Monday, July 30, 2012

more Antelope Island


Antelope Island, The Great Salt Lake, Utah
my daughter took this with the iphone while hanging out the window of the car

other Antelope Island posts:
Fielding Garr Ranch
Antelope Island
joining Blue Monday
and Outdoor Wednesday

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Swiss Family Robinson

guest blog by Rem Yates rising 5th grader

My son is a veracious reader and recently began making his way through a collection of classics his great grandmother had bought the kids, so I thought I'd ask him for a book review :)

The Swiss Family Robinson

This report is about the classic, "The Swiss Family Robinson."  I chose this as my favorite [of Tom Sawyer, The Wizard of Oz and The Swiss Family Robinson] because it's an action and adventure book.  For example: some of my favorite action scenes were when Fritz and his dad are going to shore and the sheep are almost eaten by a shark.  Another is when they fight two man eating bears.  Then a giant serpent chases them and give them quite a scare.  They face many challenges and are very lucky.  I suggest this book if you are looking for a good book.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Driving Across the Country

sketching in the car, K sketching a composite of landscapes inspired by our trip across the countryiphone snapshot, roadtripping 2012,

My daughter K, riding shotgun. She pulled out her sketch book while we were driving through Missouri and sketched a composite landscape; an impression of the landscape we had driven through including Wyoming, Utah, Idaho, Oregon, Tennessee and Virginia.

Landscapes, K's art teacher gave them old books to sketch in - color sketch of landscapes inspired by our trip across the country

Her art teacher last year gave them books that had been withdrawn from the local library to use as sketchbooks. I kind of the like the idea.

linking to Smiling Sally's Blue Monday

Friday, July 20, 2012

Fielding Garr Ranch

While we were in Utah we stopped by Antelope Island, in The Great Salt Lake.  While we were on Antelope Island, we visited Fielding Garr Ranch.

It is pretty cool.  The ranch has been in Utah almost since the beginning of the Mormon Church in Salt Lake City.  There was a log cabin built there in 1848, when we visited the guide said the far side of the house is the original house (I don't know if she meant the original log cabin or if later a house was built.)  There is a basement and an ice house.  The barn was for raising sheep and shearing sheep and is a museum of farming tools and technology.  *And* it is kid friendly in that you can touch everything - so if you have young ones you'll want to pay attention to what they are touching!


Inside the barn - I love old stoves!


Little Hawk loved the spinning wheel, because it looked like a steering wheel!  He kept trying to "drive it" and I was a little worried he was going to break it because he got a little rough...


K goofing around!  Check out that gorgeous stone work behind her!

The collection included vehicles - Little Hawk was excited to see the tractor


Inside the house:

Fielding Garr Ranch House, iphone photo, 2012, Antelope Island, Utah, the Ranch dates back to 1800s,

iphone photo, 2012, Antelope Island, Utah,t he Ranch dates back to 1800s,

MLyons found a dress on the Master Bed and tried it on! So I took a picture *quick* and then told her to put it back, carefully!

In the Master Bedroom (which I don't have a photo of) there is a beautiful wooden headboard and the bed a straw filled mattress on top of rope.  The guide explained that "sleep tight" meant, pull your ropes tight so your mattress won't sag.  I didn't know that.

iphone photo, 2012, Antelope Island, Utah, the Ranch dates back to 1800s,


Bitsy, checking out the cellar. and then in the back (you can see just past Bitsy's head)I found this box. It cracked me up, because the ranch was originally owned by the Church of Later Day Saints and is now owned by the state of Utah. Anybody who has ever gone skiing in Utah over Spring Break can tell you, buying liquor in the state isn't as easy as it might be in other parts of the country...


 I'd love to know who left this in the cellar!

I'm going to use those touches of pink in the my girls' clothes and link this up to Pink Saturday

