Monday, June 24, 2013

Seattle Road Trip

This past weekend we took a road trip up to Washington with the kids.  Lisa had her week long cancer camp in Oregon (her post will be coming soon), so we decided to use it as an excuse to go visit with family.  We all packed up the car and headed north to drop her off and hang with the out of state family.  The initial plan was to spend a couple of days with Lisa's sister Heather in Tri-cities Washington, but unfortunately her son Austin got the chicken pox and caused us to pursue back up plans.  Instead of driving all the way to Washington on Friday, we drove to Boise and spent the night with her cousin Scott.  It was great hanging out with them and letting our kids run around with his kids. Sorry I didn't take any photos on my phone, but I'm sure Lisa did and will include those in her post.
Saturday morning we got up and continued the drive on to Washington, I dropped Lisa off at her sisters house and continued onward to Seattle to stay with my brother.  The kids were so excited to be at Carson's house and to play with their cousins.  Sorry that I don't have many photos of the cousins.  I didn't take the camera with me, and I have found that I don't take as many photos when it is just my cell phone.
Here is a shot of my kids destroying Carson's toy room.  They loved all the legos and toys.

Carson and I took a bike ride on some of the sweet trails that are all over his neighborhood.  Seeing as how it was the day before Father's Day, we took this photo in honor of our dad.  The name of the trail is "Old Mike".  Our dad's name is Michael, and well, he is old, so there you go.

Tucker is fascinated by animals.  He was in heaven in Carson's back yard catching tree frogs, giant slugs, and salamanders.

Aubrey was even super pumped to get in on the action.

That night after dinner Marisa made an awesome strawberry shortcake dessert.  Aspen and Aubrey were her little "helpers" and decided to get silly with some of the whipped cream.

I seemed to have brought the sunshine with me from Utah because we had fantastic weather while we were there.  This is the awesome view of Mt. Rainier (14,411 ft high) off of Carson's deck.  He lives in a cool spot.
Sunday we went to church with them and had a good time hanging out that afternoon at their house.  On Monday I took the kids down to Seattle to entertain them while their cousins were in school during the day.  Our first stop was the Seattle aquarium.  They enjoyed this place on a previous visit, so I thought we could go again.  This is a picture of the kids in front of the fountain by the aquarium.  I guess Cole has a little "Captain Morgan" in him from the looks of his pose.

Once inside the aquarium, the kids were delighted and excited at the sights around every corner. The main tank at the entrance had the scuba diver in it.  They thought that was so cool and even gave him some high fives through the glass.

We spent a fair amount of time at the tidal pools so the kids could see and touch all the sea stars and anemones.  One of my favorite things about the Seattle aquarium is that it is set up to show case all the marine and sea life of the Pacific Northwest and the Puget Sound. It's cool to see up close and personal the local and native fauna.

They thought this skull of an orca was pretty awesome.

Aubrey was giving the statue of a seal a kiss.

A cool overhead view of a tank full of salmon.

After the aquarium, the kids really wanted to take a ride on the ferris wheel that was next door.  The weather was so perfect that I decided it was totally worth it.  On a side note, this bad boy is 200 feet high.  I have an irrational and inexplicable fear of heights on man made objects.  I don't know why, and I think it's stupid.  I can dangle my feet from the edge of a thousand foot cliff, or jump off a cliff into a lake, or climb really tall trees with ease.  But for some lame reason when I am on bridges, sky scrapers or ferris wheels my chest feels like it has a vice grip on it.  Even when I breathe slowly and tell myself everything is alright, I can still feel the fear gripping me.  I know, dumb.  I'm not afraid of anything else in this world.  Not spiders.  Not snakes.  Not the dark.  Not fights.  Not even death.  But freaking heights on man made structures.  

Here is a view back at the aquarium we just toured.

So we waited our turn in line and then got our own gondola.  I was curious and worried if any of my kids had inherited this irrational fear, but thankfully they all thought it was awesome and loved it.  Daddy was the only wimp this day.
Up, up and away!
The views were so great.  We could see all the way to the Olympic Mountains.  We had great views of the Puget Sound, the harbor and downtown Seattle.

They were loving all the sights from up so high.

Look how tiny the people on the ground look.

A cool view with the Space Needle in it.

Looking towards the Port of Seattle and the Stadiums for the Seahawks, Mariners, and Sounders.

After the ferris wheel ride, we walked across the street and went to Pike Place Market.  We had lunch at a cool Mexican restaurant.  The kids loved the flavored sodas I got them.  I believe we got mango, mandarin, and pineapple.

