Monday, September 28, 2009

Peru Highlights...

Another major highlight of our trip was visiting Machu Picchu. We arranged to stay at the little town at the base of Machu Picchu (Aguas Calientes) the night before which proved to be our golden ticket. You see, there is a large mountain that guests can climb within Machu Picchu, but you have to have a permit and they only give out 400 permits a day. So we woke up early (4:30am) and went and stood in line to take the bus up to the base of the mountain. Buses started to depart at 5:30. 

We were on the 9th bus of the morning (clearly a whole lot of people had the same idea as us to get up early to ensure they get a chance to climb the mountain!) Once we got off the bus at the base we then had to stand in a really long line to get in. Finally we get to the spot where they were handing out the tickets and we got numbers #324 and #325 which was only made possible because we stayed the night in Aguas. 

Most other tourists don't stay there, instead they take the early morning train which drops them off at 7:30 in Aguas and then they hop on the bus for a half hour to take them all the way to the base, arriving at the base at 8am. By then the tickets were long gone. Boy were we
 pumped to have the tickets. As soon as we entered the park we made our way to the entrance of the hike (Wayna Picchu). In short it was the hardest hike I've ever done (including all that I've done in Zion, Bryce and the Grand Canyon) but it also had the biggest reward. There's a sign before entering the hike saying you need to be physically fit to complete it. They weren't kidding. It was hard. It started out easy but quickly turned to stone staircase which just kept getting steeper and steeper. Until it looked like this:And then this:We would walk just a couple stairs and then stop to rest as we completed switchback after switchback. At the time I had no clue we were actually climbing to the top. The very top. But the stairs kept taking us higher and higher so we climbed until we reached the very tip top of the mountain, complete with a couple large boulders that looked like this:
And finally when we reached the top there was this sense of exhaustion and accomplishment. It felt really good. 
And we were able to just sit and enjoy ourselves as we looked down on a city created centuries ago, with such precision.Unfortunately for us, there had been a fire the day before which left this haze over the valley. In fact we both found ash on our shoulders, and continued to see ash fall the whole day we were there. So at first we couldn't see the city below us at all. We stayed up at the top for over an hour and by the time we started to hike back down it had cleared enough to take some pictures, but still a little hazy.
There were also the remains of a city at the peak of this mountain. We were able to spend some time exploring the area without a whole crowd of tourists which was really nice.

The mountain in the back ground is the Wayna Picchu. What's interesting is you can't really see any of the stairs or the city at the top of this mountain because it's so high. It just looks like any other mountain. 

After our hike we walked around the city quite a bit, went on a tour and really just enjoyed our time. This was the last day before we flew home so it definitely was the climax of our trip. It was everything I had envisioned and more. The hike, although my legs were jello, was amazing. Totally made the trip. Hopefully one day we'll be able to take our children. Everyone should see it. Truly a work of art.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Happy Birthday Hunter...

Hunter is one year old. Already. So quick.

We had a birthday cake shoot yesterday to celebrate and to say that Hunter absolutely loved the cake would be an understatement. At first he used the candle as a spoon and fed himself the frosting. He then got to the cake and he got a little messy. This mess is 100% Hunter. We didn't touch it, or smear it, Hunter did. He ate for about 15 minutes and then you could tell he was getting bored because he started to try and crawl around. Hence the handprints of frosting.

At one year...
Has absolutely no interest in walking. He doesn't even like to stand up holding our hands.

Goes up and down all stairs. His new favorite trick is going really fast down the stairs and then laughing at the bottom.

Loved having the attention of a grandma and a nana for a whole week. (did surprisingly well while we were gone)

Loves bagels and eats one every day.

Starting to really like the toy idea, especially his cars.

Likes to say daddy much more than mommy. I'm working on him though!

Went to Nauvoo and although he didn't sleep well, he was a champ for all the tours.

