Saturday, December 31, 2011

September that ran into October

So, if August was the beginning of my traveling, September and October were the meat of it.  Those two months kind of merged into one.  I was so busy trying to get ready to go, going, then making up for being gone.  But, would I do it again????  In a heartbeat!!!

The month started with a quick Labor Day weekend trip to Colorado.  We wanted to go see our friends, the Burnhams.  And, we wanted to fly out of Provo airport which now offers one flight a day to Denver.  We loved seeing our friends!!!!  We got to go our first NASCAR race, and we enjoyed an awesome breakfast at a creole restaurant.  And, the flying out of Provo was great!! We recommend it.

 In a rare moment at home, we were 'bonding' with the kids.  We were playing Hide and Seek outside, but no one could find Dale.  When he was finally spotted, he was high in tree (his orange-striped shoes are the big giveaway).  I just loved that at 49, he's still got it.  
  1.  In the third week of September, we headed out for a dream trip to Hawaii.  We've talked about it for 20 years, but we finally made it happen for our 20th anniversary.  We enjoyed 10 days in Kauai, Maui, and Oahu.  We did a lousy job of relaxing, but we did a great job of hiking, snorkeling, driving beautiful places, eating new things, etc.  There's no way to show it to you in this way, but come to my house sometime and I'll give you the real photographic tour.  I can, however, whet your appetite here.  Oh, and I have to say, we are Kauai people!  If I ever go back, that's where I'll head.  Let me say publicly that I really appreciate Dale and his willingness to make this dream come true.  I fulfilled some bucket list items, and I had a great time.  Thanks to him and to all of you who babysat so we could go.  None of it went unnoticed!!!

First bucket list item:  A helicopter ride (with no doors) over Kauai on one of the clearest days the pilot had ever seen.  In a word, SPECTACULAR!

 The view from our condo.  Wow!!
Next bucket list item: swimming with turtles.  Amazing!

I had to post a picture of this sign.  I am among the world's most stringent rule keepers, BUT.... I went beyond that point!!!!  Can you even believe it??????
This was a highlight.  Along the road to Hana, we took a climb through mud, across an elevated viaduct, through the jungle, etc. till we found this secluded waterfall and pool.  It was secluded to the extent that about 6 other couples were there when we were, but it was awesome.  And it was freezing cold, but fun.
This is but one example of the great food we had.  Loved the fruit, the shave ice, the raw fish, etc.!!!
My dessert treat on my birthday!
 On our final morning in Oahu, we hit the beach to find an outrigger canoe to ride.  We found a perfect one, and we got to take a thrilling ride with our big, burly, Hawaiian friends!!  Overall, the trip was amazing.  And it checked off state number 48 for me.  Just two more to go.  So, this time next year, you'll probably be reading about a different kind of canoe in Minnesota or Wisconsin!

As you can imagine, things were crazy when we returned.  We had lots of catching up to do.  Among the things that were waiting for us were lots of vegetables from our garden.  Among the vegetables we had a plant full of ghost peppers.  According to Wikipedia, in 2007 Guinness certified it as the hottest pepper in the world at 401.5 times hotter than Tabasco.  Dale just wanted to see what it was like.  So, he and and his 'tough guy' 16 year old son took turns taking bites.  Did I mention that the 'bites' were about the size of a pinhead??
Throughout my crazy couple of months, we were also attending dog training classes with Molly.  I learned a lot, but I'm having about the same luck training her as I have in training my children!  
After the training, the next item on the agenda was a 12th birthday party for Cheyenne.  She loves the movie Tangled (a version of the classic Rapunzel story).  And so it is that we had a Rapunzel party.  Lucky for us, Rapunzel herself was there!  And we made some edible hair to share.  That braid was about 51 inches long!  
 And, with 12 year olds, you can do fun things like shoot a blow gun at a Flynn Rider Wanted poster.
 No rest for the weary.  Just a couple days later, I was making a wedding cake for Adam Sellars.  I was pretty pleased.  Again, let me publicly thank and credit Dale, my artistic designer.  He printed a template for me to use to make those sets of 3 dots perfectly aligned.  He makes me look good.  Thanks!

