Monday, October 25, 2010


OK, so we didn't go to Old McDonald's farm, but we sang that song almost the whole way there. Where is "there?" Why, the farm of Brother Call, aka Seth and Lydia's third grandpa from church. No animals on this farm, other than cows grazing in the distant field and a horse next door. But there's plenty to do.

We've been promising for a while to bring the kids out to Brother Call's Enumclaw farm to play, "work", and ride the tractor. We picked a nice September morning to visit and play and have lunch together at his roadside produce stand. When the kids are older, we'll send them out there with him, and he'll put them to work for real! These city-fied kids need a little rural culture every once in a while!
Despite Seth's expression, he had a blast on the ol' John Deere:
Does anyone else see that this dahlia is as big as Lydia's head??
No doubt farming is hard work, but how'd you like this to be your office:
Back to the shed for lunch:
"OK, Lydia, I'll drive this thing, and you sit there and give me potato chips when I say so."

Thanks, Brother Call, for a fun day at the farm and for always having candy in your pocket at church!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

First Day of Preschool

September 13th was Seth's first day of preschool.
Lydia felt left out of the excitement, so she pulled out the Winnie the Pooh backpack and posed too, and Seth was happy to oblige.
He goes to school Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for 2 hours in the morning. That's not very long, but on the first day, I kept looking at the clock wondering if it was time to go get him yet. Lydia seemed to be a little lost too. Now we're in the routine, and Seth gets time with other kids and I get a little one-on-one time with my little girl. Great for everyone!

Seth loves his teachers, and he's learning things like how to write upper and lower case letters. His favorite is show and tell. He brings something to show that starts with the letter of the week. We went on a school field trip, which I'll post soon.

He's growing up so quickly. Now, when I ask him to do something or if he'll help me or Lydia, he replies with, "Of course!" Tonight I watched him put together a 48-piece puzzle all by himself. He's happy, smart, obedient (most of the time), funny as heck, and fun to be around!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Splash Park

On the last real summer-like day of the year, we went with some friends to a nearby splash park. What perfect conditions! Warm sun, good friends, small crowds (older kids were back in school), picnic on the grass, and fun times!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Visit from Grandma Diane and Grandpa Rex

Wow, it's only taken 3 years of blogging to reach our 100th post! Ha!
Matt's parents came from Texas for a visit in August - yay for visitors! We packed up and went camping at Dash Point State Park. One of many things on our list we wanted to do, we only camped for one night - lots of work for a short amount of time, but we had fun!
Once again, Lydia was happily entertained with an endless supply of dirt. What you don't see in this video is the after-effect of Lydia's actions - freaking out by her unexpectant older brother.

We took a walk on the beach, which is apparently a skimboarding hot spot. The tide came in, and we headed home. This camping stuff is pretty fun, and we're pretty good at it. Let's do more next year!

(He's not giving me a stink eye...just busy and concentrating when I told him to look up) :-)


Grandpa is such a fun guy! He read an endless stack of books to Seth, and Lydia kept wanting to get in on the action too.

He did a buzzing sound in her ear that sent her into fits of laughter.

That's what grandpas are for - that and building awesome train tracks...

...and we can't let the kids get too big before we get a photo of the one-handed hold!

The last afternoon they were here, we hiked to Snow Lake. We tried this hike a couple of years ago, and the trail was covered in snow (June). This time it was a clear day, perfect for a hike all the way to the top. It was 3 miles each way (4 if you hike all the way down to the lake, which we didn't) and Seth walked the. whole. way. He didn't whine or complain once, even towards the top when the trail gets rocky and steep. He was our little narrator pretty much the whole way. Rex and Matt took turns carrying him a bit, just to hurry along, and he only said a couple of times "my legs are broken" followed by giggling. The next couple of days I think all of us EXCEPT Seth felt like our legs were broken (minus the giggling). Oh, to have the stamina of a 3-year-old!

Grandma and Seth held hands pretty much the whole way.

It was a tough hike, but look at our reward for making it all the way!

So, who wants to visit us next? Reading this should make you want to, right? Thanks, Diane and Rex, for coming!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Utah Trip: Part 3 (Finale)

After leaving Millsite, we headed to Boulder Mountain for the Thaine and Patra Taylor (my grandparents) family reunion. My grandparents had two daughters, so happily we're all close since there aren't many of us. We converged at the Aquarius Ranger Station, high up in the mountains above Loa where my parents live. It's not used as a ranger station any more, since technology has made it unnecessary for a ranger to be a live-in lookout for fires. So, anyone can reserve and use them for personal purposes. It's still pretty primitive camping, except there's a one-bedroom cabin and a kitchen...still have to use an outhouse. :-)
Mom and Aunt Nonnie planned delicious meals and super fun and silly games that everyone loved. Funny to see what kind of entertainment we came up with out in the middle of nowhere. What a blast!
The kids decorated their goodie bags for all the prizes they won.

