Monday, October 20, 2008

Full Moon Rides

This was last Monday for FHE. We took the kids to Sundance for the full moon lift rides. Last year we froze but still had a great time. This year I wanted to really make sure we only had a good time. I hate being cold and I always worry the kids are cold. So this year we were prepared. This is the kids in layer #1.

Layer #2, very soft and cozy.

Layer #3, they were hot! I have done my job.

Bella in line for our tickets.

We felt welcomed!

Up, up and away. We all felt very warm and snug under all our layers and fuzzy blankets. Such a treat to be in the cold mountain air. At the top of the mountain there was some snow. We loved every moment of our ride in the night. Right in front of us there were a group of boy singers who sang amazing songs like I'll make love to you by Boyz II Men. And some other wondrous of wonder songs that I can't remember right now. It is fun to watch everyone that goes by and hear little tidbits of what they are saying. Lots of laughter. The best was when a chair passed the one in front of us going the other way, they knew each other and said hi and everything. But after it passed the chair in front of us it came by us and you could her the girl say, I'm so glad I didn't go with them, I knew they would be singing the whole time. I think the kids feel special when we take them to this because they get to stay up late and are basically the only kids there.

Our full October hunter's moon

Friday, October 17, 2008

India Fest

After Jarom and I returned from geode hunting and Amy and Bella were done with the princess show, we all met up to go to the India Festival at the Krishna Temple in Spanish Fork.

There are always llamas there at the temple. You can see how excited this makes Oey.

Jarom got in on the fun too

but the llamas weren't particularly into us

The kids all broke into a trot around the second story of the temple. Here's Oey mid-run, with some excellent hand positions.

it really was pretty there at sunset

my pretty baby during sunset

it slowly became a nice full moon

Bella got to pose with some Indian princesses

Jarom actually got inside the birdcage (sans birds thank goodness)

This is the effigy that was soon to be burn.

They set off a firework directly at the effigy, which then bursts into flames and sets off another string of fireworks that went off high above us.

starting to burn

captivated, watching the festivities

Everyone watching. Kids are always into big burning things it seems.

some really cool flaming ashes were swirling about

a view of the temple from our vantage point

rock-sitting, finishing up our delicious meal of authentic Indian food (and juice)

and then the fires went out next to the koi pond

posing with those in costume; Oey's either in awe or confused

Bella in her awesome new skirt

dada lovin

Then a Krishna-themed rock band started up. They were awesome. Their songs were rock- and even kind of ska-influenced. They had everyone dancing. The lead singer was white but sang in a very Indian-style voice. He looked just like Martin! I couldn't get Martin out of my head. Must be the white long-sleeved thermal. A clip of the band is further down.

The banner above the singer's head shows the Hare Krishna mantra. Every one of their songs was basically only that in lyric, but changed melodically every time so it was new and awesome. It's a chant that is Hindu in context but universal in concept. The chant is supposed to bring about higher consciousness, bring you closer to God. It's pretty interesting (read the wikipedia link!).

a bunch of folks dancing it up

our view of the temple as we walked away

the band rocking out

the kids enjoying it (okay except maybe Bella--she was tired?)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Aunt Martha's in Midway

Cousins day is our new favorite day. My cousin Heather started it a few months ago. The kids and I just enjoy it so much. It's not often that we get together with family. So it's pretty priceless for us. The above picture is my Aunt Martha and cousin Heather making mummy pizzas.

Martha went all out and made Frankenstein jello with cookies, spider crackers with peanut butter and pretzel legs and raisin eyes. She even made cute little witches from pear halves.

O and Olivia munching down on all the goodies.

Hallie, Bella and Lily

Heather made tons of sugar cookies for everyone to frost and decorate.

Aunt Whitney leading the kids in a fun dance.

We went to the park for some fresh air and enjoyed the beautiful fall colors.

Even played with the parachute. Kids love these things.

And we all fall down.

Martha, thank you for hosting cousins day at your beautiful home. We all had the greatest time. And you even sent us all home with the cutest little Halloween gifts. You have gone over and above and we loved every moment of it. I feel so spoiled. I love you so much. Wish we could have cousins day everyday.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

We rockhounds

The same day that Amy and Bella were dining with and watching royalty, Jarom and I were braving the west Utah desert. To camp under the stars and explore the Dugway Geode Beds.

