Monday, November 17, 2014

Halloween 2014

I haven't forgotten how to update this blog - honest.

It's finally autumn, although up until a couple of weeks ago you wouldn't have guessed that with how warm it's been. And in typical Utah fashion, we went from beautiful 70-degree weather to a few days with temps in the 50s, and then it's been 30 degrees if we're lucky for a few days. Go figure. But before the cold had time to set in we took advantage of being outside. Our neighbors had a humongous leaf pile and if we took our eyes off Mira for a second we would find her like this:
Mark, in the little bit of spare time that he has between classes, has been tinkering in the back yard. He started work on a tree house, and part of that included installing a zipline. Mira, being the daredevil that she is, thinks it's the coolest thing ever.
We also got to go to Mark's family's house to decorate pumpkins. Mira made sure I signed her name on her pumpkin and insisted that I add the 3. Can't forget that she's 3, ya know.
And of course, Halloween! Mira finally is old enough to get excited about this holiday. It was darn near impossible to keep her out of her costume until Halloween. Mark was hemming and hawing for weeks about whether or not he was actually going to get the yard fixed up this year and finally decided that he would. Here's a preliminary look.
We didn't end up running the fog machines or any of the animatronics this year (to be discussed in the next post) but we still had carloads of people come over just to see our yard and SO many people told us how much they love what we do. So I hope that was worth it for Mark.

My job, of course, was to take Mira trick-or-treating, and my mom came along for the event. I just threw an outfit together at the last second. I think I'm a goth jester or something. I thought it looked cool and Halloween-esque. Mira, like almost every other little girl under the age of 8, wanted to be one of the princesses from Frozen, although there were significantly fewer Annas than Elsas so at least she had that going for her.
Trick-or-treating went really well. Mira finally understood the concept and was so excited we could barely keep up with her as she ran house to house, rang the doorbell, and announced, "Trick-or-treat!" Then she would often try to strike up a conversation with the unsuspecting person who answered the door: "Me's Anna! Me three. What's you's name? Happy Halloween!"
We covered quite a lot of ground - enough that we wore out my mom, who left early. We kept going until Mira suddenly decided she was tired and she didn't want to go any farther, and I carried her home. Here's my tired girl with her haul.
It was a good Halloween!

This is out of order, but whatever. For Rosh Hashana/Yom Kippur we went to my my sister's for dinner. Mira is unfortunately still in that in-between phase where she still refuses to nap or have anything resembling quiet time but still obviously needs the extra sleep - as evidenced by this:
All wiped out before the party even got started, which meant keeping her from having a meltdown after she woke up was even harder than usual, but at least with family around we can delay it.

I absolutely love these pictures of me and my sisters. We're a good-looking group, huh?
And we are all the legal drinking age... somehow in my head we're younger than that. Time keeps marching on, doesn't it?

I also love these pictures of my mom reading to Mira. Reading books is about the only thing that will get Mira to sit still for any length of time. Also, yes, her feet really are that big.
Here are a bunch of goofy pictures. Mira likes to take pictures of me and usually they're blurry/unflattering but a couple of these actually came out well. I can typically get a couple of decent smiles out of Mira for pictures and then she decides to get silly.
You can really see the resemblance here.
One night Mira fell asleep on the couch and somehow ended up in this position. It doesn't look comfortable but what do I know?
I think I need to start a separate blog dedicated just to Wally and the ridiculous places and positions I find him in.
"Thanks for clearing off this counter, I know you did it so I'd have another place to sit and observe my humans."
Any time there is a box, we know it's only a matter of time before Wally ends up in it.
The next post will be a bit gruesome, just to warn everyone. It involves Mark's hand and exploding hot oil. My sister summed up the experience of being Mark very well when she said, "For being one of the most careful and conscientious people I know, he sure is accident-prone!" He apparently is the big reason I went to nursing school - didn't know when I graduated that I'd be doing a lot of pro bono home health nursing care. But life is full of surprises, isn't it?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Spelunking and Speleology

So this post is only a couple of months late but at least it's getting done. Back in August Mark and I took Mira for a trip to Mt. Timpanogos cave. Mt. Timp is the second highest peak in Utah, and several years ago Mark and I climbed to the top of the mountain. It was an amazing experience, although we could barely walk for the next week. But there's a cave inside the mountain, which I'd never gone through, so we decided to give it a go. The cave tour was great, but taking Mira with us probably wasn't our smartest decision ever. To get to the cave entrance is about a 1.5 mile hike up the mountain. Mira walked about a quarter of the way and decided she was done. So we had to haul her protesting and uncooperative butt up the rest of the way, then through the caves, then back down. Mark threw his back out and it still hasn't completely recovered. But on the other hand, we learned that there is a special Introduction to Caving tour where they take a limited number of people off to a different part of the caves and you get to crawl on your hands and knees and climb up and down boulders and stuff to an underground lake. Mark and I both thought this sounded like a blast so we signed up for our spot, dropped Mira off with Mark's parents on the designated day, and went caving!

The pictures didn't come out super great, but it was really cool.

It used to be kosher to break off parts of rock formations, cart them out of the caves and sell them as souvenirs. Luckily that's not allowed anymore but you can see where rocks were hacked off.

 You can see the lake in the background with a measuring stick to tell the depth.

This next picture is neat. Our guide lit a cigarette lighter to show how much light the early explorers would have had to work with.

Something else that used to be kosher for tourists was writing your name on the rock formations. Again, luckily that behavior doesn't fly these days but it's neat to see the remnants. The cool thing is the people who wrote their names in indelible ink just turned into splotches, but the people who wrote their names in pencil, you can still make out a lot of the words.

And some pictures from the hike up/down the mountain. I just love hiking, and every time I go I remember how much I love it and vow I'm going to go more often, and then does it happen? Nope. But man, I need to get out hiking more often.

The city of Provo, a.k.a. Happy Valley.

Anyway, there you go, just a short little post with some cool cave pictures. The next post will have all our Halloween pictures and such. I just wanted to get these pictures up before I completely spaced and it never happened.

Speleology, by the way, is the official term for caving.