Sunday, December 29, 2013

Merry Christmas!

We, the Wheelers, hope everyone hung in there through the holidays and had a very merry Christmas!

So our holiday greetings are a bit apologies.  We have the most amazing excuse, though.  Check out this video:

Stay tuned to find out more about the world's best Christmas surprise. :)

Friday, December 20, 2013

Brooklyn's Birthday Bummer

I'm kind of having a lousy day. Can't complain though, especially considering Brooklyn's bummer of a birthday earlier this week.

It all started off so beautifully. When we picked Brooklyn up from school, our now nine year-old was all smiles, walking arm in arm with her sister and friend Claire.

By the way, have we shown you a photo of this munchkin recently?  All she wants for Christmas is her *three* front teeth!  (She lost yet another while eating an apple.)

Back to the birthday story, we took Brooklyn to the mall where this little cutie was waiting inside Claire's.

At long last, Brooklyn was going to get her ears pierced.  (Much to Brooklyn's chagrin, we actually let Talia be the first on this one--Tally got her first pair of earrings for her birthday last month.)

Despite the highly anticipated event, Brooklyn was a bit nervous--understandably.

Talia, on the other hand, was a great cheerleader and all-around distraction.

Before we knew it, the pain was gone and Brooklyn was all smiles.

With flashy new earrings, we continued our birthday celebration by heading downtown for ice skating at the outdoor rink by Con Agra.  The girls had been begging to skate and were so excited.

I was delighted as well since the bitterly cold weather had eased into a lovely crisp winter's eve lit by a full moon.

Watching my children and hubby happily skate, I recall marveling at the miracle of the moment.

Well, a moment is all it takes for everything to change. I slipped inside the tent to nurse Annika and was interrupted by a lady who told me that my daughter had most likely broken her arm.  Which one?  I asked.  The birthday girl, she replied.  I rushed outside to this heart-wrenching scene. 
Note: a bystander took these photos of the trauma and texted them to Jason because he thought we might want to have them.  Just don't want you to think I chose my camera over immediately embracing my baby.
One glance at the odd angle of my little girl's arm, and the paramedics were summoned.  She was loaded onto a stretcher.  Not every birthday girl gets her own personal ambulance ride!  Fortunately, they let me ride with her to the hospital.

Morphine was the top priority once we made it to the ER.  One Brooklyn was drugged, she felt well enough to open a few birthday presents.  The Kaya doll from NomiAnn and Papa Kay was just perfect for snuggling with in the hospital.  (I must say, their gift was a much better choice than the gift Jason and I planned--a session of swimming, basketball, or ice skating lessons. Sigh. )

As anticipated, they took some x-rays.  Talia was so worried that she wouldn't leave Brooklyn's side, even after we sent the rest home.

You don't have a medical degree to see this break! (A distal radial fracture, if you want to be more technical.)

Fortunately, they were able to set the bone.  We were a bit disappointed that they didn't have any colorful cast options, but grateful to be on our way home a few hours later.  Here's Brooklyn smiling once more the next morning.

That evening we enjoyed a birthday "redo" at the Pizza Machine since our previous birthday dinner plans were spoiled.  A broken arm didn't keep Brooklyn from braving the Frog Hopper.

Last but not least, we finally enjoyed Brooklyn's birthday cherry cheesecake.

Happy Birthday, Buttermilk!

Well Brooklyn, if nothing else, this will always be a birthday to remember. Thank you for being so brave and having such a good attitude through such a challenging experience.  I seriously thought my heart might rip as I watched you suffer--I would have given anything to take that away.  You are such a beautiful, inquisitive, intelligent, considerate nine year-old.  It's challenging to bridge the gap between young woman and child, but you are doing a remarkable job. 

I mentioned earlier that I was having a lousy day, but after taking some time to think and write about you, I'm feeling much lighter.  Thanks for brightening our lives, BMW.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

2013 Camping in Zion

A magazine on my computer desk features an article, "How to Avoid Perfection Paralysis." I haven't read the article yet, but I should. There are so many life events that I want to blog well that I'm not recording any of them because I don't have the time to produce something that matches my perfectionist standards. I seem to have forgotten that above all, this blog is our family photo journal. The most important thing is to simply write--quality can come after. And so, I beg your forgiveness if this next series of catch-up posts is a little less than, well, perfect.

So without further ado, here are the photos of our mid-October camping adventure in Zion. Since we planned this trip with Grandma Susie and Grandpa Charles months in advance, we probably should have tried to reserve a campsite in advance as well. With all the schools in Utah enjoying a long weekend, we were fortunate to snag the very last spot in Zion.

Our first evening there, we took the kids for a scooter/balance bike ride along the Pa'rus trail.  While cramming the scooters and bikes into the already overloaded minivan, I wondered if it was worth the effort to bring them along.

It was.
The fall colors in Zion were breathtaking.  I'm grateful that after the lengthy shutdown, the park was open once more.
Back in the campground, here's Talia Lily.

Hey look!  It's Grandma Susie with her super nifty pop-up tent.
Annika says, "Good morning!"
Grandpa Charles agrees.  The morning is beautiful, and just perfect for a hike.
Charles found this tip to an arrowhead just a few hundred feet up the trail.

Meanwhile, this group of Wheelers found some brilliant fall leaves.
Where'd they all go?

Here's Jason!
 I spy a Brooklyn too.
After several miles of hiking, we discovered some amazing vistas.
Of course, Eli might have been just as content to stay home and play in the sandbox.  Fortunately we had Grandma Susie to help encourage him (and others) along.
While the East rim trail continues for ten miles, we felt we had arrived once we reached this spot:

Beware the edge, Talia Lily!

It's a LONG way down!

A grand day to spend with your grandchildren.
Brooklyn, Eli, Grandma Susie, and Talia aboard their wooden mount.
Eli wishes this log would carry his tired feet back home.
Annika, on the other hand, had it made atop her Daddy's shoulders.
Don't laugh at me, I'm laughing at you!
A marvelous conclusion to a marvelous day.
Morning #2: Brooklyn and Talia invent a makeshift wheelchair using hiking sticks and a stroller.
Whether packing up to come or go, camping is great practice for moving a house.
I confess to shedding a few silent tears as we left Zion National Park.  I felt so wistfully nostalgic as I bid farewell to this place that has been such an integral part of our lives over the past few years.  Painful as it was to say goodbye, I feel even more grateful for all the opportunities we had to cherish the canyon.

Luckily for us, the day still had one more fantastic hike in store: Spring Creek Canyon near Kanarraville. 
This time we brought along a tiny monster.

Hold onto that hat, Annie Mae!  You're gonna need it in Nebraska.

Talia, our frog, hops across the creek.
Pausing for our picnic lunch.
Annika liked the fall leaves.
Baby Smile!

What do you see, Eli?
Very pretty.

Talia preferred the bugs.  Our fearless gal quickly grabbed the bug that the eleven year old boy scout wouldn't touch.

Family Photo.


Goofiest.  (And yes, Talia does have her finger up her nose.)

Pretty as these pictures are, they still don't capture how magnificent the canyon was that day.

In our opinion, the hike was every bit as neat as Zion.

Thanks for the memories, Grandpa Charles and Grandma Susie!  We sure miss you and look forward to camping again...once the weather gets warmer.