Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Nielsen Family Reunion

My parents did an amazing job of getting almost all of us together for the family reunion this year. They took us up to a cabin in Ashton, ID where we played games, had a bbq, played in the river, went to the Playmill Theatre and saw the hilarious 'Dirty, Rotten Scoundrels', watched the women's World Cup and just enjoyed each other's company. I was sure I took more pictures than this, but can't find them. :(

First stop was Big Judd's for dinner. This is a monstrous hamburger and so delicious.

We went tubing down the river at Warm Springs. However, Warm Springs was not warm at all. When we first got in, Alayna jumped immediately out and said she didn't want to go. I finally convinced her and we had a great time once our legs became numb.

Notice the empty tube? Yep, we lost Tyla on the way down. The kids wanted to go under the bridge so we hooked all the tubes together with bungee cords. As we came to the bridge, I tried to direct the tube train to the right, but I didn't realize they were already drifting to the left. We wrapped around a pylon and were stuck. Mason and Alayna started crying, Tyla bailed out, and I tried desperately to pull us out and around. Finally, I gave up and unhooked the tubes. Tyla swam to the banks and then ran down to Dad so he wouldn't freak out when we got to the bottom without a rider.

I sure love these girls!! They braved the cold water and did the traditional dunk in the river. In case you were wondering, I did not!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I forgot to put on Ragen's pictures. She was there, too! We brought her little feeding seat and she would sit and eat and eat. I think she ate quite a bit of dirt, too!

Here she is hanging out in the stroller. The first night we were there, it was pretty cold and windy! Not super-fun but the second night was much better. For future reference, Campsite 11 would be the best one!

City of Rocks 2011

Every year, we try to go up to City of Rocks in Idaho. It is a beautiful place nestled in the mountains. This year, we learned it was world famous as we spoke with a couple from England who came over just to climb the rocks. I love watching the rock climbers dotting the large rocks. The kids have a blast running all over the rocks creating homes and hiding in caves. And I was glad not to be pregnant this year!

Alayna did such a great job climbing! She loved it and wanted to keep going and going.

We love City of Rocks! What a beautiful, fun place to go camping. Thanks to Travis's brother, Kyle, who brings the climbing gear.

Travis and I on top of Bath Rock overlooking the 'city' below. I sure love that guy! We have a picture on top of Bath Rock from the first year we were married.

The famous Bath Rock where a large crater in the rock fills with water. Legend has it that the cowboys who passed through the area would stop and take a bath in the water. It looked pretty dirty to me, though. Bath Rock is a huge rock that is fun to climb with a few tricky parts, but the girls went right up with no problems at all.

The only problem with camping at City of Rocks is you have to bring your own shade!

A view of our campsite and the tiny kid climbing on the rocks behind it. The rocks are very porous which causes your feet to stick and you can climb up anything, it seems.

My handsome little guy with his climbing helmet on!

Tyla decided she wanted to try the grown-up climb and she climbed higher than most of the adults! She just wedged her little body in that crack and went up and up. You can see how far up she was with this picture.

Here's a close-up of her wedged in the crack. She had such fun and is turning into a little mountain goat like her momma. :)

My turn to climb the hard one....and I made it to the top! I love climbing, especially with ropes. It gives you a sense of confidence to trust your hands and feet to hold you. I have yet to fall (knock on wood), although I have felt that I would fall at times.

And Travis climbed up the crack as well. He's so strong, it's fun to see his muscles flexing as he climbs.

Here's Tyla on another climb. The kid one was way to easy for her so she had to tackle the bigger climbs.

Tiana's turn climbing. The kids look so cute in their climbing gear! This year the girls were able to go up and down all by themselves.

And Mr. Mason gave it a go. He did pretty well climbing up but had a hard time coming back down. It's hard the first time you have to sit so far back for a rappell. I climbed up and helped him. Then he wanted to try all the grown-up climbs, too. He would climb two or three times, then say, "I'm done."

Cooking hot dogs! Always a fun tradition and they taste better cooked over a campfire. Well, Travis doesn't think so, but I do.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Fun on the Farm

You know, the more time I spend raising my kids, the more I realize what an amazing home I had growing up. My parents chose an incredible spot to raise the family and the many memories I have there are priceless. We had a one-acre mini-farm where we raised horses, cows, chickens, pigs, dogs, cats, pigeons, and rabbits. We spent hours and hours outdoors climbing the mountain behind our house, building large forts, pretending to ride through the world on the rooftops and jumping on the trampoline. I am grateful I get a chance to bring my children there to experience a piece of my childhood. I think they love it even more than I did!

