Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Antelope Island

When Sam had a day off a few weeks ago, the kids decided they wanted to show him Antelope Island. The rest of us went there last year while we were studying rocks, to see some particularly old gneiss (1.7 billion years old, in fact). We loved how remote and isolated the island feels, we loved the herds of bison roaming around, and we loved the beautiful, salt-worn landscape. The kids had been wanting to show everything to Sam ever since! It was a perfectly warm, stormy morning, just the right weather in which to appreciate the wild landscape.
We found the gneiss first. Yep, still there (1.7 billion years plus one!) We climbed around on it. It's so beautiful! I love the swirls and bands--every rock has its own unique character.
Then we hiked a short trail up to a beautiful overlook of the lake. It's a great hike for kids because there are benches to rest on along the way!
The best part was that at the top of the trail, there was a plateau full of huge, clustered rocks (not gneiss--something else. I know there is tufa there, which I think is a conglomerate and looks kind of like concrete. Some of these rocks were maybe quartzite, also).
(maybe this is the tufa?)
Anyway, Sam said this would be a perfect place to play hide-and-seek, and it was! We had so much fun hiding and running and sneaking around among the rocks.
Junie hiding
Goldie hiding (or has she been abandoned?)
Everyone looking for Abe (Abe kept winning; that's why he's not in any of these pictures)
Goldie, found!
Daisy, found!
I see them, but they don't see me (yet!)
Girls in the cavity of a rock
Boy in the cavity of a rock
King Malachi of the Rock
What a beautiful place and a beautiful day! We loved it!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Random Thoughts, monkey-with-a-camera edition

• People always say you shouldn't go grocery shopping when you're hungry. It is also bad, I've learned, to go shopping when you're NOT hungry. I become wan and listless and decide against everything. "Rice? Eh. We probably don't need it." "I'm sure two cans of tomatoes will be plenty for the foreseeable future." "Blech, there's so much cereal here! Who would ever EAT all this?" Then I get home and realize we won't last the week with what I've gotten.

• A cute young woman from church called the other day, and without further pleasantries, asked if I would be at the Young Women's activity that night. "Er, no, not tonight," I said politely. I hung up totally baffled. I got released as YW President over a year ago. Did she just…not…notice?

• The other day as I was making dinner I accidentally slid the whole handful of angel hair pasta out of the package before the water was even boiling. I didn't dare set it down (fearing rolling/breakage) so I just wandered around clutching it awkwardly one-handed and occasionally dropping vegetables, or failing to chop them up with the knife in my other hand. Then the doorbell rang and I opened it, pasta clenched in fist. I saw the lawn-spray guy look down at the angel-hair, look up at me, and decide not to say anything. I, in turn, refused to be ashamed of my pasta hunk and didn't say anything apologetic either. We carried on an entire conversation like that, both of us grimly aware of the pasta, but determined not to mention it.

• I love Hugh Nibley's wonderfully cynical "gas law of learning":
"Any amount of information no matter how small will fill any intellectual void no matter how large."
• Every time I read about a new start-up company, the story sounds exactly like this: "We were just two moms who were looking for high-quality organic baby-care products/soy-based handmade wooden toys/French-inspired classic children's clothing/environmentally-responsible maternity wear that doesn't sacrifice style/quirky bamboo-fiber stationery and earth-toned baby announcements----but we couldn't find any, so we decided to start a company and make it ourselves!" I just wonder, why don't these people ever find each other in their initial searches for products? It would save everyone a lot of trouble.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Last night's rain and hail, did you hear and see it?

I remember exactly one thing from all the millions of standardized tests I took in elementary school: a multiple choice question on how to combine two sentences. "Did you see the rain last night? Did you hear the hail?" By far the most outstanding choice was "Last night's rain and hail, did you hear and see it?" Can you just imagine some test-writer, after a long night of re-writes, coming up with that stellar option? It boggles the mind. My friend Rachael and I spent the entire mid-test break giggling over it, and we have never stopped quoting it to each other since.

Anyway. I just love all the rain we've been having. I wonder if people on the East Coast run outside on their porches excitedly every time it rains? :) It's especially nice in the summer when it's not cold. And the lightning has been beautiful!
There was, in fact, also hail. Junie held it in her markery hand.
Marigold was very pleased and a bit baffled about being in the rain. She kept putting her hand up onto her head wonderingly. 

A few other random tidbits:
Many a baby has climbed into this cupboard. Never before, however, has a baby successfully wedged itself into this top shelf and then allowed the cupboard door to swing shut. We heard indignant sounds and rattling coming from the cupboard and went to investigate; otherwise she might have stayed in here for hours. She looked at Sam accusingly as he took her out. As if it were all his fault!
Goldie again, in the open air this time.
Daisy, pleased to be matching Sebby.
Malachi was so proud of this tiny breakfast burrito he made for his Birdie. It was quite a masterpiece.
Here is everyone waving to Sam as he left for his last day of work at Disney. He was sad to say goodbye to the good friends he's made there, but we're excited for what's to come!

