Friday, August 21, 2015

The Weekly Beast 2: St. George

We wanted to do something fun during Reed's two-week summer break, and going to Grandma's house was high on our list of fun things. Then we found out that Kayla and Ben were going to be at Grandma's for a week during Reed's summer break and the timing seemed too perfect to pass up! Soon, Lynnie was planning to come down for a long weekend, too, then Kenny and Grace decided to meet my parents halfway between their houses and send their kids to St. George for a week, too! Just like that, we had an almost reunion.

One of the kids' favorite play time activities: corn hole! Ryan built these beauties for Kayla's wedding.

Monday: The kids and I had to hang around in Vegas for a while to wait for a recycling company to pick up our old fridge/freezer. They weren't scheduled to come until the afternoon, so we picked up Reed's buddy Joshua and headed to the park for ward park day! A lot of other moms and kids came and we had a super fun time, despite it being about a million degrees outside. After our fridge was picked up that afternoon, we hit the road! The boys had pre-asked Grandma if we could do s'mores that night, and she of course obliged, so after dinner the boys caught tons of caterpillars while Grandpa got some charcoals smoking. Soon we were enjoying chocolatey marshmallowy s'mores bliss.

Tuesday: I mentioned in my last post that the kids and I had put together a calendar of all the things we wanted to do during Reed's summer break. St. George was not excluded from our calendar; so on Tuesday, we checked one of the first things off our list: river splash pad, carousel, and Judd's. We had Hailey and Kody and Ben and Kayla in tow, which made our day even more fun! The kids spent most of their time at the splash pad "building dams" with their bodies. Their most successful dam even caused water to start spilling out over the edges of the river path before they stood up and let the water rush through! 

Western Grape Skeletonizer--which grows into a moth. Yuck!

Lila was in her zone. She took me by the finger, then led me all over the splash pad as she climbed up and down the rocks and went a little bit of everywhere (with me following, of course). Her path reminded me of the cartoon "Family Circus"--there's a recurring bit where a dotted line shows the path of one of the kids and it loops here and there and everywhere. That was Lila at the splash pad.

After a while, the kids wanted to lay out to dry--luckily, it was overcast that day so not quite so hot. Unluckily, the lack of sun also made the kids a little chilly when wet. Anyway, they dried while we all enjoyed a snack of granola bars and goldfish. When we were sufficiently dry, we took a ride on the carousel. Lila was not sure about the carousel at first, but I think she ended up enjoying it a little bit at least. After the carousel, we walked across the street to Judd's, a cute little candy store that's been in St. George forever. I let the kids each pick a few treats, which we feasted on outside.

When Grandma got home from work, we all trekked to Target! Grandma had gotten Hailey and Kody each something to help them get ready for back to school and wanted to do the same for Reed and Asher. Asher decided he wanted school supplies--because he'll definitely need those all the time in preschool :) He found an awesome Star Wars tin pencil case, which he filled with colored pencils, tape in a red dispenser (red for the dark side), two glue sticks, and star wars puzzle erasers. He also got a Darth Vader folder to put all his school papers in. Asher was so so excited when everything fit perfectly inside the case and spent the next few days showing everyone at Grandma's house individually, and playing with the contents of his case. Reed decided he wanted a shirt to wear on the first day. He and Grandma first started in the character shirt section, because that's what Kody likes and had gotten. Reed wasn't really feeling the character shirts, though, and told us he wanted a shirt with a cool design. We looked at every shirt at Target (literally) and came up empty-handed! He was a little disappointed, but Grandma promised we'd check another store before we went back to Vegas.

Tuesday night, I got to go to the temple while my mom babysat the kids! The experience was so peaceful and I'm so glad I got the opportunity to go.

Wednesday: On Wednesday morning, we went to my friend Claudia's house. She and I have been friends since high school and we had a lovely time catching up while the kids played.

Thursday: I asked Hailey and Kody earlier in the week if there was anything in particular they wanted to do while we were in St. George. They said a few things I'd already put on the list from the boys' requests, then Kody added geocaching, explaining that aunts and uncles and his parents had promised to take him geocaching before but never had. Well. We were going to geocaching this time! On Thursday morning, we loaded up in the car and were lucky to find a string of geocaches (all hidden by the same person) a mere 1.2 miles from my mom's house! Reed, Kody, and Asher all took along notebooks and pens and made notes of the name of each cache and where we found the cache hiding, which was kind of adorable. Unfortunately, about half the geocaches were missing--we couldn't find them and, according to other logs, other people couldn't find them either. But we did successfully find 3 caches and the kids all had fun, so I think it was a win!  They were all especially enamored by the name of the last cache: Hailey's Softball Cache. Unfortunately, that cache was one of the missing caches!

 One our way to St. George. They were a little pumped!

