Thursday, July 29, 2010

Park City: Part 2

This is one of my favorite pics from our Park City trip.

Not that any of us look particularly fantastic, but just that we are all together, enjoying a remarkable weekend, just the six of us, looking exactly like us. Easton with his hat turned backwards. Afty with her chocolate brown eyes and hair pulled back. Barrett, always smiling, perfectly adorned with her cute flower headband and earrings and all. Rowan just looking cute. Ryan looking like the love of my life. Me, just there looking like me, overwhelmed to be blessed with such an amazing family.

On Saturday, we walked up and down Main Street, shopping at the Park Silly Farmer's Market. A hundred or more vendors had their wares for sale at little tented booths all up and down the street. Lots of food and treats, and fun for the kids. We picked up lunch there and had ourselves a little picnic by the creek.

We rode the ski lift (which you could almost touch from our hotel balcony) up the mountain on Saturday afternoon. We've done that in prior years, too, and everyone thinks it's quite a treat. Since my kiddos have never actually been on a ski lift when there's actually snow on the ground and skis on their feet, they always have a ton of questions about how it all works. About the skiing. About when to get off and if anyone has ever fallen know, the usual.

Of course, Easton's always up for an adventure. He rode up with Ryan and Afton.

The views are amazing. We even saw some baby deer running right below us on the way up the mountain.

I love this guy.

We hiked around a while, and the kids all picked dandylions. I hope they made a wish before blowing them to the wind.

Every once in a while I get a glimpse of what heaven might be like...

On Saturday night, we went up to Promontory and enjoyed some amazing festivities at the Club all night. The three younger kids participated in a the Kid's Cabin party - food, games, magic show - and Barrett did some golfing with the bigger kids and had a blast cruising around on the golf cart. Ryan and I were at the big Promontory Foundation party with Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys performing live in concert and a fancy dinner. We sat at a table with my boss and his wife and a couple of colleagues from Pivotal with their spouses. It was such an incredible night. We danced all night, then had the kids join up with us at the end for an over-the-top fireworks show right above our heads. So much fun!

On the 4th, we walked outside our hotel (which was right on Main Street, and watched the Park City parade. That's always a treat and seems so patriotic and home town-ish to me. I love a good parade. I even tear up when the local bagpipers or high school marching band comes by. Go figure. Makes me glad to be an American.

Easton on the bridge over Main Street

Our girls after the parade and BBQ. Oh ya, Promontory had a nice catered BBQ at their lodge on Main Street after the parade. We had burgers and dogs and giant chocolate cookies and brownies and snow cones and all kinds of delights.

The kids and me at the parade.

The Browns in PC.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I leave you with one final aside...

When our kids saw the giant white painted "PC" on the mountain on the way up to Promontory, one of them asked what it stood for. We giggled, and then started brainstorming all the things it stood for (other than the obvious Park City, of course).

Me: Politically Correct (and then I had to explain what that meant - big mistake).

Ryan: PC, as in "not a Mac"

Rowan (I think): Pork Chops

Me again: Party City

Someone in the back: "If you put a "T" in between the "P" and the "C", you'd have PTC, like PT Cruiser. Oh...PT Cruiser Bruiser! Right there!" And then someone got hit.

Everything about the trip was great, except for one thing. The little time we spent in the car. They argued about who got the middle bucket seats in the rented mini-van, then someone always got mad about getting slug-bugged or PT Cruiser Bruiser'd. And invariably I'd be throwing out some way over-used "be kind" reminders that no one really listens to anymore. Only twice on the drive back from Temple Square on Sunday did I pull over on the side of the road and ask them if they wanted to walk. Only twice. But I thought about it seven or eight times. I didn't have any takers. Easton kept volunteering Rowan to get out. She was making everyone mad. My stopped car on the side of the highway and apparently idle threats only bought me momentary sanity.

But truly, that's all part of the experience, right? I still remember road trips growing up and nary a time did we make it without a little car contention. I guess it just adds to the memories....Someday, at a Sunday dinner many moons from now, maybe my grown kids will laugh and reminisce about that trip and mom pulling over on the side of the road and Easton wanting his sister to walk.

Thank heaven that we flew this trip.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Park City: Part 1

This is how it all started...

Friday, July 2nd: 6:10 am flight...

Clearly, the kids are excited to be on the plane. With a family of six, we don't fly on too many family vacations (usually only to Utah), so this was a special treat. Easton was too little to remember the last time he flew, so he thought this was all way too cool.

After we picked up our rental car (a maroon mini-van that the kids all thought was awesome because it had so much room inside and doors that slid open with the push of a button), we went out to eat at J.B.'s in downtown Salt Lake for an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet. We were stuffed, so it was a good thing we decided to walk some of it off shopping for a couple of hours at the Gateway Mall in downtown SLC.

