Friday, August 15, 2008

The Great Outdoors

I was going to combine the Flaming Gorge post with this one, but as you can see, Flaming Gorge alone got VERY long. So, this summer has been a fast and furious one and here's a recap of some of our other outdoor adventures.

In efforts to finally start using our tent trailer, we took the short ride up to Pineview Reservoir to camp and LOVED it. We fished up at Causey dam and then spent some time at Pineview Reservoir at the beach. We thought about renting a canoe to play in, but opted against the steep price and in the end found this floating plank instead that provided great entertainment.

One evening we made to trek up to donut falls. The surroundings were beautiful! It was a short hike, perfect for the kids. Unfortunately the river was a little high still so we didn't make it across to actually see the donut falls, but the way up was so pretty and worth it. Next time hiking with the kids, I'll remember to bring the first aid kit. Andrew fell (a couple times) and cut his knee pretty good and rubbed against stinging thistle. Poor guy.

We loved going to Pineview so much earlier this summer so, we took the kids up to Causey dam with my Sister Emilie and her family and camped near the river on the lawn of their friends cabin. (It was the 24th of July with no reservations. They took pity on us when they saw my brother-in-law at the store getting ready to go and invited us over.) There was green grass to play on and a bathroom to use!

I love this face, even when it's filthy dirty!The cabin by where we stayed was always swarming with humming birds. It's amazing that there little bodies can stay so still while there wings are flapping like mad.
We spent one afternoon picnicking and playing at the beach at Pineview. It's actually really nice sand and water to play in.

Summer's almost over. Kinda sad, but I'm looking forward to getting everyone back on schedule. Andrew starts preschool 3 days/week. It will be kind of weird to have him gone (nice too). I know he'll love it.

Flaming Gorge

Last year we stumbled on the beautiful area of Flaming Gorge and found an awesome campground and made it back again this year-- so I think we have a new annual tradition with my sister's family (we're still trying to recruit the rest of the Todd gang-- maybe next year!) The campground is part of the Red Canyon Lodge area. It has a private lake with paddle boats (the highlight of the trip for Andrew) and canoes to rent for fishing. It also has a small kid's pond that they restock every year. Here are some pics around the campground.
Justin and Andrew paddling the paddle boat. Andrew's terrified of the water and boats, but somehow he completely forgets about that when he's on the paddle boat.
Justin's first catch of the trip (and only one unfortunately). The fish were swarming around the dock when kids were feeding them and Justin actually hooked the back of the fish-- ouch!

Here's Andrew at the kids' pond. He became pretty independent with fishing this year. He could have fished all day, every day!
Here's Ashlee on the paddle boat. She's darn busy on land, but luckily on the water she's just along for the ride.

The next day, I mustered up all the courage I could and we rafted down the green river with our kids. Justin assured me that it was a very calm river and we would be fine. The river was pretty calm--mostly-- and we had an amazing time. There we a few rapids larger than I imagined and then we came to a sign along the river that said,

"Caution, Mother-in-Law rapid ahead"

At that point I began to panic. We had been on a couple of large rapids and any bigger was, um, pushing it. I braced Ashlee between my legs and moved Andrew to the middle of the boat. In the end, the anticipation was worse than the rapid.

Of course we only got some pics of the fam while the waters were calm. We tried to do a little fishing while we were floating, but decided that sharp hooks weren't the best thing to be dealing with when you're depending on FLOATING down the river and suddenly you have to reach for your 2 year old that's leaning over the edge or quickly paddle around the sharp rock that appears out of no where. Ashlee learned quickly that her cue to come to me and brace herself between my legs was "Ray, paddle harder!!" because a rapid was ahead, or 'waterfall' as Andrew called it.

Lunch, mmmm. It really tasted really good along the way. We found a rock to picnic on and did some fishing too. There were actually some nice beaches along the way, but somehow we missed them all.
On our last day we decided to go for the tour of the dam. It was a little freaky going down the elevator, wondering if you could really trust the walls of the dam. However, it was an interesting tour to learn about how they build a dam around a river. I could tell Andrew was a little apprehensive getting out of the elevator, wondering where he was.
There were a ton of fish at the base of the dam, waiting for tour goers to feed them. And, of course we did. They say that the Green River that flows from this dam has enough fish to fill 2 fish per cubic feet!
Here's the fam!

