Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Gardening, Goblin Valley, The Grotto, and more

Ok, folks, I feel like the little engine right now...I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.  I have a heck of a lot of catch-up on, but we're going to see if we can't just push past it and get it all up here. Hopefully by the time the kids school start in a couple of weeks I will have caught completely up to date.  Darn you, Summer, for being so event-filled!

Hold on to your horses, folks, 'cause you're in for an uber-post!

Forever and a day ago, we planted a garden.  We've had some success, but in unexpected areas.  Turns out the neighborhood wildlife like to eat our cucumber plants to nothing-ness (we currently have one last attempt growing on our windowsill waiting to be planted) but the okra adorrrrres the 105*+ heat we've been having.  We have, as Ezra refers to it as, The Forest of Okra.  The tentative plan is to cut, bread, and freeze a bunch of it for the annual Mardi Gras party.  If anyone else has any cooking suggestions, I'd love to hear 'em!  We've currently harvested 3 or 4 roma tomatoes, a handful of cherry tomatoes, at least half a dozen ginormous zucchinis, and around a dozen okra pods (with much, much more zucchini and okra to come).  Oh, and two little beans, which are not to be overlooked.  Overall, no complaints.  I don't know if I can agree with Ezra, however, when he discusses in great length how the garden helps us save money since I'm not apt to buy zucchinis and okra in the first place. ;)

From meager beginnings come great things

Georgia sowing her wild oats
(are any of y'all surprised to see Gee gardening in a tutu?  I know I'm not.)

Ezra takes this whole gardening business verrrry seriously.

 grow little plants, grow!

At the beginning of June we headed out to Utah for Spencer's little sister Kim's wedding and a much-overdue family visit.  To help break up the drive (and to give Spencer some much-longed-for canyoneering/hiking) we met up with his family in south-eastern Utah to play in Goblin Valley that evening and hike Ding & Dang canyons the next day before finishing our drive up to Happy Valley.

 Scarlett didn't let the scalding heat stop her from clamoring up the rocks at Goblin Valley.

Daddy and Oakie

Grandpa and Scarlett striking an Uncle Eric-esq pose

 Georgia, Ezra, Grandpa, Aunt Leslie, and Scarlett pausing for a quick picture in the midst of their Goblin-like rock-scrambling.

Ezra wasn't so sure about this tunnel (that was really a cave) because it resembled a cave all-too-much for comfort (he's got a pretty hard-core cave phobia).  Once we were able to convince him there was a tiny child-sized whole in the top of the cave/tunnel, he found the exploration of it a lot more palatable.  Poor boy, Grandpa is absolutely convinced the cave phobia must go.

Oak chillin' in his carrier.

 See those tiny spots on the hillside?  Those were the mowglis entertaining themselves by sliding down the incline while we set up camp.

aaaand some close-ups for proof...

...needless to say, their jammies barely survived.

The next morning started bright and early at Ding & Dang. I can't complain.  The weather was great, it'd been a dry Spring so there wasn't any water to spider over, and the kids did smashingly.

 Me and the oldest chilluns

 My little warriors

These two, in particular, really impressed me on the hike.  Georgia was a bit whiny at first (there's about a mile-long stretch of dry, sandy wash to go through that's hard on the legs and the psyche), but as soon as she saw the first incline, she let  out a whoop of "CAANNYYYOOONN!!!" and didn't slow down much for the rest of the hike.  Ezra spent his time truckin' on while analyzing the best possible hiking routes.  There was more than once that he didn't agree with the route Spencer dictated...turns out that, sometimes at least, he was right ;)

Georgia defacing the canyon wall, sans-permission

Oakie during a happy moment on the hike.

It's funny, Oak wasn't a big fan of hiking, overall.  He was perfectly content while Spencer was walking but as soon as he attempted to go up or down even a small incline, the whining and whimpering would start.  It was nicht so gut considering Ding & Dang has some pretty steep spots and a couple of big ol' drop-offs.

I have to hand it to the group of people we went with.  There was about 9 people, plus our little family, and they were all amazingly helpful with the kids.  There were stretches of time where I didn't even see a couple of the kiddos while they hiked in front of or behind me.  I knew, though, the entire time, that they were safe and in good hands.  A HUGE thank-you to all y'all for your never-ending patience and bound-less help!

Doing some more rock-sliding in their spare time.

Along with the wedding (pictures of that in an upcoming post.  promise.), we spent the rest of our time doing fun things like...
The Grotto

8 years ago in June, Spencer proposed to me here.  The kids all know and love the story and couldn't wait to see it in person.  It was adorable how they kept on reciting their favorite lines from the story the whole short hike there and back ("and mommy was so excited she forgot to say yes!").  It was a great way to spend a lazy Sunday evening.

Don't they look so much alike in this picture? craziness.

Strike a pose...

...vogue, vogue, vogue, vogue.

Ezra spent most of his time climbing up the surrounding rock walls...in flip flops.

Where it all started.

We also did other fun things while in Utah.

Such as digging a trench in grandpa's backyard with the uncles.

And traveling home in style with a free motorcycle and $5 DI kids bike atop the mini-van...
'cause we're classy like that.

Well, folks, that's all for tonight.  4 gold stars and a thousand thanks for making it through.  I have big plans, I tell ya, big plans, for upcoming posts (including, but not limited to a massive amount of wedding pictures from Kim & Ben's and Mack & Cheyenne's weddings).  Now if only I can find the time to sit down and write them...


Kim said...

Yay!!!! I ALWAYS love your uber posts! And I'm super excited about the uber wedding post! I love your kids and I miss them soooo much. Let's have another wedding so I can see y'all again ;)

holyoak said...

Great post Whit and wonderful pictures!! Sure do miss you guys, bunches and bunches!!

Alabama Apples said...

Loved it! I would love to try out hiking canyoning with your beasties! You're raising fabulous trekkers!

Miss you, tons!!

Aubrey said...

Awesome. Your family is so cool, it makes me want to be just like you and make kids go hiking and stuff. :)