My sweet parents hanging out on the front porch. She actually kissed him and my camera was too slow.

We had a great Easter Egg Hunt in the grass with Carl. I plopped Ragen down in the grass and this cat immediately came over and threw herself down in front of Ragen. No matter how hard Ragen pulled and pounded, the cat just purred and purred and Ragen loved it!

Mason trying his best to find some eggs! Carl thought he had a brilliant idea to NOT mow the lawn for the Easter egg hunt. On top of that, the Easter bunny forgot where he hid all the Cadbury eggs! Therefore, the hunt lasted a couple hours!

Tiana hanging out in the ditch. We spent many hours as kids playing in this ditch. The water was always dark brown (yes, there were many cowpies deposited in the ditch) but we didn't care. We had fun floating the ditch in our floatie tubes, building rock dams (which we got in trouble for and had to pull out), and cooling off on hot days. I'm pretty sure we lost a few shoes down the ditch, too.

Here's Tiana climbing the fences to take a look at the horses. I distinctly remember receiving cowgirl boots for my birthday and spending many hours riding Penny in the pasture.

Tyla ditch-jumping.....too bad there was no water for a real rush!

Grandma taking Mason for a horse ride. My kids always want to ride the horses when they go to Grandma's! Thanks for taking them on rides, Grandma!

Up on top of the famous 'Big Rock' as we dubbed it. This was a favorite spot for us to play House. We all had a bedroom, the TV room, bathroom (I don't think anybody actually used the bathroom, at least, I hope not), kitchen, etc. The most memorable was the TV room which looked out at the next mountain. Our TV was watching nature. :)

Hiking with Grandma. She told me she tries to go on a hike every morning for her exercise. It was such a refreshing hike and wonderful to be up in the mountain air.

Look at the beautiful sagebrush! The kids did not want to just walk along the trail. They were too busy searching through the sagebrush for treasures. We came back with many sticks, rocks, wildflowers, etc.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Hogle Zoo

We took a fun trip to Hogle Zoo! Not nearly as good as the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo in Indiana but it was still fun!

The kids inside a dinosaur egg at the playground
Ragen's first experience with playground bark! She loved it and would smack it and eat it!

This is how you do it with lots of little kids! Just pack 'em on the stroller!

Tyla took a couple pictures and this is one she got of the giraffe's long tongue!

I love my cute kids!

Tyla found this in the gift shop and insisted I take a picture!

Alayna sitting on the gorilla

Mason loved the spider at the playground!

Do you measure up?

We got to see the baby elephant! It was so cute!

Viva Las Vegas!

Sorry, I've been trying to do this for a while, but have had some technical difficulties.

We took a quick trip to Las Vegas to visit Travis's sister, Mauressa, and her family. I had a plane voucher that needed to be used before February and I found a killer deal on flight tickets to Vegas. We ended up only paying $60 for the entire family's airfare! The kids were so excited to ride on the airplane! When the plane was taking off, Tiana yelled, "Mason, hold on tight!!"

While the girls had their noses pressed against the windows watching the sites, Mason just played his Leapster. Funny kid!
Tyla and Alayna had a great time! The kids all chose hot chocolate as their drink but it was really hot! We had to get ice to put in the hot chocolate.

We visited Red Rock Canyon and it was beautiful! The kids had a great time climbing all over the rocks. We sat down to take a family picture and noticed Mason was missing. This is where I found him!

Ahhh! My sweet family!

The huge fish tank at the back of Caesar's Palace.

Of course, the favorite activity was swimming! We stayed at a hotel the first night and the kids were dying to swim. Needless to say, we were out swimming at 8 am the next morning!

Mason and his daddy! He sure is a little fish in the water.

Mason got sick during the trip and was pretty tired. Ragen liked hanging out in the stroller, though.

We went to the lion display at the MGM. This was really fun because we caught the time when the trainers were playing with the young lions. They had big balls they were throwing around and we all sat enthralled for a long time.

Tyla is really interested in Greek Mythology and was excited to see all the statues of the Greek gods in Caesar's Palace.

Fountains at the Bellagio

One of the kids' favorite activities were the speed bumps in the parking lots! We ran as fast as we could, hit the bumps and sent them flying! This is their cousin, Teagan.