Thursday, July 30, 2009

Elsa's "Fake Birthday"

Elsa turned 6 on the 16th, but as she and I were to be in Pennsylvania on her birthday, we celebrated at home on the 13th. Lucy worked hard and finished up the felt birthday crowns for Elsa and her 3 best friends.

Birthday cupcakes with siblings, cousins, and friends.

Present time! The big baby doll was mama made using a kit from It was pretty easy to make - I even plowed through a crocheted wig for the dolly using the boucle wool yarn which was a major challenge for a beginner! But it turned out beautiful and completely fulfilled Elsa's wishes.
Birthday sparklers to end the evening.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Utah Vacation

We had an amazing time the rest of the week in Utah. There is so much to see and do there, we could have stayed all summer!

We actually found snow in Big Cottonwood Canyon. The hills were so steep though, it was a bit scary. When we first got out of the car, Jesse teased my by standing on the edge of a very steep hill and pretending to lose his balance - but then he really did lose his balance and sent me into a quivering, crying heap in the car! I really don't do well with the kids and heights. All was well, I calmed down enough to hike up to the snow, and the view was well worth it. It reminded me of being in the Alps in Germany.

From Big Cottonwood Canyon we drove the very narrow backroads in to Park City. It was so green and cool, and Park City is a really cute little town. The boys rented mountain bikes and we rode the ski lift up the mountain. Below is the moose and her calf resting in the tall greenery under the ski lift. We were so excited to see a moose! I had no idea there were moose in Utah.

The boys biked and the girls hiked. We all had a wonderful time!

For us, a trip to Utah wouldn't be complete without visiting This is the Place monument and historical village. We have several ancestors who were in the first pioneer company with Brigham Young when he entered Salt Lake Valley. Henson Walker, Charles Shumway, and Alexander Chesley are all listed on the monument. In the village we visited a replica of my Great-great grandfather Benjamin Franklin Johnson's "Saddle shop" where the kids got to learn about harness making and make a little leather ornament. We also dipped candles, washed clothes in a washtub (Elsa loved this!), made rag dolls and clay marbles.

We also spent a day hiking up to the Timpanogas cave and then driving the alpine loop road to Bridal Veil Falls. The cave hike was about 3 times as steep and long as we had anticipated. It was a serious challenge for all of us, but we made it and were so glad we did. The cave is a beautiful living cave with just about every kind of cave formation known.

Our last night in Utah we spent in Cedar City where we had tickets to the famous Utah Shakespearean Festival. The picture above was the pre-show performed for free outside the theatre. The play for the night was "Comedy of Errors" and we all loved it! They are really a fantastic company and well worth the trip to Southern Utah to see them. We all agreed we would love to go for a week sometime and see several shows.

Independence Day!

Our July 4th weekend was so cool and beautiful in the Salt Lake area. We spent most of the day Saturday at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, visiting an amazing dinosaur museum, eating at a sweet cafe, eating ice cream, and watching fireworks. Sunday we went to Temple Square, had a picnic, and did a few of our own fireworks. The best thing about Indepenedence Day in Utah is the great weather and doing our own fireworks legally!


Our next stop was Zion National Park in southern Utah. What a different camping experience that was! A crowded, noisy, hot campground, but the scenery was spectacular. We did several amazing hikes, one of which turned out to be quite steep and long and we were so happy to find a cool, clear pool at the top to wade in. The canyon is really interesting, it's technically desert, but there is water seeping out of the rocks everywhere, and hanging gardens, pools, waterfalls.

Ahhh, July.

I'm about a month behind in blogging, and it has been a month full of adventure! So I will start at the beginning and try to get through it all.

July 1st we headed up north for a ten day family vacation. Our first stop was Flagstaff, AZ where we camped and hiked for a night and day.
Elsa picked wildflowers everywhere we went, so we always had a beautiful bouquet for our table.

This picture makes me a little dizzy! Jesse is sitting on a cliff about 20 feet above a little pond.

The wild bee balm was scenting the woods all around the pond, and was very attractive to both the bees and Elsa.

Here's a view of the cliff from the bottom side. Lucy and Jesse both climbed up the rocks to the top. Robin gave it a worthy try, but about 5 feet from the top he got a bit nervous and had to go back down. Fine with me!

The rock formations were really amazing. But poor Jill was having a hard time noticing anything. Her emotions were still a twinge raw missing her missionary Jared...
We were very lucky with the weather, it was overcast and cool so the drive and hike were really wonderful. We camped in the woods, rough camping rather than a campground, so we were all alone. It was so quiet and peaceful - only the sounds of the birds and squirrels and the wind through the pine trees. We got rained on late in the night, but our tents kept the water out and we stayed cozy and warm.