Friday, July 20, 2012

It's Hard to Keep Up When You're Having Such Fun

Blog? Blog? What's a blog?

It's so hard to keep up when you're having such fun!

Most of these pictures are from the fun week we spent up north in Hyde Park, UT over the Fourth of July. Of course, in the time it's taken me to actually post these photos, the fun has just continued. A couple days ago, an RV pulled up with my Great-Grandpa John Wells, his wife Elaine, and my cute teenage cousins, Katelyn, Kathryn, and Jeanette. They traveled all the way from Long Island, NY just to spend the afternoon making playdough cupcakes with the kids. While our visit was short, we really enjoyed the chance to catch up. Just as lovely, Grandma Susie made the trek south to spoil the grandkids with even more love and attention. At the moment, she and Jason are watching "Hairspray" with the girls at Tuacahn's lovely outdoor amphitheater. And the fun goes on!

So without further delay, our Hyde Park Summer Vacation:

Tony Grove Lake.
Stunningly beautiful. And surprisingly, the water wasn't quite as cold as expected. (Not that I actually got in...)
Eli makes a canine friend.
Eli once more, in the lap of his favorite Grandpa Charles.
Talia climbs a rock to dry off.
Stylish with her new haircut. She says she looks like a schoolgirl, and I have to agree. Oh-so-grown-up!
Talia, Grandpa Charles, and Eli pause on a log before our hike around the rest of the lake.
It's important to stay hydrated, right Eli?
And here's Brooklyn hiking.
It's not hard to imagine the day when she'll be the bride donning the white dress. (Sigh and a tear in my eye.)
Our next day's adventure, the American West Heritage Center. Here's Eli, pretending to be the original Almanzo Wilder, Farmer Boy.
Talia helps with the milking.
Brooklyn's turn!
Brooklyn checks out the lazy pigs...
...while Eli lends a hand of the washing.
Time to put those towels through the ringer. Good work, Talia!
Of course, Talia was naturally drawn to the petting zoo. Here she is with the donkey she lovingly forgave for nibbling her finger. She told me that he felt bad and promised he wouldn't do it again.
Talia scratches a goat...
...while Brooklyn steps in for a closer examination of the donkey. Good thing she doesn't resemble him as closely as she does her baby doll!
Grandma Susie, riding the train with her stylish purple umbrella. Perfect for a blazing hot afternoon.
Checking out the teepee.
Taking a look around inside.
Brooklyn breaks for a pony ride. The girls are becoming quite the experts.
Even Eli got a turn this time around. Giddyap!
Talia and Brooklyn take a break to mine some gold. The cool water felt lovely!
Better yet, the kids found enough nuggets to trade in for some chocolate at the mercantile. Nom nom nom! The trip was a resounding success.
We celebrated the Fourth of July with a family picnic and Freedom Fire spectacular. Jason's cousin Erin was kind enough to host of all. Here she is, pictured with her mother, Nancy, and uncle, Charles.
Erin's husband Scott, the master of the grill.
Jason and Eli, thoroughly enjoying their hot dogs.
Brooklyn and Talia, likewise loving the experience.
Uncle Mark, caught mid-chomp.
And cousin Jeff, tossing a frisbee. Perhaps he can bring a disc with him when he departs soon for his mission in Mexico.
Jason would have loved to linger longer to play frisbee with Jeff, but we hurried to the stadium instead so we could hear Grandma Susie sing with the American Festival Chorus. While Kansas was the main act of the evening, the chorus was just as outstanding. Of course in the end, the fireworks ultimately stole the show. Just as it should be for the Fourth of July. Happy Birthday, America.

