Monday, July 20, 2009

The Best Yet

Don't worry, I won't bother you with the details of every fishing trip, but this Saturday was our favorite so far and held a few firsts for Eli. Remembering how good the fishing was on our last visit there 3 years ago, we went to the Uintahs through Kamas. The drive up to Washington Lake was easy and smooth, unlike the past few weekends, and the quick 1-mile hike to Wall Lake was on a practically level trail. One side of the lake had cliffs and ledges of different levels which gave us nice seats, and meant for deep- and therefore fish-laden- water. As we soon learned, it also made the spot a popular swimming hole. I'm afraid I didn't think to get a picture until it was crawling with strangers diving, sun bathing, and repelling. At least 3 parties came through, just to dive in and swim. If I ever build up the courage to go camping (where there is no traditional toilet) this will definitely be the place.

Eli ended up doing his first hiking since getting him into the backpack isn't easy and we figured we could tire him into it. He's gotten quite independent lately and loves climbing over obstacles and gets proud. Every now and again he'd ask for help. What really melted me was when we would walk between the campsite and the lake he would turn around after crossing a tough spot, say "up" (aka help) and hold out his hand to help me through it. Now that I see the size of my belly in these pictures, I can see why.

Brian read up on what the fish there bite best on and even brought some garlic powder (definitely cheating) to coat the powerbait. We couldn't have been there more than half an hour when Eli's spider man pole bent with the 2nd fish of the day. He reeled for a little while, but grew tired of it and Brian pulled in his big fish. We were much more excited than him, probably because we were finally somwhere we could make a fire and actually cook the fish at the lake. At first Eli wouldn't even eat it.He was more interested in pushing his train along the ledges.

Next time we'll definitely bring swim suits, but just being able to hang our feet over into the water was a nice treat. I've found that comfort must be traded in when we want to be out in nature, but this was the most luxurious spot we've found- IF you bring mosquito repellent.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Switzerland or Sleep?

Appelzell, Aug 05

St. Gallen, Aug 05

We chose the first. Our tickets are for August 27 through September 18th, Brian coming home one week earlier. I'm already worried about the long journey and how our picky little sleeper will do without his crib in his dark, quiet room, especially since our cheap flight drops us off Zurich at 8 a.m., aka midnight our time. After that will he be extra dramatic since he only takes good naps in his crib? To some this sounds trivial when compared to a chance at a trip across the world. But I have met no mom that takes sleep lightly.

Sleep shmeep. I'll try and spend the next six weeks anticipating a memorable trip. Brian's excited about the touristy things: visiting notable sites, taking in majestic views, shopping, and eating gourmet food. I look forward to the simple things, like eating berries out of my dad's garden, listening to church bells for the time, Eli meeting his grandpa, and playing with his aunt and cousin. I must also admit I'm hungrily anticipating some of my favorite foods. I told Brian I'm probably only going to eat bread, wurst, and cheese. And yogurt, yes. I don't know how Americans put up with the nasty stuff here. Luckily Brian adapted quickly to the strong, stinky cheese, he likes it as much or even more than me. I'm also making note of all the recipes I must copy down from Heidi, my dad's woman that is a fabulous cook.

It's only taken us 4 years to find enough money and Brian availability to go. Can't wait.


That's Eli talk for Emi, his most favorite little friend. Isn't she darling? We only get together with her family every couple of months because they're in Provo and the two will play, but something must have clicked in the spring when we met them at a restaurant while they were on their way through town. We sat the two toddlers next to each other, hoping they would entertain themselves and give us a peaceful meal. Something magical must have happened as they fed each other fries and teddy grahams and then ran around the tables of some unpleased diners. Ever since then they both ask for each other every day. Even when her name hasn't come up that day, if I mention playing with another friend, Eli would say "Mimi." (Luckily, in the last couple of weeks he also asks for Curt.)

Now we try and get together every couple of weeks, for their sake. The result is quite miraculous. Normal play dates with any other kid involve a warm up time during which Eli is quite grumpy and stingy and a few battles until the two will play peacefully, with supervision and mediation. The second Eli and Emi see each other they are happy and laughing and he actually SHARES. I can't even recall one tiff, even when they run off on their own. Emi's naturally cheerful, active personality is infectious the moment Eli sees her.

Although Emi coming over to play trains is Eli's ultimate dream come true, I think we came close yesterday. I drove the little man down to Provo for a play date at 7 Peaks. It iss the perfect place with lots of kiddie pools where they could be independent. Eli jumped and squealed with delight- only the second time I have ever seen this phenomenon.

We don't just get together for the kids, Emi's parents are just as fun. We met at our first apartment a few days before we got married as they offered to help us move and were excited for us. Eli even met Emi for the first time the day she was born. I don't know what we're going to do when they move far away for PhD school next year. For now we'll just look forward to Bear Lake with them in a couple of weeks.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Brian's 4th of July

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I don't know if anyone else is sore from their Independence Day activities, but our first family hike was an adventure. When he doesn't have to work, Brian wants to be out in nature. After almost colliding with a speeding ATV on our curvy drive up the mountain, we parked at our usual fishing spot and and hiked 1.7 miles up to a higher lake. I was winded almost from the start, but luckily the gray clouds that had us worried only stuck around to keep the temperatures cool for our trek up and dissipated once we reached the lake.

Once there, Eli and I just wanted to rest and you'd never know Brian had been the one wearing the 40 pound pack (including Eli) up the mountain because he went right for his fishing pole. Eli and I stuffed ourselves on goldfish and tried to get comfortable on the steep, rocky shore we found. Eli was excited to try out his new Spider Man pole.

It got pretty dramatic on a walk to find a better spot when the path involved crossing a stream and big rocks. With a backpack on his back and Eli in his arms Brian slipped and miraculously managed to twist and land on his back on a rock. The boy was scared but just fine. Brian's elbow was not, although it wasn't too bad to keep him from fishing. I had to tend it first, but had to stop when I started getting light-headed and my hearing stopped working. Moms can't be wimpy.

We passed people along the way who were treating the hike like a nice walk after dinner, for us it was an all-day affair. When we finally made it back down [middle picture, I like how tired Eli looks(which was 10 times easier than going up)] I was actually relieved to hear those loud ATVs and visit the smelly outhouse. It was a beautiful place, good exercise, and made Brian especially happy. It was also good training for our trip to Switzerland at the end of August. I'm sure my dad will have us walking (for him, hiking for us) up and down all kinds of hills and mountains.