Sunday, August 24, 2014

First Day of 2nd Grade

Mark heading out the door on the first day.

Mark began 2nd grade this year at a brand new elementary school. Our school was very crowded the last few years, and this year Dry Creek Elementary opened. We no longer have a bus (which stinks) so we get to carpool, and Mark definitely misses the bus rides. He loves his new school and new principal, Mr. Rencher, though. It's going to be a great year.

This is the brand new school that opened this year!

Mark thinks his teacher Miss Taylor is really nice and has enjoyed the first week of school a lot. On the first day of school, they had a really fun assembly where a zookeeper brought the eagle owl for an assembly. They are the Dry Creek Owls and Mark was so excited because we see that eagle owl in the bird show all the time, and he found out it's name--BB. There was an article in the paper and everything. Here are some pictures of the owl and blurry Mark in the background.

The principal took these pictures at the assembly.

Mark chatting it up with his buddies!

This is the picture that was in the Deseret News.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge!

We did it! Randy and I were challenged and we answered today. Mark and Dax decided to participate as well. Check out the video.

For more info on this challenge:

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Pinewood Derby

Mark heading into the Pinewood Derby.

This year was Mark's first Pinewood Derby. He turned 8 in July and at the end of July was the Pinewood Derby. It was his first pack meeting.

Mark and his dad worked hard on the car. Randy really wanted Mark to do all the work, or at least as much as possible. So Mark drew the design on the car, helped cut it, sanded it, painted it, and add weights, wheels, etc. Randy and I helped along the way, but Mark really did a lot of the work. He wanted an orange car with blue flames. Here's what it looked like.

The car

Mark's car consistently took 3rd of 4th place in all the races, but he didn't car. Mark had a huge smile on his face and laughed with the other Cub Scouts. It was fun to see him so happy. He ended up 10th overall (out of 22 cars) which was better than we expected. We aren't huge pinewood derby least not yet!

The track was really cool.

Mark's car is 2nd from the left.

Mark had SO much fun!

Mark accepting his award.

I laughed hysterically at the Most Artistic award because
I struggled so much with those blue flames, but Mark thought they were awesome!
That's what matters.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Great Basin Day 3

On our last day at Great Basin we got up early (seems like the kids do that) and got the campsite cleaned up. We like to be packed and ready to go by 10am if possible, but it must've been 8am when we were on the road. 

We drove back to the top of Wheeler Peak and did a few hikes with Nate. The first was the nature trail that is pretty short. The boys liked it, though, and it is really beautiful up there. We started back down and decided to hike to Osceola Ditch. It was a short, straight downhill hike to what looked very much like a 100 year old ditch. We had to rush back up to the car to get to our cave tour-- note to self: skip that hike next time. 

We went on our second cave tour. Not that there is a second cave, but we did the same tour but a shorter version so Seth and Laurie could go. It was amazing how much different information we got from the second ranger. She only repeated a little of what the ranger from our first tour said, and some of what she told us directly conflicted with what he had told us. That was interesting. Anyway, everyone liked the tour, even though it was shorter. Seth loved carrying his own flashlight and being in the cave. He is a true adventurer!

After the cave, Grandpa bought us ice cream and we headed for home. We didn't even stop for lunch because everyone fell asleep. It was another great adventure.
Seth loved "Glen's Bus"--his name for the motorhome.

Okay, Mark and Dax loved the motorhome too.

Seth is a great hiker.

Nate was a trooper to come hike with us.

We have a family picture from this trip!

Not sure what Seth's face means in this picture....

Seth and Dax are always looking for unique places to pose for pictures.

Seth held Nate's hand the whole hike down to Osceola Ditch.

Dax found some "antlers."

Before the cave tour, they pass around formations for you to look at.

All of us in Lehman Caves

Seth LOVED his flashlight.

The boys got badges after touring the cave.

Mark and Dax became Junior Rangers.

I snapped this picture of a shoe tree in the middle of nowhere while we were going 70 mph.
Pretty impressive huh?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Great Basin Day 2

We woke up early on the morning of Day 2 in Great Basin. That's because the kids don't sleep past sunup in the tent. We loaded into the car and went for a drive up Wheeler Peak so that we wouldn't wake up those late sleepers in the motorhome.

