Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Also in April

 Mary and I attended a free class about proper nutrition during long bike rides. It was really informative and I took lots of notes for the 100 mile ride I had scheduled for May. Plus, it's always fun to hang out with Mare!
 The night we were at the class it started snowing (but wasn't sticking) and then the next morning we woke up to a winter wonderland! I usually hate snow in April but we hardly had any earlier in the winter so I didn't mind — we really needed it here in UT too.
 Snowy days make the children ecstatic, no matter when they happen!
 My big sis had major surgery during the end of my SG stay so I tried to help her out when I was back by taking Brigg while all the other kids were at school. It was pure fun to have these cuties at the Thanksgiving Point dinosaur museum with me one afternoon — they were hilarious and energetic and very entertaining.
 Any outing that ends in ice cream is a good one! Brigg talks to me about seeing dinos and getting ice cream with Luke almost every time I've seen him since. I'll for sure have to repeat once we get on a school schedule in the fall.
 Rode my farthest yet on a sunny Saturday with Joseph to prepare for my century. It was a hot, windy day which was fine for a few hours but really wore me out after about 45 miles. I was feeling really unsure about riding 100 a month later, but then we stopped and ate a subway sandwich and drank a huge fountain drink at the gas station and I felt so much better. I barely made it to 60 which I hit right by our house but it was a huge accomplishment for me!
 Looking sweaty and battered after my ride but I'm always up for rides with my guy. He is tough and makes me work but he also keeps my going and knows what I need to feel encouraged (FYI he's not allowed to tell me that stretches which feel like an incline are in fact not an incline at all which his fancy Garmin tells him. If I feel like it's uphill and not flat he just needs to go with it :))
Earned a fantastic sunburn after 5 hours in the saddle. I remembered sunblock on my arms and face but totally forgot about covering my thighs — oops!
 Beautifully written book which I'm adding to a favorites list
Tye and Mason were in town for a quick weekend and we decided to hit the curiosity museum with like 1000 other people one Saturday afternoon. We took Cec's 3 young ones with us and had quite the group of kids! I had a hard time keeping track of everyone but luckily they all stay with each other and I never lost anyone! We were sad that the rain rolled in while we were there because the kids really love that zipline out on the playground and only got a ride or 2 in before we were getting soaked out there.

 Cutest Water Works girls all decked out at the museum. I don't think they even did much with water in these outfits but just wanted to get all dressed up in them!
 I spent a good part of the spring going through storage spaces and long neglected areas that needed organization and order (plus I wanted to do a garage sale in June so wanted to go through all rooms and all storage before doing so). It paid off big time — one box was full of books and I wanted to get them out on shelves or donated to my sale pile and when I pulled out Asher Lev all this cash just fell right out of it! It was $600 dollars and such a huge (amazing!!) surprise to find. I knew I loved that book :)  I remembered it was cash from a freelance project Joseph did like 6 years ago and we had wanted to save the cash for an emergency stash and then somehow completely forgot where that money had gone — classic moron move, but it's helpful to have it now!
 One day I was feeling particularly crafty I turned the cushions from Bentley's beat up anywhere chair into this fluffy pouf. I had the fabric on hand and just had to buy some extra padding to complete it. It's messy and not stuffed well but the kids love it and use it all the time so I'm glad it worked out.
 Reading fun night at the kids' school. They dressed up like favorite characters from books (Laura Ingalls Wilder, Percy Jackson and Pinkalicious). My last year to have these 3 all at the same school :(

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Finally Headed Home

We have never had such a long, luxurious stay in St George. We stayed 9 nights and 10 days and did all our favorites plus lots of new things. I wish we could arrange a long vacation like that every year but I'm not sure it will always work out. We are so grateful for that beautiful house and that my parents are so gracious to share it with us! It was really hard to get ourselves geared up to leave — we just feel so happy and comfortable there, and the time with Joseph working from home was really amazing. We got spoiled by seeing him so much every day!

