Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Gotta see the horse

We were only home from AZ a day or two when we headed to my in-laws so the boys could see Nana and Papa's horse, Brooke. Papa was in charge of Ashlyn while Nana gave horse rides. Don't ever leave a baby girl with her papa if you expect her to stay clean! :)

Nana went through all of the grooming with the boys and they were able to help her get the horse ready.

Waiting so patiently for their turn to ride!

You can't see Carter's expression very well in this picture, so you might want to click on it to see it full size. I love it!

Handsome cowboys!

Handsomest cowboy of all!

I had to have my turn, too! The horse is still a little skittish, so I wasn't about to take off on her by myself. Eric was the only one brave enough to do that!

Last but definitely not Least!

All month long, the question I heard most was "When are we going to Grandma and Grandpa's house?" I had planned on us going there first, but I failed to let them in that and they had already made out-of-town plans. After the lake, we headed straight to Thatcher to spend a couple of days. The boys had fun in the backyard and especially with Casey. They loved the individual attention they received from Grandma and Grandpa. They had seen them at the reunion, but there were too many people there for it to be quite the same.

The kids played and played and were in tears when we told them we had to go home and couldn't spend another day.

To help soften the blow, Grandma bought them special traveling surprises. Thanks Grandma!

The kids sure do love their AZ grandma and grandpa. We wish we got to see them more often, but since we can't, we really treasure the time when we do. Until next time! Love ya!

Can't Forget Aunt Stacie!

Our next stop was Flagstaff, AZ to visit Aunt Stacie. Anyone who knows Stacie, knows that we played and played all week long. I let Stacie be head photographer, and although we copied several of her pictures, they are on Eric's computer and he is out of town for the next six weeks, so I only have a few. Uncle Mark started the week off with some fourwheeler rides for our FHE activity. The boys loved it. Mark just took them up and down their street a couple of times, but it was just as exciting as if they'd been out at the sand dunes.

The middle of our week was filled with bike rides (Stacie nearly killed me when she failed to mention that the 6 mile round trip bike ride was uphill both ways! No wonder she offered to drive the little kids and sent me with Jordynn, Kailan, and Chase!), pilates, sewing, shopping, birthday party, painting, visiting, game playing, fort building, etc. The boys' favorite was fort building. Right behind their house is a national forest and the Moore kids had found a fallen down tree that they were transforming into a fort. We sent them up a couple of afternoons full of supplies ranging from scotch tape to toys. I guess they found their real building material in the woods? I got to visit with my best friend growing up, Tamra, for an afternoon and evening, which was really nice. We don't take as many opportunities to catch up as we should! Her and Jed had just purchased a shaved ice machine - big highlight - and she was so kind as to make me as many as I liked! I loved her house and Rhett is adorable.

I was a little interested to see how Ashlyn and Hallie (6 months older) would interact. I was sure we would be in for a few screaming matches. However, it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought! :) Ashlyn told Hallie how it was going to be, and Hallie obeyed or else! I thought Hallie would be traumatized by the time we left, but apparently she can't stop talking about Ashlyn and misses her terribly. Go figure!

The big adventures began on Thursday. The first, being Carter's foot. Wednesday night I noticed that it was swollen to twice the size of his other foot, but I couldn't think of anything that would have happened to it. We quizzed all of the kids and no one remembered Carter hurting his foot. The next morning it was the same, if not more swollen, but luckily, Stacie had to take her girls in for their sports physicals, so she took Carter with her to see if we needed to be worried or not. While they were gone, I finally got a hold of Eric, and after I explained, the first thing he said was to get him in quick. Luckily, he was already on his way and the doctor agreed with Eric. Carter had cellulitis, which is an infection that is easily treated with antibiotics if it is caught soon enough, otherwise it goes systemic and results in a couple day (if not more) hospital stay. We were fortunate to get him in when we did, and thankfully he was on the mend by the next morning and enjoying the extra attention. Unfortunately, his Dr. appt, antibiotics, etc., put us back several hours for our REAL Thursday adventure. I probably would have called the whole thing off, but Stacie cannot be deterred, so we set out for the Lava Tubes at 7:00p that evening. I think that this was my highlight. A lava tube is a tunnel formed when the surface of a lava flow cools and solidifies, while the still-molten interior flows through and drains away. So basically, it's a big cave out in the middle of nowhere and the entrance is just a big hole in the ground. We had to hike over rocks to get in and around and it was a rough surface the whole way, but it was incredible! I want to take Eric back to see it and leave the kids so I have a chance to really look around. With the ground so rough, and it being pitch black, (we all had flashlights) you have to watch every step, or you trip and after a few trips, my boys were done. I carried Carter half of the way in and Carter and/or Isaac the whole way out. Jordynn thankfully stayed home with the babies! Isaac saw a couple of bats on the way out and was only one small bat away from full-blown hysteria when I was able to get him out. He can laugh about it now, but it was NOT funny then. Isn't it great what imaginations can do? I know this doesn't explain much of what it was, but it's something you just have to see for yourself. I loved it!

