Sunday, October 30, 2011

Adventures in Idaho: Pumpkin Painting, Halloween Concert, Straw Maze and more!

This weekend we went on a whirlwind trip to Idaho. Emily was playing her cello in a Halloween concert and it sounded like fun, so we tagged along with Andrew's parents and hightailed it up to Rexburg. We left at ten in the morning and were able to get to Emily and Morgan's house by mid-afternoon. We spent the afternoon painting and carving pumpkins and visiting. The girls had fun but I should have come armed with smocks for sure. 

While Miriam was waiting for Rachel to finish with the paint brush, Miriam tried to make friends with Sadie—the dog. This picture has nothing to do with that. I just liked that Emily and Reid were sitting with the same posture.

Miriam was actually quite brave with Sadie—she'd walk around on the ground by herself and everything (Rachel won't do that because she's afraid that while she's not looking Sadie will quadruple in size and eat her. Or something). She was quite brave at being friends when Sadie wasn't looking.

But when Emily turned Sadie around, being friends suddenly seemed a whole lot scarier.

We don't always let Miriam run around shirtless but on this particular occasion she was awaiting her turn with the paint. 

She was a very serious pumpkin painter.

Daddy was a serious pumpkin carver. He decided to do the Apple logo, in honour of Steve Jobs, and sat there on his stool looking worried while his eyes flitted between his iPod and his pumpkin. Finally I said, "Do you want me to draw that for you?" He did. Andrew has many talents but drawing does not rank in the top ten—he can draw but not as well as he can, say, write a paper.

He and Morgan had fun working on their pumpkins together.

Here are all our finished pumpkins all together.

Andrew's is the Apple logo, Karen's is the fire, Morgan's is the dachshund, mine is the vampire. I don't know whose is in the back—it was sitting on Emily and Morgan's porch when we arrived—but of the painted ones, Rachel's is on the left, mine is in the middle, and Miriam's is on the right.

We were enjoying ourselves so much that we almost forgot to have dinner! Emily quickly threw on some tomato soup and we scarfed down a bowl each before running out the door so we could get to her concert on time. We made a quick stop at the hotel to check in and change the girls into their costumes before heading over to BYU-I for the concert. This is the 28th annual Halloween concert and this year it was adventure-themed. 

They called it Idaho Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Art and had written a little play to go along with the music. Idaho Jones was on a quest for the crystal baton! It was certainly entertaining. They played music from Indiana Jones, of course, as well as Modest Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition. It being Halloween, I think my favourite movement was the Baba Yaga one. Miriam really enjoyed Spirits Rising, which was done with Ghanaian drums. Everyone was in costumes and since this particular number was done by the Rix Stix, a percussion group, and not the orchestra, their costumes could be a little more cumbersome for there was a gorilla in their midst, beating away at his drum. 

Miriam thought this was hilarious.

"Ooooh! Gunky!" she squealed, too excited to pronounce monkey.

No one minded that she squealed, though, because the drums were so loud and the whole audience was laughing and having a good time, anyway. 

Rachel was so good the entire time. She played a bit of musical chairs/laps but other than that was quiet unless she was clapping. Miriam was dancing in between the seats. You can totally tell she's a two-year-old. But Rachel was as good as gold—she was certainly kept entertained by all the whip-snapping and dart-shooting that was going on!

Emily's second concert started at 8:30 so we had time to run off and grab some frozen yogurt at Kiwi Loco. It was amazing. Then Karen ran Emily back to BYU-I while the rest of us did the pumpkin walk. They had some amazing pumpkins—I would have liked to take pictures of all of them—they totally put our pumpkins to shame.

They had a couple of witches walking around with buckets full of candy and vampire teeth and spider rings. Rachel was so excited to meet a "real" witch. I told her that the witch wasn't real and she said, "Oh, yeah—then how come she had a green face?" How come, indeed.

We had fun playing around with the vampire teeth.

We had a long night in the hotel. Or at least, I had a long night in the hotel. Rachel took about an hour to fall asleep and during that time would not permit me to stray from her sight. Miriam took about an hour after that. When they were finally asleep, we settled into Reid and Karens adjoining room to play Phase 10 (which I won like the Cardinals won the World Series—I totally came up from behind). Just as we were getting to the end of our game, Miriam started fussing so I went in to check on her.

She had wet the bed a little bit (her own pack'n'play, which is fortunate in some ways and not so fortunate in others) but was considerate enough to remove her pyjamas and underwear first. That was definitely a good thing because although I had brought back-up outfits I hadn't thought to bring back-up jammies. Luckily she only barely wet her bed and we were able to get everything else in the toilet. She went down pretty easily after that but then Rachel started having nightmares about the Backson from the new Winnie the Pooh movie.

I told her the Backson wasn't real and was nothing to worry about but now that I think about it, perhaps we did get a visit from the Backson last night because, according to Kanga, the Backson wakes babies at one and three. It was definitely a long night.

At four in the morning I moved into Rachel's bed with the girls, leaving Andrew with a whole bed to himself. And it really wasn't bad that way—sometimes it's kind of nice to have two queen beds in the same room, I guess, even though Miriam fell out of bed once.

The girls got up for at six in the morning and never went back to sleep so at seven we got up to go swimming. We swam until just after eight. Everyone remarked about how early we were up. The pool doors weren't even open yet—I had to ask at the desk and the manager said, "Yes, the pool does open at seven but for some reason the room keys won't work on the door until seven-thirty."

"Seven-thirty would have been a nice," I sighed.

"I'll buzz you in," the manager chuckled.

I suppose it's good that we got our swim in early. We had the girls, swam, showered, and fed with time to spare before we had to leave. That's pretty amazing.

