Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Pine-Scented (Day 4)

Saturday was spent at Kevin's uncle's home in Flagstaff. First of all, Flagstaff is gorgeous all on its own. Then add to that Uncle Wayne's two-plus acres and we were in heaven. The kids ran around and were spoiled by Grandma and Grandpa Love. We had a whole day before Great-Grandma Love's birthday dinner at a nearby steak restaurant, so we headed for the hills.

Kevin's cousins have a couple of quads and a sandrail, so we followed them up a mountain in our RV and set up base in the middle of a bunch of trees and hills.

After the kids all had turns, I got to ride with Kevin in the sandrail. Even over the engine noise, I took in the amazing scenery and the scent of the pine trees and the cool air on my skin. I tried to soak up that cool air all I could knowing what I'd be going home to the next night. From the top of a high hill, we had a view of the loveliest meadow. Really, I don't get to see enough meadows in my day-to-day living.

Later, back at our campground, everyone got re-showered and dressed up a little bit to celebrate Kevin's grandma's 90th. It's not every day you have such an occasion to mark, so it was a memorable time.

Happy Birthday! Let's do it again next year!

Me & Kev in the sandrail
Little boy, big helmet
Windblown Bethie after her speedy ride
Cayna with Grandpa Lloyd on the quad
Joe and second-cousin Aaron on the quad

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Missed it by THAT much! (Day 3)

We had every intention of going to the Grand Canyon. Granted, it was going to be a sort of Griswold family drive-by, but since we were going to be in the "neighborhood", we couldn't miss showing our kids the canyon.

The main problem we ran into is: we're DORKS! We were just a tiny bit yonder from the actual Grand Canyon, happening instead upon Marble Canyon (sort of a lesser-known relative of Grand).

And, here we are, clueless:
At least we had the right river. It was the picturesque Coloraddy, alright.
We crossed on foot at the historic Navajo bridge. Truly an engineering feat, but not for the faint of heart (Kevin, I'm talking to you.) I think Kevin had himself in a panic that one of the children might inadvertently hurl himself or herself off the bridge to a muddy death below.

In reality, all that happened was that we walked across the canyon on a cool old bridge and listened to our offspring whine slightly about the heat and sunlight.
(Pedestrian bridge on the right, motor vehicle bridge on the left)

Back at the tourist bookstore, Kevin bought the book Cadillac Desert, to thoroughly depress himself on the topic of The American West and It's Disappearing Water. (This is his job, after all, as a civil engineer working for a firm that concerns itself with such things.)

And I, in my usual fashion, bought a book with a completely obscure topic, but I've been relishing the reading of it. Sunk Without a Sound - The Tragic Colorado River Honeymoon of Glen and Bessie Hyde. I'm enjoying the story (totally true, and took place in 1928) as well as the dose of river running information I'm gleaning.

Well, if you're going to mistakenly miss the Grand Canyon (not many people can miss a landmark of such great proportion) - you might as well do it right and at least get a good book out of it. However, now we not only have to go back to see the actual Grand Canyon, but thanks to the bit of history I learned at Marble Canyon, there are a handful of things I'd like to go back and see there, someday.

Not this trip, though. Off for Flagstaff!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Loves' RV Adventure, Day 2

Ah, smell the fresh national park air.

Before most childless couples have rolled out of their sleeping bags for a cup of coffee, we are dressed and moseying toward the tram stop for the first of our two planned hikes of the day.

In the days before our firstborn came along, Kevin and I spent a lovely outdoorsy weekend at a "no kids" bed and breakfast in Zion. We did a zillion hikes and had beer and the best pizza of my life in town afterwards. Things were different this trip. Four kids equals two hikes. Truthfully, they were as excited about the tram ride as being out in nature enjoying God's creation.

Here I am with my boys on the tram ride. I hadn't had a shower and was going on about three or four hours of sleep, so I consider the fact that I'm sitting upright quite heroic.
During the taking of this photo, odds are that I was listening to a fellow tourist's cool accent. Sure were a lot of European folks in Zion.

We chose our hikes from the "easy" list. Here we are on an uphill going to Weeping Rock and you can tell by our faces that it's not too strenuous (except for the one carrying the kid!) You can also tell by the shoes we're wearing that this isn't Everest.
Shots of John and then Bethanie at Weeping Rock. I won't explain all the geology. That would ruin it for you when you go.

Once we'd seen all we could see of a drippy cliff, we refueled with granola bars and trammed it over to the lodge to catch the trailhead to Emerald Pools. By this time, the sun was making the trail MUCH warmer, and we bribed the kids with ice cream at trails' end if they could refrain from whining and complaining. I think the cute little tree frogs we saw all along the way, plus the fact that Bethanie was captivated by the myriad of other people's shoe prints helped too.

I agree the frogs were cute, but the scenery also happened to be phenomenal.
Cayna held hands with Kevin in order to help her NOT whine and ask repeatedly, "When are we there?"
They did get their ice cream. Kevin and I each had an apple. John was covered in drippy, sloppy chocolate and vanilla. He even managed to get some on the back of his head and neck! How do they DO things like that?
Later, while John napped and I joined him, the kids and Kevin went to the river and played in the mud. A good time was had by all.

