My mother-in-law has lived in St. George for a couple of years now, and we have yet to visit her there. Granted, she comes up here several weekends a month. But still. Now that Derek has graduated (happy dance), he has entire weekends off. No work. No school. Nothin'. It's pretty fabulous, and we've very much enjoyed this new freedom. Anyway, now that we have a couple of days off in a row, we have travel time available to us. We decided to visit Julie for her birthday- for St. Patrick's Day. It was a spring break of sorts. And it was loads of fun.
One huge milestone for me: I let Julie drive all the way down to St. George with my babies...without me! If you know me, you know how huge this was. I can hardly let them leave my sight for a couple of hours, let alone an entire day! And traveling! It was a really emotional, difficult choice to make. But in the end, I knew they would all be okay. And they were. They had such a fun time! They were able to make lots and lots of wonderful memories with Grandma Julie, and they were able to make several fun stops along the way, taking their time, so the trip down wasn't too painful. I'm glad I let them go. I think it was good for all of us.
That Saturday ("Green" Day... though we ought to call it "winds-day" as it was super windy), we headed out to the red rocks - to "climb the mountains." James was really excited. We started out with a picnic then proceeded to explore.
Our happy family sitting in a "cave"The pioneers (trecking settlers from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, circa mid 1800s) had built some pretty amazing rudimentary structures amid the red rocks, and we were lucky enough to explore one. They apparently found little slot canyons (small wedges between big rocks/mts) and boarded up the top with wood. Then they built stone/brick walls to enclose the area. This one even had a window and a fireplace and chimney! Super cool! Just a tiny one-room structure, but very smart. Such a brilliant way to get out of the wind and sun (and away from the wild animals, I'm sure)! Very cool.
From inside looking out:After exploring the pioneer house, we continued to follow trails and scale rocks. We had a wonderful time.
A lot of the more ambitious climbing was done by Derek and James. We girls stayed behind and let them do their mountain-man thing.
Jolie, however, was not entirely pleased to be left behind. :( She really hated not being with her boys. (That and she had missed nap time... that could have contributed to the extent of her sadness.)
Luckily, Jolie has a pretty phenomenal daddy. He would rescue the poor damsel and carry her along.
It was really cute to see the kids exploring. I was quite proud of Jolie, getting down and dirty with the rest of 'em. She's getting to be such a big girl!
And James was unbelievable! He is often quite the scaredy-cat, but after just a few minutes he had warmed up to the whole "mountain climbing" concept and was very brave (sometimes too much for a mommy's heart). He seemed to have summoned his inner mountain goat after all! :)
I think Grandma Julie had a good birthday. We really loved hanging out with her. We don't often get one-on-one time with her, and it was really fun to see her in this different light and just hang out.
While hiking the red rocks, we were able to get a pretty sweet view of the airshow that was going on down below. (If I'd had my glasses, it would have been substantially better for me... ugh.) Derek and Julie especially enjoyed seeing the sweet loop-de-loops and dives. Ack- so scary! It was a fun, unexpected element to our hike.
Something about the red rocks is so beautiful to me...
We are so, so glad we were able to go down. We had a wonderful time! Happy St. Patrick's Day! Happy Birthday, Grandma Julie! And Happy, Happy SPRING! :)