Sunday, June 23, 2013

Into the Woods

This log was part of our campsite.  The kids had fun climbing on it.
This past week we had a family adventure of the camping sort.  Hyrum took a few days off work so we could miss the craze of weekend camping.  We woke up Wednesday morning to a lovely if not slightly cool morning.  It took us a bit to get on the road but we were off by 11 and after a quick stop to the store by noon we were picking our campsite.

The forest around us.  I love it, so lush and green.
Our campsite and the roasted corn we were eating for dinner!
We had wanted to camp in the Allegheny National Forest but due to some weather a couple weeks ago the swimming hole was closed.  Since swimming was high on the priority list, we decided to head to Raccoon Creek State Park.  We found a great camp site and pitched our tent and ate lunch.  I put Spencer down for a nap and the other kids and I headed down to the beach.

Hiking down to the beach.

It was only supposed to be a "wade then go back to camp" kind of trip, just to get the lay of the land so we could go swimming the next day.  Well Charlotte plopped herself down into the water necessitating a quick return to camp.  The kids were so excited to go swimming though.  Jonathan kept saying there was a party at the beach and he wanted to be a part of it. 

Our first trip to the beach.
Thursday morning we decided we'd go for a little hike and then hit the beach for swimming.  We set off on our hike and it became a little more of an adventure than we had planned on.  Hyrum carried Spencer in the kid backpack and the rest of us were on foot.  We started on a very wide path, maybe a single lane road kind of path.  It was mowed and followed the trail of a creek that drains into the lake.  We had a pair of binoculars so we had fun trying to see wild life through them.  We also had to convince Jonathan that walking with them up to his eyes probably wasn't a good idea.  We saw a heron, tons of frogs and I even spied a snake in the water. 

Tinfoil dinners, though we decided that from now on I make meals we can see cooking.  They were a little burnt.
Shortly after we saw those critters the path shrunk to barely wide enough for one person with lots of growth around it.  I thought it was just a passing thing and the trail would quickly become wider and more tame.  Boy, was I wrong.  Hannah and Jonathan did pretty good but Charlotte ended up on my shoulders and Spencer was a bit fussy after He and Hyrum slid down the bank.  The overgrowth just got bigger and then thorn bushes joined the throng.  To add to the fun, the day had warmed so we were wet from the dew--I was wet up to my waist.  The kids lost their sense of adventure after bushing through the thorns for a while.

One of the racoons that invaded our camp site.  They showed up at about 7:30 every night.  The first night a couple of them started fighting over Cheetos someone had dropped.  I was really hoping they wouldn't kill each other right there as our children were watching and listening. 
The trail finally climbed out of the bushes along the creek and joined up with a road signaling our return trip.  It was a really interesting experiencing and one that we're not really anxious to repeat.  We head back via a different path.  Charlotte was pretty worn out and asked me to carry her so up to my shoulders she went.  After a few minutes she was on my back and finally as I sensed her falling asleep I pulled her around to the front of me and I carried her for about a mile.  I do enjoy occasionally holding my sleeping children but that was a bit ridiculous.  I am glad she got a nap though.

They are just cute.

We enjoyed looking at the various plants and thinking about the animals we could and couldn't see.  We saw some raccoon tracks and other signs of animals in the area.  It was nice to be together as a family. 

Spencer enjoying the beach and relative freedom.
After our hike we headed to the beach for a picnic and a dip in the lake.  There was quite the gathering at the lake.  It felt good to get a little wet and relax for a bit.  The kids loved the water though I think Charlotte preferred "the sandbox", as she called the beach.

Charlotte loved the sand.
Building sand castle while the warden watched.
After a little swim it was time for naps and some rest time while Spencer took a nap.  We got everyone cleaned up and then played Uno. 

Hyrum at the highpoint.  The highpoint is the top of that rock he is touching.
Friday, we ate breakfast, broke camp and drove a couple hours to Mt. Davis, the highest point in Pennsylvania.  It wasn't really part of the plan but the kids were patient.  Next time I'll bring more snack for random drives and crazy hikes that take longer than we'd planned. 

Family picture at the highpoint.
It was so nice to just hang out together.  There were no computers or phones, no distractions just our family.  We enjoyed the typical camping activities, s'mores, burnt food, and a camp fire.  Hyrum and I enjoyed watching the fireflies after the kids had gone to bed.  The kids thought the racoons were "so cute."  They raided our camp every night picking up scraps dropped by the little ones.  I learned a few things about the art of camping but most of all I learned that in life, simple is good and so is family.
Hanging out at the high point.  There were a lot of mosquitoes.

Kids waiting and trying to keep Spencer out of the fire pit.

Yum, fire roasted corn.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Wrights, to the Rescue!

I mentioned napkins and painting beds but I've added a few other projects to my recent completions list.  Today I finished painting a desk for the girls' room.  I acquired it at a garage sale a few weeks ago and just painted it white.

