Saturday, December 31, 2011

Quick Trip to Moab Day 1

We wanted to take advantage of Iris being out of school and go somewhere cool for her to see, but we wanted it to be fairly inexpensive which means we needed to be able to drive.  We also didn't want to force the kids to spend the whole time in the car, and I (selfishly) wanted to go somewhere I've never been.  Southern Utah was the obvious choice, but there are a lot of places we could go, and most of the National Parks are geared to camping and hiking- both of which are not a great idea, especially in December and with a 3-year old.  After our miserable "hiking the Y" experience last August, we decided hiking is out until our kids are oler.

We decided to go to Moab!  It's only about 3 1/2 hours from our house and is super close to both Canyonlands and Arches- two national parks that have hikes, but are still beautiful if you just drive through and get out at the many look-out points.  I highly recommend this excursion if you are a family with younguns.

Poor Iris sat between the two carseats the whole time.  Here she is getting some shut-eye.
We got a late start because Jay had unexpected, major computer issues that needed to be resolved before we could leave, but luckily, we weren't going too far, and didn't have huge plans for the first day, so we just got there later than planned and didn't get to swim in the hotel pool the first day, as we thought.

The cutie munching on the hem of her leggings... 

Playing Peek-a-boo with her "bankie"
Some driving shots.  The sky was so beautiful that day!

The start of the red rock

The Frog asked me, "why are there colors in the sky?"  That was a hard explanation to simplify...
That night in the hotel, we all had to go to bed at the same time, and after about 2 1/2 hours of trying to get the kids to sleep, we were finally all out by about 9:30pm.

Quick Trip to Moab Day 2 - Canyonlands

Thankfully, the kids slept in until 7:30pm after going to bed so late.  We went swimming in the morning and after running to the grocery store we headed to Canyonlands.
The kids promptly fell asleep and missed the gorgeous scenery on the way up.

As soon as we got to our destination (about 45 minutes later) and turned off the car, they promptly woke up!
Jay and I agree that the landscape reminded us a lot of the Grand Canyon, just more expansive.

After lifting The Frog up to this rock for what I thought would be a perfect shot, he stood up and climbed away from me.  I nearly had a heart attack because I couldn't see how close he was to cliff and I think the people nearby could hear my panicked voice and came to help.  Thankfully, he's fine, and I think, by the time we grabbed him, The Frog understood the gravity of the situation because he started crying.  I'm pretty sure I got at least 5 gray hairs during those 2 minutes.

Most of the vistas were a tiny walk from the road, which was perfect for the kids to be able to stretch their legs and walk a bit, but not so painstaking as a hike.

We noticed that there was snow only where there was shade.  I'm amazed it's lasted this long!  The weather was really beautiful, and I was totally comfortable in only a very light jacket.
After Canyonlands, we stopped at an elementary school playground before going out to dinner.

The Frog talking into the rainspout
We had dinner at a delicious Chinese place called Szechuan Restaurant on Main Street.  The first night we were recommended to the Moab Diner by a lady at a convenience store (we realized we forgot the wipes....) but we liked this place much much better.
Of course, the kids always love their nightly "ba".

Quick Trip to Moab Day 3 - Arches

This is a bad shot, but I was amazed by how many crows were lurking around- they were to Moab as Seagulls are to Salt Lake or Pigeons are to New York City.  
I wish I had instead taken a shot of them flying over the canyons and red rock- gorgous.
 I saw these at the gas station, and I'd heard about them only recently but had never seen them anywhere.  I had to try them.  Verdict?  Not impressed...  They're basically a Ding Dong in Oreo form.
Even though the Arches entrance is much closer to Moab, the kids again fell right asleep by the time we got in the car.
So Jay stayed in the car with the kids while we hiked to the higher vista point for Delicate Arch.  (I'm kind of glad, because we wouldn't have done the hike if the kids were with us)
It was amazing to me that standing in one place you had the above view, and when you turn around, it looked like this:
When Iris and I got back to the car, the kids had woken up and we went to the lower vista.  As you can see, the arch looks much further:
I took way too many pics of the scenery from the car, but everything was just so beautiful.

We drove straight home from Arches.  The kids did an amazingly awesome job, and I'm so glad, because we're going to be making another road trip, to much further away, very soon.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Rice Balls

Iris showed us how to make rice balls stuffed with stuff (tutorial later- it's really not hard...) wrapped in nori (seaweed) and I was amazed by how much Peach loved them!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Day

We had a great Christmas this year- poor Iris had to wake up as early as the kids on a Sunday, but she was a good sport about it. :)
Peach loves taking small objects out of containers, so this was right up her alley.
 We started a new tradition this year - the Christmas Pickle.  The pickle ornament gets hidden on Christmas Eve and whoever finds it first on Christmas morning, gets the "pickle prize" :)  (this year a Snickers)
The Pickle Prize winner (with lots of help...)

Peach with her favorite present - her baby

Peach in her Christmas dress

The Frog in his Christmas sweater - Thanks Nanie!

I made this fur hat for Iris- it's a copycat of a cute one we saw at Gap 

The Frog experiencing Pez for the first time

The Kids

I wrapped Peach up in my new scarf.  Doesn't she look like a monk?
I usually end up feeling bad on mutual gift-giving holidays because Jay always seems to think of something amazing.  This year, he gave me a life-time subscription to Ballet West and we went have our first date tomorrow night at The Nutcracker!  I'm sooo excited :)

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and will have a very Happy New Year!