Monday, November 24, 2014

October Memories part 2

Would I like to go for a ride on an old train in the back country on a beautiful autumn day?
Yes please!

Old trains have a way of making me smile in a way that modern trains just can't manage to do.

The Heber Valley, a place about a 45 minute drive from our house has a wonderful old train called the Heber Creeper.
I have taken a ride on the Creeper in Summer a few years back with my in-laws.
Once I realized my grandson was over the moon about trains I had been wanting to take him on a ride too.
The grandsons maternal grandparents were in town for a few day and we caught wind of a special Creeper ride designed for Halloween.
It would be a shorter ride than the typical hour long chug along the Provo river; this would be a twenty minute run out and back.
Just about the right amount of time to hold a two year old's interest.

Luke waited patiently for the train to arrive, wearing (as usual) one of  his Thomas and Friends train tee shirts.

Three month old baby Cal wore a hat knitted by his uncle's girlfriend.
The train motif made it his perfect topper for the ride.
(Each ticket holder was allowed to select a pumpkin after the ride...there were huge boxes and piles of pumpkins everywhere!)

Train's a' comin'!

Pick a window seat...

Seems like outside is moving somehow.

Once the train picked up speed, so did Luke and his little girl friend!
(Notice that he holds his favorite Thomas train in his hand.)

Cal got a super seat of his own with his girlfriend/grandmother Gigi.

Mouth fallen open in awe...

Calvin got handed off to his Granddad while Luke and Gigi watched the scenes pass by their window.
Little finger pointing in wonder...

(Both of them were mesmerized...)

And why not?
Yellow aspen groves glowed from the mountain tops.


and farms nestled against autumn leaf confetti like dappled hillsides.

(Bernie and I really love the rural scenic  Heber Valley and sometimes talk about moving there.)

The farms/ranches seem almost a tad too perfect.

(I suspect some California yuppies have decided they want to play rancher and build a ranch more for looks than actual ranching.)

Two horses...didn't see any other kinds of animals on the grounds.

The Provo river is a huge attraction there.
When notable fishing rivers of America are listed, the Provo is always near the top of the list.
Even if one doesn't catch a fish, one is sure to see a lot of beauty anyway.

Train ride...ten minutes in.
Snack time.
Pumpkin muffins baked by Gigi.

Then there was music and the kids were encouraged to get up and DANCE!

 And dance they did!
They did The Monster Mash.

 And the Chicken Dance..

 They let it go to "Let It Go"

Luke's paternal great grandparents were professional dancers.
I think this little apple has not fallen far from the tree!
The boy could bust some fly dance moves.

 After all that the train conductor gave everyone a pumpkin cookie.

 TWO snacks in twenty minutes!

 This is just amazing!

No snacks for baby Cal.
He looks a tad worried doesn't he? 
Well, there was a lot of singing and dancing and bouncing about with all the big kids around him.
MaMa Rachel held him close.

I promise you Calvin...I will make sure you get to take a ride on the train again when you are older.

What did he see now?

Views...horses...rivers...other trains...fall colors...

As our train pulled into the station Luke and his friend leaned out the window to watch.

Look at those happy faces!

When Luke is older we will come again and explore some of the other trains parked in the museum area.
They are all so photogenic.

 A fun location to take a family photo...

 Or two...

Or three...

My co-grandmother:
We will see her, and our co-grandfather again at Christmas.

And maybe we will even take the train ride again.
The Polar Express...through a snowy night, with Santa along for the journey?
It is an option.
Sounds kind of fun and kinda of crazy too doesn't it?

Monday, November 03, 2014

A few October moments, part 1

It was, of course, a beautiful month, like October so often is.
A few highlights:
My parents came and visited for a couple of days.
Calvin fell asleep on Mom's lap.
Luke learned to say Great Grandma Dustin and Great Grandpa Dustin,  greeting them both with glee.
The weather was unusually warm, in the 80s which was quite a nice temperature for a visit.

Calvin is now 4 months old.

His smiles are sweet.

