Thursday, July 26, 2012

Beach Hopping

This week my Mom had us each pick something that we wanted to do and I knew I wanted to visit the beach. And we ended up visiting three different ones in two days!

First we visited our hidden treasure of a spot along the Arcadia River.

So it's not the actual beach but it's good enough for us. Sand + water + shovels and buckets + swimsuits = beach for my family.

We were trying to find a comfortable temperature because it was hot sitting in the sun, but the river was SO cold (it's melted-snow runoff from the mountains). My mom discovered the perfect combination:

She walked her chair out into the middle of the river and plopped down. An occasional foot-dip in the water and we kept cool :)

Ammon kept true to himself and got as dirty as possible after checking out what the sand tasted like.

Boy did he love digging his hands in the sand. Throwing it. Digging it. Dumping it.

The next day we adventured out to try a new beach at Kopachuck State Park.

See that island, to the right in the picture? Kenny and I were going to commandeer a boat in true savvy-pirate style and claim it as our own. Unfortunately, Lydia interrupted our escapades by reminding me she needed to go the bathroom, and the steep hike back to the "comfort station" - as they were called on the map- took too long and reminded me that I needed to put my pirate hat aside (sorry Will Turner, alas, I will find you someday) and return to being a mom.

Kenny, dreaming of the gorgeous mermaids we would encounter once we loosed our sails.

Despite a lot of fun seashells to pick up and examine, the tide was too high at Kopachuck to truly enjoy the area, and we decided to pack up for another beach at Point Defiance called Owen's Beach.

The girls enjoyed the "waves" with Kenny.

Ok, so they were teeny little things that only came when boats went by and created wakes, but this is the Puget Sounds after all and not the actual ocean. I think they were just the right size for Lydia who was terrified of the seaweed because she thought it was jellyfish - no matter what I said.

The water was a little daunting for Ammon, who was more of a spectator this time.

You see that little umbrella stroller? Ammon loves it. It's hard to get him out of it and he's content to sit in it Talk about a fit if you take him out. Who knew?

After two more bathroom trips for Lydia (I swear sometimes potty-trained kids are much more work than diapers) and tiring of the water, Ammon joined them for some sand action.

They dug a giant hole and kept filling it up with water...which Ammon would then proceed to try and drink from like a dog. Either that, or splash anyone within five feet.

Needless to say, he was tuckered out at the end of the day.

So were the adults. However, the girls still ask for more beach time. Even after sunburns and tubs full of washed-off sand.

Three beaches in two days is good enough for me. For now at least :) Someday I'll take them to the actual ocean and we'll frolic in waves all the day.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Torturing the Torturer

If I were to pick out a word to describe Ammon thus far on the trip, it would be DIFFICULT. Flying on the airplane really sent him into panic-mode, and it seemed that afterwards he thought for sure I would be leaving him. For the first three days, the instant he suspected that I might be further than two feet from him, he would start screaming. I'm talking full-on panic attacks and screams of horror and terror. If I just stood up to walk into the kitchen from the living room, these panic attacks began - let alone if I went upstairs! It was getting unbearable.

Luckily, the fun of camping and then coming back to a place that was now more familiar, cured him mostly of that. He will still whine if I go upstairs without him, or cry if I try to sneak out of the house, but he's doing much better. It helps to have brothers that are great entertaining uncles and a grandma that is the master of distraction.

Not only has he been torturing us with his separation anxiety, but he has become a picky eater and it's like I'm torturing him at dinner rather than feeding him. It's pretty miserable to eat while listening to a screaming one year old. While he's doing a little better in this area as well, we've still got strides to make.

He gets into everything, loves to whack objects and people with sticks or any other long object he can find (seriously he knocked my sister's eye crooked for a whole evening - luckily it was better in the morning), is happy destroying anything Lydia is trying to build, and is bored with toys in a matter of seconds.

Sounds like he's one, I know, but with the crying and general terrorism, we have all felt a bit tortured around here. So we decided to torture him back for FHE one evening - only in a way that he doesn't realize he's being tortured. How do you go about doing that you might ask (I asked my mom the same question), and the answer would be this:

We took markers to him! Our goal was to make him look as ridiculous as possible. And boy was it fun!!

We could not stop laughing and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

The best part was Kenny decided to give him a mustache and that was what kept us entertained all night long.

With the mustache, unbuttoned plaid shirt hanging open, and a string of beads around his neck, he looked so gangster. It makes me laugh just thinking about it :)

Ammon was content to let us draw all over him, it probably had to do with the sucker we gave him while we became tattoo artists, but  I was still surprised at how he didn't resist at all. He just layed there with his head back, as if to say, "Eh, whatever".

