Wednesday, February 27, 2013

GoPro Pics

Yippee! I remember how to get snapshots from the GoPro. The quality isn't the best, but it's still pretty dang cool.
First Dave and Nathan skied while the boys had lessons. Alec and Braden went for their birthday. They're 14!

 They were able to do harder runs without the kids. Here's an awesome wipe-out.

The lessons were an hour and a half. Then Dave took the three boys up to the top of the mountain, and they all went down together. This was Dallin's first time going on the lift. He didn't love it.

So this was exciting. Dallin just started going straight and fast and didn't turn. That's him under the "black diamond" arrow. Okay, so it wasn't actually a black diamond yet, but it led to one and freaked out his brothers. He was supposed to turn left where Spencer is standing, under the "green" arrow. Dave was able to catch up to Dallin and connect back over to the green path. Shwew!

Here's Dallin, explaining why he thought he was supposed to go that way.
Dallin fell a few times, and it was taking awhile to get down. So Dave skied with him between his legs, and this worked better. When they got to the flatter parts, he was able to ski by himself. He really preferred the "rabbit" slope though.

That's quite a wide stance you got there, Tyler!
The greens weren't steep enough for snow boarding, so after they got to the bottom, Tyler and Dallin stayed with friends on the beginner slope while Dave and Spencer did blues.

Tyler just does the pizza the whole way. He doesn't fall much, and he doesn't go too fast - just slow and steady.

Did I ever mention why we went skiing that week? It's because our friends went with their home school group, but they didn't have quite enough kids for the group rate. So they invited friends to go with them, and they got to go for really cheap - just $25 per kid for rentals, lift tickets and lessons. The adults only had to pay $59.  

Since they were there on a Tuesday, they practically had the place to themselves.  
This is my favorite picture of the day!
The GoPro died just as they were about to go down a steep run. Spencer tells me it was "exhilarating."

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Snow Trip: Days 2 and 3

On Tuesday Dave took the three oldest boys skiing/snow boarding at China Peak while I hung out with the little ones at the cabin. This was lovely. I don't like to ski, and it's hard to hang out at a ski resort with little kids, so this really worked out well. The only bad thing was that I didn't get any pictures of them skiing, and Dave forgot to take pictures. So this whole blog is just us.

It was a fun, low key day. We played outside, we went in for snacks, we went back out, we went back inside for naps, we went out again, etc. They did awesome the whole day.

Levi went up and down the hill forever. He'd walk up, I'd give his sled a little push, and then he'd yell, "Again!" as soon as he got to the bottom. I don't remember my other three-year-olds being this tough in the snow. He never cried once about being cold.

Brennan likes to sled too, but mostly he just wants to pick up the snow and eat it and roll around in it and make snowballs. Whenever we went back to the cabin and got all their gloves and coats off, he'd immediately ask if he could go back out.

 Somehow, kids innately know how to make snow angels.

They spent a long time collecting icicles. They even saved some in the freezer and brought them home in a cooler. This was the biggest one they found.

As I mentioned earlier, Chloe did great. She just hung out in the back carrier outside and took naps in the cabin. It helped that it wasn't too cold.

See how warm it was?! They even shed their coats and got ice cream from the little store next to our hotel. Actually we got that as a treat since the other boys got to go skiing.


On the third day we packed up while the boys continued to play outside as much as possible. There was some sadness when Tyler's iPod disappeared overnight, and we were convinced it was stolen. We literally tore the place apart looking for it. That put a damper on our trip. But we were so impressed with Tyler. He prayed to know where it was, and he just felt at peace, like everything was going to be okay. So he went outside to play and totally stopped stressing. I called the hotel the next morning, and they actually found it. They mailed it to us, but we're still waiting for it to come.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Snow Trip, Day 1

We had our annual trip to the snow last week, and it was awesome. We went up on Monday and came home Wednesday. The boys probably could have stayed longer, but it was just long enough for me. Chloe did a fabulous job. She tolerated the cold and slept great. She didn't even cry in the car, which was a huge improvement over our recent trip to L.A. when she screamed an hour and a half each way.
I think this was the first year we had all our own snow gear, although we did borrow a couple of sleds. Every year we just get one or two things, often second-hand.

