Monday, June 22, 2015

Grand Canyon

Our friends invited us a few months ago to hike the Grand Canyon with them, rim to rim.  Don talked to Byron on the phone about it and he said, "you could just hike part of it with us and turn around and go back..." Don got off the phone with him and said to me, they think we can't do it!  Which is kind of a joke, but not really. And since my husband likes to prove people wrong, he said, we're in!  So we had been "training."  Don was much better at training than I was.  Then at the last minute, Byron hurt his back and they were out.  well we decided to go anyway, as our 10 year anniversary trip.  But we decided we wouldn't do the whole 24 miles.  We ended up doing 12.  
So we dropped the kids off with Rey and Mary and we headed out to our certain death.  Just kidding. We obviously survived.

 I have never seen the Grand Canyon.  Well at least that I can remember.  It is just as spectacular as the brochures say it is.  We arrived on Friday evening May 29th, just in time to get a glimpse of the canyon at nightfall.  Although it looks like it was a solo trip because almost all of the pictures are of just me, Don was there too. He was just behind the camera. Obviously.  After about 8 hours of debating which hotel we should stay (no seriously.  Don and I together are the worse at making unimportant decisions.  I think we are pretty good at making important decisions together,  But really pathetic when it comes to deciding on things like hotels, movies, food, shoes...etc.) we deciding to stay at a hotel outside the park.  Which was a good call. Because it had a spa.  And that was awesome. Then we got up at a leisurely time because we were not hiking 24 miles after all and went and had breakfast at the hotel buffet which was like a fancy vegas casino price, with a motel 6 continental breakfast selection.  We managed to stuff ourselves anyway, because we excel at overeating.  And then we headed out for our hike. (There was another 8 hour discussion about which hotel we should stay at the next night, but for sake of "who cares" I will leave that whole part out. Except I didn't.)




 We probably started our hike after 10 am.  I can't remember.  But like all dumb hikers do, we like to hike at the hottest part of the day.  It's way more fun.  In truth, most of the hike was shaded so the heat wasn't bad.  Except for that one part when I wanted to chop off my feet and the sound of the buzzing insects on the barren desert floor was deafening. More on that later.
 Descending...Fun! Why do people think this hike is hard? So easy! We could have totally done 24 miles. Piece of cake!

 Too bad I never bought any cute shorts.They are like hiking culottes. Maybe if I had worn cuter shorts we wouldn't have had park rangers trying to warn us that we should consider shortening our hike. "what! You don't think we can do it either??!!"

 I think this is the part where I wanted to chop off my feat.  I think I broke a toe years ago and it has never been the same since,  Any time I do a good amount of walking, and if it is covered by a shoe, it kills.



 A nice little rest at Indian Garden.  Don says, let's keep going!
 So we took a little hike to a fantastic look out point.  This is where it was really hot. And my toe was really bugging me.

 But the lookout point was great,  It had an amazing view of the Colorado river.  And I told Don that if wanted to kill me, this was the perfect place to do it.  No one around.  Push me over the edge.  Tell everyone I slipped.  I've seen enough Dateline. I know how it works. But you'll see we ran into another couple because look! we are both in the picture!  So he probably wouldn't have been able to get away with the murder after all.


 I took a nice long foot soak in the creek at Indian Garden.  After a little rest, it was time to head back UP the canyon. Oye.
 It was at the going up part that I said, wow. What would have I done if we really would have done the 24 miles?!  I still want to do it.  Well maybe I do.  But if we do. I need 1. better shoes. 2. better shoes 3. better shoes  4. eat like they tell you to do. even though you don't want to. 5. train harder!
 Don really didn't have much trouble at all on the hike.  He trained better than I did.  I also made the mistake everyone tells you not to do, EAT.  I didn't eat anything on the way back up. and I didn't rest much.  we just wanted to get out of there.  So I pushed myself.  And by the time we reached the top, I felt ill.


 This is me waiting for the bus to take me back to the car.  I did not feel so well.  After sitting for a little bit and eating I started to feel much better.