He got his first pumpkin patch photo taken by me.
Actually I took pictures of him in several pumpkin patches trying to get just the right look.
This one was probably one of the best ones.

I took him out in a stroller with a pumpkin hat on.
(Doesn't he look like he is humoring me?)

His expressions cracked me up.

Inside the grocery store a bag of salad amused him greatly.

Shoppers were amused by seeing him.
Sweet simple times together.

Trick or Treat time: The boys were dragon brothers this year.

Their house has a yellow orange front door that looks especially great this time of year.

What do dragons say?

Other dragons don't say much at all.

What a cute little dragon.
Or maybe he is actually a garden lizard?

He laughed at that thought.

Bernie and I were able to join in on this evening, Luke's first real Trick or Treat adventure.
For a two and a half year old he seemed pretty confident as he marched over to the neighbor's house with all of us trailing behind.

He knocked, spouted out "Trick or Treat" and remembered to say thank you.
Atta boy!

Cal...well, he had a good thing going with his mom.

That little face under the dragon's face.
This year's picture as a dragon is being added to the ones of him as a Tiger and Puppy to create a  collage.
His annual pumpkin patch photos will also be made into a collage.
I wonder how many years such photo ops will be permitted?
I have a feeling the years are going to rush by.

A cuddly dragon baby.

I wonder if the boys will be costumed in matching outfits ever again.

As we walked the warm neighborhood (with shorts and flip flops on parents!) the sky darkened behind the glowing fall colored trees.

As a child I dreamed of autumn colored trees like this one.
Trick or Treating beneath palm trees near the beach lacked certain traditional elements like scurrying leaves and smoky scents.
Now I look around and smile that everything is traditional picture perfect.

Luke smiles at each house.
He knocks confidently and when the door is opened he just blows right past the person and into the house to check things out.
The neighbors know him and we are right there too.
His bold entry is greeted with laughter.

One neighbor's house.
The spooky trimming did not bother Luke a bit.
At the corner of the lawn there was a patch of marigolds guarded by a friendly looking scarecrow.
I was told that during one neighborhood walk Luke had busily checked out the flowers then froze when he looked up and saw the scarecrow.
Funny what may or may not frighten a two year old!

Each stop took a bit as neighbors spent a few minutes visiting and catching up with each other.
I stepped back and caught the sunset lighting up the clouds.

And noted the half moon rising in a misty cloud cover.

One house had a cereal killer...

The sky colored beautifully, and glimpses of the rosy hues peeked between trees as we walked.

Beneath our feet fall leaves crunched.
It was almost a pity to step on the piled up beauty.

Some trees still were fully leaved while others had shed their colors and become ink sketches against the sky.


Moon glowing through the bare branches...just like a Hallmark card scene.

Yes, he was allowed to have candy.

And allowed his Daddy to carry him when his little legs got a bit tired of walking.

Around the corner from their house was the house known as "The Spooky House".
The title was well earned!

In the driveway a life sized witch mounted on a Roomba was swirling around.

Almost everything had lights, motion and sound.
Pretty impressive.

The biggest surprise?
After the children had received their treats, all grown ups were presented with a tray full of Jello shots.
Various cocktail flavors were offered: Lime green margaritas, strawberry margaritas and some yellow drink.
The shots were powerful.
Who would have ever guessed this was the way Trick or Treat was served up in Utah?

Yes there was something creepy inside the casket...

I am guessing that was the family's name?

Ever seen a bubble fogger?
Bubbles float out from the machine, then pop releasing a wispy fog.

Was any of this scary to the tykes?
Check out that grin.
Apparently not!

The men folk carried and pushed the boys home.

One last picture of our big dragon before bedtime.

We had been "booked" to watch the dragons and to put them to bed after the Trick or Treating.
The dragon's parents were scooting off to an adult party.
Jeff dressed as "The Great White Hunter". 
Thank heaven it was so warm that wearing white Bermuda shorts was still quite comfortable.

Costume was completed with rifle...
His prey?
A lion...Rachel's costume, which I some how missed getting a picture of.
She was adorable.
And she returned home later unscathed by the mighty hunter.