Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Annual Utah Trip

Because we left so many beloved family members behind when we moved from Utah to Washington, we end up usually visiting Utah at least once each year. This year we started our Utah vacation with a camping trip with my side of the family in Fairview, Utah. We had a cabin all to ourselves and we crowded in, sleeping on couches, mats on the floor, cots, tents, and hammocks outside.

We spent time exploring the area on atv's and riding around until we were covered in dirt and happy with exhaustion.

The kids spent hours each day on a fun little zip-line.

There was a fun little lake and we went canoeing, kayaking and more. One morning, a group of us woke up extremely early to go fishing.

Scott and I were in one canoe, while Kenny and Taylor were in the other one. My dad fished from the shore but headed back early when he didn't have much luck. Using spinners we were able to have success from the boats. Kenny and I caught three fish each, Scott caught two, and Taylor caught one. We all lost quite a few off the hooks - those rainbow trout were fighters! I LOVE fishing and it was a blast. Totally worth waking up so early.

We may have caught all the fish, but Ryan deserves a reward because he gutted all nine of them in freezing cold water for us while we watched.

We enjoyed eating the fish for breakfast and dinner in the following days.

Sitting around the campfire roasting marshmallows and just being all together as a family for the first time in a few years was the best part.

We enjoyed each other's company, a Sunday devotional, discussing gospel topics, playing would you rather, and relaxing together.

Watching the three toddlers play and interact with everyone was also fun. They each have their own little personality that cracked us up.

We also had family pictures taken with the beautiful scenery as our backdrop.

The Tappanas
Nelson siblings. Oldest to youngest from right to left
All the Nelsons and families in our BYU gear. These are my people.

An attempt at getting the grandkids together
That's a bit better
The parents who started it all.
This weekend together was a blast. I was sad to see it end.

However, we had many more people to see and visit, including Brigham's family who I love as well.

Brigham and I took our kids and went and stayed at his stepmom's house to visit with the Tappanas. One day, when Brigham went to the city to have lunch with his brother, Nonie and I took the kids and a couple cousins to a store called Scheels to check it out. They rode the ferris-wheel, did a fun little shooting game, and looked at all the animals on the walls and the fish in the fish tanks.

We made friends with a large, friendly-ish bear.

Another afternoon we spent time at a splash pad in the hot, summer heat of Utah.

After a couple hours, the heat got to us and though we dipped our feet in the water, we moved on to dinner at Chili's and then dessert at Nonie's house.

We were all pretty tuckered out by the end of the day, but spending time with cousins is my kids' favorite, and it was so nice to catch up with everyone.

Brigham and I met up again in Provo with my family to help move Ryan into his dorm at BYU. Saying goodbye to him as he leaves for college was sad, but we are excited for all that he can do.

We showed him around campus and ran into Cosmo in the Wilk. Go Cougars!

Later that night, we said our final goodbyes to Kenny and Ryan who both leave for different BYU schools. We had a pool party with pizza and food and a rambunctious round of pool basketball. I don't think my ankle will ever be the same. Totally worth it.

We watched a BYU football game with Nonie, and we discovered Kendrick's deep love for football.

He moved closer and closer to the tv on his little stool, clapped and cheered, and to this day still loves yelling out, "HELMET!" and "football" as he watches every football game with us. My little cougar.

We spent a lot of time visiting relatives, like my uncle who has cancer, and my paternal grandparents. We also visited my maternal grandmother twice since her health took a sudden turn for the worse. A bunch of family came into town to visit her and it was lovely seeing so many of my aunts and uncles who I rarely get to visit with.

We also took a trip to visit Brigham's dad's grave.

It was as beautiful as ever up there, and letting Brigham heal just a tiny bit more and say hello to his dad was just what we needed.

Our trip to Utah was long, and fun, and sometimes sad. It was mostly about family and seeing all those who we love. We missed some people who are no longer there, and we were sad to leave those who didn't come back to Washington with us. It was nice to be home again after a long trip, but I'm sure we'll be back to Utah again next summer!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Tappana Times: Wrapping Up Summer

We're about two weeks into the school year and I realized I haven't documented the last part of all our summer fun. Probably because I was always gone! Somehow with two of my kids in school, life hasn't seemed to slow down yet, but I'm slowly getting to what needs to be done.