The drive was amazing. As we watched the signs tick up from elevation 7000 feet to elevation 10000 feet we passed some really cool sights. First we saw a mother deer and her two fawns crossing the road. The fawns were so tiny that there were still spots on their coats. We stopped and watched for several minutes and Natalie took some great pictures. A little farther up we saw two wild turkeys cross the road. The ranger told us later that turkeys are not native to the area, but were brought in about 15 years ago and they've been really thriving. As we neared the top of the mountain, we saw four trophy bucks running down a side hill. We only got a picture of the last one, but they all had huge racks with massive spreads. The boys were really excited, because we don't see bucks very often.

We see turkeys here in Utah, but these two crossed the road right in front of us. 
The baby deer were just adorable.

The bucks were amazing.

We got to the top of the mountain by quarter after 7 and started our hike to Lake Stella and Lake Teresa. The area was beautiful, and we saw several more deer along the way. Seth walked much of the way to the first lake, and of course, Mark and Dax did great. As we left the first lake it started to rain. It reached a steady drizzle as we continued around to the second lake and back to the car. Mom and Dad kept their attitudes sunny, though, which helped the boys enjoy the hike through the rain. After all, we haven't taken too many hikes in that kind of condition.

It is gorgeous at the top of Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive.

Dax found this chair! He always spots unique tree features.

Seth found one too.

Here is Dax again ... a chair in the tree this time.

These two are great hikers.

Lake Stella was perfect.

So of course we had to throw rocks.

Seth kept trying to catch raindrops on our hike, so mom joined in, too.

We stopped for this picture at Lake Teresa and then hurried down the trail. 

We dried off in the car and headed down to breakfast, which Laurie had made in the dutch ovens. We hung out in the motorhome for the rest of the morning while it drizzled a bit. Our long cave tour started at 2pm. Laurie stayed behind with Seth while the rest of us ventured to the cave. We really enjoyed our walk through the cave. Dad crawled through the faux-opening to prove he could, and our tour guide was full of information. He stretched the tour out extra long with stories and information. Our boys especially liked the lantern part, when Dax got to hold the old tin can lantern which held a candle. The boys weren't scared a bit, even though they seemed a bit cold.

Later that night we enjoyed hanging out around the campfire. We made s'mores, told stories, and looked at the stars again. The Milky Way was beautiful and Mark was excited because we let him stay up late with us, and it was his first time seeing the Milky Way.

Seth crashed on my cot for a little while.

Randy made it through!

This is the crew that went on the long tour (minus Glen who is taking the picture).

Dax was chosen to hold the lantern.

The cave was amazing!

The features inside are so cool.

Lehman Caves is famous because it has so many shields.

It was chilly in the cave!

Seth, Mark and Mom went on a little hike later.
Mark is always exploring.


Monday, August 11, 2014

Great Basin Day 1

We arrived at Great Basin National Park in the early afternoon. The kids were great on the drive as always, but we had the unsavory task of finding a campsite. This wouldn't have been so bad, but we needed to find a site that would accommodate a 27 foot RV, and we had no idea how to do that. Luckily, there were only 2 such sites left, so we had a 50-50 chance of choosing the right one. We set up the tent on the road in the pull-in because it was the only place large enough for our 10-man circus tent. This turned out to be a blessing, as the rain would've washed us out if we'd been in the bowl where tents were supposed to sit.

This was a beautiful campsite, but any guesses on why we didn't pick it?

Seth is so cute right now.

And these two are such great boys! They love playing Big Fish, Little Fish.

Our tent in the middle of the road.

After we got camp set up, we went on a hike around Visitor's Center nature trail and worked on our Junior Ranger stuff. Laurie, Glen, Nate, and Grandpa showed up around the time we were cooking up our tinfoil dinners and approved the campsite (not that they had much choice!) The site was nice and shady-- and rainy. We were lucky to have the motorhome to spend a little time in during the intermittent storms.

On the first night we went to the Night Sky Program because Great Basin is a Dark Park. The skies were beautiful, if a bit cloudy. The boys really enjoyed the program, which include a slideshow projected onto a white trailer and two huge telescopes. In addition, they got to earn a bonus Junior Ranger badge called the Night Sky badge. We love the Junior Ranger program and what it teaches.

Our boys did great in the tent, and it didn't rain during any of the nights we were there, just sprinkles every few hours during the day. We also enjoyed seeing a lot of animals on our trip this time. We saw deer, rabbits, squirrels, and a 4 foot long snake crawling right on the road. It was another great start to a great trip.

Seth really wanted to be a Junior Ranger, too!

See those big telescopes in the background? Our neighbor's is better.
We're so glad he lets us use it! :)

Jack rabbit 

Seth loved staying up late.

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