Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Salamander Lake Family Night

Me and my ladies in the ATV, Max rode with the Burts

Last Monday, Sept 16, we had a great night out with Nate Burt and his wife and kids.  We rented a side by side ATV and headed up American Fork Canyon to Tibble Fork and then made our way to a small mountain lake called Salamander Lake. 

Here is a cute video I took after we came home and put the salamanders in an aquarium we had in the garage. 

Believe it or not these little guys are still alive a week or more later!

We had a blast doing this and had to take about a 45 minute ATV ride from the parking lot at Tibble Fork all the way up some pretty treacherous terrain.  If you are not currently aware, Adyson has inherited my ability to worry or have anxiety so she was white knuckled part of the time because we literally were right near sheer cliffs on the way up!

Part of the way up we had to do some pretty legit rock crawling that made the entire ATV lean way sideways etc and even had to maneuver through some deep mud puddles to where water was getting into the floor areas.  It was a great adventure getting up there.

Max riding along with the Burts

Look how tough I think I am

crossing the mud puddles

Nate Burt navigating the trail
Once you get up to the top you see this beautiful mountain lake.  It really is amazing to come out of the trees to see this.

At first we  were worried that maybe we were not going to see any salamanders because Nate said they normally were everywhere but we could not see any!
panoramic view of Salamander Lake
After a few minutes of searching, we started to see a ton of them and the kids quickly removed shoes, rolled up pants and even stripped down to their boxers (max) in order to join the hunt.  We must have seen hundreds and caught 20 or so.

Ady on the salamander hunt

Lucy is even getting involved and enjoying playing with Cameron Burt

I of course had to show off and act like I was eating one!  I didn't though

It started to cool off once the sun was setting so we had a quick picnic with subway sandwiches and then loaded up and headed back down.  I am sure we will be back next spring first thing and a handful of times next summer.  We are so glad we got up there before winter hit us. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Fathers and Sons Campout 2013

Starting the night off with the camp all set up.  Look how pumped Max is already
Max and I attended our 3rd annual fathers and sons camp out this past weekend and had a blast as always.  I seriously think Max looks forward to this overnight trip as much as anything!  For those of you not familiar with the Fathers and Sons, it is a camp out that most LDS (Mormon) congregations do once a year and is sort of a tradition to get all the boys and their dads out for a night in the wilderness.  It is an awesome chance to bond with your son(s) and others in the neighborhood (ward). 

Our campsite. 

We did end up sleeping in a tent though I had some doubts early on due to the rainy weather we had been having.  I went as far to suggest on my facebook wall that I may need to rent a pop up trailer and immediately got called out, so my pride kicked in and I went 100% tent.  The good news was that it only rained for about 5 mins around 3 am or so and we stayed completely dry.

Max insisted on helping me cook, but would not dare eat the squash.  I love that he enjoyed cooking so much with me. I did that all the time growing up with my dad and it was tons of fun.

As will all camp outs, I spent tons of time cooking and was known amongst the fathers as chef Kandell.  We had dutch oven chicken, steak, veggies.  We did hot dogs wrapped in crescent rolls then roasted over the fire that my mother in law Stacy Smoot taught me to make.  Max wanted to do nothing more than roast startbursts over the fire and he went through an entire bag on his own.  He even had them for breakfast saturday morning.

Max roasting starburst for breakfast.

The best thing we men love about camping is none other than FIRE!  I was known as a pyro growing up and am glad to say Max got every bit of that.  As soon as it was dark outside the fires were glowing and Max was jumping from one fire to the next trying to burn anything he could.  I actually witnessed him take a napkin off the lap of a guy he did not even know and attempt to throw it in the fire while this man was roasting a hot dog.  I stopped him just in time and made him apologize, but it was as if he just saw the first burnable thing and grabbed it.  Crazy!

Max and Tommy sporting some headlamps as it got dark

The Pyro Max
Max said he was going to stay up the entire night but at about 11pm or so he was ready to head to bed.  We were able to just barely fit two air mattresses in our little tent and we fell asleep really fast.

I love how pumped Max is in this picture.  Nothing better than a night in a tent with dad!  

So in the morning there was breakfast provided and it was sausage, bacon and pancake ice cream sundaes.  Max loaded up on chocolate syrup and a huge pancake and thought it was the best breakfast ever, well other than the fire melted starburst that is.

In the morning I  picked up camp and he played with other kids and we took off just before noon.  I had a blast and really feel I should do more of this camping stuff with Max and even get the ladies out there next time.  Cannot wait for the next year's Father and Sons!
Max canoeing

Max hiking and "hunting" as he put it

This is the beautiful view we had from where we were.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Adys Big Baptism Weekend

A very special day for the whole family (Ady's baptism)
Our family right outside the church immediately after Ady's baptism

This past weekend was a great weekend in our family!  Our oldest daughter, Adyson got baptized.  In our religion you cannot be baptized until the age of 8 or after and the baptism is done by immersion.  We were so proud that Ady not only understood why she should be baptized, but that she chose to do it also.

It was very special for me to be able to baptize her and also give her a blessing while confirming her a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  Hailey had Ady all dressed in the cutest white dress and she wore a floral crown and just looked like a little Angel that morning. 
Dinner was held at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in SLC, UT.
Telling Grandpa Jim and Grandma Sue thanks for coming all the way out for dinner and the baptism

Back tracking a little bit, Friday night before the Saturday baptism Hailey had planned a very nice dinner at the Joseph Smith building in Salt Lake where she had invited all her brothers and sisters and her parents and my parents and my sister and her husband.  Ady's great grandma Smoot came as did her oldest cousin Easton Lovell (Steve and Lisa's son who was baptized too a few months ago.) Our great friend Bandele also attended.  It was such a nice dinner and a great tradition that Hailey has started.  The point of the dinner is to make Ady (or whoever is getting baptized) to feel special and "older" and to have all those in attendance who would like, to share their feelings about her or baptism etc.  The food was really good but honestly it was being with family that I think means the most.
backyard picnic

So Saturday was the baptism down at our church and we were blessed to have tons of family and friends come and join us.  After the baptism, we went back to our house for a backyard picnic to hang out.  My parents flew in from Ohio which was a special event for Ady and she is so special that even Grandpa Jim made the trek out!  I hope I do not miss anyone, but here is a list of all those who attended:
Ady's immediate family
Shane and Stacy Smoot and all their kids
Great Grandma Hatch and Great Grandma Smoot
Jim and Sue Kandell
The Lovell family
Desatoff family
Kesler Family
Skinrood Family
Tornow Family
Beafus Family
Mabs and her mom and sister

We had a pretty white cake with butterflies and some other really good food to enjoy with each other.  The kids ran all over the outside of the house and the adults kind of chilled if you will in side and it was a very nice day to be with friends and family for sure. As always a special thanks to Hailey for making such a special day more special by taking the time to do so many little things that make the day much more meaningful.  What a great day!

 As parents we hope that Ady will always remember this very special day.  We thank all of our friends and family that came to make it even more special.  She was given a baptism journal that so many people left kind words and thoughts in.  We are very proud of you Ady and love you very much. 
Love Mom and Dad.