Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween 2013

This year we decided to dress up like some of our favorite toys/video game characters. Hope you enjoy!

Check out the attention to detail. . .even his shoes have Legos on them.

Inky has a head umbrella on to give his costume a ghost-like shape.

Game over, Inky!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Dirty Dash 2013

Squeaky clean start!
We've got our matching t-shirts and game faces on. That must mean its time for Team RhodesRule to run the Dirty Dash at Soldier Hollow! Here is a small sampling of the obstacle course. They didn't have photo stations at some of our favorite obstacles, though. We loved sliding across Hogbales "Dukes of Hazard" style and army crawling under logs through the Hog Wash.

Getting out of the Pig Pen. . .

 Down the Slop 'n Slide. . .

 Through the Mud Pit. . .
 To the Filthy Finish!
Even after hosing down in icy cold water after the event, this is what the bottom of our washing machine looked like after doing our laundry. But it was totally worth it!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Road Trip: Yosemite National Park!

Yosemite National Park has been on our short list of places that we wanted to go for quite some time. Last Friday while we were eating lunch Andy asked, "Did you know that Yosemite is only an 11 hour drive?" He had a small window between summer blockbusters and we decided this was our window of opportunity. So we packed up the car and began the 650 mile drive.

Somewhere Andy saw that US-93 was nicknamed "The Loneliest Highway." That was a pretty accurate description. It was a long straight road with no towns to speak of, no billboards or anything else to look at, no cell phone service and no one else around. We drove for 160 miles before we finally passed another car; two cars to be precise. They were old antique cars and the drivers were wearing aviator goggles. For a moment we thought we had traveled back in time!


We started our first day in the park at Bridal Veil Falls. The instant we set foot in the parking lot Makenzie said she didn't feel good and puked all over. (Note to self: keep Dramamine in the car at all times to prevent this kid from getting car sick.) It was kind of hard to see the actual waterfall because of the position of the sun and all of the mist coming off the falls.

After that we headed to Yosemite Village, grabbed some lunch and rode the shuttle to the Vernal Falls Mist Trail. Brayden was complaining before we even hit the trail that his feet hurt because it was standing room only on the shuttle. He whined. And whined. and WHIIIINED. But as soon as we got to the staircase he got totally excited and basically ran up the whole thing, which is no easy fete—there are between 600-700 granite stairs cut into the mountain on the Mist Trail! The scenery was spectacular on this moderate 3-mile hike!


The view looking down from the top of the falls.

What goes up 700 stairs must come down! the twins JUMPED down many of the stairs, and scared the crap out of me in the process.

The drive out of the park was not so spectacular. We did see a bear, but the sun was blinding, making it difficult to see anything. We couldn't get cell phone service to make our GPS work, and we had a difficult time getting to our vacation rental based on the printed directions. Mapquest failed to tell us that there were two roads with the same name or that you had to have a special access card to get through some of the gates in the lake community. We spent over 2 hours in the car trying to find a house that should have only been an hour away.


We ate breakfast on the back porch with a few visitors. They seemed to like the golf course grass.

After that we got back into the car (insert groans from everybody here!) and went back to Yosemite Valley where we walked the short path to the Lower Falls.

Then we hit the switchbacks (60 of them to be precise—insert more groans here) to get a close up view of the Upper Falls. Unfortunately, it was slow going and we ran out of time.

Brayden, Makenzie and I turned around after enjoying the view from Columbia Rock so that we could make it back for the Junior Ranger talk so that they could earn their badges. They learned a lot about bears and even got to touch a real skull from a black bear.

Andy and Lexi went up the trail a little farther to see the falls and met us at the Visitor's Center a little later.

We headed back to the house we rented, had dinner and then walked to the lake that was only about a block away. The kids had a great time wading in the water and splashing around.

Then they warmed up in the hot tub at the house.


After breakfast, Brayden asked if we could go swimming in the lake since they had so much fun the night before. This wasn't on our agenda, but we decided to let them do it.

Then we drove to Hetchy Hetchy and hiked to Wapama Falls. This was the hike I was looking forward to the most. It had lots of points of interest along the way—bridges, a tunnel, stairs, etc.—that would keep the kids motivated and the pictures I had seen of the falls were amazing. The terrain was relatively easy with very little elevation gain; yet, this hike was full of ups and downs!

  • DOWN: Lexi fell down in the tunnel just minutes into the hike and scraped up her hands and knees. 
  • DOWN: Lexi tripped a little later and hit her already sore knee. 
  • UP: We spotted a mama bear and her two cubs and spent a while watching them.

  • DOWN: Andy slipped on a wet rock while carrying Lexi. Somehow he managed to stay on his feet, but one of our cameras fell out of his backpack. Another hiker saw it and went to get it for Andy, but in doing so slipped on the same rock, fell and slid down it. 
  • DOWN: Brayden tripped on a tree root and scraped up his chin and his knee. He wanted to go home, but we were so close to the waterfall we didn't want to turn around. I pulled the bladder our of my camel back to ice his chin and carried him on my back the rest of the way. He fell asleep almost immediately. Nothing like 40+ pounds of dead weight to make a hot hike even hotter!
  • UP: Wapama falls was AMAZING! Everyone enjoyed cooling off in the refreshing mist and taking in the scenery.  

Do princesses wear hiking boots? This one does!

That wasn't the end of the roller coaster, however. On the way back down, Brayden started complaining that his stomach hurt. Since our trip began with vomit in the parking lot from his twin sister, it was only fitting that our trip ended with vomit in the parking lot of the Evergreen Lodge where we stopped for dinner. Unfortunately, the vomit didn't end there. He also threw up in the car when we were driving out of the park. Nothing like trying to clean up that mess with Wet Ones and napkins on a road with virtually no shoulder in total darkness. We made our way to a campground to finish cleaning up, where I backed into a pole that I couldn't see because it was pitch black. It was after 1 am when we finally got to the hotel room in a town on the other side of the park where we planned to spend the night before driving the last 8 hours back to Utah. Everyone was exhausted.


We had quite an adventure, but we were all glad to get back home and sleep in our own beds. Brayden decided that we shouldn't get in the car and go anywhere for at least two weeks. I think that is an excellent plan!