Saturday, November 7, 2009

Trick or Treat!!!

Halloween is always a fun time for us. Last year I started a new tradition where the kids can be whatever they want at school for the parade, but for the evening Trunk or Treat and the few homes we go to, they have to be something that goes together in threes. This year was one of our best I think. During the day Bryce was a boxer, grandma made him a shiny robe and I bought him some boxing gloves. I also blacked his eye with some face paint. He looked good. Britton was a ninja. He had a fun costume with black body suit and yellow robe, we painted his face some too. Brooke was Pocahonatas. Grandma and her neighbor made a fun costume that looked like buckskin. They even made her little boots. They had fun at school and looked great in the parade around the school.

Now for the evening events they changed into another costume. They all had gray sweatpants with gray sweatshirts. Then grandma made three tails and masks. They already had sunglasses and I made three canes that were white with red tape at the bottom. Got the picture? Yep, they were the three blind mice! They were adorable. I dressed up like the Farmer's wife who cut off their tails! We had a fun evening. We went to a street that was well decorated and gave away fun stuff and lots of it. Then to the church for the Trunk or Treat. From there Mel and Jess came over for a Pinata time. Had fun with that, then we had to go to our regular Halloween visits. Saw Brother and Sister Cordell, Amy Fawcett and Roy and Jane Hoyt. That one is always fun, Jane buys the kids a box of cereal since about 4 years ago they went in her pantry when we were there trick or treating and each took some cereal. It was a fun evening. Already thinking about what we can be next year. Any ideas let me know! Had ideas of Three Musketeers or Three Stooges. :)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Break from School

With Friday and Monday off from school, we decided to take a little trip. We met Amy and her family for a camping trip in Valley of Fire. What a fun time we had. We enjoyed a fire for Tin Foil dinners, marshmellows, and S'mores. We definitely did not need it because of cold, it was 90 degrees and the kids slept in a tent, so weather was great. The kids had a great time climbing the beautiful red rocks with Ryan and Jared. I was smart mom and found yellow shirts for everyone to wear so I could count five "mountain goats" very quickly. Speaking of mountains, the kids spotted a mountain sheep not far from our camp. We took a few pictures and just enjoyed watching him eat something from the desert ground. On the final day Darin and I went on an hour long hike around the mountains with the kids. We caught a lizard, which by the way five days later is still alive. We had a great time. The kids said they wanted to come back every year. It was a nice relaxing get a way. Valley of Fire is a state park, so there were some visitor spots we went and visited. We saw some petroglyphs and went to the Visitors Center. Fun times we had.

Cross Country

Running and then more running! We finished up our Cross Country season on Wednesday, Oct 21st. The week prior my kids ran Region in St. George and took 3rd. The boys qualified for State, but the girls were 4th, so they did not make it. We have the toughest region in the state, so we were looking forward to a high finish at state. Since we did not have very many kids, we took two vans to Salt Lake. Darin and I took one with three crazy boys, Matt and two of his friends, Ben and Rush. The other van was driven by another runner's parents, Ben and Angela Ashcraft. We got there Tuesday night and of course ate at Olive Garden. The race Wednesday afternoon was good. Grandma and Carol were also there to watch. The runners did well and placed pretty good. Our top runner was Rush who placed 12th. Matt had a good race and ran the race in 18:08. Our team placed 6th which was a good finish for us. The season was good and we had lots of success.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Pumpkin Patch

We decided to go to the pumpkin patch this past weekend. It was lots of fun. We met Jess and her family there so the kids had a great time playing with McKendry and Connor. They played on the horse swing, rode the train, pet the animals and played on the barn swing. After playing for a while we got on a tractor/trailor and rode out to the pumpkin patch. We walked around what seemed like forever to find the right pumpkin. We finally got them and rode back to the main park. It was a fun afternoon. We now have our pumpkins, but wait a week or two before we put pictures on of our carving party!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

St. George Marathon

Well it was extremely difficult to sleep Friday night, October 2nd. After a restless night I got up at 4:00 and prepared to leave for a most exciting day. So many early mornings of running and making my friends bike with me or Darin and Matthew run with me, we left for the marathon. It was an exciting morning with all the people gathering around the fires at the top of the mountain by the starting line. The wait went quick though and there we were getting ready to start the race. Yes, over 6,000 people had paid to run 26.2 miles! My knee started hurting at mile 5, but I got help at mile 7 with that and it was ok the rest of the race. Mel and Jess were at mile 16 to cheer me on. It was a much needed sight since I was really starting to get tired. I hit the wall by 19 and struggled up the hill at Ledges. By the time I got to 20, I could see St. George, but I still struggled for a bit. With three miles left I had the adrenaline I needed to complete the race and started watching for people I knew. The kids had made three posters that said "Go Shelly", "Good Job, Mom!" and then "Pick it up! Merthon Mom!" Well all the cheering, many miles and hard work paid off because I ran a 3:36 and qualified for Boston. It was well worth it but I am sure I will pay for it for quite some time!

