Saturday, June 30, 2012

06/30/12

We were so glad to welcome Terral home today! He had been gone on a youth conference trip. We had a couple hours to hang out together this afternoon. Then we went to McKade and Maycie's wedding reception.

I don't have any pictures yet because they are all on Terral's fancy camera and he hasn't put them on the computer yet. It was really nice, though. The decorations were simple but gave a nice atmosphere, and everyone was pretty laid back. It was also really nice to see family members that we don't see very often.

Hopefully soon I'll post some pictures. I'm still behind on some May events. : /

In other news, Ethan is officially 18 months old today! Tomorrow he will go to nursery full time. Craziness.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Hippo-pool-omus

Today was kind of a weird day. I think it's the first day that I would say Ethan drove me nuts. He just kept getting into things he wasn't supposed to. Of course, that's a pretty normal toddler thing, but it was like he kicked it up 10 notches today. It probably didn't help that I stayed up late reading last night.

In spite of the craziness/frustration, some really good things happened today. I made a little cape for Ethan. I was pretty proud of my idea. I'll talk about it a little more when I get some pictures. I've been doing more little sewing projects lately because I don't want to move them all undone.

We (I) also did some other things that needed doing. But the highlight was going over to a friend's house for dinner and some pool time. I've been seriously tempted to get Ethan a pool this year. Heck, I've been tempted to get a big enough pool for all of us! But in the mean time, it's nice to have friends who share. :) It's just nice to have friends.




Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Good & The Not

Things are going really well with the house. I can't believe how fast it is all happening now that things are falling into place. Our excitement is growing as all evidence points to this dream actually coming to pass! The house doesn't have termites, and we should get the appraisal back on Tuesday. The water was turned on today, and we did find some leaks, but nothing we can't handle with my dad's help. We are so, so grateful for God's guidance and blessings.

In the midst of all this joy, we are feeling sorrow for those affected by the wildfires. I am astounded by the number of fires. I read an article last night that said there have been more than 400 wildfires in Utah, the vast majority caused by humans. I believe there are six major fires going on right now, and many people have had to evacuate their homes. We are praying for rain and safety for everyone affected.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Progress

We went out to the house yesterday with our friend who is a structural engineer. He said that although there are cosmetic problems (some cracks, etc.), the house is sound. He said he'd live there in a New York minute. :) Well at least, after the stupid is cleaned up. Gotta love the phraseology.

This afternoon we met my parents out there. My amazing parents came down just for a few hours. Dad looked everything over, and he and my mom got measurements so we can order materials when the time comes. He said that although there is a lot of work to be done, there isn't anything too major.

Oh, it feels so good to hear that confirmed!

Next up, appraisal and termite inspection.



PS We really want to get butcherblock countertops. Any advice? For? Against?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The house is officially under contract! We are trying to close by the 19th of July. It has been a crazy journey, and it's really a miracle that we're here. I do plan to chronicle that journey, but for now I just want to bask in the excitement.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Projects and Accessories

Since the possibility of moving is in the near future, I have found renewed motivation to finish some little projects that have been on my to-do list for too long. I attempted three and successfully completed two today.

First, I made a cover for the foam roller I made for Terral's Father's Day present. I guess you can't really see it too well in this picture, but you can tell that's it's fun to play with. ;)

The second completed project was changing some knee-holed jeans of mine into shorts. I'm incredibly satisfied with the imperfect results. It will be nice to have another pair of shorts to wear!

The last couple pictures don't have anything to do with projects. Ethan's all into accessorizing these days. He found some "new" shoes under his crib and immediately asked me to put them on. (BTW, his version of the word is sounding more and more like shoe and less like Jew. His vocabulary has taken some major leaps lately!) Then he saw daddy's backpack and wanted to put it on. I let him wear it for a minute, but it is of course very impractical. Then I remember a recently-acquired quiet book that is in the shape of a backpack. It was a tight fit, but he didn't seem to mind. He walked around with that "I'm wearing something cool" look. And then he saw daddy's hat and wanted to add it to his outfit. Who am I to deny the King of Cute?


