Thursday, July 31, 2014

July 2014 on FB

July 2: Just another day in the drama of motherhood...We took the boys up to Williams Lake this afternoon. Jonah threw an oar to Ammon who was in a boat just off the dock. Ammon didn't catch it and the oar went into the water. The oar didn't float, it drowned. Soooo, Jonah took his glasses off and set them on the dock, then jumped into the lake to save the sinking oar, except he was wearing a life jacket and couldn't get deep enough to save it before it disappeared. As he got climbed back up onto the dock, he couldn't find his glasses. They apparently got knocked off by one of the many people on the dock at some point during the 2 minutes he was in the water searching for the oar. The fun afternoon trip ended not-so-fun with angry parents, missing glasses & oar, tears, and yelling!

July 4: Today was my Grandma's birthday. I always think of her on the 4th of July. 5 years ago we went and visited her and Grandpa, and a few months later she passed away

July 5: My cute sister Tawna is marrying Bryce today!!! We love these two and are so happy for them!

July 5: Beautiful wedding, happy people, gorgeous venue. Congrats Tawna & Bryce! 

July 9: I've lost my motivation to be healthy now that my exercise buddy has moved. But I came up with an idea last night that just might work. It was midnight, and I rolled over and woke Josh up. I said "If I lose 40 lbs. by February, will you take me to Mexico?" (I think his sleeping time is the best time to ask him serious, expensive questions.) It worked and he said yes! Even if that was his sleepy self answering, I'm going for it!

July 15: Look who I ran into in the Idaho Falls Old Navy longtime friend Emily (and her cute, growing kids too)! I haven't seen her in 3 years and momentarily being with her made my day! And it just so happened to be her birthday, too!!!

July 16: I just finished my last final of my 1st semester of my return to college! What a good feeling!! Now I'm off to Challis for 4 days for Choral Rendezvous--perfect timing for a vacation!

July 16: It's been a week since I made my "Mexico Vacation Declaration to lose 40 lbs". And guess what? I've exercised every single morning since then, I haven't had any sweets, and I've only drank half of a pop can {on accident}. I'm feeling good after one week--only 7 more months to go!!! :D

July 19: Heard the best story today from a woman who's ridden her bike across the country. She packed lightweight, dual-purpose items like oreos and a red-checkered napkin, which were for both dessert AND entertainment. She would take the cookies apart to create black & white game pieces, and the checkered napkin was used as the gameboard to play checkers! Then the cookies were eaten afterwards! love it!

July 19: Had a soaking, hilarious, fabulous time on the river yesterday with these people at Choral Rendezvous:

July 24: Two weeks without Dr. Pepper, but it's paying off! I'm down 5 pounds! Just 35 more lbs to go before Viva La Mexico!!!

July 26: Floated down the Salmon River in an innertube yesterday with the family. My boys all went for the first time, too! Josh and the 3 younger boys went in a boat, and Ammon went in a tube like me. It was so much fun! The river was the perfect depth for it! I already feel like going again!

July 28: Ammon finished his driver's training course today!!! Then he drove Josh most of the way home from Idaho Falls. Glad they made it without crashing! Josh said there was just one incident on the highway where Ammon shifted from 5th gear to 2nd. I chuckled, remembering how I'd done that when I first started driving stick shift, too!

July 29: Grammar lesson with my boys yesterday: Jonah told Kanyon that suicide is when you risk something in order to do something nice for somebody else. I was all "NO, no, no--that's not it. I don't think that word means what you think it means! Your definition sounds more like sacrifice!". Jonah replied "Ohhhh. Right. They just sound a lot alike." Whew. Glad that got corrected before he stated that in public. Wouldn't want people to think that I'm raising Al Qaida or future suicide bombers or something.

July 30: So glad to be going camping with the family today!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Eat, Swing, and Be Merry

Josh's siblings and parents usually get together every year over July 4th for a reunion, but this year several people in the family wouldn't be able to be in Salmon during that weekend, so we had a small reunion the last weekend of June instead.

It was very low-key this year: the 2-day reunion basically consisted of just two family meals, a mini family photo session, and lots of swinging in the yard.  

On Friday night (June 27th), we had hot dogs for dinner. The Harris & Beesley families joined us, and Tim & Barb came too. It was cold and rainy, and we'd planned on cooking the hot dogs over the fire pit in Ed & Kathy's yard (which the kids still did), but we placed the grill in the pavilion to cook them instead. We set up the meal and extra tables in the pavilion too so people could eat their food and stay dry.

After the hot dogs were eaten, most of the kids roasted marshmallows over the fire pit. I think it's funny that even though it's the end of June, the kids are wearing their jackets & coats in these photos!

When the rain subsided, the kids were happy to play in the yard--and they took advantage of all the swings.
Malachi pulling boys on the giant stride.

