Saturday, October 29, 2016

Meet Omy

So, you might recall that our 2002 Honda Odyssey broke down during our move to Salt Lake.  The silver one, that is--it's important to clarify since we also own a gold 2002 Honda Odyssey.  Weird, I know, but hey, they're pretty great cars.  Generally reliable too, at least up until 250,000 miles.

After a brief test drive to make certain that our silver van was really dead (it was), we headed to CarMax and bought--you guessed it--another Odyssey.  Our white Omy (pronounced O-mee) was born in 2008, has just over 60,000 miles, and a sun roof.  I must say, our family feels pretty pampered traveling around in a vehicle that doesn't feel like it's about to fall to pieces at 60 mph.

While Jason and I were filling out paperwork, the kids played.  When it was time to pick them up, we couldn't find Brooklyn.

There she is!

To celebrate our new acquisition, we drove up Cottonwood Canyon for some hiking.

After hiking for less than five minutes, we spotted this big guy just a few feet off the trail.  This rattler was just as big as it looks, and in no hurry to scoot away.  Believe you me, we had no trouble convincing the kids to stay on the path after this encounter!

Fortunately, the mountain beauty quickly helped us forget our terror.

Eli sure looks happy!  Good thing too, since we came back the very next weekend for his birthday.  (More on that later.)

Jason looks like he's in his element.

Perfect moment.

On Sunday afternoon we took Omy out to Midway for another test drive and found the perfect park to get out and stretch our legs.

Eli flying high...

Talia hanging low...

...and Annika shuffling straight.

A reliable car, a wonderful family, amazing weather, and fun books to browse.
My Omy, life is good.

Monday, October 17, 2016

SLC Labor Day with NomiAnn and Papa Kay

Recipe for a Cranky Momma:
  • One computer glitch that deletes a nearly complete blogpost.
That's it. No other ingredients needed. It's a silly little thing to get grumpy about, but when spare moments are at a premium and you are trying to get caught up, the very last thing you want to discover is that you are actually falling farther behind.  Argh!

So anyway, please forgive me if my tone is a less than joyful, even when writing about a truly special weekend.  I am, after all, cranky.

Labor Day 2016 was wonderful.  NomiAnn and Papa Kay came from Omaha, and we all played tourist showing them around Salt Lake City.  Before their arrival, the kids and I made a list of possible things to do.  While never intended as an itinerary, before the visit was done, we'd checked off every item except one.  I'm sure by the time they got home, these enduring grandparents needed a vacation from their vacation.

Unsurprisingly, our very first outing included a visit to Jason's office and the main library.  Papa Kay took this picture in front of Harry Potter in honor of the big kids who were still at school.

Once school let out, we immediately headed to the Museum of Natural Curiosity at Thanksgiving Point for some serious play time.  Annika dove right into the fun.

Papa Kay looks like he has some big news for Brooklyn and Talia.

The grandparents were treating them to a full hour of high adventure!

Here's Talia venturing across a wobbly bridge.

Brooklyn's using some ropes to balance.

Can you spot her in this picture?  The ropes course is so high overhead that most museum guests forget it's even there.

Meanwhile, Annika flew an airplane...

...and turned her rubber boot into a bucket.
Eli was so mesmerized by the exhibits that he would periodically wander off from the group to explore more, sending all of the adults into a tizzy as we frantically searched for our missing boy.  Here he is composing on the coolest drumset I've ever encountered.

On Saturday morning, we headed downtown to watch Pete's Dragon at the Gateway.  The place was so quiet that we quite literally had the theater to ourselves.

Afterward, we headed to City Creek Center for some window shopping.  Brooklyn assured me that it's way more fun with grandma.

It was especially fun to people creature watch since there were hundreds dressed just as strangely as this family, thanks to the Salt Lake Comic Con.

On the way home, the kids were getting mighty grouchy in the car.  (Think: "She's breathing my air!")  A trip to Hatch Family Chocolates quickly transformed hangry into happy.  Papa Kay seems to be wishing his Diet Coke were a frozen hot chocolate.

Let me tell ya, it was worth every calorie, particularly when shared with a guy this handsome.

Fueled for more adventure, we then headed up Big Cottonwood Canyon for a hike to Bloods Lake.  Here are the menfolk, plus the shoulder-growth otherwise known as Annie.

Papa Kay seems mighty pleased that the Growth migrated into his arms.