This was Levi's first real snow trip, since he refused to get out of the car last year. We didn't know how he'd do - he'd either love it or hate it. Turns out he LOVED it! He was super tough and didn't cry, or at least no more than usual. He loved sledding and throwing snowballs and climbing huge mountains of snow. 
My boys love it there so much, and they don't understand WHY we would choose to live in a place that never snows. I think visiting snow 2 1/2 hours away is just perfect. At the end of the second day, Brennan said, "I don't think I would want to live where it snows. Every time we go outside we have to put on all this stuff."

We stayed at Shaver Lake Village Hotel, which has an awesome sledding hill right behind the cabins. Their last snow storm had been three days earlier, and there were some bare spots. But there was still plenty of snow to play in. It's always a little scary to plan these trips weeks in advance, not knowing if there will be snow when we get there. 

Dave wore his GoPro sledding and skiing, which helped us relive all the fun at the end of the day. We'd hook it up to the T.V. and all watch it. At some point I'll download it and get some still shots from it, if I can remember how I did it last time.


After the sledding came the snowball fight. One of my snow memories when I was little was having a big snowball fight with my dad and siblings. I think I cried. I stay out of it these days - the kids know not to hit mom. After all, I've got a camera.

Luckily no one cried. My boys are tough.

Then they made snowmen. You might recognize this set-up from Calvin and Hobbes:

Friday, February 15, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

We've been doing something fun the past couple of weeks. I saw these cute little $1 mailboxes at Target and bought one for everyone. Then I got a bunch of stickers and ribbons (all on sale at Michaels) and the boys decorated their mailboxes. They insisted I go back and get one for myself and Dave too. Then they got busy writing notes and making valentines for each other. I even bought some candy for them, but the rule was they couldn't put candy in their own mailbox (Levi's the one who needed the rule).
Look how cute they all turned out!

I got into it too. I gave them these because they were told at school that everyone would get cotton candy after the fun run fundraiser, but then the machine broke and only a few winners from each grade got it. How disappointing! 

They would get all excited whenever they came home from school and saw their flag up. It's funny, because some of them didn't know what the flag was for! We've never had our own mailbox - just shared with the whole street. Anyway, it was quite successful, and we just might have to make this a new February tradition. Personal notes from your family mean so much more than generic cards from classmates.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

La Brea Tar Pits

Right smack in the middle of Los Angeles is the most famous ice age tar pit in the world. We were down there for a temple trip a couple weekends ago, so we drove over to check it out.
The museum costs $5 for kids 12 and under, $9 for students, and $12 for adults. It wasn't huge, but there was plenty of cool things to see. It took us about a hour.

The saber-tooth tiger, just one of many extinct animals displayed in the museum. Predators greatly outnumber herbivores at the pits because an animal would get stuck in the tar (which is actually oil), and it would look like easy prey to meat eaters. Then they would get stuck too.

I didn't know there used to be camels around here. There were also horses, which is interesting because some people have faulted the Book of Mormon because it mentions horses here. Hmm...

I especially liked the woolly mammoths. They were huge! No, there aren't any dinosaurs, since they were long gone by the time the tar pits came along.

The most common animal found is the extinct dire wolf. They have found over 2000 in the pits - here's a display of 400 skulls.

And here's a dire wolf skeleton. What's unique about tar pits is that they preserve the bones by completely covering them with the tar, like shellac. So they are the actual bones and not mineralized fossils.

They also have what they call a fishbowl lab. They are still uncovering fossils from the tar pits, and we can watch the palaeontologists at work, sorting and preparing their findings for display. I thought this looked lot a rather boring job, but my boys were fascinated.

Levi was especially interested in the animatronics. He was a little concerned that the woolly mammoth would get him, but we assured him it wasn't real. The saber tooth attacking the sloth was pretty awesome too.

Just as we were finishing up in the museum, there was an announcement that an outside tour was about to begin. So we did that too. The tour guide was very good and entertaining, and we learned a ton.

Then we walked over to see Pit 91. Apparently they number the excavation sites.

There was a little building overlooking the pit.

The colored flags each identify a different animal.

We had to watch where we stepped because there were just random puddles of tar oozing up all over. You can see how the leaves and sticks could easily camouflage it to an unsuspecting animal. Dave bore his testimony the next day comparing the tar pits to Satan's sneaky traps. I missed it because I was home with a stomach virus. It's been a sickly month for us - 2 1/2 weeks of a stomach virus followed by a respiratory virus. We were glad everyone was healthy during our 2 days in L.A.!