 Overall, we enjoyed our hike.  And it was good motivation to get in shape.  Since the hike, which was almost a month ago, I haven't done any exercising at all.  Having a goal, like not dying, was very motivating.

After our hike, we met up with our old friends and had dinner in Flagstaff.  It was fitting since they were our very first couple friends, 10 years ago.  We went back to their house for ice cream, which we were all so tired, we probably should have skipped the ice cream! Paul went into the other room and fell asleep with his kids.




The next morning we left in hopes of making it to the last part of church.  But our car had other plans.  It broke down an hour away from home.

We waited outside a repair shop for my brother to come get us.  The rest of Sunday we spent sleeping at our house.  The next morning I drove to meet Rey and Mary to get the kids.  They were so excited to see me.  Oscar didn't seem to care too much about seeing me, but when I tried to him back to Rey for a minute, he didn't want to go. I was relieved to find he did in fact miss me.  Macie said, "Hey! Why does Oscar just get to love you!"  So we all did a lot of hugging.  It didn't take long for their love to turn into car fights, because that's what kids do on car trips. They fight over who has the electronic device.  I was told the kids were great in St, David.  They tried, especially Macie, to catch Mittens the kitten, but she was never able to.  She just got a bunch of scratches on her harms! Too bad.  I can imagine Macie trying all day to catch that darn cat.

Macie's first Swim Meet

 While we were celebrating Chloe's birthday, Don took a work trip out to Las Vegas for a big convention.  I wished I could have gone because he brought home some amazing swag.  Here he is in the Back to the Future Time machine, it was used in the movie.
 And here he is with his crew.

And here are some more pictures of the kids swimming because there is a lot of swimming going on over here,






We are so proud of Macie.  Don has been telling me since last summer that Macie was going to be on the swim team this year.  Being that she is only 4, I had my doubts.  But she surprised me.  She had been going to her first week of practice and she was doing about as well as the other kids.  The first time I saw her swim across the pool at practice, she had to stop at the lane dividers a few times for a break.  Don had bribed her with a Barbie if she would go to the first day of practice. I think she thought she only had to do it one day.  But she has been doing it.  And doing it really well.  And she is enjoying herself.  She wanted to go to the Dinner with the Coaches night, so I took her to "Old Chicago" and she chose to sit over by her coaches.  They told me that she is the youngest on the team and that she has the best backstroke form out of all the kids, she likes to swim first, and she is the only one who doesn't need their help getting across the pool.  My heart swelled with pride!
So Macie's first race was over at Seville.  We convinced her to try the backstroke race.  I was nervous for her.  I didn't know what she was going to do.  But when the start signal blew, she swam nice and steady, like she was the only person in the pool, and like she was going to swim that stroke exactly like she had been taught.  I was laugh/crying through the whole race because it was the cutest/funniest/touching thing I have seen in a long while.  I was so. SO. so proud of her.  She got out. And she got her ribbon. And she was happy.  She has done 3 swim meets now.  And she is very happy about her collection of ribbons.  She tells me after each race how many ribbons she has now.  She swims 2 strokes at the swim meets, freestyle and backstroke.  At the second meet she swam the breast stroke, which turned into a just get across the pool stroke, and that one was a little painful to watch.  But she did it.  And she is learning that she can do hard things.  And her confidence gets a little better each time.  

 

 She is very proud of her ribbons.
 Working out  hard and it shows. ; )


This last meet I took her to the bathroom and as she was in there she tells me, "Mom. I have peed thwee times today."  Since I had only taken her to the bathroom once, I paused with concern.  I asked her where she had peed.  She told me "by the pool on the ground."

Baptism part 2

 So Chloe's baptism...went really well. Grandpa Rey and Aunt Kay spoke.  Emily and I sang a song.  I asked Chloe if she wanted me to sing and she said something like, "...well if you want to you can!"  My original plan was to have her sing, but she didn't want to sing alone, and I ran out of time to put together anything.  So my friend and I just ended up singing.  After we were done, Chloe flashed me the biggest smile, and pretended to clap.  She is just the best thing ever.  Don baptized and confirmed Chloe.  So many friends and family came, the whole Relief Society room was full.