Seth showing Grandpa his loot from the scavenger hunt.

Matt's favorite thing to do...take his little sweetie hiking!

Our whole Chappell family together's been too long!

The Sannar family - aunt, uncle and cousins (we missed you, Paul and Mike!) - by the way, any family reading this, I need pictures of everyone together and of the fishing game. :-)
One day we piled in the went fishing at Cook Lake enjoyed the lake all to ourselves. It was a bit of a treacherous drive, and the kids in the back got bounced around quite a bit. Matt's GPS recorded the elevation at more than 10,000 feet. Thin air, but clean air! Take a look at that smooth water...a perfect backdrop for a little boy and his grandpa fishing.
And guess what? The lucky Mickey Mouse fishing pole scored again! Seth was so excited to reel it in and take a look at it...that is, until it started flopping around, at which point the freaking out commenced. This is him trying to get away from it.
Despite the brief panic episode, Grandma helped Seth cast his pole back out to wait for another bite.
And look at that! It's been over 20 years, I'd say, since I last went fishing, and I've still got it! Between those of us fishing, I think we caught 14 fish - enough for breakfast with homemade biscuits.
Lydia was happy to take a long nap and play in the rocks along the shore.

The next couple of days were spent:

watching incredible sunsets,

(Yes, you read right. My niece, Leah, sewed her own quilt top, and my mom packed the quilt frames up the mountain and we all helped quilt it together!)

lovin' each other (me and my big brother and sisters)
(love this picture of Mom and Dad!!)

roughin' it - and loving it,

goofing off,
and enjoying a family vacation that was exciting, funny, touching, adventurous, beautiful and unforgettable.
We were sad yet ready to be home at the same time. After two weeks away, I guess it's time to return to reality. We usually take two days to drive to and from Utah, but when our air conditioning compressor went out in Idaho Falls, we drove all the way in. one. day. so we could drive at night in cooler weather. Other than that little hiccup, we were blessed with a safe trip, great weather, and good times.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Utah Trip: Part 2

After leaving the city of our beloved alma mater, we drove down to Millsite State Park for the Hulet family reunion (Matt's mom's family). I'd never been to that area of Utah, and the nearby reservoir and canyons were beautiful. We Pacific-Northwesterners were wilting a bit in the desert heat, but we found ways to cool off and enjoy a great time with everyone.

In the middle of the heat came a flash flood, and while we were getting groceries in the neighboring town, the road to our campsite was washed out. We were caught on the other side of this gusher until some state road trucks came in and cleared the road and filled in the dirt underneath the blacktop. Sudden and powerful! We spent most of the afternoon airing out bedding and washing mud off everything. On the upside, it cooled off everything nicely!

One night we drove into Castledale for the annual Castle Valley Pageant. While waiting for the show to begin, we walked around the pioneer village and helped braid a rug, make ice cream, milk a cow, play the spinning button game. And we took a little ride in a horse-drawn wagon and went inside a tepee. Look at that view behind us!

Another day we drove out into what seemed an endless, barren desert to the Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry. This is an active quarry, although digging has been suspended for a time.
A map showed different species of dinosaur fossils found in the area, and the overwhelming one was the Allosaurus, a carnivorous dinosaur with short arms and sharp claws.
They're getting closer to understanding why there is such a large concentration of this one dinosaur, but they haven't even tapped into a fraction of the entire area where suspected other species might be found.

The rest of the time was spent visiting, playing games, swimming, doing a team geocashing challenge (thanks, Andy!), and enjoying being together. Seth and Lydia were drawn to the rocks, whether throwing them in the water...

...or shoveling them into their buckets at our campsite.

The last day Matt's uncle Chad taught everyone to make a rocket out of 2-liter pop bottles filled with rocks and water, and held together with duct tape. They hook it up to a generator-powered compressor and let 'er go! Here's Seth and Matt's rocket, and just as it was launched, wouldn't you know the camera battery died. You'll just have to believe me that it was a successful launch that approached 70 feet, I'd say.

What a great reunion...we can't wait for the next one in two years!