Sunday, August 9, 2009

Airplanes, Towboats, and Fresh Mountain Air

This past month we've been all over the place.  As Tiff previously posted, we headed out to Utah and California during a plant shutdown, and marvelous times ensued.  I was able to go backpacking in the mighty Wasatch, we blessed little Kayla, went camping with the whole family up American Fork Canyon, and it was pretty much awesome.  Kayla did great except for a 5-minute spurt at 2 in the morning when she was screaming bloody murder while asleep (haven't yet figured that one out). We then hopped on a jet-plane to California where we wake-boarded, kayaked, got sunburnt, and had a fantastic time hanging out with family.  Kayla did amazingly well with the flights, so we weren't too much of a problem to our fellow passengers. Here are a few pics from the trip:

Kayla loved camping...
Tiana loved Banana-Boats...
Gavin loved Otter-pops...
Heidi got in the way of the picture of the tents (just kidding Heid, this was intended to be a picture of you and it's beautiful)...
And Luke loved the fire!
If it's cooked on a stick you know it's good.  
Noblest of Labradors:  Jax.

Try this, I dare you.

I literally got like  foot of air on this one.  Next up: 720 baby!
Tiff was unhappy because I had to push her off the boat.  She thought the water was cold or something.
She quickly got over it and waved to her fans.
The whole family!

When we got back, a co-worker tipped me off to an open-house at the local municipal airport, and even though we only caught the tail-end (pun intended), it was pretty sweet.  Apparently some dude in Peoria owns a circa WWII dive-bomber (correct me if I'm wrong) and he was buzzing the airport and stuff, which was pretty sweet.  I almost thought he was going to crash on one of his approaches, and I was wishing I was filming it so I could send it in to one of those "Most Extreme" shows and be famous.  But then he didn't crash, which was good really, but I'm still not famous.

Then this last week the largest towboat in the U.S. came up the Peoria River and docked on the riverfront.  Naturally, we couldn't let this occasion pass us by, so we went down and did a self-guided tour.  It's five stories high, 241 feet long, and named the "Motor Vessel Mississippi".  Did you know it's the 5th vessel to hold the title Mississippi?  I know I didn't, until I did the tour that is.  FYI, don't worry if you have no idea what a towboat is, if you don't live by a big river you would have no reason to.  And don't confuse it with a tugboat, because it's totally different.  
Oh, so you want to know what a tow-boat is then? Well I'll tell you.  When they dredge the big rivers to keep the waterways clear for the barges and ships that go up and down them, the dirt they pull up has to go somewhere.  Enter the towboat.  The dredges fill flat barges with dirt, and then the towboat takes them away.  Kind of like a dump-truck on the water.  This one can tow up to 16 barges full of dirt, which is a lot more than your standard dump-truck in case you were wondering.  You can see two of the barges lashed together in one of the pics for a frame of reference, you'll notice the people look like ants except they're bipedal and don't have six legs or an exoskeleton.  The Captain's name was Pete.  He seemed like a good captain and did an interview with the local news station and everything (you can see the interview in the picture). We also learned to not confuse the Captain with the Pilot.  We saw the Pilot up in the wheel-house, and when asked what his job was he said "I steer the boat, except when the Captain wants to 'cause he steers it sometimes too".  Also, if you were wondering, the boat is powered by 3 CAT diesels and power is generated by 3 more.  Which of course gave me a little yellow-pride.  All in all it was pretty cool, and if the Motor Vessel Mississippi ever comes to a river near you, I suggest you take the tour.
See the ant-people?

The beautiful Peoria Skyline behind us, we're on the top deck.

Kayla realized she loved sucking daddy's thumb.  When the bink falls on the deck of a ship, you don't just throw it back in her mouth.
Especially when you're on the Peoria River.  The sign reads:  "Caution: Combined sewer overflow. diluted sewage may flow into the river here during and after storms..."

Monday, August 3, 2009


We had the opportunity to head out West for almost two weeks in July. During our time in Utah, Kayla was able to receive her name and a blessing by Braden. I am very grateful to have a husband who worthily holds the priesthood and can perform that blessing. He is a wonderful father and husband and he did a great job.

Our little family!

I'm thankful that my parents and siblings were able to fly out from California for the blessing.

Many people in Braden's family were able to be there too to participate in the blessing. It was so nice to be able to spend time with everyone.

My amazing friends and their husbands came from all over the place to share this day with us.

A huge thanks to Pam and Reed for hosting everyone. We had quite the group at their home. It was a wonderful day and I am so grateful to everyone who came and supported us.

This gospel is amazing and I know that we have eternal families. My life is filled with so much joy and I thank my Father in Heaven every day for the many blessings He has given me.