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Our Crazy Insane Grand Canyon Adventure, Part 4

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3


Okay, so to recap, we went hiking in the Grand Canyon. The End.


~~~


Just kidding!

Let's rewind a bit. We expected to go on a 14 mile hike *if* Ethan and I even did the whole thing. Our car was acting up in a very concerning way. We hadn't had much time to prepare, but we did bring sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses, diapers and clothes for Ethan, plenty of water, and food. On the hike, we realized it would have been very helpful to have something for electrolyte replacement, more food, a kerchief for Ethan (although my extra shirt worked quite well), and walking sticks. Most of the time I think walking sticks are more of a pain than a help, but on a hike with this much elevation change, it definitely would have been helpful. Oh, and it maybe would have been nice to do some physical conditioning beforehand. You know, more than the occasional walk around the neighborhood and a run every couple of weeks. (Terral was better prepared in this way than I was.)

Okay. Now that we've established that, let's fast forward back to the top of the North Rim.

We had hiked seventeen miles (yes, that's 3 miles more than expected) that went down 4,521 feet in elevation and back up again. We were exhausted. Drained. Every step brought pain. The slightest incline nearly set me to whimpering. And we still had to deal with our dead car.

Ethan and I got inside the car out of the cold. Ethan played with the steering wheel while Terral fiddled under the hood. After a few minutes, he asked me to try starting the car. And you know what? It started! What a miracle!

Our plan had been to drive home that night, but there was no way we could make the 4+ hour drive home. Luckily for us, one of my sisters lives in Kanab. As soon as we had service we called. . . and got their voice mail. I left a message that said something like, "I sure hope you're okay with us spending the night, because we're coming!"

Ethan fell asleep pretty quickly. Terral and I struggled not to follow suit. When we got to Jacob's Lake, we stopped and bought some insanely expensive potato chips. Grease and salt had never sounded so good! Those chips helped us make the rest of the drive to Kanab. While we were still at Jacob's Lake, we were able to get in contact with my sister and her husband, who said they'd be happy to put us up for the night. What a blessing!

When we reached Kanab, we put Ethan back to sleep and then visited a bit with Diane and Mike while we sipped on some orange juice that Mike had kindly mixed up for us. I can't tell you how grateful we were for their help! After that we crawled back down the stairs to the guest room, and we each took glorious hot baths. It felt sooooo good!

In the morning, the cousins had fun playing together before we left for home. I seriously can't say how awesome it was that we had family nearby that welcomed us so wonderfully.
~~~

On our hike, Terral and Rick talked about maybe doing a rim to rim someday. It's not recommended to do it in one day, but lots of people do anyway. In fact, it's become somewhat popular among runners to go from rim to rim and back again in one day. We actually met several people doing that. Incredibly, one of them said to us, "You guys brought a baby down here? I'm impressed! That's incredible!" Um, thanks! Pretty awesome when someone doing something so impressive is impressed by what you're dong.


Anyway, as Terral and Rick talked about coming back, I was thinking something along the lines of, "I'll be pretty happy if I never see the Grand Canyon again, or at least not for a long time." And when we reached the top, I just couldn't fathom having the willpower to immediately turn around and do it all again. . . But a few days after our adventure, I started thinking that doing a rim to rim really would be cool. 


Our little adventure taught me again that I can do hard things. Really hard things. There is some serious empowerment that comes from doing something that pushes you well beyond your known limits. I had a similar feeling after giving birth. I started out thinking that we were pretty crazy for doing what we did. But now I'm glad we did it. We made some awesome memories, we discovered strengths within, and we grew closer to each other and God.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Our Crazy Insane Grand Canyon Adventure, Part 3

Part 1, Part 2Part 4

As I had said before, I could definitely feel the miles we had already come. Also, my collar bone was feeling kind of bruised from Ethan's backpack, so we decided this was a good time to switch.

Ah! so much lighter!

Ethan took his first nap during this section. This is when I got a little worried about him getting sunburned, but we all managed to avoid that, thankfully!
I know this isn't a spectacular picture, but I wanted to include it because we saw a number of pretty flowers, birds, and butterflies that I wasn't expecting. The pink cactus blossoms were really stunning, but I never did get a picture.
Another bridge! I think this is about when the trail leveled of a little. It was still mostly downhill, but it didn't have as much of a grade. We were grateful for the change!
I could not get enough of the yucca plants. They just were so cool!
A little less than a mile after the springs, we reached the pumphouse. Someone actually lives here, and there is a helicopter pad on one of the buildings. We saw one take off when we were higher up on the trail, and we didn't envy them. It looked a little freaky because it had gotten pretty windy. But by the time we actually reached the house, we were just glad to find a little shade and refill our bottles with cool water.
Ethan loved drinking from the water bladder.
The trail kept going (forever, it felt like) and our surroundings became even more desert like. It was nice when the river ran beside us.


