Sunday, August 29, 2010

Camping at Bear Lake

They call Bear Lake "the Caribbean of the Rockies." I don't know who "they" are, but they failed to mention that, though it has the color of the Caribbean, it still has the climate of The Rockies!

Last year we went up to Bear Lake to do the Bear Lake Classic Triathlon (Olympic). We thought it was so beautiful, but it ended up being too cold for the kids to swim, and we didn't really spend much time there. We decided we'd try it again sometime when we'd have more time, and hopefully warmer temperatures.

Don't ask me why I scheduled our trip for the same weekend this year then. I should have learned that this is not a good weekend to visit Bear Lake.

I had been planning on doing the Bear Lake Brawl Half Tri before I got pregnant, which was this weekend, but that's actually not the reason I scheduled it for this weekend. We were going to go with my brother and sister-in-law and this was the best weekend for them that still had camping spots available.

I'd been watching the weather forecast up there for a couple weeks leading up to this weekend, and I was really hopeful because it had been sunny and in the 80s the whole time. The whole time, that is, until this Friday when it started saying Thunder Storms with temperatures in the 70s. No!

It was actually raining here as we packed up to go on Friday, but I was still hopeful that it would be ok up there. It's about a 3 hour drive from Salt Lake up to Garden City, and our campground actually turned out to be in South Eden so we had to drive around the lake another 10 miles or so. Our campground wasn't the one where they had the tri last year (and this year I think), so we just had to hope it would have a nice beach.

It was nice and warm when we got there, and we walked down to the beach right away to check it out. It was pretty nice, but probably not as nice as the other place. It had sand, though, and that's all the kids cared about so we we were happy. And it was really pretty - when the sun was out.

We headed back to camp to get our tent set up and start dinner. My brother, Shane, and his wife, Heather, had just arrived too. Ethan got everything out to set up the tent and it looked like I had brought the tent poles for our other tent! Ethan was very upset about maybe not having a tent to sleep in, and I just didn't know what we would do, especially since there was definitely a storm blowing in. We couldn't all sleep in the Jeep! Pete and Shane figured out a way to get part of the tent set up with the poles we had, though it was only one little tent out of our 3-tent compound and only the kids would fit. Pete and I just folded the seats down in the Jeep and put the air mattress in there for us.

By now, we had gotten dinner started and it was starting to rain. It was raining pretty good for little while and we had to hold chairs over the coals so the rain wouldn't put them out! Finally, just around the time dinner was ready, and when my sister, Katie and her boyfriend, Ryan, got there, it stopped raining! We had been pretty worried about where we would eat since all the kids were hiding in the tents or cars, but it turned out being alright while we ate and we got to see a deer run by on the beach!

We got a fire going and roasted marshmallows and made s'mores and peach cobbler and had a great time sitting around the fire talking. The sky was clear and we could see all the stars so I was, again, hopeful that the storm had passed. Katie, Ryan and Shane all left between 8:30 and 9, having to work in the morning. I put the kids in their tent, all snug in their sleeping bags with Mindy telling them stories, and they went to sleep so good! No problems at all. I couldn't believe it!

Pete and I went to sleep in the Jeep a little while later, and I cracked the window so I'd be able to hear the kids if there was a problem.

After a few hours, the storm started. It was raining buckets, the wind was shaking the tents like a dog, and the thunder didn't help to create a nice peaceful night. I would probably have been really comfortable and slept fine in the Jeep, if it were just Pete and I, but I had the kids to worry about. I just laid there waiting for someone to start crying, and sat up several times during the night to make sure their tent was still in one piece.

Finally, at about 3:00, I did hear crying. It wasn't Elle, as I had been expecting, but Mindy and Ethan. They were both crying and saying that they were scared. I was worried they would wake Elle up, but when I got in there, she was just sleeping soundly, hugging her doll. So sweet, as if the tent weren't shaking like crazy all around her, being pounded on by rain. I got them calmed down and stayed in there with them for about an hour. I thought about staying there the rest of the night, but I was just on the ground with a fleece blanket. At one point, I put my arm under Ethan's pillow and got my sleeve all wet. I scooted him down and made sure his sleeping bag was under him so he wouldn't feel the wet. Then I got back in the Jeep to try and sleep for a few hours, luckily it had stopped raining, but it was still really windy.

Heather made breakfast in the morning, which was really nice not to have to think about anything. I tried to help her out with her kids as much as I could, since she was alone with them. I asked the kids who thought this was the best camping trip ever, and despite the stormy night that the adults all found to be a nightmare, they all raised their hands! At least it will be a memorable one!

At around 9 or 10, we started noticing triathletes riding their bikes on the street just above our campsite so we went up and cheered for them for a while. Durning the night I was thinking, "Man, I'm glad I'm not racing tomorrow!" But when I was watching them all ride by, I was wishing that I was with them, and wondering where I would have fit into the mix. Cheering is the next best thing, though! I wonder how many of them had also been camping and didn't get any sleep!

After that, we went down to the lake, but it was getting all cloudy and windy again so I didn't quite feel like swimming. The kids mostly played in the sand with their jackets on or towels wrapped around them. Again, we'd failed to come at a time that was warm enough to really play in the water! Dang. The sun did peek out every once and a while, and that felt really good. That's when I'd pull my camera out because when the sun's shining on the water it transforms from a regular lake to a beautiful turquoise blue.

