Monday, August 27, 2012

Lots of Capitol Reef

Whew, I've been absent for awhile. It probably has something to do with having my family here for a wonderfully long time. And because we went on the most awesome vacation. Seriously, it will go down as one of my favorite trips ever. We went to a state park in Southern Utah, called Capitol Reef. We've been there before, but love it lots and went back again. I was surprised how much I remembered from the previous trips, and was happy to show it to Brigham, who actually got to go this time :)

We stayed in a pair of cabins in a small town outside of Capitol Reef called Teasdale.

The first day we drove straight to Capitol Reef, did the scenic drive, looked around the Visitors' Center, and then checked into our cabins. Then we got to go exploring!

We found a trail that lead us to Horse's Head or Gorilla Rock - whatever you thought the rock formation looked most like (I thought it was a good mixture of both: a gorilla riding a horse).

There we got to climb all over and play around on the cool rock formations. It became one of our favorite places of the entire trip.

We even had a spontaneous picture taken that turned out to be one of my favorite family pictures ever!

The kids - or should I say Lydia - enjoyed discovering the red sand, and every time we turned around, they had their hands in it.

The next morning we woke up early to beat the heat, and hiked Cassidy Arch. It took awhile for Lydia and her hat to get ready.

But she eventually got it :)

This hike is labeled strenuous with most of the way looking like this:

But us Nelsons are not easily daunted, and we dragged our little kids up the rocks and mountains.

And it was worth it because it was so beautiful. In this picture, you can see the arch to the left side of our family:

We continued on our hike until we were actually on top of the arch.

It was beautiful.

And scary!

Look at this ledge:

That very first ledge, where it drops into a big hole of death. Yes. Imagine someone who is afraid of heights, already feeling nauseous with worry. Now, imagine this person's daughter, Lydia, running RIGHT ON THAT EDGE. We all screamed her name and she stumbled somewhat, almost falling, and stopped...before someone ran and grabbed her. It gave all of us a heart-attack. I literally almost threw up and became hysterical. Someone was supposed to be holding her hand since I was carrying Ammon, but obviously that didn't work out, and instead I was provided with food for nightmares the rest of the trip. I just prayed in gratitude that she was okay. And you can bet that a couple people were lectured, while I had hawk-eyes the rest of the vacation.

But back to the fun and beauty...

After getting back down we rested. It was pretty hot and tiring keeping those little ones going on that trail.

That afternoon we went back to the cabins, rested, watched movies, avoided the heat of the day, ate good food ( I would know since I was the food planner and cooker - with help from Kyle and Katrina) and geared up to go for another hike that evening called the Grand Wash.

Then we returned to the cabins for dessert, games, and bed.

Day three, we left early again to hike to Hickman Bridge:

This was a neat hike with lots to look at on the way.

After Hickman Bridge we stopped off to enjoy the petroglyphs:

We ate lunch and then decided to squeeze in our last hike in the afternoon rather than driving back later. Luckily, Capitol Gorge had opened back up after flash flooding.

There I had to help Lydia pee behind these bushes:

I guess Lydia's conversation with me echoed through the canyon, because we were forever mocked afterwards with Lydia whining about peeing in the sand and my explaining and digging her a "toilet", since she wouldn't go without one.

Since it was so hot in the afternoon, some people stayed behind with the younger kids while a few of us went on to finish the hike. When those that went ahead were about done, we realized that my dad and brother, Ryan, were way ahead and had no water in the extreme heat. We started to get worried and so we (my mom, Kyle, Katrina, and I) were trying to find them to turn around and join back up with those who had stayed behind.

 But instead of finding them we found this:

Arguably, it was the better find. It had THE most satisfying crunch when stepping on it, both in sound and feeling. Let's have Kyle display the fun we had:

Lining the entire trail, I could have walked on the stuff for hours, happily crunching along. And I did :)

We never did find my dad or Ryan on the hike (we missed them since they turned off on a smaller trail before heading back) but got a good walk in, anyways.

And that ended our hiking adventures in Capitol Reef. However, we still had a night full of games, a spiritual morning devotional, followed up with blessings from my dad to those who were starting school or who wanted one, and a drive home.

