Sunday, September 9, 2012

Great American Roadtrip: Part Two, the Westward Journey

This portion of our trip we saw Carlsbad Cavern and Arches National Park.  It was s good trip and the kids did well.  Hannah and Jonathan were so excited about seeing bats at the cave and thankfully the weather was great too. 
Ranger Jonathan

We arrived at Carlsbad around 6 pm on Monday.  We ate dinner and then went to await the bat exit from the cave.  Charlotte and Spencer started to get fussy and tired so I went and stood at the back with them.  Jonathan joined me and then we it was so bad I had to go back to the car.  Unfortunately it meant the four of us missed out on the bat exit though we did see swarms of them from the car. 
Ranger Hannah

Ranger Charlotte
The next day we spent a few hours in the cave.  The kids really enjoyed it and did great walking through it.  Charlotte and Spencer spent most of the walk asleep. 

Waiting for the bats to leave.
Then back to on the road and off to Durango for the evening.  I wrestled a fever that night and felt a little off the next day but by the time we got to Arches I was feeling much better.  We walked around Balanced Rock, up to Sand Dune Arch and the off to Provo.  The kids loved the sand at Sand Dune Arch.  They loved climbing on the rocks.  Jonathan did ask when we were going to a real park where they could play and climb on things.  They didn't really like the idea of "park" in the National Park sense.  They are use to parks with playgrounds.  It was kind of funny. 

New Mexico sunset.

Cool stalagmite.
Formation in Carlsbad Caverns

Sleeping Beauty

Family photo at Balanced Rock.

Hannah and Jonathan with Cowboy Jim at Sand Dune Arch.

Playing in the sand at Sand Dune Arch.

Sand Dune Arch
We got to Provo late afternoon on Wednesday and were very glad to unload at Grandma and Grandpa Allred's house.  It was fun to share those to places with the kids.  We didn't do everything but they are two places that mean a lot to Hyrum and I as we stopped both places and had a good time there before Hannah and the other kids arrived in our lives.  It was fun to share those memories with them. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Great American Roatrip: Part 1

Here is an update on our summer adventures. 

Our summer started in Allen, Texas.  We left Austin for Allen right after school on May 30.  We were glad to get to Grandma's house and be some place comfortable. 

Hyrum left on Sunday for his last travel with UT and as a WANDisco employee.  The kids and I hung out in Allen and just hung out.  Spencer was so new I wasn't really looking to go out and do a bunch of things and the kids were content just to play in grandma and grandpa's back yard.  Hannah even went to play at a friend's house and had Emma over too.  I was a little bored but started a cloth napkin project that hopefully with be completed soon.

While in Allen, Hyrum's brother Brigham came home from his mission in Boston, MA.  It was nice to see Brigham.  Sarah also came home to see Brig and receive her endowment in the Dallas Temple.  Hyrum got to accompany her there and I was able to do some temple work with her later--the two hour endowment session was a little more than Spencer and I could handle. 

Sorry, no pictures.  Hyrum had the camera in Europe.  Here's what he saw:

The Swiss Alps

It was nice to have two weeks to regroup and get ready for our summer after finishing up in Austin.  

And then: 

Let the Craziness Commence.

Happy Birthdays

We are alive and well in Pittsburgh, PA.  Things have been a bit crazy over the last month but the calm is coming just in time to be thrown into upheaval again with the holidays. 

Over the past month we have celebrated Hannah and Jonathan's birthdays.  We are so glad to have both of them in our lives. 

Hannah has grown up a lot in the past year.  She is a great older sister and really helps me out a lot.  She is my table setter, baby entertainer, piano playing oldest child.  She loves to hold Spencer for me and thankfully he likes it too.  She loves to play outside with Charlotte and Jonathan.  Hannah loves to read and has become quite good at it especially since a year ago she could hardly read at all.  I started teaching her piano this year and while it can be challenging, she is doing well.  We have rough days but we are learning to learn together.  I am so proud of her and her willingness to try something new and stick with it even though it can be hard. 

Jonathan is ever the same.  He grows up and as he grows he seems to find new reserves of energy and enthusiasm.  He can be so sweet and kind and other times he is the quintessential younger brother, teasing his sisters and tormenting them.  Jonathan still amazes me with his vocabulary and he so wants to go to school. I am hoping we find some good boys for him to play with soon.  He could use some males bonding.  Jonathan has started reading a bit as well and I can usually keep his attention for about 5 minutes before he loses interest and claims something is too hard.  He is growing up.  It's hard to believe he is 4. 

Happy birthday my little ones.  I am so glad to have both Hannah and Jonathan.  It is hard to imagine my life without them.  They each enrich our lives and fill a very special spot in our family.