For dinner, I cooked my first-ever RV meal consisting of spaghetti and ground turkey (thanks to veteran RVer Sharon Anne for the advice to cook some meat ahead of time). Kevin bathed the kids, and then we walked around the campground with them in their pajamas until the stars came out. Oh, and ate popcorn. And avoided all the ants. And peeked in on other campers in their tents and RVs.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Loves' RV Adventure, Day 1

There are pros and cons with RV travel, as with everything. At two p.m., Wednesday, I was discovering both. PRO: You don't have to pack suitcases. CON: You have to carry three-hundred and ninety-three loads of clothing, food supplies, and toiletries into the RV in the million-degree heat.

Our fabulous and way-generous neighbors loaned us their RV for our end-of-summer excursion to Utah and Arizona, culminating in the Love family gathering for Kevin's grandma's 90th birthday.

Other pros and cons discovered our first day out:
PRO: You don't have to stop for bathroom visits.
CON: You have to budget your water if you aren't hooked up, and you are essentially carrying your poop around with you wherever you go. (I tried not to think about this.)

PRO: The kids have some extra freedom compared to being in the mini-van.
CON: Inertia. You can't just let 'em run wild.
SUPERCON: Husband has motion sickness unless he's driving, or unless the road is mega-straight. That means husband does most of the driving, and wife (me) does most of the childcare; inertia-watch; and snack prep. (I didn't drive the RV until Day 5 of our voyage.) I LOVE road trips, mainly because I LOVE to look at the scenery. Due to this SUPERCON, I missed much scenery. I decided that RV travel would be much easier when the children are old enough to make good decisions about when to stand up and when not to while the vehicle is in motion. But RV travel with teens would have a WHOLE different list of cons, I'm sure.

PRO: When you arrive at your destination, you pull up, plug in, and go to bed.
CON: RVs have thinner roofs than hotels. We heard EVERY rain drop of the four- to five- hour thunderstorm that struck Zion National Park the night of August 18th. Not to mention seeing every lightning flash through a dozen or so windows and four skylights.

Day 1 saw us reach our first destination, and that night afforded very little sleep. But we made it, and despite the yelling and grouchy parents which were a result-- Kevin suggested-- of having been in constant task mode for an entire day, we were glad to be on an adventure together away from home.

Kevin at the wheel, Teri at the camera
Hitting the road with In-n-Out Burger dinner
The kids invented a game: water bottle soccer. It involved volleying their bottles across the table at high rates of speed, resulting in numerous upsets, and occasional goals. Those suckers hurt when they careened off the table onto my feet, by the way.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

What else besides a new home?

Honestly, I have had blinders on to life outside settling into a new house. But there ARE other things going on. Of course there are. Even more important things than touch-up paint and trying to get the pool chemicals just right.

My friend's husband is out of work.
My goddaughter will need a new liver very shortly.
My brother and sister-in-law just welcomed an exchange student from Thailand.
My friend's husband has been coming to church! Lord, please keep working in his heart.
The first day of homeschool is fast approaching.
Babies are expected, medical tests awaited, father grieved, ankle sprained, baby hoped for, new puppy just brought home, scorpion stung, two year-old barfing, soccer registration, moved to Texas, husband in Afghanistan, planning a conference, starting a business, sending off a Kindergartener...  And many of those happenings are from within the last 48 hours.

I think I'll put down the paint brush.
Watch my daughters run around in their psychedelic socks.
Crack a joke with my older son.
Squeeze my younger son and tell him one more time: "You're just so stinkin' cute I want to EAT you!!!"
Give my husband a hug.
And pray.

Monday, August 16, 2010

A Place For Everything...

...And Everything in its Place

Two weeks now and the "settling in" projects are getting fewer and fewer. Still on the list: move the family room ceiling fan into the master bathroom and install our ceiling fan in the family room; install the dining room light fixture; arrange guest room and bathroom decor; touch-up paint upstairs and downstairs; finish hanging things in the school room; build bookshelves in loft; organize closets; hang curtains.

Saturday morning at just after 6:00 a.m., we opened up the garage and moved everything onto the driveway. We needed to organize in there and get the cars parked INside the garage instead of on the driveway. It's way too hot to park outside the garage. It took til almost lunchtime to finish that project. Once again, we are gleefully awaiting trash day to watch a bunch of junk get hauled away.

We have made use of Freecycle to give away half of our moving boxes. The other half went to the family who is moving into our old house (we happen to know them). Freecycle also helped us "place" our darling mice in a new and happy home. Turns out you're not supposed to gift pets on Freecycle, but before Kevin realized that, we had several interested parties.

The gargantuan TV that was in the loft went to a buyer off Craig's List, our giant mop bucket for the all-tile house we just moved out of went to a friend, and many many other items have made their way out of our home via Silver State Disposal. Cayna and Bethanie harvested crystals off the old and hideous chandelier from the rental and the carcass went into the trash.

Just yesterday, in addition to going to Mass, playing with slot cars, and a Band Hero session with the whole fam, we finished hanging things in the master bedroom, placing hooks in my makeshift "mudroom", and putting up new sconces in the living room. It's all coming together. It helps to have a husband who can do everything!

Now you know why I haven't been blogging. And why I'm tired. But now our house really feels like home. We even crammed some baby stuff in the attic. When you have things in the attic, you're really moved in.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Five Nights

We've had five nights in the new house. And we're loving it here. Even with a few minor problems like some pesky ants and two missing appliances (dishwasher and microwave - weigh in with your opinion on which of those is harder to live without), this is a wonderful home.

The recent days have been a flurry of unpacking, cleaning pet hair off everything, and trying to decide where to hang things.

I'd write more, but it's time to get ready for the day, and in addition I've just killed two ants crawling on my skin.