If I’m being honest – playing games with kids can be downright painful. Bennett is a master at Sequence for Kids, he has a high winning percentage. He’s even good at Sorry and Life. Hedbanz…not so much. We were playing it this afternoon and right out of the gate, he just starts guessing his card. Am I a sandwich? Am I an elephant? Am I a tree? It didn’t matter how many times I tried to explain the concept of the game, he just kept trying to guess his card.
A couple weeks back he was with the babysitter when I got a text from her. They were playing hedbanz and the babysitter had the bacon card. She kept asking questions and couldn’t figure out what her card was. Am I a food? No. Do I have wheels? No. Do I have a tail? No.
After 10 minutes, she was ready to throw in the towel. She gave up and looked at the card. “I asked you if I was a food!” Bennett looked confused. You’re not a food, tree trunks aren’t a food. She was laughing pretty hard – “Tree trunks?!” Bennett gave her a look like, “Duh – can you not see that is a tree trunk?” “It’s bacon. BACON you silly boy! He shrugged his shoulders, “That’s weird.” We’re going to stick with Sequence for kids!
Long post with lost of Zion pictures: I can’t say enough how much I love this place and I can’t stop taking pictures when I get there!
Our love for the national parks runs deep – but there is an extra special place in our heart for Zion because we spent several summers working there while we were in college. I know that park well. We drove through that park so many times over the course of three summers; day and night. I know each turn, what landmark is around the next bend and trails that weave throughout. The minute I drive into the park, there is this nostalgia that swallows me up. I love Zion.
And that love and appreciation is being passed on to our kids. We spent a whole day in the park last week and it was surprisingly enjoyable. I say surprisingly because with 5 kids in tow most experiences are unpredictable and exhausting. But this day was nothing but rewarding.
The weather was beautiful. We’re used to Zion in the summer with it’s scorching hot sun – but October brought cooler weather which made hiking more enjoyable. We parked at the visitors center and took the shuttle (or the train as Cannon excitedly called it) up the canyon to the very last stop. With Briggs in the chest carrier and Cannon in the backpack carrier we hiked up to the Narrows. The colors and texture of that canyon are captivating. I couldn’t put my camera down.
Once we reached the end of the riverwalk, the kids ran around, skipped rocks and played games. With Briggs sleeping on my chest, I continued to slowly move around as to not disturb him. I watched people, listened to their conversations and engaged in conversations with many people. There was a peace in that canyon that I wanted to bottle up and treasure.
We hiked back out, got back on the shuttle, returned to our car and drove through the park and through one of the tunnels. We parked, got back out and situated and hiked canyon overlook. This was a little more difficult than riverwalk because it wasn’t a paved trail. In fact, its trail was made up of boulders, steep and narrow areas, bridges and such. Bennett did a great job, but the .5 mile hike took some time and we slowly maneuvered the trail. But the view was totally worth it. The kids felt they were on top of the world. If you’re afraid of heights this might not be the hike for you!
You want to know what I learned from this day? We don’t have to wait until the kids get older to have adventures. Will it be easier when they can walk themselves? Absolutely. But we don’t have to wait.
You want to know what else I learned? A lot of people think 5 kids is crazy! Mind blowing. In fact, I wish I could’ve recorded all the comments people made to us and about us when they thought we were out of ear shot. Here’s just a few:
On the trail: Did you see they had 4 kids? No, they had 5! She had one strapped to her chest as well. That’s nuts.
On the shuttle: You don’t think those are all their kids do you? Well, they’re sitting by them, who else would their parents be.
On the trail as we were hiking in a line with one kid, then Steve, then two kids, then me: One, two, three, four. Are you the mom? Yes. Wow you are the mom! Wait, there’s number 5!
On the trail: Wow, you are a brave family!
While the kids were skipping rocks in the narrows, a couple from the Ukraine approached me. “Are those all your kids?” Yes. “Wow. Can I take a picture of you with your baby to show our kids back home?” Sure. “They will be shocked to see a family of your age doing stuff like this. They have this mindset that they can’t do anything because they have kids but you’re proving them wrong, I love it.”
On the trail: Good job mom and dad!
On the trail: Did you see all those kids? They were even carrying two of them.
We had a good chuckle after every comment. Evidently 5 kids is mind blowing to most people. And even more crazy that we would take them hiking for the day! But they were champs. Every single one of them made it an enjoyable experience. And the biggest success indicator is they all want to go back. And I’m pretty sure we’ll be able to make that happen. If you haven’t explored Zion, you are missing out!
We went to Utah last week for our fall break. We made a two day stop in southern Utah to enjoy the beauty of the red rock and our favorite national park, Zion. I strapped this guy to my chest and we walked and hiked and walked some more. We logged many miles that day and Briggs was a champ. He was overly exhausted by the time we boarded the canyon shuttle and I was second guessing our plans to hike with five kids for the day.
But once we started on the path towards the Narrows, the movement, beauty and peace of the area lulled him to sleep. He missed the beautiful fall leaves. The narrowing canyon. The rock skipping. The aggressive squirrels. The trail games. He missed it all. He awoke two hours later as we made our way back out of the canyon. He did manage to stay awake the entire time we hiked canyon overlook and enjoyed it’s majestic view.
Hiking looks good on him. Long car rides on the other hand…not so good. In fact miserable and really bad!
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If you’re looking for a fun gift for a kid or adult – we’ve found the perfect book!
Last year at Christmas time, there was a knock on the door. When the kids opened the door they found a stocking filled with candy and book sitting on the door mat. The book was put under the Christmas tree and somewhat forgotten until after Christmas when we were taking everything down. It was a book. It appeared to be a children’s book, and yet there wasn’t a single picture in the whole book. In fact it’s title is the The Book With No Pictures, written by BJ Novak (who happens to be the “intern” from the old tv show “The Office”).
I thumbed through it before putting it on the bookshelf and quickly realized I needed to read the whole thing. I was sitting on the couch by myself chuckling. When Steve got home, I told him he needed to read it to the kids. They were dying laughing – there’s no plot – but its written creatively.
When my brother came to visit, we had him read the book to the kids. And it was just as funny.
When my dad came – he read it.
When my mom visited, the kids pulled it off the shelf for her to read.
You can see a pattern – my kids think it is pretty funny for every guest in our house to read them this book. And everyone reads so differently that it never gets old.
I’m pretty sure we have 6 recordings of different people reading this book to our kids and every time it gets the best reaction, both from the kids and the person reading the book for the first time.
I’m not sure who left The Book With No Pictures on our doorstep last year, but I thank them. It gets a laugh every single time.
It was this time last year that we were enjoying the beautiful red rock of Moab, Utah and Arches National Park. Our young family of four kids, with my expanding pregnant belly, hiking through the dirt and sagebrush. My older kids climbing up and over rocks and exploring. It was pretty great.
One year later, same fall break, we’re hitting up our favorite national park – Zion. Now with 5 kids in tow, one carried on my chest, one carried on Steve’s back, (We’re ditching the stroller this time around!) I’m sure we’ll get the same crazy looks from tourists, “Are they all your kids?” Yes they are and our love of national parks runs deep. So much so, we want them to experience them over and over again. Even if its not convenient or ideal – and we’re sticking to easy hikes – no angel’s landings for this group anytime soon!
Also – Don’t forget those with fourth graders can get a free national park pass for the year. We took advantage of it last year and wish we had it again this year!
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