Sunday, January 31, 2010

Gold Coast, Australia (part 1)

Yes, it's true! Rick and I are vacationing on the sunny coast of Australia! After a 30 plus hour trip on 4 different flights (one of them being over 14 hrs long) we walked into our hotel room ready for a shower and some relaxation. We are staying in a city called Surfer's Paradise in the Mariott hotel. Yes, there are LOTS of surfers. Here is the view from our balcony. (the 17th floor) It is very warm and humid here.....just what we were hoping for. This is two of the pools as seen from our balcony. They are both saltwater pools and the one in the forefront is made like a sandy beach. It is stocked with all kinds of tropical fish so you can snorkel in the pool. How cool is that? I love looking down onto the pool. It is soooo gorgeous!
We took a drive down to Byron Bay yesterday. Just beyond this lighthouse is the easternmost point of Australia. We hiked up and down a total of 660 steps to get to the end of the path. Crazy...but we got to see a couple schools of dolphins playing in the water. Rick is doing great at driving! The wheel is on the right-hand side of the car and we drive on the left side of the road. I don't know but he sure seems to pick that kind of stuff up pretty easy. He has mentioned a couple of times how much he enjoys it.
(Must be all the practice he got last spring in the UK)

Yesterday morning we stopped at the Farmer's Market and had a great time picking up some treats for the kids. This was a licorice booth:)

About an hour away from Surfer's Paradise is a place called Tamborine Mtn. It is a tropical rainforest and we loved hiking through looking for wild things.

Oops! I meant to post a picture with Rick feeding a bunch of colorful parrots right out of his hand...... I'll get it next post:) Other things we have done so far.....snorkeled in the pool.....took a cruise to see the breaker islands......went to church.........did some souvenir shopping............drove to Lamington Nat'l Park and saw 3 wallabies and 10 kangaroos...........ordered room service.........noticed dozens of new birds and the COOL sounds they make.......missed the kids.........looked for a Koala bear (no luck yet).........swam in the pool........walk on the beach......
and last but not least just enjoying being together and finding adventure wherever we go!!!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Brighton in the Winter

The kids had Monday and Tuesday off for MLK day and a teacher work day so we took the opportunity to go up to Brighton for a couple of nights. We drove up Sunday evening after dinner and got setteled into our room at the Brighton Chalet. Gary, Wyatt, and I played games while the others went to bed. We got up the next morning and had breakfast at Silver Fork Lodge. After breakfast we dropped the kids off to go sledding (G&W took snowboards while Kaitlyn had a sled) for a couple hours while Rick and I tried something new.

This was a first for us and it was not as cumbersome as you would think. We walked around Silver Lake (yes, the same lake we rode our bikes around just 5 months ago). The trail was about 1 1/2 miles and took us a little over an hour. It was so beautiful with a light snow falling and was very peaceful up in the trees. We could see people nordic skiing (xcountry) over the lake. I might have to try that next time. That looks fun too.

Taking a break and enjoying the view of the mountains!

That night Wyatt and Gary went nightboarding at the resort. Rick was going to go but decided to hang out with me and Kait. The boys came back totally drenched (because it was snowing the whole time) just grinning from ear to ear! They had a blast! This was Wyatt's first time boarding and he picked it up really quick and stayed right there with Gary the whole time!
I love these little trips! It's fun making memories with the fam!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Leesh Graduates from ARTEC

Thursday was a big day for Alyssia. She graduatied from Artec day treatment and is moving on to public High School. She is excited but nervous to be going back to "real" HS. She will start out in a controlled classroom with about 10 other students. (This is a good thing....we're babysteppin here) Here is a picture of Leesh with both sets of parents.
Rick and I and Penny and Eric (her foster parents).

Leesh with her tracker Leslie. (she didn't want to take a pic:)
This is Leesh with her Artec therapist Debbie.
Way to go Leesh!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Saturday Evening in Park City

Saturday came and I wanted to get out of the house with the kids so we headed up to Park City for some recreation. We decided to go bowling and stopped at Kimball Junction where they have a brand new bowling alley.
This place is pretty nice with more big screen TV's then I could count!
Here we are ready to play! You can see that Gary is truly on the mend. He tried every size ball in the place (which by the way did not help his game any:) He even tried that heavy 12 LB ball. I wasn't even thinking that it might hurt him. He's doing great though.
Rick's turn!

We only bowled one game 'cause it was kind of expensive. (I guess they've got to pay for those TV's somehow) and then we went to play in the arcade. I had such a fun time playing the pinball machine. I haven't played one in YEARS! I thought that with the invention of all these video type games that pinballs were obsolete. Not so I guess. At one point it gave me TWO balls to play with at a time and that was a hoot!

