Friday, August 31, 2012

August 2012 on FB

Aug. 3: This was the 9th week of summer, & I can't believe August is here! Ammon's week-long scout camp was cancelled due to forest fires, so Josh went on an overnighter with him instead. I took the 3 younger boys to the swimming pool: Jonah & Micah jumped off the diving board in the deep end without help for the first time! and I stayed in the shallow end with Kanyon & got sunburned! We faithfully watched the Olympics each day, had 3 playdates with friends, ate chicken for dinner 4 days in a row, had ice cream every night, and consumed fresh produce from our garden.

Aug. 4: I've had a pinched nerve in my lower back for 3 days! painful!

Aug. 10: Our 10th week of summer in a nutshell: Josh & I took Ammon floating down the Salmon River in tubes for his first time, I took Jonah to the ER for a bee sting on his eyelid that made his eye swell completely shut, Ammon attended NASA camp at the school, the younger 3 boys rode their scooters on a slopey sidewalk at a park, we went swimming as a family at the pool, we went to the lake one afternoon and laid on inflatables, I painted & completed a pumpkin project, and the girl that was living with us this summer moved out.

Aug. 13: it's snowing ashes, the sky is so smokey that we can't see the mountains that are 2 miles from our house, and the air feels like we're eating campfire smoke constantly. I don't like forest fire season in Salmon.

Aug. 14: Thank you, facebook friends, for all the birthday wishes! My hubby was so good to me today, and I really appreciated all of your kind remarks all day long as well!

Aug. 16: it's a miracle! The sky was filled with stars last night, and today there's blue skies shining on me! What a relief not to breathe in smoke or feel the depression hovering with the orange haze today!

Aug. 17: This was a great 11th week of summer: we went camping for 3 days & 3 nights, Josh made a delicious dinner for my 33rd birthday, a friend brought me a delectable chocolate cake, saw Magic Mike in the theater, got some awesome new sandals, spent 2 days cleaning out closets and updating wardrobe sizes for the boys, Ammon started XC practice, and I started working at school to prepare for what happens in 10 days!

Aug. 21: Leaving tomorrow for 5 days in Utah. I suddenly feel very unready for everything in the week ahead...taking a solo trip with the kids, hosting my class reunion, starting another school year.

Aug. 24: The 12th and final week of summer is over. just 4 days left until school begins. It's been a full week! I tubed down the Salmon River with friends, danced with Josh at an outdoor rock concert, cried while watching "We bought a zoo", played SkipBo with my boys, picked veggies from our garden & entered them in the fair, took Kanyon to the dentist, shopped for school supplies, watched the BE county fair parade, toured the Brigham City temple, and did final preparations to host my 15-year class reunion tonight!

Aug. 27: Here's to new beginnings...3 cheers for the first day of school tomorrow. It's coming whether I want it to or not, so I might as well tip my glass off to it!!!

Aug. 31: 50% of the people in this household now have the snuffles. I blame it on the smoke and poor air quality from the local fires that are burning out of control. I wish it would snow in the mountains so that we could have blue skies again!

Family Vacay Day 3

On the morning of Tuesday, our 3rd day of vacation, we woke up, ate the cheap hotel's small continental breakfast, packed our car, and left the town of Whitefish. We drove about 30 minutes before we reached the west entrance of  Glacier National Park.  

I had tried to prepare as much as possible before going to Glacier, since none of us had ever been there. I checked out books from the library about glaciers, animals that live in that region, and a book specifically about Glacier National Park. I read the books to the kids at Family Home Evening the 2 weeks prior to our vacation, and we discussed what glaciers were, what kinds of animals we'd see in the park, and what the scenery and temperatures would be like. I looked at the national park website and got information about trails and rentals and fees, etc. We looked at maps of the park, and discussed things we wanted to see that we would have time for, since we would only be at Glacier for a day and a half. But for as much as I prepared, I was still blown away by the grandeur and beauty that is present there.

After arriving at the park, we stopped briefly at the Visitors Center for a park map, and continued on our way. We drove past Lake McDonald, and stopped to walk the trail to view the McDonald Falls.