The CRT

Seb turned 9, and he's the best nine-year-old anyone could want! I love his bright little mind and all his varied and absorbing interests. For the last while, he's been poring over electronics books and telling me all sorts of things about them. It definitely is a challenge trying to keep up with him; I'm being forced into reading schematic diagrams and looking up articles online, and learning more about electronics than (frankly) I ever really wanted to. And I still find myself just shrugging and saying, "Hmm, we'll have to look for a book about that," more often than not. 

For Seb's birthday, we got him a set of screwdrivers and this old TV (or "CRT" as he insists on calling it, for "cathode ray tube," which is its more accurate name, apparently) at D.I. for $5. I think the big "WARNING: DO NOT OPEN: HIGH VOLTAGE! RISK OF ELECTRIC SHOCK!" sign on the back added to the appeal, honestly. Seb figured out how to ground the high-voltage plate using a screwdriver before opening it up, and later he assured me that he also "broke the vacuum tube inside so it wouldn't implode. Don't worry, I was really careful." Um, okay. Good thing he reads up on stuff like that. He's been happily working away at it ever since, like a mad scientist.

We sure love this guy!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Daisy's (tiny) birthday

For her birthday, Daisy got a bunch of tiny things. She always points the "babies" out wistfully at the store (small-sized sugar bags, small-size mayonnaise, etc) so I figured she'd be happy to have some of her own. And she was! She squealed and hugged them (did you know it's possible to hug a tiny jar of mayonnaise? It is.) and before the smoke from the birthday candles had died away, she had run all over the house gathering up the regular-sized versions of everything so she could match them. Then she insisted we take a picture (and she and Sebby had to be in the picture too, since they were big-and-little matching people). 
Let's see. Tiny baby Daisy, tiny baby Nutella, tiny baby ice cream, tiny baby vaseline, tiny baby lotion, tiny baby sugar, tiny baby nail polish remover, tiny baby mayonnaise, tiny baby sour cream, tiny baby mouthwash, tiny baby ketchup, tiny baby cups, tiny baby hair clips, and tiny baby brush. All with their big Daddies. 

Every time I've cooked anything since her birthday, Daisy comes running in to the kitchen saying, "Can we use one of MY tiny things?" She's so delighted when I say yes. Funny, cute, little girl.
And we almost forgot the tiny baby notebooks!
Happy birthday, dear sweet Daisy!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Yellow blanket

I liked the pattern for these baby blankets so much, I wanted to make a big one for myself. It's really only impressive in size---it's not any harder to make than the little ones. I changed the pattern slightly, so the bobbles are offset vertically instead of in vertical and horizontal rows, but other than that it was just mindless row after mindless row. It's almost the biggest thing I've ever made, as my usual m├ętier is the realm of baby things, or at least tiny things that can be finished in a week or two. :) It didn't take as long as I thought it might (a few months, though---I think I started at the end of April?). It's still too hot, really, to have it on the bed, but I put it on there just to see how it looked.

I used my favorite colors of yellow (that browner-looking one is, in fact, more of a wheat color) and made random-sized stripes across the blanket. I love how soft and snuggly, and yet heavy, the little bubble stitches make it!
It's pretty on the back, too.
I wonder what I should make next?

Friday, August 1, 2014

Snowbird Wildflowers

After hiking to Catherine Pass, we stopped at Snowbird on the way down because we had tickets to ride the tram with our Connect Passes. (We bought these on a Groupon sale for field trips last year and we have loved them! So many fun things to do.) And we, especially Sebastian, love trams! We were not sure what to do, because we could also have chosen to ride the chairlift, which we'd never done, but it was going to be hard to give up the tram for it.
On our way to get our tickets, we saw this cute little guy. He wasn't scared of us at all.

It turned out we didn't have to choose, because the chairlift was closed for "weather" (clouds? I guess?), so up we went on the tram.
Seb was so happy!
Once at the top, we decided to hike down a little way so we could walk through the tunnel. There are some really beautiful views off the other side of Hidden Peak. I think this is looking over toward Heber Valley. (Also, don't worry, Seb and Junie aren't as close to the edge as they look. :))
Malachi's face was quite impressively dirty.
Here's the tunnel. It's cool---you get to walk right through the mountain!
On the other side, the wildflowers were even more beautiful. Maybe they get more moisture over there?
These hillsides look like they're right out of a painting!
You can see tiny little Seb, Malachi, Abe, and Junie if you look closely!
Back through the tunnel, we were right by the chairlift entrance, so we asked if they were letting people ride. The girl said, "Not officially, but if you don't mind the risk of a little rain . . . ." We didn't. So we rode the chairlift back down. The best of both worlds! It was a beautiful, serene ride, high above the treetops. Much different than riding the enclosed tram on the way up.
And from the chairlift, we got to wave over at our old friend the tram. (I really think this picture ought to be on a promotional poster for the Snowbird tram, framed beautifully as it is against the mountains and valley.) What fun!