Old Wheels and Weeds

I took this shot in Panguitch a couple days ago in the grandparents' backyard. I love that place. Endless photo possibilities. More to come later.

Back At Mesa Verde

Alright, back to my trying to catch up on what the Black Family's been up to. I really wish these would just be printable and work for my journal, but at least I'll still have the pictures.
Around the second week of June, we headed off for Southern Colorado to explore Mesa Verde and the La Plata Mountain Range. In the hope of keeping it short and sweet, here's a few shots from the trip.

Grandma and Grandpa Black endured the four-day excursion amazingly well, between screaming babies and pouring rain. Layne zonked out on the last hike of the day in Mesa Verde. That's about how we all felt I think.

This is the cabin that we rented (for a "scorchin' deal" as Jared would say) for our stay. It was beautiful and we enjoyed being there just as much as we did the surrounding area. I made the mistake of forgetting Luke's blankie, one that I hope to NEVER repeat for fear of losing my sanity. The kid loves that thing like it's an extremity.

We drove through Durango, up to Silverton, and on to a small town called Ouray, which we still have no clue how to pronounce correctly, even after I asked a local at the Box Canyon Waterfall site. This tiny town is known as the Little Switzerland of America, and rightly so. It was inspiring, complete with multiple waterfalls, a natural hot springs water resort, and beautiful surrounding mountains covered in green. Maybe Kimball got it right when he asked us if we were in "Avacado yet?"

Kimball also decided to give all of the sights in Mesa verde more meaningful names, like this one formerly known as the Cliff Palace. He's renamed it the Crystal Palace -- must be some place on Super Mario Galaxy. He also made sure to spice up the eternally long tour guided info from this site with his own comments. He entertained family and strangers alike with his answers to retorical questions posed by the world's most obnoxiously long-winded park ranger.
And this is a scene from the Long House, another sight in Mesa Verde where Layne conveniently decided to override anything that the park ranger tried to say with her spitting attacks. I had drool covering my hands and arms from the fallout. Needless to say, we attracted a lot of attention. A grandma asked if she could take pics of Koria, to which the redhead graciously agreed. And Luke? Well, lets just say that any female over the age of 18 had to come and talk to the kid -- not the rest of us -- just him. He's a chick magnet, I tell ya. Happens wherever we go. We left the trip very happy with the outcome. Who wouldn't love a free gondola ride up and down the side of an aspen-covered mountain in Telluride in the pouring rain, a standing ovation as two very tired parents scaled wooden ladders with twin babies strapped to their chests, or hot chocolate around the campfire as deer hover 30 feet away? Sounds like a dream, doesn't it? Feels like one too. It passed much too quickly. What a great way to see part of the world we've never explored before.


Hello Photoshop

Steph just showed me a few tricks with Photoshop to try out, so I'm making my first attempts at photo editing. I can already tell ya, this is going to get pretty addicting. I took this pic of Koria while we were in Colorado a month ago. Koria's really in to wildflowers, so she picked me "buckets," as she would call them, of flowers.

Down The River

My sister-in-law, Steph, took these photos, along with a bunch of other great ones, yesterday as Jana's family, Steph's family, and ours were all out playing in the Buckhorn draw area.

We were all excited to find some shade and some water to play in under the Swinging Bridge.

Koria dove right in, and spared no attitude.

Kimball? He made friends with the rocks and the riverbed.

And that's life hangin' with my peeps.


Dreaming of Sleep

Aaaahhh, wish we could all sleep so well.


Daily Pics Blog

For any of you out there interested, we've started a second blog. Scott, my bro-in-law, came up with the idea that we should each take a new pic everyday, then post it. If you ever want to check it out, go to:

Green Shirt Day

Wow, good thing I just noticed a typo I made in the title there, although the typo may have been an appropriate description of today's events too .... I'll leave it at that. After I finished dressing Luke and Layne, I realized that they were both wearing bright green shirts, so today we're doing all things green. Weeding, all natural foods, recycling -- but just for today. Tomorrow we'll go back to being ourselves and piling up disposable diapers to clog landfills around the country. This morning I had the audacity to put Luke in the back room, which has a baby gate up to keep him from getting into trouble, while I left to feed and dress the other three kids. You would have thought he was in jail. Thought this shot was nice.

Layne, on the other hand, could care less about the baby gate. Probably because she can't see it well enough, but whatever. I'll take a content-to-be-left-alone-for-a-few-minutes kid. She's working on her crawling right now and enjoying the freedoms of more mobility.
Other than his time in jail, Luke's been a happy kid today. Can't complain. He doesn't care if his sandwich isn't cut in large or small triangles or squares, or any other shape for that matter. Leftover crumbs off of the floor work just fine for him. And Layne? She doesn't care if her fingernail polish doesn't match her outfit or if her waffle doesn't have butter in every single square. They don't care if there's spit-up all over the floor. Just another toy to them. Koria and Kimball on the other hand? Let me remind you of what could have been the title for today's entry. Enough said. Just pray the older two are alive by the end of Green Shirt Day.


Recap of Memorial Day Reunion

In my efforts to keep up with all of our traveling and family events, I'm now on Memorial Day Weekend, the designated Bates Family Reunion. All of my siblings and their spouses and children, as well as my parents, crash at the cabin for the weekend. Amazingly, we still like each other by the time it's all said and done. That's saying a lot considering the sleeping arrangements are for 26 people, one of whom is pregnant. The kids would love it if we just let them run wild (who's to say we don't). Cousins are great that way. You don't need your personal space as much until you hit puberty. We better enjoy the next few reunion while we can.

We maximized the number of females under nine years of age that you should sanely drive with on one four-wheeler. I'm not included in the under nine category, or the sane part either.

Even Luke and Layne got to enjoy the great outdoors for a while.

Becky's theme this year was "Indiana Jones." Kimball's demonstrating the whip challenge in this shot.

We had a great time, and as always, I took way too many pics to post. Don't worry, Scott. I have some great ones of you with your peacock feathers that I will use as blackmail at some future date (imagine evil laughter in the background).

Countries We've Been To

This application is created by interactive maps.
You can also have your visited countries map on your site.

If you see this message, you need to upgrade your flash player.
Make your visited countries mapFlash charts

States We've Been To

This application is created by interactive maps.
You can also have your visited states map on your site.

If you see this message, you need to upgrade your flash player.
Make your visited states mapFlex charts