Eye Surgery

It took years to convince me that it was ok to have the Lasik Eye Surgery. Well it actually took Bryce to get a piece of Pampas grass stuck in his eye over spring break to let me see it really would be okay to do it. Well on September 25th, I took the challenge and had the surgery. I went on a long run Friday morning to relieve a little stress. Then at 9 AM, Darin and I drove into St. George to the doctor. I was extremely nervous, but with a little Valium, I was ok! :) The surgery part was a bit uncomfortable, but as a mom I can guarantee I have had more painful moments! After the long 10 minutes surgery I was instructed on what eye drops to take when and what medicines to take. We came straight home and I enjoyed the afternoon of many naps! By that evening I was seeing a lot better, but it was not until the next morning that I could see real good! It was worth it and I wish I would not have waited so long to have the surgery. If you are considering it, do it!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Family Fun Run

About a month ago Bryce and Brook asked us when they could run a 3-mile race with us. My first thought was "Why are you going crazy like the rest of us?" But I refrained from saying anything and told them soon. My friend Karrie was putting on a Fun Run in Hurricane. It was a nice 3-mile course easy for the kids to do. We trained a little for it and then came race day. Earlier that month, Britton had told me he did not want to run, so I did not force him to, but did tell him that he had to be supportive and cheer for the other two. He agreed and did a great job. He road around the course with both grandpas and grandmas and cheered at several corners. Matt ran the course in 20 minutes and took 1st overall. Shortly behind him in 5th overall was Bryce at a time of 26:32. I ran with him and it was fun hearing him say, "Mom, can we go a little faster?" With about 1/2 mile left his shoe came untied. I told him not to worry about it that it would not fall off. Well, mom was wrong and as we turned the corner with 50 feet left it flew off. Funny thing to see, but he kept running. Brooke was the 3rd overall female runner of the day and did the course in 27:58. Watch out high school runners, this girl is faster than you! Dad ran with Brooke and said she chatted the whole way. If any of you know Brooke I am sure you can imagine that! She would say things like, "Dad, hear those birds? They are saying, Thank you for the bird seed you leave at your house. I like it." Oh, the words of Brooke always make me laugh. It was definitely an enjoyable race. I am sure we have lots more to do as a family.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Cross Country

It's crazy to think the season is about half over already. It has gone fast and we have had some fun. When I started this coaching thing 14 years ago I had about 8 kids on the team. It made for short practices and meets. Not sure if I was faster then or if they were just slower, but I could run with all of them. With this season I have 35 kids and all levels. I have to ride my bike now to keep up with the first ones and check on the back ones. I still run with them sometimes, but much easier to bike. Matt has done a pretty good job this year. He has struggled with some times but still runs on the varsity squad. We went to Vegas last weekend and he placed 15th in the race and got a medal. The boys team took 2nd to a California school. They performed pretty well. We ran in the small school division, which has fewer schools, but did well. We will be running a fun run 5K tomorrow in our town. Brooke and Bryce said they wanted to run a 3 mile race so we are going to give it a try. Britton will be our biggest fan, but really isn't into that running stuff. He is too cute, so I will keep him in the family anyway! : ) I will write tomorrow to let you know how we all did.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Winning Pictures

We had a fun Labor Day weekend. Friday was full of running some errands and cleaning up a bit. Brooke and I hung out with Mel and her girls. It was a fun girls day out. We went to Pirate Island Pizza, which made the boys a bit upset. They got over it pretty quick, but I am sure they will remind me I need to take them soon.
Labor Day weekend also brings Peach Days for Hurricane. Friday evening we went to watch Jess and her team play in a volleyball tournament. It was a lot of fun. Then we went to see some of the displays at the school. I entered six pictures that we took on our trip this summer. The four kids and I all entered with some pretty neat pictures. Matt and Bryce got a second place ribbon on their pictures. Brooke and I got a first place on ours. Britton had two good pictures he entered and got first on both of his. It was fun to see them find their pictures and see they got a ribbon. I also decided to enter some peaches for the fruit display. Out of all the plates of peaches, mine was the best looking one! I got a first place ribbon on them too. They are really tasty too. We have had peaches and cream a few times. On Saturday morning, Matt, Darin and I ran in the Peach Days 12K race which is a 7.4 mile race. You have to guess your finishing time. Matt and I were a bit off, but Darin was only 18 seconds off his guess. He won $40 for his close guess. Matt earned $20 for how close he was. We all ran a good race.
Monday was started with a very long run. I am still training for the marathon and it was my longest run of my training. I have some great training partners that really help me. Today Darin ran the first 13 miles with me. He is great company and helps me keep a good pace. Matt met us at mile 13 and he ran the next 10 miles with me. Yes, add that correctly, I ran 23 miles today. It was a tough course. They both kept me going at a good pace, but I know this course was lots tougher than the marathon course. Every mile helps prepare me for the long run I have in less than a month! We ended our evening with a little barbeque with the Jensen's and the Cowden's. We missed Jess because some people have to work on Labor Day!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Class Reunion

