07 September 2015

Martin's Cove

Late Thursday evening Justin and I decided to officially take the kids on a crazy, impromptu trip to Martin's Cove. For FHE on Monday we talked about our Pioneer ancestors who crossed the plains and especially Mary Goble Pay who was in the Hunt party and also crossed late in the season.

We quickly packed up the van after school and left for Casper, WY around 4 pm. The kids were pretty excited. When Phillip learned we were headed to Martin's Cove he started crying. He did not want to freeze and lose his toes and fingers. He refused to get in the van until I assured him that it was still summer and no snow would catch us. He was quite traumatized. We stopped at the amazing pizza joint in Cheyenne for a quick dinner. It was quite late, after 9 pm when we got to the hotel. We got everyone settled into bed, once again Everett curled up under the sofa table on a pile of blankets. I held Evelyn for 90 minutes, she was still awake at 11:30 pm. I gave up and we went to Walmart. Evelyn did not get tired until after 1 am. Gah! Sometimes traveling with toddlers/infants is crazy. She was coughing a lot so I gave her some powdered cough medicine, she decided it was not candy and inhaled it instead. She coughed her poor head off for two days afterwards. I felt so bad. Once she fell asleep she was out like a light until 8 am.

We drove another hour west and north to Martin's Cove. The church acquired some property from the Sun family ranches near the site. The church updated and used the existing out buildings used during the ranching days as museums. It was well-maintained and informational. Our guide let the kids drag around a miniature handcart along a small version of the trail following several amazing bronze sculptures. Evelyn found a nice fire ant hill, she loves bugs, she did not love the bugs crawling all over her. The poor missionary looked on in bewilderment as I quickly stripped off Evelyn's clothes and picked off the ants. Evelyn was happy to be naked and cried when I made her get clothes back on. She went back to the ant hill to find more bugs. Phillip was thrilled to find Anson Call's name on the plaque, he was one of the rescuers! Amelia brought along her toy camera. I enjoyed watching her boss the boys around, getting perfect snaps of our trip. She even tried to improve her selfie technique. Hilarious! We could see Devil's Gate to the east of the visitor's center. Each kid got a fun wooden necklace memento.

Around lunch time we snagged up a full-sized handcart, packed up our lunch and hiking supplies and went on a "death march." We are quite familiar with windy conditions. It was windy, the wind was coming from the west, so pushing the handcart east felt like walking though a hurricane. At this point the kids were pretty excited to walk, ride, and snack on grapes. Amelia decided one of the rock formations looked like a buffalo smiling. Justin and I pushed the cart 1.33 miles to the handcart parking area. There is a large covered pavilion, drinking water, and honey pots for folks to use. Sandwiches, grapes, and chips never tasted so delicious. Evelyn loved licking several servings of mayo off her sandwich. Justin and I wavered about taking the kids on the 2.33 mile loop to see the actual cove. Sensibility did not win, sentimentality did! I packed Evelyn on my back and lugged several water bottles in my hands. Justin held the boys hands as their weight was too much for my aching back. Handcarts are not allowed since the actual site is owned by the BLM. 100 feet from the trail entrance Everett laid down in the dirt and started scooting back to the handcart. He got up when I mentioned he might get a snake down his pants. The kids did really well considering the steep hilly, area. We kept reminding them that "We can do hard things," and recounting stories we read about Martin's Cove. Our favorite area was a higher platform with benches to play on. Justin took over baby lugging duties to give my poor lower back a rest. Evelyn fell asleep during the rest of the hike portion. Justin may have mentioned that we should just leave him lying in the prairie for dead. I was grateful for the wind, it kept the hot sun at bay. I think the Lance side of me enjoyed the experience immensely. I thought continuously about our ancestors and how this experience will stay with the kids, hopefully for a long while. It was quite peaceful. One couple passed us and commented that they were very proud of us. They bet we would not make it around the loop with so many young kids. Ha! We made it. Everett and Amelia were a total troopers, minimal whining! Phillip almost laid beside Justin to die on the Prairie.

The 1.33 hike back to the visitor's center was hard. I am not a pansy, but this was hard work. I have a new found appreciation for the words "Pulling a Handcart." I think after a couple weeks of pulling a cart life would adjust and the hardships become expected. Really, I think this is how life is. Trials come, we struggle, our muscles adapt, our knees sore after praying for help. We survive and learn to carry on. A sweet testimony of endurance to the end is what I carried back in my heart. As we walked back I mentioned to Justin that this was the hardest physical task we have performed together as a family. He punted back, "you mean stupid?! A fat man, pregnant woman, 4 small kids, and a handcart across the prairie?" I love his humor...it get it. Yes, hard and stupid. Can't wait to do it again. Har-har.

Our poor dogs were barking by the time Zion (our white van) came into view. We drove back home taking a dinner break in Casper before heading the rest of the way home. Our house never looked so good as it did at 10:30 pm. I think we labored for our Labor Day vacation.

One More Tooth Gone

Monday evening Phillip lost a second bottom tooth! He was brave enough to let me try with some floss. I thought it was a bust because he did not even flinch, we laughed after noticing the tooth dangling on the floss. He earned another dollar. Yay! His lisp is even more pronounced now. We can see his new teeth already coming through.

After preschool on Monday Everett, Evelyn, and I went to play at the Memorial Gardens. Right as we got into an involved game of Dora and Diego it started to rain. Bummer. We went to the pavilion instead and sang the ABC song 20 million times.  He has the ABC cha-cha-cha song down pat.

Wednesday evening found us back at the Memorial Gardens for combined YW. We helped Lucy, the caretaker, weed the beds and remove overgrowth. It was hard work but fun as we chatted and worked. Ice Cream sandwiches helped sweeten up our evening. I am so proud of our girls. The kids played with Lucy's kids while we worked.

Thursday morning Nora brought over her new 5 day old Grandson and her daughter, Jamie. He is a cute little boy. He was awake for a while so we had lots of time to chat. Once he fell asleep his session went quickly. My favorite poses came from the cradle board an old Apache lady made for her sons. We had a great time. It was pretty hot after school so the kids jumped in the bounce house and played in the wading pool. Evelyn eventually got all her clothes off. She is going through a naked streak!