Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Goodbye summer, hello school!

As much as I love year-round school, I'm always a little sad when the end of summer break comes around.  Three and a half weeks of summer vacation just makes me feel like my kids are being deprived of one of the pleasures of childhood.  But then I remember how much we enjoy those additional 12 weeks off during the school year, and all is right with the world again.  

Today marked the first day back to school for Alyssa, Tyler and Ryan.  Do they look excited or what?

This was the best attempt in a series of very cheesy pictures.

Alyssa started the 6th grade and was glad to find that 5 of the 9 members of her "gang" were in her class.  They call themselves the "Triple Gs" {aka the giggly girl gang}.

Tyler started the 4th grade and was too cool to let me take any pictures of him other than this one.  Don't mind the girl who forgot to say her prayers before she left the house this morning.

Ryan started the 2nd grade.  When asked if he was excited to start school last night, he replied that his "nerves were running high".  But then he added that he was also super excited.

Ryan also has the additional drama of having the girl who proposed to him last year in his class this year.  Her name is also Ryan, and when he saw her walk in the door he gave a giant sigh and said "oh great".  Then he said he'd might as well just marry her so she would stop whining about it.  Greg says it's good that he's already learned how these things work. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Celebrating Love Day

Just a few fun things that we did for Valentine's day yesterday....

Pink heart shaped scones for breakfast.

Alyssa and Tyler's boxes for school.  We spent several hours on Monday working on these.  Can I just say I am eternally grateful to Ryan's teacher for having the kids make their own boxes at school?  She's the best. :)

We also made 75 of these babies for the kids to pass out to their friends at school.  I think they turned out pretty cute.

Greg surprised me with flowers and a yummy apple pie caramel apple from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory.  Can't beat an apple dipped in caramel, dipped in white chocolate and rolled in cinnamon and sugar!

Then our family had a yummy fondue dinner at home together that the kids insisted on eating by candlelight.  And can I just say how much I love bread dipped in cheese?  I could eat it forever.  Oh yeah, and the chocolate fondue was pretty good too!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

How One Child's Desire for Ice Cream Turned Into a Family Vacation

Let me just begin by saying that I totally should have included this trip in my last post about How I Spent My Summer Vacation.  After I wrote that post I kept thinking there was one more thing I was missing.  After a few days of pondering on it, I finally realized that it was only our biggest trip of the year! Duh! I thought about revising my last post, but I never really got around to it.  And after all, it was our big trip, so really it deserves a post all of it's own.  

For several months Ryan had been begging us to go to Yellowstone.  He kept saying that we had promised him that we would take him to Yellowstone this year.  I don't ever remember having a conversation like that, but kept telling him that we could probably go sometime.  Well, turns out that Greg had a week of vacation time scheduled in September and we had never really planned how we were going to use it.  Being the "last minute" kind of people we are, we started looking into our options about a week before the scheduled time off.  We looked at a couple of our favorite Park City get away places, but they were booked.  We looked at our favorite San Diego beach condos, but they were booked as well.  We thought about going to Disneyland, but weren't sure we were up to the task with a 1-year-old.  Finally we remembered Ryan's desire to go to Yellowstone and figured we should do it.  Neither Greg or I had been there since we were teenagers.  

So we rented this fun little cabin in Island Park where we stayed for a few nights.

Upon the first 5 minutes of driving into the actual park, we encountered this bull elk.

Also remember that I have a crappy little camera with barely any zoom, so when you see a picture like this, it means that we were impressively close. 

I could have petted this guy from the car window, if I was brave.  But I'm not.  

There were some stupid brave people who got out of their cars and were taking pictures standing right next to the buffalo.  I was hoping to see a good goring, but all I got was disappointment.

We also saw plenty of deer, but that's not too exciting since we find them in our backyard several times a year. And we saw a couple of bald eagles as well.  The kids were really hoping to see bears and wolves, but that didn't happen.

We did, however, see lots of beautiful scenery.  

A view of the upper falls as we hiked down to the lower falls.

Standing at the top of the lower falls looking down.

Lower falls from a distance.  It was quite dark and rainy on the day I took these pictures.  I wish it had been sunny because I'm sure the colors would have been much more impressive.  But it was still beautiful.

And here we all are at Artist's Point - soaking wet from all the rain.

And at Inspiration Point.

Hiking to The Artist's Paintpots.

Ryan really wanted his picture taken with this bird.

Fortunately we finally got one sunny day.  

It is about this time that Ryan starts getting annoyed and asks "Are we going to be outside the whole time?"
Me:  Yes
Ryan:  What? You never told me that we were going to be outside!
Me:  Of course we're going to be outside.  Yellowstone is outside.
Ryan:  No it's not!
Me:  Yes it is.  What do you think Yellowstone is?
Ryan:  It's where you go to get ice cream and it's inside!
Me:  Ooooohhhhh, did you mean you wanted to go to Coldstone?
Ryan:  Is that where the ice cream is?
Me:  Yes.
Ryan:  Then yes.
Me:  Well, we're not going there today.  We came to Yellowstone because this is where you said you wanted to go.  