It only happens every ten years, so I was mixed on going, but curiosity got me. For my ten year reunion I thought I had achieved some good things, but with my changes over the last ten years, I had to go to Rawlins. My family was not too excited to go, but I had to show them off. I knew there would be some people I would recognize and some I would have no idea who they were, but it was a great time. I went to a school that had only a few LDS students and most of my friends were not. It was fun to see the few that came, but crazy to see how many of my classmates had not changed. It was a long trip here, but worth the time to see my Cross-Country coach, visit the high school (yes, view my two school records that still stand) and to see so many of the students I spent four years with.

Pioneer Days

On the 24th of July there is a 5K run and some fun activities at the park. Darin and I decided to do the run with some friends. It was lots of fun. I don't have any pictures of the race, but will post our afternoon activities of the lake. I do have to mention the run though because we ran it in 22 minutes. I thought it was a good time and it was an improvement from Bryce 5K for Darin, so now he is looking for the low 22's or even a 21 5K. I think we have created an Animal! After the race and some fun park things, we headed to the lake with Mel and Silas and Jess and Josh. It was a lot of fun. We are not normally boat people, but I think we could get into this some, especially with the people we get to hang out with!! We all had a chance to ride the tube and the kids loved jumping into the lake and just swimming around.

Bryce Half and Coming Home

Friday night, July 17, lots of our friends came to Bryce to run the Bryce Canyon Half. It was good to see so many people after our trip around the eight states! We had a pasta dinner that night then ran the race the next morning. Darin had prepared for the 5K and did a great job. He ran it in 24 minutes and was pretty pleased with his time. He has set his sites on some other races and improving his time. Matthew' s ankle was still hurt, so he was out for the race, but became the designated photographer for the 5k and some in the half. We road the bus to the starting line of the half which started at Ruby's Inn. It was a cold morning, but I was excited for the run. My goal was to beat my Hurricane time of 1:47 and that I did. I finished this one in a 1:41. I had a great race and really enjoyed the course. It was fun to see some of the places we had visited in the two days before along the path of our run. I was doing great in the race until mile 11. I had pushed myself way too fast too early and paid the price in the end. Several people passed me toward the last mile, but I pushed on. I learned a lot with this race and will be ready for the next half I do or for sure the marathon which is coming fast. After the race we ate lunch with Mel and Silas then they headed home. We thought we were supposed to hang out with Karrie and Cherie, but the weather forced them home early. Earl and Louise had come up early to tour Bryce Canyon with us and to watch the race. They took the kids home, so with everyone gone and the heat beating us, we loaded up the trailer and headed home too. It had been a great journey of about 25 days and lots of fun, but my home was calling me. So the trip was over and we headed home!

Monday, August 10, 2009

So when our friends came to Bryce Canyon, I stopped updating my blog. Sorry about that! Thursday July 16th we decided to explore Bryce Canyon. It was a fun day starting with it being the kids' birthday. What a great place to be on Bryce's Birthday!! A crazy story did happen that day. At a few of the parks, we had the kids do the Junior Ranger Program. At Bryce Canyon, the Ranger asked for some volunteers. Six kids raised their hands with three being ours. We had been talking to a couple before the presentation. When three girls with matching shoes, similar hairstyles and similar heights all went to the front, I turned to their dad and asked him how old they were. He answered, "Eight." I said, "Triplets?" Well yes they were. What a story. With only 14 people in the presentation what are the chances there would be two sets of triplets? We took a cute picture. The dad was a teacher and they were on a six week trip from New York. That will be us in a couple years. The other cute story about our day. In that Ranger presentation the ranger asked each of the kids what their name was. Britton and Brooke were cute about telling her. When she asked Bryce, she looked twice at him when he replyed, "Bryce" What a fun trip.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Traveling Day

