Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Mini Vacay with Mommy

I've been working for my dad a lot lately, so I spent a lot of the summer exactly where I didn't want to be... away from the kids. The one good thing about it was that it prompted me to make sure we had some adventures in what little time we did have together. Not wanting to spend too much money, I decided to take them to a couple of museums in Tucson where we could get free admission with our Lowell Observatory membership. We arrived in Tucson around noon, ate lunch, and then headed for the science museum at U of A. They had a really amazing collection of gems and minerals.

One room was dedicated to puzzles. The kids did really awesome solving these, and it kept them occupied for a long time.

There were also colored papers you could cut out and fold into various polyhedrons, which represented the different shapes that gems grow in.

We made every shape they had available!

Next was the gem and mineral collection. All I can say is, "WOW!!!" The earth is incredible.

Wanna see some of those polyhedron shapes? I knew you did!

Are you amazed like I was?

This one was the most surprising! When God said he organized matter, he wasn't kidding.

Afterward, Paige got to walk on the moon.

Next was the part the kids love the most... the hotel! We took a swim in the pool and hot tub, then went to Sweet Tomatoes for dinner. That's pretty much a perfect day for my kids.

The next day, we headed for the wildlife museum.

It's basically a dead zoo, but we learned a ton.

"This is a lovely room of death." -Ace Ventura, Pet Detective

I made a water buffalo friend.

The last room had replicas of prehistoric animals.

Check out those massive teeth! This is where I learned that large animals have a hard time adapting to changing conditions, and that's why they keep going extinct. I had never even heard of a cave bear before! Its skull was massive. Kinda glad they're extinct.

Kallie made one last friend in the cafeteria on the way out. The bears at the zoo are usually hiding, so I guess there are some advantages to a dead zoo.

Ice cream is always the perfect way to top off a great day.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Lazy River Day

Some people in our new ward organized a river day for moms and kids, and of course that was the perfect social activity for us! Then again, maybe not, since I was the only mom who actually played in the river!

Someone brought a tire swing, which was tons of fun for all the kids.

And we all shared inflatables, which was pretty cool.

We brought our super screamer tube, and Brandon and I floated down the river a ways together. That just made me want to try a river float trip even more!

Paige has so much faith, she can walk on water. Amazing, right?

Anytime I take a picture like this, it means I'm enjoying some relaxation.

The kids had fun floating down river over and over while trying to hit the little spot of rapids.

Across the river, there was a little place for cliff jumping.

What a great spot for summer fun!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Diego to the Bay (Sacramento, Actually)

Summer break, and Dad has a business trip to San Diego. Darn it, I guess we'll just have to go to San Diego for FREE! On our way, we stopped at Dateland for a prickly pear shake.

The next day, we went to Sea World with our friends. Shamu!

For some odd reason, all my kids love roller coasters. I was deathly afraid of them when I was a kid, and my parents had to bribe me to go. I'm glad my kids aren't like me!

The kids could not convince me or Cindy to go on the simulator ride in the Arctic zone, so they had to settle for just seeing the animals.

But we made up for it by letting them go on the other rides again.

Shark tunnel!

The next morning, it was time to try out my new waterproof camera at the hotel pool!

In the afternoon, we were off to explore Balboa Park. Make a wish!

Paige was so excited to see a real "professional" organ rehearsal at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, and she begged to stay for a long time, even though the music sounded creepy like haunted house music. Well, it's an organ, so I guess that's not too surprising. For some reason, skeletons and organ music go so well together.

The next day, we decided to go back to Balboa Park to see more of the Natural History Museum, which closed just an hour after we got there the first day. Our Lowell Observatory membership got us in for free, so we had the luxury of splitting our visit across two days. There were tons of skulls, and these ones had knobs you could turn to make the mouths move. Of course the girls sang, "I ain't got nobody, no body, NO BODY!" Our skull plate sings that every Halloween.

Brandon spent a surprisingly long time at this station learning about the flora of California. Behold the California poppy! (I guess I learned something, too.)

There was a special exhibit on whales called "Giants of the Deep" but we couldn't take any photography in there because the whale bones and artifacts were sacred to some natives. We found another whale skull in a different exhibit and took a picture there because... well, it's just unbelievably monstrous!

Nothing says natural history museum quite like a dino in the front lobby, so of course we had to take a picture there.

After the museum, we met cousins at the beach.

We made a stop at Costco on the way to buy a boogie board because Paige had so much fun boogie boarding last time we went to the beach. Russ called it a waste of trunk space. Whatever!

Little brother wanted to join in on the fun.

So Paige taught him how. He loved it!

Beach hair.

Time to play in the sand!

After our treats on the way back to the hotel, each person's tongue was a different color.

That night, we planned to ride go-karts on a double date with our friends. We all bought our Groupons, but alas, the facility was closed for a private event! My timing was so excellent on this picture because it looks like Adam is about to cry. (Don't despair, we got our money back for the Groupons.)

Well, if you can't drive for real, I guess virtual is the next best thing.

I totally wailed on the rest of them!

Somehow we convinced the guys to do Dance, Dance Revolution.

Russ and I were practicing for the day when we get real Harleys.

We finished the night by bustin' some ghosts.

After that fun-filled week, we drove all the way to Sacramento for my nephew's baptism. Yeah, we're crazy!

Afterward, we got to test the waterproof camera some more while swimming with cousins.