Wednesday, August 5, 2009


I've let myself get too far behind!!! I've been feeling a bit blogged-down by the thought of catching up. And, since i have such lofty plans of printing this blog out someday as my version of a scrapbook/photo album/journal, i don't want to post things out of, instead, i just put it off until i've got about 20 posts, and I can't remember any of the really great details about each experience. When will I learn?!?! I'm thinking never... So, here's the first of many "catching up" posts...

We spent four days in the middle of June with my family in Moab, UT. Two of my siblings couldn't make it--Jared and Cynthia. And one nephew got really sick, so he stayed home with his dad--but other than that--we were all there! This was the first time in i-don't-know-how-long that my family got together anywhere besides my parents' house. And it was AWESOME!! We all just kept wondering why it'd taken us so long to do it! There's something magical about vacationing with your family, but not being at your parents house. There is NOTHING to do besides be together, plan together, go new places together, play games together, visit with each other, and it was just awesome!!! I'm sure many have figured this out already. But nobody ever told ME!!! So, now i'm telling you--your family NEEDS this!
The condos we stayed in were absolutely beautiful!! And we had amazing views of the Moab Rim.

The girls were so excited to get out of the car and see Grandma and Grandpa! They even almost posed for a picture!!

The place had everything we could possibly need, and we really felt right at home. (If you ever stay there, let me know and i'll give you the info!) I was proud to introduce people in my family to the concept of Vacation Rentals. Far superior to hotels in EVERY WAY! Our two condos were right next door, and felt like one big house, which was great. And since cooking ain't no small thang in my family, so it was really nice to have fully stocked kitchens with everything we needed. We had some serious dietary restrictions to work with (from low-carb to meat-haters) and we somehow managed to find meals that worked for everyone!
We stayed up late every night gabbing, going out for ice cream, coming home and eating more ice cream, gabbing some more, thoroughly enjoying our time together, and of course, playing Pete & Kate Land, .
The weather was amazing. It should have been in the high 90's, but it was about 75 the whole time--amazing! We picked a couple of the warmer afternoons to head to the pool. The girls had so much fun swimming with Reid. Eliza wasn't a big fan of the water, so she and I basked in the sunlight....and she fell asleep in my arms!! Not a huge surprise given that naps didn't happen the whole trip, but still--it'd been over 6 months since she'd done that!

The first day there we headed to Arches--to see Double Arch and the Windows. No matter how many times I see those red rock formations, I am always amazed by their beauty. And no matter how many scientific explanations I hear, I remain convinced that God dropped those arches there just like they are. Erosion Smerosion! It is one of the most beautiful places on earth, and we all just LOVED hiking, walking, and driving to all of the arches.

The girls had such a great time at Double Arch. I tried really hard to not be that mom--the overly-cautious really loud one. But i failed. All i could keep imagining was Grace losing her footing and rolling down the steep rock, only to land on more steep rock. Or Abby thinking that Grandpa was looking and jumping into his arms, only to send them both tumbling down. But after enough "be careful!!!"s and after Reid took the girls up to the highest part of the arch--freaking out even my two older brothers I just forced myself to shut up. I noticed that my sister, Julia, was equally as worried as I was. And seeing how ridiculous she looked helped me calm down a bit, and I finally joined them in all the climbing and got some good pics :)
That tiny little dot in the middle of the arch is my husband with my child!!!!!

Julia, Nate, Reid, Kevin and my dad all hiked up to the windows and saw this in the sky. I have no idea what this phenomenon is called. They heard someone call it a Sun Dog, but we looked that up, and that's not it. The best we can come up with is Rainbow Cloud. Either way, isn't it gorgeous!??!?!

We spent Sunday about an hour south of Moab in Blanding, UT. My mom was born there, and, although her parents moved before she can remember, they went back to visit just about EVERY summer growing up. She has always talked so much about Blanding and her experiences there. And it was absolutely wonderful being there with her. We went to church in the very chapel she attended as a child. We drove by her grandma's place (which didn't look anything like it used to), and drove around the town a bit trying to find as many things that she could remember as possible. Julia and I got to be in the car with Mom while she gave us a tour. I think it's fair to say that Julia and I are the most "sentimental" of all our siblings, so we were thrilled to hear her reminisce her youth and share her memories. We also visited Grandma "Darby's" grave--my Eliza's namesake--Mary Eliza Rowley Stevens. It was so neat to be at the graveside of this woman that I've heard about my whole life. And I know it meant the world to my mom to have most of her children there with her in this little town that holds such a special place in her heart. While we were down there, we drove to Natural Bridges National Monument. I'd never even heard of this place, but it was really awesome! The rocks weren't red, so it was a very different kind of beauty, but the bridges were amazing!
(yes, i wish that Eliza had been happy in this photo and that we'd cleaned off the grave...maybe i really should figure out photoshop...)
On Monday morning we headed to my all-time favorite arch--Sand Dune Arch. It was probably my girls' favorite of all the arches, too. We all had so much fun trying to run downhill in the sand, climbing all over the rocks, chillin' in the shade and soaking in the beauty. This was one of the only places where Eliza could get down, and she LOVED the sand! We could have stayed there for hours. Wait, we did.
That photo in the middle is the only one we got with the whole gang
After Sand Dune Arch, we drove over to Delicate Arch. My dad, Nate, Julia, Melanie and her kids all did the un-kid-friendly hike right up to the arch. Because of timing and kids Reid, Kevin, and I opted for the shorter hike. we literally ran to the lookout point while my mom sat in the car with my kids. It was breathtaking. If I'd ever seen that arch before, i had no recollection of it. It's unique in so many ways--but mostly just that it's standing ALL ALONE with nothing else around it!! Erosion? i think not. God playing with red clay play-doh? Obviously.
My mom, dad, Kevin and Nathan left Monday afternoon, which left Julia, Melanie and kids and us for the last night. After dinner we walked around downtown Moab. We got some ice cream at the Moab Creamery, decided that wasn't enough, went to the store and bought MORE ice cream, came home and nearly finished off 2 half gallons of ice cream, played games, talked, ate more ice cream, stayed up too late, and tried to make the vacation never end!!
The next morning we packed our things and drove up US-128 along the Green River, just north of Moab. We parked at a little sandy beach area where the kids got out and played in the water. Benjamin built sand castles and canyons, Grace and Abby got soaking wet in the freezing water, and we all enjoyed our last moments together in the most beautiful canyon I've ever seen. And Reid and I were lucky enough to get to drive the rest of the canyon on our way home. (If you are ever in Moab coming towards CO, don't miss out on this scenic long-cut. It is absolutely beautiful!!!)

I don't remember the last time I enjoyed both the company and the vacation spot so much. It was SOOO much fun being with family, and it was such a beautiful place to be. I'm pretty sure I speak for all who were there when I say that Moab '09 will go down in the books as one of the all-time best vacations ever!!

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