We left Moab this morning after a nice run and breakfast. We drove to our camp spot outside of Bryce Canyon. We are here until Sunday morning then we will return to our home base after 26 days of traveling. We stopped in Richfield for fuel and a lunch break. We even waved at the town where our dear friend Josh was raised. He was raised in one of those small towns along the interstate in Utah. I understand and feel for his teasings from Darin since I was raised in a small town along the interstate in Wyoming. Darin is forever teasing me about where I grew up. Oh well, not all of us could be raised in large communities like Vegas, Delta or Roosevelt! Well our campground is in Cannonville, Utah. It is about 20 minutes from Bryce Canyon and near the end of the race for the Bryce Half Marathon we will be running on Saturday. We have lots of friends coming from Hurricane to run the race, so it will be a fun weekend. After getting here and getting things set up, we went swimming. Darin's parents showed up about 3:30. We had made plans to meet them at this point of our trip. After dinner, Grandpa and Matt challenged Darin and I in horseshoes. I thought they would give us more of a challenge than they did. Actually I think Darin could take on all three of us, give us a 10 point lead and still beat us! I was given about a 10 foot advantage and was proud that I scored a few points, including two ringers! Matt does pretty good, and Earl taught Darin how to play, but we don't really have a chance against him. The kids had fun playing at the playground and bugging grandma.
Seven years ago a few of you may remember I was not as calm and relaxed as I am most of the time. This was about the time reality hits that you are pregnant with triplets and they are about to be born! Tomorrow is their birthday. This will be birthday number two for them this year and we will have one more with friends when we get home. How time flies! It has been a fun 7 years and we look forward to many more summer trips to add to the fun. Well I better get to bed, they will be waking soon to ask me again what I got them for their birthday!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

We ventured into the Arches area today. The temperature here has a high of 98 degrees, so we left the trailer at 8 AM to start some hikes. There were some interesting places to see and all of them required some hiking. We saw Balanced Rock, North and South Windows, Double Arch, Delicate Arch, and Sand Dune Arch. Delicate Arch is the arch on the Utah license plate. Double Arch is where we took the picture above. It was a fun area to walk around and climb. Our paperwork said Sand Dune Arch is loved by the kids, so we knew we had to go there. That was our last stop in the park. They were right, the kids really liked it. You walk in a ways and there is a lot of sand. There is also an arch in an area where you can stop and rest. The kids took off their shoes and socks and ran wild for a little bit. It was also in a shaded area, so it cooled us all off. We stopped by the visitor's center and the kids did the workbook to become a Junior Ranger at this park too. This park had lots of lizards, so they enjoyed watching them. We came back to the camper and had a relaxing afternoon. We went swimming for a bit too. Matt has met two kids from Amsterdam that he has been able to do a little with. They are 15 and 18. It gives him some teenage conversation and fun. We leave for Bryce tomorrow. Our Bryce is excited for that. We tell him they named the Canyon after him! : ) It has been a fun trip. We have seen lots, but I think most of us are ready to get home to our own beds, showers and friends.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Back in Utah

Well we left Utah on June 25th and entered back into the state today. We still have more places to go, but it was nice to think we were back in our home state. We are in Moab for two nights now. We want to go to the arches tomorrow. There are a couple of things I have forgotten to write about so I wanted to add those in now. The little kids have their birthday on July 16th. We decided to do a birthday party with grandpa, grandma and Carol. Each of the kids made their own birthday cake with the help of grandma. They turned out beautiful and tasty. They are excited because we have decided to have three birthday parties. One in Rifle that we just had, then one on the 16th in Bryce Canyon, then one in Hurricane with friends when we return. Matt's ankle is doing lots better. He is walking around almost normal. It will be a week or more before we think he should run again, but he is taking good care to ice it lots. One more crazy thing we did - you know Darin and Bryce like to have real short hair. Bryce keeps asking me to shave his head. Well I was decided yesterday was a good day to try it. He likes it, but I did not really care for the shave cream and razor idea. It scared me and I thought I was going to cut him. Everyone likes to give his head a rub and he is a good sport about it. Now he really looks like Lance, Jess!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Saturday and Sunday - Just relaxing!

Saturday we just hung out in Rifle and then went to the movie. The kids had all wanted to see Ice Age 3, so we went to that one. It was a cute movie. Sunday we went to church with Grandma and Carol. It was nice being a visitor again. Not many more of those though before we get put back to work in our home ward. It has been nice relaxing at with my parents and not being on the go. We leave tomorrow for Moab. A week from today we will be home. So any of you that may miss us, not much time left before you see us! The kids have not seen the Arches, and I think they will like them.

Broken or Just Sprained?

