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[Comments] (1) Downtown SLC: Today we had a fun (and free!) day in downtown Salt Lake City. First we went to the Salt Lake Art Center to see Contemporary Masters. Yes, we played mini golf on art. For free. Some the holes were really interesting, and some were downright impossible.

Next, we walked to the Gallivan Center, which wasn't really interesting to see. Dalton fell asleep in the stroller, a sheer miracle. We walked down to Temple Square and ate lunch at the Nauvoo Cafe. We peeked in the South Visitor's Center, then hopped back on TRAX. We went to the Gateway and visited the Planetarium. The kids walked on the moon and Mars! Well, Dalton crawled and rock-climbed. Then we put on Maggie's swimming suit and let her play in the fountain.

We got Orange Julius and walked back to our car. Then we drove around Federal Heights trying to find the U. Apparently you can drive right up to it. They don't make you work for it like the Y does. Still, Maggie enjoyed seeing it.

We had a great time, got some exercise and fresh air (luckily, it wasn't too hot today) and saw lots of sights. And everything was free, except for the food!

[Comments] (2) Maggie in the Sky with Pluto: While browsing the children's non-fiction section of the library for dinosaur books, Maggie saw one about planets. It appeared to be the only space book remotely at her level, so we got it. While reading this morning, she says, "Let's buy me some rings so I can go up in the sky like Saturn." Dream on, little girl. The dino obsession continues to be in full swing. "Mom, where's my parasaurolophus?"

Poor John is very ill. He has an ear infection that gave him vertigo which made him nauseous which made him throw up so much he got dehydrated and his muscles seized up. I took him to instacare and they gave him an IV and prescriptions for anti-nausea and anti-dizziness. He is slowly recovering. They said it could be 2 weeks.

Glorious Things are Sung of Zion: Tomorrow we are heading on another many-expenses-paid trip to California. We are spending two nights in southern Utah to visit Zion National Park. We're looking forward to hiking and seeing bridges designed and built by my great-grandfather Lewis Jotham Whitney. With John's vertigo and our child-carrying off-balance, we will be avoiding all hikes labeled "steep drop".

Next week, John will be working, and I will be taking the kids to Disneyland and the Aquarium of the Pacific. Hopefully it doesn't pour rain like it did during our last visit to California. I am trying to decide which will be more difficult: Infant Dalton who sleeps in his carseat in the stroller, and really a lot of rain; or Crazy Dalton who sleeps pretty much only in his crib, and tries to leap out of my arms, but nice weather. And probably tons more people. Chances are good that I won't be breastfeeding on the freeway during this trip at least.

Maggie tells me we are going on all the rides she doesn't like (or remember) "just on one time" and rides like Winnie-the-Pooh "we're going just on lot of times." She intends to ride Gadget's Go-Coaster by herself. That's the only ride Dalton is too small for that she can ride alone.

Did I mention Dalton leaping out of arms, baby slings, and grocery carts? Mer.

[Comments] (1) Not Zion: Our trip south is well underway. We drove to Southern Utah on Friday and stopped at Kolob Canyon (part of Zion National Park) on the way. It is a short scenic drive, with a short scenic hike at the end.

Saturday morning we were up early to beat the crowds and the heat. We took the shuttle bus (required but awesome) to the end of the canyon where we did the 2 mile Riverwalk hike along the Virgin River until the canyon narrows so much the river fills it. John and Maggie continued barefoot into the river a ways, their favorite part of the day. Dalton’s favorite part of the day was also on this hike – rock squirrels. He loves animals and squealed with delight – and lunged – every time saw one, which was quite often. We also saw four deer and some tiny Zion snails on the damp cliff walls.

Our next hike was short and steep to Weeping Rock. To shelter under the rock overhang we had to sneak under fat drops of water falling from above. Water seeping through the sandstone has been found as old as 4,000 years. That’s how long it took it to seep through. How do they know how old water is?