Rick and I enjoyed a game of air hockey. One of mny fav's!

Afterwards we headed further into Park City. I came to a realization that as many times that I have been to PC I have NEVER been there in the winter. Is that crazy? It was so cool! I got to see people skiing down the mountain. They looked like little ants way up there at the top:) It was quite thrilling for me! We got to have dinner at the PC pizza and pasta place. First of all, we walked down main street and it was quite magical. There are still lights in the trees and it was fun seeing people buzz around the shops. Rick had some gift cards for this restaurant and let me tell you we had a blast ordering from the menu. He said for us to order whatever we wanted and truly we had so much food we had to bring home 3/4ths! We ordered 2 large pizzas.....

eplus a couple of salads... plus Rick's calzone (huge)... plus fresh cut fries (I couldn't resist trying Gary's baked mac n cheese and minestrone... plus 3 shakes!!! We couldn't eat very much of it but we got to sample everything! It was Fun!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Skylar under the weather

I've got a couple more pictures of Sky. He is doing fairly well although he has been sick. It sounds like it is fairly common that the food doesn't agree with him but sometimes it is worse than others. His words exactly, "My body hates me". That's of course a little worrisome and I have a tendency to worry about even small things. On a better note though, he is teaching quite a few people and has a baptism scheduled next week. Here is a pic of Sky and Elder Villegas in their apartment. Funny story... Skylar put a fake tarantula on his comps pillow and instead of freaking out he was so excited. He ran downstairs telling Sky to get his camera! They have grown a little attached to that spider and they actually use it when teaching English to people. The kids LOVE it! Here they are eating out at a restaurant. Skylar said he loves paraguayan soup and a drink called Guarana. In his last letter he said that he let a girl try to take a picture of herself with his camera and she accidentally erased ALL of his pictures. Bummer! He has been trying to send us more pics via e-mail but the computers are terrible! I'll post more if I get any!
We got to talk with him on Christmas Eve and he sounded good! He loves his companion. They get along great. Skylar is learning a lot. The language is gonna take some time but Sky's a quick learner. My hope is that he can communicate pretty soon.
It's terrible for me to think he's ill. Get better soon Scoob!


Ever since Christmas I have been wanting to go sledding. We bought some new sleds for the fam about 2 months ago and totally forgot to bring them out on Christmas . When we were in TN I really wanted to do something winterish like sledding snow:( Then DeeAnn called to see if they could borrow our sleds and that's when I remembered that we forgot about them. The Allen's broke in our sleds while we were gone. Saturday afternoon after putting all of Christmas away Rick, Leesh, and I hooked up the sleds to the Ranger and in our west field gave them a whirl. Doesn't Leesh look cute in her colorful hat:) It was made a few years ago by Melanie McNeil. It is a hat and scarf in one! Wheeeeeeeeee........

My turn!

I liked sitting better than kneeling!

Rick went he lost the sled on a quick corner!

One of the GREAT things about living in UT where there are 4 real seasons! After our outing we came in and made homemeade pizzas and watched a movie with the fire blazing. So Cozy!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Bringing in the New Year

To begin our festivities of the night Jenni put the finishing touches on her elegant cheesecake. Julie and her had been making this monster of a cake throughout the afternoon.
What amazing "Baker's" they are:)
We started the night with a Mexican meal complete with Trent's famous 'poppers'.
The kids love 'em!
While dinner was being prepared the Julie and Kallie played DDR.

Kaitlyn took a try too.

Here's the gang getting ready for games. We played Family Fued on the Wii. The Baker's kicked our trash. After a while I think Kathy felt bad for us and suggested that we play guys against girls. That helped. I guess we need to brush up on our trivia skills.

We also played the name game (fun) and the instrument game (even funner). I swear I was laughing so hard on the instrument game that I was crying. Everyone was so into it and then it kept getting faster and faster. Kendra was the one who finally missed her cue.
What a riot!
At the stroke of midnight Christopher ran out front and started banging pans.....

.....and Kath and Rick let off some fireworks.

After the celebrating we got into a game of 'Settlers'. I was hardly into the game because the dice would just not roll my way. I was thinking "just get this game over with". I LOVE TO WIN! and more than that....I HATE TO LOSE! Especially to Rick. (He won) Call me competitive but hey, that's the way it is. After that we watched a few Dick Van Dyke videos. Man, he is a great comedian. I finally dozed off about 2:30 only to get back up at 3:30 to get our bags in the car and head to the airport. We had to be there by 5AM. We got home safe and sound and glad to back in Grantsville. Loved, Loved being with the Baker Bunch! Love You Guys!