Friday we went on a hike to a local cave/waterfall area called Rifle Falls. It was a great hike. We went just before lunch and the weather was great. We knew it was just a short hike, but the kids have a lot of fun exploring some of the caves. Matt was being a boy and was running and jumping over rocks when he completely misjudged a rock and came down hard. He grabbed his ankle and started rolling around just nearing the crying point. Darin went to pull the car closer to us and found someone to help him carry Matt to the car. Side note, the guy he found was a young man going to UVU in Orem on a javelin scholarship. They carried him back to the car and we called the insurance so we could decide what we were allowed to do for him and not be charged an arm and an ankle. : ) Well, we went to the Instacare that evening for an x-ray. It came back with a little chip and we were told the snap that we all heard could have been his ligament. They said he would be off it for a while and it may be two weeks before he can run. He is glad it is not broken since Cross-Country starts in about four weeks. That pretty much was our day. Rifle Falls and the doctor took up most of it.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Rifle, Colorado and Our Truck

After the long day yesterday, we decided to sleep in a bit. We are at my parents' home now and plan on staying here until Monday when we leave for Moab. First thing this morning we got a call from the Ford Dealer. They can't find anything wrong with our truck. They tested it over and over, drove it a bit and still nothing. I guess it really did just need a rest. Going so long and trying to climb such a high mountain was not in it's plans yesterday! Darin and Matthew went the 120 miles back to get the truck. It was pretty much a relaxing day. Time to catch up on the blogs, play with grasshoppers, and take a nap. Tomorrow we have a plan of going on a run and going to a waterfall/cave area grandma and the kids like to go to. Hope all of you are having a great summer!

Wednesday's Travels

We left Douglas this morning for a 400 mile long day. We figured we could make it to Rifle, Colorado to my parents' home by about 4:00 that afternoon. We were doing great and making good time. We cruised through Wyoming. It was good to see all the antelope and rabbits. Time for reminiscing since I grew up there. We continued south until we got to Denver then went west for Rifle. Denver is about 5280 feet, thus the name Mile High City, and we had to go over a mountain pass that was almost 11,000 feet. I guess the truck was getting pretty tired because it made some serious clanking noise and then lost power. We pulled over to the side of the road. If any of you know the road we were about a mile from the top just about to go through Eisenhower Tunnel. Our check engine light came on so we called the tow truck. They gave us an estimated arrival time of one hour. Well about two hours and a bit more later he pulled up. He towed us about 20 minutes away to a Ford Dealer. My mom picked us up there about 8:30 and we were to her house by 10:30 that night. So much for a early arrival to grandpa and grandma's!

Leaving South Dakota

Well it was time to leave South Dakota on Tuesday, July 7th, so we packed up and headed straight south to Hot Springs, South Dakota for a small stop. We had read about the Mammoth Site in the area so we decided to stop. It was an amazing place. Several years ago someone was preparing the spot for a housing development and scraped a tusk of a mammoth. They stopped preparing the land for houses and built a building over it and now have a huge site. It was a neat tour and very interesting tour and setup inside. We allowed the kids to get a souvenir from here and two of them selected a dirt cube that has mammoth bones inside it that you dig out and then glue together. My little Britton in liking this paleontology work. I told them they could be whatever they wanted to be as long as they lived by me when they grew up. : ) He can work in St. George at the dinosaur place there! After our stop there we got on the road again and headed south some more. This part of the trip took it through the state of Nebraska. We went through the top corner by Chadron, then headed straight west to Wyoming. Very flat and landscape boring drive. Not many animals or houses in the area. We got to Douglas, Wyoming that afternoon for our stop. We did the swimming and playground thing for a while. It was a good stop. We also learned a new game called Blongoball or Ladder Golf whatever you want to call it. Google it and you may get some other name. It was better than playing horseshoes with Darin and getting beat over and over. Well, kind of, he still beat us every time but it was a different game. We will see about playing that at our next party.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Evans Plunge

Well I guess there is only so much history and walking you can make 6 year olds do, so Darin and I decided to treat them to some kid fun today. It was a place we knew all four kids would enjoy without any complaining. We went to an indoor water park. It had a few hydro tubes, a swimming area, Tarzan rings, and a lap pool. It was a lot of fun. Brooke almost cried when I made her go down the tube by herself, but then she wanted to keep doing that by herself. Bryce and Britton got real brave and followed Matt to the steep tube that even I didn't care to go on. They thought it was fun though. I guess I am getting old. :) Matt tried to get across the Tarzan rings, but could only go a few rings. He got farther than many, but we did see a few make it across the pool. It was a fun few hours and a good change from the many things we have been doing. This pretty much rounds out our days in South Dakota. We will be leaving tomorrow and staying in Wyoming. By the way tomorrow is our two week mark. It has sure been a fun trip, but we have some more to see!

