Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Grammy Camp

This year for the first time Sandie came up with an idea to have a few grand kids over at a time for  "Grammy Camp." She had all sorts of activities, snacks, and movies planned for a good solid 24 hours. This happened back in July and my kids still bring it up every few weeks. Especially Jovie who adores her Grandparents and loves special one on one time with them. She asks me every few days to do another Grammy camp.

Jovie was up first. She and Trent got to have their own special day. They saw a movie, got frozen yogurt, did a slip and slide as well as a few other activities with Grammy at her house. She loved every moment of it.

A few weeks later it was Peyton's turn along with Brinley and Delanie. They did the same, plus had a fancy tea party, tie-dyed shirts and made chocolate candy. Grammy said it was nice to have a few of the kids over at a time who could do similar activities together.
Jovie and my parents at her "Nana Camp" that we kind of forced upon them, bless their souls for being such good sports. They took her to Benihana for my mom's belated birthday dinner.

This day was pretty awesome for Wes and me too since my parents took Jovie for most of the day so we had a fun day together (along with Griffin). We did some shopping, ate, and watched a movie.

I am truly hoping Grammy camp catches on and becomes a tradition. Because we ALL loved it!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Take 4: (Last Day)

Our last day and all the fun random things!

The last day was pretty uneventful for the most part. We had to pack up camp, and have you ever tried tearing down camp with a 3 month old. Luckily we set up the pack n' play outside and he was pretty happy (and well visited).

The kids played UNO and "golf" (a card game) while we packed up. This was a VERY common occurrence during our time camping. We taught them the game while there and they would play everywhere we went (one of the older kids would carry the deck of cards around and they would find a table and all of them would park around it and play). I really wish I had gotten a picture of them playing at the village. All the kids around 1-2 tables playing. It was pretty darn cute.

Our annual bear box picture.


We then met up with the Brobergs to do the shuttle around the valley... the kids really liked riding in the bus. We ended back at Halfdome Village for some ice cream before leaving.

We left a little earlier than the Brobergs and as we were walking out the parking lot towards our car parked on the street we heard yelling so naturally we walked towards it. I saw a man chasing what I initially thought to be a big dog. Upon getting closer we saw it was a small bear. So again naturally we ran towards that too. It was awesome. We got to about 50 ft away and watched it stand on it's hind legs to look around. Apparently it had run up to a family picnicking hoping for some food. We walked by them and the poor mom looked as if she was going to faint. We were pumped to have that sighting. Our photo is pretty lame because my phone was dead and Wes was doing his one handed, holding Griffin and trying to go fast since the bear was being chased off. But, we were psyched none the less.
You can see his little face right there in front of the tree towards the left behind some bushes.

And we were off. Of course this part was not completely without incident as we were almost out of gas and the nearest station was about an hour away. We had to turn off the air and pray (literally) to make it. We did. Phew! The rest was a nice, easy drive home.

Some of the fun random photos of the week:

Griffin getting a "camp" bath in our bucket.
Look familiar? Peyton 2011:

There was the big boys who started with beards and ended with:

Griff and I spent a little time napping in our tent while the others played, which was alright with me.

Some cute ones of Griffin and the boys.

I guess that about sums up our trip. It really was another great one for the books!!!!!!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Take 4: (Part 3)

Let's see here, where did we leave off? Ah yes, day 4.

After a fun day at the waterfall we went back to our new favorite place, which was just a short jaunt through the forest right next to where we were camping. A fun little place right by the river which had everything one could desire. A place to "white water raft" made by some other kind campers. A jumping rock. A place for the littler ones to play in the water without fear. Great snorkeling water where those who participated found the largest trout (maybe bass) they have ever seen. I was told it was comparable to those at Bass Pro Shop- I for one did not participate in this. We spent hours on hours over numerous days at this spot; everyone loved it so. It was a perfect place for our rambunctious family!
 As you can see Griffin fell asleep for a while so I was able to do some swimming/rafting. For the most part I was pretty laid back this week due to a baby being attached most of the time. Tis' the season, right moms? Wes happily took over whenever I asked, but I pretty much left the adventuring with the older two up to him.
 These are the brave souls who jumped off the rock. I was not among them. Did I also mention the water is run-off from the snow. Like 40 some degrees I think.