We drove onto the most famous stretch of the Going-to-the-Sun Road, where the road narrows and climbs upward along the edge of the mountainside. On one side of the 2-lane road is a ledge made of stones. On the other side is the edge of the mountain itself.

The views were truly spectacular, and we couldn't stop marveling over the majestic mountains, and gorgeous waterfalls, and amazing road. We drove about 20mph, but we still had to pull over and stop several times to enjoy the views more fully.


Okay, I guess I should clarify that Josh and I wanted to pull over to enjoy the views, but the boys liked to stop because they were playing the license plate game, and it gave them an opportunity to find more of the 50 states' licenses to check off their list. They would get out of the van with their clipboards in hand, and look at each car/truck/motorcycle that was parked or passing by. What a funny site. I couldn't believe they would rather check out vehicles than the view, but it kept them entertained!

I love how the Going-to-the-Sun Road was engineered so that you get the full effect of being in the mountaintops, not just because we could look down at the views below, but because we also got to see so many waterfalls next to the road, and we drove through tunnels, and we passed some cool rock formations and snow piles, too.

There was one large patch of snow by the road that looked like it was an architectural structure with 3 rounded doors. We stopped, and the older boys climbed up to it, and experienced the melting snow dripping on them!
We stopped for lunch at the top of Logan Pass. We ate tuna/pickle sandwiches in the car, and got out to see the Visitor's Center. We used the bathroom, and went back to the car because the Visitor's Center was PACKED full of people! It was terrible weather outside: the sky was overcast (which is why the distant scenery photos all look hazy), it was really cold and super windy! Josh and I wanted to hike the Hidden Lake trail, which was 1.5 miles, beginning at the Logan Pass Visitor's Center. After being outdoors in the cold wind, Kanyon didn't want to go out there again. He said he wanted to stay in the car, so Ammon opted to stay in the car with him. Jonah and Micah decided to go with us; we bundled up, and headed out in the cold wind to go hiking, while Ammon and Kanyon stayed in the warm car reading & playing their DS's.
The beginning of the hike was wooden boardwalks, but after several hundred yards, it turned into a snow field that we had to hike across. It was very slippery, and uphill, and the wind was fierce. I really struggled, and lagged behind the other 3.

It was so wonderful to walk on the mountaintops, and experience all the mountain scenery up close. There was melting snow forming creeks, fields of flowers, spots of grass next to chunks of snow, and we were lucky to see several animals, too. We saw several mountain goats, a few bighorn sheep, and one marmot along the hike.

It took us about 1 hour and 15 minutes to get to the Hidden Lake lookout. And it was worth every step!

The way back down was faster, it only took us about 45 minutes. Again, I lagged behind the other 3. I stopped a few times on the way back to take a few photos of sections of the hike I had just completed!

We continued our drive past St. Mary Lake, and to the east end of the park. The western side of Logan Pass is much colder and has more glaciers and snow-covered mountains. The eastern side of the pass is much warmer, and there are lots more plant life and green grass growing.
We left through the East Entrance of the park, and drove south about 40 miles, to re-enter at the Two Medicine Entrance. We stopped again and all of us walked along the Running Eagle Falls nature trail to see the Trick Falls. It was an easy walk, and the weather was warmer, and the waterfall was so cool!
Then we drove over to Two Medicine Lake, and had a boat tour of the lake on the boat "Sinopah". It lasted about 45 minutes, and took us across to the other side of the lake and back. We were the only ones on the boat on the first half of the tour, then he picked up several hikers on the other side to bring them back across. The tour guide talked about all the surrounding mountains and the history of Glacier Park. It was interesting, and a different angle to see the park from the water looking up! 
After the boat ride, we all hiked one more trail to view a hidden waterfall that was not far from the lake. It was a .6 mile walk to the waterfall, and was fairly level but got really steep right before the waterfall. There was no good photography angle to see the long and pretty waterfall just right, but I enjoyed walking along with Josh, so I took a few pictures of him instead.