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Cheyenne to Lincoln

Today we woke up in Cheyenne Wyoming and drove to Lincoln, Nebraska. Our friend Scott lives in Lincoln and its been a good 7 years since we've seen him. It is our fault, last we saw him he was in Virginia so as they say, "its our turn." But as I say "it can take me a while to get organized!"
 At any rate - Cheyenne.
Cheyenne looks like a fabulous town and I want to go back - without a toddler or a 5 year old - and poke around. We stayed in the Historic Plains Hotel. If you check the hotel's website they will provide you with some of the history. It was built in 1911 and has a most wonderful atmosphere. It is a bit worn and in need of some updating (and personally I think an initial investment in luxury linens would go a long way), but it was clean and comfortable and anyone with any sense of history ought to be able to appreciate how fabulous the building is. I wish we could have stayed longer, I want to go back (again without the little people so I can properly enjoy it!) Oh, and the staff is professional and courteous. We had breakfast in the restaurant downstairs, big plates of hot pancakes and hot chocolates. And we were in the car by 8:30 AM.
 We ate lunch at a rest stop along I80 and then I saw a sign along the Interstate for Gothenburg, original Pony Express stop. So I hollered "who can tell me what the Pony Express was?" and somebody asked, "is that when the cowboys drove the horses and cattle from Texas to Colorado?" um, no. Time for a history lesson. So I left the Interstate and followed the signs to Gothenburg. And I must say a big thank you to the city of Gothenburg, or to the Nebraska Tourist department or to someone- because there were easy to see signs from the Interstate to the park where the Pony Express Stop building was. Really easy to find. And we parked and climbed out and went in. And the woman who was inside was someone who knew her history and answered questions and was more than willing to talk to me and my children (those that would listen.) The building is located in a park, room to stretch your legs a minute and let the kids play on the swings if you are so inclined. Gothenburg is another lovely town and I'd like to go back there too. I bought two books, one short story and one that is more factual, and asked the kids to spend a little time reading them in the car.
 From Gothenburg we drove onto Lincoln to Mahoney Park where we met Scott and Gina and their little one E. The kids played, the grown ups tried to talk in between interruptions and Scott cooked up hamburgers, hot dogs and chicken kabobs. SO GOOD! We let them play for 2 maybe 2 and half hours and then off I went to find my hotel for this evening. Excellent day!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Antelope Island

We left Oregon on Monday, and drove to Salt Lake City. Tim took an airplane home to Virginia from there. Tuesday we went to the Great Salt Lake. I've been in and out of Utah a variety of times, nearly always to ski, and I've never actually seen the lake. Seems silly. So the kids and I headed out to Antelope Island. So very cool. We were there for hours, which means we rolled into Cheyenne, Wyoming around 10 PM and I was pretty smoked. So I'm putting out just a few photos and getting the kids up to find breakfast before we head out for Lincoln, Nebraska. Photobucket
Photobucket Kids in the lake! It is swarming with flies so it was actually a big deal that we ran in!
linking to a Southern Daydreamer's Outdoor Wednesday

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Dinner with Megan

Megan, last year I wrote a few times about a skier named Megan McJames. I was very excited to have the opportunity to ski with her in December 2011 and thrilled that DataXstream was able to be one of her sponsors for the 2011-2012 ski season. After we arrived in Government Camp I was catching up with Facebook goings ons and noticed that Megan's new team was at Mt. Hood last week. So I emailed her to see if she was still around. On Monday night, we were able to invite her to dinner. And she accepted, yay!

So I made the kids spaghetti with soy crumble and a bunch of veggies in the sauce and Tim made an awesome mixture of tomatoes, black olives, artichokes, onions and capers to go over the noodles, and we had out spinach salad and I concocted a sort of peach cobbler/crumble thing out of a graham cracker crust and canned peaches (I put in almonds and that totally made it). And we had a really yummy dinner.

Can I tell you how wonderful it is as a mother to have a professional woman athlete in your space, on the couch talking to your 14 year old daughter about a sport they both love? And then K brought up that she has demoed Head skis and so Megan chimed in with her opinion on Head skis like she was talking to a fellow racer, not like she was talking to a little kid, and it was just really really wonderful. Not to mention that I am just really impressed by Megan. And not just because she is an awesome skier, but because she truly believes in focusing on the positive, keeping herself focused on good energy. I am sure in safe surroundings she must be human, but I am impressed with her ability to conduct herself in a "look for the good" manner.

And at some point we asked Megan to sort of catch us up on things. She is now racing with a new team Independent Ski Racing, LLC, and is raising funds through The Athlete Project. I see a *lot* of opportunity there for sponsors. The woman of Independent Ski Racing are not held to all the restrictions regarding logos and representation that the US SKI team puts on the athletes. But I am not one of the voices that makes that decision so I'm keeping my peace, barely, but I'm keeping it. In the meantime, I do want to be part of the good energy surrounding these women. Megan and Hailey Duke both finished last season with World Cup "spots." They have the opportunity to race World Cup all season.

So in case you are a ski fanatic here are some links:
To Donate to Megan McJames
To Donate to Hailey Duke

And then on Wednesday the Wintergreen Team was training Slalom.  My boys came home to excited tell me they saw Megan on the hill.  And we had a discussion about GS turns, and what Megan looks like when she skis.  So fun!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Slalom in the morning, Tamanawas Falls in the afternoon

Yesterday I finally made it out to Timberline.  Tim skied the first day, we were rained out the second, and on July 4th I told him to go because I knew he'd stay home and work.  So Yesterday was my first day.

The landscape is surreal.  Beautiful.  I spent each lift ride wishing I had my camera, or better yet a box of paints.  Really a wonderful landscape.

