September

September is still summer (mostly), right? That would explain why my "slow-down" month wasn't a slow-down at all. Labor Day weekend we went camping for three days, the next was Dave's birthday, the next we went to Wyoming for various family affairs, the next was the Star Valley Temple open house (again in Wyoming), and the next was a visit from Chris and Co. to see the elk in Rocky Mountain National Park and to watch general conference. Somehow I have more pictures of the stuff in between, but that's good too!

LABOR DAY CAMPOUT

Those three days of camping can mostly be summed up thus: relentlessly hot or pouring rain with thunder and lighting. I can't say I enjoyed the camping very much, as the weather was uncooperative and the location was dependent on Dave's hunting license, which made for a less-than-picturesque camp sight. Nonetheless, the boys were happy to be outside and ride the four-wheeler around. The highlight was definitely the day we went to nearby Vernal and visited Dinosaur National Monument. The wall of embedded dinosaur bones is amazing, and I was definitely more impressed with it now than when I was seven. I kept with tradition and bought both boys a toy dinosaur, which was probably the most memorable part for them. They mostly ran around and got scolded for climbing the exhibits.

 Finn, like his brother, adores the outdoors.

Finn, like his brother, adores the outdoors.

 Asher lounging on the leg bone of something prehistoric.

Asher lounging on the leg bone of something prehistoric.

 Finn posing in front of the wall of bones.

Finn posing in front of the wall of bones.

FullSizeRender (52).jpg

DAVE'S BIRTHDAY

Dave's big 3-3 was a low-key affair, as he prefers. I made him a gluten-free cake that the boys were clearly thrilled with.

 The next day, Asher was overcome with temptation.  Me, preparing to change Finn's diaper and hearing a disturbance: "Asher, what are you getting into?" Asher sprinting into view with his face covered in frosting: "Nuffing, Mama! I not doing anyfing!" Me, assessing the damage to the remaining cake: "That was bad, Asher, very naughty!" Asher, howling: "It was Finn! Finn did it!"

The next day, Asher was overcome with temptation.

Me, preparing to change Finn's diaper and hearing a disturbance:
"Asher, what are you getting into?"
Asher sprinting into view with his face covered in frosting: "Nuffing, Mama! I not doing anyfing!"
Me, assessing the damage to the remaining cake: "That was bad, Asher, very naughty!"
Asher, howling: "It was Finn! Finn did it!"

FAMILY WEEKEND

The weekend of the 16th-18th was a rush of birthday celebration, wedding, and mission homecoming. My dad turned 70 on Friday, and though I gave him the option to go anywhere he liked on us (in RS, but still), he picked a place he was unsure about because he knew we'd like it. It was a new Hibachi grill place, and though we waited eons for our food, the entertainment was unrivaled! I've been to several hibachi grills, and this hibachi chef was head and shoulders above everyone else. He was hilarious to the point of pleasing the toughest crowd—my dad—who was very lucky that I didn't out him as a birthday boy. They would have put a hat on him and set it on fire. I left him with a peach pie I'd made earlier in the day. I hope he felt loved!

 That night we stayed at my brother Michael's house, which afforded him the opportunity to introduce my boys to video games. If any single, eligible lady is reading this, you need to scoop this guy up. He is by far the most eligible bachelor I know, and he likes kids!

That night we stayed at my brother Michael's house, which afforded him the opportunity to introduce my boys to video games. If any single, eligible lady is reading this, you need to scoop this guy up. He is by far the most eligible bachelor I know, and he likes kids!

 I somehow have no pics of the wedding we attended or the homecoming (two of Dave's cousins), but we did get to see a lot of Dave's family. Here is Asher on Great Grandpa Brinkerhoff's lap. Great Grandpa Brinkerhoff is almost a third parent to Dave.

I somehow have no pics of the wedding we attended or the homecoming (two of Dave's cousins), but we did get to see a lot of Dave's family. Here is Asher on Great Grandpa Brinkerhoff's lap. Great Grandpa Brinkerhoff is almost a third parent to Dave.

STAR VALLEY TEMPLE OPEN HOUSE

Dave took Asher hunting the Friday (left Thursday night) before the open house on Saturday, which meant 24 hours of Finn to myself. While it was extremely weird to spend a night at home without my Ash Man, I loved letting Finn be an only child for a day. The Star Valley Temple open house went even less smoothly than the Fort Collins one. The nearly three-hour drive up and back was extremely cramped in the back seat of my car between Asher and Finn (my dad was shotgun), and Finn howled at me most of the time in anger that I was right there and wouldn't get him out. This was accompanied by much hair-pulling and shirt-tugging. 

Once there, we missed meeting up with my sister Stephanie and her family, and didn't see them at all during the open house. I don't know if far too many people showed up without a reservation, or it was a matter of disorganization, but we sat in the chapel at the stake center, elbow-to-elbow, for a full hour before we could watch the orientation video. The cultural hall, where Stephanie sat, was equally packed. The people directing the event got confused about the order in which people had arrived, so some who arrived later than us left sooner (including Steph & Co.). My kids' patience was gone long before we got to the temple, and as one who reserved tickets the second the went up for reservation, I was annoyed. Nobody even asked if we had a reservation, and I was not feeling very charitable toward those many many people I viewed as imposters. As soon as the video began, Finn threw a fit and I had to take him out and nurse him. He started to fall asleep, but I had to rejoin my family for the brief bus ride from the stake center to the temple.

