Saturday, October 30, 2010

Since You've Been Gone...

Jason, it's been twenty hours since you left to go camping with the 11 year-old Scouts.

Since you've been gone, I've:

- completely neglected our children so I could finish reading The Hunger Games. While I got Brooklyn to her Girl Scout Halloween party and Talia to the Sand Hollow "Boonanza," I served Mac 'n Cheese for dinner, let the kids stay up late watching a movie, and cut storytime short just so that I could finish my book.

Since you've been gone, I've been seriously punished for my neglect. I've:

- doubled as a pacifier for a cranky, teething one year-old with a missing binky.
- been roused every half-hour by a sick 3 year-old who needed help wiping thanks to awful diarrhea.
- been woken once again by this sound of this same 3 year-old retching. (I still feel guilty for practically shoving her off our bed in an effort to protect our brand-new mattress. The mattress was saved, but unfortunately a pillow, our bedspread, some clothes, and the carpet were not so lucky.)
- come downstairs and discovered a thousand ants crawling all over our kitchen table because I didn't clear the dishes. (Thanks to Susie Squirt for arming me well in the ensuing massacre.)
- wiped more bottoms and helped my poor daughter with yet more throw-up.
- battled with this same poor daughter for nearly an hour, begging her to take the antibiotic for her ear infection. I lost the battle. (Can't really blame her for not wanting it, especially if it's what's making her sick. Still, the first antibiotic was ineffective, and we're desperate to help her get better! )
- opened the girls' bedroom door, and discovered this. Fortunately no one was hurt, but we're waiting for you to help right the damage.

Gotta go, because Eli's blubbering and Talia's calling once again from the bathroom: "I'm doooone." Wish you were here!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Remembering the Rosy

It must be the nature of family blogging that we emphasize the happy, rosy moments and gloss over the yucky, mundane ones. After all, who really wants to listen to you whine?

And so, while this post will feature our fabulous Snow Canyon campout last Friday, please rest assured that life isn't always this idyllic in the Wheeler world. Lately we've spent much more time battling fevers and sore throats than roasting marshmallows over an open fire. Brooklyn missed three days of school last week, Talia followed suit yesterday, and this afternoon I was so wiped out by body aches that I wanted to compose my own obituary.

Good thing we have pictures to remind us of the happier moments...

I never thought we'd have such an amazing place to camp just fifteen minutes from our home. (25 minutes if Jason's taking a shortcut.) :)

Takin' Eli for a ride.

"That's why they call me Golden Brown."

Many, many thanks to NomiAnn and Papa Kay for finding this Burley bike trailer on Craigslist and shipping it all the way out here. Eli and I both think it's the best birthday present ever!

Fun at the sand dunes.

If you look closely at this next picture, you'll notice that Eli's actually free falling. Fortunately, the sand makes for a pretty soft landing.

Talia picked out her own ensemble--jeans and her favorite skort.

Our proud creative chef.

I'd add a bit more explanation, but my sick body is aching for sleep. Lucky for me, Jason's fantastic photography tells the story all on its own. If you think of it, send my dear hubby a quick prayer in the hopes that he can avoid this nasty bug. He's got a really busy week between work, caring for a dysfunctional wife, and being the great Dad that he always is. It would help if at least one of us could stay healthy. :)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Perfect Columbus Day

Monday was the perfect day, if such a thing possibly exists. Jason had work off for Columbus Day--bank holidays are a great perk when working for a non-profit organization. As soon as the sun came up, he dropped me off at the top of Snow Canyon and went home to shuttle Brooklyn off to school, drop Talia off at preschool, and volunteer in the Spanish kindergarten classroom. Meanwhile, I broke in a new pair of Asics by running ten miles home. The stretch through the canyon was so stunningly beautiful that despite the effort of running, my soul was lifted.

Mid-day was spent getting organized at home, running errands, and supervising the lunchtime Mileage Club at the elementary school. (The PTA has our family quite busy lately, but that's another story for another day.) The moment school let out, however, we grabbed Brooklyn and took a 25 minute drive to nearby Gunlock.

At first we headed for a tiny and lesser-known pool nestled off a back-road in the mountainside.