Loves when daddy gets home. Hallie always makes a big deal when dad comes home and Hunter is totally picking up on it. It's cute.

He has great wings in the back of his hair and I don't have the guts to cut them off yet, I really like them!

He has a couple teeth now, two on the bottom with another coming through and four on top.

Nothing calms him better than a sippy cup of milk.

He still really loves his pacifier and I'm not ready to take it away, but I think we just might have to do it.

Has a love/hate relationship with Hallie already. For the most part he really loves and adores her, but she's pretty rough with him and makes him cry multiple times in the day. Steve and I can't wait for him to start walking just so he has a better chance of getting away from her.

He really likes piano music its the next best thing to a sippy cup of milk.

Really enjoys throwing a tantrum and does it frequently. He throws his body backwards as hard as he can, and then cries because it hurts. Pretty soon he'll start to see the correlation.

He just keeps getting older. He makes us laugh every day.

We love you Hunter.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Funny comment...

Kara: Lets get dressed so we can go play with Kate.
Hallie: What Kate?
Kara: Kate, as in Sam and Kate
Hallie: Are we going to drive there or take an airplane?
Kara: Drive.
Hallie: Is it Kaytlin, like the one in our pretend family?
Kara: (Trying to think of who is in our "pretend family") No, it's just Kate.
Hallie: I really like her mom.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Peru Highlights...

One of my favorite Peru moments was paragliding over the coast line the first day we were there. We had been walking up the coast and I mentioned to Steve that I would love to try it. He wasn't so keen on the idea but decided that it would be fun for me to try it. Of course I was reluctant to do it without Steve, but I also wasn't going to let the opportunity pass me by. So up I went. It was beautiful. It was an unusually clear day which doesn't happen very often, so you could see the whole valley. We traveled on the coastline for a while and then my guide took me over the city and then back out over the ocean. It was awesome. Such a cool feeling to be floating above the city buildings, watching traffic move slowly below, the waves crashing against the coastline. As soon as we landed I went running over to Steve and he was already getting a helmet on to go up himself. After he saw that I didn't die, he figured he'd give it a try! :) It was a great way to start the trip.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Summer Moments...

This evening after we put Hunter to bed, Hallie requested both Steve and I go jump with her on the trampoline, which we frequently do after dinner.

So we jumped and jumped and jumped. The sun started to set, the stars started to appear. We played "fireball", "duck, duck, goose", performed "tricks" we were having a good time, but it was getting late. Steve suggested we go inside and get her ready for bed. But lying on the trampoline, watching new stars appear every minute, enjoying the absolutely beautifully perfect weather I couldn't break away from the moment. I disregarded the thought of how awful Hallie would go to bed if we waited any longer and I suggested we stay out just a bit longer. Besides, summer is only so long, and Hallie is young for such a short time. So we jumped some more and played more games. As it got really dark we told Hallie stories of us as children spending nights on the trampoline. We sang songs as we lay admiring stars. It was wonderful. It was the kind of night you want to bottle up and save forever. I like those nights.

Hopefully I can remind Hallie when she's older, that at one point in her life spending the perfect night jumping on the trampoline was all she needed!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

We came...we saw...we conquered...

We're back. Exhausted. Trying to get back to normal life (aka waking up to children wanting breakfast, dirty diapers, real life.) I took my mom to the airport last night, so it's back to just our little family. I really like the extra help. We had Steve's parents here before we left and my mom here after, the kids have loved have grandparents around, much more so than their parents.

Peru was amazing. It was everything I thought it would be and more. It was mostly up, of course mingled with a few downs, which is to be expected. I'm still trying to get caught up on a number of things, and pictures are one of them.

This picture is of Steve standing at the very tip of Wayna picchu, which is the mountain that overlooks the Incan village - Machu Picchu. We were one of the 400 lucky visitors that day to climb the mountain. It was tough. Our legs were exhausted after climbing stair after stair. But we made it and it was so worth it.

Stay tuned...
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