The temple was beautiful, and very similar in style to the Fort Collins, with white tile and dark wood throughout. Many of the paintings were also the same. The kids were not enthused, though at one point Asher took a running leap off the kneeling platform in the instruction room. My strongest impression was how TINY the temple was! I've been in the Kona and Lubbock temples, which both seem large in comparison. Maybe the size was also a factor in how backed-up the crowds were? We were done in almost no time. After the open house, we planned to meet up with Stephanie for lunch, but that too fell through. We drove by them on a street corner, and that was all we saw of them in Star Valley.

I know this all seems very rant-y, but it was a huge bummer after driving eight hours.

 He's such a ham, as he demonstrated when we stopped at Burger King on the way to Rock Springs.

He's such a ham, as he demonstrated when we stopped at Burger King on the way to Rock Springs.

 Slurping ketchup

Slurping ketchup

 Our one photo of the open house. It was snowy and freezing outside, so no "real" temple pics. Pappy has an anti-smiling-for-photos policy. I don't think he was really so unhappy.

Our one photo of the open house. It was snowy and freezing outside, so no "real" temple pics. Pappy has an anti-smiling-for-photos policy. I don't think he was really so unhappy.

DIERKS BENTLEY CONCERT

The day after I got home from Rock Springs we attended a Dierks Bentley concert. I'm no fan of country, but our friends Daven and Savanna reserved the tickets and I really wanted to go to Red Rocks. Dierks Bentley, it turns out, is Country Lite, and they definitely have some catchy tunes. I lucked out majorly with finding a teenage babysitter til midnight on a school night, who magically got even nurse-me-to-sleep-til-I'm-five Finn to sleep. It was really a great night with great friends, and I hope I get to go again!

ASHER GOT A BIKE!

Asher's slacker mom, who knew he needed a bike since July, finally ordered him one. He loves it of course, though I struggle to find time to take him out and practice with him. I'm suddenly very grateful that I grew up on a mostly flat, dead-end street. I now live on a hill on a through street, so I have to go out with Asher and closely supervise.

 Poor Finn. Floppy hat, less-than-glamorous ride, and he knows it.

Poor Finn. Floppy hat, less-than-glamorous ride, and he knows it.

 Finn LOVES Asher's bike and helmet. (HDR sometimes looks weird on my phone.)

Finn LOVES Asher's bike and helmet. (HDR sometimes looks weird on my phone.)

ELK-WATCHING AT ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK

It's become a Brinkerhoff family tradition to visit RMNP at the end of every September. The elk put on a better show than ever this year, and Asher is now old enough to be into it. I attempted some cute pics, with limited success,

 A photo that makes Dave's heart swell with pride.

A photo that makes Dave's heart swell with pride.

 Liam was posing much better than Finn...

Liam was posing much better than Finn...

 ...who was doing this.

...who was doing this.

 There was a very cute "playing with sticks" bit.

There was a very cute "playing with sticks" bit.

CUTENESS OVERLOAD

Or, lots more picture that the world deserves to see.

 Finn had a ball one day rolling around the carpet sans clothing. I should try it.

Finn had a ball one day rolling around the carpet sans clothing. I should try it.

 Asher said, "I'm a baby bird in an egg!" And of course he needed a mama bird to sit on him.

Asher said, "I'm a baby bird in an egg!" And of course he needed a mama bird to sit on him.

 This kid has a charm about him that will not be denied.

This kid has a charm about him that will not be denied.

 My first week teaching Joy School. We were learning about the five (main) senses, and what better way to illustrate the joys of touch with 3-4-year-olds than shaving cream?

My first week teaching Joy School. We were learning about the five (main) senses, and what better way to illustrate the joys of touch with 3-4-year-olds than shaving cream?

 Finn took a five-hour nap, and this was the result.

Finn took a five-hour nap, and this was the result.

 Asher has recently developed a very vivid imagination and thrilling dream life, both of which center on monsters. He talks of them endlessly, and tells me very interesting tales of "David" shooting them, after which the monster might fall out of a tree and break his arm or catch fire or both. One morning, story has it that his "basket hoop" from his bedroom "walked upstairs like a monster." In the pic above, he is showing me where (in the garage) an orange dragon appeared the night before. This was his first order of business for the day.

Asher has recently developed a very vivid imagination and thrilling dream life, both of which center on monsters. He talks of them endlessly, and tells me very interesting tales of "David" shooting them, after which the monster might fall out of a tree and break his arm or catch fire or both. One morning, story has it that his "basket hoop" from his bedroom "walked upstairs like a monster." In the pic above, he is showing me where (in the garage) an orange dragon appeared the night before. This was his first order of business for the day.

 We found this guy on the back patio.  "Don't hurt the mantis, Asher. He's a good buggy."  "Yeah, him don't have guns."

We found this guy on the back patio.

"Don't hurt the mantis, Asher. He's a good buggy."

"Yeah, him don't have guns."

 Look closely, and you will see that he FINALLY has a top tooth! That is, in addition to the top molar that sneaked in to my surprise just days before. Top Front Tooth #2 has since breached also.

Look closely, and you will see that he FINALLY has a top tooth! That is, in addition to the top molar that sneaked in to my surprise just days before. Top Front Tooth #2 has since breached also.

 They are impossibly cute, and ALL mine.

They are impossibly cute, and ALL mine.