The next few hours were followed by much grumpiness and complaining about what a dumb vacation this was, and how much he hates being outside.  We did manage to make it over to the beautiful Old Faithful Inn and get some ice cream there.  And of course Ryan took about 3 tiny bites of his and declared himself full.  There is no pleasing that child.

Anyway, lots more lovely things to see...

The Lion Geyser makes a roaring sound when it erupts.

 Castle Geyser

Fountain Paint Pots.

 Grand Prismatic Spring

Opal Pool

Dylan is about to jump right out of his stroller.  Unfortunately this just isn't the kind of place you can let clumsy little toddlers run around at.  But once we found a safe place we let him run free and he made the most of it.

This one makes me laugh every time I see it.    

We saw Old Faithful, and Ryan still being in a bad mood about the whole Coldstone/Yellowstone misunderstanding had to make lots of loud and snarky comments during the whole eruption - such as "boooooorrrrring!" and "Show's over, people!" as it was winding down.  

Driving off into the sunset as we leave the park.

We had a really fun time and even Ryan eventually came around and agreed that he would like to go back again. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

I know this is  more than a little late in coming.  I've been thinking about doing this post since September - you know, when people go back to school and get to write their essays about what they did on summer vacation.  But being my lazy (and maybe just a little bit busy) self, I just haven't gotten around to it.  But now I have just a few minutes while I wait for the dough for my lovely Thanksgiving rolls to rise, so let's see if we can put this baby to bed, shall we?

We had such a fun and busy summer!  We stayed pretty close to home for the most part, but we found lots to do.  We started off our adventures in July with Greg's bi-annual family reunion.  We traveled down to the beautiful Pine Valley, Utah.  The whole extended family stayed together in this beautiful log cabin.  

While we were there we did lots of hanging out and visiting and playing games. 

We hiked.

We took a tour of the Pine Valley chapel.  It is the oldest operating LDS chapel anywhere.

This is where we went to church on Sunday while we were there.  Elder Jeffrey R. Holland happened to be visiting that week as well.  Apparently he is a local boy, and visits often.

From Pine Valley, we took a short drive to Sand Hollow where the kids enjoyed playing in the beautiful red sand.  Well, everyone enjoyed it except for Ryan, who couldn't get over the fact that it looked like cat barf.

Sunscreen + a face-plant in the reservoir = super cool hair for Dylan.

Throw in a little boating, cliff jumping, some beach volleyball, and perfect weather, and it makes for a fun day!

What a fun week!  We love our extended Hill Family!

In August we headed up to Bear Lake for our yearly camping trip with the Becks, which includes my parents, and most of my aunts, uncles and cousins.

The kids and Greg enjoyed riding jet skis.  As for me and my water-phobic ways, I opted to stay on the beach and take pictures.  

Alyssa and Grandpa.

Tyler and uncle Arnie.


Ryan and Greg.

A little liquid refreshment on the beach.  I can't decide if Greg is being a good parent or a bad parent.

Poking in the fire is always a right of passage.  Start 'em young, I say.

But don't smack your brother on the head with a hot stick.

This picture cracks me up.  Tyler looks like he is about to dive right in, but he was really just tossing in a stick.

Alyssa chooses to spend her time in a more sophisticated manner.

Dylan LOVES Angel.  He kept trying to pick her up and carry her around.

We decided to take Grandma with us and go explore the Paris Ice Caves.

There were a few squeezy spaces to get through.

There were lots of cool ice formations inside, even in the middle of August.

And of course hanging around the camp fire and roasting marshmallows is always a perfect way to end the day!

We're number 1!

2 weeks later we headed down to St. George with some friends for a week.  Can you believe I have never been to St. George before?  I've driven through, but never stayed there.  And what better time to visit St. George than during the hottest week of the year?

We did a little swimming.

And Greg braved the heat to do a little grilling.

While we were in St. G we also saw Grease at Tuacahn one night, and drove up to Cedar City to see Noises Off! at the Shakespeare festival another night.  

What a coincidence!  This is the exact outfit I wore to the show that night! :)

Memorial Day weekend, Greg and I decided to take a late anniversary trip to Park City.  As much as I love vacationing with my kids, it is a lot of work.  This 3 day trip was a lot more relaxing.  We ate out, went to movies, and did some outlet shopping, all without kids in tow!  It was heavenly.  We checked in at Hotel Park City and found out we got an upgraded room.

Our own private deck with a hot tub and fireplace.

Gorgeous view from the deck.

And even a phone in the bathroom for when those important phone calls just can't wait.
Greg tried to convince to me to take this picture with my pants down around my ankles "because it will be funny!"  I did not agree.

For dinner that night we ate at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse and it was divine.

Happy 13th anniversary to us!

And that's how I spent my summer vacation.