My brother Sam and his "youtube" addiction

A little background for you... I am the oldest child of seven. After me came 5 boys and they are all nuts! My cute little sister was born a week after my 18th birthday. Anyway, as I was saying, they are all nuts, literally crazy! I guess that's what happens when there is a big spread in ages, the older ones are a bad influence on those little guys. It's a miracle to me that they are still alive.

So, my brother Sam opened a youtube account, like, 3 days ago and he has already posted a ton of cool stuff... well, cool to me, maybe cool to you. They are of my brothers doing CRAZY things! There is a link in my family and friends column that can get you to them. It is called Sam's "youtube" videos. Seriously, go check them out! They are all short so they won't take much of your time and they will make you laugh (and maybe feel a little sorry for me and understand my pain a little better). My favorites are the trampoline one and all the exploding things...yes, I said exploding.

You see, you probably get together with your family for holidays and enjoy a nice afternoon, maybe a good meal or short spiritual program, with the people you love... we blow things up. Seriously...check it out.


It's April freakin' 24th people!

Which is almost MAY! Which is almost SUMMER! And we have SNOW! That's right... SNOW! Not just a little... A LOT! Big, puffy, white snowflakes... off and on... all day long! It's torture, I tell you, TORTURE! I am really missing my California sunshine right now!


Spring Break at Zion Ponderosa- Day #3

Last day of our Spring Break adventure. We got up early, packed a little and then went to breakfast at the lodge. Everyone wanted to do the zip line and climbing wall one more time before we had to leave so while I finished packing and loading the car they did just that. I took a total of 73 pictures today, up from yeaterday but definitely not as bad as day #1. Enjoy!

I didn't go take pictures because I got enough the first day, but I wanted to get one of Max on the rock wall so I took this from our cabin with my telephoto lens... not too bad! That's Max on the left and Chris on the right.

Our final adventure on the ranch was four wheeling. Max couldn't have been more thrilled and loved every second of it. Although Abby looks really cute driving that car, she is actually sobbing because she is not big enough to drive a four wheeler. Chris said she literally screamed the whole time that she "just wants to drive a four wheeler!"

We decided to go back to Zion for the bus tour and a little hiking. We took the obligatory "family in front of Zion sign" and whole bunch more. I'll spare you the 14 pictures of scenery, but you have to look at all these cute pics of my family!

A hiking we will go! The kids were so excited to go for a real hike. The weather was beautiful and the scenery was gorgeous.

This is what Afton thought of our hike until we let her out. I think she had just had enough of her stroller. I'm glad we let her walk though... she loved it!

I love this picture... it just makes me happy. I think I am going to change it to black and white, blow it up and frame it so I can remember how peaceful and happy my kids can be.

My adorable little girls and super cool son. Could there be any cuter kids?

The kids loved exploring. Abby, of course, wanted to take everything she found home with us.

Chris, describing the beauties of nature to little Afton.

Well, that's it! Our beautiful vacation in Zion has come to an end. After this we got in the car and drove home, took baths and prepped for school and work the next day. It's not so fun returning to reality, but we had a great time and crammed so much into 3 days that it felt like a week!


Spring Break at Zion Ponderosa- Day #2

Welcome to Day #2 of our Spring Break adventure! Would you believe I only took 43 pictures today? That's so unlike me. But, we had another marvelous day packed full of fun. Remember, if you would like to see any of the pictures bigger just double click on it.

Life starts early on the ranch. If you don't get up you miss breakfast... and valuable adventure time! This is the kids and I (more proof that I was there) outside of the main lodge right after breakfast. Look how tired Abby looks!

Chris and Max enjoyed an early morning horseback riding adventure. This was Max's first time and he did really well and enjoyed it a lot. It was a beautiful morning and perfect for riding off into the sunrise. An excellent way to start a day on the ranch!

When Chris and Max finished their horseback ride we jumped into the car and went to Zion National Park. We really just drove through it, although we did stop to look at Checker- board Mesa (pictured to the left). The kids and I had never been there and the beauty of Zion really is amazing. On the other side of Zion we went to lunch at a really good restaurant in Springdale that is famous for their pies, and then we went to the IMAX movie all about Zion. If you haven't seen it, we highly recommend it. After that we decided to head back to the ranch so the kids could swim while it was warm and so Afton (and Chris) could take a nap.

The kids absolutely loved the pool. It was really cool... it had 2 levels and 2 slides, it was shallow a lot of places and there was a hot tub.

We played at the park a little bit everyday. It was a great place to go during down time and to hang with the other kids on the ranch. Here's Abby swinging with her new 'best friends' Savannah, Kate and Meg and Max chatting with his friend Abby... they are a little too cool to swing.
After hanging at the park we had dinner in the lodge and then enjoyed another movie together. (Actually, the kids and I enjoyed a movie while Chris watched the Jazz game in the employee lounge...can you blame him?) Our movie tonight was 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang' and then we hit the sack after another full and exhausting day.

Check back soon to see what happens on Day #3!