Mt. Rushmore and Jewell Cave

The Internet is not available from our camp site this time, so I had to make the walk to the front office to the game/book area to write tonight. Yesterday, Sunday, was a good day. Finding a church in South Dakota is not like finding one in Utah, on every other corner, so we had to skip church. We did our best to make it a calmer day and rested a bit. Well you know me, I rested more than the rest since we drove a bit. Good thing I trust my driver. I make sure he has his directions and away we go. We started our morning by going to Mt. Rushmore. It was an amazing place. We walked part of the trails and read lots of history. We watched a few video clips about the area and just stood and looked at the mountain. It is amazing to see how they made the men and the equipment and work that went into constructing it. I am glad they listened to their math teacher because there is some serious geometry in that monument. : ) The kids all liked it and even told me some stories about George Washington that I did not know! It was a good morning walk.
That afternoon we had made some reservations to walk through Jewell Cave. It is about 20 minutes from us and is the second longest cave in the world. It was a real neat cave. It was actually quite different from the Meramac Caves we visited in Missouri last year. Now that I understand caves a bit they are different because of the moisture. Missouri is much wetter than South Dakota. It was a fun experience though. One of the funny parts about the cave is the discovery of it. Two brothers were riding their horses by it and they saw the a hole in the mountain. The older brother attached a rope to the younger one and dropped him in. He went in quite a ways then he pulled him back out. Just a funny thought though as I thought about Bryce making Britton go into the cave to see if it was okay for him to go in. The National Parks have a program where the kids can become a Junior Ranger. I decided to let them do the program at this cave. They had to do some writing and reading and then answer some questions by the Park Rangers. They are now official Junior Rangers. They really liked the cave and learning about it.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Custer, South Dakota and Flintstone Village

We started off our morning with a run. We found a real nice dirt trail that ran along the mountain for many miles. Darin and I ran 6 together then I stopped by the trailer to get Matt to run a few more. It was a neat run seeing some rabbits, a beaver, lots of birds and 6 deer on the path near us. It was a nice 12 mile run. At the end of our run we were talking to a couple who had kids playing at the playground. Come to find out they are originally from Utah and have ties to St. George. Small world! To help with our activities yesterday she said a friend of hers went to the fireworks at Mt. Rushmore and stayed in the rain for all those hours then left part way through the show because the clouds were so low the fireworks were not any good. That made Darin and I feel better.
After that we went on a drive to a cave in the area and made reservations to go to it tomorrow. We then came back to our campground. We are staying at the Flintstone Village RV Park. I stayed here as a kid and thought it was neat. It has an amusement type park so we hung out there part of the day and then walked around the town of Custer. We are watching the fireworks here in town from out RV park. They are supposed to be really good.
We hope all of you have had a great July 4th and remember the people who serve our country. Enjoy your barbecues and fireworks with family and friends!

Miles City to South Dakota!

Well things have been going so well for us, there was bound to be a problem! Ok, I am usually very optimistic, but this was crazy. Somewhere along our trip we read the fireworks were on July 3rd at Mt. Rushmore. That being the reason to be there a day early, we did not want to miss it. So I made some phone calls learned you had to be at the park by 12 to park in the garage and any later you would be walking and that could be up to 3 miles. Therefore, we left Miles City, Montana at 4:30 AM on the 3rd to make it. We arrived at our camp spot dropped the trailer and went to Mt. Rushmore. As we got to a certain point we started to see cars parking along the road. It didn't really hit too hard until we drove 1/2 mile more and then saw the sign that said 2 miles to the monument! Now we are in shape to walk, but 2 1/2 miles uphill in the pouring rain was not sounding too fun nor even possible with our three little ones. It was only 12:30 and the fireworks did not start until 9:30, that is IF they happened with all the rain. You had to carry in your food and put your chairs down in your spot, then stay with them until the show started. You were not allowed to leave your items unattended. Well after many moments of deciding what to do, we decided to keep our marriage in tacked and our kids from disowning us, so we opted to miss the fireworks.
With that as our plan, we had to switch our days around and make up something else to do. We decided to go to Reptile Gardens. We had the chance to watch an alligator show, a snake show, pet a few snakes, turtles and tortoises. It was fun and the kids really enjoyed it. Yes, they keep asking me for a snake as a pet, but I keep holding my ground. The vote is 1 to 5, but I have more authority! I told them all our friends would not come to our house, so please be on my side!
After 8 hours in the car, Reptile Gardens and battling four kids and two dogs, that was enough for the day. We played miniature golf at our campground and the kids played on the playground, but it was early to bed for us.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Custer's Last Stand

