Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cause I'm over the top like that

brynn mom dad bryce

Brynn and I were BIG fans of the movie "Tangled." So obviously, we planned a little party with her friend for the day it came out on video. We braided and put flowers in her hair, wore purple, made lanterns, and watched it with plenty of treats and popcorn. FUN way to spend a morning! (By the way, the random words everywhere are Brynn's handy-work. She's been sitting next to me as I've blogged this and wanted a turn to type. And yes, I spelled out "Rapunzel" for her.)

brynn mom dad rapunzel

This last picture is a little blurry, but you can see the lanterns glowing better.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Unplugged at Apache Lake

Three days of camping instead of our usual two and it was heaven! The kids did great. We kept waiting for a I'm-either-going-to-pull-my-hair-out-or-pack-up-and-go-home-right-now moment, and never really had one. We left the TV, laptop, Leapster, etc. at home, no movies in the car, just our family and nature and it was beautiful! Reading Walden in a hammock in the mountains...ahhhhh.

We saw so many beautiful Cardinals right by our tent. Every time Brynn saw one, she would shoosh everyone so we could hear it sing.

Bryce holding on to his Percy flashlight in the dark tent. A. dorable.
Last year we decided to put the two kids in one bedroom and I am SOOO glad we did. Before then when we would travel, the kids would scream all night long and really struggle sleeping. Now that they are used to sleeping with each other, they can sleep just about anywhere as long as they have each other. The second night we were camping, we thought they had both fallen asleep in the tent and we turned off the lantern right outside the tent. I guess Bryce noticed, and started whimpering about the light, then in this really sad whiny voice he started saying, "Brynn? Brynn?" When we got back in the tent later to go to sleep we couldn't find Bryce anywhere in his bed. We looked over at Brynn and they had fallen asleep together holding hands. Moments like that make the constant refereeing of fights totally worth it.

Here we are roasting marshmallows. My faaaaavorite thing in the world. In this picture, it looks like we brought our whole house with us. Maybe we did over pack a little, but one problem in the past has been Bryce getting bored and whiny, so we brought what we thought would be good camping toys instead of relying totally on rocks and dirt. We were glad we brought the dump truck!
We lost Bryce a lot. :) Well, not LOST him, lost him. One of the times we found him on the far side of the tent gorging himself on cookies from the cooler. Sneaky little thing. Brilliant, really. What was not brilliant was when we went to the lake one day and left our food out. It reminded me of my first year at girl's camp when I won the "squirrel's best friend" award. We really contemplated staying a fourth day, but having to throw out some of our food and needing to be back for Jimmer Saturday evening clinched it.
Here's the lake! Another reason this trip was more successful than some. We really just had a lot more to do. Here we are skipping rocks. Brynn was really helpful and kept handing Marty these baseball-like rocks to skip. Thanks, Brynn. Remember how I'm such a great mom and forgot to bring swimsuits to the lake? Just makin' sure I remember that error for next time.
My parents gave us little raft we used when I was a kid.
It doesn't look like it in this picture, but this lake was actually really clear. This camping spot was had it's own unique beauty. When we pulled in I just about cried for missing the pine. But once I just accepted the fact that this is what we chose and to love it, I realized it really was beautiful. I usually think cacti are ugly and depressing, but in this landscape they really were pretty.
So we kind of decided that last year was the year of amazing travel opportunities (with our free airplane tickets and family living in really, like super-duper cool places). This year is the year of our National Parks Pass. We paid 80 bucks for it the day we went to Casa Grande National Monument and we want to see how much we can see and how cheap we can do it this year. So we drove out to Tonto National Monument and hiked up to see the caves.

They are well-preserved cliff dwellings which were occupied by the Salado Culture during the 13th, 14th, and early 15th centuries. The people farmed in the Salt River Valley and supplemented their diet by hunting and gathering native wildlife and plants. This was interesting to me because these caves housed a melting pot of cultures. Not just the Salado, but the Anasazi from the North (I grew up going to the Anasazi museum most summers in Boulder) and the Hohokam (who we just learned about last month).

The Roosevelt Dam. We were a little nervous driving through this area because I had NEVER seen so many police officers in my whole life. Evey turn out was roped off with caution tape and patroled, and there were policeman in boats every so often. We thought maybe the dam was about go or something! Turns out we just happened to visit during the one day Centennial celebration and they were flying in the governor.

Camping is a LOT of work, but sooooo worth it. I can't wait to go again! Someday I hope to have a surplus of camping supplies and just keep them all totally ready to go, so that Marty could come home from work Friday and we could just head out with less preparation. But that would require an investment and that defeats the purpose of our year of camping and close National Parks. :) Good spring break.

Friday, March 11, 2011

the first day of our new routine

Today was mostly out of needing something to do on a Friday. In the "spring" (in quotation marks because April and May feel more like summer than spring), we visit Schnepf Farms once or twice a week. We get there really early in the morning and enjoy quiet park and cool breeze.

We see the peacocks,

and the other animals. Here's Brynn with the "cuuuuuuute baby goat!!!!"

We didn't get around to picking peaches this time. Next time, though. I'm craving a peach smoothie.

Then this afternoon it wasn't super hot, but we were really bored. That's why, when I was trying to wait until as LATE as I could in the season, I gave in and we ran through the sprinklers. I made it until March 11th. Lame. Now that they remember playing in the water is an option: Hellooooo 3 a day baths, 3 a week bathtub scrubs, mud and grass all over the kitchen floor, muddy clothes all over the back porch, etc. For the UT friends and fam, it's akin to the mess that's left every day from kids playing out in the snow. Not that it's like you don't run through the sprinklers, maybe just not for 6 months strait. I grow weary of it quickly. What is WRONG with me today, Grumpy?

Swinging in the sprinklers
Hm. Guess he doesn't quite fit into the 2T swim trunks.


I suppose in celebration of our warm day I should make some chicken salad sandwiches....

It all started with a phone call...

Once upon a time, Princess Brynn's Daddy called her Mommy and said, "Get down to the library, quickly! There is a free show courtesy of the BYU Theater Ballet Company, and they are featuring princesses and inviting the little girls to wear princess dresses!"

Princess Brynn was given the royal treatment and was almost first in line. She met Prince Phillip and Princess Aurora...

Who was kind enough to point out Cinderella up on the stage.

Princess Brynn forgot her lessons in poise, screamed "CINDERELLA!!" at the top of her lungs, and clamored up on stage before her royal parents could even ask if it was ok (amidst a few good laughs from the ballerinas and participants).

Princess Brynn showed Cinderella some of her moves...

And Cinderella did the same.

While waiting for the show to start, Princess Brynn played "Duck, Duck, Goose" with her new BFFs.

Then it was show-time.

Brynn got some King-Princess bonding time...

and even the little Prince was enjoying himself.

Then it was time to wrap up with a few questions from the audience (like, "Are you a real ballerina?")...

and a few last hugs.

Thanks to the ballet company and to Marty's students for tipping us off, it was an afternoon to remember!!!