So, we'd had the party, but then we had to celebrate Cheyenne's real birthday on the day.  I love this picture from breakfast that morning.
 In the afternoon, we headed to the Oquirrh Mountain temple.  This picture makes me smile too!
 And the nighttime was reserved for dinner out, complete with a chocolate volcano cake.  That was one very bright, long-lasting sparkler/candle.
 If it's been mine and Cheyenne's birthdays, then you know that Halloween can't be far behind.  At the Wilde house, that means it's time for a Halloween-themed dinner.  This year, Cheyenne has been studying Egypt at school, so we went for the mummy theme.  In the far corner, you'll see a crock that contained certified "innards" or maybe salad with dressing on it.
To complete the month, Dale and I headed out for yet another trip.  This time we spent the weekend in Dallas, TX, to see BYU play TCU at the Dallas Cowboys stadium.  What a place!  

 The game really stunk as BYU continually shot itself in the foot, but it was fun to be there.  The next day we spent the day at Six Flags.  The lesson learned that day is that 'loose objects' left in pockets really do fall out!  Dale happened to have his credit cards and driver license in his cargo pocket, but they were dislodged by some ridiculous roller coaster!  Next lesson learned is that if you look innocent enough, it is possible to board a plane without government issued ID, but with a wife who is excited to show her Thanksgiving Point pass.  Gotta love it.

Whew!  What a couple of months!  And the travel still wasn't over.  Stay tuned for November!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

August - End of Summer, but New Beginnings

In some ways, you may consider August the end of summer.  For me, it was a beginning of sorts.  August was the beginning of a three month period of nonstop motion.  I began a series of trip after trip.  I began a new role as the Young Women president in my church congregation (the leader of the young women from 12 to 18, of which we have about 40).  It was the beginning of major harvesting from our garden.  And, of course, school began for my kids, which means math tutoring began for me.  Yeah, I guess it was the end of summer.....

My first photographic documentation of the month has nothing to do with everything I just said, but they are great pictures.  First, this was one day of Daniel's Saturdough business.  Normally, he doesn't do this much bread, but he did on this day, and I thought it looked pretty cool.
 For a school project last year, Daniel made this sculpture that he called "Face Plant."  My friend Heather liked it so much that she commissioned him to make one for her.  Before she took hers home, we thought they should pose together.  They make me smile!
 Now, on to those beginnings.  Our first trip of the three month period of travel was a major road trip with the family.  We went from Utah to Wyoming to Nebraska, to South Dakota to North Dakota to Montana to Wyoming to Idaho and back to Utah.  It was awesome!  I could never cover the entirety of the trip in a blog like this, but I can show you a few snippets.  I loved all that we saw.  And I loved doing it with my family.  We did 8 days, 7 states, lots of hours in the car, and we still liked each other.  Success!
Our first stop was at Martin's Cove in Wyoming.  This was an historical site associated with the pioneers who came to Utah pulling handcarts.  
 Part of the reason we hit South Dakota was to see Mount Rushmore.  We thought it was really interesting. And the Black Hills area around it was beautiful.  
Near Mount Rushmore, we had the chance to go on a cave tour that was somewhat adventurous and used only hand held lanterns for light.  We still got to walk, though, with only an occasional need to duck.  They offered another, more adventurous tour.  In order to see if you could do it, they had a sample space for you to crawl through.  It was 8 inches high and 24 inches wide.  If that didn't bother you, the spelunking tour awaited........we didn't go!

While in South Dakota, we journeyed to the Badlands.  I imagine as a frontiersman, they were really bad.  I can't fathom how difficult it would have been to traverse them, find food, etc.  However, as a 16 year old boy who loves to climb on rocks, they were bad, sick, legit, or whatever other adjective you might use to convey the idea that they were fun, fascinating, beautiful, and adventurous!

 After a brief stop in Sturgis (home of the world-famous Harley-Davidson rally), we headed to North Dakota.  We saw miles and miles of sunflowers, then we saw a few miles of gigantic sculptures.  I wish I could show them all, but looking at this humongous Pheasant gives you some pause.  (Note that I am standing in the bottom left corner in case you need size perspective!)
 And we toured the North Dakota version of the badlands.  Not as rough and stark as their southern neighbors, but very scenic.