Then we made the 30-minute drive to Park City, where our first stop was, of course, PROMONTORY! We met my good friend, Stephen, at the Outfitter's Cabin and grabbed some fishing gear. (He works with me on the project - he's the controller up at Promontory). He volunteered to take us fishing at the Mountain Garden Lake on property, which was just recently re-stocked with a bunch of rainbow trout.
We've sort of completely neglected the teach your kids how to fish part of parenting. That is one of the chapters in the raising your kids book, right? Well, good thing we aren't living in Katniss Everdeen's day or we'd be in a world of hurt. Having to hunt our own dinner. (Reference to Hunger Games in case you haven't read them). So our kids have never been. Not once. Never cast a line. And my husband is the scoutmaster. Go figure. I haven't been since I was a kid.

Rowan and Barrett. I think they look a little too cute to be fishing, what do you think?

For rookies, I'd say we did pretty amazing. Easton was the first one to catch a fish. It only took him about five minutes and he had a bite. A big one.

Ryan had to help him reel it in, but he was all smiles as it came up flipping around on his line.

No fish stories here. The proof is in the pictures!

Afton was next. She's just standing there looking all cute, and then BAM!

She was a little scared and confused about how the reel worked, so Stephen helped her out.

Fish #2 for the Brown family. (Yes, it was catch and release so they all made it back to their homes in the water. They just had to suffer through the photo op.

And finally, Barrett caught one too. Rowan's cheese bait never tempted the trout enough, I guess, so she was a little bummed to come home fish-less.

The kids finished up fishing, and I left to go to a meeting for a couple of hours. But as soon as I was done, they picked me up and we headed straight to the Ranch Clubhouse and had a spectacular afternoon.

The kids rode the Adventure Trail waterslide over and over and over...

Afton perfected the art of the perfect full-splash launch after her 57th ride. Seriously, she was awesome. Every time she flew down at lightning speed and launched halfway across the pool. It was hilarious.

Rowan's favorite was the backwards ride.

And Barrett just flew down every which way, always cracking up as she came down. After the kids rode about 200 times (I don't think I'm exaggerating), we walked back to the main pool and ordered up some dinner. We soaked in the jacuzzi for a while while we waited.

Easton couldn't hold on through dinner. He passed out about half-way through. He'd only been up since 4:00 am, shopped, walked, fished, and taken a couple hundred rides down the slide. Hmmm...not sure why this four-year-old would be tired.

After we finished swimming and eating, we showered up at the Club and drove back into downtown PC (about 15 minutes away) and checked into the Calendonian for the weekend. We love that place! It's right on Main Street and has so much room inside the townhome. Seriously, awesome.

Of course, the kids got their second wind and had no desire to hit the hay since it stays light for so long with the daylight savings, so we decided to take a Friday night walk along Main Street.

Easton obviously woke up after his little poolside cat nap.

We ended our first day in Park City with a little ice cream from the Chocolate Factory. It was all good. The flight, the shopping, the fishing, the waterslide, the memories, the incredible time with the kids. We all crashed so hard that night. I'm pretty sure I didn't move an inch. I was so glad that we were on vacation so I could sleep in a little and recover from Friday's "too much fun" before starting Day 2. More to follow...

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Sand Days

Sand days are pretty much the best kind of days.

Here are the faces to match the backs. From left: Gavin, Chase, Trey (three of my nephews) and Rowan. She's often the only girl in the bunch, but she doesn't mind. Not at all actually. I think she loves all the attention. Even if it's from her cousins. She and Trey are pretty much best buddies.

We read a ton at the beach - and stayed a little covered up for the first couple of days, although we had great weather for the last four. My mom mostly read some magazines. Isn't she cute? Our kids love it when Grandma Cindy is down at the beach because she always brings the good snacks and pays special attention to them (especially when I'm lost in my book). I read The Host, Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and started The Winner. I really really loved Hunger Games and Catching Fire, but I have to say they gave me nightmares, or at least very vidid dreams. I still think about them too often. Little things trigger thoughts all the time. I guess that's powerful writing, eh?
Ryan was reading the Percy Jackson series. Barrett just finished all five last month.

Rowan and Trey

Barrett & Randi

We played in the sand a ton

We played volleyball too (Easton mostly kicked it around when we weren't playing). I wish I would have taken some pics of our homemade court and make-shift net, but I was playing. Bryant and Brian made a net out of bamboo sticks and string, and it actually worked great. We had a pretty good game of 3 on 3 going for quite a while.

My beautiful Afton...I love you...

Rowan, Grandma Cindy & Afty

This is my little nephew, Grady, digging up a storm.
Not to be outdone by his big cousin, Easton.

Tate loved the beach this year, which was awesome considering he barely tolerated it last year. He had so much fun on our trip.

Tanner & Afton played lots of paddle ball. That's one of our favorites.

Barrett & Randi spent a lot of time boogie boarding and playing in the waves, and then grabbed their towels to warm up. It seems like the kids don't care how cold the water is. Ocean = play. Too bad Randi got stung by a sting ray while they were out there. And Barrett thinks she got nipped by a jelly fish too. Lots of sea life this year. I always wore my cute lime green water shoes when I went out, just to be safe.

In three more months we'll be right back here. Doing it all again for fall break!