Sunday morning we packed and cleaned and packed and cleaned, found church for sacrament meeting and finally wore Easter outfits, and made the long drive home. I love this family with all my heart — they are my everything and I'm always happy to be anywhere with them as long as we're together!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Little Jamaica

 We were feeling adventurous this trip and felt like we might as well try another new thing with our LeBaron family — so Joseph and Maggie came up with a visit to "little Jamaica" just south of the gorge that connects SG to Mesquite. We were all following different and not perfectly precise directions and also kept losing cell and internet reception in the gorge while trying to meet up with Mag and her kids (John and Krista were in town for the weekend and met up in SG to follow behind us). But, in the end we made it to this most random spot where we parked our cars and hoped we'd find a cool waterfall or water of any kind for these excited kids to play in.
 We hiked for like 3 minutes and then boom there it was — right under a free way overpass! But honestly it was really cool...maybe a little ghetto but lots of fun and totally new and exciting!

 I was worried the path down would be slippery but it was really solid and even though it was steep it was not a problem to keep our footing and wind our way down to the pools and waterfall.
 The whole group with a cute little Krista and Finn cameo up top!
 Our own desert version of the "fern grotto" — not quite like Kauai but it still reminded me of it. Such a lush and wet oasis in the middle of nowhereville Utah (we might have been in a tiny pocket of Arizona actually...can't remember for sure!)
 Lots of fun in the rushing waterfall

 Mag took this picture of me before I ventured down to join the group in the water. The pic shows the pool down one level and then the Virgin River running down below that. It was remarkably clear and pretty and we ended up playing in that for a while too (it did have good doses of moss and a fairly strong current so I didn't let Luke play in the deep parts — I could just imagine him being swept away so easily in his life jacket!)

It was such a random, fun experience with people we love. After our crazy outing we opted for a little more water play back at the main street splash pad where we could relax and let the kids play freely (no worries about currents or waterfalls or slippery, rocky trails!) while we hung out and chatted. We are so spoiled to have so many great cousins and family to play with. We think it's a huge blessing and hope our kids always have great cousin friendships with both their Smith and LeBaron cousins — they are the coolest kids and we love them all.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Why We Love SG

 My sweet little team is always so happy in the beautiful SG desert!

 During the break we fit in several rides —some together and some apart — but it was certainly  handy to have Joseph working from the house so we could zip out during his lunch break for a riding date while Bentley babysat the kids.

 Carefree evening at the park

 Late afternoon swimming with Maggie and her kids one day.
 Matching siblings
 The kids and I spent a lazy morning hanging out near Main Street and the old tabernacle.
 We popped into this adorable store for cold drinks in cool, vintage looking glass bottles.
 And then snagged cupcakes from 25 Main —super healthy snacking going on!
 Add Swig a few times to that list of super sugary treats!
Something about SG Swig cookies —they are way better than any of the Swigs up north...

 We swam every day. It's just too much fun and so convenient that we can't pass it up!
 Look at that Lukey fly —my little darling with absolutely no fear
 Gold cart ride up to the pool — Livs was on there too but hidden behind Joseph
The boys fit in a solid run knowing their training for Bean's half-marathon is starting next month. How cute is my running boy?!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Hiking to Petroglyphs

This was another new trail we'd been wanting to try and it's really close to my parents' house — just about a 10 minute drive to the edge of Ivins.

We hiked a ways past the first petroglyphs and wondered when we'd finally see them but luckily some passing hikers let us know we were right by them but we just had to climb off the main trail to the rocky cliff ledges and we'd find tons. I was pretty nervous letting these kiddos just roam the rocky hillside (mostly I was nervous about Luke) but they were really careful and we realized the pictures were all nestled in some pretty safe areas. Such a pretty view from where we were!

 Once we started spying the petroglyphs they just seemed to show up everywhere. We loved looking at them and trying to figure out what they were depicting. Some were more obvious than others!

It was a lovely day and perfectly warm in the sunshine, but pretty windy up on the ledge. We found a sheltered nook for lunch that would keep us out of the wind but still in the sun. Pretty incredible to think about the native Anasazi who lived among and roamed on these very rocks over a thousand years ago.

 Joseph took this picture of me as I took a picture of everyone else all snug against the petroglyphs. We sure do love exploring the wilderness as a family!

Back at the car we noticed some signs for Anasazi Village just a little ways down the road from the trailhead. We walked over and found the coolest area full of several teepees (big and small) and other authentic native dwellings such as a hogan and longhouse.

We had to test out all of the them as well as ride the huge wooden swing that hung from a huge cottonwood tree in the middle of the property. It was a great discovery and a place these kiddos could have played in for hours.

Back at the house we went for a late afternoon swim. Luke has become such a pro since spending so much repetitive time in the water!