So how do you move forward with P.M.L.(post-marathon life)? My recommendation is to enjoy a good soak in a hotel hot tub, then spend us as much time as possible with family.
Immediately following the race, our family headed north to Brigham City where my cousin Kappy had graciously invited us to a barbecue. Even though Kappy and I have kept up with each other a bit via our blogs, it was really great to have a chance to chat in person after many years. We enjoyed getting to know their sweet kids and learn more about her husband Derrek's experiences in Iraq with the National Guard. Too bad I forgot to snap a picture!
We did, however, get some fun photos when we continued on to Hyde Park for five days. Luckily for us, Aunt Christy was visiting from New York. We really miss the days when we lived across town from each other in Urbana, so this time together was special, particularly since Christy would soon be leaving to spend the summer in Paris. (Yup, we're all jealous.)
While in Hyde Park, Christy demonstrated her mad croquet skills.
But let's face it: as Susie, Christy and I are so aptly demonstrating here, croquet primarily involves standing around doing nothing.
Unless, of course, you are Talia, in which case it becomes a full contact sport.
A bit of coaching to avoid any bloody noses.
Eli checks out the croquet mallet...
...and then decides that it's much easier to simply put the ball where you want it to go. Game over!
And so, we moved on for some fun at the park. Double the fun with double the pushes!
One special evening we grilled hamburgers with family. From left to right we have: Susie, Jason, cousins Scott and Erin, and Charles.
Here's Christy by the canal behind the Wheeler home. The backyard feels strange since all of the willows have recently been cut down.
At least there are cute nephews to fill the empty space!
Proverbs 22:6 "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it." That's why we teach our little 'uns early to love New York. Thanks for the T-shirts Christy!
Looking forward to the future.
And here we are hiking in Green Canyon. While this canyon is generally brown and dry, it lived up to its name for us, thanks to all the recent rain.
Here's Jason handing out the goodies to the girls. Are we the only parents who unabashedly bribe our children to hike?
Stuck in the backpack, Eli has less choice about coming along, but seems to enjoy our trips nonetheless.
Grandma Susie looking great in her hat.
...and Brooklyn in Christy's hat. Nothin' like branding!
During our hike back, I was startled to run across a fairly large snake aggressively poised right in the middle of the road. Fortunately, I wasn't dangerously close and the snake eventually moved into the bushes. When my heart finally stopped racing, I got out the camera to take a picture--and noticed the rattle on its tail.
Here's Brooklyn showing how big the snake was,...
how thick it was,...
and how scared she felt to see it.
Little did Grandma Susie suspect that her thespian fright would soon be replaced with sincere terror. A little farther up the trail, Susie suddenly jumped after hearing another rattlesnake right underfoot. I didn't see the snake until it was already slithering away so I'm not exactly sure how close the snake was, but trust me, it was close. Here's a picture of the second snake's rattle, just in case you need proof.
Up until that moment, I'd been thinking how Green Canyon might be a nice place to camp. Since then, I've relinquished the place to the serpentine species. On the positive side, I didn't give up on camping completely. Shortly after returning back to St. George, we went camping with the family of Brooklyn's school friend Anna.
Despite multiple warnings about the "itch" (an allergic reaction to microscopic parasites found in shallow water), we headed to nearby Sand Hollow State Park. I had no idea we had sandy beaches and a beautiful body of water so close by!
Getting dinner together. Most of the primitive campsites didn't include water or a picnic table!
While our camping adventure was fun, we definitely had our hands full with seven kids six and under, including identical twelve-month old twin girls.
As you might imagine, no one slept particularly well between the multiple babies and large youth group directly next to our site. Even so, we enjoyed swimming and sailing the next day. The biggest challenge was keeping the kids all hydrated and sun-screened in the hundred degree weather. We tried our hardest, but Brooklyn still came away with heat stroke--poor thing!
But hey, good news. No one came down with the Itch.