Friday, August 24, 2012

Our Big Summer Vacation -- Part 3

So for part 3 of our fun summer vacation we got to spend a week at this place...
This is Aspen Grove, a family resort located just a few minutes past Sundance in Provo Canyon. Jason's parents treated us all to a week of fun in the mountains and we all had a blast. This was the place we stayed. It'ss called Beckham Lodge and each family had a two room suite which was perfect for our little family. Jason and I had a room with a queen bed, Landon and Abby slept on bunk beds in the second room and Nolan slept in a crib in the living room. We all slept very well while we were there, especially after full days of playing with family. 
The views were awe-inspiring (we finally showed our kids what "real" mountains are. It made me proud when we came back to Maryland and Landon asked if that green bump in the distance was a mountain...they call it South Mountain here. Abby eagerly piped up and declared no, that was just a hill. The "real" mountains are in Colorado and Utah. At least I'm teaching my kids something right!!)

Every single person from Jason's family was able to be there for the very first time since all the marriages that occurred this year (there are now 22 of us!)
 And all 10 grandkids (plus one on the way...but not from me!!) 
One of the best parts was that they provided all of your meals. I wasn't crazy with all the red meat selections, but I was crazy about not having to buy it, cook it or clean it up. They also had lots of kid-friendly options too which I often took advantage of.
Landon wasn't thinking these cooked carrots were too kid-friendly though...
 The kids loved being surrounded by nature...
And had a blast playing with all their cousins. 
During the day, the kids would go to their different groups where they would participate in fun activities, play at the various playgrounds and go swimming.
Abby was a Bobcat (age 6).
Landon was a Tromper (age 4).
And Nolan was a Romper (age 1). It took Nolan a while to get used to things but once they discovered his love of swings, I think he spent a lot of time on them!
With the kids involved in all of their activities, I got to spend a lot of quality time with my very favorite person on earth...
We shot some air rifles...
Practiced some archery (just call me Katniss)...
And even got down and dirty in the painball arena!
But they weren't all violent activities...we also played a few rounds of golf...
And enjoyed a beatiful hike up to Stewart Falls...

The evenings were reserved for family time. We especially loved Frontier Night where we got sno-cones, rode a train, shot guns, threw axes, etc. etc. etc.!!

Abby and Landon also got to go fishing for the first time (that little girl in the glasses is not Abby,just some random girl who we actually got a better photo of than Abby who is hidden behind Jason.)

We also played some field games and enjoyed taking the kids to the various playgrounds, trampolines and Cowboy Village where they had all kinds of building like a bank, a school, a jailhouse, a barbershop, a store and a church for the kids to let their imaginations run wild with. 

We had such a great time and really loved being able to spend such quality time with Jason's family. It was a great way to wrap up our summer of traveling!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Our Big Summer Vacation -- Part 2

After spending a fun week in Houston, we picked up Jason in Dallas and made the 22-hour drive to Grand Junction, Colorado for part 2 of our summer adventure. Abby was instantly enamored with my parents' dogs, Muffin and Shadow. She would love to get a little dog to baby but one dog is plenty for our family right now!

The day after we arrived, Grandma let them have all the quarters she had stored throughout the year in her piggy bank. They counted out $68 worth of quraters which means they each got $34 to spend on anything they wanted (I tried to get them to buy me something, but no such luck!)
Holy moolah!! (No wonder they love coming to Grandma's house!)
Of course no trip to Colorado would be complete without making lots and lots of cookies with Aunt Tami...
And eating lots and lots of cookie dough in the process!!
Grandma with her youngest grandchild!!
And a picture of us in front of Golden Corral...some things never change!!
Since we didn't get to see Tami at the Outer Banks, it was fun to be able to spend time with her while we were in Grand Junction.
Landon loved doing puzzles...
And Nolan thought he was pretty hot stuff when he learned how to climb into the recliner chair all by himself!
Yes, that tongue is out ALL of the time. Maybe someday it will fit into his mouth.
Nolan also took his first steps while in Colorado (much to his daddy's disappointment. Jason was only able to spend a couple of days in Colorado before flying off to Phoenix and Las Vegas for work.)
I love this picture of him walking from me to my Dad!!
He was very proud of his new accomplishment! (He still doesn't walk too much though. At least for now he seems to prefer the crawling method for getting around!)
Abby and Landon both enjoyed doing lots of crafts with their Grandma Julie.
Love this little man...
Grandma and her girl!!
We also had some great adventures at the park each day. My parents live just a short walk from two great parks so we took advantage of this often while we were there.
We also got to check out the Dinosaur Museum in Fruita. Abby loved the spitting dinosaur, Landon loved the Raptor eating the head off of another dinosaur, and they both loved digging for fossils and riding the "earthquake" machine! We were also able to pay a brief visit to the Vietnam Memorial nearby and picked out Grandpa's name.
Jason came back to Colorado on our last day and we were all able to go swimming together. Abby and Landon both went off the diving boards for the first time (with life jackets) and LOVED it!! It was a great way to end our week in Grand Junction.

The next day we headed a bit further West for the third part of our summer adventure...

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Back to School

I have to pause in our vacation journaling to record the significant event that occurred today...the first day of school!! Our summer flew by way too fast this year. It seems like a blinked and summer was already over. Abby was excited about starting school again and seeing all of her friends, but not quite as excited as she was last year (I guess having a year to see what school was REALLY like can do that to you!!)
Last night, Jason gave her a father's blessing. She especially wanted to be blessed with making good friends and earning a "4" everyday (the points system that her school uses.) She earned a handful of 3's last year and it completely devastated her (each time it happened she was in tears when she got off the bus. The point system really works with this girl.)
Of course Landon didn't want to be left out of the action and also asked for help making new friends and to get "4s" each day (he doesn't even know what that really means but Abby is his little idol so we went with it!) We are looking at getting Landon into a Pre-K program sometime this year. I'm still hoping he can get into the county program (namely because it's an awesome program and it's FREE) but since we're over the income eligibility, we'll just have to see if any spaces open up during the year.
The BIG day arrived today and Abby was raring to go. S he picked out her first day of school outfit. Her only requirement was that it "sparkle." She literally sparkled from her head to her toes and she was in heaven. About 95% of Abby's clothes come from her cousin Paige and other friends/neighbors. She LOVES getting the hand-me-downs and I love the cost (free) so it's a win-win for us all. I do break down on the first day of school though and get her a complete outfit of her choosing. I personally would have gone with a bit less "bling" but that's my girl Abby for you and it fit her to a T!!
Landon wanted to be included in a few pictures too. He was putting on a brave face for us here...he had a hard time letting her go back to school again. They have been the best of friends this summer (at least most of the time!)
I think her backpack weighed about as much as she does with all of her school supplies stuffed in there!!
We absoutely love the school she goes to and are so excited to see what 1st grade has in store for her.
She will be in Mrs. Mullendore's class (although her teacher is just weeks away from having a baby so she'll have another teacher shortly.)
I'm sure going to miss this girl while she's back in school again but I'm excited for all the new and amazing things she will learn this year. Have a great year little lady!!