Sunday, July 31, 2011

Gorillas

While we don't have a C.huck E. Cheese here in town, we do have a fun arcade type activity center called G.o G.o Gorillas. They offer a variety of arcade games, small rides, a bounce house, rock climbing, and a small diner. We went with friends and the little ones were very entertained. They especially loved to touch the arcade games. We did not even have to pay for them.  We did spring for some pizza, a few rides, and a few games. The favorite ride was the miniature carousel. I even took a turn on this one. That made the kids laugh. This was a fun place to take the kids and it was fairly inexpensive. My challenge was keeping Bee in the same spot for more than one minute. She has a short attention span and was literally buzzing from one spot to the next. Our other challenge was keeping shoes on the kids' feet before the ever attentive workers approached us to get shoes back on feet. It was hard because no shoes were allowed in the bounce house and Bee would go in and then leave and then want to return, ad nauseum. I also thought that it was ingenious that the tickets were collected digitally on your card and you could then go to the 'store' to redeem them without ever having to count them or keep track of them. Bee earned enough tickets to buy a small bracelet and a few penny candies.

She was a little scared on this one.



Notice how he wants to be facing her. Sweet.

They were worn out by the end and she could not wait to get home to lie down. Successful outing.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Mammoth

This post is HUGE, not just because the topic is about huge things, but also because we took hundreds of pictures of our visit.

After our busy day of sightseeing the Kentucky and Lincoln sites, we checked in to a hotel. This might have been Bee's absolute favorite part of the trip. She was SO excited. She jumped up into the bed and wanted to go to sleep right away. She climbed under the covers and asked for a story. In this picture she is listening to her dad tell her the latest installment The L.ion, the W.itch, and the Wardrobe. We thought that it might be fun to watch a movie as a family and we had hoped that she would fall asleep watching it. Our plan backfired. She was too excited to sleep and was over and under and on everything. We finally both fell asleep. She must have fallen asleep at some point. We found her on the floor in her Ariel bed the next morning.

Here we are bright and early the next day ready for another adventure. We were happily surprised when we woke up to realize that we had just barely crossed a time zone and gained an hour. We slept in and still were up early. She was enthralled with the cable TV and did not know what to do with herself. She was so still that mom was easily able to pull all of the hair out of her eyes.

Here is my attempt at using my simple point and shoot camera to capture the ineffable beauties of nature. The greens here are so green. The plants seem larger and are definitely more tropical than I am used to seeing. Utah really is a desert. I never really understood that until I moved away and realized what green can look like.



On this day we visited Mammoth Cave in south western Kentucky. We signed up for the two hour historic tour and hoped that Bee would be good for it. The day was hot and humid, but not unbearable.
Here is a picture of the entrance to the cave. This cave system is so extensive that we only saw about two miles of the almost 400 miles of known cave. Some of it is still unexplored.
The cool breath of the cave was refreshing and beckoned us in. If we had thought about it a little bit longer, we probably would've brought jackets with us for the cave tour. We managed fine, though, and enjoyed the cool air.
 I was not able to capture in photograph the immensity of these different caverns. They really are amazing.

 In some places we had to bend down and squeeze through just to continue on the tour.
 The cave was full of carvings and drawings from previous visitors. These were made with soot. The cave works like a refrigerator and preserves everything in it.
 There were several dropoffs and deep caverns and I was extremely glad for the sturdy fences.

This part was called Tall Man's Misery and was preceded by a section called Fat Man's Misery. Bee had few problems in either part and was practically pushing the people in front of us she was having so much fun. This part wound around for quite some time and because it was called Tall Man's Misery, Benjamin and I didn't have any troubles here either.

After the presentation, we let her get out some of her wiggles before the tour continued.
Sometimes she had to be carried and we plugged her mouth with the pacificier to help her feel secure and to help her be more compliant.

What an amazing cave. I would love to take some of the longer tours and see more of this world wonder.

After the tour we took an alternative route back to our car. This hike was purportedly only .3 miles in length. We went at a toddler's pace and patiently waited while she piled gravel into 'mountains' every few feet. It reminded me of the Hansel and Gretel story. Maybe she thought that we would need help finding our way back. Two-thirds of the way through, gray clouds moved in and we were caught in a cloudburst. We tried to find shelter under one of the stair structures, but it leaked and was full of spiders. We ended up drenched. As soon as we reached the parking lot, the rains subsided. Bee found some puddles and started to jump around. I figured that she was already wet, so she might as well. She seemed to enjoy our lazy afternoon of puddle jumping and even got me to take my shoes off.  We wandered around barefoot for quite a while. It's quiet, unplanned events like these that always seem to be the ones that I cherish most.


