Saturday, April 30, 2011

Our Saturday

Spring in Utah: some days I feel like the city I live in is playing a cruel joke. While other areas of the country have been wearing short sleeves for weeks, we woke up to this:

Almost ten inches. I was outside this early because I really wanted to shake off some of my sweet little trees' limbs.

Once the sun came up the sky turned into the most beautiful robins egg blue. It is hard to capture a perfect color on camera, but it was perfect .
We had plans to pick up my grandma at 9:30 and go out to breakfast. We chose Blue Plate Diner. So so yummy. I ordered classic eggs benedict (of course) and was in heaven.
James was on his best behavior and scarfed down an entire bowl of mac and cheese from the kids menu. The plan was to go to the nursery after breakfast and buy lots of flowers for my garden. This was to be my 30th birthday present from my grandma. Well we arrived at the nursery and were disappointed to see all the perennials were under a good 6" of snow. I guess we'll have to go back.
After James's nap it had warmed up a bit. Like almost to 40 degrees! (Love my sarcasm, I am so sick of this cold). At least the sun was mostly out.
We put two sweaters over James's outfit and then topped it with his rain jacket and a hat and we were off. James was happy to walk through the melting snow and shovel it into his mouth.
Since we've had such a cold spring most of the tulips have yet to open. At least they survived the heavy wet snow that morning. And the last tiled photo? James is only happy if he is touching the widest trunk of any bush or tree. He'll often get so frustrated at a bush as he tries to navigate to the middle so he can touch its trunk.

We didn't have any afternoon plans so we decided on a long walk (over two hours!). We visited my favorite house in the entire neighborhood and the goats that are on an open lot about a half mile away. The owner told me last year that there were a few pregnant mamas in the group and the babies were due in May. I am so excited! Goat babies = total cuteness.

Near the end of our walk we decided to stop at the school yard and let James play. He loves this playground and we go at least four times a week. Notice the sky is no longer blue and sunny. It was cold.
Still some snow that had yet to melt. And you know all those little things that you think "I'll never forget this". Yea, the drainage spout on the school is one of those things. James loves this little spout that drips. He visits it each and every time we go to the school. Had to get a photo, because one day I'll forget.
The day ended with a baby in bed, a babysitter at the house, and a Mexican date night with my hubby. We love love love Rio Grande Cafe here in Utah. It is located in the old Rio Grande train station, and back in the day we went there all the time. Now, not so much. It was so fun to re-connect over some cheesy goodness.

And then the night got better, if that is possible. We met up with Chelsea and Joe (sister-in-law and brother-in-law) at The Red Door for drinks. Dinner and drinks? Something E and I have never done in our entire adult lives. Weird, huh? It was wonderful, chatting with friends (yes, they are family, but they are also friends, so we're lucky), sipping yummy cosmos and staying out late.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Our Trip {Chapter 3 & Black and White Wednesday}

Chapter 3 - The Last Day

Our little family of three slept happily, without interruption, in our hotel in Moab on Friday night. I was so scared James would have another night terror, but thank goodness he didn't. He woke up happy and refreshed at 7:30 am.

We packed up our hotel room and made our journey into the park once more. The drive to the campsite, although a touch long, is seriously amazing. I'm never more happy than I am when I'm enjoying our National Parks.

We arrived at the campsite and started packing the car with all the items we'd left there overnight. James happily visited even more trees, explored my Aunt Laura's tent and didn't seem at all bothered by the light rain and cold temps.
My brother Brandon can cook a mean breakfast burrito. He said it was "homage worthy". Then after all our gear was safely tucked into the car we set out with my family on one last little hike before heading home.

We decided on Landscape Arch, not only because it was short and easy, but because it is amazingly beautiful. You hike right through the fins up to a HUGE arch (longest in the world). It is so thin and it spans nearly 300 feet. It is really pretty amazing.

This is near the beginning of the trail. I love this portion of the hike because you are hiking right between the fins. And isn't James being silly? He kept tilting his head to the side and smiling. Such a goof.
Along the trail my Mom was happy to point out the amazing red cliffs to my little explorer.
The scenery is unreal.
Pretty quickly we arrived at Landscape Arch and bid my family farewell. They were hiking on to many more beautiful arches along the trail and we were heading home with our sweet boy .
Miraculously James slept in the car on the way home! Only about an hour, but it was way better than the nearly no sleep he got on the way down. After his nap and some lunch we passed the time playing E's iPad. He loves it.
Cutie pie of mine.
And this smile I captured only an hour from home! Amazingly he was still in such a happy mood.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Our Trip {Chapter 2 - Amazing Day}

Chapter 2 - Amazing Day

We woke up on Friday morning to a happy toddler (the internet says babies don't actually remember night terrors...). The wind was gone and we were met with beautiful blue skies and warm air.

