Saturday, May 29, 2010

When Dreams Come True...'s both exciting and scary!

When the Badger and I were first married, we both agreed that our dream was to someday live in the country on a little bit of land. Neither of us had ever lived in the country, but the ability to live more providently in a more peaceful landscape appealed to both of us.

For ten years now we've been watching and waiting for our chance. Many, many times we have browsed real estate listings. A couple of times we have actually looked at properties. But the time was never right.

Until now.

We just bought a cozy 4-bedroom farmhouse on 2 acres in rural Oklahoma. Our adventure in country living is now beginning.

And now that it's happening, I am realizing that there is SO much I don't know. This is a major lifestyle change for us. What if I somehow ruin the septic system? What if we buy a horse and I accidentally kill it? What if there is some big thing I am supposed to know or do and I don't do it?

And what unanticipated expenses will there be? It's an older home and there are bound to be maintenance issues-- will they be compounded somehow by our rural location?

What if there is something in our well water-- which they tested prior to closing and told us was "safe"-- which slowly poisons us?

Okay, so I sound a little paranoid. But there are a lot of things to think about.

We spent our first night in the house last night. I lay awake most of the night, adrenaline pumping through me, thinking about all the things I needed to find out and all the things I needed to get done before our moving truck gets here. The biggest issue on my mind was what I am going to do about the old house smell, which didn't seem strong until we actually moved in and tried to sleep there. It's got to go away, that's all I can say.

Honestly, we didn't buy the property for the house. It's 35 years old and only 1550 square feet. The kitchen is on the small side and the laundry is in the garage. It has some nice updates like new vinyl windows and siding and newer flooring, but it's going to need some work. And it's going to require a lot of creativity to fit all our stuff into it.

But our acres are gorgeous. So many Oklahoma acreage properties we looked at were nothing but flat fields with no trees. This one is in an area of gently rolling hills and forests. We have a full-grown windbreak on the north side of our property and several nice trees peppered over the horse pasture, as well as forested areas all around us.

And when I stood at the window late last night and watched the moon rise over the trees and shine down on my pasture, the excitement of the dream come true came back to me.

We may have challenges and headaches and a lot of hard work ahead of us, but we will also have a lot of glorious blessings.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Our Hike to Emerald Pools

We took the kids on a short hike the the Emerald Pools in Zion Canyon. They enjoyed frolicking along the trail, noticing every stick and rock and leaf.

When we got to the first pool, we found a large waterfall where there is usually a tiny trickle.

The trail goes right around behind the waterfalls and the kids loved the chance to walk behind a waterfall. Fish had to stand in the one place where water was dripping directly on the trail and get himself completely soaked. He later realized this was a bad idea because it was not exactly warm at Zion that day (the ranger said it was 30 degrees below normal) and he got quite cold. But he had fun at the time.

On the way back the Rabbit decided very emphatically that she wanted to hike too, so we enlisted the boys' help in carrying the stroller.

They're great helpers, great hikers, and just plain great kids!
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Zion the Water Park

As we came out of the big tunnel and down into Zion Canyon, there were still some clouds clinging to the upper cliffs. There were also a lot of really amazing waterfalls.

I love this picture where it looks like the water is falling out of the clouds:

By the time we parked and got on the shuttle bus the clouds had lifted and our view of the cliffs was unobstructed. There's a nifty waterfall in the middle of this picture, if you click to enlarge it:

There were waterfalls everywhere. All the bus drivers commented on them, saying how very very rare they were. It was really a treat to see them.

It was also beautiful to see the snow high up on the cliffs:

I just think we were so blessed to be at Zion on such a day! It was a wonderful experience.
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Friday, May 14, 2010

Sugar-coated Red Rock

After viewing Bryce Canyon, we spent the night in Orderville, Utah. (There's like, one motel there and it has less than 10 rooms, but it was homey and quiet and cheap and had cute cowboy decor and we liked it. Except the bed was kind of soft, but that's usually what you get in small-town motels.)

The next morning, shortly before we drove away, it started snowing. Snowing! We were not exactly expecting that. We debated a little bit about what to do, but in the end decided to head to Zion National Park as originally planned. As we left Mt. Carmel Junction and headed west toward the east entrance of Zion, the snow fell thicker and wilder by the minute. We were wondering just exactly what we had gotten ourselves into.

Right before we reached the entrance to Zion National Park, the snow suddenly stopped and the sky began rapidly clearing.