Thursday night, Ryan surprised the kids by driving to St. George! He decided Thursday morning to come up to meet us because he missed us a lot (because we are awesome). Reed gave Ryan a big hug and immediately asked, "Did you bring Harry Potter?" He had. They immediately found a quiet place to read together. Later that night, Lynnie and Nick and fam arrived in St. George, too!

Friday: Friday was basically party day. We started at the Children's Museum. The kids wandered from room to room, upstairs and downstairs, until we'd covered basically every square inch of the place. After a pit stop at Grandma's for lunch, we set out for a few quick store shops. We first went to Downeast, where I lucked out at the sale rack with a swimsuit! (!!!!!!) The one I found was literally the only one my size left on the rack. I have been needing a new swimsuit for approximately 2 years now, so I was exceedingly happy with my find. We next perused DI for a bit, then finally--to the kids' relief--headed to the next fun spot: The Washington Community Center!

When we lived in St. George, we had a family pass to the community center and would regularly go to the community center for swimming, then to Costco to grab a pizza for dinner. I worked out there fairly consistently, too, so walking through the doors was a little bit like coming home--to a home that smelled of chlorine. Anyway, we were soon in the pool, having fun. The boys were dying to go down the hydrotube, and soon coaxed Ben and I into taking them. Then Ben and Ryan took them. Then Ben and Kayla. Then Ben's back got serious road rash (how does that even happen) from the slide, so it was time for a break. We spent a happy two hours floating the lazy river, going on the Jae Jae slides, and going on the kids' water jungle gym slides approximately 1,347 times. 

After we were home and fed, the adult couples left all the kids with Grandma and Grandpa and headed out on a triple date to the county fair! My saw an elephant show (which actually wasn't too exciting), a hypnotist show that Kayla got to be a part of, and a band we actually ended up really liking. We, of course, took a money shot in front of the ferris wheel, but did not actually ride any rides! Random side note: we asked teenage boys to take the picture of us and we ended up with two selfies of them and a dark and blurry picture of us, ha. We next asked teenage girls and they got the job done beautifully. When we were worn out, we went back home to homemade ice cream. Yum!

Saturday: We started the day at the parade for the fair. Ryan and I were both skeptical about the parade, mostly because it was insanity hot outside and we thought the kids would get bored. Happily, though, my dad had gone almost a full hour early and reserved us a nice patch of shade, which took care of the heat problem; and each child procured a full sack of candy, which took care of the boredom problem.

PC: Asher Hambly

Ryan had a fantastic idea for after the parade: the Warbird Aviation Museum. We were the only ones who had ever been there before--and the last time we went Reed was only 2--so it was something new and fun for everyone! The kids all enjoyed a turn sitting inside the cockpit of an actual plane--except Asher, who for reasons undisclosed did not want to get in at all. The tour was super interesting and we got to see many planes and their ammunition. 

After the museum, we bid farewell to half of our group, then went to the park! The park we decided to visit was a park Reed and I used to go to all the time when we lived in our Bloomington basement apartment because it was the park where we had our ward park day. The park was essentially deserted because it was super hot outside, so we had it mostly to ourselves. Ryan and the boys found an awesome loop that went all the way around the park. After he accompanied them around the loop once--him on foot and them on their bikes--Ryan asked Asher if Asher wanted to attempt the loop alone. To everyone's shock, Asher said yes! He pedaled hard and did so great! After his solo loop, Asher talked Reed into taking a loop with them. While they were busy riding, Lila and I were busy getting wet in the splash pad. I would count to three, then she would run through, then she'd yell, "Lou turn, Mommy!" and count to three for me. We had a lot of fun. Eventually, we were hot, worn out and hungry, so we went to McDonald's for a fun lunch.

Saturday evening was McKenna Remund's wedding reception. The Remunds have been my parents' neighbors since my family moved to St. George in 2001. Her reception was at the St. George Social Hall, which was where Ryan and I had our reception 9 years ago! I had a lot of fun being there and remembering our wedding day. McKenna looked beautiful and happy and the reception was great.

Sunday: All of a sudden it was Sunday! I got the most awful call Sunday morning, telling me my primary secretary, Tye Chipman, was being released. I started bawling on the phone with the second counselor in the bishopric, which was probably not what he was expecting. Tye has been the most amazing secretary, doing more than her part and relieving my burden so much. I suddenly felt the weight of all she does pressing on me and have honestly been kind of in a funk since. I'm still not sure who my new secretary will be and am having a hard time with the whole thing. Anyway, once I'd stopped crying, we all went to sacrament, then after lunch, everyone started rolling out.

At home, Reed and Ryan finished Harry Potter, at which point Ryan had the audacity to suggest we watch the movie that night. Reed started crying. Why did he start crying? Because we did not have any ingredients for Harry Potter food. We postponed the movie and played family games instead.

Phew! That really was a beast of a post and literally took me four days to write. Now for a three-day break until the next one!

 We took turns trying to be the Fighting Irish guy

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