Monday, July 18, 2011

Off to Yuma!

Right after the fourth of July, Daddy went to LDAC (Leadership Development and Assessment Course for the Army) for a month. It was a perfect time to go visit Mim-mim and Papa Ray! We flew to Arizona and got to spend a week with them!

Of course, we did some shopping--that is unavoidable when hanging out with Daisy! (Mim-mim)

Gabriel got to play in Papa and Mim-mim's pool too! Pool time with Papa was one of Gabriel's favorite activities while we visited.

Daisy loves having her grandbabies with her - I get totally spoiled because she won't let me do ANYTHING! She gets up with him in the morning and feeds him. She dresses him. She even took care of bath time!

One of Papa and Mim-mim's favorite pass-times is taking the boat out on the river with friends. We got to go out for a few hours and we had a blast!

Papa let Gabriel help him drive the boat

Everything is a photo op when you're out with Mim-mim and Papa!

We found a good spot and set up some chairs and a sun shade on a shallow bank. Gabriel loved playing in the water!

Of course, Papa just HAD to give Gabe the messiest snack he could find...

We met up with some of Daisy and Ray's friends and their two kids. They have a son around Gabe's age and they became fast friends!

Jasmin happened to have her baby shower while we were there too. I have to say, this was the biggest baby shower I have ever been to. Ever. It was catered and there was a DJ. It was a huge party! It was long, too. So, while Gabe spent plenty of time being his adorable self....

...he also spent his fair share of time being a cranky little turkey...

All of Daisy's friends (and their kids!) loved holding and playing with Gabriel - he kind of played musical laps all night...

He was also a HUGE flirt. I'm going to be in trouble in about 14 years or so...

All in all, the baby shower was a lot of fun. I met a lot of Jasmin's friends and got to know Jacob's (baby's daddy) family as well! The food was great and so were the music and games.

It was hard to leave at the end of our stay in Arizona. We had so much fun playing and shopping! Gabriel loves seeing Mim-mim and Papa Ray and has a hard time saying goodbye at the airport. So far, he has been able to visit them at least once a year. Hopefully that will continue!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Patriotic Americans

Our family has a proud military service history. The 4th of July is always a fun time. We look forward to it every year--family gathering, barbecues, fireworks. We love it! Gabriel and his classmates made little Patriotic handprints to decorate their classroom door:

 We are, indeed, proud to be Americans! (How cute is that??)

McKay and his older brother, Darick, are both in the Army. They both serve in the Army Reserve and are also both Army ROTC Cadets in the Cougar Battalion (BYU, UVU, SUU, and Dixie). The Cougar Battalion's "Cannon Crew" was a part of Provo, Utah's Freedom Festival Parade (the Freedom Festival is among the largest 4th of July celebrations in the nation). McKay's Reserve unit (also in Provo) was part of the parade as well! All of the reservists in McKay's unit and their families were invited to ride in Army Vehicles in the parade - it was so neat!!

Loading up the cannon | McKay and his brother in uniform

Gabriel and Daddy ready to ride in the parade!!

In the transport truck waiting to get on our way

Riding the route! Gabriel was so cute! He waved and blew kisses to everyone!

He was pretty pooped by the end of the parade. He got hold of Daddy's hat and wouldn't let go!

 In other July news...we gave Gabriel a mohawk.
The grandmas did NOT approve...

Sunday, July 10, 2011

More of June

Gabriel's day care center had a little summer party. They set up a few little pools and had a barbecue. It was actually kind of fun! Gabe was the only kid in his age group that came ready to swim, so he had a pool all to himself!

We had another swimming adventure later on in June! We went to the Spanish Fork Reservoir for the first time and we had a blast!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Summer Fest

Back in June, McKay's ROTC unit's color guard marched in the Orem Summer Fest parade. They marched behind the opening cannon with flags and rifles/bayonets, so (of course!) we went to watch Daddy march!!

Waiting for the parade to start was the worst part. We were closer to the end of the parade route, too, so we had to wait even longer than anticipated...

He doesn't look too happy in the pictures, but he actually had a really good time! He was a little tired, but perfectly content. He's such a chill, kick back kid! I love it.

Finally, we heard the cannon getting closer (they would stop every so many hundred yards and shoot the cannon off) and we knew we'd be seeing daddy soon! Finally, they appeared down the street, maneuvering around a corner. Darick called commands and McKay was an arms bearer.

It's too bad we didn't know what side McKay would be on...he is the arms bearer on the far right in the bottom picture (above), so we didn't get a very good view of him and Gabe was kind of sad.