We decided that it was worth it to extend the hotel for another night. Yes, this was supposed to be a camping trip and we had arranged for my brother to bring us our tent and travel crib, but I just didn't have it in me to try to put James to bed in a tent (in the cold) after the night we had had. Luckily the hotel had room.

So we packed up our hiking things and headed back into the park to join my family for breakfast and a day of hiking. The campground my Mom rented was beautiful. Right near some amazing fins of the park, and right near the trail head to Landscape Arch. Anyone that knows this area knows it is truly beautiful.

We arrived in plenty of time for a delicious breakfast (delicious is James's new favorite word, btw, and says it "lishious"). The entire time breakfast was being cooked James was off visiting trees. He LOVES trees and the scrubby Juniper trees were noting short of miraculous, according to James.

At one point I also dug out some Easter goodies I had brought along. I decided to use a tin bucket as the Easter basket. The bunny also left some shovels, a Grover plush (my kid adores Grover, and can even say Grover!), a bubble fan, and a few other goodies. My favorite part was hiding some eggs and watching James look for them. He didn't quite get the entire point of the egg hunt, but was willing to participate long enough for me to get a few photos. ;)
The "ohhh" face is still going strong.
One thing James was loving was playing with Dada's hat. He'd pull it off E's head and indicate he'd want it on his head. Then he'd give it back to E and when asked if he wants it on Dada's head. He loved it, this game went over and over.
I did not saturate this photo. The light is just that golden.
Soon the entire group packed lunches and all decided to hike the Delicate Arch trail. We were super thrilled. James seems to really love hiking on E's back. We arrived at the trail head and set off. James was as happy as a clam.

The weather was perfect. Cool enough to hike in but warm and wonderful in the sun. James was so excited to be hiking again he was dancing in the pack, shifting his weight quickly from side to side. E kept joking that he was getting an excellent core workout.

We arrived at Delicate Arch in about an hour and all sat down to have lunch. It was so awesome being at this amazing Utah landmark with my little man.

How did E capture this shot without a huge crowd in the background? He has magic powers I tell you.
The area around the arch is pretty steep, so we didn't want James walking. As you can see he really wanted to smile for the camera again. Yea, he was trying to escape.
On the hike back to the car James conked out. I can hardly believe he was comfortable enough to stay asleep, but I think he was so exhausted from the day before he needed the rest badly.

We knew the backpack to car seat transfer would not work. So E proved his undying love for his boy. He kept walking for another hour (around and around a little cabin near the trail head) to keep James asleep. Finally, after he walked another mile he decided to sit down. James promptly woke up (of course), but was happy and well rested.

Looks comfy, doesn't it?

My family had gone onto other hiking and because of our napping boy, E, James and I were alone. We decided to hop over to Skyline Arch for a bit before heading back to the campground for dinner. Instead of putting him back in the hiking backpack we let him "hike".

This meant we got barely twenty steps down the trail before James found a fascinating tree and wanted to stop for a half an hour. Because we love him so, E and I just sat on the warm red sand and let him visit the tree to his heart's content.

My boy loves my camera lens these days. At least he's looking at me, right? And notice Skyline Arch over his little shoulder?

I smiled from ear to ear when I saw this photo on my camera's preview screen.
Acting goofy.
Late in the afternoon we decided to head back to the campground since E and I were in charge of dinner for the entire family that night. We got right to work. Chopping chicken and onions, starting briquettes and playing with the baby. We made chicken pot pie in the dutch oven because we were sure it would be a crowd pleaser, and it really was. Everyone loved it.

James happily played with his adoring family members as the sun sunk low into the sky. He visited even more trees and was on his best behavior for the entire evening.

E working on his masterpiece with the help of both his dutch ovens.
Auntie Melissa is the best. Not only does she and James adore each other, she was always more than happy to help out if I needed to assist E with the dinner making.
Sideways eyeballs? He loves this look and does it all the time. I've been trying to capture it on camera and so glad I finally succeeded. Notice in this photo and the last one, he's visiting his tree friends.
This insanely blue bird came by our campsite. We have no idea what type he is, but he was crazy blue! Almost neon.
Right near the end of the evening James and Auntie Melissa had a dance party. James was loving it and swinging his hips from side to side (and doing the side eyes again!)
True love, these two.
At 7:30ish we called it a day. We had had such a fun full day and packed up the baby and went back to the hotel in Moab. He slept like a wonderful little man and everyone in the family felt refreshed for Saturday. I'll post about our last day in Arches in the next day or two.

So glad this amazing day was so great. I thought after Thursday I might be done with Arches. ;)
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