This morning we started off with a good run in the area. Running at an elevation of 4,000 ft is much easier than 7,000 ft! As many of you know Darin has a running schedule he has to stick to. He is on the "Couch Potato to 5K Program." Today I told him I was going to run 6 miles and he, in his little competetive mind, decided to run with me. It was actually nice having his company. We didn't talk much, but it was a good run. So for those of you who know his routine, yes he really did it and he changed his routine on his own! : ) After that we packed up and headed east a bit. We made a detour to the Custer Battle Field. It was a neat place. Lots of history there. There is still some controversy in the area with the white men and the indians. They have changed some things in the area even as recent as 2003. It was fun trying to explain this site to the kids. They enjoyed it though and Britton really caught on to some of the stories. He was retelling me some things and you can tell he understood. The weather did not cooperate too well with us at this site, so we did not stay long. It was a good stop for lunch and yes another sandwich. Brooke is already tired of them. : ) We then went 150 more miles to a small town called Miles City. We are staying here tonight and then getting up way early to go to South Dakota. We rented the kids some bike type things to try and wear out their little legs. Then after dinner they went swimming. We have a busy day ahead, so I sent them to bed early. We will hit two new states tomorrow so we can put those new stickers on the trailer map. We found out Mount Rushmore puts on its fireworks July 3rd, so we have to be there way early tomorrow. I will let you know Saturday how things go since we will get home mighty late tomorrow night. There are supposed to be thousands of people that go to the show, but it is also supposed to be one of the best. I hope so, I have looked forward to this part of the trip for a while! I really like fireworks. That could go back to my past and illegal activities, but I have repented so let's leave that in the past. : ) Well that's about all for tonight. I will keep you posted on our activities for tomorrow when I can.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Museum of the Rockies - Bozeman

What a fun stay we had in Yellowstone, but that too had to come to an end. We headed north to Bozeman, Montana where a wonderful museum is with lots of dinosaur stuff. Our kids love dinosaurs, so it was a must stop for us. Britton now wants to add paleontologist to his list of want to be when I grow up. The museum also had pirate treasures, Indian artifacts, wild west history, and lots of other stuff. It really was quite the place. We spent a couple hours there, then headed east to a small area called Big Timber. It is a nice KOA where we had plenty to do for the evening to keep us busy. We went swimming and I got my laps in for my cross-training while dodging the football that was coming at me or the three smaller people doing a cannonball or belly flop over me. Then we ate dinner and the campground host taught us how to pan for gold. Never know when you may need that talent. Darin decided he would just go to the jewelry store for Brooke's gold items. After that we had to try out the jumping pillow and the basketball court. I lost quick in pig to Matt and Darin, so I headed over to the pillow. It is a huge trampoline/bounce house put together. It was fun. As you can see from the picture I can jump! Ok, not really it is just the position of the camera because these legs have no jump in them. I guess that's good for now. I better get my rest, we have lots of miles to run and drive tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Yellowstone - Big Springs - Mesa Falls

Today was a bit less walking, but still lots of fun. We started by going to Big Springs where I used to go when we would come here to visit my grandparents. Yes that was long ago, even long before some of you were born! You can go there to feed the fish, but the mosquitoes had ideas of eating of their own so we did not stay long. Of course we left the insect repellent in the camper so we stopped to by some more and spend $10 on a small bottle. Tourists, we will buy anything. :) We then drove past grandma and grandpa's old cabin. They sold it a few years ago so we couldn't stop, but it brought back memories. (Sing it for me Jess.) Then we drove to Mesa Falls. That is always a neat place to go. Scary if you are like me and a bit afraid of heights, but always a neat place. I made sure we read the plaque about the history of my Great, Great Grandpa Hendricks too, so that added to the stop. We went through a room where the kids could feel all the types of furs of the animals in the area. They enjoyed that. That was our morning. We stopped by the trailer for lunch - mac and cheese, mom, not a sandwhich - just a joke for mom since we fed her those all last summer on the trip. That afternoon we went to the Bear and Wolf Discovery Center. We saw a few bears and wolves there and went through the educational part of it too. Can't take the teachers out of us. After that we went uptown to the Old Tyme Photo store. I love those old photos where we dress up. I was a great looking saloon girl with my outlaw boys and cowgirl. You will have to come by the house after our trip to see that picture. By now we were tired and it was time for dinner and a swim so we headed back to the trailer. It has been a fun visit here, but we head out tomorrow to begin our trek across the state of Montana. More tomorrow!

