June 27, 2009

Family Hike to Stewart Falls

It was a great family adventure. Today we were able to go hiking to Stewart Falls which is just past Sundance Ski Resort in Provo Canyon. Everyone was so excited to go. This was part of our birthday celebration for Kelley Johnson. Here we are at the trail head, just as we begin to embark on our adventure.

Here is Neil, Kelley and Zachary also ready to head to the falls.

We tried very hard to keep our boys close as they sped up and down the mountain trail. It was a 2 mile hike each way to the falls and back again. For the most part they did very well. But David is ready to stretch his wings and fly (or just walk very fast). On the return journey he was definitely out in front and it was all we could do to catch up to him.

Here are the guys, trudging through the forest...

I'm not totally convince that Aleky carried his own weight on this trip. But we decided to cut him some slack until next summer. And then he'll have to pack it in and pack it out.

The Jones boys hiking along the trail.

My boys were able to spot all sorts of critters along the trail. Here we have just found a hairy caterpillar.

This is the moment when the boys discover the waterfall. They are certainly excited about the proposition.

Neil and Kelley are doing their best to keep up with the boys. Here they are descending the rugged trail to the falls.

The boys arrive victoriously at Stewart Falls. The boys could hardly hold still long enough to take a picture. We had to keep a special eye on each on so that they didn't go swimming in the "river".

I tried to explain, very carefully, that the boys would be happier if they threw rocks in the water and kept themselves safe on dry land. It mostly worked. David would take a dunk before we headed home.

Aleky and Zachary had a fabulous time together. Both found the tiny rocks such an amazing part of nature.

The boys unloaded half of the mountain into the stream and didn't even realize that they were throwing rocks for nearly 90 minutes straight!

Don't think for a minute that the boys simply threw rocks from the bank. Where is the fun and adventure in that? The boys would take the big rock (the ones they couldn't throw very far) and carry them out on the log where they would launch them a few feet into the rushing waters below.

Zachary wasn't extremely interested in the water, but the bugs, rocks and plants were fascinating.

Just a nice picture of the falls from where I was eating lunch.

We have discovered that, for the current time, 4 miles is just enough to wear out the boys without completely killing them!

They didn't even make it from the parking lot to the main canyon road before they were all asleep!

June 26, 2009

Happy Birthday Kelley!

We had the wonderful opportunity to wish Kelley Johnson a Happy Birthday this weekend! We coordinated a dinner that we could share. As you can see, the guys were not the best assistants in the world. Neil was distracted with his Father's Day gift (the new i-phone) and I was busy taking pictures and herding children.

Kelley managed to pitch their tent inside the house! I just barely fit, wall to wall, in the downstairs bedroom. So that is where the boys got to "camp out". We originally intended to actually go camping in the mountains but a series of thunderstorms persuaded us to change our minds.

Dinner was fabulous. Kelley got a new recipe for a noodles and sausage entree. I don't know all the ingredients she used in making the dinner but I certainly enjoyed it. And Zachary clearly out did Aleky in the messy eater category.

Michelle made Kelley 2 cakes for her birthday! Upon the recommendation of Neil, Michelle made a wonderful eclair cake. But after preparing the cake she wasn't sure how to put in all the candles so she made a second cake that would bear the candles better without the candles tipping over. This one is the second cake (before the candles).

After dinner the adults got to play some games. My boys were all distracted by the projector (and movie) downstairs and they got to watch movies way past their bedtimes. Zachary was great and just went down for the night. We played games until nearly midnight. Neil continues to dominate the game playing in our friendship but we continue to plot our revenge. As sad as it is to report, Kelley didn't get to win any of the games, even on her birthday!

I was fortunate enough to be the one to place the candles on the cake. I tried to even disperse them across the cake. It looks like I did an acceptable job of candle placement.

Michelle was so excited to watch Kelley open her present. Every time Kelley stop by our house she comments about how she can't find a good cheese slicer. Michelle had been plotting to get this cheese cutter for Kelley for months!

June 21, 2009

Finding A Camping Spot

We are planning on going camping next weekend with the Johnsons. It is Kelley's birthday and she wants to go camping but Michelle doesn't want to go camping in a campground. Kelley is fine with camping elsewhere but it is up to us to locate that perfect spot.

Sunday afternoon, after a nice Sunday dinner, we head out to see what options area available withing an hour of our home. We first tried going up Provo Canyon. To our disappointment, the area we wanted to scout out was chained off by Provo City! So we headed south toward Springville and Hobble Creek Canyon.

After driving for nearly an hour we finally left the pavement and headed into the hills. The boys thought it was great at first but after a while they were starting to lose their enthusiasm. Finally we spotted a nice side road and started down this new path. Michelle wanted to find a place that was on a side road of a side road of a side road; that should be private enough for us to have an enjoyable time.

While the path was certainly less traveled it has definitely been used. The ruts were at least a foot deep. The area was nice and we found a beautiful spot so we turned around and headed home. The boys were getting tired since it was nearly 9:00 pm before we got home. After quickly throwing the boys in bed we did our best to locate the spot on the computer maps (we wanted to show Kelley where the spot was and give her directions so we could meet there next week).
Now that everything is planned we just have to figure out how to get everything to the campsite. We are trying to decide if we want to do a full dutch-oven dinner and a full eggs and pancakes breakfast or if we should go for the simple throw-it-together meals so we don't have a lot of effort for meals and we can enjoy an over night camping experience. I guess we'll see what we ultimately decide this week.