After that last hike, we drove about 60 miles to our cabin rental for the night. It was on the southern-most tip of the park, but located outside the park boundaries. It was the cheapest hotel I could find within close proximity to the park. The cabin had two beds, and a microwave and fridge, but the bathrooms were located in a separate building that was communal with the other 5 cabin rentals. It wasn't the most comfortable arrangement, but it had everything we needed.
I heated up Sloppy Joes for dinner, then the boys played outside until the mosquitoes got bad, then they came in & played cards instead. Josh read for a while, and I worked on cleaning out and reorganizing the car and all our baggage.
When it got dark, we all slept in the beds, except Ammon who slept in his sleeping bag on the floor. It was a very long night. We were right by the highway, and not far from the railroad tracks. The beds weren't very comfortable, and the noises & lights outside kept waking Kanyon up, which in turn woke Josh and I up all night, too. We were so glad it was the last night of our vacation!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Family Vacay Day 2

The second day of our vacation began with a trip to the White Elephant store in Spokane. The boys were looking forward to going to the toy & outdoor sporting goods store! It's a family tradition to go there when visiting Spokane...and this was Josh's first time!!! It's unique and fun and we always find good treasures there. I bought some beach toys that we'd use later that day, and Ammon got a water gun, and the boys got some small toys, too.

The boys all got a token to ride the elephant since they all made a purchase. It was funny to watch that old thing jolt them around!

While we were at White Elephant, Grandpa was at a Dr. appointment. We went back to his house after shopping, and cleaned and packed. We did some laundry, washed dishes, swept floors and swept the porch, and packed up the van. After he arrived home from the Dr. (where he had to do some blood tests), we gave him hugs and loves and said our goodbyes. We headed north through the skinny tip of Idaho. We stopped in the tiny town of Athol and at lunch at a park. I had made our meals at home prior to leaving, and the meal plans included a variety of sandwiches. For lunch that day we had egg salad sandwiches. The kids played at the park for a while, and then we continued on. It was a long driving day again. We drove through Sandpoint, which I thought was so cool with its dual bridges that cross the lake!
We drove north until we were about 20 miles from the Canadian border, then we turned east onto another highway that took us back into Montana. We drove through Libby, and then a whole lot of nothing, and then Kalispell. It was a pretty drive, but so boring for the boys...there weren't a lot of signs for their sign game, or a lot of traffic for their license plate game, and we had to stop for construction which lengthened the drive, too. At Kalispell, we turned north again and headed to Whitefish, which was our destination for the day. We checked into the Cheap Sleep Motel (the cheapest hotel I could get in the area!), made ham & turkey sandwiches for dinner, and then we went to City Beach on Whitefish Lake. I'd read somewhere that it was a beautiful and FREE beach, and we spent the whole evening there.

It was very pretty, and it wasn't very crowded because it was a Monday evening. We ate our sandwiches, and then didn't wait any longer to get in the water!!

Ammon used his new water gun from White Elephant

and Jonah and Micah used all the sand toys I bought on the beach.

They were very constructive and built this fortress!

The lake was so beautiful! It was formed from a melted glacier thousands of years ago, and the color was clear and blue, and the rocks at the bottom of the lake and lining the beach were a variety of colors. Kanyon loved looking at the different rocks!

After driving all day, Josh did a lot of this:

I was content to sit in the cool water and enjoy being surrounded by such beauty!

We relaxed on the beach for hours. It was so enjoyable for all of us. We were happy to be out of the car, and feeling the sun on our bodies, and the sand and water on our toes.

After the sand fortress was built, and the wading in the water was done, the boys moved on to other ventures. Micah tried to catch a seagull (it didn't work out), Kanyon played toss the ball with whoever was by him, the twins climbed the unattended lifeguard tower, and Ammon & Josh played frisbee.

And for the first time in our married life, Josh and I walked along the beach, holding hands, at sunset.

After the sun went behind the mountain, it got cold really fast (especially since we were partially still wet), so we picked up all our stuff, and went back to the cheap motel. We piled onto the bed to watch a snake-catching and turtle-snapping show on TV, and then it was time for bed. The boys all slept in their sleeping bags on the floor again, and Josh and I slept in the bed. It had been another long day, (with a super fun evening), and we were all tired and ready for some sleep!