The cousins!The lizard that Justin chased and caught for Andrew that became part of the fam for a day until it died while we were out buying food and a "home" for it the next day when we got back home. Andrew was devastated and couldn't part with the dead animal. I had to throw it away one night while he was in bed, hoping he would forget about it.
These pics are from a look-out close to our campground. The water looks like glass from here. Now we just need a ski boat!

Can't wait until next year!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Reunion time again-- Part II

After the Todd festivities were over we dove right in with the Hogge side. Justin's parents are on a mission in Hawaii, so there was no "official" reunion, but we did get together with those that we could gather. Justin's sister Janell drove up from Southern Arizona with her hubby and 4 kids and stayed with us a couple of days on their way up to Idaho to join the rest of the group. Without wasting anytime after arriving in the wee hours of the morning we went to Lagoon. Of course, the kids had an amazing time and wore all of us adults out. Andrew's favorite ride was the airplanes-- surprised? He was quite timid this year and opted out of many of the "scary" rides. Ashlee, on the other hand, went on any ride they would let her. The highlight of the trip, however, was when Justin took a ride on the SkyRide. Ashlee's response was "Look Daddy-- S-W-I-N-G!" as she squealed in delight. She's currently obsessed with swinging and was ecstatic that Daddy was on such a large swing. (FYI- the SkyRide is a big gigantic swing that you ride on in a harness laying flat facing down. Looks very frightening to me!!!) Unfortunately I had just dropped off my bulky camera to the car, thinking that I couldn't possibly need one more picture at Lagoon. So no pics of this great moment.

The next day we went to the Hogle Zoo. We all had lots of fun, but the kids were exhausted and hungry and so we zipped on through and had a nice lunch at a near-by park. I just loved watching the elephants eating the straw. I can't image, though, riding one of those large animals like they do in Thailand.
"No more pictures!"

Andrew and Ashlee sizing up to a gorilla's hand

That night we headed off to Rigby Idaho to join the others. In the morning we had another packed day of boating and fun at the shore. Justin and the uncles had a great time catching some air on wake boards....and I enjoyed the boat ride. (Maybe next year, the water seemed too chilly for me).Here's Justin getting a little air-- a little more than I anticipated, cropping his head, oops!

Justin and my dare devil Ashlee. I love her expression!

Andrew was the faithful flag holder, at least when he remembered-- no tubing for him. Maybe next year?

Andrew and his cousins Matt and Mckay
For the record, here's a pic of me. Yes, I was there, but took most of the pictures (I'm not complaining of course)

On Sunday, after a nice day at church with the Jon Hogge family and dinner in their backyard we headed back home to Utah. As a last hurah, on Monday when Janell's family made their stop for the night before going on to Arizona, we finally took the frontrunner double decker train to Salt Lake to enjoy the ride, temple square (or "square temple" as Andrew keeps accidentally referring to it, which it is kinda square, or rectangle at least) and some dinner. I opted on not bringing my camera because I would be on my own with Justin at work-- too much to juggle. So, hopefully I can get some pics from Janell now that they have finally switched to a digital camera!

Ashlee's buds. On both sides, Ashlee has 4 girl cousins within 9 mos.

The cousins
What a great weekend. We missed you Grandma and Grandpa Hogge. Thanks for the example you're setting. Andrew prays for you both daily. We are looking forward to visiting you soon.

3-2-1 Blast off!

I don't know who was begging more for a rocket set with TWO rockets-- my little boy (Drew) or big boy (Justin) at Walmart today! We of course got the one with two and today we blasted the first one off.

This all came about because Justin will be doing this with his scouts next week and everyday Andrew's been asking if today is scouts, so of course Justin couldn't resist and added another flying object to "their" collection. After several false blast offs (we could find batteries that actually worked), it finally worked. I'm pretty sure it made Andrew's day.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Thank goodness for cupcakes!

After a crazy evening of chasing the kids while getting dinner ready and cleaning up and after a crazy day of more chasing around (I must have pulled Ashlee off the counter at least 100 times today-- she's a great climber) that I thoroughly enjoyed of moment of peace while they gobbled down a left-over cupcake (thanks Sarah and Benj). It only lasted about 30 secs tops, but it was pure bliss. I tried to sneak a picture of them sitting side-by-side to not disturb the moment, but I guess I wasn't sneaky enough.

And, if you're wondering why Ashlee seems to have a swimming suit on at all times-- no we don't have a pool, but it is her permanent daytime attire. Luckily they easily wash out in the sink and are ready to go in the morning for another day. Some how we're going to have to break this habit come fall.