Spring Break at Zion Ponderosa- Day #1

For Spring Break last week, Chris took a couple days off work and we went to a resort just outside of Zion National Park called Zion Ponderosa Ranch. It was great. Our cabin was awesome, they have fabulous activities, they are located close to a lot of fun places to go and you can eat all your meals there if you want to. Honestly, you don't ever have to leave if you don't want to. It's the kind of place where you get to know the other families there and you become very familiar with the staff...you even all dine together. It is a very family oriented place and we had such a great time. We will definitely be going back (although we will probably wait for a little warmer weather so we can really enjoy the pool). If you are looking for a fun family place to go you should definitely check this place out. Their website is www.zionponderosa.com.

I decided to divide our trip into one post for each day we were there... so here is day #1 for you to enjoy. Forgive all the pictures, I'm actually pretty proud of myself for narrowing it down as much as I did. I literally took almost 200 pictures just the first day. I know they are small, but I wanted to fit as many as I could. You should be able to click on each image to see it bigger if you want to.

Our cute little cabin. It had a pretty big bedroom, a bathroom, a kitchenette area and a living area with a table and chairs and a fold out couch. Plenty of room for our family and you could probably fit 2 more pretty comfortably.

My sleepy little family enjoying the early morning on our front porch. We had a view that was absolutely beautiful and it was a wonderful way to start our trip.

FIrst thing to do... ZIP LINE! The kids are so excited (and scared!)... just look at their cute little faces. What a great way to start the day!

This was so fun. I loved watching how their faces just beamed with joy as they flew past me and I tried desperately to get a good picture. Max was so brave and would have done this all day if he could! Chris will probably not be thrilled that I included that second picture of him, but I think it's too perfect (I'll delete it if you want me to, Chris). He joked that it's a good thing I'm already pregnant because all chances of us having any more children are probably gone now. You'll notice that there aren't any pictures of Abby. Well, she didn't quite make it and, quite frankly, I don't blame her. She looked so tiny way up on that roof I can totally understand why she was afraid to jump.

This is pretty much what Afton did all day. She loved sitting in her stroller and coloring or munching on snacks. She loved to cheer the kids on as they zipped passed us in the air. She screamed their names and clapped. It was so sweet!

She may not have had the courage to jump off a roof, but she rocked on the climbing wall (pun absolutely intended)! Look how high she got! She was absolutely (almost) fearless and we are thinking of renaming her 'Spidergirl'. She literally flew up that wall! I would also like to point out that this is not the kind of climbing wall where some one is pulling the other end of the rope to help you out... she did it on her own! Chris rocked too. Of course he had to go for the hardest wall and he almost made it to the top. We even let Afton have a shot ot it although she much preferred sitting in her stroller enjoying her snack and cheering everyone on. Max opted out of the rock wall for another ride on the zip line... he was just having too much fun.

Right after lunch Abby went horseback riding. This was her first time on a real big horse (not just a pony that walks in a circle) and she loved it!

While Abby was off horseback riding we enjoyed the petting zoo. They have little ducks, chicks and geese, but Afton's favorites were the goat and the horses. She was so funny with the goat, it came right up to her and nibbled on her and even gave her little kisses. I thought she would be scared but she just laughed. The funniest was when the dog grabbed her binky and ran away with it! We decided to let him keep it (and were grateful we packed extras!)

Chris and Max went on a paint balling adventure for about an hour and a half with a group of people. This was Max's first time paint balling and was the activity he was the most excited about. They reported that it was a huge success and they were exhausted when they returned.

Nothing special here...just the people I love the most heading off on their next adventure! This is exactly the kind of day every mom dreams of... being together, trying new things, and having a great time.

Finally! Late in the afternoon Abby said she would like to try the zip line. We walked over there and it just so happened that a bunch of smaller kids were doing it right then. Perfect! She actually did it! We were so proud of her. Notice the little pig in her belt...that was the key. That little pig gave her the confidence she needed. It's hard to see here, but I love the first picture with the staff and Chris watching her start with huge smiles on their faces. So cute!

After being stuck in her stroller or held most of the day, Afton loved the freedom to run around and get dirty!

Our final activity of the day was archery. It was pretty hard for Abby, but she kept trying. Her arms were just too short to even use the bow. Chris and Max had a blast and Chris got a few bulls eyes. They even convinced me to give it a shot (pun intended again). It is so much harder than it looks. After one shot my arms hurt and by the third I thought my fingers were going to fall off! That was enough for me...I think I'll stick to taking pictures. (I'm actually not loving this picture of me trying to look oh, so cool with my bow and arrow, but I had to include it so there would be proof that I really was there. Now please forget you ever saw it!)

After archery we had dinner in the lodge and then Chris took the kids to swim and Afton and I hung out at the cabin. They had so much fun and there were a ton of kids to play with (I forgot to send the camera, though). Then it was showers for everyone and a movie on Chris' laptop. We watched 'Night at the Museum' but Chris is the only one who actually made it to the end. Everyone was so tired after a very full day.

Yes, that was just one day. Can you believe it? Who knew you could squeeze so much adventure, excitement and fun into such a short amount of time?

Stay tuned to see what adventures Day #2 will bring!