Ammon played some flag football and we had fun bribing him with ice cream cones if he scored a touchdown, pulled flags on the opposite team, and more. He earned an ice cream cone for each and it was fun to see his enthusiasm grow. I truly enjoyed watching him play, especially since football is my favorite sport. Watching a bunch of six year old buddies trying to convert downs....hilarious.

Ammon had most of his close friends on his team with him so it was awesome to hang with other parents and laugh at our kids and cheer for the team. We were sort of the Mormon team, and it was awesome.

Before August could end, we had to take one more hiking trip that also doubled as a trip to the beach with our friends.

I wanted to explore the area around the beach before we played, so I arrived early and took the kids hiking. We found a natural slide where the kids enjoyed dirtying the bottom of their shorts thoroughly.

Kendrick and I watched from the bottom, where we kept our shorts clean.

We found a bridge that looked pretty awesome in the surrounding greenery.

And we may have gotten a wee bit lost, hit a dead end, and made friends with other confused hikers when the trail wasn't clearly marked. Despite a turn around, we enjoyed exploring and all laughed together as the kids and I said "hup" every time we went down a stair. It was pretty funny because we went down A LOT of stairs, so there were a lot of "hups" until the last of us were down. I couldn't stop my giggling because we sounded like we were in a video game.

This hike is also where I learned that somewhere along the way, Kendrick has learned how to count. I was counting to three to the older kids, and suddenly I hear on my back Kendrick finishing counting from three to ten. I was blown away! I hadn't taught him that. My kid is a genius! Of course, it's hard to get on video, but we have one of him counting his Candy Land cards.

We also discovered that he has been learning the alphabet by himself. He now knows almost all his letters. And it's just because he loves letters and he has taught them to himself from his computer and from the letter magnets we have on the fridge. This kid is only one and a half, and he blows me away. He's always kept me on my toes, and I have a feeling it's not going to stop here.

Kendrick also knows the majority of shapes, animals and sounds, and has zero interest in learning colors. But I figure the kid can get a break somewhere right. I mean, he knows 95% of the alphabet, and what the letters might stand for!! "R is for rabbit."

Ok, back to the beach.

After hiking we joined our friends set up on the beach. The beach we went to was called Dash Point and it's on the Puget Sound.

The kids had endless fun digging up clams, building sand castles, playing in the waves, having seaweed fights, and more. We could have stayed for days.

Kendrick had endless fun splashing in the river that runs into the Sound, playing with buckets, sand, and sticks.

Another morning, when exercise class was cancelled, I felt adventurous and took the kids on a six to seven mile bike ride. We rode along the Arcadia trail, which is a short bike ride from our house. Unfortunately, it's all uphill on the way there and there were some tears and bribery involved to keep the kids going.

Luckily, playing in the river at the end of the trail was a nice break for the kids and it was enough to convince them to get back on their bikes to make the ride home. The ride home was mostly downhill, but we had a giant hill to climb up just before we make it back to our neighborhood, and we were all pretty tired by time we made it home. I kept telling my kids that sometimes the things that are the most fun are hard work too. I don't know that they bought it, but some day they will, right? I hope they at least learn how to push themselves to do more than they want or thought they could, in order to enjoy some of the beauties this life has to offer.

One more fun family activity we did before school started, was spend a day at Emerald Downs, our local horse racing track.

If I were a betting person, I think I would lose a lot of money here. Something about the thrill of the horses racing just gets me every time. I could stay and watch races all day.

Since we aren't the betting type, we made pretend bets amongst ourselves about which horse we thought would win. It was seriously fun as we read through the stats on each horse and rider and picked which one we thought would win each race. Lydia and I were terrible at choosing. BUT, on the last race we both picked the same horse and it came from behind to win! It was SO exhilarating. (see folks, keep me away from the money)

I loved watching the kids line up at the fence each time a race was about to start to watch the horses cross the finish line. I would say if your kids can read then they would enjoy something like this, because if my kids hadn't been able to read the stats and the horses names and such, I think they would have been bored.