Josh had gotten a little round wooden swing, and we decided to hang it up right before the reunion so that it would be something new in the yard for the kids to play on. We hung it from one of the lower branches of the big tree in Ed & Kathy's yard.
Joel swinging out over the yard

Kanyon eating a s'more while sitting on the new swing

Coral took a turn swinging, making sure to keep
her feet up so she wouldn't knock them on the rocks.

Jessalyn took her turn next!

Then Edward had Malachi hang up a new rope swing across the ditch. Malachi had to go pretty high up and straddle the branch of the tree in order to hang it just right. This rope swing has a handle bar on it, so it's different than the other 2 rope swings that are already attached to the tree over the ditch.

Lots of boys waiting to swing on the new toy!

Ammon on the regular rope swing & Aysha on the new bar rope swing.
They both swung across and landed in the floating boat!

There were lots of turns taken on the bench swing that also hangs from that big tree lining the ditch! We are so blessed to have that large, useful, fun, beautiful tree!!!
Micah & Joshua Beesley


Jessalyn, Alexander (I love his face & hair!), and Coral

Kala & Josh

The next morning, we got dressed and ready for family pictures in the yard. The rain was still around, off and on, and Alyssa took the photo in a little break between rain clouds.

We were going to float the river that afternoon, but it ended up being too cold for it. So that was cancelled. Everyone came together one final time for dinner of grilled hamburgers that evening.

We told stories and chatted for a while after dinner, the kids played outside games, and we stayed warm by the fire as it started to get dark. Then Josh's sister and her family left to go home that night, and his brothers left early the following morning.

The boys had fun with their cousins while they were here. They played the wii, watched movies, played night games, and made new memories--which is the best part of family reunions.

Monday, July 28, 2014

CotM Part 3: Fun Formations

There is something truly beautiful about all the lava rock at Craters of the Moon. It doesn't look like much when you drive by it, but when you're in the park, and you're completely surrounded by it all, it's absolutely amazing. 

I took photos of some of the unique rocks that really appealed to me while we were there this time. If you haven't been there, I recommend going! It's truly an Idaho gem! ;)  

I fell in love with this rock for whatever reason! I just love the way it looks--
all the holes and the diagonal waves and the evolving hues.
Upon closer inspection, I found a smiley face in that rock face!

I think this looks like the inside of a dinosaur's toothy mouth.

This is called Pahoehoe: when the lava cools in rope-like shapes.

I think this rock resembles marble 

I love how this rock was smooth on the bottom and rough on top.
I think it looks like a bowl of popcorn!

Can you see the heart-shaped opening of this small lava tube?

The rocks along the edge of the Big Craters reflected a rainbow of colors--
it's hard to see it all the pigments in this photo.

The shape of this rock reminded me of Jar Jar Binks' face.
There was two tall weeds behind it, which look like its antennae.
So, I added the pine cone eyes to make it more complete!

I love how the wildflowers grew in the shape of an arrow pointing to the right.

A small arch made of lava rock!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

CotM Part 2: Craters & Cones

The 2nd day of our campout at Craters of the Moon started with a very chillaxed morning. All the families ate breakfast on their own. After our boys were done eating, they played around our camp site with some of the other kids in our group (it's always more fun for them to go camping with other people!). 

While I was eating breakfast, I watched some little chipmunks run around. They obviously were used to people because they weren't afraid of getting close to us. In fact, Josh's very long feet seemed to greatly interest them rather than  fear them. I couldn't believe how many times they approached him and sniffed, walked on, and touched his feet!!!

Kanyon was so proud of earning a Jr. Ranger pin at the program the night before that he pinned it onto his shirt first thing that morning and wore it all day long! He was still aspiring to get his Lunar Ranger badge, which inspired Micah to do the activities so he could get it, too.

We discussed some options for the day's plans that morning, and debated between a couple of different hikes that we could take before lunch. After all the moms consulted with each other, we finally decided to do the 3.5 mile North Crater Trail. It starts at the Cones area and ends at a parking lot a 1/4 mile from the campground. We decided to all pile into the truck and leave it at the Cones area, and then after we all arrived at the campground, we'd take one of the other vehicles later to go retrieve it. We wanted to hike that morning before it got too hot, and by the time we were all ready, it was about 10:15 when we left our camp site.

When we parked the truck, we stopped to look at the different Cones before starting on the long trail. This is a photo of all the kids on the walk up to the Spatter Cones.

Looking down into the Spatter Cones
Right by the Spatter Cones is the Snow Cone--it's named that because there's snow year-round in the miniature volcano.
Jonah & Micah looking down to see the snow

See the bit of snow in the center of the hole?
The North Crater Trail goes up and down in elevation and passes multiple craters along the way. It was a really neat trail and one that I didn't go on the last time we were in the park in 2010. I'm so glad we went this time! Since we knew the campground was the final destination, some of the kids went ahead of the group, and they liked that they didn't have to stop and wait for some of us slower people!

