli had to hug him to keep him on. (pretty pink snow boots, courtesy of bayli. i am sure that he won't mind for now).

and then, like magic, he fell in love!

bayli wanted some extreme thrills. "daddy, get out the four wheeler!"

chase, now in love with the sled, and already in love with the "vroom vroom," awaited his turn to feel the excitement.


he is so cute!!!
then he was overcome with joy when dad took him for a ride on the quad. he proclaimed his love for the quad with giggles and smiles.

his exhilaration was high enough that he decided to play in the snow.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

handing over the spoon

he lets out a scream
he hides his face in his chair
he flails his arms
his feet start pounding
another scream

my control is over
he wants to do it himself

i have mixed feelings

Thursday, November 12, 2009

are you in the market for a goblin hunt?

**this is a warning
**this is only a warning
**this post contains evidence of a photo junky.
that's right, i like to take pictures.
but, i like them to look good and a slide show just won't cut it this round.
and, i wasn't prepared to make a series of posts.
so brace yourself**

last week we took our final camping trip of the season.
we had such a fun time at goblin valley last spring, that we decided to go again.
we met up with our friends the haight's.

we hadn't decided where we were going to camp. but after we accidentally broke our black water pipe (our pipe sits very low-it was inevitable that it would happen) we decided on the main goblin valley campground.
facilities were a necessity for both families. and besides, the spot we dry camped in last spring was being overhauled by heavy machinery (i hope that it will be back to normal next time we venture that way).

we had a great site in the campground (#18 & #19). we had a backdrop of hills perfect for the kids to climb and take mini adventures within hearing distance.
chase took his first real climb on these hills (tink, wiping of tears).


**i must thank the aleve gods at this time. without you i would have been completely non-functional. head cold + hike= bad combination.

the first evening we were there, we took the kids to see the valley of the goblins.

we had a fun time climbing through the cave in the valley.
my butt was almost too big for the exit.

the kids got dirty bums.


and they had fun pretending to be little goblins.

elephant goblin

peek-a-boo goblin

cutest little pack goblin ever


night starts very early this time of year, especially when you are surrounded by hills. it was dark by 5:00 pm. the kids were crabby earlier than normal (thank-you daylight savings). every evening was a struggle. not to mention the desert gets pretty chilly at night. our only relief in trying to stay up late was the fire.

the next morning, we enjoyed a gorgeous sunrise.


then we were off to hike little wild horse canyon.
it has some very neat slots that the kids loved running through it.

we split from the haight's just over halfway up little wild horse.

we decided to be crazy and try to complete the loop from little wild horse to bell canyon.
and we are proud to say that we did it!
bayli completed her first 8 miler!
pretty good for a 4 (and a big half) year old. she is proclaiming that her reward is a visit to the hello kitty store.
chase was wonderful on the nearly 5 hour hike.

there were some amazing views on the way. we soaked up some beautiful sun. and i think that i might have had a bit too much excitement about the fall leaves in the desert.

when we hit this spot up little wild horse, we thought that it was the end of the trail. we were wondering how we were going to scale the cliffs with two kiddos.


we were happy to find that the trail was just being sneaky and had a hidden tunnel for us to safely make our way. little wild horse winds for quite a ways. you find yourself going from slot canyons to rolling mountainsides of rock. the views were simply breathtaking. each corner of the canyon reveals something new and enchanting.


once out of little wild horse canyon, you travel up a dirt road. you walk on the road for a good 2-3 miles at least. we were glad that the majority of our travels were down hill. if we had started at bell canyon, the story would have been very different.

there were more amazing views to be seen. not to mention more plants for me to covet for my yard.

this is the trail head to bell canyon off the dirt road. we had a nice little break here while jed checked the path ahead. chase was sleeping pretty well by this point.


bell canyon wasn't quite as neat as it's predecessor. but it still had some amazing views and fun slots to run through.


bayli was getting pretty tired by this point. she decided to take a break in the middle of the trail.

the advantage of hiking downhill, you get to relish the views for a lot longer.

bayli caught her second wind (more like her tenth) and had fun running down the canyon.

i must say, keeping a kid focused on a long hike is more exhausting than the hike itself.

unless you are playing the part of pack horse, as jed did.

a beautiful ending to a very long hike.

we only had to pack bayli about a 1/2 mile of the whole trek. and she only had a few meltdowns.
i must say that our adventure was a success!!!

that night we were so exhausted that we turned in at 7:30 pm- yikes!

the next day we decided to hike crack canyon. we wanted to see how the kids would do in a slot canyon with more obstacles. not to mention, bayli likes to say crack and was begging us to hike it. we were shocked. i don't think i would have been up for it if i had hiked 8 miles the day prior with tiny legs like hers.

after you wind down a riverbed wash, you come to this amazing entrance.

bayli was feeling extra adventurous this day. we would turn a corner in the canyon to find her halfway up the wall. some of the spots she climbed were pretty steep and technical for a little gal her size.
such proud parents (tink. sniff. tink. tink. sniff. sniff.)

again there were amazing views to be seen.

and i got to relish in fall leaves a bit more. this cottonwood tree, in particular, was one of my favorites.

"mom, i just climbed up here so you better take my picture!"

i was pretty impressed by some of the paths jed picked with little chase on his back.

i love these sections in a more technical hike. they make me feel cool.

this canyon had so much variation in light. it was fun to capture it with the camera.

jed was pretty excited, he hadn't gone this far the last time he hiked crack. he would have hiked clear to the wash at the end if the kids could have handled it.

this is the entrance to one of the neatest slots i have been through. it is a wind tunnel and gets pretty gusty. it also has more color variation-very pretty.

as sad as we were to turn around and hike back out, we got to see some pretty cool views from a different angle.


that evening, jed stayed back at camp with chase. (chase was fed up with the backpack and needed some serious wiggle time) bayli and i tagged along with the haight's to visit the valley of the goblins one last time.

it was fun having some girl time.

bayli was excited to be in the spotlight and get her picture taken in the setting sun amongst her favorite goblins.

bayli with the plant i covet

sitting on her thrown

taking a siesta

"mom look, i am on a cloud"

riding her camel

catching every ounce of the sun on her long neck

the sun was setting over the valley.
i decided to try and catch me some sun flare with my coveted plant.
i must say, i am very happy with the results.

the setting sun was beautiful. i had a blast catching it's last rays as it magically danced across the valley.


the drive back to camp showed a different view.


i love the desert!!! i can't wait to go back!
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