And while everyone got in on the action, of course I had to participate myself - after all, I get the brunt of the torture.

We did good work I'd say!

And I think Ammon thought so too, after he was released and checked out our beautiful artwork.

So my little demon got his dues. And that's what the Nelson family does for FHE, torture-time. Now to get wake him up from his nap to see what else we can do to each other :)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Camping in the North Cascades

I have taken Lydia and Ammon and trekked to Washington State for a month while Brigham stays in Utah to work (what a good husband to let us go! Thank you!). We made it up in time for Fourth of July fireworks, and then left the following Monday for a camping trip to the North Cascades in Washington.

Being the kids' first ever camping trip, I was interested to see how things would go. Toddlers and dirt and bugs and fire and cold nights. Those things don't sound like they would combine very well.

After arriving and two hours into camp, Ammon already looked like this:

He sampled all manner of rocks and dirt. He was in heaven. I could tell it was going to be fun.

And it was!

The first night we set up camp and got acquainted with the area. We camped near the Skagit river but it was so swollen and high, due to record rainfall in June, that there were no banks to play on. Also, we learned that  we would be continually swarmed with mosquitoes. Luckily, Sadie decided to put on body spray and lotion right before coming and attracted the majority of the bites at first. Oh boy did I laugh at that mistake! By the end of the camp-out she sat in double layered clothes, moon boots, her hoodie-hood over her head and her hair flipped over and covering her face to stay safe from the bugs because she was swollen all over from being eaten alive. Hahahahaha :)

The first full day we had, we headed out to hike. The first place we walked around was a water power place that had a fun footbridge that you had to cross over.

After the footbridge, a pond, some stairs, and bridges, there was a gorgeous waterfall to see.

At the campground, three-minute showers cost fifty cents and half of me was embarrassed when my siblings started fishing quarters out of the pond to use for free showers (the other half of me thought it was kind of funny). I believe they ended up with two and half free showers until my Mom ordered a halt to the quarter swiping. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a sign up next time saying "leave coins in pond".

After that first small hike, we ate lunch and then played at a nearby playground that had train you can climb and play on.

The next hike on the agenda was to the top of the Gorge Dam.  Once we hiked to the destination, I took a pictures looking down from the top and the opposite of the dam, which is now a lake.

It was high up and gorgeous!

While the hike wasn't too long, it included a 500 foot elevation drop! While that might be a good climb for anybody, these two little girls sure had a lot of ground to cover for their little legs:

This is what they looked like while they were resting at the top of the dam. Tired, hot, and miserable. And we still had to hike back up!

Luckily, they made it back for snacks, water, and a longer rest as we drove to the next destination: Diablo lake. First we stopped at an overview of the lake.

I couldn't get over how gorgeous it was!

Then we stopped at the actual lake so the kids could attempt to get in. I say attempt because the water is a runoff from a glacier and you are only supposed to be able to stand it for 3.7 seconds. Cold!

I'm not sure how long Kenny stayed in the water, but it wasn't very much time before we were back in the van.

We saw one more waterfall before heading back. I have to point out here that Kenny makes an excellent babysitter if anyone wants to know:

Not only was he carrying Ammon on his back, but he was pushing Lydia in the stroller as well. Don't worry I took Lydia from him, but Kenny did carry Ammon on the hikes the entire trip. He's a good brother :)

Day two, we started with the best hike of the trip. We drove over Baker dam and then hiked along the lake. I wish I had taken pictures of the hike because it is one of my favorites I have ever been on. It was on a ridge overlooking the forest and the lake with lots of fun nature aspects to enjoy. We stopped when we hiked down to a river running into the lake.

My siblings explored all over the rocks and logs and eventually made their way to the lake to wade around from log to log.

My mom and I stayed back with my kids as they threw rocks into the river. 

Eventually we made our way down to the lake with the babies as well, but just as we climbed over all the rocks with two toddlers, it was time to head back. My poor mom lost her foot into the water as she was climbing back, while trying to hold Lydia. Heehee, it was pretty funny.

After the hike back and lunch, we found a better beach and let the kids swim around.

So many beautiful, beautiful areas with lakes, rivers, and other things to see. It was gorgeous and I loved it.

Though there were swarms of mosquitoes, wet bedding, cranky toddlers, dirty toddlers, and too many bathroom trips to count, we had bug spray and sweaters, extra blankets, lots of wipes, Benadryll, flushing toilets, tons of delicious food, and great company.

We even found a road just for Ammon!

Here are a few more extras from the trip:

Thanks to my parents that put everything together and took us around to so many fun things. You're the best! It made camping with little kids a good experience :)