Sunday, April 24, 2016

Back East: Harper's Ferry Hike

We wanted to do a hike on the Appalachian Trail, but then I ended up choosing a loop above Harper's Ferry instead. It was awesome!

Here's a map of the Maryland Heights hike we did. The green trail was very steep but not too long. The blue trail had tons of Civil War relics, and it was amazing. It had signs all along the way describing what we were seeing. The boys kept saying "Abraham Lincoln walked here" (which he did), and "Abraham Lincoln sat on this rock/tripped over that log/etc." It was pretty funny. The red trail took us to an incredible overlook of Harper's Ferry and the 3 rivers that come together. It was a great hike.

 It was a chilly day, but we warmed up hiking. We found snow at the top!

There are remnants of the exterior stone wall. 

The stone fort  

That's the Potomac river down there, with Maryland on one side (where we were) and Virginia and West Virginia on the other side. The kids were always amazed at how close all the different states were.  

Those dips on either side of them are  where they stored the gun powder for the 100 pound ammunition right next to it. They would shoot and sink boats supplying the town of Harper's Ferry. 

Here's the great overlook at the end of the red trail. It's where the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers come together, with the town of Harper's Ferry tucked in the middle. You can see why this was such a pivotal town for supplies during the Civil War! And why the town gets flooded from time to time. Great picture, Spencer!

And here's a close-up of Harper's Ferry. We didn't have enough time to explore the town, but my family said it has a great cemetery. Maybe next time! What a fun hike!!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Back East, part 1

We went back East for 10 days at the end of March. Our kids have two weeks off for Spring Break, which seems a bit excessive; but it gave us a little extra time to be there plus relax at home for a few days. Our last family trip there was almost 6 years ago, when Levi was a baby.  We were overdue! We actually thought about driving to save money, but then we found airplane tickets for $294 round trip. We couldn't pass that up. The problem was that we flew out of Los Angeles at 6:00 A.M., so we had to leave our house at 12:30 A.M.! It was an exhausting day, but the kids did awesome!  It's so much easier to fly with bigger kids. Everyone had their own carry-on luggage (even Chloe), and we didn't check any luggage. We packed light!

We stayed with Dave's mom in Berkeley Springs, WV. The kids spent a lot of down time playing pool in her basement. 

We went through quite a bit of scrapple, which is something we can't get in California. In fact the grocery store workers here have never even heard of it. It's kind of like a sausage loaf that you slice and fry until it gets crispy. Everyone loved it.

We both grew up back East, and it was fun to show the kids some of the places that are special to us. The first day we drove up to St. Francis College (which has since been changed to a University). It snowed on the way there! Thankfully it cleared up by the time we got to Altoona. I have so many bad memories of driving up Rt. 22 between Altoona and Cresson in the snow!  

We ate lunch at Frankies (where Dave and I first danced and shared mocktails) and walked around the bookstore and student union. One of my favorite things about St. Francis is all the pine trees, which you can kind of see behind this window. Back there is the place of the bon fire where we met as well as the gazebo where Dave proposed. 

My college roommate, Jill, on the left, now teaches there; she gave us a little tour of the Physician Assistant department as well as two new buildings on campus. Sherry is the one who introduced me and Dave, and she drove all the way down from Rochester (4 1/2 hours) to see us! The kids met her during our last trip back East; we stayed with her for a couple nights while we went to the Hill Cumorah Pageant. One of my favorite things about this trip was meeting up with dear friends. It's amazing how we can go so many years not seeing each other, and then it's like no time has passed when we get together. After touring campus we headed over to Jill's beautiful home and had dinner with her family. Her parents came over (love them!!) and we had a great visit. Seriously, I didn't want to leave. I wish I would have taken a picture of Jill and Craig and their 2 girls, Madison and Avery. 

This is soon after we started dating in 1994, and these are the same clothes we wore the night we met. I think Sherry is the one who took the picture! Then Dave wore that same hat 4 years later when he proposed. We've sure changed a lot, but the place looks almost exactly the same. It was a fun walk down memory lane.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Valentine's Day

I'm going to back up a bit and cover Valentine's Day. One thing my kids don't like about graduating to middle school is no more Valentine's day parties. So this was Dallin's first year of no party, which he thought was pretty stinky. Brennan and Levi made their own cards this year. They were very simple, and I thought they turned out super cute.

Some teachers didn't do anything for Valentine's Day; we were very grateful ours did! They had fun!

Chloe's preschool had a field trip to the children's museum, followed by a little party. 

Dave took off work the Friday before Valentine's Day (he had his first wedding to perform as bishop), so we left right after the wedding and drove to Fresno. We found a fun little hotel called Garden Inn and Suites, and the whole property was filled with citrus trees! 

There were tons of different kinds, and they were all covered with fruit. The air smelled so sweet!

The free breakfast had big platters of cut up fruit from their trees. It was so yummy! After breakfast we went to the temple. We usually go there and back in one evening, and it was really nice to break it up. 

The kids did another fabulous job managing things while we were gone. They cleaned the whole house (while playing a game they made up called cutthroat cleaning, like the show Cutthroat Kitchen, funny kids!) and made us a cake! The homemade fudge frosting was especially tasty.

Spencer and Dallin rode their bikes to Food 4 Less that morning to buy me roses, and everyone made us Valentine's cards. Oh, how I love my family!

That Sunday the front of our house got heart-attacked! We felt so loved!

Friday, April 8, 2016

I love spring!

I love the weather this time of year. Everything's green, and it's warming up without being scorching hot. We've spent a lot of time outside! 

Enjoying my new hammock. So relaxing!

Tyler attached his target to the zip line so he could hit a moving target! Very clever.

We're still getting the occasional rainy day, which we love! It doesn't stop kids from playing outside though. In fact, they get even more excited to play in the rain.

 I love the face he makes when he lets go of the arrow!

Chloe loves going to the park. One morning we walked there when the boys were at school, and I discovered that she can do the monkey bars without any help!  

She wants to climb our plum tree all the time. This is the tree that blossoms the week of her birthday every year - pink blossoms, no less.

She loves it and says it's her tree. 

One day we went to Barney Schwartz park to feed the ducks. They don't usually have ducks there, so we were pretty excited.  

There was a Monday when the kids were all off school for teacher inservice, so we went to the monarch butterfly grove in Pismo; then we walked down to the beach. There are fun climbing trees along the way. It was an incredibly warm, sunny, non-windy day at the beach. We stayed for hours!

I love spring!