It is amazing to be up there skiing in July.  The morning begins at 6:30 so I'm guessing we arrive at Timberline by 7.  It is kind of cold and windy.  By the time we were up I was grateful for all my layers.  But by 10 AM everybody is stripping down.  The sun really warms you up.  Yesterday the coaches called practice at 11.  Just a little early, but they were watching the team who looked tired and they've been coaching for a long time.  They don't want any injuries.

The team was working Slalom Gates.  I've never run Slalom before and it was really fun.  The coaches kept laughing at me.  "She's smiling" which was true, I'd finish a run and be all smiles. Coach Chris told me I had beautiful "pole touches" I don't know what that means but I'm going to credit Austrian ski school from 6th and 7th grade. {yes, I got to ski in Austria as a kid.  And learn from retired World Cup skiers. One of the benefits of a Military Brat Up-bringing.}  I actually did get my time on my fourth run, 38.8.  K is running a 32 something, Tiger a 32 something, and Dragon a 34 something, so I'm going with: I am slow but not embarrassing.  It is important not to be embarrassing because Tim brags to everybody about what a great skier I am and I'm not.  I get out there, I have fun, but I'm not all that so I try not to look too bad.

So after my fourth run I asked Coach Chris and Coach Robert for one thing to think about next time I run Slalom.  Robert told me he wants to see my edges way on edge and my body way to the side. Haha! Yes sir, and I want to be 20 years younger.  So at the end of the day I tried it, the coaches weren't there, I think they were on the lift because it was time to pull gates and call it a day, I made 3 gates, caught the 4th whipped around and felt my right ankle pop in my boot.  Crud.  That is the ankle I hurt last January.  My bindings worked fine though and my boot popped out of my ski.  So I got it back on and finished the course.  So much for widening my stance and using endges!

Every afternoon there is an excursion and so after lunch we loaded up and drove to a trailhead for the Tamanawas Falls.  My family was a little tired and disorganized and so we arrived and kids dispersed and we really were not sure who was where and all of a sudden Tim asks me, "where is MLyons?  Where is Dragon?" and I don't know.  We figure Dragon has taken off at the front of the group but nobody can remember seeing MLyons - so I hike back to the parking area.  No M.  I talk to a woman who was sitting at a picnic table when we arrived and she assures me there were no stragglers from our group.  I return to the trail and about 5 minutes in K finds me.  M is way up front with one of the coaches.  Yeesh.

The walk is beautiful.  For much of the walk you are along side rushing water that is cascading over rocks- you hear the water almost all of the hike and there are wild flowers and pine trees.  It is beautiful.  I kept saying to K, "can you smell the pine?" it is very faint, and lovely.  Her head is all stuffy so she couldn't.  When we arrive at the falls the team is already up on the rocks and making their way back down.
 M was frightened by the decent so I helped her out a bit, and then we hiked back out.  Loaded the team back up into the vans and went out to Hood River (I think that is the name of a town) to the park and had a picnic with the team.

always hike with snacks!

It was 9 PM when we returned to the condo.  I was exhausted!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Multnomah Falls

Yesterday, morning ski training was rained out. The team went over to see Multnomah Falls by the Columbia River in the afternoon:

  Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug
Tim, MLyons and Little Hawk

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Me and Bitsy
all photos taken by one of the team dads. He uses SMUG MUG and goes by PurpleSage I'm going to link this post to Outdoor Wednesday by a Southern Day Dreamer

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Road-tripping with adoptees

So Little Hawk came home a year ago in April.  So he's been a member of our family for 14 months.  And he was amazing about it.  His foster mother said good-bye, and I don't know what she said exactly because I don't really speak Korean and Little Hawk was handed to my husband and we got into the van and left.  He took a look around, gave a long sigh and a shudder and fell asleep on Tim and has been awesome ever since.  I thought, oh- he's in shock and he'll grieve when we get home.  That didn't happen, so I thought "okay.  He'll freak out in about 6 months."  Still didn't happen.

But what he does do- he counts heads like a German Shepherd.  Every morning he checks, does he see Daddy's keys?  Daddy's phone?  Sure signs that dad is in the house- and then goes outside to check the driveway for Daddy's car.  There is a celebration every afternoon when the kids get off the bus and he greets them and then points them out to me by name.  Sort of "look mom I found them!"

And now that we've been on the road for 2 weeks he does this with new intensity.  Every time one of the kids leaves the house he gets agitated, and any time my husband leaves Little Hawk has a full on meltdown. And so I see his adjustment working its way out.  One of our ski friends has a 12 year old son (fast as anything on skis) who is adopted from China.  He is pretty stable except he has severe separation anxiety.  It is heart breaking because my husband has no idea the extent to which it kills Little Hawk to have him running errands or something without him - and lets face it - there are times we all just want to run out because it will only take a minute and if we take a kid, even just one, that minute gets multiplied exponentially.  And in fairness, my husband really does try to give Little Hawk lots of daddy time.  I do worry that he is going to grow up with a sense of guilt, that it was his fault he lost his foster family.  I guess we will have to try to talk about that when he's a little bit bigger.