At breakfast, Miriam was sitting on her chair eating yogurt when she slipped off the chair, sprawling onto the floor and sending her yogurt flying. It was the saddest, messiest meal accident we've ever had. Yogurt was all over the carpet and all over mine and Miriam's chairs. She was screaming. And we had a whole crowd of onlooking breakfasters to enjoy the scene. That was possibly the worst part, but we got everything cleaned up and Miriam soon started smiling again. And then we hurriedly finished our breakfast so we could hide in our room from the rest of the hotel guests.

We met Emily and Morgan at a straw maze. They had a big maze and a kid maze and a petting zoo of sorts. We had a lot of fun. Morgan kept laughing when we would confuse hay and straw. As city slickers we use them interchangeably. As cow pokes we don't. I'm fortunate to be half cow poke, half city slicker (or some other ratio thereof).

To break it down: Hay is yummy. Straw is not. Hay is mulched up grasses like alfalfa and is used to feed animals. Straw is mulched up left-overs like wheat stalks after harvest and is used for making straw mazes and for lining cattle stalls and what not. 

Andrew took Rachel into the kid maze and they raced around to get out—Rachel was getting nervous about being lost even though she could see me standing on the other side of the hay bales. Silly girl.

Grandma went around the maze a different way to meet up (and scare) Rachel. It worked.

She beat Andrew out, but just barely.

Then Miriam joined in the fray with Auntie Emily—she was so short you could barely see her ponytail bobbing around the maze.

The girls loved the little goats and the little goats loved them—at least, one of them did. They fed him handful after handful of hay. He just stood there gobbling it up and then imploring for more.

I have never seen Rachel be so brave around an animal in my life.

Miriam was pretty brave about feeding the goat, too.

There were other animals—a llama, a horse, and some rabbits. If I had to choose a farm animal to take care of, I think I'd pick a llama because instead of pooping all over their stall they pick one spot and use it over and over again. They wind up with a big pyramidal pile of poop instead of having it smeared all over their stall. Who knew they were such clean animals?

Eventually we had to peel the girls away from the animals so we could enter the real maze. I don't know if we discussed a plan to stay together. Staying together was my plan, anyway, but it didn't happen that way.

Instead, Rachel took off running in a direction opposite of everyone else. Grandpa followed after her and I followed after them, toting Miriam. I assumed, wrongly, that everyone else would have followed us—or at least that my husband would have followed us—but soon Grandpa and I found ourselves hopelessly lost in a maze with two young children. 

My favourite part was when we were passing underneath a big black tarp—Rachel was a couple of paces ahead of me, leading the way, when the tarp snapped in the wind. Rachel just about jumped out of her skin before turning and running back the way she came. She crashed right into me and I had to force her to keep walking. "It was only the wind. It was only the wind," I said as I prodded her along.

We found a lot of dead ends and wandered around for a good half an hour before Rachel led us back to the start of the maze. She was getting nervous about whether we'd ever get out of the maze and once we were out she started fretting about whether we'd ever find our daddy again. So we went to the end of the maze and started going backwards. It didn't take us long to find everyone else. 

Andrew and Morgan had found each other after getting separated from the group and they finished the maze first. Then they went back in to find Grandma and Emily (who had also found each other after getting separated from everyone else). 

We decided to go back through the maze a second time—all together. Andrew and Morgan were confident they could take us through the maze in 10 minutes. It took 25.

I suppose chasing and carting the children slowed us down some.

It was much more fun doing it together, though.

At one point, Andrew decided he'd hide in a crevice and jump out to scare Rachel (who is very fun to scare because she always gives a good reaction). He lived to regret that decision. Straw is itchy.

Everyone else managed to stay mostly straw-free. I had to groom Andrew when we got out of the maze and was still picking straw out of his hair hours later.

When we were getting near the end of the maze, Andrew and Morgan cheerily announced that we had found "the triple dead end!" We pointed out that meant we were still lost. They pointed out that it was still a good thing because we were lost the same way that they were lost before finding the end of the maze. 

They got us out of the maze, though, so I suppose we have to give them credit for that.

Even though the girls would have been happy to stay and feed the goats for another couple of hours, we decided it was time to feed the girls instead and since they weren't interested in hay, we went into town to eat at Sammy's Burgers. We got a multitude of fries—sweet potato, battered, and homestyle—as well as onion rings and milkshakes.

It was a cute little place—apparently there's one in Provo, too, but I've never heard of them.

I had to take a picture of this sign because they have listed there the "Promo" burger but on their printed menus it's the "Provo" burger. So sad because this was painted last year and they still haven't fixed it. We also thought a lot of the burger names were funny—Rexburger and Hey, Nikki, You're So Fine! in particular.

Their milkshakes were really good—they take an actual piece of pie and then blend it up with ice cream. Andrew got pumpkin pie shake and I got coconut cream pie shake. The girls split a mini-cherry cheesecake shake. Oddly enough, Miriam soon abandoned her milk shake and asked that I instead pass her a cup of ketchup. I'm not even kidding. And it definitely comes from my side of the family.

All in all it was a good weekend, even if our girls were grumpier than all get out by the time we got home. I guess not sleeping will do that to a child.


  1. What a fun place Rexburg seems to be! Maybe it's the people who know how to have fun that makes it, though.

  2. What a great time! I love your pumpkins and Miriam's serious face. She's so cute. The maze looks like a blast though definitely itchy. I'm glad you all had such a fun day!

  3. Oh a dog names Sadie...why am I not surprised :) Haha. It seems like Grace and Rachel are both starting to out grow some of their dog fears! Thank goodness because having a four year old try to scale your body when a dog walks by...such a pain :)