Monday, November 30, 2009

A long ride home

The fourth tradition for the Thanksgiving Holiday is one I remember from being a child. I remember throwing up on the side of the road while driving, coughing and feeling sick while driving and generally being in a sick mood. On Saturday after our hike I realized that Annika felt warm (should have thought about this before when she was screaming don't you think?) and that she had a fever of 103 degrees. On Sunday she was still feeling sick and screamed, cried and whined the whole way home. I didn't even go home but went straight to urgent care. At urgent care Annika made a fool of me by smiling and laughing and not even having a fever. I took her home and once again she had a fever of 102 degrees. But it went away on its own and so I don't know what was wrong with her. She didn't have a cold, she didn't have a cough, or any other symptoms.
In addition to Annika being sick Ali cut herself and was bleeding everywhere. Sierra (our dog,) got sick and pooped in the back of the car, (as well as everywhere else once she got out.) The traffic was horrible and it took two hours to drive what should have been an hour or less. It wasn't the best end to a vacation and it doesn't make us that excited to pack up the family and do it again, but we probably will.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Camelback Mountain

The second tradition for Thanksgiving weekend is going shopping on black Friday. Stacey and I started our morning at Target where the line was so long I thought we would never get inside. I got the deals that I wanted and my 10 dollar gift card and felt pretty good. Then we went to Kohls where I bought a dress for Ali for her Christmas program on clearance and got it for a great deal. We picked up everyone else and went to the mall where we went shopping and got some more good deals for each other. It wasn't so bad to take the kids because Stacey took Ashling and Cameron took Ali shopping and I just had to shop with Annika who managed to take a nap admist all the noise.

The Third tradition is going on a hike. We chose to hike to the top of Camelback mountain. I knew it was not going to be my favorite hike when we got close to the mountain and most of downtown Phoenix was also there. We had to park very far away from the trailhead because there were too many people in their tiny area where they allowed cars to park. The houses there were amazing in size. I bet they cost a fortune to air condition!

Annika began the hike in a good mood and I expected her to fall asleep like she always does in the backpack carrier. But she didn't. After a while she was protesting and whining quite a bit and I stopped to nurse her. Nursing her didn't help and by the time we were a little ways up the trail she was screaming in protest. I finally couldn't take it anymore and had Cameron stop and I got her out of the backpack and decided just to wait on the trail. (At this point I was very close to the saddle that you can see in the picture below but I didn't know it so I stopped.)

Tony and Stacey had to stop at the saddle because dogs can't go up to the summit. But Cameron, Ali and Ashling continued to the top. Cameron said it was a trail more rugged that most sierra trail at the top and that there were placed it was 5.1 climbing. Here are some pictures of their climb up and down.

I am very bitter that I didn't make it to the top too. Instead I put the backpack on and hiked down and then hiked all the way to the car and drove up to the trailhead to pick them up when they were finished. This whole time Annika was screaming!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Apache Trail

It is tradition in our family to do four things on the Thanksgiving Holiday besides eating too much. First we love to go on a long exploratory drive that takes us somewhere new. We did this on Wednesday. After browsing the internet we discoved the Apache Trail. It is a road that goes through the salt water river gorges near Phoenix. It was recommended on the top ten things to do in Phoenix and so we decided to do it. We loaded the cars and left the dogs at home to get better acquainted with each other.

The first stop on the trail is a ghost town. I don't know the name of it but it is right outside the superstition mountains and they mined gold there. We walked around the whole town, took pictures and thought about buying lots of silly nic nacs that we didn't need. The only thing we ended up buying was lunch. But we had a lot of fun looking at the old mining town and posing for pictures for my blog.

Next we drove past a lake. It was pretty cool and I wish we had taken more pictures. I would love to go back and explore and swim. The scenery was beautiful.

After the lake the road turns into dirt and we had to slow down. We found a place near the top of the hills to go on a little hike. It didn't go anywhere very exciting but it was nice to get out of the car and walk around.

After the lake the road became quite narrow and the canyon that we drove through was pretty amazing.

