April 30, 2012

Boys Start a Camp Fire

My boys are growing up so fast.  Today the decided they wanted to start a fire.  While Donovan took the lead the other boys pitched in.  Lo and behold, they were able to start a fire all on their own!  They are certainly proud of themselves.

At this point in time we figured that if we let them learn and explore some of these things in the proper environment they will learn to do it correctly.  Hopefully this will prevent some more disastrous experimentation later, at least that's the theory.

April 23, 2012

Quinten and his twin sister

I know, I am a horrible mother, but I just couldn't resist. The hair was long and curly and perfect, what's a mother of six sons supposed to do? Plus, it made me laugh so hard and I haven't had a good laugh in a long time. At least we know what a Jones girl would have looked like. :)

April 22, 2012

Michael is Mommy's Big Helper

Michael is our most tender hearted boy.  At least he is the one most likely to volunteer to help mommy do anything.  Today Michael wanted to try his hand at feeding Gidean.  I'll admit to being somewhat skeptical about how successful this would be.  But Michael surprised me and did a very good job.  I guess we're going to have to let Michael feed Gidean more often.

April 14, 2012

Vacation Day 8

Vacation Day 8 –
This was a bitter/sweet day. As we woke up we realized that we would be heading home and the fun and excitement of vacation was over. The weather had soured and the sky was overcast with a light sprinkle of rain. The temperature was slightly above freezing.

Last night we rented “Tin Tin”. Michelle and I watched it to preview it and make sure that it would be appropriate for our boys. It was a fun movie so we let the boys watch the movie while we showered and got everything packed up and ready to load. The boys really enjoyed the movie, even laughing at many of the funny parts. The distraction proved successful and we were able to get everything packed, including two loads of laundry before noon. Unfortunately, the loading process still took us until 12:30 pm. At least this time we didn’t have cleaning people camped outside our door waiting for us to leave.

We ate lunch at the condo before closing the door for the last time. Michelle had wanted to stop at the Discovery Park in Cedar City but by the time we arrived it had left a layer of snow on the ground and was way too cold for our little summer jackets. We still got out and walked over to see what the park had to offer, just in case we should pass that way again.

We dropped of the Redbox movie and got back on the highway to head home, slightly earlier than planned but that would have given us more time to unpack. As we left town we hit a snow storm that had laid down some pretty good snow on the highway and was causing some limited visibility. Things were still going okay, slower than usual, until we hit a parking lot! We were parked on the highway for about 90 minutes waiting for the wreckage to be cleared off the road. We passed at least 4 different accidents when we finally started moving again.

Sitting on the highway with six boys stuck in a suburban isn’t as fun as it sounds. The boys actually had a great time but the volume was so loud that it was hurting my ears. Even though we kept asking the boys to quiet down they would for a few minutes but the sound returned to ear piercing levels in no time. The high volume along with “when are we going” made the wait seem much longer than a mere 90 minutes.

The storm followed us all the way home but the snow changes to sleet in central Utah and to rain by the time we got home. When we arrived we made the boys help carry everything in a quickly as possible so nothing got too wet. Then all the boys bathed in preparation for the Sabbath and Stake Conference. We had the boys in bed just after 8:00 pm!

I’m happy to say that there’s no place like home. We had a great vacation but were glad to be home.

April 13, 2012

Vacation Day 7

Vacation Day 7 –

It’s hard to believe that we’ve been on vacation for seven days already, but it is starting to show. The boys, including myself, are beginning to show signs of fatigue. It has been amazingly fun and exciting but I guess we have to stop and rest at some point.

Today we didn’t venture to far from the condo. Michelle and I went to an owner’s education class in the morning while the boys played at the playground and watched a movie. After the class we came back to our condo and had lunch.

After lunch we took the boys down to learn about shuffleboard and horseshoes. David has a knack for shuffleboard and he was able to defeat Michelle and I in our first game. Then the boys played horseshoes while Michelle and I played a game. I just have bad luck or I’m not that great at shuffleboard because I lost big time. We had fun and after our game we turned in the equipment (to the front desk).

