(note: this was written two nights ago, I finally got around to publishing it today)

Dear Canyon boy;  (or as Grandpa Neves calls you...'new baby")

Tomorrow is your big day.
Cake, ice cream, balloons, the whole works.
You will love it,
actually you will hate it and cry...
and you will reach out for me as I busily walk past, just wishing someone would put you to bed...
But I'll have no time for you...
Tomorrow is a busy, busy day.
You are the guest of honor and you are required for pictures and presents,
cake and more pictures.
again, you will hate it.
Tomorrow is your first birthday!

In just a few short minutes the clock will mercilessly tick past midnight starting a new day and you will no longer be a baby.

And there's not one darn thing I can do about it.

I'd be lying if I said I haven't been a little weepy all day today.

Grandpa calls you "new baby" because you were the newest baby in the family when he and Grandma left almost a year ago.
He made me promise we would save all your growing up for when he returned home.
 Now how am I going to explain?

Just look at you.
As I sit at the computer typing this, you are sleeping restlessly next to me on the couch.

Every few minutes you toss and turn...caught in your blanket, cry and give up and slip back to sleep.
Of course you are tired, you cried and fussed most of the day today.
Maybe it's because you are teething, maybe it's because we had an early morning, or maybe it's because you are in protest about the whole "growing up" thing.

I'd cry and protest too if I thought it would do any good.
I feel like yelling..."not fair!"

It seems like just yesterday, you and I were right here in this Heavenly moment.
It is hardly possible that you were once this little.
Now, a year later...the minute I pick you up...you squirm to get down.

I guess the memory of you lying softly on my chest while I sing to you will just have to be saved in my thoughts for a rainy day.

You outgrew my singing a long time ago.

Ok, deep breath...

Tonight baby..I am writing to tell you how lucky your first year was.

Yep, as lucky as a wink.

First of all, you were born lucky. Number seven...the luckiest number of them all.

Just think of how impenetrable your immune system quickly became with all the kisses from older brothers and sisters.

Secondly, you are so lucky to have family and friends that love you. Amazingly we haven't alienated everyone with our announcements of a due date every year and a half.

Thirdly, you have very hip parents. Not all babies are allowed to sport a fauxhawk, the latest in edgy baby hair fashion...only the cool ones.

Fourth, You were so lucky to be born right before the busy summer months.
You were hauled everywhere.
Imagine how boring it would've been to stay home and sleep peacefully in your bassinet.

Instead, you were carted around the Zoo at River's Kindergarten field trip when you were just two weeks old. (why didn't someone just shake me?)

Fifth, your taste buds are lucky. Left to you own devices most of the time, you were allowed to eat anything you could get your chubby little hands on.
Most babies eat pureed Organic Squash, just so you know.

Sixth, You are lucky you rank pretty high on the cuteness scale...because the trail of chaos you created on a daily basis got real old, real fast.
The worst of it was too traumatizing to be documented with pictures. 

Seventh, most people only have one chin...you were born with two. Lucky!

Eighth, you came along so late in the game that your Dad and I made all our mistakes on the first six. You got made in the shade baby!

So Canyon...I survived your first year. The diaper changing, 2 a.m. feedings, crying for no reason, loads of extra laundry, the teething, the destroying anything within your reach.

Consider yourself lucky.

 Ah...who am I kidding, I am the lucky one.

It's all downhill from here kid.
        Happy Birthday baby.


Breaking in Spring

    Destination: MOAB,Utah.

We embarked on our Spring Break last Saturday afternoon, loading the car through the howl of wind and pouring rain. By the time we passed the infamous windmills, sleet and snow was coming down sideways, warning us to turn back.

We crept on up Spanish Fork Canyon. Through icy Solider Summit and down snowy Price Canyon.

Oh yes, we had read the weather reports predicting a dire weekend for Southern Utah,

but the thoughts of cancelling our Moab trip was just too unbearable to think about.

So we trudged on. And then, a mile or two past Price...
all of a sudden, I saw something amazing in the distance. BLUE SKIES!
It was as if the weather Gods smiled upon us and decided that we were worthy of a little sunshine. 
The last time we made a trip to Moab was in 2004.
Lauren was just seven, Brett was nine, Wade was four and River was six months old. 
Back then we stopped in Green River before heading to Moab and let the kids play around at the local park.
So this time, because I am big on tradition and sentiment,
 we again stopped in Green River to let the kids play at that same park.

The park has made many up-grades since 2004 and I missed the old school jungle gym and slide.

Wade and Kal decided it was better to take care of business on the outside of the restroom,
rather than take a few steps inside.

Quincy was having the best time on the swing. As I was taking her picture, I noticed the gang tagging on the brick behind her. Then a mysterious car with four men drove by really slow, watching us.
I thought possibly we were trespassing on notorious gang turf.
We barely made it out alive.
We was all up in the hood in Green River Utah.  

Here is River in the same swing at the same park in 2004,
during the more innocent days of Green River.

We let the kids out at the big watermelon so I could change a diaper or two. Yes, two... 
Don't judge - we'll get around to it someday.

And then it was destination Moab!
Did I mention that it was Kal's birthday? Remember our Spring Break last year?
Kal now thinks that we should go on a vacation on his birthday every year.
He is already planning for next year. 
We arrived at the Hotel, just in time for a party.
Lauren went down to the front desk and got Kal a free razor, toothbrush and shoe mitt.
A birthday party in a hotel room, Kal knows nothing else.

Then I arranged for a swimming party for Kal,
and along with everyone who just happened to be down at the hotel pool.
I am truly amazing, aren't I.

