After Laurie's wedding we crashed into our beds and vowed to wake up early to pack for our trip to St. George. At 6:00 a.m. (which qualifies as super early for my lazy self that can't seem to wake up before 8:00), I rolled over and turned the alarm off. Who needs to pack?
At 7:00 a.m. Mike and I finally woke up and began throwing things in bags and pretending we were prepared for a weekend trip. I think we managed to get everything, and we managed to fit it into our tiny Chevy Prism. We keep saying we're going to buy another car, but then what fun would it be when I reach back 80 gazillion times to placate my children if I had a van and couldn't reach the backseat? This way we are all very, very, very cozy. I can throw a graham cracker (or other very nutritious snacks) randomly in the air and one of my girls is sure to get one.
We were only 2.5 hours behind schedule and we weren't fighting about it. (Mike doesn't yell, and I just resort to sarcasm, but I tamped my sarcasm right down)
The trip down was fine. Since we gave in to Disney and gave up on scenery and family conversation, things are much more pleasant while driving. The only problem we have now is that Hannah needs her own video player. She placated herself by doing some strange thing to her seatbelt the whole time we drove. It's a weird habit of pushing her lower body over and over into the buckle and it disturbs me. The only thing I can do is ignore it and wait for the day she can sit in a booster seat.
On the way to St. George we stopped at Kolob Canyons and "hiked" the first hike we came to. Standing on rocks and singing was the highlight of this 800 meter hike.
Even Mike got into the singing on a rock action, or at least sitting on one.
So then we arrived at St. George, got some dinner and slept. We stayed at this house with Dunk, Ryan and Ryan's older brother's family, Blake and Lori and their kids. Blake and Lori found the house on Vacation Rentals By Owner.com They have rented houses/condos all over the world and said they've always had a good experience.
It was awesome to not be crammed into some dark, strange hotel room, where you feel creeped out by the bathroom and scream in fear when the shower curtain billows in and touches your legs. And you can't let your kids play on the bedspreads because eww, do they ever clean those? I am never staying in a hotel again.
That night, Ryan, Dunk, Blake, Mike and I did a moonlit ride on the Green Valley Loop, and it was totally rad man. (yes, I just said rad. I read it on a sign in St. George and remembered how rad it is to use that word) It was a rollercoaster sort of bike ride and I only got one small injury, by laying my bike down on my hand when I almost made it up a really steep hill. I didn't realize how steep the hill was until my front tire jumped the rim, and then I stopped suddenly and smashed my fingers.
I am a better biker at night. During the day, if I see an obstacle like sand or a root or a steep downhill, or as step, or anything that looks remotely dangerous, I grab both my brakes and seize up. At night, I can't see a thing, so I just bump over it, or up it and think afterward, "Gosh, I guess that was a big deal." So now I plan to always bike with a piece of cloth I can barely see through over my eyes. I will be great.
The next day we tried to take a trip to the regular entrance to Zion, planning to go on a long hike carrying both girls. By the time we rolled out of the house and got into the park (after riding two shuttles, during which Hannah delightedly yelled, "Bus! Bus!" the entire ride), it was time to go back to meet Dunk and Ryan for a rock climbing adventure. So we ate lunch in Zion on the side of a trail, and then got back in the car for another full of joy and love 45 minute drive. This was really dismaying to me. It started a descent into anger and self-pity.
Originally we planned this vacation minus the girls, but since everyone either a. had a baby or b. got married this week, we ran out of babysitters that were related to us (free babysitters). So for the next part of our trip, the climbing part, we decided that one of us would climb while the other watched the girls. It was a long drive to the climb, and my descent into anger solidified.
I kept looking at our 1/4 tank of gas and we kept bumping along some remote dirt road in the middle of nowhere. I figured I would be stuck in the hot sun with two upset chillies, while Mike hiked to the road to flag someone down to give him a ride back to town for gas. Then he would be kidnapped and mugged and left for dead on the side of the road while I sat back in the car saying, "No, we can't watch a video. We have to preserve the car's power. Stop whining! I don't have any water!"
I kept telling myself to stop having such a bad attitude, and repeating all those things like, "It's 90% attitude and 10% what happens to you and other such platitudes, but the orneriness remained. Then I blamed it on PMS/birth control and I felt better. Once we got to the climbing area, I stopped b&ming and it went well. It really is 90% attitude and 10% what happens to you. And if the worse that happens is your butt gets sore from bumping down a dirt road and you don't get to go on a long hike in Zion, then things aren't bad.
If you know anything about climbing, let me try and impress you with my climbing jargon-- We climbed a 5.8 and I got to say, "On belay."
Warning, some graphic butt shots are intermixed with really cute ones of the girls.
This is the cliff that we climbed. (Why yes, it does look similar to the Cliffs of Insanity.) See those tiny specs at the top? That is Derek and Ryan (I would use their cool climbing nicknames, but then they might be upset, because I think you're only supposed to use them while you're climbing incredibly difficult things)
Mike climbed first, while the girls hit each other with sticks and snacked on Veggie Tales fruit Snacks. Mike is good at everything he tries, and climbing real rock was no different. He skittered up it like it was nothing. I remember when I took him waterskiing for the first time. I had been trying to get up on a slalom ski for like 5 years. He skied for the first time that day. Then I tried to slalom, then he decided to try it and he got up on the first try. It made me incredibly angry, but strangely pleased. He is super skillful, and I married him. After Mike climbed it was my turn:
Here is Hannah impressed with how high I am climbing.
Kenzie, pointing at me and thinking how awesome I am. (Kenzie needs to think awesome things about me. Already her "mommy love" is waning. In the past week she has said to me, "Mommy, your tummy is getting bigger," and "Your bum is too big.") (And I'm not pregnant)
Me, schooling Dunk in the climb. Just kidding. I started 10-15 minutes before Dunk, and only made it to the top because Ryan told me I couldn't take off the Chinese-foot-binding climbing shoes until I got to the top and returned.
Kenzie wanted in on the rock climbing action, so we bouldered around a little bit. She pretended she liked it, but I could hear her whimpering as I lifted her down from some spots.
After we climbed, Ryan and Derek climbed incredibly difficult 5.12c stuff while we stood around and watched in awe.
On Sunday, we headed home. ("Mommy," said Kenzie. "We should go to church. It's a good thing to go to church." Yes, yes it is. Instead we're going to ride in a car for hours and hours while Hannah throws up and has diarrhea.)
We made it home. Hooray! Hannah was only sick while we drove. When we got home she was fine.
The End. (Finally, phew)