This little dude was, but luckily he fell asleep for a nap.

We decided next time to bring M&M's or something to use to have a little family betting pool set up. I already can't wait. I think in another life I would love to be a horse-jockey or trainer or something. I just love those animals and find them to be so beautiful. I could watch them all day. I would wander over to the stalls to watch as they parade the horses around to the people who actually place real bets, and watch the jockeys mount and admire everything about them. It was an afternoon well spent and we enjoyed the family time together. Can't wait to go back again!

In August, we were thrilled to finally have Uncle Kenny arrive home from his mission to Honduras! His flight kept arriving earlier and earlier that day so we were running around the airport like maniacs praying we wouldn't miss him.

Luckily, we were on time and the handsome, tan Elder Nelson was able to find us with our posters welcoming him home.

It was weird and awesome to talk to him that night. We could all tell he was exhausted and unsure, but we just loved seeing him.

After he was released as a missionary, we went to my parent's house and as he showed us his treasures from Honduras he slowly relaxed into the Kenny we know and love....with a sweet Spanish accent.

A couple days later we celebrated his big twentieth birthday we had missed in the last month of his mission.

Aren't our candles making out 20 genius?

I seriously adore this picture because Kenny and Ammon really love each other, and here they are reunited and smiling and laughing like old times.

The weekend after Kenny returned from his mission, we took a family float trip down the Yakima River.

We secured all of our different floaties, rafts, and devices together with rope and set off to float the river for about four hours together. Luckily, Kendrick was left behind with a babysitter so that we were actually able to enjoy our trip.

The weather started out chilly, but then turned out to be quite perfect. The sun came out so that it wasn't freezing, but we didn't get too hot either. Though, most of us took plenty of precautions against getting sunburned.

This trip had been planned for two years, and we were finally actually getting around to doing it so we were prepared with umbrella hats and more.

The scenery was gorgeous. Kenny and I were the only ones with paddles and it was our job to keep our group from running into branches and rocks.

Kenny and I would be paddling as hard as we possibly could, while the group would be yelling at us to go faster or work harder. We would take a break to eat our sandwiches when we would suddenly be yelled at again to paddle. So there we were working our butts off while the rest of the group ate their lunches and yelled at us. It was awesome.

The water was pretty dang cold, and we did have a couple incidents with people falling in or getting bashed up on rocks. My kids are notorious for losing their flip flops in rivers and no matter how many times it happens and I assure them that it's ok, their flip flops only cost A DOLLAR, it's traumatic to them every single time. This trip was no exception and my aunt practically drowned herself trying to go after one of Lydia's flip flops that was floating away after the kiddie boat capsized when some branches pulled it over. Luckily the kids were saved, my aunt had a harrowing trip through some rough rocks and fell way behind our floating group, but the flip flop and my aunt were eventually recovered and it was all good.

It made for some adventure on our otherwise uneventful float trip.

The best part was being with Kenny after so long, and being with the rest of our family. I swear, there's nothing like spending time with the people I love so much. The two hour drive home was long, but we followed up with a dinner at Cafe Rio. Doesn't get much better than that.

Speaking of food, we had lots of good food during the summer, including fifty cent frosties

And of course, my favorite, spaghetti.

Which apparently, Kendrick is a big fan of as well. I couldn't give this kid enough of the pasta goodness.

The rest of August we spent at the pool for swimming lessons,

or roaming around our backyard, enjoying the perfect Washington summer weather.

Our grass turned brown because we actually had months without rain. And it was awesome. Everything a summer should be. Luckily, we know the rain will return and so will the green.

We also enjoyed the solar eclipse together with some friends as we shared some glasses Brigham found on the ground at a gas station on our Yakima River float trip. We were worried that since the glasses were kind of crushed and were found on the ground that they weren't safe and that we would burn our eyeballs off, but luckily our eyesight remained and we were able to enjoy the delights of our solar system.

Solar eclipses and summer. That's how we do it here.