Remember those vile little viruses I was so intent on defeating? I lost. My voice is gone, and so is my dignity as I’ve now sat through three meetings and two doctor’s appointments desperately sucking on cough drops so as not to hack up a lung on any innocent bystanders.
But enough of the pity party, because it is Fall Break, baby!
Yesterday the kidlets and I headed up the canyon for an autumn hike to the hot pots. On the way, we found ourselves smack-dab in the middle of a good old fashioned cattle drive. That’s right, ladies and gentlemen – picture us in our *tiny* little Suburban, surrounded by a sea of cows. They mooed, they pooed, they actually made the Suburban shake as they ran by. Jakob thought it was hi.lar.i.ous.
Once we made it past the herd (and that took some doing, let me tell you), we continued up the canyon, playing “count the lost cows” as we went. There were eleven. I’m thinking some cowboys must have been asleep at the wheel, erm…saddle horn.
The hike was gorgeous, as usual. We were ankle-deep in beautiful fall leaves through most of it. The boys loved crunching them. The river was extra pretty, too, maybe because the weather was PERFECT! As an extra bonus, we ran into two more cows on the trail. Moooooooo!
Jakester is a hard-core hiker, but his little legs were getting pretty tired as we neared the top of the hike. Luckily for us, just as he started to whine we saw the hot pots!
(This is the lower section. Notice how the grown-ups can sit in the hot pots, while the young’uns can play on the slides in the middle. Thank you, Mother Nature.)
We stopped at the lower pots first, since the Jakester couldn’t possibly take another step. Jakob and Bitsy sloshed and slipped down the slides. Joshua and Emma explored the upper pots, and spent the next fifteen minutes convincing us to join them in the big pool. I waited until the little ones were shivering (the slides were in the shade and that water isn’t quite as warm as the regular pots, anyway), and then join them we did!
(These are some of the upper pools. The one at the bottom of the picture is actually much bigger than it looks here. These are REALLY warm, so we only hit them when the weather is cooler.)
Have I ever blogged about how much Bitsy loves to swim? It’s terrifying, actually. She has absolutely no fear of water, and will toddle out chin deep, happily splashing and blowing bubbles, until she loses her footing. And then…she’ll do a dead man’s float until someone comes to rescue her. The fact that she is under water and unable to breathe doesn’t even phase her. Much of my afternoon was spent trying to keep the little daredevil alive and ignoring the gasps of onlookers whenever she went under. I also spent a considerable amount of time fending off attacks by Jakob the Alligator.
After an enjoyable time swimming in the only heated pools for miles around (yep, we’re just that redneck), I made the announcement that it was time to leave. Oh, the drama that ensued! There was whining, there was complaining, there was crying and kicking. And that was just me. Kidding! The real tantrum came from Bitsy, who was NOT! finished swimming.
Have you ever tried to take a wet swimming suit off of a writhing, screaming 17-month-old while standing in the middle of a dusty trail high above some hot pots where one false move could mean sudden death? You haven’t? Take my advice. Don’t.
We finally got the tiny tigress dressed and tied to my back (which was another feat in and of itself), and were on our way back down. Bitsy fell asleep about two minutes into the return hike. Ah, the serenity of it all.
Unfortunately, the Jakester was also tired. He also wanted to be carried. Let’s just say it was a rough hike back. But as soon as we were in the Suburban, all four kidlets let me know that they wanted to return to the hot pots NEXT WEEK! (Eight more cows on the way out, in case you’re still counting.)
By the way, if you live near me and haven’t made it up to the hot pots yet, go TOMORROW. Otherwise, you are going to miss all of the gorgeous leaves.
Today was pumpkin picking day.
Here is my theory on picking out pumpkins: It is wrong, just WRONG to sift through a bin of perfectly round, blandly similar pumpkins at Wal-mart. Or even Target, for that matter. Picking a pumpkin should be more of a challenge than that. Therefore, every year we find ourselves sitting on bales of hay in a cart being pulled by a tractor as we are treated to wonderful views of the valley on our way to…the pumpkin patch, full of hundreds of pumpkins of every imaginable shape and size. The kidlets love running through the field, searching for the perfect pumpkin. Bitsy loves wandering off and stealing other babies’ pumpkins whenever I’m not looking. I love the doughnuts and ice cream cones that we eat after we’ve each found our Halloween Harvest, and the way that the kiddos sleep all the way home.
How did we do?
And now, for the sad news. You may have noticed that the above pictures were taken by my cell phone camera. (Except for the hot pots pictures. I totally stole those from the web. Don’t judge me.) This would be because my camera has DIED. I discovered its passing during Joshua’s baptism. Oops.
I am now looking for a new camera with the following specifications:
*Good picture quality.
*Easy to use.
*Sturdy. It will most likely be dunked in various various waterfalls and mud puddles, and dropped on a daily basis.
*Doubles as a video camera. Because we don’t have one of those, either.
*Have I mentioned that it needs to be really, really cheap?
Seriously. It doesn’t have to be fancy, as I’m certainly not a professional photographer. It just needs to be reliable. And easy to use. Because let’s face it, I’m still blonde.