As a Nebraskan, I'm still learning how the weather is much cooler once you get high into the mountains.

Yup, the barnacle is back.

Stopping to rest on a log.  While not many miles, this hike definitely has some major climbs, particularly on the way out.

With views like this, it's worth it.

Pausing for a snack on our private peninsula.

Despite the cold, Brooklyn still decided to go for a swim. 

Talia and Eli thought she was crazy--and rightly so.

Time to warm up!

Our Eli Jameson, right in the gap between little and big.

Bloods Lake, despite your morbid name, we will certainly be back.

Music and the Spoken Word
On Sunday, some of us headed to the conference center to listen to Music and the Spoken Word with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square.  It was magnificent!  I think Talia was a bit disgruntled to discover that the first time we sat through the program was just a run-through, but I personally was delighted to hear it all again and would be thrilled to do so every week.
Afterwards, we took a few pictures in front of the Salt Lake Temple.

Papa Kay and NomiAnn, your granddaughters are growing up! 

Today I was lamenting how Annika and Brooklyn will miss being in Primary together by two weeks.  Brooklyn then reminded me that by the time Annie is in Young Women, she will be in Relief Society.  (Insert shocked emoji face here.)  By the way, this is our church building on the U of U campus while our regular 4th and P building is being renovated.

Memory Grove.  Sunday afternoon, we went for a stroll through Memory Grove.

We even took a few pictures, both formal...

...and silly.

Then on Monday we headed to Red Butte Gardens for one of their free admission days.  The kids loved their fairy tale garden!  Little did you know Annika's actually in the belly of a snake here.

Here's the mouth...

...and a snake of average proportions.

They may be messy, but you can't help but love a sycamore tree.

The pollinators are the real heroes of the gardens.

Papa Kay with his grandson Eli.  Just a couple more months and Eli will get to share that title!

Always room for one more,  (No, no announcements, at least for the Wheeler family.)

Pretty idyllic background, Miss Brooklyn.

Goldilocks and the three Wheeler bears.

Hanging out with Papa Kay on a gila monster.

What's Daddy napping on...a newt?

Never seen a reindeer quite like this one.

A cross between Omaha's Lauritzen Gardens and Fontenelle Forest, Red Butte has plenty of trails as well.

With a surprise around every corner, it will be fun to back and explore some more.

Still eager for more playtime, we also headed to Liberty Park on Monday to swim and splash before the pool and water features closed for the season.  While the water was fun, Papa Kay's rocket balloons stole the show.

Good thing professors have plenty of hot air.

We even treated the kids to one ride at the mini-amusement park.  Annika certainly enjoyed flying!

Just half an inch shy of the bigger rides, Eli also enjoyed his plane.

Sorry, no pictures of Brooklyn and Talia flying through the air on the chair swing ride.  I was too busy praying they wouldn't die.  Luckily, everyone stayed in one piece and we all left happily hand in hand.

Being far too tired to cook dinner, we headed underground to Pie Pizzeria for some amazing pizza.

Talia's face pretty much sums up the pleasure.  I think this Wise Guy pizza with its fresh basil, cream cheese, and balsamic reduction may be the best pizza I've ever eaten.

On Tuesday morning, the big kids headed off to elementary school and Annika headed off to her first day of preschool at Central City Co-Op.  (A fancy name for the co-op another Mom and I are teaching.)  As you can guess, Papa Kay provided the nose.

Annika was so excited to finally wear her backpack to school.

When I picked Annie up, she was a bit confused and wanted to go to a "real" school now that she was done playing at her friends' house.  Luckily, she was easily appeased by the offer of lunch out with NomiAnn and Papa Kay.  Here we are dining at Trolley Square.

The food was good, but the views were even better.

Next time I think I'm going to order a kid's meal too.

While we didn't spend huge amounts of time at home over the Labor Day weekend, we did pause long enough to knit, read a good book, and enjoy our new couch.

Oh, we constructed giraffe enclosures too.

Annika demonstrated her skill on the swing... well as a strong work ethic as she helped Dad clean up berries.  (Did I just use Annika and work ethic in the same sentence?  Well waddayaknow.)

Never to be outdone, Talia can both knit and swing.

Gotta say, with gorgeous weather and some time to adapt, our cute little house is really growing on me.  NomiAnn and Papa Kay, it looks like it suits you well too.  Thanks so much for visiting us!

We love you!