And my boy, Ammon, sums up this trip well. It was full of fun red rocks, formations, and sand, it had us happily exhausted by the end of the day, we enjoyed tons of awesome scenery, and got to play in lots of dirt :)

The only thing that would have made it better was if Scott, who is serving a mission in Brazil, could have been here too. But having everyone else together was enough, and I'll always remember the wonderful time we had.

Until next year's family vacation, the Nelson's (and my little Tappana family) have gone back to reality. See you next time.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Washington Summer According to My Phone

Ammon loved relaxing on the couch in the mornings before breakfast.

Maybe he enjoyed it a little too much.

    I know it's hard to see this picture thanks to my high quality phone camera, but I found Lydia sleeping one night with her teddy bear right up against her head.

Lydia's black eye, which isn't done justice in this picture (thanks again phone). And yes, I gave it to her playing tag. But in my defense, she turned around at the last second to run the opposite way and there was no way I was getting my knee out of the way of her face on time. I'm just glad I didn't break her nose, because I thought I had.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Navy Fleet Tour

It was fleet week at the ports of Seattle, which means we were able to tour a real Navy ship! And the best part was that kids under eight weren't allowed, so Grandpa Nils stayed behind to babysit and we got a day of freedom!

It was pretty neat seeing all the different parts of the ship.

And we noticed that there were signs everywhere giving instructions that we thought are pretty common sense. For example, they had a gun with a cover on it, and printed largely on the cover were the instructions to "remove before firing." Hmmm.

We learned that the ship we were touring had been in action at Desert Storm.

And that the flags all meant something different. For instance, one flag means that the captain isn't on board but his assistant is in his stead.

Honestly, we were sort of scammed in the tour guide selection, because our Navy man didn't say anything! Unless you asked him a question he sure wasn't going to explain anything. We learned more when we were passing other tour-groups and hears what their Navy leader was saying.

But it was still neat to look around and see the guns, walk the stairs ( I would die if I were on a ship like that because there are so many narrow stairs with ledges all over the place and if I were in an emergency situation I would trip and break my neck in an instant.), and imagine what goes on when the ship is out at sea.

My mom dared us to ring the bell, but we all chickened out. We decided it wasn't worth the risk with men in uniform carrying huge guns and walking around.

The front part of the ship was the most interesting and we noticed the obvious instruction labels weren't as apparent. We figured you had to be a bitter smarter to work in this part of the ship...

We did find this awesome pair of binoculars that was so powerful that we could see individual people across the Puget Sound on a ferry. I don't think we were supposed to be messing with them, but we had fun spying on others anyway. It was my favorite part of the tour. I decided I need to get me a pair of those babies.

It was all a bit exciting with all the high security and thinking of the actual action this ship had seen. And it sure had me thinking how grateful I am for men that go and fight to keep me safe while I'm eating ice cream and sitting on my bum at home.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Leavenworth Cabin

Because my uncle and his family were up visiting his son in Washington as well, we went with my other aunt that lives up here to visit a famous tourist town called Leavenworth and then all stayed at a cabin nearby.

The house was right on the river.

And included a fire pit, basketball hoop, horseshoe pit, hot tub, hammock, and even fun things for the kids.

The first day we shopped in the tourist town and got settled in, and to start out the second day we went on a hike to Hidden Lake.

The water was so clear that you could see schools of fish swimming around and see to the bottom clear out in the middle of the lake. We finished hiking to the small waterfall that fed into the lake where we all got eaten alive by mosquitoes.

After the hike, half of us went rafting and the other half with little kids went to Lake Wenatchee nearby.

And though the view was picture perfect, we had to leave because it was super windy and pretty chilly as well.

And Ryan may have told Kayleen that he peed in the lake, making her cry for ages and eventually scream, "I'm so freaked out I can't sleep at night!"  Oh the dramatics between a thirteen-year-old brother and six-year-old sister :) Needless to say, she wouldn't get near the water again.

So we went back to the cabin and found a fun beach along the river where the kids could truly enjoy themselves.

We spent some time hot-tubbing, marshmallow-roasting, playing basketball and horseshoes, talking, laughing, and teasing.

It was fun to spend time with so many cousins, aunts, uncles, and relatives. The kids behaved very well and it was a fun getaway!