Sunday, March 30, 2014

Camping at Valley of Fire

Over Spring Break we camped at Valley of Fire down in Nevada.  It was awesome!  We got the best camping spot--right up against this huge mountain full of so many nooks, crannies and cave that it resembled a gigantic red sponge!  The kids spent the whole time exploring it, staking claims to their own private caves, and making plans to sleep in one of them (which thankfully came to nothing as it got dark and chilly!)  The weather was nice.  I wouldn't want to come back in the summer! 
Just full disclosure, I stole all but one of these photos off Google.  You guess which one we took ourselves.  The one above is a shot of Mouse's Tank hike, and below is Elephant Rock

 Below is a random shot of the Valley.  Driving around it was so much fun.  It's really such a gorgeous place.  Maybe just a teensy bit overrated by the three million Nevadans who have yet to discover the glories of Zion Canyon and Snow Canyon in Southern Utah.  But I guess I like it that way.  :)  
 Pretend I have a picture here of our campsite.  Our tent is enormous, and has been in the Dick Family since TJ was a small kid.  Some of the zippers are broken, but it's still in pretty decent shape, considering.  We have a lot of good memories in that thing.  It even fits a playpen, all our sleeping bags, and our duffell bags with room to spare.   Recently TJ made an awesome camp sink out of a few big food storage buckets.  It has a foot pump and a drain, with a receptacle for gray water.  We also invested in a camp stove last year.  
Aren't my munchkins cute?  They had a blast.  My favorite part was when we were all snuggled in our sleeping bags, listening to TJ tell The Legend of the Brave and the Hooting Owl, which I'm pretty sure he made up on the fly.  The cool part was that an owl really was in residence, and we heard him hooting all night long.  


Isaiah escaped from the tub and left these lovely little gifts all over the house.  Eliza was kind enough to label them.  Thanks for the help, Eliza.
Matching sweatshirts, matching hair.  Can I just say that I love that they love matching?  And that they are truly best friends.
Isaiah is going through a *sigh* phase.  And so Paul shows up with new scratches and bruises on his face every single day.  This one turned out to be more amusing than the others--I looked just like a moustache.  I'm proud of Paul.  He's so patient and forgiving toward his brother, and almost never retaliates.  About two hundred time-outs later, Isaiah is finally getting the message.   
This outrageous balloon is one of the ways in which I was spoiled for my birthday this year.  Mom and Georgia took me out for lunch the day before.  The day of, I went to the gym, showered, read, napped, went shopping, had a birthday party with TJ and the kids, and went to the BYU Mens' Choir Concert with TJ.  TJ donated a wheelchair to the church's humanitarian program, on my request, but because he can't resist spoiling me, he also bought me a gorgeous potted plant, sugar-free pie and massively expensive (but worth every penny) Coconut Bliss ice cream.  The day after, Georgia and Mom put on a birthday dinner at the Baileys' house--grownups only.  Kendall joined us via Skype.  Georgia's food was delish, and Mom made a "Better Than..." cake on my request, even making it sugar-free so I could even eat it.  Georgia gave me a candle, and Mom gave me a batch of sugar-free cookie dough, a Michael Buble CD, and an adorable new apron, all of which I loved.
I bought these shoes at Coyote Exchange (see above, the bit about the shopping.)  They're sequined.  Life is short!

Just Kids

It is a sweet season for us.

The kids are in that beautiful stage between babydom and teendom--all five of them are.  Isaiah is starting to shun his high chair in favor of sitting on a big stool with the big kids.  They sit lined up at the counter, waiting for their pancakes.  Bop, bop, bop, bop, bop.  Sometimes even in age order.  No one is pining over unrequited love.  No one is collicky or teething.  No one is burdened with undue stress, with sin, or even with any great health challenges.  They tease each other and laugh over secret jokes.  They make messes and even help clean them up a little.  They read books about fairies or dragons, respectively.  They talk about animals, about the latest Studio C episode, and about adventures with mutual friends.  And after our meals, they often run out the front door and ride bikes and scooters around the circle together.  They are happy. They are friends.  And for the time being, they belong almost exclusively to TJ and me.

Has any mother ever been so blessed?