Thursday, September 22, 2016

Road Trip! Idaho cousins and bunnies

While Dave, Spencer and Tyler were backpacking this summer, I took the 4 youngest plus my nephew, Peter, to Idaho and Utah to visit my family. This was the first time I've done such a major trip (with kids) without Dave, and I'm happy to say it all went smoothly. There was some concern beforehand when the Suburban starting making all kinds of new klunking noises, but I got it fixed right before we left (it needed an emergency brake shoe and new brakes), and all the noises when away. 

It was a 12 hour drive to MaryRuth's house in Caldwell, Idaho, and we broke it up into 2 six-hour days. We were going to go straight through, but the car wasn't ready in time. The kids did AWESOME!! We listened to books while the little kids watched movies. Dallin sat in the front seat; he made the sandwiches and threw them back. It was a party.

Most of my kids had no idea who these cousins were, so I'm glad we went there! They were having a huge heat wave, so we went to the library and $3 movie theater to cool down.

The fair was in town, so we went there one day. Oh, it was hot!

Dominic was there with a client, and we ran into him a couple of times. The firetruck was spraying water, and that helped cool everyone down a bit.

Funny kids.

They had tricycle racing, but Chloe got bored waiting for her turn (it all seemed to take forever with multiple heats for each age), so we left and looked at animals. That was way more fun!

Chloe LOVES animals, and she enjoyed petting them all. 

Funny cow story. So I was explaining what kind of meat we get from each animal we saw, and when we got to the cows, I pointed out that we get tritip and hamburger from them. All of a sudden, Levi looked horrified. "You mean they kill it?!" Somehow he had never really thought about that part. It's good to go to the fair occasionally and learn these life lessons.

We bought a humungous bag of caramel corn, which was delicious. 

Seriously, it took us a few days to finish the caramel corn. It was big. We were going to eat dinner at the fair, but we all got coupons for free food from the Sonic booth, so we drove there instead.

At first, the cousins were a little shy around each other; but it didn't take long for them to warm up. They all played together great! Unfortunately, their oldest son Samuel was at scout camp, so we never got to see him. He's between Peter and Dallin's age.

They run a bunny rescue, and they have a lot of bunnies! I think the total count when we were there was 25. Two of them died from the heat. It was very sad.

Chloe was is animal heaven. Whenever she wanted to, she could go outside and play with bunnies. Plus they have 2 cats (her favorite), fish and turtles. And they have 3 little girls with lots of girl toys. She didn't want to leave!

Maryruth's kids work hard to take care of the bunnies. They feed and water them once a day (which takes a long time) and put frozen water bottles in their hutches to keep them cool. My kids were happy to help!

They have bunny hutches in the backyard and garage. My kids begged me to take one of the bunnies home, but it seemed complicated with traveling. Maybe we'll buy one someday.

    Makayla is closest in age to Chloe, and she is so cute! They played really well together!

Benjamin is about a year younger than Dallin, and he's a really sweet kid! He was happy to have a bunch of boys to play zombie apocalypse with.

We took a few pictures right before we left. Don't you love Maryruth's red hair?

Thanks for hosting us Maryruth! We had a lovely time!

Alisa is a few months older than Brennan. 

Rachel is a few months older than Levi. She's missing a few teeth!

So cute!

Pretty girls!!

The whole crazy group! This was the first time I've visited Maryruth in her own home since we left for college. It wasn't as far away as I thought, and it was good to see where they live. And now my kids know their cousins, which is huge.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Happy 12th birthday Dallin!!

Dallin turned 12 in July. There are some major advantages to having a summer birthday, like never having to go to school on your birthday. Plus it was on a Saturday this year, so Dave was there for homemade donuts.

Dallin's almost always the one who wants to stay home and have a "down day" whenever we have a day off. So naturally I assumed that's what he'd want to do on his birthday. But he decided he wanted to go out and do something fun, so he chose a geocaching hike by the beach. Spencer found a hike in Montana de Oro we'd never done before. The only problem was that the first half of the uphill was sand, and the second half was covered in poison oak. Amazingly, no one broke out in a rash.

The beginning had pretty good views of the ocean.

We forgot the carrier, but Chloe walked most of it just fine.

One of the great things about geocaching is that it helps us discover cool hikes we never would know about otherwise. There were a bunch of geocaches on this hike, so everyone got a chance to find at least one. 

We saw a huge rattlesnake right next to the trail (didn't get a picture), but we held super still, and it slithered away. Apparently this year the local emergency rooms have treated a record high number of rattlesnake bites in north county. It's probably due to the drought. 

We could see Valencia Peak in the distance. This hike wasn't nearly as steep.

We didn't have time to finish the whole hike because it was getting late and we still wanted to go tide pooling at Hazard Canyon. We forgot to check the tides before we left, but we looked it up on the hike and saw that low tide was right then! We turned around and ran back to the car.

The last time we went to Hazard Canyon was about 13 years ago when my mom fell and broke her wrist and Spencer and his cousin Hannah (ages 3 and 4) were almost swept out to sea. But we figured the kids were old enough now that we were ready to try again. They loved it!

They also run up and down those sand dunes in the distance. 

Good choice, Dallin!

Chloe loved the hermit crabs!

She also loved feeding the sea anemone. There were tons of them!

Some people got a little wet. Luckily it wasn't too cold.

Tyler caught a crab! Spencer taught him to grab the claws so it couldn't pinch him.

Afterward, we cleaned ourselves up best we could and went to Hofbrau for fish and chips, clam chowder and french dip sandwiches. 

 It was a beautiful sunset at Morro Bay!

We got home much later than we planned, but we still managed to make strawberry shortcake (I made the biscuits while everyone showered) and open presents before bed. Everything Dallin opened, he was like, "I wanted this! How did you know?!" I keep a running list :)  

He saw this cool leather fedora at the antique store a couple weeks earlier and wanted to buy it, but I convinced him not to; then I went there the next day and bought it. I love doing that!

We had the family over for Texas sheet cake the next day. We had a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday, accompanied by Spencer on his marching trombone and our friend Austin on Dallin's trumpet. 

Now for 12 fun facts about Dallin:
1. He still loves to bake, especially cookies. 
2. He is strong and fast! He's running cross country again this year.
3. His favorite color is red.
4. He enjoys public speaking; he has been bearing his testimony in church since he was 7.
5. He is extremely honest. He had to fill out practice logs for band last year, and he would never round up his time, no matter what. If he wasn't sure, he practiced extra just in case.
6. He likes to dress up - for church, theme days at school, filming movies, or while playing with his siblings, like pirates, cowboys or gangsters.
7. He still plays imaginative games with the little kids, which they love. See #6.
8. He likes making up games. He even prints out rules and makes game boards and pieces.
9. Now that he is 12, he has received the priesthood at church and passes the sacrament every Sunday.
10. He's great on the computer. He downloads programs and figures out how to do all kinds of impressive things.
11. He works super hard in school and goes above and beyond the minimum. If his English teacher assigns the class to write sentences using vocab words, he makes a power point presentation with pictures and video clips. No wonder he gets straight A's.
12. He is a sweet kid, and I love hanging out with him!