My favorite thing from the whole trip was when it was lunch time and we wanted to roast hot dogs, but we were all out of firewood so Pete was looking around for wood he could use. Suddenly Ethan comes up from the beach dragging this huge branch behind him! What a go getter! I wish I would have taken a picture of that, but here he is helping Pete get the fire going.

It was also just great to watch Elle and Aria play together.

The kids all had a great time and didn't want to leave when it was time to go at 2:00, but we had a long drive home ahead of us.

I don't know if we'll give Bear Lake another try or not. (or camping, for that matter) I can see that it could be beautiful and really fun, but it's kind of a long drive to risk it. We'll see, maybe we'll go earlier in the summer next year. Or maybe we'll just go to California or North Carolina to a real beach.

School is IN!

Wednesday was the first day of school for Mindy and Ethan. Here they are in their matching uniforms, aren't they so cute?

Mindy is now in 3rd grade doing dual immersion (trading off between English and Spanish every other day). She also gets to start violin this year!

Ethan is a big 1st grader now, and it's his first year with dual immersion (something he's not very happy about).

Now is the time I was going to start training like crazy! Actually, that was going to be when Elle starts preschool, and she doesn't start until next month. But still, I was only going to have one kid to worry about, and we're quite used to going to the childcare at the gym or on bike rides with the bike trailer.

Training like crazy has, in fact, not happened. Little George put an end to that plan (yep, it's a boy!!) but we have ridden our bikes the mile to school every day so far. It's been beautiful weather in the mornings, and a little hot in the afternoons, but it's been fun.

The first day I actually ran with them, but they went so slowly that I ended up walking a lot of it. Ethan especially seemed to go as slow as possible. He was really dreading starting school again. He just gets such anxiety about things, poor kid! I went in with him to see his classroom, and and to inform his teacher this was his first year in Spanish. This was something I neglected to do when Mindy started last year, and that was not a good first day for her! Ethan's teacher told me he'd just do English for the first day so that was kind of a relief. Elle and I sat in with him during the roll, and Elle didn't want to leave. She's quite jealous that Mindy and Ethan get to go to school! Ethan really didn't want me to go. He was ok while I was there, but had tears in his eyes when I waved goodbye and left. It was really hard leaving him that way. I just had to hope he would cheer up and feel better soon, and that the fruit leather I packed in his lunch would give him something to look forward to.

Sure enough, when I picked him up 4 hours later (it was a short day), he was smiling and his teacher said he was fine. Whew! It's always nice to get that first day of school over with!

The next day was his real first day in Spanish, and he was totally fine! This might just go better than I had planned!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

My Little Cyclist

Last Saturday, I walked outside and was completely shocked to see Elle riding her bike with no training wheels. Pete was walking behind her, but he wasn't holding onto her at all! I couldn't even believe it.

I had taken Elle's training wheels off a couple months ago because they were bent from when our neighbor hit her with her car (seriously). Elle was fine, but her bike was unrideable with the bent training wheels. I also took her peddles off so she could just push herself around with her feet and practice balancing a little when she'd coast down a hill or something. Well, this method works wonders because, all Pete had to do was put the peddles back on, help her get started and she was off! Totally confident, with an excited, "Off we go!" She won't be 4 until September so I'm super proud of her! I didn't learn to ride my bike without training wheels until I was 7.

Well, now Elle just can not get enough of riding her bike! After my great run on Monday and my new resolve to start running again, I was hit with feeling really sick again for a couple days. Wednesday was miserable, and I pretty much stayed in bed most of the day, but I did get out long enough to take the kids to the park for lunch. (yeah, in the middle of the day, in the heat. Good idea!) I walked so Elle could ride her bike. Once we got to the park, about 3 blocks away, she didn't want to stop riding her bike, and did about 12 laps around the park while they other kids played and I sat in the shade. We didn't stay too long after that, and when we got home, I collapsed into bed again for a couple hours, and was very happy when Pete offered to take us out to pizza for dinner.

Of course, that was still not enough bike riding for her, and almost constantly I would hear, "I wanna ride my bike!" It's so hot out, though, so no one wants to go help her. Friday morning I was feeling quite a bit better, and I was up by 7 so I decided to take myself up on that getting back into running promise. Just before I left, I decided to ask the kids if any of them wanted to ride their bikes with me. Guess who wanted to go.

Elle and I headed down the street to the bike path which is about a mile away. Once we got on the bike path, we looped back around towards our house. It was a little nicer on the bike path since it's wider and I wouldn't have to stop to help her get started again every few minutes because of going off the sidewalk and getting stuck. But she was also getting tired by the time we got to the bike path. After a little while, she turned around and said she wanted to start heading back. I tried to explain that we were actually heading toward our house, and that if we turned around it would be longer, but I don't think she believed me. Finally, I got her to keep going, and we made it to the park we'd ridden to on Wednesday. Soon after that, she sat on the grass and rested for a little while, and she really wanted a drink, but I hadn't brought one. After her little rest, we pressed on and made it home.

In total, that's about a 2-mile loop, and it took us 44 minutes to complete! More than double my usual time. At least she helped me take it easy. It was a little long for her, but I think soon she'll be doing it without a problem!

The funny thing is, even after all that riding, and with how tired she got, a few hours later when I told her it was time to go to Costco she said, "I wanna ride my bike to Costco!" It took a lot of convincing from me and Pete that she wasn't going to be able to ride her bike to Costco, it's too far away. Even when we go there, after 15 minutes of driving on the freeway, she said, "That wasn't very far, I could have rode my bike here." What a funny girl! I'm sure we'll be doing a century together someday, and that will be awesome!