Friday we were finally reunited with Eric. Yeah! The kids were so happy to see him after a month and Ashlyn wouldn't let him go.

We met in Sedona at a place called Red Rocks. It was beautiful! There was a creek with natural water slides and big pools for swimming in. It was really slick, but we eventually got the hang of it. We almost lost our camera when Eric took a downer, but it survived - hooray! Oh, and Eric was okay, too! There were tons of crawdads for crawdad fishing and then later that day we headed further down the creek where there was a rope swing tied to a tree over a big rock. Isaac had no fears and flew out and let go like a pro! We never could really get Carter in the water at all. On the way back there were tons of wild blackberries that we picked and ate. They were delicious!

We weren't able to get in all that Stacie had planned, but we had a blast with what we did and the fun kept coming. Saturday morning the Moore's and us met Dad and Cindy, eventually, (we forgot Carter's antibiotic which added on at least an hour to the trip, plus had several roadside stops, etc.) at Roosevelt Lake for a day of fun on their boat. Isaac LOVED the tube. He rode it with me the first time and got a little nervous now and again, but he didn't hesitate to jump back on with Chase for some cousin wars. We had two tubes tied on back and Kailan and Brooklyn challenged Isaac and Chase to a duel, to see who could stay on the longest. Dad tried to be nice for a while, but just couldn't help himself, so pretty soon they were flying through the water. There were a couple of times that Isaac almost flew off, but he was so terrified of letting go, that I don't think anything could have pried his fingers off! The girls eventually flipped, followed closely by the boys. The first thing Isaac yelled when he surfaced was "Chase!" which I imagined was in a very panicked voice and was all set to jump in and save my baby from the terrors of the lake, but he soon followed with the biggest grin and "We won!!!". Eric and I both skied for the first time and I think we did pretty good for our first go at it. Stacie and Mark took some awesome pictures that they posted on their dropshots account if you want to see them. I think they're worth seeing! It's at www.dropshots.com/smmoore. They are at the beginning of August.

We loved every minute of it! Thanks Stacie!

On to Aunt Kimmie's!

After the reunion, we went back to Cari's for a week and then we headed to St. John's, AZ to spend time with Kimberly and her family. The first part of the week was AWESOME! The kids took care of each other, Kim took care of what she needed to (that's what I tell myself, anyway) and I read two and a half books. I'd break in the evening and play cards and went on a couple of morning walks with Kimberly, but other than that it was HEAVEN! Oh, and we did go to Show Low for Kimberly's dentist appointment, but I just sat in the car for two hours and read, then we did a little shopping. The weather was beautiful. It was high 70s, low 80s during the day, and then it would cloud up and rain in the evenings. The kids had a blast playing with cousins. Carter especially, since he had two other little boys who love guns and cowboys even more than he does. One of the highlights was the "slip and slide." Only in St. Johns would you bust out the tarp and hose it down. They loved it!

I of course had to strip Ashlyn down. If we were using a tarp instead of a slip and slide, I saw no problem with using a diaper instead of a swimsuit!

Ashlyn's favorite toy was Aunt Kimmie's rocking horse.
The second half of the week was filled with Pioneer Day celebrations. We started off with a rodeo and I was in SOOOO much trouble that I didn't bring Carter's boots. How could I forget such a thing? He still brings it up that we better not forget them next time we go to Arizona! Fortunately, we were able to round up some cowboy clothes and here are the handsomest boys all dudded out.

Trace, Carter, and Cody
And here they are at the big rodeo! Does life get any better?

Some of the Herring's friends had horses and gave the boys a ride. Carter only lasted a few minutes before he wanted off, but loved it just the same. Isaac got a really long ride and had a smile so big when he got back it took up his whole face. It wouldn't surprise me if the smile had more to do with the girl than the horse!

I got Carter his hotdog and he headed out away from everyone and plopped down to eat it. I thought he looked pretty cute.

Kortlynn kept Ashlyn entertained with her tunes. She was an AWESOME entertainer all week!

That night was the big family dance. Carter and Ashlyn completely melted, so I stayed home with them and sent Isaac with everyone else. Doesn't he look ready for some groovin'?
We also went to an icecream social, and a couple of picnics. But the grand finale of the week was the 24th of July parade. They actually throw candy (nobody does in Texas) AND it was an election year, so there were triple the floats, which equals triple the candy.

Alexa, Cody, Kortlynn, Madisen, Isaac, Trace and Carter

It takes SOOOO long between floats!

At the end the firetrucks came and hosed all of the kids off. Carter didn't want anything to do with it, but Isaac and his cousins were soaked in no time.

The load!
Thanks Kimberly for a great week. Anytime you want me to come so you can take care of me, I'll be there! Make your way to Texas and I'll return the favor!