Sunday, July 27, 2014

Rhody Hike

Tara heard about a nice hike in the forest where there were a lot of Rhododendrons in bloom (located on Mountain Ave. off Shingletown road in the south part of State College, PA.), so we checked it out as part of our family home evening.    It was short and sweet, but well worth it.  

On Saturday we headed over to the new children's section that was added to the arboretum.  The kids favorite part was the man-made cave with stalagtites and stalagmites, which included a sand pit. Ryzen enjoyed scooping up the sand and dumping it on himself and the older kids built a sand mountain.

The arboretum is located across from the business school, where I work (as shown below on the right in the photo).

I have fond memories from childhood of going to the university and seeing where my dad worked, so afterwards we took Aria to see my office, since she'd never been there.  I think she enjoyed it. The PSU Creamery is located right nearby, so we finished up by getting some ice cream to share.  It was a nice summer afternoon activity.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Utah 2014

Rough Departure
On Wednesday, July 2nd we began our summer vacation.  We were supposed to fly out of State College, PA, but our flight got delayed so much, that we would've missed our connecting flight to Salt Lake City (SLC), so they rescheduled us to flyout the next day.  We were a little disappointed, but since we were able to hang out at our own house, it was okay.  We tried to make up for it by going to dinner at Olive Garden, and renting a movie for the kids (the Nut Job).

On Thursday, July 3rd, we were able to successfully flight from State College to Philadelphia, but that's where our journey hit a snag.  Apparently the pilots for our plane were stuck in New York and they kept on delaying the flight until sometime after midnight they canceled it. Tara was particularly annoyed, and Zade was so tired and disappointed that he had a hard time keeping from sobbing.  Aria was just cranky. :)  I was too tired to really think straight and come up with a backup plan. Since so many flights had been canceled that day, most of the hotels were all booked up.  We were eventually able to get a room at the Holiday Inn, and had to take a taxi there because it was so late that the shuttle's had stopped running. By the time everyone was finally in bed, it was around 3am. :(

We had to spend the 4th of July in Philadelphia because they weren't able to get us onto another flight until July 5th.  Unfortunately, everyone was so tired that we weren't up for much.  We also didn't have a car, and weren't near public transportation, so we ended up just walking to the nearby stores and checked out the stadiums to pass the time. Ryzen had a blowout, so we had to buy him some clothes (since we didn't have any suitcases.) Aside from having a meal at an Asian Buffet, that about sums up our 4th of July.  We all went to bed before the firewords because we were so tired.

Finally, on Saturday July 5th we were able to successfully flight out to SLC. One of our flights was delayed due to the plane we were supposed to travel on having hit a bird on its way to the airport we were flying out of.  But at least we finally made it.  Tara decided she didn't want to fly again for a while.  :)

Creative Kidos
Once we arrived Zade began asking Grandpa D for things he could build, so out came the nails and hammers and Zade was in heaven.

Grandma D also found some building supplies that the kids used to create this little robot.  We were quite impressed.

We later headed to the new museum of natural curiosity, which was so crowded, that Tara began to feel claustrophobic.  The kids managed to have a good time, but got tired o having to wait for all the exhibits to free up.

Relaxing with the Family
 Tara's siblings were also in town, so we had fun just hanging out with all of them.

Here are the two little bum scooters.  Both of these little tykes get around by scooting rather than crawling.

Here's all 4 of the babies that were born in the past year.  The babies from left to right are: Ryzen, Ashlynn, Tyson, and Afton.

Beating the Heat
It cracked 100 degrees while we were in Utah, so the kids made the best of it by busting out the slip-n-slide.  Aria would zip down slide fairly effortlessly, while Zade basically scooted in slow motion down the track on his knees.  It was pretty funny to watch.

One thing Tara really wanted to do while we were in Utah was to go hiking up in the mountains.  The temperature was substantially cooler, and was perfect for hiking.  We headed up past Snowbird and Alta to hiked to Cecret Lake.  Every time Zade got tired I pulled out some gummy bears, which he would use to re-energize.  He was a great little hiker.  Ryzen was in good spirits too, so we had a nice time.

Up at the lake Tara went hunting for salamanders, and we even ran into Jeff Hoopes, a friend of mine from Ohio State.  He took these nice pictures for us:

On the hike back down Zade grabbed grandpa D's hand for support, so we had to get a pick.

We went to a new aquarium that was just built in the Salt Lake area.  The kids really liked looking at the exotic frogs they had.

2014 Debenham Family Reunion
This time the Debenham family re-union was held down in Antimony, Utah, which is roughly 3+ hours south of Salt Lake.  We all met up at the Rockin' R Ranch, which had lots of fun activities like:

Pony rides:

Canoeing on the little lake:

Feeding the animals (cows, chickens, goats, horses, donkeys, etc...)

Horseback-riding.  Fortunately the horse they picked for me (named Rodeo) was pretty chill.  Aside from wanting to eat all the time, he was a nice fella to ride.  I joked with Tara that they would probably pick out my horse and say something like: "We call this one Diablo. Good luck."  :)

Archery, even for the little kids.  Due to Zade's height, we had to aim his arrows up so that he could hit the target.  He did a pretty good job for a little guy and hit the hay bale several times . 

Tara and I were pleasantly surprised that we were both able to hit the center of the bulls eye. 

Tubing down the River was probably my favorite activity, but we don't have any pictures of that. The weather was perfect and we floated for roughly an hour.  Tara's parents watched the kids while she and I enjoyed the float.  Once the kids are older, we'll have to get them out for floats too.  

Swinging.  The kids really loved the swing set they had there.

Here's Ryzen with Tammy Price's newest daughter.

Dani and Ryan were good sports and played with the kids a lot on the swing set.

Ryzen also had a lot of fun pulling himself up on everything he could find.  He's starting to show signs that he's getting closer to walking.

They also had a calf riding competition.  Here's Tara's cousin Ray Willardson.  He did a nice job, but the calf stomped on his leg.  They even did mutten wrestling, which turned out to be a bit rougher than most of the little kids expected.  A few of them got steped on by the sheep.  When Zade saw that he was not interested at all.  (Even if he had been, I wouldn't have let him do it.  Too risky in my opinion.  Needless to say I didn't participate in the calf riding.):


Each of the mom's didn't let having little babies hold them back from having some fun.

We also took some fun pictures of the little ones. Here's a nice shot we got of Ryzen.

And here's a Debenham family picture taken in Terry and Jerry's front yard after we got back from the reunion.

Day Reunion
We met up with Klint's extended family at the Breitling cabin up on Mt. Aire to finish out our trip.  They had musical instruments for all the little kids and a gigantic jam session ensued. the kids had a great time, and we had fun hanging out and chatting.

And this is probably the best portion of this post.  Actual footage of Tyson and Ryzen both scooting around.

Fortunately our flight home was uneventful, and we were able to make it home in one day.Thank goodness.