 In Cody, Wyoming, the highlight for all was the Buffalo Bill Cody museum complex.  As you may recall, in June we attended the Wild, Wild West show which gave us a little glimpse into Buffalo Bill.  That was nothing compared to this museum.  I loved the historical part.  Dale loved the art.  Cheyenne loved the Indian exhibit that highlighted the Cheyenne indians.  And Daniel thought he'd died and gone to heaven when he hit the firearms exhibit.  
 Cheyenne with Buffalo Bill himself at the scene of the gunfight in the street!
 Our trip would not have been complete without Yellowstone.  What an amazing, amazing place!  

 When we returned, the harvest was in full swing.  Thanks, Dale, for ensuring each year that we have a display like this!!
 Oh yeah, and then that dang school started.  We got a picture of Cheyenne on her first day of 6th grade.  I think when you're a junior in high school, that picture on the first day just isn't so cool (or bad or legit or whatever!)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Halfway through the Year -- Better Celebrate!

The beginning of July marks the halfway point of the year.  It seems that what I've written about in the first half of the year should constitute a whole year, but then I think of all that's happened since then, and it's really hard to believe how much has been crammed in.  Wow.

It seems July is inherently a party month.  With both the 4th of July and the 24th of July as holidays, and with Daniel as a son, there is no question about what will be happening around here!  So, let's take a look...

Once again we attended the annual 4th of July parade in Oakley.  What a great small town event!
 My next celebration was celebrating time with my good friend Kim who is a school teacher.  It seems we always have the best of intentions, but we usually only get together during the summer.  This was our second annual hike, and we went to Ferguson Canyon in Salt Lake.  I loved it!  High granite sides and a stream -- practically perfect!

And then there was the celebration of a couple days alone!  Daniel spent some time hiking and rafting with the scouts, and Cheyenne ventured off to her first summer camp.  She had a week on her own at Clear Creek summer camp.  And since she caught not one, but TWO pot guts (aka ground squirrels) in her trap, she was one happy camper!!

Next I must blog the preparation phase of the Daniel and Friends Annual Fireworks Extravaganza.  This always takes weeks of preparation, but this year was especially intense.  They built and painted sets.  They designed boats to float in the plastic container of water.  They wrote original music.  They wrote a script.  They practiced.  And it all happened in our basement...

Between the preparation and the performance, there was the celebration with our friends the Jacques.  Working around summer school schedules yet again, we managed a couple days with them at a condo in Park City.  Among the fun times, we enjoyed a live-action version of the video game Fruit Ninjas.  I've never seen the game, but apparently you try to cut up fruit that's thrown in the air.  Why wouldn't you want to go to a city park, break out a real sword, throw fruit in the air, and try to cut it???
And at the price of fruit, why wouldn't you pick it up off the ground and enjoy it.
This is no photo contest winner for clarity, but it shows what happens when you strike a pineapple at the bottom of the green leaves.  They shoot out like a whole bunch of little sharp spears being thrown at high velocity.  Cool!! We also learned about knife/fruit interactions with cantaloupe, watermelon, apples, and grapefruits, but none were quite as cool as those spears.
The next day afforded a great trip down the alpine slide for all.  Fun, fun, fun!!

Finally, the big fireworks show itself was the 24th of July celebration.  I exhibited my crafty side with "fireworks" centerpieces, and an "authentic" rodeo queen belt for Cheyenne in the culdesac parade.

 Though it doesn't do it justice, this is perhaps the best picture I have of the set.  It was a seaside village with a fortress wall, lots of small buildings/businesses, the sea with boats in it, and a volcano in the background towering over the village.
 And this is the ultimate goal - fireworks glaring and fire burning up the town!  In the end, the volcano "erupted" into flames yet again, and ultimately, most of the set was burned.  
 Meanwhile, Cheyenne was meeting with her friends to be part of an original production by a sweet 9 year old who wrote and directed the play called "Coconut."  Cheyenne was playing the role of the mother.
 And the culminating celebration was the occasion of Daniel's first shave.  'Twas a big day, for sure, but not one that has necessitated repeating much since then!
 Thanks to all for the memories of celebrations!!