Apparently Superheroes like to move, a lot, so I had a hard time getting them to stand still for a picture.

The other thing I finished were some capes.  The kids often tie their baby blankets around their necks in efforts to be superheroes.  Well, their knots don't stay tied very well and tying knots while making dinner gets a bit tedious so I decided I would make them capes they could put on themselves.  Several months ago I bought some fabric and in about a total of an hour and a half I had four capes made.  They were going to be Christmas presents but one day into summer I knew they needed something new and fun so I handed them out.  Hannah and Jonathan have been wearing theirs pretty regularly.  Jonathan occasionally sleeps with his on.  They were a hit and even Charlotte can put hers on by herself.  Now I have four superheroes running around my house--yes, Spencer has one too.


Family Home Evening

Every Monday night, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints set aside time together as a family, known as Family Home Evening (FHE).  Sometimes, this means in-depth discussion of doctrinal importance and family council but most often for us, it means a quick refresher or reminder of something we feel important--to get maximum impact in about 5 minutes.

Jonathan as Ammon, Charlotte as a servant and Abish, Hyrum as King Lamoni, Hannah as The Queen and a servant, Heather(not pictured) as narrator and Spencer (not pictured) as a lamb.

A couple weeks ago, Hannah was perusing the Friend and asked if we could preform a pageant for FHE.  It was about Ammon and King Lamoni (Alma 17:19-39, 18, 19) and their experience as Ammon enters Lamoni's court and is instrumental in converting him and his people to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I have always loved this story and our family had a good time acting out the story.  I hope the kids leaned something about standing up for what is right and working hard for the truth.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Memorial Day Weekend

This was one of those times I am glad to live near my parents.  Memorial Day marks the beginning of the planting season in western NY and PA.  This year, was no different and the kids and I invited ourselves to the planting party. 
Resting with Grandpa.
I picked Hannah up at school on Friday afternoon and we headed north.  It was an uneventful drive, though no one slept.  We enjoyed Friday evening and Saturday just hanging out since the weather was too cold to plant a garden.  The kids enjoyed exploring grandma and Grandpa's yard though.  Hannah played dress-up that afternoon with my old dresses, many of which came home with us.  Sunday was church and just enjoying a quiet day together.  Monday, we were up and going.  By 8:30 am we had cleaned up inside and were on our way our to the garden.  My parents garden is large.  As a kid it was way too big, now I am so excited for all of the good stuff that will grow in it--probably because I will get to enjoy some of it.

Spencer enjoyed getting into whatever drawers he could.  This one had shoelaces in it.

Hannah modeling one of my old dresses and her new haircut.
Dad had some tilling to do before we could get planting so we went to work weeding the raspberry beds.  Then pretty systematically and efficiently we went to work planting corn and potatoes.  Dad could till a row while we planted of corn then we tromp through the dirt to the other side of the garden where we'd plant a row of potatoes and dad would till the area for the next row of corn.

The green bushes on the left-hand side are the raspberries we weeded.  This garden is really big.  I wish a picture could do it justice.
We took about three hours planting corn and potatoes then took a break for lunch.  We had a pizza picnic.  The weather was gorgeous.  It was nice enough to plant but not blistering hot.  Hannah and Jonathan were great helpers and didn't complain at all.  I was really impressed.  Charlotte tried to help but when we wouldn't let her she just wandered over to the sandbox and enjoyed digging.  I think she happy not having to compete with her brother and sister for shovels!

After lunch we planted squashes-several varieties, cucmbers, green beans, carrots, and onions.  We finished up our job by about 3:20.  We ate a snack of juicy watermelon and then after a candy hunt and a few good byes we were off down the road. 

This was their own little dirt patch since grandpa hadn't tilled here yet.  Spencer was on the outside looking in and not too happy about it.
It was a great day.  I love being outside and able to dig in the dirt.  It was a lovely day and I was so happy to be with my parents.  I really enjoy spending time with them and it was a great opportunity to teach my kids about the garden.  I hope they always love it.  We had a long drive home due to some road construction--6 miles in an hour, not a typical I-79 experience--but we were glad to get home to see Hyrum waiting with dinner on the table. 

The kids were walking along with grandpa, tilling while grandma checked out the blueberry bushes.
I don't remember making a big deal about Memorial Day as a kid.  It was the day we planted the garden.  As teenagers we would play in the band for a couple local parades, but I would often zone out during the important parts at the cemetery.  This year though I realized how grateful I am for those that have served and I am thankful for my grandpa and Hyrum's grandfathers that served our country.  We have had grandparents and great-grandparents serving in WWI, WWII, and during the Cold War.  Thank you to all those who risk their lives and sacrifice for all of us.  May God bless you with peace and strength in doing what is right.
Hannah and Jonathan enjoying the creek on my parent's property.