Thursday, August 30, 2007

Back to School

Summer isn't officially over, but it may as well be. No more long lazy days at the reservoir. School is now back in session. Actually, it has been for over a week here, and we've been busy! Jack is adjusting fairly well, except for the occasional "Mom, I'm just not used to going to school all day and having to get homework done, too!"

Because they completely rebuilt Jack's school last year, the school district had a ribbon cutting the day before school started. We went to get photographs of the event--I've volunteered to do the PTA newsletter this year. And we had a surprise guest at the event! Here's a picture of Jack with U.S. Congressman Chris Cannon.

Not only have we been busy with school,* but we've also had houseguests (Aunt Cindy came with cousin Sarah to get her settled into her new apartment and her junior year at BYU) and a family wedding (congratulations to nephew Jordan and his bride Cali!).

*I need to qualify this statement about being busy with school. I haven't actually been busy with school, only Jack has. But I've been very busy with lots of things I put off doing because I've had Jack at home with me (this summer was the first summer I've ever been a stay-at-home mom with a husband off at work all day). So I've been busy getting together with friends, running on the canyon trail, visiting the art museum, etc. And I really ought to get busy getting the oil changed in the car, grocery shopping, etc., etc.

Monday, August 20, 2007

At the Lake

Here are just a few of the fabulous moments we had at Lake Geneva!

Heading to the pier:

Jumping in:

Yikes! It's a water bomb!

Hanging out with new friends Elise and twins Jack and Lulu:

Hanging out with cousin Sarah:

Hanging out with cousin Ben:

The need for speed:

Watching cousins Tim and Ben sailing (we also enjoyed some sailing, but don't have any pictures of us!):

Light saber battles on the raft:

Cousin Oliver on a wave runner (his first solo adventure!):

Cousin Jean and the kids:

Noodling around:

First catch (and we're afraid this fish and the next both met tragedy, which pretty much put an end to our fishing adventure):

Feeding time:

Hanging out with Elise:

Squeezing as much swimming into the day as possible:

Thursday, August 16, 2007

There and Back

On Friday July 20th Jack and I left at 1:00 p.m. and headed east through Wyoming (after Jack’s last day of a summer space camp program and last minute haircuts that I had procrastinated scheduling). I was worried about where we’d stay that night. I was hoping we’d get to Cheyenne, but checked online that morning and couldn’t find an available hotel room (Frontier Days was just starting). So I called Roger from the road and he did some research for us. He booked us into a room in Laramie at a hotel with a great swimming pool that we enjoyed after a long afternoon in the car!

The next morning we got up early, planning to get all the way to Des Moines for the night after stopping to visit friends in Omaha. It turns out that two of my good friends—Sara from Omaha who I’ve known since I was twelve and who now lives in Florida, and Wade who I know from college and who now lives in Manhatten—were both going to be in Omaha for the weekend!

We ended up spending the night in Omaha instead of Des Moines. Jack totally bonded with Sara’s two boys. Her younger son, Richard, who is going into third grade just like our Jack, said that he was so happy to know Jack because “he lives in the same world I do.” We’ve already started plotting other joint vacations with them.

On Sunday the 22nd, we got up early but didn’t take off until 10:00 because the boys were having so much fun together. We stopped at Wade’s hotel in downtown Omaha for a short visit with him and his partner Jay. Then back on the interstate!

We got to the lake just before sunset and had a wonderful swim. Just when we got back to the cottage, Mom, Dad and my sister Linda arrived from the airport.

Three blissful weeks at the lake that I will write about later . . .

Last Saturday we packed up the car and headed west through Minnesota to Mitchell, South Dakota (home of the Corn Palace) where we shared a hotel with many, many bikers heading home after the annual rally in Sturgis.

On Sunday we visited an old prairie sod home, where Jack made friends with all of the chickens living there.

We drove through the Badlands, where we especially enjoyed the prairie dogs (there really is a prairie dog in the middle of this picture!).

We stopped at Mt. Rushmore (I am totally smitten with the Black Hills).

And then we high-tailed it to Devil's Tower in northwestern Wyoming before the sun set. I should've been a bit more careful about the high-tailing—it resulted in a speeding ticket just after entering the park (40 in a 25 mile an hour zone, $100 even). From now on all major purchases in our household will be measured by whether they cost more or less than a speeding ticket at Devil's Tower.

We bedded down for the night in Gillette, Wyoming. Jack and I headed to the pool for an evening swim and were totally overwhelmed by a family with six children who were completely out of control shoving each other in, doing cannonballs in the hot tub and otherwise wreaking havoc. We left the pool area before they did. I hope they all survived.

On Monday we drove west to Cody via Sheridan, choosing our route based on the words "closed during winter" on our atlas. Wow, was that ever worth it. The mountains we traveled through were spectacular!

In Cody we discovered that the east entrance of Yellowstone was closed due to wild fire, so we had to drive to the northeast entrance of the park. While it added nearly 75 miles to our trip, the silver lining was that we drove into Montana, boosting Jack's official state visit tally to 25. It also added extra time—there was a huge line of cars and campers trying to get into the park. But again, a silver lining—I finally got to talk to a couple of bikers who had been to the rally in Sturgis and who were in line ahead of us.

A very, very quick (though obedient to the speed limit) drive through Yellowstone. But we did take the time to stop at the upper falls of the Yellowstone River, visit the mud volcanoes and see a mama bear and four cubs!

Just before midnight we snuck into my aunt and uncle’s house in Jackson Hole and had a great night’s sleep. In the morning we visited with them and drove to Teton National Park to see what we’d missed driving through in the dark the night before.

We were lucky enough to see two moose and to ride on the ferry that crosses the Snake River.

The five hour drive home from Jackson seemed to take forever, but we made it!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I'm Back!

I am back in the world of Internet access, tv, bills to pay, and lawns to mow. It feels good to be home and "productive" again after Jack and I (and Roger who joined us for the last week) had a fabulous nearly month-long adventure!

We took three days to drive almost 1,500 miles (a stop at a hotel in Laramie, then with good friends in Omaha) to my family's cottage on Lake Geneva in Wisconsin. There we spent almost three full weeks swimming, hiking along the shore path, playing tennis, sailing, riding wave runners, tubing, eating ice cream, hanging out with some of our favorite relatives and making new friends.

I'll be posting pictures soon!