Wednesday, June 29, 2016

What Grandmother's Death Taught Them

Water balloons are always a backyard favorite.

Collin deemed this attire proper precautionary equipment when engaged in a backyard water balloon fight.  Can't blame the kid as the youngest of four boys!

The boys played apple baseball with neighbors.  There are probably many reasons to stop this, but those reasons seemed to pale in comparison with the joy I watched them experience by slicing fruit mid-air with a bat.

Tonight I was fussying with laundry and dishes.  All of a sudden a noise jerked me out of my busyness: silence.  It became so eerily quiet that I knew four boys could not be lurking around the home.  I searched the outside without any luck.

A neighbor pointed south and explained that the boys had traveled in a pack down the sidewalk in that direction.  I jumped on my bike to locate the crew.

Within minutes, I caught up with my boys.  They were perched on bikes and pushing scooters.  Shoes and shirts were optional.

I have a 13 year old, so I was less worried about their safety.  I was more frustrated with their lack of communication on their whereabouts.  This sentiment I shared with the boys.

Caleb retorted, "Mom, if Grandmother's death taught us anything it is that life is short.  So, we need to do wild things like walk around the neighborhood shirtless."

I tried to muffle my giggles.  If this is the wildest thing they ever do, my prayers have been answered!

I'm really hoping they've gleaned more lessons from Grandmother's death than running around the neighborhood sans shirt.

Grandmother taught (or modeled to) us:

-prioritizing faith,
-serving others,
-loving family,
-staying active, and
-living fully until the very end.

(And much more.)

I imagine one day, they'll remember their Great Grandmother and think about those things.  Better yet, I hope they live a life that reflects the legacy she modeled.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Family Vacation: Nevada/Arizona/Utah

Things to know about me:

1)  I love pictures.

2)  I love to travel.

If you are not fond of either, skip this blog post.

Two weeks ago, we embarked on a 12 day vacation to Nevada, Arizona, and Utah.  Our trip started in Vegas (where every child should go, right?).  On the first morning there, I ran along the Strip.  At 6 a.m. (still on Indiana time), the Las Vegas Strip is not teaming with runners.  Rather, I was jogging among a crowd that looked as if the evening before was still going strong. 

Our time in Vegas was short-lived.  Within hours of our arrival, we ventured into Arizona and visited the Hoover Dam.

The Hoover Dam was the first location in which I felt the need to watch a few "adventure-seeking" sons like a hawk.  It was not the place to try some of the stunts I've seen in our backyard, because...

this was the drop.

Next stop was the Grand Canyon.

No matter how many times you gaze over the rim, it never ceases to impress.

We ventured onto the only trail that appeared "kid-friendly": Bright Angel.

In total, the boys hiked about two miles down into the canyon (four miles total).  Enough of a hike to grasp the beauty of their surroundings, but not too much that we needed an air lift to return to the top.

All-smiles (amid dirty faces) to return to the top.

Another favorite: Horseshoe Bend.

From there, we ventured into Utah (no shoes required for admittance).

Our favorite National Park of the trip was Zion.

The boys' favorite moment of the trip: hiking the Narrows in Zion National Park.

The trail was mostly submerged under water.

Light rapids were part of the trail.

The whole experience made the boys giddy, and Chris and I had a ball watching them enjoy the water.

 From Zion, we traveled over to Bryce Canyon.

New vocabulary word learned on the trip: hoodoos.  They are a staple of Bryce National Park and another name for these rock pillars.

Despite close quarters, these two remained buddies on the trip.

We ventured into Bryce Canyon, all smiles.

The hoodoos provided a feast for the eyes.

Walking through a rock provided lots of entertainment.

Favorite part of Bryce: walking through Wall Street.

If our life in the burbs doesn't work out...

I don't even know what to say:)

This was the boys' first rodeo.

Although the rodeo itself provided lots of entertainment, the boys were more fascinated by the teen reality show being filmed in the bleachers and around the concession stands.  (I was fascinated too:))

From Bryce, we headed to Moab. A trip to Arches National Park was first on our list.

This one.  Our resident daredevil hiker/climber.

I watched him scale our hikes with a mixture of awe and fear.

The most iconic part of our trip: the Delicate Arch.

Boys had a blast climbing around the arch.

The last national park we visited was Canyonlands.  A must see was the Mesa Arch.

Caleb told me it was a straight drop behind them.  Something I really didn't need to know.

Canyonlands boasted this amazing scenery that was hard to leave.

Last stop was a visit to our friends the Parsons in Provo.  Our families stayed at this cozy cabin (friends' family cabin) near the Wasatch National Forest.

The kids rested achy hiking muscles in the hot tub.

We all explored the terrain on four wheels.

Although he'd like to be the driver, he enjoyed his time was a passenger.

We savored time with our friends hiking amid the 10,000 plus feet of elevation.

The elevation explains why the snow still covered parts of the ground.

 I savored time with my sweet Utah friend.

Last city to visit: Park City.  The kids adored watching the skiers train in a swimming pool.

Future olympic bobsled team?

First snowball fight ever without shoes and in shorts.

You're never too old to join the fun.

Last excursion: Provo Falls.

We miss the mountains already!