Summer Vacation

Topher's Spring Semester of school ended the first week of May. But, his Summer Semester started exactly one week later. So, we decided we really needed to take advantage of our one week of Summer and try to do some fun things. My dad was sweet enough to invite us to Capitol Reef with 2 of my other siblings, and generous enough to extend the invitation for free lodging as well. :) He worked out a great deal on a fabulous cabin in Grover, Utah. (Really hopping place...lemme tell you. I think the population MIGHT be 25) The cabin had a huge kitchen, bathrooms for the couples, a large living area, a fire pit, and a gorgeous view of a small lake and picturesque farming valley. It was breathtaking at sunrise.We headed down there late on Thursday night. My Dad, sister & I all caravanned down, arriving somewhere around 10 or 11. After a couple rounds of Password, played half asleep, we finally hit the sack.

We woke up the next morning, had a tasty breakfast and headed into the park.
Of course, pictures by the sign are mandatory.

After our photo-op we went to the visitor center where we sat forever because my Dad needed a 'quick' potty break. Yeah, right. ;) It's obviously not quick, if every other person waiting for you says you took forever Daddy. :)
While waiting in the Visitor Center Topher and I traded off caring for, (which means chasing after) our kicking, screaming & biting daughter. She would NOT hold still or let us hold her. She wanted to get down and run amok! She wanted to pull all the books off the shelves, take as many treats as possible from the register counter and shove them under her arms, stand on the kids table and jump until tipping, run around and into people's legs, and throw her head back and scream at the top of her lungs each time we picked her up. Yes, it was a joy. Which is why she eventually ended up outside on my lap, trying to eat dirt.
After we finally left the Visitor Center we headed down the street to a cute little country homestead that they have turned into a mini museum/pie pantry. We got some home made berry pie (thanks daddy!) and ate our lunches. Yes, you heard that right, lunches. We spent most of the morning doing nothing but deciding what to do. :)
After this, we headed to a small overlook of the inner valley. We went and climbed rocks, played hide and seek and learned from my Dad that, "you can't run all over. and you can't get so close to the edge of that cliff. if you fall off, you'll be dead". One doesn't often hear such loving words from a parent. Rachel then proceeded to inform me and Topher that she can't fall off any rocks, because then she'd be dead. *chuckle*.

We spent the good part of the next couple hours just going to various overlooks or viewpoints, taking little 1/10 of a mile "hikes".
Eventually we met up with Joey, Dacia & Ellie Belly to do the Great Wash hike.

This one was actually a few miles and had a bit more scenery. It was such a neat walk/hike! It went right in between two canyon walls and was just a lot of fun. The walls were fairly steep and some were a very pretty red rock. There were some wild flowers, various fun little caves and some awesome echo canyons. I have never in my life heard echoes as cool as the ones we made in that canyon. So fun!! You could actually hear your entire sentence repeated back to you a couple seconds after you initially shouted it out.

We took our time in the canyon, letting the kids explore all the little caves, taking pictures of all the wildflowers and shouting at various canyon walls.
After the hike, Topher and I went and had a very pricey outing to the town's ONE and only grocery store (so overpriced!!!) and headed back to the lodge to make dinner.
We had a great night eating dinner, building a fire, roasting marshmallows, and later Topher even did some stargazing and told the older boys some campfire stories.
I don't think I had ever really enjoyed campfires until I met Topher. I used to really not like the smell or the smoke, or even the heat. It was all just a little much. But, for some reason when I'm with Topher a fire is so much fun. I love the way it smells and love being with him. I even wanted to sleep in his sweatshirt for the next couple days after the fire just because of the way it smelled!
Anyway, the next morning we left around 11 to make it back in time for Toph's little sister Anni's STATE track meet! She is extremely talented in Track, esp. the 800 meter and we were determined to be back to support her in her race. We made it with plenty of time to walk around and take in the atmosphere and energy and then watched Anni run and do a great job! She got a new personal record, way to go Anni!! And we were really happy we got to be there for her. :)
So. That was our weekend vacation of fun before school and I'm so glad we got to do it! We really want to go back to capitol Reef again sometime this Summer. Maybe in the Fall? Supposedly they have some pretty awesome orchard picking going on in the Fall and I think that would be a lot of fun. Any takers? :)
Thanks for reading our latest adventure! I'll try to be better at updating! But in the meantime, thanks for checking in!!
Love the Andersens