Hey baby boy!
The kids settled in for what ended up being a horrible, sleep-deprived night.
But the next day was glorious.
And with the hotel breakfast still in our bellies, we headed out to Arches National Park.

I have always wanted to hike to the Delicate Arch.
So what momma wants, momma gets.  
The kids were energetic and raring to go.  
The trialhead wasn't too busy. We picked a good weekend.
There were mostly just bearded, 30-something men in groups of four...
or older European couples who couldn't help but stare at our rowdy bunch.  

Fashion TIP #1 - If you are visiting a beautiful place such as Arches with many picturesque moments, do not dress for comfort, in black hiking shoes. Do not dress in light browns and khaki's making you blend in with the scenery, and do not wear your husbands over-sized sweatshirt. Unless  you think your confidence can take such a hit.
Mine ususally can't.

And do not offer to hold the kids water bottles in your front pockets.
Not flattering.
Oh yes, I was a sight to behold.
I took my parents advice of baby wrapping as the all the best mothers in Africa do,
and decided to carry my baby on my back, much to my husband's embarrassment.

A little Chinese woman kept an eye on our kids as they played on the rocks. She walked next to them, speaking Chinese to them and shuffling them out of harms way. She would get close to the kids, clap her hands to get their attention and then point them back to the trail.  
So when we propped the kids up on this rock for a picture, she put her hand over her mouth, spoke muffled Chinese to her husband and walked away shaking her head.

Dean finally insisted that he take Canyon out of my little back pouch, so I could retrieve a little self-respect.

Thankfully Brett swooped up Quincy and pretty much carried her the whole way. I could hear her little voice across the Canyon, "Brett I love you, you my best friend."

I could tell we were getting close, I could smell it. 
Or maybe it was just the unshowered hairy thirty-something men.

The trail narrows, and the anticipation grows.

A little bit further...
One more turn around a steep bend...

and tah da! there it was!

Utah's own Delicate Arch.
It was truly breathtaking. I got a little emotional, I really did. (but that's not sayin much.)

During our 2004 trip, we opted for the Delicate Arch overlook hike, which was said to be less of an undertaking. I would say only slightly less.
 The Delicate arch hike wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be. 
In 2004, here is Brett at the over-look and Dean was carrying River and looking as manly as ever.
Hey, I should tease him about that, huh.

As we approached Deliacate Arch, I was overwhelmed at the force of the wind.
It was definitely a testament to how the arch was formed in the first place.
I felt like the wind was going to pick one of the kids right off the mountain.

A sweet lady, walked past our family huddled on the mountain side and offered to take our picture under the Arch. "You read my mind," I said.
 (I also wondered if she could read my mind that I thought she might steal my camera.)
 As we walked towards the Arch, Dean said "lose the sweatshirt Hil."

We walked back up and sat opposite the Arch just pondering it's beauty and taking pictures. However, on cue Kal had to go to the bathroom, of course...and I didn't dare chance letting him go right there with the wind blowing in all directions, so we parted ways with our old buddy Delicate Arch.
After "taking care of business" again, the kids climbed up to another little arch around the corner from the big one.
It was my favorite spot.

The fifty foot drop-off on the other side didn't discourage the kids from acting plum crazy.
Lauren and I found a little hole and decided to put something in there as a little time capsule. I told her that she and I could take a mother/daughter hike back up there when she graduates from College and retrieve our "item." She said coolly, "Will you still be around?" ...ouch.

Right about here, the little Chinese lady who was hoping we were long gone, walked past us on the trail below and looked up at Wade and Kal. She clutched her hand to her heart and said some Chinese swear words, I'm sure.

I looked down and Canyon was on the verge of sleep. So I talked Brett into holding him on the hike back.
I even talked him into wearing my 'oh so fashionable baby wrap to carry Canyon.
Fifteen year old boys should always take fashion advice from their moms.

And then we were off.                      Destination: Parking Lot

I really tried hard not to laugh when Lauren fell down while walking.
But nothing was around her, she just fell, and this was about the fourth time.

It reminded of me of when she was seven. Although she was a little more sure-footed back then.

With the promises of going back to the hotel and swimming, the kids could hardly be held back as they quickly made their way down the trail.

Until I pointed out the parking lot clear off in the distance.

                                                                   They collapsed.  What a bunch of sissies.

And little farther down the trail, nature called...again.
I even found a piece of driftwood and rock that made up the women's restroom and
gave River a few tricks of the trade.
Afterwards,she indicated the back of her pants were wet. 
                                  I told her that outdoor skills such as that take a lifetime to master.

Kal was broken, he was give-out, he had had enough. Besides that, I had run out of m&m's.
But just a hop, skip and jump later...we were all running for the car. 
It was a heavenly day and an awesome hike. If you go, be sure to loop around to the Petroglyphs.
Well worth it.

Once back in civilization, we invaded the nearest green spot of grass, which was really the back parking lot of a hotel and ate a few sandwiches and played a little hot box. 
You got him Lauren!
atta girl!
The kids played in the pool all afternoon and well into the night, washing off all the dirt and "other" grime off their bodies. (sorry Hampton)
I am happy to report, we slept much better the second night.
 The kids were so worn out they went right to sleep without even asking for a "goodnight hot fudge Sunday." 
Now, I bet you are worn out after reading all that. 
Part II of "Breaking in Spring"coming soon. I'm not even kidding. 


(a two minute video of the girl who needs to be everything)       So far my hobby has been micro-managing my kids and as rewardi...