Monday, August 26, 2013

Fire Camp

R was out of town for a few days for the funeral, so I took time off to watch the kids. I figured this would be a good opportunity to go out camping again, so I planned an overnighter back to Fisher Creek -- the site of our ill-fated 4x4 expedition in July. The kids were pretty excited about it all.

Along the way, we took a side trip to stop at Elbow Falls to survey the flood damage Although 2 whole months had passed, the wounds looked very fresh. Half of a bridge was washed out. Most of the Elbow Falls picnic area was gone. Washed away. There were pathways that ended abruptly at a moonscape of gravel. Massive amount of debris had collected on picnic tables and benches. It was kind of creepy. And kind of awesome.

Since it was a Monday, we were the only campers in that area that afternoon. Scott was fixated on finding the little bridge that he and Hayden had built while the truck was stuck. We were surprised to find that road had been blocked off with a boulder barricade, because they had torn it all up, leaving dirt and roots and branches everywhere.

It was really hard to walk through it, and I tried my best to convince him that his bridge likely did not survive this sylvan apocalypse. He would not be deterred, so I carried Katie above the morass and amassed an enviable collection of scrapes on my uncovered shins until we reached the spot.

The bridge was gone. We built another one. A bigger one.

Walking back, we stayed in the trees, rather than taking the road. It was nearly as bad. Maybe worse. So much deadfall. But we did see some mushrooms, which was a plus.

I showed Scott how to build a fire using the tried-and-true "log cabin" method. He caught on pretty quickly and we had ourselves a fire in no time. Since there weren't any other kids to play with this time, we spent most of our time sitting around that fire, where Scott & Katie both always had a stick burning. I warned them MANY times that once a stick has been in the fire it needs to stay in the fire. In other words, don't wave burning sticks around in the air or near people.

Both kids got burned. It was inevitable.

Katie somehow bumped her stick lightly against her lip. It wasn't too bad, though. She was just fine. Later on, there was a bit of stick tangle and Scott's finger got burned. This one was much worse. He cried a lot and I got him some ice, but it even blistered a little bit. After that, stick-handling was officially verboten. I asked Scott if he was okay to stay, and he said he was.

Just before dusk we retired to the tent. The kids weren't too sleepy, so we ended up watching some shows on the DVD player. Scott continued to ice his burn. When we shut it down sometime just before 10:00 pm, he winced as he tried to take off his ice pack. I asked him if he needed to go home. He nodded.

Less than 10 minutes later I had jammed everything into the truck and we were out of there. The kids fell asleep immediately in their carseats and woke up the next morning in their beds. In a way, we got all the benefits of camping in the woods, but without the lumpy bed and that awkward feeling you get when you wake up too early with a "pressing need" but it's still way to chilly to actually get up and go.

I'm impressed that I managed to come home with the full set of tent stakes; however, I'm still not sure where the stuff-bag went for my sleeping bag. Maybe the flood dragged it away somehow.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Basketball Camp

This summer Scott and Hayden went to basketball camp every morning for a week. It was great that they could go there together. On the last day they had "Crazy Hair & Clothes Day", where they were encouraged to dress it up a bit. Scott went all spikes and stars while Hayden opted for the classic fauxhawk.

The boys have done biddy ball at the church before, so they already had a grasp of things. Those basics served them really well and allowed them to get into passing and scoring really well by the end of the week. Scott has also learned some basics of defense and one of the people he played against turned to the coaches and said, "What is he doing? He's not allowed to that, is he?" I am brimming up with so much pride inside.

These boys are official. They have the certificates to prove it.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Goodbye Grandpa

We were sad to learn that R's Grandpa Ralph passed away earlier this week. For more than a decade he fought off stomach cancer and many other ailments, stealing back the years that many doctors thought he'd never see. We were very fortunate to be able to visit with him just a few weeks before his passing.

We love you Grandpa and we'll miss you.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Grande Prairie Oilfield Site Visit

A company we work with invited a bunch of us up to Grande Prairie (700 km NW of Calgary) to see their drilling operations there. It was informative and it was awesome, because I got to wear coveralls and fly in a helicopter.

We visited several sites in various stages of drilling progress. From one of these little drilling "pads", they are able to drill downward to the desired depth and then turn the drill bit to go out horizontally another mile or more. That means that they don't need too many pads and they can put them close to the road.

Once the drilling is finished, then they crack the rock using hydraulic pressure. They send ceramic balls of various sizes down the well and they eventually come to rest in a mount that blocks off the flow of liquid to the rest of the well. When they amp up the pressure, it fractures the rock, allowing oil and gas to flow more freely towards the well. This company was still trying to find the best method to frack their wells, and they showed us what happened when a bunch of the balls got jammed up in the wrong place.

Flying in a helicopter is a great experience. The take-off and landing are the exciting bits, especially given the heavy winds that day. Seeing everything from the air was amazing. There is SO MUCH wilderness out there. Loved it.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Fathers & Kids Camp

We had another great Fathers & Kids camp this year. The weather was perfect and there weren't any bugs to speak of. Word must have gotten out about how good last year's camp was, because it seemed like there twice as many people this time around... and no dogs -- that made things a lot better for our family, since there was less hiding in the truck this year.

The river showed some signs of the high flow that had come through in late June. There were lots of rocks. And lots of rocks were thrown into the river.

We slept in a tent this year, rather than trying to sleep in the truck again. It worked out really well. Katie and her friend Elly liked to just hang out in the tent together. It seemed to get a bit cold at night, but I gave each of the kids a handwarmer stuffed into a sock in the middle of the night (a clean sock, don't worry) and that helped them feel toasty again. They were wrapped in two sleeping bags each and wearing hoodies. You would think that would have been enough.

As usual, there was a great hot breakfast with eggs and bacon and the works. Then there were tons of kid games, including tug of war, parachutes and then filling helium balloons with dixie cup baskets below to look like hot air balloons. We had a great time, but I didn't let the kids play with sticks in the campfire, so they were a bit disappointed with that.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Summer 2013: The Party Is Over

After the wedding there was a fabulous luncheon at the Maddox Lodge with some of the best rolls you have ever tasted in your lifetime -- I promise. While everyone was eating their meal there was an open microphone so guests could go up and share their feelings. After the salad, I got up to say something and was so moved that I broked into song:

The kids had a great time dancing to the music. Katie just LOVED Coco's pretty wedding dress. In fact, shortly after we returned home I heard her telling one of her little friends, "When I grow up I'm going to be a wedding dress." I think I know what she really meant.

This was the final wind-down day for our big vacation, as we spent the evening saying goodbyes and packing up for the big drive. The next morning we were up early and on our way. However, nobody wakes up as early as my uncle DTA. He was in the front lobby of the hotel with his shirt and tie, ready to pounce on us and wish us a safe journey.

It was a LOOOOONG drive that day. However, having cousin Beez along made it way more fun for the kids. We stopped at McDonald's for lunch and they all got a Smurf toy. I couldn't believe how much entertainment they got out of those little toys. Hours and hours of fun.

What a great trip it has been. What a great family.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Summer 2013: Coco & Reilly - Brigham City Temple

Getting Pretty

Brigham City Temple

Katie Fountain

Scotty & Daddy

Waiting Outside

Eric & the Twins

Jamie & Anderson

Margo & Anderson

Nate, Jamie, Max & Zoe

NTG & Violet

Scott & Moroni

Our Family

Katie & Daddy

Gary & the Boys

Allyson & Emily

The Mama


Ammon Riding a Garden Lamp

The Boys - Scott, Ammon & Cam

Coco & Reilly

Scott Photobomb

Lining up For Group Photo

The Andersons