Gorgeous from a distance, but when we got close, we discovered that this gem is sadly not obscure enough. Most of the waterfront was marred with tons of broken glass and trash. On the positive side, it illustrated a lesson that my children won't soon forget: the selfish and destructive consequences of littering. Truth to be told, even if the place had been well-cared for, we probably wouldn't have stayed terribly long. This pond was MUDDY! I'm all about sensory experiences, but feeling your feet sink into this goop was a bit much. Eli refused to get even close to it.

Always a Mama's Boy.

Not surprisingly, Brooklyn still had fun.

Talia was a bit more subdued in the muck, so we decided to move on.

Here we are exploring the dam at Gunlock Reservoir.

The only people around, it felt slightly eerie and lonely to be isolated in this powerful landscape.

Jason phrased it perfectly when he said that the mountains felt prehistoric. You half-expected to see a brontosaurus (oh, excuse me, apatosaurus*) come crashing through the brush.
*Wikipedia just informed me that the term brontosaurus is now considered a "popular but obsolete synonym." At the ripe old age of 30-something, isn't my vocabulary quaint? Good thing I have kids to straighten me out...

Back to the prehistoric trees..

While we didn't see any dinosaurs, we did spot these interesting
Talia tracks--solid proof that her feet rarely touch the ground.

Pure energy in motion...

...with a splash of sass thrown in.

Meanwhile, Brooklyn diligently cared for the plants growing in her sandy garden.

Grandpa Charles would have been proud.

Jason made amends for skipping the mud at our prior swimming hole by braving the cold (and algae-abundant) water.


I, on the other hand, managed to simultaneously get in the water and stay completely dry.

Of course, I had a job to do on the picnic table: protect the chips from tiny snitching Talia fingers.

Eli absorbed the fun quite contentedly from the comfort of his stroller.

As the sun started to set, however, we knew it was time to head back and fix dinner.

Grilled hamburgers beneath a flaming sunset. Life doesn't get much better.

Truly, the perfect ending to a perfect day.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

It's Always Fun When (Fill-in-the-Blank) Comes

When I began uploading pictures for this post many weeks ago, I intended to title it, "It's Always Fun when Grandma Comes" in honor of Susie's visit in mid-September. Since then, however, we've had fabulous visits from other friends and family, so we'll share the glory with all who've generously stopped by. We're excited to live in an area that many consider to be a destination hot spot (no pun intended), so anytime you want to check out the red rock, head our way!

Without further ado, here's a photo journey of our trip to Zion National Park with Susie. Here's Grandma with a grand smile, riding the shuttle.

This winning smile has spread through the generations.

We had a splashingly fun time hiking right through the middle of the Virgin River.

Of course, we had to trek to the river's edge first. Not a cloud in the sky, but tut, tut, looks like rain!

We also battled the most brazen squirrels imagineable. These pesky critters jumped right on top of our backpacks in search of snacks.

Whatcha got in your hand? Can I have some?

We probably seemed a bit overprotective having our girls in life jackets while blazing our way through the shallow waters of the Narrows, but Talia stepped out into the faster moving current last time and nearly got swept away. She felt much safer with a life vest, and I felt much calmer.

Brooklyn, on the other hand, lost her enthusiasm after a while. While she initially dived right in, yelling "I'm Bruce!" in memory of his polar plunge, the frigid water eventually took the fun away.

Safe and snug on Daddy's back, Eli had the easiest voyage of all--even if it did leave him tuckered out.

Not long after Susie's stay, we enjoyed a great visit from our Rhode Island friends James and Laura. Best of all, they brought their vibrant son Baxter. While we had a fantastic time exploring the sand dunes of Snow Canyon, sand and cameras don't mix. So, here's a fun picture of Baxter playing the guitar with James. I tell you, this kid is gonna be famous someday. Of course, what else would expect from a two year-old who knows Jimi Hendrix by name?

And, if visits from Grandma are fun, visits from Grandpa are likewise great.

Charles came down with Susie for General Conference weekend. Listening to the Saturday afternoon session from the serenity of Pine Valley was terrific. I hope the tradition continues. Here's Susie, pointing Eli toward heaven--or is it vice versa?

A quick pic of my dashing darling.

He must get the good looks from his Dad.

I'm not sure Talia gleaned much from the conference talks, but the Nutella certainly stuck with her.


Man shall not live by bread alone--but it sure is divine when you can combine your spiritual feast with an earthly one.

Sassy yet sweet.

Father and Son.

Yes, it's always fun when fill-in-the-blank comes.