Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Wasp Nest

We had some nasty run-ins with wasps this summer.  It first happened when I was mowing the lawn in the front yard, I think.  I felt a terrible burning, stabbing pain in my hip.  And the thing is, the pain lasted a good 30-seconds at the same level.  When I looked at the spot I instantly knew it was a wasp sting, or some similar insect. 

The second instance came when we were playing crochet in the front yard.  Sophia suddenly yelped in pain and covered one of her eyes.  I know realize it must have been VERY painful because it was in the thin skin right below the eye.  And if it burned/stung like mine did for several seconds, I'm surprised she didn't howl more than she did.  Tough girl.

Her eye swelled to where it was open just a sliver.  I know I took a picture but can't find it.  Poor thing.

We started looking in the ground for a nest.  At one of the ball fields I had seen wasps going into a small hole in the ground, so we thought this might be the same thing.  But we never found anything.  We started avoiding outdoor activities in the front yard. 

At the end of summer Matt was in the front yard doing something and found the nest.  It wasn't in the ground, but from a branch in one of our trees.  He cut off the branch and burned the nest in the backyard. 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

US Traveling 2015

It may be time for me to hand over blogging responsibilities to Matteo.  When we were not far from home he announced that he had the opening idea for our blog to document our summer travels.  I didn't realize he thought about our blog so much ;) ...

5880 miles
23 days
14 states (MD, WV, PA, OH, IN, IL, MO, KS, CO, UT, WY, SD, MN, IA)
3 family reunions
2 national monuments (Gateway Arch, Mount Rushmore)
1 temple open house (Indianapolis)

Back in April I went out on a limb and suggested we drive to Utah this summer instead of fly.  Matt's learned by now if he gives me an inch I take at least a mile.  He didn't seem too keen on the idea, but allowed my dreaming mind to go wild.  After back and forth and figuring out logistics we decided to actually do it.  And now that we've been home a few days I'm already planning a different route to take when we do it again (surprise! Matt:)).

No, seriously, it was better than either of us ever anticipated!  Our children traveled exceptionally well and we had less than a handful of complaints - no exaggeration.  So join us for the recap!

We decided to put into practice the idea of not traveling on Sunday if possible, but that meant if we wanted to make our Thursday morning family reunion breakfast time, we'd have to make up some travel somewhere.  So Monday morning, just after midnight, we woke up our kids and piled into the van.  This was a brilliant idea.  Everyone was excited for the first hour and then slowly, one by one, fell back asleep for the next several hours.  Matt will fondly look back on driving through the foggy hills of West Virginia.  :)

During the entire trip Matt and I would trade off driving every 2-5 hours or so, and those would be our bathroom breaks.  This wouldn't have been possible with smaller children, but I think we hit the timing just right with our two 9-year olds, 7 year old and 4 year old.

Once again, I can't say enough what good troopers they were during all of this.  I think part of it was preparation - we told them we'd be in the van for a very loooonnnnggg time, part was the travel books we'd made, part was our van's dvd player :), and part was blessings from heaven.

St. Louis, Missouri was a first destination.  We made it there by late-afternoon and were able to secure a 5:30 boarding time for the Gateway Arch. 

It was smotheringly hot - 97, I think.  The humidity wasn't as high as MD's, but it was still present and made us thankful for the air conditioned visitor's center.                 
 To go up the arch you ride on these egg-like enclosures that seat 5.  We were able to fit all six of us with Joshua riding on my lap.
  Some of us had to take deep breaths at the top to get used to the idea of being 630 feet up in the air, but the site was pretty spectacular.  The little slice of windows show the city below on one side, and the Mississippi River on the other. 
This picture with Joshua looking out the window actually shows the arch's shadow on the river.  Pretty cool!