It reminding me of all the other canyons of the Southwest and I really enjoyed seeing the cliffs mixing with the cactus of Arizona.

This bridge was really cool in my mind. We finally got back on pavement thus ending bumpy adventure. Stacey was a little more hesitant about the drive and she stopped and kissed the pavement when we reached it. This bridge is the largest spanning bridge without support in north America of this variety.

This is my favorite picture of the bridge. I might frame it someday if I have the right place.

After we left the bridge we had what we thought was a short drive back to Phoenix. It ended up being a couple of hours and we were very excited to actually arrive home. We made tacos and sent the kids to bed so we could play settlers of Cataan all evening.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Things to be Thankful for

I love my husband. He is wonderful. He has done so many really nice things for me lately to let me know that he loves me. And I have noticed. I have really noticed him trying to make me happy and I appreciate it. I love weekend breakfasts and help with middle of the night wakings with the baby. I appreciate the chance to go see New Moon and how easily he watched the kids. I appreciate the little things that he does and I know I am beyond lucky that I found him so young.

I love Ali. Lately she is so grown up. When she is happy she is the best person to be around. I love how she takes care of Annika when we need her to and how she is so protective making sure that she isn't hurt. I love how she tries so hard at soccer and does her best. I love how excited she was to attend her friend's birthday party and how she told me all about it. I like how she is interested in fasion and sometimes recommends I wear something else or tells me how I look good in something. She is smart, fun and strong and I love it all.

I love Ashling. She is my peacemaker. She loves to help me cook or pack or do anything. She loves to play games with me and loves me to read to her. She cuddles better than anyone else. She is learning to read so quickly and knows her numbers. She loves to try new things and play pretend. I still remember our walk where we pretended to ride horses and she fell off a huge log she was walking across and she just laughed.

I love Annika. She smiles and laughs and makes noises to let us know she is there. She is curious about everything and gives the best kisses when she wants to. Sometimes she even listens when I tell her no and she shakes her head as if she is saying she understands that it is a no no. She is happy and a joy to have in our house.

I am thankful for my new can opener that Chalon brought me home from Hawaii. It is much easier to use than the last one.

I am thankful that Cameron still has a job.

I am thankful for my house. I love the view, I love the wood stove, I love the kitchen oven, I love the space and the bright sunny rooms. I like the big yard for the kids to play in and the tongue and groove ceilings and walls.

I am thankful that the primary program went perfectly. It was wonderful to see the kids up there singing and the boys even nailed The Family is of God, "second verse". I enjoyed teaching them Christmas songs and I am grateful for a month of not having to learn any specific songs. I am grateful for a piano player who comes and plays the piano even though she is Relief Society President or Young Women's president (depending on the week.)

I am thankful for being able to live in the mountains.

I am thankful for Cameron volunteering at Snow Valley so that we can go skiing this winter. It will be something fun to do as soon as it snows!

I am thankful for blogs that give me a break from cleaning the house.

I am grateful that I know how to cook and can use almost any ingredients to make a meal!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Annika 10 months

Annika is 10 months old today. Sometimes I just want to curl her up and hold her like she was a newborn. I wish I could hold on to the moments where I can still cuddle her in my arms but they seem to be slipping away with great speed. She has us all wrapped around her finger and when she whines 4 of us come running and fight over who gets to solve her problems. When she gets herself in trouble she has 4 people who make sure she is safe. And when she laughs she lights up our whole world.
She is hard to cuddle as she is always on the move. We enjoy having her as part of the family. She is great fun. She loves to dance and loves to listen to rock and roll music. She learned to climb up the stairs but is still struggling with understanding how to go down the stairs. She likes people food now and is refusing to eat anything she can't feed herself. It makes meal time a little difficult. She likes to have a bottle and will accept anything in it; apple juice, formula or just water. But she still nurses just as much too.
Annika likes to bite everyone and everything. It is hard to teach her not to. She doesn't understand that this hurts us. She uses biting to communicate the fact that she is hungry.
She is also getting pretty good at communicating. She doesn't cry very much but tries to find a word to explain what she wants. She rubs her eyes when she is tired, she says ba ba when she is hungry, she screams when she wants her sisters to stop and she shakes her head, "no." She does not seem to have much stranger anxiety but is instead very social. She will say, "hi" to anyone and loves other babies the most.
She loves that brown box in the picture and is always climbing on top of it. She also likes to play with the little people and she likes to open and close doors. She likes to ride in the backpack and doesn't appreciate the stroller nearly as much. We love Annika and are glad we have had her in our lives for 10 months.