June 19, 2009

Michael is Just too Tired

These moments are just too cute to pass up. Michael is trying so hard to be a big boy but sometimes he just runs out of energy trying to keep up with his brothers. Today, he didn't even have enough energy to refuel!

We had Michael leave the table so he wouldn't sleep in his food and this what we found next. He had wandered into the living room and just stopped!

After that we decided it was the best idea just to pick him up and put him in bed. Poor kid! Michael is just too tired today.

June 16, 2009

Pool Safety: Never Leave A Swimming Pool Unattended

Michelle has been wanting to get a larger pool for our boys to play in. David and Donovan have really outgrown the wading pool, even the bigger one. I think it is wonderful to have a place to let our boys play but I'm somewhat concerned about the safety of our boys with a big pool of water that would mostly be unsupervised (after all, we can't spend all our days watching the boys play).

Almost as if to prove my point, Aleky decided to demonstrate the risks of an unattended swimming pool. Fortunately the water is not deep and he was able to extract himself from it's depths. But not before I got this great picture! Needless to say, it will be at least one more summer before the big pool finds its way to our yard.

June 15, 2009

The Garden Is Producing!

We are so excited that our garden is doing so well this year. Here is the current picture of our garden.

The peas are starting to come along...

And the cauliflower is nearly ready to harvest.

And the broccoli too...

The beans and corn were planted later but it is coming up now.

Isn't this a beautiful sight!

June 14, 2009

What Child Is This?

Aleky is still working on his eating etiquette. As such, he has not quite masters the whole, "staying clean while eating." So we weren't surprised to see the little cherub with food residue in all manner of places. But the look that he was sharing with us was priceless.

Admittedly, we had to laugh and quickly grab the camera. Aleky is such a delight and we're so fortunate to have him in our family.

June 11, 2009

The Star Spangled Banner

We sing our national anthem but most of us have never heard the story behind the song. I received an email this morning with the story of the national anthem as an attachment. I don't know who put this together but I wanted to share it anyway.

Since it is flag day on Sunday we should take a moment to remember what our flag means to us and the great patriots, past and present, who have fought for our country who have given us the freedoms we now enjoy.

In spite of the great economic turmoil that we are currently in, we have so much to be grateful for. We live in a land of unprecedented freedom and opportunity. If we don't like the way things are for ourselves we have the freedom to do something about it. Let's make sure to take a moment and remember what we have and those who have made it possible.

June 7, 2009

Sno-cones for Everyone

The boys have been so excited about making sno-cones. Michelle found a recipe for the sno-cone syrup and the boys haven't stopped talking about it. It is one of the best treats ever, especially since we don't allow the boys to have a lot of syrup. We have 2 ice trays for this gadget and that creates about enough "sno" for all the boys to have a small bowl full of sno-cone.

Michelle started cranking out the shaved ice and the boys were instantly fascinated...
But the best part is getting the good stuff. We are using an old medicine dropper, one of the really big ones, to give the boys their syrup. The only get 2 squirts since it is nearly bed time. But that was enough to make 4 happy boys.

June 4, 2009

Summer Reading Program Update

Michelle just announced that she has completed her first book for the summer reading program. The boys have all been reading every day. I'm feeling like the slacker of the family. I have reserved a book in the library to read. That's got to count for something...

June 3, 2009

Sick and Tired of Being Pregnant

Despite Michelle's claims, I think this pregnancy is already much more difficult than her previous pregnancies. She has started having her morning sickness which lasts all day. Not only that but she so tired that she is having a hard time getting the basics done.

We have discovered that sitting and laying down have helped to ease the nausea. However, sleeping doesn't seem to help with the tiredness. Right now she is taking naps that range from 1 hour to all day and she is still exhausted.

I feel bad for her but there doesn't seem to be much that I can do to help. On occasion she'll want a glass of milk to settle her stomach so I rush to the kitchen to get it for her. During "quiet time," while Aleky is sleeping, I try to pull double duty and watch the kids (and try to keep them quiet) so that Michelle can get a good nap. While I know that Michelle appreciates the help I don't really know how much good it is really doing. Michelle may just have to survive this first tri-mester of her pregnancy.

June 1, 2009

The Garden Begins to Grow

Michelle has put in a lot of time trying to make her garden successful. After the trials of last years garden, with 3 failed attempts, we anticipate that this year will be better. So far things are looking good.

Everything seems to be growing as it should, except the bulb onions. They haven't really even started growing. But we've had to thin the carrots and we've produced more lettuce than Michelle can eat (she tries to get the rest of the family to help her but we just aren't quite as excited as she is).

The 2nd half of the garden was just barely planted and it looks like it is coming up nicely as well. This half of the garden is more of the summer plants. The other half of the garden is the cooler weather crop.

Michelle has engineered her own special watering system. The main line is on a automatic timer and then each individual line has a manual shut-off valve to make sure that each row only gets the right amount of water. Of course there isn't anything we can do about all the rain we are getting (so the automatic watering system has been turned off).

So far things are looking good. If we make it past July 24th with a thriving garden we know we have been successful. Of course, last year we had killed the garden the first time by Independence Day!