Here are a couple of pictures from Rachel's camera. We had a lovely time. One fun surprise was seeing a car full of people we haven't seen in a while drive by us in the parking lot. It was great seeing Autumn and Charlie with their three kids. They moved to another state when they only had one baby. They met our two youngest for the first time and we caught up a little bit.
I decided that what I really wanted to do was build a sand castle with Naomi. We used her big pink bucket and another little one to build three towers. I dribbled wet sand to make the parapets. Naomi helped me find the decorations. We used seaweed to make water for the moat. After putting the finishing touches on our masterpieces, I was looking for Rachel to ask if I could borrow her battery rich camera, when Naomi picked up a shovel and said, "Now it's time to smash it, "and then she did!
She demolished one of the side towers before I knew what was happening. I asked if she could wait to finish her destruction until after I took a picture, gently removed the other side tower to make things symmetrical and snapped a photo before my little bulldozer got back to work :)
In other news, we have a dog...
...temporarily. We are dog-sitting for some friends in our ward. His name is Max and he is still a puppy, so he likes to chew on things, especially three year old girls, which means for the next four days I suspect Mo will be spending more time inside and less time in the backyard. The other kids, on the other hand may end up sleeping outside with the dog to keep him company. It is all part of Stan's plan to help the daughters who beg for a dog every seventeen minutes to understand how much work and responsibility a puppy really is. They love him so much already, the plan may backfire and they may ask to move in with Vicki and Don when they take their dog home!
I've been putting this blog post off for a bit because it was overwhelming - so many pictures to organize. I finally conquered them, so here you go!
We went to Utah for the annual family reunion, but left a few days early so that we could be with Father on Father's Day. The kids and I gave Stan, and we all gave Father, each an owl tie.
The next day, we went to one of my favorite places - Snow Canyon. Rachel was messing around with my camera in the car and took this inexplicable picture.
One of the things I love about Snow Canyon is all the different colors of rock - black lava flows, read and white sandstone. Its so pretty.
The kids climbed some petrified sand dunes.
We saw lots of little tiny tracks and...
...a couple dragonflies.
We found the canyon trail that we went on last fall and took it again.
It seemed about 20 degrees cooler in the shade.
Our nephew Tristan did some climbing...
...and found some interesting rocks.
We spent the next day doing laundry and getting ready for camping. The last few years, the family reunion has been on Pine Valley mountain. It is a great place to camp. This year especially, it had everything a good camping spot should have, starting with lots of dirt. This is Naomi about five minutes after we got out of the car.
Of course, the best way to improve dirt is to find a cousin to make mud with. Toddler heaven.
There were lots of cousins and lots of pine trees...
...fun places to sit...
...and piles and piles of dessert.
Stan's coworker told him that roasted Starbursts were delicious. I was underwhelmed. Give me a good old s'more.
We saw a few deer...
...and Uncle Will caught a fish.
I fed my inner pyromaniac by building and maintaining lots of fires.
There was rest (sort of)...
...and relaxation. (What a lot of pretty girls!)
We left straight from the camp out on Friday to go north to stay with Derek and Holly for Genola Days. Kate came with us and her blow dryer was a little too noisy for her cousin.
Genola Days was a ton of fun. There was a parade with a giant chicken float.
There was a carnival and...
...our niece Natalie was one of the performers that took to the stage set up in the park.
The rodeo was the highlight. In between the events, they had activities for the kids.
The 2-5 year olds raced for candy.
People donated kittens, bunnies and chickens for the 6-9 year olds to chase and adopt as pets.
Finally, the 10-14 year olds got to chase the Cash Calf, a young bull with bills ranging from $1 to $20 duct taped all over him. It was pretty entertaining to watch :)
...Kate each got a dollar.
Here are some more rodeo pictures. I liked the bare back riding and the fireworks best.
Sunday, after church in Genola, we headed to Orem to see some friends and then took a short drive up Provo Canyon to Bridal Veil Falls.
Lots of people were wading at the base of the falls, but we were the only ones looking out of place in our Sunday clothes. It took multiple washings to get the mud out of Gwen's white skirt, but it was worth it.
Sunday night we were back in St. George, where I caught a toad in the front yard. I showed it to a cluster of kids and made my sister-in -law scream by surprising her with it, but I didn't kiss it because...
(here's Michael making a face while we were there because he is a cheeseball)
...and then we went to the beach.
While I loathe seaweed, Gwen collects it, every time we visit the beach. I don't mind as long as she doesn't make me hold it on my lap on the way home...
We left Summer, Rachel and Heather in Utah for a couple weeks and got to have our niece and cousin, Nikki, as an exchange daughter. She was a lot of fun to have around and the main reason we went to the beach. The beach is always worth the trip, but this look on her face was the icing on the cake.
Here I am being boring, just sitting in the shade, but Stan and I both went swimming later.
We also drove around to the nearby campgrounds to get an idea of where we might want to camp near the beach - any advice?