Saturday, July 23, 2016

Bear Lake Day 2

Everyone wanted to hit North Beach early on Wednesday morning. We wanted to take a few minutes and drive to the refuge, first. We saw a ton of birds including swans, herons, ibises and pelicans. There were terns, geese, and grebes. Our best sighting, though, was a rare black-crowned night heron. We always enjoy the Bear Lake Wildlife Refuge, even though we didn’t get out of the car this year.
Mom's a sucker for babies like these coots.
We think this is a Clark's Grebe.
The night heron is pretty sneaky.
We were hoping to see some swans, and we weren't disappointed.
Rudy ducks are so weird looking with that blue bill.
Mark's favorite bird is still the pelican.
We hit the beach about 10 am, and it was perfect weather. The sky was slightly overcast, and the sun hid behind the clouds. The temperature was in the middle of the 80s, and there was no wind. We played in the water until late in the afternoon. Stephanie brought kayaks, and the boys took to them like fish to water. They were really very natural rowers, and they found them much easier to maneuver than our boat. Mark and Dax probably spent several hours each on those kayaks. Seth liked the sand better, and built several castles with Raymond and Eligah, all of which the later flooded with buckets of water. Jason played catch with the boys in the water, and they really enjoyed that, too. Dad, who is not too fond of beaches, enjoyed falling asleep while babysitting Katelynn. Mom worked at learning to row the boat for over an hour. By the end of the day, she could go in a squiggly line wherever she wanted! She can’t wait to show Jonny next year! We had lunch on the beach and didn’t leave until after 4pm.
The water is so shallow on North Beach.
Our boys are natural kayakers.
Dad likes to be out of the water and sand.
Dax could paddle this small kayak easily.
Seth had sand everywhere by the end of the day.
We didn't even get a sunburn, despite being at the beach all day.
Seth and Abby had fun with the boogie board.
Dad was a great babysitter. He must have blinked when Mom snapped this picture.
Grandma enjoyed the beach with us.
All 13 cousins were together at Bear Lake this year.
Grandpa played in the water for a little while.
Seth has the beach thing figured out.
We were all worn out after our day at the beach, but our family was in charge of dinner. Since it was Seth’s birthday, he requested his favorite 3 foods, and everyone else had to live with it. That meant pancakes, strawberries, and watermelon for dinner. Nobody seemed to mind, especially since Grandpa provided cake for dessert.
Seth is four!

After dinner, we continued our tradition of telling stories. This night belonged to the Webbs and the Pooles. We were done reasonably early, so we decided to try out Grandpa’s karaoke machine. It didn’t work too well, but the kids each found a song to sing. Mark recruited Dad to sing Bohemian Rhapsody with him, and Dax made Dad perform a duet with him on Kung Fu Fighting. Seth sang Let’s Get Down to Business from Mulan, and Mom owned the night with Living on a Prayer. It was late when we finished up and got to bed, but nobody was complaining.
Dax Ockey and Karaoke.
Grandpa showed off on Sweet Caroline.
For a minute, Mom actually WAS Bon Jovi!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Bear Lake Day 1

Mom loved having her boys there to support her.
We were in no hurry to get to Bear Lake since we couldn’t even check in until 4:30. Besides, Mom had an appointment at Studio 5 to talk about free things to do in the summer. We all went along and sat in the green room while Mom went in and did the interview. The boys were very well behaved as we watched Mom go in and be on TV. She was amazing, just like last time.

We continued up the road and arrived in Brigham City for lunch at Peach City. Melanie and her kids were already there eating, so we joined them and had a good time at one of our favorite restaurants. Our next stop was the Brigham City Tabernacle, but it was closed, so we drove to Logan and stopped at their Tabernacle. We went inside and did a short tour, but we had to be super-quiet because there was a youth group in the choir seats doing a devotional.
Nothing like a burger and fries from Peach City!
The boys always want to sit at the bar, even though we never do.
Brigham City closed? No problem. We went to Logan.
We wish more of the old Tabernacles still survived.
We like to pose with statues.
We went to a park in Logan, and though it was nice, the rubber tile base was baking hot. We played hide-and-seek for a little while, but it was so hot that we staggered to the car in a sweat. We were still too early to get to the house Grandpa had rented, so as we drove up the canyon we took a couple of detours. The first was at Rick’s Spring, which is a natural spring and a nice little alcove. There is a cave, but it is really small. Still, the boys enjoyed going in, even though it split in 25 feet and both tunnels reached a dead end within 15 feet. Our second detour was out a road near the top of the canyon. We were hoping to see some wildlife, and though there were some beaver ponds and beautiful moose habitat, we didn’t see anything exciting. Still, we had a nice drive.
Dad is great at Hide-and-Seek.
Seth looks sweaty because he was!
We've really enjoyed becoming a caving family.
Pictures in caves never turn out very well.
This tiny crack was right next to the cave entrance.
When we reached Garden City, it was only about 4pm. Grandpa was pretty serious about not being early, so we stopped at the Garden City pond. This is a brand new city park, and they are still putting in a playground. As we got out we spotted a great blue heron standing on the bank. Predictably, he flew, but only to the other side of the pond. We were able to watch him for quite awhile. He was the bravest heron we’ve ever seen.
He let us get pretty close.
This will be a really great park soon.

