Friday, July 31, 2009

Here Comes the Kelsey

Disclaimer: Okay, Taylor, I've got to apologize straight off for not posting any pictures of you--I ended up with surprisingly few! Next time, YOU wear the poofy dress and we'll see if we can't come away with a few more pictures of you, okay?

Kelsey got married! (To Taylor--you'll just have to take my word for it.) When Greg and I got married, Kelsey was 12. Now she's all grown up!

Kels and the girls: Katie, Shannon, Kelsey, Veronica, and LeRita.

Kels and all her big brothers: Michael, Jeremy, Kels, Matt, Jeff, Greg, and Steven (down front).

Willden nieces and nephews: (top row) Jacob, Lindley, (bottom row) Laurinda, Alli (my palli), Spencer, Nico, Natalie, Catalina, Zack, and Ella. Cata--sorry you have a bow covering half of your face, girl! In all the other pictures someone was making zombie eyes (that would be Zack).

Just plain silliness. Nat gets on Greg's shoulders and there is no telling what will happen next.
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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Bryce Canyon III: Escape to Mossy Cave

After the Navajo Loop hike the trail to Mossy Cave was cake. (It would've been cake anyway. Ella's walk to school was more than 0.4 miles.) My shoulders were hurting from carrying Natalie, so Greg carried her in the Moby for the first time. That's what the pose is all about.

That's Ella and me sitting at the edge of a waterfall. Are you freaked out, Grandma Kathie? (Grandma Joan is not freaked out. She is used to seeing her children dangling from ropes, jumping from planes, and running around second story roofs with chainsaws. One measly waterfall is nothing.)

Red rock everywhere. It was really something to see.

We walked a whole 0.4 miles and THIS is Mossy Cave! (Greg called it Mossy Overhang.) They say that some years there are icicles in the cave year-round. We didn't see any, but it's a cool fact nonetheless.
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Bryce Canyon II: Attack of the Navajo Loop

We stood at the top of the Navajo Loop trail head, gazing down into the canyon and watching the little ant-people hike around down there, and Ella said, "I want to go down there!" So we headed down the trail, and when I say "down", I mean STRAIGHT down. I was carrying Natalie in the Moby wrap and couldn't see my feet, which gave an added element of adventure to the hike. The loop trail is only 1.5 miles long, but half of that is straight down and the rest is straight up. Ella was tripping along the first few switchbacks, noticing chipmunks and interesting rocks, shouting, "This is FUN!" while the people we passed on their way up looked half dead and severely lacking in crucial bodily fluids.

The view down into "Wall Street".

Little Ella in front of a big chasm.

Natalie fell asleep while we were at the bottom and I carried her 20+ pounds of dead weight all the way to the top. About half way up Greg said, "If she wakes up, I'll take her." I responded, "No way! Do you think I want to tell people I carried her MOST of the way?" I wanted the full bragging rights.

And although I did seriously consider throwing up at one point on the hike out of the canyon (We were over 8,000 feet above sea level, for Pete's sake. San Antonio is, like, 12 feet above sea level.) we made it! Don't I look triumphant? And, yes, dangerously low on fluids.
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Bryce Canyon

While in Utah for a wedding (more to come on that) we took a family trip to Bryce Canyon National Park. It was a really great time. The drive was surprisingly beautiful--most of what I'd seen of southern Utah consisted of the view from I-15, which is largely a pretty big yawn. Panguitch, UT wins the award for the cutest little old-timey motels you've ever seen. They almost made me want to stop and stay a while in Panguitch. (Almost.)

Here, Natalie shows you where we are: "Bryce Canyon, guys!" (Interesting, unrelated note: After a few hours in the park we started keeping track of the different license plates we were seeing, and we ended up see the plates from 41 states, plus three Canadian provinces. We even saw Alaska and Hawaii! By the end of our stay we were driving through parking lots purely to scope out the license plates--"SOUTH DAKOTA! YES!!!")

I sat Natalie down for this picture and she immediately picked up a rock and popped it into her mouth. She was pretty happy, despite the fact that I didn't let her eat it.

We had heard that there were ravens in the park, but didn't see any until one of the last viewpoints we stopped at. We tossed bits of PB&J sandwich crust to the birds and they caught them mid-air. Someone said they would eat right out of your hand, but I wasn't that brave. They were BIG, and staring me down.

The rock formations that Bryce is so famous for are called hoodoos. We started calling Nat "hoodoo", mostly because of the hair.
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A Few Springy Bits

Ella's school had a field day at the end of the year, which she loved. She wasn't all that sure about the sack race, having never been in one before, but check her out! She totally won. She is now a big fan of sack races.

One day I put Natalie in a laundry basket to keep her contained while I did something or other. I kept tossing measuring cups and wooden spoons in with her to keep her happy.
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Happy Happy Birthday, Ella Dear!

Disney On Ice came to town in April, so a month before her birthday I took Ella and her three friends (Rachel, Katelyn, and Emilee) down to the Alamodome for an early birthday celebration. Then, on the big day, May 18th, we celebrated at home with a cake of Ella's choice--green with pink writing. Why my cakes turn out so lumpy is beyond me, but Ella really didn't care. Natalie wasn't so sure about the ice cream.

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