I've never noticed this with Bitsy.  As long as she is with one person she's connected to, she is usually pretty happy, although she'll ask about the others.  And she'll go to ski school and day care pretty easily if it looks fun and we don't leave her too long.  Mostly it comes out for Bitsy at the end of the day.  When she gets tired she wants either mom or dad, usually mom because I'm primarily the one around.  Which is not to say, if we are both in the house she won't be in daddy's lap, she just wants to know where I am.  This would make overnights away from kids absolutely impossible except that we've recently found a young woman that all the kids love and feel safe with.  And so I try to make sure I only leave once a year, and that it works out for her to have the littles.  But in truth, I've left twice this year, once for a ski weekend with my husband and once for a funeral.

Dragon - who knows.  I'm trying to objective but I'm irritated with Dragon.  (what is new right?)  While waiting to head to Timberline this morning we had the Disney channel on for the littles and they had a clip of The Tigger Movie.  Dragon said, "oh this is the movie where Tigger goes to find his family."  So I looked at him and said, "and what happens?"  He answered "Tigger learns he doesn't have a family."
- Right. That is what you'd get out of that movie Dragon.
Tiger looks at his brother and in true Tiger fashion wrinkles his brow and nose and says "No- his family is his friends" in that "duh" voice.  Dragon just looks at Tiger like he's crazy.  I'm so sick of Dragon's issues.

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Great Kiss Off - hilarious!

So on Monday July 2nd I got up early with Tim and got the skiers ready for a morning of race training at Timberline. Then Little Hawk and I snuggled back in bed together - he to watch "The Cat in the Hat" and I to do a little blogging and to visit some bloggy friends - something I haven't done in a while. I stopped by Checkerboard Squares and she had a video posted that was just too funny- The Great Kiss Off if you have girls - or if you were ever a girl in Jr High - you've gotta watch it.

Sunday, July 1, 2012


I'm on a long road trip (see previous entries) From Virginia to Texas to see my brother and then from Texas to Oregon for ski camp and then back to Virginia. These are iphone snapshots. I do have the good camera but I don't think I have the cord to move photos. Monday, June 18th, Safari Park, I80 Virginia Photobucket Tuesday, June 19th, making progress cross country! Photobucket Wednesday June 20th, stopping in Oklahoma for a snack - peaches we bought in Tennessee and the Oklahoma rest stops have Tee-Pees! Photobucket We made it to my brother's in Texas on the 20th and stayed until the 26th. There were water balloon fights, soccer games, some catch with a baseball, watching cousins play baseball, riding horses at the in-laws, a bonfire with smores... darn good time! From Tuesday June 26th, leaving Texas for Colorado on 87N


Photobucket Cool building in Ketchum, Idaho. Loved that town! Saturday June 30th, driving towards Mount Hood, Oregon.
  Photobucket Sunday July 1st exploring Government Camp, Mount Hood with the kids Photobucket

Sharing with Smiling Sally's Blue Monday Link UP

Bit of a Pickle...

Well – I left my home town on June 18th. And it has been a fairly uneventful trip – the kids have mostly behaved, the car has mostly behaved, and we have had a good time along the way. Yesterday I think I left my wallet in the Visitor’s Center in Sun Valley/Ketchum Idaho. I figured it out this morning in Boise. So Tim and the kids went to Costco to get what he thinks we need for a week at Mount Hood and I sat outside searching for a phone number for Starbucks in Sun Valley. No dice. I tried Ketchum. No dice. Calling 411 provided no information. An online search for the Visitors Center provided me with a phone number: 208-726-3423 which brought me to a voice message where I was invited to leave a message (I did). I called the police department in Ketchum and spoke to a very nice officer who took my information in case the wallet turns up and then he provided me with that 208-726-423 number. I went back to the hotel we stayed in last night in Boise and double checked just in case. Not there. So I have left a message and I’m hoping someone will call me back. I did cancel the credit cards. Tim came out of the Costco and we got on the road. And now I’m in Oregon – the most Eastern part of the state which means cattle ranches and sage and scrubby terrain. I can get my American Express sent to me at Mount Hood – but I am a little worried about about my drivers license. How do I drive home – across several states- without a driver’s license? Bit of a pickle isn’t it?

 *so I wrote that Saturday in the car. I just got off the phone with Joe at Starbucks (whose phone number does exist: 208-928-7039) and they have it and will ship it to me. Yes!*

*Friday, July 6th.  My wallet arrived in Govy Camp yesterday.  With every thing in it down to the last mangled receipt.  Many thanks to Joe - at Starbucks in Ketchum, Idaho - for taking the time to find it and send it to me!*