The last hike we did in Zion was to Lower Emerald Pool. The pool was somewhat disappointing, but this 1 mile trail was my favorite and Dalton took a nap in his sling.

Our next stop was the Human History Museum. Dalton got to crawl around finally, and Maggie was made a Little Junior Ranger. I was very pleased watching her interact with a non-family member adult. She really knew her stuff about the plants and animals we’d seen and the rules about what not to do in the park. She did get one question wrong (depending on your point of view): When the Ranger asked where she was from, Maggie looked at her for a moment then said, “Gramma Papa’s house.”

We made it back to the Visitor’s Center where we bought Dalton a Junior Ranger hat. I lost his hat on one of our hikes, but the fact is, he wouldn’t wear it anyway. The Jr. Ranger hat is much more difficult to remove.

We drove the Zion-Mt. Carmel highway, including the Pine Creek Bridge built by my great-grandfather Lewis Jotham Whitney, and the famous Zion-Mt. Carmel tunnel. There was construction so the tunnel wasn’t the only 1-way road we had to wait at, but it was a beautiful drive. We even came across a herd of bighorn sheep climbing the rocks at one of our waits. The red and white marbled scenery dotted with blue-green shrubs made me think of Mars.

We drove back to our hotel through LaVerkin, which boasts the best tasting water. Picky-water Me was surprised to discover that the water out of the hotel sink was actually really good!

We went swimming both nights. Dalton loves the water as always, and Maggie surprised us by jumping right in, splashing, kicking and blowing bubbles with her face in the water.

On Sunday, we left the hotel at 8:30 am – 7:30 am in NV and CA. So we decided to stop at Snow Canyon State Park northwest of St. George. We did 2 short, rock scrambly hikes on the East (shady) side of the canyon, Jenny’s Canyon and Pioneer Names. We also stopped at the outlets in Primm, but all we bought was a smoothie.

We made it to California safe. We’re staying at a fancy hotel. Disneyland tomorrow. I how many compliments our kids get on vacation. Dalton made friends with busloads of people at a time with his friendly smile and wave. He is a real charmer.

Title refers to Brigham Young's opinion of Zion Canyon.

[Comments] (1) A Running Start: Well, two days of Disneyland with the kids and I am Worn Out. I guess I was kidding myself in my comparison to our last visit when I mentioned Dalton leaping out of my arms and nice weather. Dalton has done plenty of leaping, but the weather is record-breaking high temperatures. Maggie and I drank 6 bottles of water the first day. I've given to letting Dalton crawl around, when possible, and he's been rewarded with little sores on the tops of his big toes. He also discovered that the doors to the little cabin on the Story Book Canal Boats open, and tried to swim toward a bobbley bird in "it's a small world". He is my number one compliment-getter though (stroller comes in second place). Everyone loves him, and no one has complained when he grabbed an arm, or even pulled hair. He is just so friendly and gives everyone a big smile.

Dalton loves just about everything, but he particularly enjoyed the Ferris wheel and it's a small world. Maggie LOVED the Playhouse Disney show, and of course Winnie-the-Pooh. She still says we are only going on the scary rides once and the "happy rides on lot of times." Even after two whole days, we've barely had time to go on anything twice, so we're still working on that. The dark parts scare her, even on the Nemo submarines, and she did NOT like the Haunted Mansion.

My feet hurt so we're taking a Disney break tomorrow. John is taking the morning off and we're going to the beach. Then I am doing laundry and taking the kids to the Aquarium of the Pacific.

[Comments] (3) And Baby Makes 2: A rash broke out all over Dalton today - just a year after Maggie got roseola. That virus sure is tricksy - Fever, crying, loss of appetite, baby gets better, then, "aha!" a rash. So that's what it was all about.

I think he might have also had a febrile seizure. Our first night in California, he fell off the bed, then passed out. He was limp, non-responsive and his eyes rolled into his head. We called 911, but he came around and started acting ok. That was right before he got sick.


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