Friday, August 30, 2013

First day of school 2013

Boo. Sad to see them go. I'm all for, you know, "education" and "learning" and "becoming contributing members of society" and such. But I'm still a big fan of "playing all day" and "vacation" and "having help unloading the dishwasher" and other activities better suited for summer.

The first day of middle school Ben came home all smiles. Changing classes, getting lockers--loved it! The second day he still thought it was pretty cool. The third day he finally realized it's just going to be more work. Ha! Poor kid. Next year will be Emma's first year of high school (slow down already!) and Afton will be in kindergarten. Not sure how I feel about all that.

Friday, August 23, 2013

One more summer catch-all post...

Swim Team end-of-season party: check.

Staying late to see the fireworks at Dollywood: check.

Multiple documenting of harvests: check.

Helping a friend break into their house then all climbing in through the window: check.

 Cooling off on a hot day with a bucket: check.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Twin Arches Hike

We like hiking. It's funny, because Scott and I rarely-to-never went hiking in our early years, which is a real shame since we lived in Utah and were surrounded by tons of beautiful places we could have gone, with even more beautiful places just a few hours drive to our south. But all told we probably gave it a go two or three times.

Then somehow a few years back, gathering up all the kids and hitting the road for a day trip hiking became a thing. Last year our big road trip contained four hikes on all its own. Now our tradition it to find at least one new hike to do each year.

This year it was Twin Arches. This is a hike Emma and I have done part of a couple of times at Girls' Camp, but no one else. The drive to get there was trying, let's just say we arrived at the trailhead with a different battery and alternator wire than we left home with. But once we arrived all went well.

The kids loved climbing on boulders, descending the super-steep steps and arriving at the picturesque arches. They especially liked walking on top of arch #1 and going through the little cave behind arch #2. After enjoying the arches, we felt adventurous and set out on the six-mile loop so Ben could pass off a scouting requirement. The length was a challenge for the little girls, but they made it with only minimal piggy back rides. The gnats were a challenge for us all, but we made it with only minimal nose, ear and eyeball invasions by our little friends. Overall it was a great day, we'd do it again.

Scott's figured out how to use his phone's panorama option. Cool!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Metcalf Bottoms, 2013 edition

I can't believe we only went to Metcalf Bottoms once this summer. Weird. Hopefully we'll find a weekend to visit again before it starts getting cold.

For part of the reunion festivities we headed up there with all the Cruzes for some rock-skipping, boulder-jumping, crawdad-catching, tube-floating fun. It is still one of my favorite places to be.

Quite the brave kid. He's my resident go-to helper for
disposing of any creepy crawlies at home.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Cruze family reunion

If you're ever having a family reunion, and one evening the activities include a picnic dinner, sprinkled with bubble-blowing, swinging, arm-wrestling, tree-climbing, baseball-playing followed by a bonfire for s'mores, I highly recommend getting a photographer. Our awesome Brianna spent the evening with us and it was so nice not to have to worry about capturing everything. We could all just sit back and enjoy while she stealthed around snapping it up. If you need a lifestyle photographer, she's your girl. Bonus: there was time for some posed photos in the field before we started eating. Here we go...

This one is a recreation of a Cruze family classic circa 1997...they had to leave an open spot
because Shane was gone to a Scout jamboree. 

Minor injury playing ball.

Recreation of another Cruze family classic circa 2009...but with more grandkids this time.

Busted being a teenager.

Was 26 photos too many for one blog post? Nah.