The day Reed got out of school for the summer was also the day Ryan and I applied for passports. We finished our applications just in time to pick him up from school, then headed up to St. George. We got there and were immediately greeted by Cole, Maliya, Kody, and Hailey, who’d been waiting all day for us to arrive. The kids took off and started playing and we didn’t see them again until dinner time. They were mostly exploring in Grandma's yard, I think, which I only know because they caught the tiniest little lizard I've ever seen.
The next morning, we decided to try out a new hike. I’m not sure who found out about this hike, but it was pretty cool. The hike itself was more of a slightly inclined walk, which was nice with our group since we had a lot of kids along. The boys stopped literally every 30 feet or so to try to catch lizards. I felt a little bit bad about continuously prodding them along, but we would have been hiking all day if we’d caught every lizard they saw--I'm not sure I’ve ever seen so many lizards. We also saw a gigantic jackrabbit that maybe could have taken me in a fight. And, best of all, we saw petroglyphs! At first, I was a little disappointed, thinking the petroglyphs we could see were all the petroglyphs there were to see. But the trail wound through some big rocks to reveal tons of petroglyphs, all of which were super cool. Cole pointed out the “ancient writing” to everyone—I loved how he kept referring to it as “ancient writing” (which is exactly what it is, I know, but it just sounded cute). And the boys found yet more lizards to catch at the petroglyph site.
The sun, which had been behind clouds, came out during our hike back to the cars and we were glad we hadn’t started our hike any later because we were getting quite hot! We had the perfect activity for cooling down after the hike, though: a trip to the SHAC. Sand Hollow Aquatic Center (the SHAC) has long been a fan favorite among the Rolfe grandkids. They had a fantastic time at the pool. We rode down the big water slide too many times to count and did the obstacle course quite a few times, too. Lila loved having Lee-wuh (Maliya) to play with and spent a lot of time splashing around in the shallow part with her.
After the pool, we quickly made dinner for the kids, then left them in the care of Kayla and Brielle while the rest of us got to go to the temple. Our oldest (Rolfe) niece, Hailey, just turned 12 this summer. She wanted to take her first trip to the temple with family—and we certainly had a lot of family around that weekend. She and her brother Kody had worked hard to find family names to do temple work for and, combined with names my Aunt Sue gave us, we had 100 (exactly!) people to be baptized and confirmed for. I haven’t done baptisms in a really long time, and it was so special to be part of that sacred ordinance. Ryan got to baptize me, which took us back to our dating days when we did the same thing at the Provo temple. Everyone got to participate and I think we all had a wonderful time in the temple.
We’d already had a fun weekend, but we woke up Saturday ready for more. Our first stop was the Home Depot Kids’ Workshop, where we built skateboard pencil boxes. The pencil boxes were one of the coolest projects we’ve built at Home Depot, and we all enjoyed the morning. After HD, we made a quick stop at Wal-Mart, which I only mention because Ryan led the boys in a dance party down the aisles, which was pretty amazing. And then it was off to our next stop: Glitter Mountain!
I’d stumbled on info about Glitter Mountain last time we were in St. George and looking for something to do. We couldn’t go that trip, but I filed it away in my brain to use at a future date. Amazingly, I actually thought of it again during this trip! We followed a hand-drawn map that was posted online (I’m not even joking) and for a few minutes there thought we were going the wrong way—but we totally found it and the road wasn’t too crazy sketchy, though it was a little interesting at some points. Glitter Mountain was SO COOL. It’s a natural mineral deposit and the whole thing just sparkles in the sunlight. It’s seriously amazing. There are crystals all over the ground, too, which the kids had a fantastic time collecting.
After we were glittered out, we headed to Freddy's for lunch, where we scooted 5-6 tables together to accommodate our party and made a total scene. It was awesome. That night, we took family pictures. The kids were overall fairly cooperative, though Lila seemed to forget how to do her normal smile and instead essentially showed all her teeth when we asked her to smile. Those will be fun to see!
On Saturday night, we ate delicious homemade ice cream, then Asher got brave enough to let Ryan pull his wiggly tooth out. He looks SO DIFFERENT with a gap in front. The tooth didn't seem that big but the gap sure does. Anyway, he used his skateboard pencil box as a tooth holder and made sure to sleep on the end so the fairy could get to him (six of the cousins were sleeping together) and woke up to find $2 inside his box. Woohoo! When the kids were sleeping, the adults played an absolutely hilarious round of Smart A. I cannot even tell you how fun it was. We were all laughing so hard. I was literally crying and could hardly talk through my laughter. Nick's voice rose about an octave. We were dying and it was so much fun.
On Sunday, my mom, sisters, and I were busy at work in the kitchen continuing our brunch prep from Saturday afternoon. By 10:00, we had muffins, scones, blueberry crumble cake, cinnamon pull-aparts, fruit, and fruit dip set up for our hungry crowd! We all feasted, played yet another round of Smart A, then loaded into cars to go to church where sweet Ellie Grace was blessed! I love that we all got to be there to witness the ordinance and it was so cool to have so many family members there with us. Ben gave Ellie a beautiful blessing.
And just like that, it was time to go home! We'd had a beautiful weekend and were reluctant to leave, but eventually, everyone was on the road. Unfortunately, the freeway literally stopped a few miles before the exit for Death Valley. We ended up being stopped for about 1.5 hours.We later found out that a car had gone off the road, rolled down into a ravine, and started on fire. Three of the people in car died and the other two are in critical condition. My heart goes out to that poor family and I hope that they can find peace in this difficult time.
See the jackrabbit?
Wal-Mart Dance Party
When we got back home, we went to have breakfast the next morning and had no food! No milk, no eggs, no yogurt, no bread, and it was too hot for oatmeal. So we went with breakfast trail mix. Reed did comment that the pretzels made it a little salty haha.