For our afternoon activity we took the boys to see the St. George temple and spent some time at the visitor’s center. We watched a couple of movies and talked to the sister missionaries there. They were very nice and accommodating and did a very good job tailoring their testimonies to our boys level of understanding. Aleky was very outspoken and was happily talking to everyone use his 3 Spanish words (not including numbers). We also stopped at Brigham Young’s summer home and drove past the historic tabernacle in downtown St. George.

We made a quick stop at the store to pick up some milk and snacks for the drive home and returned to our condo. The boys revived after the 10 minute drive back to the condo and were running through the condo a top speed. We had a yummy pancake and egg dinner, some ice cream for dessert and made the boys write a journal entry before bed.

After the past few days this day seems so calm and uneventful but I don’t know that we were up for anything more than that. I guess it’s time to get some rest before heading back to reality tomorrow. We still have a fun stop or two on the way so we’ll see how that turns out.

Vacation Day 6

Vacation Day 6 –

Today was another whirlwind kind of day with non-stop action and excitement. Since we got a late start to the day, Michelle and I enjoying the chance we have to sleep in, we just had cold cereal for breakfast. The boys thought it was the best treat ever and each boy had multiple servings of Marshmallow Maties. Then we all got dressed and started the preparations for a day of hiking fun.

The boys couldn’t handle the excitement so we sent them downstairs to play at the playground. Michelle and I worked on the various preparations, making lunches and snacks, getting the day packs filled with water and supplies, examining maps, etc. By the time the boys came back from the playground we were ready to head out.

We drove to Snow Canyon, just outside of St. George. We’ve never been to this canyon, it was close and claimed to have some child friendly (easier) trails. So we went there only to discover that the secrets of this beautiful canyon were out and everyone else was there to too. There was no parking at our first choice of trails so we headed to our back-up choice (the lava flow trail). After loading up each boy we headed off on the trail. Apparently, our boys don’t go quite as fast as adults and teenagers so we kept getting passed on the trail. 

At our half-way point we made a discovery of the lava tubes! These are open spaces that we could have gone spelunking if we had known about them ahead of time and brought some flashlights or other caving equipment. As it was, we looked into the pits and thought about the possibilities, then we headed off on the other fork. 

This trail was much less traveled and we only had one pair of ladies hike past us as we headed toward the whiterocks. We stopped on some petrified dunes to have lunch. The boys couldn’t sit still as they ate lunch and they were scrambling all over the place. Gidean did not have a good lunch. We had to hold him still in order to feed him, the wind was blowing and it was chilly. Except when his mouth was full of food he was crying, sometimes even with his mouth full of food he was crying too. We did manage to get him settled down and comfortable before we headed back to the trail.

We continued to hike toward the whiterocks but the trail looked like a lost river, wandering around and never heading anywhere. The boys had fun but with the trail not going to anything they started getting tired and bored. We finally decided that, as fun as the lost trail was, we needed to head back to the car. We took off cross country and headed toward the road, hopefully the closest point to the trail and easiest way back to our car. The path we chose only had two dry creek beds to cross and otherwise was simple and quick.

The rest of our exploration of Snow Canyon was done by driving in the car. Quinten had to be carried the last part of the hike and was out (sleeping) almost instantly. The other boys enjoyed looking out and seeing a few more sites. We drove all the way to the north end of the park to see the cinder cone and the whiterocks amphitheater. Then we headed all the way back to the south end of the park to play in the sand dunes. With Quinten and Gidean sleeping, I stayed in the car and took a quick cat nap while the rest of the family played in the red sand.

As we were leaving the canyon we noticed a sign that said, “Kayenta 2 ¾ miles” so I had to turn and find out what that was all about. We found a new community in the sand, just like the real place! While it looked interesting and new we were glad we were just passing through. We head back to our condo.

The boys were so excited to finally go swimming and with our recent visit to the red sand dunes we thought that was a great idea. I took the five boys down to the pool to go swimming. Even with the windy and cool temperatures the boys were excited and jumped right in. I helped Quinten into the new floaty ring we bought down in Vegas and all five boys started floating away. Being much more timid I went and sat in the hot tub. Once Quinten had been abandoned by his brothers I went and fished him out of the pool. He followed Aleky to the children’s spa but misjudged his step and I had to fish Quinten out of the spa! He didn’t like that spa anymore so we all headed over to the big, hot spa.