Friday, November 13, 2009

First Snow

Sometimes the snow falls gently and quietly and you don't hear it or know it is there. And sometimes especially in our moutains it announces its arrival loudly. As I slept last night I could hear the rain in my dreams. I liked the noise. And then it changed. And instead of rain blowing against my windows it was snow. I knew it even as I slept. Then Cameron said it's snowing. (He is pretty sure no one else understands the weather quite like him.)

When he woke the girls this morning he pulled up the blinds and showed them what had happened while they slept. Although it wasn't much snow it was enough to make their day and for them to smile. They quickly put on their clothes and Ashling added shoes so that she could go outside and touch it. We love the first snow and we are very thankful for it. I only pray for 10 more feet before Thanksgiving! (Hey I can pray for whatever I want.)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Our Adventure

I decided we needed an adventure on Wednesday. We used to always take long drives and just go places. But a car that is a little too small, lots of kids and no money for gas have edged into our car drives. But I decided it was time. Cameron had Veteren's Day off and so did the kids. We loaded some snacks, the backpack carrier, the dog and the kids into the car.

The first stop was a park in Big Bear. We let the kids run and play on the equipment. Ashling accomplished the monkey bars (her first time doing this was on Monday.) and they played on the slides. I raced Ashling to the car and I won! (I was too worried that Ali would win to race her.)

Then we drove over the summit and down towardsAdd Image San Grogonio. It is still a beautiful mountian and I feel accomplished to even see it. I was impressed with Sugarloaf Mountain and think it would be a good place for a ski resort. I also decided I want to try skiing at Snow Summit this winter.

We stopped at Fish Creek trailhead. The kids had a snack and we played around looking for rocks and things people had forgotten. Then we loaded on the backpacks and started hiking.

We had been wanting to go to Aspen Grove to see the fall colors but Soccer games and painting houses got in our way and we didn't make it. The fall colors were over but the grove was still beautiful! There are not many places in our mountains where Aspen trees grow and I love them! Someday our yard will be another place where aspen trees grow!

We enjoyed a beautiful end of fall day. The forest was quiet. Most of the animals seemed to be asleep. Even the birds were not around. The forest was waiting for snow to blanket the ground and cover everything. It seemed as if winter had come but it was missing snow. I could feel the anticipation in the air for a storm we hoped would come.
The trail goes right under this tree. It has been burned. It is leaning way over. But it is still alive and it thrives. It is the tree for my motto... don't let anything that happens in life destroy you!

We hiked up the mostly flat canyon for a little ways. It was a nice trail and one I highly recommend. It did slope uphill but in an easy way that anyone could handle. We decided that we are going to bring the kids here for a backpacking trip sometime. Most of the way the trail meanders very closely to the creek. It was nice to be hiking by water for once. The kids grew tired and we stopped in a clearing by the water to play.

Ali found some rocks and decided that she would carry them home. Her arms were tired and she asked if I would hold them but she managed to carry them the whole way!

After the hike we drove down the dirt road for awhile and then headed back to Big Bear and civilization again. Once again we saw an injured motorcycle rider who had got in an accident that was not their fault. (It is not a matter of it but when for motorcycle riders. Our advice is just don't ride them.) We made it home a little renewed by our adventure and the kids had fun.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Our fall hike

I took the kids hiking after the half day of school on Friday. It was fun to walk with them. The girls wanted to explore and made their own path a couple of times. They like the rough terrain and I stayed on the trail. We hiked up for a ways and then stopped and played. Annika loved crawling around and looking at all the leaves and things. The good news is that she knew not to put everything in her mouth. Apparently the outside has different rules than the inside where she always puts everything in her mouth.