We left Friday night, drove to a couple of Home Depots to finish getting all the tools we needed (Jarom now knows Home Depot very well). Then we hit the road out west past Lehi, going through some rapidly growing towns I've heard of but never visited (like Saratoga Springs and Eagle Mountain), until we hit the old Pony Express trail. It was after 9:00, the skies were black, the washboard road ahead of us only lit by our meager headlights. We made up ghost stories while we drove. Occasionally a car would pass us, maybe two the whole drive. It took us an hour and a half to reach Simpson Springs. It's one of the old stations of the Pony Express, where a single person used to camp out with supplies and water, so that each rider could rest and refuel while another rider took his place as soon as he arrived.

starting out

We drove as far up the mountain as we could in the little 14-site BLM campground. We laid out a small blanket under a juniper, put our sleeping bags on top of it. I read Jarom some ghost stories and we both fell asleep under the nearly-full moon to the sound of crickets. The night was not too cold. It was beautiful sleeping right there, listening to only insects, smelling only juniper and pine, seeing only the stars and the moon, and just barely the lights of the military town Dugway off in the distance. At 5:45 I woke up and stayed up. The moon had set. The crickets were silent. The two other groups in the campsite were still. I couldn't hear a single sound. My ears buzzed with emptiness--it was very literally the sound of silence, the most deafening quiet I will ever experience. The sky was as beautiful as I've seen it; Orion had just risen in the east, the Milky Way was huge and white overhead, the Andromeda galaxy blurry and mysterious. It awed me. I felt such a wonderful connection with the earth and life and the desert just then. It truly was spiritual. I attempted a couple pictures of the sky, wrote in my journal while the sun slowly lit the brown world, and Jarom woke up after 7:00. We packed up, explored the old Simpson Springs shack, and hit the trail again.

A photo of Orion (60-second exposure so the stars are streaking across the sky). You can easily see the Orion nebula below his belt, the color of the red giant Betelgeuse, and the brightest star in the sky, Sirius (lower left-center).

here's our view when we woke up, as the sun poured out on the hills

us two

where we slept

Jarom and Simpson Springs

the stretching old Pony Express trail

It took another hour to reach the geode beds. We stopped at an old well where Jarom and I found some bones. He convinced me to excavate a bone that was completely buried. Jarom said, "It's a jaw." I don't know how he knew, but he was right. It was a skull buried upsidedown in the earth. We didn't keep it. Then up and over Dugway Pass, a little brown sign, and we four-wheeled around in my amazing Civic, over sand and brush, searching for the best place to dig. This was new to both of us. We looped around and finally settled on a tiny hill where a couple large holes had previously been dug. We stayed there two hours, digging with a crowbar and shovels, cracking rocks left and right. Turns out we made a good choice. We found some beautiful rocks and geodes. It was a thrill, digging and searching there in our tiny remote corner. At one point a tiny minivan passed on the road below. And we felt a huge explosion from the proving grounds that shook the air and our bodies. Aside from that, utterly alone. Only later did we realize that we missed the excavated area where a backhoe tears up the ground and upturned geodes are much easier to find. We're proud of our hand-dug rocks. We made our own hole.

the skull that we dug out of the ground (the wood and metal belong to the well where we stopped)

looking back on top of Dugway Pass

we made it!

digging away (that was the last time we saw that orange shovel)

me and my trusty old crowbar (Jarom takes a mean picture)

holding some of our discoveries

we dug into the face of the hill in about the left-middle

thumbs up and licorice, job well done

Next we hoped to hit Topaz Mountain. I wanted to drive all the way out to Fish Springs, but we didn't have time because we had to meet Amy and the other kids later that evening for India Fest. So we took a southern four-wheel drive road to the west of the Thomas Range. I was prepared, had topo maps (quadrangles) and directions. But this road was unexpected. It was a real four-wheel drive road. It was ten miles long and quite beautiful. Two-foot tall anthills broke apart under our car. Brush accumulated and turned to charcoal under the hood. It was rough--we tore over over huge rocks and could hear them scraping and churning under the chassis. A huge ampitheatre and numerous side trails and roads spun off toward the mountains. Jarom napped. An hour later we came out on a better road, which took us southeast toward Topaz and past many mines. Jarom loved pointing out all the little mining operations, and asked each of their names. Because our four-wheeling took so long, we didn't have time for Topaz. Instead we pulled off and collected apache tears (little river-worn pieces of obsidian) at one site and found another hill full of jasper pebbles. We then headed east again, towards Delta, and home again.

This is the four-wheel drive road I'm talking about. It doesn't show it at its worst, because I didn't stop the car when it was at its worst.

Jarom was napping . . .

Jarom pointed out this school bus *way* up at the top of a mountain, near a mine. I zoomed in as far as I could to get this. How'd it end up there?

collecting apache tears

This is one of the beehive-shaped Morrison charcoal ovens on UT-132, past the town of Leamington. Interesting stuff we found on our way home.

This trip was amazing. I recommend the geode beds to anyone. The west Utah desert is empty and gorgeous. We plan to go again, for a longer period of time, quite soon.

The inside of one of our geodes. Not as hollow as many others, but the crystals and other crystalline structures are beautiful!