Then when we entered the park, we found that everything had the most gorgeous dusting of snow.

Even more enchanting, there were streams and waterfalls all over the place where it is normally totally dry.

Our drive through the east end of Zion was a drive through fairyland. Fish kept saying, "This is so magical!" And as the snow began to melt off the trees, their spring green-ness really stood out. Millions of people visit Zion each year but few of them ever see it like this!

We could hardly wait to see what we found in the main canyon!
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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Fence Sitter

I couldn't decide which one of these pictures I liked better, so I'll put them both on here.

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Bryce Canyon

We're trying to get our fill of Southern Utah before we leave for the prairie, so the Badger and I packed up the kids on Monday and hauled them off for some serious red rock exposure. We also packed more than a hundred juice boxes and enough bread and peanut butter and jelly to build a raft and sail to the land of Chewandswallow. Our kids eat a lot, especially when we're travelling.

The Badger grew up in Utah but had never been to Bryce Canyon, so we started there. I wondered what he would think-- you know how sometimes the thing you've always heard about doesn't live up to the reality once you finally experience it? Well, he thought Bryce Canyon was amazing.

He really wanted to hike down into it-- how could you not want to explore a place like this?

But it was very cold and we have tiny kids, so we decided that this trip we would only look from up top. There was plenty to look at.

And we'll come back when the kids are a tad older and wander around in here:

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Past and Present

Me at Bryce Canyon in 1982:

My Rabbit at Bryce Canyon two days ago:

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Slot Canyon Fun Repost

I understand that the pictures on my "Slot Canyon Fun" post are not appearing. They're too good to be invisible, so here I am reposting them. You've got to see how fabulously narrow this canyon is!

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(These kind of monsters appear often at my house, but it's not usually Roo that's involved.)
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Aren't We Cute?

At a family gathering on Sunday, my sister took this picture of my family. I couldn't believe it-- we're all well-posed and everyone is smiling naturally. This is nearly impossible to achieve with a group of small children! This is the best family picture we've had in years!

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Friday, May 7, 2010

Teapot Who?

I blogged about the Rabbit's new obsession with knock knock jokes a few days ago. She's still really into them. And every time I run through the little conversation with her I think "okay, there's got to be a good ending for this 'teapot' joke." I've been trying to think of one, but I don't really love any of my ideas so far:

Knock knock
Who's there?
Teapot who?
Tea pot of flowers on your porch needs watering


Tea pot-ato chips I'm eating are so greasy I can't open the door... let me in!

Any of you feeling punny? Anyone want to write the end to a knock-knock joke? I'd love to hear your ideas. Throw me a comment-- who knows? Maybe your joke will become famous. And the Rabbit is definitely going to be famous someday, so co-authoring something with her will be quite the honor.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Discovering Holes

While hiking in Little Wild Horse Canyon, Fish discovered a Fish-sized hole in the canyon floor that he could curl up in.

The kids discovered a hole in a tree they could hide inside.

This desert plant discovered a hole in a rock that it could take root in. (I love the tenacity of desert plants!)

And I discovered that Bean was wearing his old sneakers and that they need to be thrown away!

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Slot Canyon Fun

Some parts of Little Wild Horse Canyon get very very narrow. This just made our hike more beautiful and more fun.

Little Wild Horse Canyon

After a pleasant romp through Goblin Valley, we decided to drive over to nearby Little Wild Horse Canyon for a short hike. It's an 8-mile loop, but we just went up about a mile and a half. I had never been up there before. It is so beautiful!

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Goblin Valley

Yesterday my sister Crocodile and I took the kids down to Goblin Valley State Park in central Utah. The weather looked absolutely perfect-- warm temperatures and no chance of rain. We called up Uncle Owl's house to see if anyone there wanted to go and we ended up with Cousin Veeblek, who just days ago returned from a church mission to New Zealand, and Cousin Penguin, who is a little bit older than Bean. Then we went to Costco and bought lots of hummus and chips and pugliese bread and muenster cheese and cherry tomatoes and carrots and grapes. So we had a full car and all the ingredients for an extremely jolly outing. Which it was.

Cousin Veeblek was absolutely indispensible as a packhorse and small-child carrier/entertainer. He adored Roo and Rabbit and they adored him.

Goblin Valley is the best playground in the world.

The little kids spent their time exploring caves and crannies underneath the goblins.

The big boys spent their time climbing up on top of the goblins.

A grand time was had by all.
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