Thursday, July 30, 2009

Enjoying the journey

During the last week we drove from Blanding to Seattle. Then we've spent the last few days shopping for our years supply of stuff. Throughout the whole trip Sammie has been singing. I'm told the song is on Madagascar 2, but the lines she sings say "I've been around the world in the pouring rain, I've been to many places that look the same. My people, my people, take me to my people now." She sings it with a great little attitude in her voice. I recorded her singing it while she was in the bath, but I decided I shouldn't post that recording on line. So I got her to perform it for me, which is never as cute as when she's just singing to herself, but I think it's cute. We're hanging out in the hotel in Seattle tonight waiting to take the ferry tomorrow. We'll be in our new home in a couple more days. Yah!!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

My Hawaii Trip

I got to go on the most amazing trip to Hawaii this summer. I backpacked on the Napali Coast on Kauai. It was a first in many ways for me. It was the first trip to Hawaii, the first time to be away from my kids for a week, the first time I'd been away from my kids and husband at the same time, and my first time to go on an overnight backpacking hike. For anyone thinking this sounds fun, It was, however, I would never recommend this hike to someone as inexperienced as myself.
This pic is our group at the beginning of the hike. Still feeling good and excited. From left to right they are Laurel (to become my sister in law in October), Robby (my little brother), My mom, Jen (my little sister and trip organizer), Paula (my sister in law), Janice (friend of Jen), Me, and Marilyn (my mom's little sister). Not shown is Phill (a friend of Jen) who was a great photographer and an expert hiker besides adding another great personality to the group.

This is me in front of our first view of the coast we were hiking. It looked impossible. All those little bumps sticking out into the water are what we hiked over, around, and up to get to the amazing beach at the end.This is me looking down off the cliff at the water below. A large portion of the hike was done on skinny trails along the edge of cliffs. Not a hike for the clumsy! I can't believe I made it!!

Two miles into the hike was a small beach that looked like a great place to play in the water, but before we got there we saw this sign. Apparently it's not a good beach to play in the water at.
We took a side trail on the first day so that we could go see this beautiful waterfall. It was a great spot! But while we were there it started raining and it didn't stop until after dark. The funny thing to me was that being wet didn't mean we were cold. It Did get uncomfortable by the end of the day though.
This is Paula going to use the deluxe toilet facilities. They were absolutely disgusting, but when you only see one every 4 or 5 miles at best, you take what you can get.

After a long first day of hiking in the rain on scary trails we were very relieved to get to this little covered table where we could get out of the rain and cook a hot meal. After which we climbed in our tents and slept well. The next morning we were very happy to see the sunshine, and looked forward to a few hours on the beach before dark if we hiked fast.
The scenery along the way was amazing. This is my mom and I stopping to enjoy the scenery. It was unbelievable!!!
There were plenty of places along the trail that seemed better suited to goats than hikers. This is a picture of Robby and Laurel in one of those spots. The switchbacks made it possible to hike but they weren't easy! And that water in the background is a LONG way down!
Finally we arrived at the beach! It was so neat!! It was a big beach with very few people. And it was spotless! No trash, no sticks, most of it didn't even have rocks. It was just clean smooth sand with this amazing backdrop!!!

All of our stuff was still soaked from hiking in the rain the day before (and falling in a few rivers). So we picked this nice area of the beach that had some low bushes and unpacked. Within a few hours everything was nice and dry again. In one corner of the beach was a waterfall that hikers use to shower. It even had a soapdish carved into the rock. We didn't soap up, but the water sure felt great!!

Of corse to Jen, enjoying the beauty of it from the bottom wasn't enough. She had to scale the cliff in bare feet and a swim suit to see what was at the top.
At one end of the beach was this big cave. It wasn't super deep, but we enjoyed exploring it. This pic is looking out to the beach from in the cave.This is my favorite picture of the beach because it shows how peaceful and clean and perfect it was.

On the third day we hiked back out to the cars. It was a long and hard day but amazingly uneventful. All of us came out safe and healthy. Then we had two more days to see what else the island had to offer. First we went to Waimea Canyon. It's a lot like the grand canyon but green. There are hikes to do there, but we had had enough hiking, so we were happy with the view point.

On the way back to the condo, we stopped to see this light house. Look close it's just over my shoulder on the left side of the picture.That night we enjoyed a very energetic game of spoons. There was actually biting at one point!

On our last day we went snorkling. Or at least some of us did. I tried hard, but it is not my thing. But I did like standing in the water and having the fish swim around me. And there were two seals out on a little sand bar, not far out at all. So I enjoyed watching them. I also managed to get the worst sunburn of my life! All in all it was a great day at the beach.Then we finished the week with a Luau at a very nice resort hotel. Thats when Robby finally proposed to Laurel. When the luau was over we went straight to the airport and spent the night flying home.

It was an unforgettable week!!! But I was very happy to see Stew and the kids again!!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Highlights of the first half of Summer.

I took the kids to Arches. We did all of the short hikes. It was a perfect day. We ate lunch, hiked, and played. It was only about 65 degrees. For Mid June in Moab it doesn't get any better!!
This first pic is the kids at sand arch. It's a small arch surrounded by a huge sand pile.

This is all of us in front of Double Arch. This was a really neat looking arch with plenty of roack climbing opportunities for the kids.
During the week of the 4th of July, Stewart and I had ALL of our brothers and Sisters in town. We spent a day camping with the Hughes Cousins. There are currently 18 Hughes cousins and they are all 2-14 years old. And we're getting two new cousins before Christmas!!
And then the next day Liz and her cousin Tanner were both baptized by their dads. What a great day!! It was a wonderful reunion!
And then we were all able to sit together for the parade on the 4th of July. This pic is the whole Hughes family waiting for the parade to start.

The Richmonds also had a get together during the week of the 4th. The moms all brought the kids to Grandma's and Grandpa's on Monday and spent the whole week playing together. We went horseback riding on some mini horses, had a piniata, went to the dinosaur museum and much more! This pic is Josh and Caleb taking a turn on the horses.This is nine of the ten Richmond cousins in the pool. Most of the kids loved it. Porter wasn't too happy at first, but it grew on him. We have one that was too young for the activities but most of the kids loved it!

While my older three kids were at a cousin activity with the Hughes', The Richmond cousins went to the dinosaur museum. Three-three year olds and three-two year olds. What a fun group!!

The Richmonds all got to watch the parade together also. I did a little running back and forth across the street to be with both families. I love family get togethers but it would be nice not to have both families the same week sometimes.
After Liz's baptism we managed to get some pictures of the kids while they were all dressed up. This is all 10 Richmond cousins. Clean AND Smiling!! Then we all went for a potluck dinner in Hughes' backyard. All my family and all Stew's family in one place - That was a crowd!! I loved every minute!
The three-three year olds loved hanging out together!!! They are less than three months apart from oldest to youngest.