After a wardrobe change, we headed back home and arrived safely and very content. This will always be a good memory for me. Bee still talks about the cave and asks to go back often. We can now check these things off our Kentucky bucket list. What's next?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Beautiful

Follow this link to see some fabulous photos of our precious daughter.
http://www.britaniemyers.com/?p=181

My friend took these amazing photos of Bee as a surprise for Father's day. We had a lot of fun following her around with a camera trying to get her to smile.

Here are the ones that I took:






I know; my camera does not do nearly as good a job. Now I wish I had paid a little more attention when my dad was trying to teach me about photography when I was growing up. I am so interested in it now and want a DSLR camera (whatever that is) and I want to learn how to use it. Anyone willing to buy me one?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Lincoln

We also made the effort to visit Lincoln's boyhood home and his birthplace.

The Knob Creek site had been preserved by locals and a restaurant was built there and run for many years. The site was recently donated to the National Parks and there was a Ranger there to answer any questions. We were short on time and did not take advantage of the opportunity to hike along the stream where Abraham would have walked, hiked, played, swam, and fished. We did see a garden that was planted with similar crops as the ones the Lincolns would have planted.

We then headed over to the birthplace monument, which is only miles from the first site.

We actually stood on the spot where the cabin laid in which Abraham Lincoln, greatest President ever, was born into this world. We were pretty impressed with the Washingtonesque monument that was built around the restored cabin that was once believed to be the actual Lincoln cabin. Later testing indicated that the cabin was built at least thirty years or so later than the Lincolns' and that it had probably belonged to someone in the near vicinity. However, we were still impressed and were grateful that we had a chance to visit it.

One of my favorite parts of the visit was when we climbed down the steps to the sinking spring. There was an immediate temperature difference of at least 20 degrees and we had only descended 20 feet. It felt so refreshing down there, I did not want to leave.


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Road Tripping

The day after the 4th of July we decided to head on a small family vacation. We stayed fairly close to home and enjoyed the short drives from place to place. We have been meaning to go do something at some point, but the planning and organizing phase of vacationing always wore us out and scared us off. Good thing we decided to be a little spontaneous this time. Once we were actually out on the trip we were reminded of how much fun it is to take a vacation. We loved it and already want to take another one.





We started out by driving through the lush, green KY countryside. We then stopped at "My Old Kentucky Home" state park.




There is a magnolia tree outside of Bee's window and I love the beautiful flowers. This one was at the park, though.

This tree was large and beautiful. How small the world is amongst the rich and powerful. Andrew Jackson and the home's owner were good friends. Jackson even visited here.


Here's she running to find me.

Here she is finding daddy as he 'hides' behind the tree.

Here she is peeking around the tree trying to find me.

One... two...  Freee...

Her fingers blocked the lens, but she managed to get a picture of what she wanted.


This movie is somewhat long but very entertaining. My favorite part is when she pouts. Hope the faithful blog followers enjoy it.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Visitors

My favorite thing about the fourth of July this year was that my cousin Janene and her husband David came to stay with us for the weekend. It was so good to see them. They played games with us, entertained Bee, humored Ben on a walking tour of our city and Ben’s college, helped us with all the preparations for the party, and watched fireworks with us. What great guests.



Janene magically got Bee to pose exactly how Janene had asked her to pose.

Grilled cheese for lunch.

Rummikub. Janene is good at this game.

There's a small height difference, wouldn't you agree?


They are welcome back anytime. They also will forever be known as our first house guests at Peacefield. What an honor.

Also, Janene took most of these pictures and some of the ones I posted recently for the fourth of July. She is much better at pulling out the camera than I am.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Fourth

Since we were far from family this year for our nation's birthday, we decided to celebrate it with friends. We had a small get together at our home. The adults had a lot of fun talking, taking Ben's 4th of July quiz, eating food, and playing games.




The desserts were colorful and tasty.


The children played well in the playroom. It was all around awesome. Bee was a little antisocial and spent a lot of the night on the computer playing on sesamestreet . org.


 
We had an amazing view of the city fireworks and let the children wear themselves out running all over the field before the show.
 



I made this quilt in college and have loved it ever since.

Bee got in on the picture taking action and got some good ones.