Sunday, September 14, 2014

Everything is More Fun With Friends!

Everything is more fun with friends - especially hiking.  We've been fortunate enough to go on a couple of hikes lately with friends from church.  The kids have had a blast and we've noticed they don't really complain much when they've got friends along on the trails. 

A couple of weeks ago we went to Grey's Arch with the Rose family.  These girls were such sweeties!  And they were just as willing to trudge through the wet and muddy creek as my kids were - definitely not afraid to get dirty.  It was a pretty hot afternoon for a hike - and a pretty long hike at 3 1/2 hours.  But with the promise of pizza at Miguel's afterwards, we all made it! 

I blame Chris and Ben for the length of our hike.  Once we made it to the arch, we had to decide if we would return the way we came, or go on a bigger loop to get back.  We let the dads decide.  Right after that point, the hike got hard for about an hour.  Hard, like straight up out of the bottom of the Gorge.  At that point, I was thinking letting the guys pick the path wasn't the best idea.  But then the last hour was much easier walking along a ridge that was beautiful, so it was worth it! 

Yesterday we went up to Natural Bridge using the Rock Garden and Battleship Rock Trails.  Tom wanted to take a bunch of kids from his Wednesday night church class.  The three of us went with 12 kids and they had a great time! 
The girls...
The boys (minus Sam)

Sam had felt a little sick before we left, but didn't have any real symptoms so we didn't think anything of it.  About 15 minutes into hiking he started getting worse.  He got a pretty strong fever - the poor kid, his head was burning up and his arms were ice cold.  He was miserable.  At one point Chris even had to carry him. 
When we reached the top we decided it would be better for me to go down the easier main trail with Sam, Izzy and the twins.  That way we could get back to the car quickly so Sam could rest, and we wouldn't slow up the older kids hiking the rougher trail down.  We made it a competition and the little ones loved it!  They practically ran down the entire trail getting done 15 minutes before the big kids.  Then they got to sit in the back of the car and wait for the others while watching a movie.  Good times! 

It was a lot of fun to go on a hike with all those kids.  And we sure got a lot of funny looks from other hikers as they counted all the kids with us.  Sam came home and took a 3 hour nap.  He woke up for about 2 hours, and then slept for 15 hours straight not waking until 11:30am Sunday morning.  Thankfully the fever was gone and he was feeling much better.  I'm sure he'll enjoy the next hike much more! 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

What were we thinking?

Last Saturday was Isabella's 8th birthday.  It's so hard to believe she's 8, mainly because she's such a tiny thing!  We kept asking her what she wanted to do for her birthday, and every time she said she wanted to go kayaking. The only problem was her cross country team had a 5k run planned for that morning to help raise money for uniforms. So we figured we'd just do both.  

The night before she asked Chris if they could get up early and make pancakes together.  We had to be at the race by 7:30am, so they got up pretty early!  

Then we headed to the race.  Normally for cross country, the elementary school kids run one mile and the middle schoolers run two miles.  So this was longer than they were used to.  And yes, Isabella wore the crown through the whole race! 

Chris caught up with Sophia about half way and they ran together for a lot of the race.  Sophia ended up finishing in 28.40 as the first female to finish the race and second in her age division.  Chris finished 3rd in his (old man) age division.  Anna and Isabella did a combination of running and walking with their friends and Sam and I walked the route.  Honestly, it was more like I dragged Sam along with me.  That was really far for his 6 year-old legs!  We finished last, but he was the youngest on the course.    

After the race we headed home to open some presents and eat lunch and cake. 

Then we headed up to Cave Run Lake to kayak.  Chris recently found a used kayak on Craigslist so he bought it and luckily it has enough room for Sam to sit in the front.  We then rented two tandem kayaks.  The lake was beautiful and it was pretty peaceful since there were storms nearby and most of the boaters stayed away. We all got the hang of tandem paddling pretty quickly.  But we did learn the boats were a lot longer and heavier, so they were harder to maneuver.  (Especially if one of the kids in the boat decides to take a long break like Isabella!!)  At one point, we got dumped on by a really heavy rain shower.  It only lasted a few minutes, but when you're out on a lake right at the water level, it can be a little scary. 


Isabella is resting in the front of our boat! 

Sam is relaxing up front!
While Chris and I loaded up all three kayaks on top of the suburban (should have taken a picture of that!!) the kids found a stick tied to a rope, tied to a tree.  The perfect tree swing!  They had a lot of fun with it!

Afterwards we had dinner and headed home for some much needed showers.  And I'm sure you can imagine we were physically exhausted.  Running a 5k wore out every one's legs and then kayaking wore out our arms.  Man were we (Chris and I) sore on Sunday!  But Isabella had a great birthday and that's what really mattered!