Since we were pretty close to the end of the parade route, McKay was able to double back pretty quickly and sit with us for the rest of the parade! Of course, Gabriel LOVED that. Such a Daddy's boy....

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Yellowstone, ho!

Around the beginning of May, we took a trip to Yellowstone with our friends, Jeannie and her husband Stephen. McKay and I are WorldMark owners, so we were really excited to visit a new resort! Plus, I had never been to Yellowstone and I couldn't WAIT to take Gabriel to see bison and bears and Old Faithful.

Jeannie, Stephen, and McKay got Stephen's car loaded up and then came and picked me up from work and we were off! It was only about a 6 hour drive - not bad! But as we got closer to Yellowstone, it got colder...and colder....and we started seeing snow....and then more snow....and then--holy crap!--it was piled up twice as high as our car on the sides of the road. Oh boy. We weren't expecting it to be like this.

This was a portion of the road with very little snow--we were actually able to pull over!

Oh well. What could we do?

We arrived at the resort and, my goodness, it was BEAUTIFUL.

We had a three bedroom...condo? That's how they always are with WorldMark, though. It's like a little apartment. There's always a kitchen stocked with all the dishes and utensils and cooking supplies, a washer and dryer, etc. We got a three bedroom so Stephen and Jeannie could have a room, Gabe could have a room, and we could have one. There were two nice bathrooms, a nice balcony, kitchen, dining room, living room, blah blah blah--it was nice! We got there in the evening, so the guys went to the game room and played pool while Jeannie and I went to a local grocery store to pick up food and other supplies. That's one of my favorite parts about WorldMark--you don't have to spend a ton of money on eating out because you can cook in your fully stocked kitchen!

The next day we decided to visit the bear and wolf refuge near the resort. Lucky us! They just so happened to be doing a bear-proof container test that day! Every once in a while, manufacturers of bear proof containers will submit their product for testing. They put food in the containers and put them in with the bears to see if they can get into them (or how long it takes for them to get into the container). Some work great....others, not so much.

Watching the bears and wolves was really neat. The people running the refuge are awesome.

There was a (kind of) weird little museum part...some of the displays were a little disturbing, so I'll spare you those...

They had a fun gift shop that we THOROUGHLY enjoyed!

After the refuge, we continued our journey into the park (We stayed in West Yellowstone and one of the entrances to Yellowstone National Park was like....five minutes away...or less) where we saw some buffalo!

Those are bison in the upper-right portion of the top picture below!

Sidenote: Let it be known that Stephen RAN OVER MY FOOT at this point in the trip. It must be documented. There were some bison walking down the road right next to the car, so we stopped. They were on the opposite side off the car as me, so I opened my door and stepped out to get a couple of shots (Yes, I know that was unbelievably stupid and dangerous....but I had to take advantage of such an awesome shot!!). It was then that Stephen decided to pull forward. I guess he didn't know that I had stepped out of the car and that it was the only thing standing between me and a giant buffalo...? In any case, McKay was furious and nearly murdered the poor guy. This is the "awesome" shot I got....while being run over...

wah wah waaaahhhh.....oh well....

One of the major things I wanted to see was Old Faithful. I got my wish! I'm not sure if any of you have ever been to Yellowstone or know much about Old Faithful, but they can kind of predict when she's gonna blow, so there's a tentative schedule letting you know the general time when the geyser will erupt. We got there at the tail-end of one eruption and decided to stick around for another one. We had some time to kill, which meant we got to do some exploring and picture-taking!

There were so many beautiful things to see!

Finally.....FINALLY! Old Faithful erupted. Over 30 minutes "late". I guess that'll teach us to predict nature!!

This other little geyser erupted around the same time and kind of showed up O.F. - it went WAY higher...

The next day, we decided to explore the resort and found the awesome indoor pool so we took Gabe swimming. And here, I insert my complaint: Sometimes being the photographer is the crappiest job!! I never get to be in any of  the pictures and, as far as anyone else can tell, I'm completely uninvolved with my son or in family activites....sigh....

After the pool, we explored the adorable little town of West Yellowstone. So cute, guys. Seriously. To our dismay, a lot of stuff was closed because "the season" wouldn't be starting until the following week. Talk about bad timing. Oh well...

There were large, painted fiberglass bison all over town. I wish we had taken pictures with more of them!

All in all, it was a fun and memorable trip! We hope to return to Yellowstone (DURING "the season" next time) in a few years!