I had to get a photo of the kids on the famous pig statue.

The fresh seafood at the Market is phenomenally delicious.  I had decided to buy a bunch of salmon for our dinner that night with Carson's family.

I ordered 10 pounds of fresh salmon.  Anytime you order salmon the workers make quite the production out of it.  They toss the salmon back and forth and make some chants and shouts that thrills the crowd.  Here they are throwing around the salmon that I ordered.

It was delicious too.  Carson's kids and my kids all loved it and gobbled it up.  We had fun playing with them one final night before our long trek home on Tuesday.

On the way home I took this photo of the Baker City, Oregon sign to remind my family of our campout we had there last summer.

Our kids really are great road trippers.  They behaved admirably for the 13.5 hour drive.  I set up a DVD player on each bench and would throw them candy or jerky whenever they would begin to stir or get bored. Thank you kids for making it easier on me!

Because it was such a long trip and I was the only driver, I bought a couple of Monster energy drinks to keep me wide awake through out the drive.  Let's just say that not only did it get the job done, it fired me up so much that I was rocking out for most of the drive.
Good times.  I'm already looking forward to another road trip up to Seattle next year.  Next time we want to go over to Olympic National Park again.

Fathers and Sons Camp out

I was in charge of putting together our ward's fathers and sons camp out this year.  I decided to go up Clyde Creek because of it's proximity and beauty.  We live in an awesome area and I love how we are so close to so much wonderful recreation.
I was able to secure a sweet meadow for the ward.  It was spacious and beautiful.

The two younger boys unfortunately had to go to bed early because they couldn't stay out of the pond and the mud and went through both pairs of clothes I brought for them.

The Next morning they had a great time though eating and running around.

The sun was very bright that morning.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Memorial Day weekend

This Memorial Day weekend we had the opportunity to go camping with family (my mom and dad) and friends (the Blakes and the Humbles) in the west desert of Utah.  We went out past Delta to camp, and at the suggestion of Mike (Holly's husband) picked a sweet spot away from the crowds in a beautiful location.  Mike grew up near Delta and would go here often with his family.
This a view of our group campsite that we established.  Again, what a great spot.

There were a bunch of cliffs to the west of our campsite that provided some spectacular views.

We even got see a some groups of wild horses in the area.

And the cacti were in blossom.

Saturday morning we went and dug for trilobites with the kids.  They absolutely loved it.

Here are a few samples of their success.

One of the best ones we found.

After going back to camp for lunch, we made the long trek out to Lehman Caves and Great Basin National Park.

We  went on a guided tour of the caves

How can you not love that smile?

A family photo of the Calderwoods.

A few of the other people in our group.  It was great catching up with Cassie and Jordan.  They lived by us during our short stint in Colorado Springs.

This is what they called "cave bacon".  When you shine a light on it, it looks like bacon.  Mmmmm.....bacon.

After the cave tour we went into the tiny town of Baker, Nevada and got some pizza for dinner.  The sun was setting on the way back to camp and we caught some really cool photos.  This one is of Notch Peak.

A cool view of the Sevier Lake bed.

The next morning we went out to the cliffs and did some skeet shooting.

My dad, getting ready to slay some clay pigeons.

The kids spent the vast majority of their time catching lizards.  There were plenty to find around our campsite.  Here Tucker and Colby demonstrate a few of the lizards they caught.

How appropriate is this t-shirt?  Blake really did love getting in the dirt and just digging.

That night my dad and I made an awesome dutch oven dinner of chicken and potatoes to celebrate his 60th birthday (which was on Friday).  It was delicious.

Then after dinner we went and built up the campfire for the evening.  I burned a couple boxes of old patient charts that needed to be destroyed.

When we busted out the s'mores, the kids were delighted.

Cassie and Aubrey posing with their giant marshmallows.

A good picture of Jordan and his kids and Erin and her kids at the campfire.

I think poor Blake stood there for about 40 minutes trying to roast his marshmallow.  He wouldn't go very close to the fire though, so it was a slow process.

A cool view of the sunset bathed peak behind our campsite.

Tucker and Blake enjoying breakfast in our trailer on Memorial Day.

There were lots and lots of 4-wheeler rides with grandpa.  They couldn't get enough of that.

And Aubrey was so proud that she caught her own lizard too.

Like all trips, this one unfortunately had to come to an end.  The kids were so exhausted that they quickly fell asleep on the drive home.  Well, except for Tucker, that is.

It was another successful and enjoyable Memorial Day weekend with family and friends.  Now on to our many other adventures this summer.