Yellowstone - Old Faithful

Well, the internet is sometimes not available everywhere and the mountains yesterday were not cooperating with me so I will catch you up on yesterday before I put in our activities for today. You would think my family was training for a race or something with all the walking we are doing!! Yesterday I think we walked about 5 miles. The kids did great too. We left the camper and headed for Old Faithful. We made a few stops before and walked around some geyser areas and mudpots. As long as I let the kids take pictures they were happy, so if anyone would like to have a copy of the 552 pictures we have let me know! :) We then went to the Old Faithful loop and walked around it. At the beginning of it a buffalo was resting right by the benches. We got lots of pictures of that then started to walk. It got up and headed for the path. I told the family we needed to continue to walk and hope it did not follow us. I can see how people get hurt by the animals in the park. Last week a man was mauled by a bear while on a hike in the woods. All the more reason for us to do laps around our campground on our morning runs. After the end of our walk we stopped and watched Old Faithful go off. During our wait the boys and I enjoyed watching a bug carry a catepillar into its hole then cover it up. Bryce of course wanted to cover it up with a big rock but Britton and I just kept taking pictures. Yes, those will be included on your free CD! That was about all for yesterday. I must add that one of my favorite spots was the geyser called West Triplet Geyser! Yes, it has some meaning to me!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Yellowstone - Grand Canyon of the Park and Mudpots

Well, after a nice visit in Idaho, we hooked up the trailer and headed north east for Yellowstone. Our campground this time is about five miles west of West Yellowstone. It is a nice place, but busy. We went minature golfing Saturday when we got here. Bryce and Britton showed us all up making a Hole in One on the 18th hole!!
Sunday morning we found a church and enjoyed being visitors in a ward! Then we went for a drive through part of Yellowstone. We saw some mud pots, the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, some hot water spots and lots of buffalo. It was great. I must add the favorite animal of the kids were the squirrels that were running around all over! I guess the 30 buffaloes, elk, and bald eagle were no big deal to them. :)
I will post a picture of the kids in the sulfur area. That may be one of my favorite parts. They were complaining about the smell so bad. "Who did that, was it you Matt?" was Bryce's comment. They really liked the bubbling mud, but one of their favorite parts was Dragon's Mouth Spring. It was a hole in the rocks with steam coming out that sounded like a dragon getting ready to blow fire at us. They loved it.
If you read my post about Cove Fort you will enjoy this part - Bryce and Britton keep telling Brooke and I we should pick up the buffalo or cow chips every time they see one - and that's lots! It was a fun day but plenty of walking. More for tomorrow though, so I better get the kids in bed! Enjoy the reading! :)

Visit to Idaho Falls

After our visit with our aunt, uncle and cousins in Northern Utah we headed to Idaho Falls. I was born there and still have family that live there. It was lots of fun. We stayed at a campground about 1/2 mile from the Temple which had a nice running loop around it that was useful a few days. Matt and Darin took a few runs around the loop and Saturday Matt and I did a 9 1/2 mile run in the area. It was a fun run.
We also had a chance to watch a few little cousins race BMX bikes. That was interesting, but fun. None of us have ever been to those types of races. We met up with a friend of mine from Wyoming that now lives in the Falls with his little family. It was great to see him. We also took the kids to a Drive In movie. We went to Transformers. Matt wanted to see it and we try to please all the kids. : ) We had the back of the Expedition all set up for five little kids to watch the movie since we still had my sister's kids. Only Darin and I had been to a drive in movie, so it was an experience. The movie started at 10 pm and all the kids were out by 11. Oh well, probably not the best movie for kids anyway.
It ended up being a great two days seeing lots of people and having great fun.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Oquirrh Temple Open House

On our way to Staci's house we decided to stop by the temple. "I love to see the Temple!" We talk about the temple with our kids, so we decided to take the opportunity to walk through the temple. There were 11 of us - including a 9 year old, three 6 year olds, a 5 year old and a 2 year old. I had a serious talk with them about reverence before we went in. They must have all felt the spirit because we and no problems. They loved the baptism font, the sealing room mirrors and of course the cookies in the reception tent! :) Now when we say things about the temple, they can understand it better. It sure helped when trying to explain things to Matthew.

Our Summer Trip Begins!!

We left for our 25 day long trip on Tuesday, June 23rd. We began with a stop at Cove Fort. We have passed by the spot for years and the kids have never seen it, so we decided to stop there. It was pretty interesting. We found out that Britton would have to fill the wood box, but Bryce would have to empty the potty pot each morning! Mom and Brooke would have to pick up Buffalo Chips for fires, so it was an enjoyable teasing moment!
That evening we stayed in Manti and went to the pageant. It was really neat. We met Grandma and Carol there who brought my two nieces and nephew from Washington State. We had lots of fun. We saw about four different groups of people from Hurricane. That was funny. We also met up with Gentry, who is the sister of my friend, Jessica. She is from Delta and had come over to watch the show. We all enjoyed the show and it sure strengthens the testimony seeing the reenactment of the Book of Mormon and Pioneers.