All the boys enjoyed their time in the hot spa and Quinten stopped shivering pretty quickly. David grew restless in the spa and went back to do cannonballs into the big pool. The other boys followed when I wouldn’t let them play in the spa. So they went back to the big pool and floated under the waterfall there until it was time to leave. I did have to fish a random girl out of the pool when her mother failed to notice her struggling. The boys didn’t want to go and wanted to know when we were coming back for more swimming.

Back at the condo we had fries and smoothies for dinner. All the boys had to bathe and wash off any residual sand and chlorine, along with any other accumulated dirt before they could eat. Since everyone had an appetite we had to make all five pounds of potatoes into French fries to satisfy their hunger. We enjoyed some cookies and cream ice cream and then sent them all to bed. The boys didn’t fight to hard and were quickly asleep.

Michelle and I finally had some peace and quiet. We enjoyed getting our own showers and spent some time talking but quickly found ourselves just wanting to sleep so we went to bed by 10:30 pm, the earliest night of our vacation.

April 12, 2012

Vacation Day 5

Vacation Day 5 –

Today is the day that we change resorts, leave Las Vegas and head for the cooler climate of St. George. But we’re still took the relaxing start to the day, not getting up before 8:30 am. The boys were very considerate, using their whisper voices before Michelle and I woke up.

The morning was all about getting everything together and packed up so we could vacate our unit. We ate breakfast. Michelle showered and packed her personal belongings while I tried to record the events of the previous day while trying to keeping the boys from bouncing off each other too hard. Then Michelle went to work on the kitchen, packing our food and making lunch for the family. I quickly showered, packed my personal belonging and then began packing the rest of the boys clothing (making sure to check in all of the best hiding places for lost clothing items).

The boys tried to help clean up but their one trip to the main garbage can down the hall lead to all of the boys out the door and around the building and parking area! When we realized everyone had left, including Gidean, we began a quick reconnaissance mission to find them. No harm was done but we had to give the boys a lesson about talking to us before leaving so that we know where they are and that no one gets lost.

After some more playing and packing, and with a quick reminder about trust, we sent the boys down to the playground to work out some wiggles before we started traveling. The quiet condo was all we needed to finish packing our things. The boys came back up, we all ate lunch and then we loaded up the suburban and prepared for travel. We were only 45 minutes late on our check-out time and two cleaning people were camped outside our door waiting for their opportunity to clean the unit.
Before leaving Las Vegas we had one more stop at the Historic Mormon Fort in north Las Vegas. The fort was a cool stop, talking about the first white settlement in Las Vegas and a brief historic overview of the growth of the town. We got to see some historic tools and artifacts, watch a short movie and see what is left of the original fort walls. Aleky even gave a short Spanish lesson to one of the grounds crew, teaching him how to count to ten.

We left Las Vegas and headed north. As we traveled we listened to “The Candy Shop Wars”. The drive was uneventful and wasn’t too bad since it was less than 2 hours. We found the St. George resort without too much difficulty but our GPS didn’t take us to the front gate, it left us at the back door in a random turnabout. But we found the resort and checked it. The St. George condo is so much better than the condo is Las Vegas. The condo is bigger, nicer and much more family friendly. And, there is grass on the grounds!

While the trip to St. George was long we still lost an hour which meant that we arrived around dinner time. Michelle put together a simple tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. Once dinner was cleaned up we headed to the closest Albertsons and did some grocery shopping for our remaining food needs for this vacation. The boys must have been feeling restless because they were out of control in the store! Fortunately the night time is a less busy time of day so we didn’t antagonize too many customers but they were behaving such that we were sufficiently embarrassed by their behavior.

Immediately upon returning to the condo we got the boys ready for bed and put them down for the night. Michelle and I enjoyed the peace and quiet with an Orange Julius and the movie “Hugo”. At the conclusion of the movie we went to bed and rested in preparation for another exciting day.