We got all checked in at the house and divided up rooms. We stayed in a tiny room with single bunkbeds and a day bed with a trundle. It took us a few days to figure out that Dad got the day bed, Seth and Dax slept at opposite ends of the trundle, and Mark and Mom split the bunkbed.

We had dinner at a new place that is next to LaBeau’s (we were sick of hamburgers). The food wasn’t all that good, but the shakes were pretty nice, and there was a good variety. After our long day, we went back home and the kids watched Zootopia while the adults talked the evening away. It was nice to be together!
The tables at the restaurant were pretty cool.
This was our first time at Zipz.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

New Mexico Day 10

Our last day of vacation was another driving day. We didn’t want to get started too early, though, because Mancos State Park is so beautiful. We slept in a little, and then Mark and Dad got to go for a walk down to the reservoir. It was nice and peaceful and a perfect way to start Father’s Day. When they got back, Seth was crying, so Dad took him for a walk and he was happy to spot a few chipmunks. Dad was having such a nice time with his boys he decided to take Dax for a walk, too. They walked the garbage down to the bin and spotted two Abert’s squirrels along the way. It was nice to be in this pinyon pine campground and walk around with the boys.
There were 3 little squirrels running around. We love their ears!
We had fun watching these Abert's Squirrels.
The boys played baseball with pinecones and sticks. Laurie was nice enough to pitch to Seth.
The campground was beautiful. 
In the meantime, Mom got breakfast ready and we had bacon and pancakes when we got back. Then Dad forced Mom to go for a walk, too, just to complete the circle. We both talked about how it would be great to come back and camp here someday.

The drive to home seemed endless. We stopped only once, and that was in Moab for lunch at Wendys. (The Moab Diner was closed on Sunday). The kids argued and played mean, Laurie slept, Mom and Dad were grumpy, we watched movies, but we made it! And Glen was the hero of the day. All in all, we agreed that it was a really great trip.
Dad brought the guitar and entertained us all for awhile.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

New Mexico Day 9

Today was the big driving day. We had to make it from Alamogordo, NM to Mancos, CO. That’s seven and a half hours in the motorhome. Mom planned a stop in Albuquerque, which was about halfway so that Glen could get out from behind the wheel for a while.

It was a short stop at the Albuquerque Balloon Museum. The museum was nice, and there were some things for kids, so that was fun. The boys got a checklist and had to find certain items in the museum. This worked really well for Mark, and pretty well for Dax. Seth wasn’t too interested. They all liked the balloon flight game, but only Dad could land the balloon on the target. All the boys floated too high, like Icarus, and ended up crashing their balloons. We learned some interesting facts, too, like that Japan sent 6000 balloon bombs to America during WWII, but only 1000 reached the Pacific Northwest. None of them are known to have caused any damage.
The balloon museum is amazing.
Here we are "flying" in a hot air balloon.
The museum was filled with fun things to do.
This was Mark's favorite thing, trying to fly the hot air balloon. He wasn't very successful.
Dax, Seth, Mom and Laurie built these air balloons and filled them with air.
There were lots of places to take fun pictures.

After about an hour, it was back in the RV for more driving. We finally reached Mancos State Park, which is beautiful, at about 7pm. Mom made mini pizzas and pasta, and we roasted marshmallows by the fire. Now Mom’s vacation is complete, since s’mores are what she lives for. The boys were really good in the rig today, so we are hoping that they can do five more hours tomorrow, which is what it takes to get back home!
Dax likes to roast marshmallows, but he won't eat them.
Mom loves her s'mores.
Mom and dad love taking selfies...even in the dark.

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