Afterwards family came over and we had chinese food which was the best idea ever because I didn't have to do anything. We had enough food leftover to feed us for a week.  And then some.  But after a week we figured we were tempting  fate. Here are some really flattering pictures of us.


It was a good day.

Baptism part 1

Chloe was baptized May 23rd with her cousin Paloma.  It was a special day for all of us. 

 Here is a picture that makes my legs look like large tree stumps.
 The girls were given a blanket by Aunt Kay during her talk on the Holy Ghost.  The blanket is to remind them that the Holy Ghost is the comforter.  Her talk was so great.  She gave the girls different things to teach them the different blessings of receiving the Holy Ghost.  That evening, Chloe, Macie and I were laying on the blanket outside, looking up at the stars, and I asked Chloe what her favorite part of the day was.  I wouldn't have been surprised if she told me, playing with my cousin or something along those lines. But she told me, "How I felt when I got baptized.  And when I got the Holy Ghost.  I felt happy inside.  It's a feeling I never had before.  I felt calm and happy. Not an excited happy, a calm happy."    I hope she will always remember how she felt that day.  I am writing this down for her, and I hope she writes it down herself in her own words.  I hope that as she goes through her life, these experiences build upon each other and her faith will grow and mature.

Chloe's Birthday

Chloe's 8th birthday was an emotional one for me.  A person told me, "Oh now she is not going to be your sweet, perfect child anymore."  Um... thank you?  I disagree.  Chloe turned 8. And she is still very much a sweet child.  Perfect? No. But I am pretty sure she wasn't perfect before she turned 8 either.  Close to it. But perfection is impossible.  Chloe, my party planner, event specialist extraordinaire, had a Monday birthday, and in Chloe fashion, refused to celebrate it on the weekend because birthdays just aren't the same if it is not actually your birthday.  And I totally concur.  I tried to make all her birthday plans come true, because for the most part, they were reasonable.  
She wanted to have a birthday party on her birthday.  We settled on an after school swimming party.  She invited a few friends to come over.  We had a treasure hunt, which elicited hurt feelings, frustration, and a few passive aggressive girl fights.  Then the girls went swimming and after they frosted cupcakes.  The cupcakes were a little sad, being that I had put my Dad in charge of getting them out of the oven, but when I came home, I found him trying to pick up the fallen cupcakes off the oven floor.  Oh well. Nothing a little frosting can't cover up!




 Fernanda and Adam gave her this cute dress.  At the end of the night, she showed herself to her room without even saying goodnight, and promptly crashed.  The sign of a good day.




 She wore the birthday girl ribbon to school and was particular about her hair and outfit, of course,

So after the party was over, we went out to eat at the Olive Garden, which is where she said she wanted to go.  Fernanda, Adam and Chelsey joined us, and my Dad for a little bit before he had to leave.  Dinner was fine until Chelsey started yelling like a banshee because I made a joke she didn't like.  Unfortunately Don was in Vegas so he couldn't be there.  He had a work conference.

Other birthday highlights: I brought pink sugar cookies to her class (her request) .
Her birthday gift from Don and I was an American Doll (a knock off, because those dolls are like a month of college tuition).  The doll has red hair and pink gloves.
Sugar our Elf came to visit to wish Chloe a Happy Birthday. She was waiting on the couch for Chloe when she came home from school.  Macie spilled the beans the moment she got in the car when I was picking Chloe up from school. The girls were beyond ecstatic.  Chloe left her a note that night that said she was welcome to eat a cupcake or a cookie.  She ate both, a fact that Chloe finds hilarious.  Chloe said she had made a wish that Sugar would come to visit, and she was over the moon that her wish came true.  I didn't know about that wish. Good thing Sugar was in tune.

The great thing about chloe is she tells me exactly what she wants to do for her parties.  It makes it very simple because I don't think I have to do some sort of Pinterest worthy party.  She even likes to put up all the decorations.  She made a list of things she needed to decorate: streamers and balloons.
I just try to follow her simple party requests and she is happy.  Hopefully this is always the case. I will have to put my foot down if her visions start to become too elaborate.  But crappy cupcakes and Frozen napkins? I can do that,