Like I said A LOT of our time throughout the week was spent here. And honestly if we asked the kids what they wanted to do, I think it was always a unanimous answer to go there.

Our last full day (day 5) we went back up to mirror lake and the "Indian caves" a little area where you can see where the natives lived, worked, cooked, etc. There are some caves to explore up there. Jovie decided to hang with me, Griffin, and some of the other moms and kids while Wes (and Ned) took Peyton and some of the big kids up into and on top of the caves to explore. Wes said Peyton just kept going and going, he was shocked and proud. Oh and they were decked out with face paint to "look the part" up there. (Thanks to Heidi and her smart thinking, the kids loved having their faces decorated).

Tiger girl and Kitty Cat
 Look how high she was! I have anxiety looking at this picture, which is why adventuring is left up to dad.

We spent more time at our river spot, said good-bye to the younger Todd family and then met up with the Brobergs to explore more of the park.

Like the Indian Village, where these kids took their roles very VERY seriously. Look at how the men protect their squaws. We also checked out the Visitor Center and round about areas.

 Wes and I agree that our favorite thing to do while in Yosemite is ride our bikes. It is arguably the prettiest place I have ever been. And it sure beats the crowded public trams everyone else takes.

Last post will be coming soon!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Take 4 (Part 2)

Continuing on with our vacation.

Day 3: We took the kids on a bike ride over to Mirror Lake. We weren't planning on swimming but it was just too perfect we just had to! So the kids stripped down and played in the lake. Some of the bigger kids found a good little jumping rock. Peyton (after the rope swing debacle) was understandably hesitant. I made a deal with her that if she tried it I would buy her something from the gift shop. She sat by me for a while, built up her courage, and climbed the rock to jump. It was a proud moment for me as a mom. But, I think the thing I loved most of all about the experience was the moral support she got from her cousins. Asher was up there cheering her on and jumping up and down as she jumped (those two for whatever reason have a very special and sweet bond). And sweet Claire jumped right before her and walked her through the entire process. She waited at the bottom and hugged her as she came out of the water. It was a wonderful thing to witness. These cousins are so lucky to have each other! As a mom I am so grateful to have them for my kids too.

 Remember in the past I mentioned how little boys always attach themself  to Peyton. Check out the blue shirt behind her. He went way out of his way to help her up the rock and then parked himself right behind her for a while. Seriously?! Luckily that girl is pretty oblivious to others in general.

After playing in the lake we walked around up there for a while before biking back. Took in the great views and built our cairns like every year. It is becoming a thing my family loves to do. Peyton is getting pretty good at it too. This trip she became quite the hiker/explorer.

One of my favorite things about camping is how dirty everyone gets. Jovie in particular can out-dirty just about anyone in the world. Quickly too. I just loved how she looked coming out of the tent every morning for breakfast. Cute camper. She was completely happy all day everyday. She would wake up and instantly start playing all around. Even if she was alone, she was never thrown off.

Day 4 we took a nice bike ride through meadows, and glades, past mountains to a beautiful waterfall.
Yosemite falls is easily the tallest waterfall I've ever seen. The ride to get there is spectacular too. While we were riding we stopped to watch 2 deer wade through the river below us. Then we happened upon one right next to the path we were riding just standing there eating. We tried to show Peyton as we rode by but she missed it. BUT, as we passed it, it started to run right along with her. I actually got super nervous because it looked like it was going to jump right over the fence into her. It stopped right at the fence, but it truly ran next to her for a couple of seconds; it was awesome. Then as we pulled to our stop on our bikes she jumped off hers screaming. At that moment I watched a big black bug of sorts fly off of her and she kept screaming and crying saying, "What happened? What was that?" It was so sad. As we looked at the back of her shoulder you could see exactly where it stung her. It must have gotten stuck in her shirt or something. It was a nasty sting and threw her off for a minute. Once she got in the cold water at the bottom of the falls though she was fine again. She is completely paranoid now about being stung, but also carries that sting as a sort of badge of honor. We teased her that between the deer and bee she really became one with the animals that day. I also have to give that girl a huge shout out with how well she did riding her bike all week long with us.
To be continued......