Back in Hyde Park, here are the Wheeler Munchkins playing at Lions Park. Isn't this slide nifty? I love how it's built into the hill instead of requiring a rickety ladder.
Brooklyn monkeys around.
And the mastermind behind the project, Grandpa Charles. During his many years of service on city council, Charles played a critical role in the development of Lions Park. While an enormous amount of work, the result is really beautiful.
Of course, here we are on a different exploration. What's so exciting, Talia Lily?
We're off for a hike in High Creek Canyon. While Eli prefers to walk by himself nowadays, he gets so distracted that it's much faster to give him a lift. Fortunately, a snack bag kept him quite satisfied aloft his perch. Hopefully Grandpa Charles eventually got all the Golden Grahams out of his hair...
Admiring the crystal clear stream.
Ah, the beauty of water.
Few wonders are as enticing as a rickety bridge. Grandpa Charles popped below and played a marvelous troll for the reenactment of the Three Billy Goats Gruff.
Pausing for a family photo. Jason must have missed the memo about red...
Grandpa Charles and Grandma Susie with the grandkids.
So silly!
And the dusty road home. I love this picture!
Talia tripped and landed face first in the dust. Jason immediately pointed out her resemblance to Parzival's Feirefiz. Dirty or not, Talia's always got spunk...
And still the adventure continued. While the rest of the family stayed in Hyde Park, Brooklyn ventured off for two days of Girl Scout Camp at Camp Cloud Rim. High above Park City, the camp is nestled by a lake in the midst of aspen groves. You couldn't ask for a more beautiful setting.
Checking in with one of her counselors, Ela.
Posing by the lake where Brooklyn would canoe, but not swim. Apparently Brooklyn declined to get in the water after some older girls explained about the fish who nibble the dead skin off your feet.
Even so, Brooklyn had a lovely time. Here she is setting up her sleeping bag on her cot. I'm sure I missed her much more than she missed me.
And Brooklyn's cabin, the Eleanor Roosevelt. The facilities were so nice that next year I may check myself into camp. A far cry from the musty, spider-infested platform tents that I remember from my childhood. Even so, it's neat to pass on the tradition of camp to yet another generation.
More Fun at the Park. Lest ye fear, we still had plenty of fun while Brooklyn was off at camp. Here's Susie swinging at one of our last trips to the park. How many grandmas can do that?
Jason and Eli building a sandcastle. Eli's such a ham: I don't know if we'll ever get another normal smile out of this kid.
All too soon, it was time to head home. We stopped off in Salt Lake on the way so that Talia could celebrate her graduation from Upstart, a free online preschool program. Here she is with Rusty and Rosy, the preschool superstars. If you live in Utah and have a child getting ready for kindergarten, I highly recommend the program.
Back in St. George, here are my little cousins, all the way from New York. So when did they get so big? I know, I know, they're gorgeous. Boys, hands off anyway. :)
Here are Kathryn and Jeanette exploring the top of Pioneer Park.
Elaine likewise came exploring. Meanwhile, Grandpa Wells stayed behind to finalize their plans for Vegas.
Jason gladly brought our rope and harnesses, getting Katelyn all set up. What a natural!
Jeanette bravely lowered herself down as well, even staying calm when her hair got caught, despite being pulled back. Good thing she's such a feather-weight--Jason was easily able to pull her up for the rescue.
Another shot of Jeanette. "D" is for Dixie...or Daring...
Kathryn was content to keep her feet on firm ground, having recently satisfied all her rappelling desires in Costa Rica. Even so, I think the girls all had fun together. I know that my children were delighted to play with their "cousins" and are counting down the days until they get to see them again in New York.

Last but not least, here are a few photos of our fun with Grandma Susie. Susie's been immensely helpful in managing our day to day routine: shuttling kids to swim lessons, Girl Scouts, doctor appointments, even helping us get our car into the shop. Still, we've managed to squeeze in quite a bit of fun, whether bumper boats at Fiesta Fun, ice cream at Marv's, or just painting our nails at home.
Love the color!
Talia shows that painting nails is serious business.
Naturally Eli didn't want to be left out of the fun.
Painting nails--yet another illustration of all the things that grandmas do best. Which reminds me of a funny story--Talia was positively flabbergasted last night that I made the ranchero casserole. In her mind, it was so tasty that she thought it absolutely had to be Grandma Susie's cooking. Of course, it was Susie's recipe, so she wasn't far off...
Thanks to everyone for your lovely visits and lovely hospitality. Summer vacation may be fine on its own, but becomes great only when you share it with family and friends.


Anonymous said...

Kara McCall,
What a terrific collection of photos. Thank you! What beautiful people and scenery! Your children are so fortunate to experience so many wholesome activities under the happy guidance of loving relatives.

It is difficult to realize Brooklyn is now old enough to enjoy a brief summer camp. The nice Eleanor Roosevelt cabin reminds me of a quote attributed to that terrific lady, "Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product."

Tanja said...

Thank you for posting!!! Funny - I watched the movie Hairspray twice last weekend. I did it Friday eve by myself and my friend wanted to watch it on Saturday night too - so I watched it twice :) :) :)

Julie L said...

Oh so fun! Was hoping to find a minute to pop in on you Sunday, but it sounds like you've been pretty well popped on. What a fun, fun summer for all of you. Keep those good times rolling, and thank you so much for all the awesome photos!

Anonymous said...

Wow! What beautiful pictures! And what adorable subjects - especially Susie on the swing! Ha!!And your shotsof your beautiful lake really gave me nostalgic feelings! Also, it looks like Charles has finished his fabulous park! Still think they should have named it after him! Thanks for sharing!
Love ya' - Mom

Kara said...

Thanks for all the kind comments, everyone. Aunt Julie, if you'd like to pop in on Sunday, we'd surely love to see you! We'll be in church until noon, but should be home for the rest of the day after. :)

Crys said...

Wow summer camp! How did you do it. Captain E went off to day camp this year. I was out of my mind with worry. Of course he had a blast. I think if he was gone overnight I would have died...YIKES! Hello helicopter mom! The kids are adorable! I can't believe how old they are getting. Adorable and biter sweet all rolled up in one!

makinzee said...

Looked at the pic of all of you in red and thought the same thing you did about Jason. And then read your comment! What fun you all had!