Spring Break Part I: Biking, Swimming, and Pioneer Park

We had so much fun with the kids in St. George over Spring break last year that we decided to do it again.  (Pssst.  I think we did it even better this year!  No one threw up and I didn't have to change a gazillion bed sheets, so that's definitely a win.)  The warm sunshine of southern Utah did not disappoint.  In fact, please notice how often my sun-starved boys laid on the rocks like lizards to soak it up!  We couldn't have asked for better weather for playing and exploring.  There is so much to do in the St. George area.  I feel like we could visit every year for a decade or more and never get to it all.  We had so much fun.  We did a variation of hiking, biking, swimming, and eating of ice cream every single day; AKA Nelson Heaven.  It was hard to come home!  It was wonderful to be able to leave all of the chores, responsibilities, and gray gusty skies behind for a carefree week of quality time with my loves.  I am honestly one lucky and spoiled girl.  I'm feeling so much gratitude for this special week.

Also, just to be clear, there were times during this trip when Bron and I would look and each other and ask, "Why did we bring them along, again?"  Vacationing with kids still requires parenting.  Kids can be such turds.  They whined and fought and didn't listen at times.  So in turn, Bron and I would get frustrated, stressed, and sometimes yell.  Yup.  You name the emotion and it probably happened somewhere along the line.  So yeah, I'm pretty sure that makes us a normal family.  

Now on to the pictures, details, and stories!

We rented a three bedroom townhouse in Washington, UT.  We would totally stay again!  I think majority of the neighborhood homes were used as vacation rentals.  The home itself was clean and comfortable and spacious.  The boys had an entire drawer of movies to choose from to watch.  There was a space for doing laundry.  And the kitchen had everything in it we could possibly need for preparing and eating meals.  (Such a life saver on our wallet and sanity with three kids after a busy day!)  Best of all, it had a garage for storing all of our bikes!  It truly felt like a home away from home.  Vacation done right.                    

^^Conrad getting a sip of water from the back of the truck parked outside of our townhome.^^

Jumping on his bed the first morning.  I placed pillows along the sides of the mattress to keep Conrad from rolling out.  I didn't need to worry though; kid played so hard during the day that he didn't even move at night!

Upon arriving Sunday evening, Conrad could feel the energy as we explored the townhome.  "I essited (excited)!!!" he exclaimed with a shiver.  It was the cutest thing.  I love this kid and his two year old enthusiasm.

^^They're watching the end of Sandlot.  You know, when the dog is chasing Benny around town.  Intense.^^

First activity of the trip: mountain biking!  We headed out to a part of Jem trail that Bron thought the boys could do.  Wow, did they conquer!  I am so proud of Jed and Levi.  Last year's mountain biking adventure was fraught with tears and wailing, but this year was a 180* difference.  They rolled down some pretty technical terrain with smiling faces.  Yesss!  It was so fun to experience that with them.  I rode the first half of the trail with Jed and Levi and then traded off with Bron.  I took the truck and our third child down to meet them at the end of the trail.  And I'm glad I did because I would have had an anxiety attack if I were there with them.  Apparently, the boys rode along a cliffside waterfall!  Very neat.  

^^My shirt says, "Support wildlife.  Raise boys."  Very appropriate, I think.^^
^^There they go!  Notice Levi's rock on sign he's making.  Haha.^^
^^The terrible two, "Nooo!" that I caught on camera.  He didn't want to follow me up the trail or something?  Can't remember because everything non-logical makes him upset these days.^^
^^First lizard on a rock picture of the whole trip.  Soaking up the sun!  It's instinctual.^^
^^I LOVE this snapshot of my four boys all lined up with their bikes.  I hope there are many more great adventures ahead.^^
^^Bron's mini me.  This one is special to me too.^^

One of the best perks about the neighborhood we rented our townhouse in were the heated pools!  We visited nearly every day.  There were two pools, one of which had a waterfall that the boys had a blast throwing a football through over and over one afternoon.  Both pools had very shallow kiddie ends.  And of course, there were two hot pools as well for warming up.  It made our wet treks home not feel cold.  It's still only Spring, after all!

Jed can swim pretty well, but Levi is in that almost-there-but-will-totally-drown stage of learning to swim.  We made him wear arm floaties this trip just for his safety.  And Conrad?  Well, he's our fearless water baby.  We keep a close eye on him.  He held up both arms and exclaimed, "HALLOWEEN!" before leaping.  I have no idea where that came from, but yes, I suppose it's scary.  But more funny.  Conrad jumped boldly into the water over and over again.  He even purposefully kept his face in the water and held his breath!  What two year old does that?  He's crazy and we love him for it.      

^^Everybody catching some air!^^

After dinner Monday evening, we visited Pioneer Park.  I think the red rock unique to southern Utah is so pretty, especially in the Spring.  The green pops against the red so well!  And don't get me started with the blue skies.  It's a colorful dream.  I love it!  We explored and climbed across the rocks in the park.  Every big hole or crevice in the rocks we'd come across, Conrad would call it a "room".  "My new room?" he'd ask.  I'm not sure he'd enjoy sleeping there but it was funny.  

^^A tiny slot canyon!^^
^^Playing peek-a-boo inside the holes in the rock.^^
^^All three boys fit into this hole!  Lol.^^
^^Looks like a good place to curl up for the night, doesn't it?^^
^^The chimney of an old home the pioneers made using the red rock.^^

This place was neat!  It was an old home the pioneers built using the natural rock formations when they first arrived in the area.  Impressive!

^^Crossing the bridge to get to the top of Dixie Rock and for a beautiful view of the valley!^^
^^My sun soaking lizards.  This one makes me laugh.^^

Our nightly ritual: ice cream sundaes.  This was all Bron's idea and I think he's brilliant.  It made us remember a moment way back when we were dirt poor college students in New York.  We dreamed of being able to afford a fridge full of ice cream and all the fancy toppings.  We swore we'd eat a bowl full every night.  Well, now that we can afford it financially, our waist lines can't afford it!  How's that for irony?  But it was fun to live out the dream for a week.  

^^Happy sticky ice cream faces^^

Spring break adventures to be continued...

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