Finally, we took the last deviation from the main trail toward our destination and crossed one last bridge. Oh, I forgot to say that I had switched to my Pah Tempe sandals at some point for the extra protection and break from the toe strap.
This yucca plant felt like a grand entryway. :)
Almost there! We passed a couple little waterfalls the whet our appetite. It was so nice to know that we were almost there. The trail from the springs had felt like a really long one. Turns out it was a little more than what we thought. Instead of 1-2 miles, it was nearly 4.
But our goal was nearly in sight. We had started hiking about 7:30 in the morning, and it was one in the afternoon now.

When we came around the corner and through the trees, a breathtaking sight met us. This picture does not even come close to doing it justice. It was so beautiful.
I suddenly felt that it was all worth it and maybe we weren't quite so crazy after all. ;)
Because of the wind, Ribbon Falls didn't quite live up to its name, but we didn't mind.
I loved the way the side falls poured through the mossy mounds.
Ethan was so excited to see all of the water. (He sure loves water!) And I'm sure he was really glad for another chance to get out of the backpack.

video
The water was quite cold, but it felt really nice to cool our hot, tired, dusty, and sore feet. Terral cooled his whole body. :) And of course, he had to got explore the cave.




He expected these rocks inside the cave to be slippery, but they weren't! They were just green.


We ended up staying a whole hour here. It was just so nice to rest, eat a little, and play with Ethan in the stream.
I was a little worried when I found out it was 3 o'clock. (As I'm looking at the time stamp now, I believe it was 3 o'clock Utah time, 2 AZ time. So I was a little more worried than I should have been.)

We loaded up, I tied Ethan's "do-rag" on to provide some more sun protection (Terral doesn't have as much experience with these types of things), And we were off!
I just love this picture.
On our way out, Rick's son showed us these cool silver frogs on the surface of a large silvery boulder.

And that's practically the last picture for the next three miles. We didn't take very many pictures on the ascent because we were so focused on what we were doing. And of course we were seeing everything for the second time. Still, things look different in a different light, and we noticed new things. But we really didn't have time or energy for much picture taking.

On the ascent, my feet really started to bother me. I was starting to get blisters. My Pah Tempe sandals were made during the experimental stage, and the placement of the straps isn't quite right. Finally, I switched back to my Feathers, and that made my feet so much happier.

We met some pretty intense wind gusts on the trail. I can't quite remember if it was on the way down or back, but there were a few moments on a high trail where it almost felt like the wind would take you off the cliff. Thankfully, most of the time the wind blew, it was toward the safe side.


Four miles later, we were back at the pumphouse. Do I look a little tired? Well, I was.
Terral and I had gotten separated from our friends at Cottonwood Campground (between the falls and the pumphouse), and got even farther behind when I switched my sandals. Or so we thought. While we were taking a little break at the pumphouse, they camp up the trail behind us! It was good to meet up with them again. 


We didn't stop nearly as much on the way out. It's too hard to get going again once you stop. Three things played over and over in my mind: Proverbs 3:5-6, the hymn "Praise to the Lord", and "Put One Foot in Front of the Other" from Santa Claus is Comin' to Town. I really just had to focus on each step. Just keep going. Don't stop. Don't think about how tired you are. Just keep the motion going.


If there had been some alternative to hiking out of there, I'm pretty sure I would have taken it. We weren't prepared to camp overnight. I tried not to think of how nice it would be to hitch a ride on a mule or a helicopter, but we didn't even see any. (Although near the top we did see evidence of mules.) But there was no alternative, so we kept going. How I hoped we would make it before dark so we could deal with our car problems! There were some points I seriously doubted we would make it out at all.


Terral's knee had started bothering him a bit on the downhill, but it got really bad on the way out. Luckily, Rick was in much better shape than either of us and he offered to take a turn carrying Ethan. The only downside to this was that Ethan was taking a second nap. But Terral's knee was hurting enough that we decided to make the switch anyway. As a result, Ethan didn't sleep nearly as long as we'd hoped he would.


Ethan really was a trooper. The last part of the hike was hard for him too, though. He was tired of being in the backpack, and he was just plain tired. At one point, he needed a diaper change, but we just couldn't find a section of trail wide enough to get him out. We kept thinking we were close to a certain spot we remembered, but we were disappointed after every bend. Finally, we found a spot that was certainly not ideal, but it worked. That change was certainly a team effort. 


