Saturday, August 31, 2013

A Visit From the Parkinsons

We were so excited this summer to have a surprise visit from Greg's sister and her 6 kids.  A bit crazy having 12 kids under 12 in one house, but so fun!  The kids couldn't get enough of each other and were so disappointed when the cousins had to continue their road trip.
We were having so much fun that we completely forgot to take pictures until the morning they left.  It was a bit chaotic.  I was trying to help them get ready to go so I just gave my phone to Natali and told her to take some pictures.  The shots are pretty random but true to life :)

Natali and their oldest daughter made pillows for all the little girls.  It was a great project to keep them busy and the little girls loved the gifts.  Em and Kate sleep with theirs every night.  Everyone had such a great time.  To bad these guys live so far away.

Friday, August 30, 2013

McCall--Our Favorite Place

The kids were so excited to enjoy a full week up in McCall this summer.  It was even more fun with cousins tagging along for a few days.
No summer trip to McCall is complete without a treat at Ice Cream Alley.
Lily and Neils were wishing they got a little more of the ice cream.
There is something magical about the beach.  Sand+ water+ bucket = hours of enjoyment.  I love it.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Banff Adventure- June

Greg had a work meeting in Banff National Park in Canada so I arranged for my mom to watch my kids so Lily and I could join him on the trip.  Tuesday night my mom picked up the kids and I started packing for my flight the next morning.  I got Lily's birth certificate and my passport all packed.  We had been to Canada a few years earlier and had only needed birth certificates for the kids so we figured we were fine.  But Greg decided to check just in case.  My to our horror we learned that by land or sea you only need a birth certificate, but when flying everyone needs a passport.  We weighed our options as best we could at 11:00pm and jumped in the car.  We were going to drive as far as we could that night before we got tired.

We called Orbitz to cancel our flight.  After nearly an hour on the phone we were told that we didn't need a passport for Lily.  We were over an hour from home trying to decide wither or not to trust this information from a call center employee in India.  Lily was crying, and I was exhausted.  We drove home and  went to bed at 2:30am.  Waking up 3 hours later was hard but we headed to the airport.  Here we were met by surprised Delta agents.  Apparently, there was no 8:00am flight to SLC.  The flight had been canceled and orbitz had not informed us of the change.  We asked about the passport...Lily would not be flying to Canada.  Again we found ourselves in the car driving to Canada.  The good news? - Orbitz gave us a full refund due to their misinformation.

The drive turned out to be a good thing.  I forgot how much fun road trips are.  When flying I just pick up my book and zone out.  In a car I get car sick if I read, so instead we talk.  It was a much needed chance to talk without the distraction of TV, Internet, house work, or kids.  Lets not forget, it also increases your odds of seeing wildlife.  Thirteen hours later we were in Banff enjoying our comfortable hotel and watching it rain.

That's our hotel at the top of the hill in the middle of the fog.
And it rained and rained.  Our first morning our group tour was canceled because of road closures so we went off to look for animals on our own, only to find that all the roads out of Banff were closed.  We were stranded but lucky.  So many towns around us were flooding.  We watched the river in town splash over its banks as it rushed through town.

Our Hotel
Elk on the Golf Course
As more areas flooded we began to worry that we wouldn't be headed home very soon.  But we were so lucky to have our car.  (I wrote the previous paragraphs in Banff.  Now, nearly three months later I figure I should try to finish up...)  During a break in Greg's meetings we got gas and diapers and settled in with no idea how long we'd be hanging around.  I wasn't brave enough to take Lily out in the pouring rain but we did explore the historic, beautiful hotel.  It was big enough that it kept us pretty busy.

The tour of the hotel was fun but there were so many people, because of the rain, that they asked us not to take pictures so we could keep the group moving.
The full river from the hotel balcony during a break in the rain.
The meetings ended and so did the rain but there were still no roads open.  We went to be Friday night not sure what the morning would bring.  Beautiful blue skys and one road out of Banff was a welcome site.  While packing we got a call from another couple we'd met during the meetings.  Apparently, the open road went toward Vancouver, not Calgary, where everyone was flying out of.  So they were loading buses for a 14 hour drive to Vancouver so everyone could get home.  This couple lived in Salt Lake and figured they could get a flying out of Spokane if we didn't mind them tagging along.  It was a bit of a squeeze to get all the luggage in but we were on our way.  On our way out of the hotel we realized there was another road closed along our road home.  The new road turned our 13 hour drive into more like 21 hours, but at least we weren't stuck on a bus headed to Vancouver.

On the drive home we had to stop and see some of Banff.  The Rocky Mountains and glacial lakes are so amazing.

From start to finish our trip was an adventure.  But what started as an unfortunate oversight ended as a blessing because we were able to get home to our kids just a day later than plans.  Most of the other couples in our group weren't as fortunate.  I enjoyed the time with Greg, the time away from kids, and the beauty and power of Gods creations.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Summer Fun

Another summer gone without many pictures to show for it.  The kids had a blast playing with cousins at Grandma's house, enjoying Donnelly and McCall - not to mention trips to the zoo and swimming at our neighborhood pool.  

We also took a few days and went to Salt Lake.  We toured a candy factory, saw Welfare Square, Temple Square, and the Conference Center.  And we couldn't resist the chance to visit Hoogle Zoo.
This gorilla frame is made from Legos - amazing huh.
Emmy the Lego orangutan.

We spent a wonderful day hiking and looking for moose with Greg's sister.  And the kids loved our weekend in Heber with some old friends.  Utah really is a beautiful place.  We loved our trip.

The summer wouldn't be complete without a trip to the MK Nature Center to look for fish and deer.  What cute little owls.  My sister made a great discovery of a little sandy spot on the river nearby where you could dig and wade.  It will be a new favorite spot.
We made a family trip to the park to play flag football.  Most of us had a blast.

Mack and Natali got to fly with my dad down to Lake Powell for a few days.  They met up with some cousins and had a wonderful time.  I was pretty jealous, but I couldn't convince myself it was a good idea to take a baby on a houseboat - next time I'm coming!