The beginning of the trail is all uphill, but once we arrived at the top, the views were fantastic! We could see down into a big crater on the right, and we looked out over the valley on the left. 
Josh & Jen looking down into the first Big Crater.

The trail followed the ridge of the craters. 
Jonah, Micah, & Kanyon running ahead of the group on a downhill stretch.
Walking around the 3rd Big Crater (which is the smallest of the 3).
Sometimes when there was a tree with a bit of shade, I would stop and take a breather. At one particular tree, the faster kids were taking a break, and I was able to catch up to them for a minute. They went on ahead again, but I found myself fascinated by the patterns of the cones that were growing on the tree. I liked how they were darker in the middle and lighter on the outside.

Then Jen's friend Lael was talking about biology and how plants follow the Fibonacci pattern, which I'd just learned about in my college math class. It's a set of numbers 1-1-2-3-5-8-13-etc that follow a sequential pattern of addition. So then I took a different photo of the pine cone to see the pattern. To me, beauty is in the details.

After the trail passes the Big Craters, it meanders through different lava formations. The dead trees along the trail were just as interesting to me as the rocks, and we stopped often to take photos on (and of) the uniquely-shaped plants!
The trail goes under this awesome dead tree

Josh by a tall dead tree with a gnarly twisted root!

Abbie at the tip of a very large toppled tree.

A downhill slope behind a branch's upward climb.
Jen took this next photo of me walking on the trail. I was unaware that Josh (who'd gone on ahead) was hiding behind the rock. He likes to surprise me, because I totally freak out, and my response is hilarious to him. Thankfully, after she took the photo, she just kept standing there, waiting to take another photo of me freaking out, and that kind of clued me into the fact that something else was happening besides an innocent photo and I looked to see Josh sitting there. Instead of jumping and screaming and wagging my arms and shaking my hands in the air (I know it sounds weird but it's a natural response my body does), I just smiled and was happy to see that he'd waited for me!

Towards the end of the trail, you walk directly on top of an old lava flow in a valley between two cinder hills. To get down into and back up from the lava flow, you walk on built-in steps made from aligned tree branches. It was so beautiful to me!

My husband is so handsome!

Stairway to Heaven?

Among the lava flow that we walked across were a few small lava tube caves. I had this idea of having Josh hang over the top of one because I imagined it would look like a large bat. He actually went along with my request, but it didn't end up looking at all how I'd imagined it would. I love him for trying, though!

We arrived back at the campground in 3 different heats. The fast group of kids, then Josh & I, and then Jen & her friends and a few of their kids. We were all so hot, hungry, and thirsty! The families were in charge of their own lunches. We ate sandwiches and relaxed for a while. Jen & her friends decided to go check out the Visitor's Center. We'd already gone there after we first arrived the day before, so we stayed at the camp site. Kanyon & Micah finished their requirements for the Jr. Lunar Ranger Badge, Josh read a book, and the boys played card games with their cousins.

The ladies were gone a long time, and we were worried that by the time they came back and we went to do our last activity for the day and then retrieve the truck, that the Visitor's Center would be closed and Kanyon wouldn't be able to get his badge that he'd been working on for two days. So Josh left on his bike to go to the truck which was parked over 4 miles away. Unfortunately, about 10 minutes after he left, the ladies came back to camp! Most of his bike ride was uphill, but he made it. Then he drove it back, and we went to the Visitor's Center and Micah and Kanyon turned in their requirements and took oaths to receive their Jr. Lunar Ranger badges!

Now that the truck was back at the campground, we all piled into once again and headed to the Inferno Cone later that afternoon at about 3:30. It's a 1/2 mile hike up to the top, and has awesome views of the park and of many miles eastward.

Once we all made it to the top, we took lots of photos!

Kids' Jump Shot

Sister Wives joining hands!

Adult Jump Shot off the little rock ledge

That turned out to be a dumb idea for us old people:
the jump hurt Jen--who'd recently had a foot surgery,
and it hurt my knee that I had surgery on last year.
We wanted to take a better Jump Shot, so we took 3 more on the southwest side of the Inferno Cone that overlooks the Cones area. We had a hilarious time trying to have a spectacular photo; this was the best one of the 3:

Some of the kids raced to the bottom of the hill when we were done, and they patiently waited for us moms to make it down, too!

Walking on the black cinders all day made all our legs look like this when we were done:

We headed back to the campground once again, and ate hot dogs for dinner. Then Josh and I started packing up our trailer. Ammon had been gone to Cross Country camp in Bozeman, Montana that week, but he came home on Wednesday night, so we wanted to go home that night, too. Jen & her friends stayed one more night and went home the next afternoon. As we were packing up, the boys played and rode their bikes around the campground with their cousins and new friends one last time.

We left about 6:30, and made it home before 10:00 that night.

I'm so glad we went back to Craters of the Moon again this year! Our family enjoyed it so much! We hiked, explored caves, walked, played on rocks, met new friends, ate good food, and had a great time camping! Happy memories were made at this unique place once again!