Our next stop was just less than two miles from the top. Here, we didn't have to worry about cliffs, so we let Ethan run around a bit. There were a number of people here, so I found an out of the way place where I could nurse Ethan, but I had to sit very awkwardly on an uncomfortable rock. It's very difficult to sit on an awkward rock when you are so exhausted, especially when you know there are much better places to sit nearby.


It was so hard to put Ethan in the backpack again after this rest. He did not want to go back in, and who could blame him? We felt so bad for our little man.


About an hour before we reached the top, we managed to take some more pictures. I thought the Grand Canyon looked so much more pretty in this light. The colors of the rock were so much more vibrant in the evening light.





Even though it's harder to start again once you stop, I couldn't help taking a number of rests during the last mile. My body had so little left to give. Rick had let Terral and I use his walking sticks on the last section, which helped a lot, but I was just so sore and tired. But we continued on.

And finally, we reached the top. Hallelujah! I couldn't believe what we had just done.

Here we are with our "Yay! We made it!" faces.
And here is a much more accurate representation of how I really felt.


Friday, June 22, 2012

Whack it with a Racket

Well, we have had quite the exciting day around here. More on one of the reasons later. . .

This evening we got together with some of our friends to play tennis. It felt very good for several reasons. One, we actually got together instead of just saying that we need to. Why is it so hard sometimes to do something with people you like? Two, it has been so long since I've played tennis. I was out of practice, but it was sure fun! I wish we had taken advantage of living so close to tennis courts more often. Three, it was really nice to play outside. I don't get out as much as I'd like. Too many of my have to's are inside. Four, it felt so good to do something physical! I love going on walks and being outside with Ethan, but it sure is nice to have some variation and to do more playing instead of watching. And five, Ethan had a lot of fun and I wasn't worried about him wandering off, which increased my enjoyment. Yay for fences! ;)



One of our friends' little boys rode his tricycle there, and Ethan thought it was the coolest thing. Although he did play with the balls, most of the time he was riding around on the trike. He got to where he could handle it pretty well, in spite of being just a bit too short.

 I told Terral to give me his best tennis pose. :)
 And oh, yes, I was there too. :)


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Ixnay on the Oolway

I ambitiously thought I would finish the account of our Grand Canyon adventure today—I even uploaded the pictures—but it makes me a little exhausted just thinking about reliving it enough to write about it. Partly because it was such a physically challenging experience, and partly because I don't want to leave too much out of the story. Anyway, I didn't leave myself enough time to do it because I got distracted researching beadboard and butcher block. (No, it's not a sure thing we'll get the house, but I figure we'll probably need to remodel whatever house we do end up with.)

Since I nixed my original plan for today's post, I've got a couple Ethan tidbits from today.

While I was doing the ever-present chore of washing dishes, I let Ethan play outside. He played really well for a good amount of time, but then he started to wander too far away from the door. So I brought out one of our recent acquisitions, and showed him how to drive his tractors on it. (BTW, I'm pretty sure those two vehicles are his absolute favorites of the new toys. He plays with them so much, and it is now a common sight to see him walking around with one in each hand. He has also started "driving" them and other cars on all sorts of surfaces, including Mom and Dad. So fun!) He started playing with it right away, and I went back to the sink. A few minutes later, I took a closer look at him and saw how he had positioned himself. I thought it was too cute to not catch on camera.

This evening we had dinner in the living room while we watched a show. (Which happens more often than not, truth be told.) After we were done eating, the show was still going. Ethan kept trying to play with the computer, so I wheeled the chair in the kitchen when he wasn't looking. Problem solved. Ethan found something else to play with, and occasionally watched with us and danced if there was music. The second the show got over, he dropped his toys and walked very purposefully into the kitchen. Terral and I looked at each other with "What was that all about?" expressions until we heard him wheeling the chair. I didn't even know he knew where it was. He pushed it into the living room, positioned it in front of the computer, and climbed up. While he was climbing (not such and easy task) I discreetly unplugged the mouse, but left the cord next to the usb port. Mr. Smarty played with it for a minute and then decided he wanted the real thing.
If you can't tell, he's trying to plug the mouse back into the keyboard.

There's just no pulling the wool over this kids eyes!