Saturday, May 29, 2021

Rocket Boss Mel

My day started out with grilling the ribs for lunch.  Papa's first job was to fix a minor problem with the grill.  Ben knew what the problem was and explained it to Papa.

Papa's solution was to heat the grill to 500 degrees, which ultimately worked.  While they waited, Ben counted to 500 by tens.

William and Annika showed up early to help Melanie build the rockets.  While Melanie ate breakfast, they worked on the Lego stegosaurus.

When they learned I had thought we might begin shooting the rockets at 10, they jumped in to help build them.  I took over building the stegosaurus.

The sad truth is that not many of us had experience with model rockets.  Ben was not impatient, but he was not interested in helping.  Will took him outside to get him going on a bike.

One of my favorite things is to tell a grandchild that their parent used to play with a particular toy.  Today, for the first time, I said, "Ben, I bought this bike for your cousin Will."

Since Annika is skilled at reading instructions, she took over building one of the rockets.

William moved to the floor where he became involved building magnet rockets with Ben.  It was about this time that Papa realized we didn't have enough engines.  He returned from Hobby Lobby, victorious.  I asked him where the rocket parts were in the store.  With a straight face he said, "In the hobby section."  

The rockets were finished at noon.  I declared that the ribs were ready to come out of the warming oven.

We enjoyed a fun lunch on the deck.

Along with the ribs, we had potato salad, beans and watermelon.

We needed a lot of space, so we moved to a nearby park.

Ben is so good with dogs.  He always asks the owner if he can pet the dog, and then he gives the dog a chance to smell him.

Turns out Annika is a dog-lover, too.  This Australian Shephard is named Alpine.

Matt's band members dropped him off.  Unfortunately, he'd missed lunch.  Fortunately, I had brought banana bread for him.  He is taking instruction from Melanie on setting up the rail on the launcher.

Alpine's family was delighted to join the fun.

While I tried to figure out how to take pictures of rockets. the kids all took turns.

Matt was pretty excited when Melanie invited him to take a turn.

This was maybe the fifth launch.  You'd think I just needed to push the button at the end of the countdown.  Ya, I thought that at first, too.

Most of my pictures looked just like this one.

This was a learning curve for the rocket team, too.  Mel had a concern about the packing of the parachutes, which was Will's job.

I loved  how she handled this.  They studied the parachute. which hadn't opened properly.

Will had indeed packed the parachute correctly, but Mel showed him a few tricks.

Back to my trials.  I felt like this was a great shot.

This, my friends, is the only picture I captured of a rocket in the air.  They all went so high!  I know that sounds like a complaint, but success with the rockets greatly interfered with my photography today, even with a zoom lens.

It's obvious how well that parachute deployed.

The kids ran all over the park retrieving rockets.

I did spy a little horsing around between flights.

At one point Matt simply jumped into a tree.  It was pretty hilarious.

I loved how the three big kids included and worked with the younger kids.  Watching rockets is great fun, but watching people be kind and inclusive when it's unexpected is wonderful.  I didn't get a picture, but at one point one of our new friends asked how the parachute got out of the rocket.  Melanie knelt down and explained this to her.

We decided to call it quits when our favorite rocket ended twenty-five feet up in a tree in a private yard.  Papa is in charge of finding a bigger park for next time.

Back at the ranch, Matt got a real lunch.

Then we were off to the pool.

My camera does much better with water than it does with rockets.

Pretty much this is what every picture I took of Ben looked like.

I thought we'd left Papa home about ready to have a lie down.  Nope.

This dinosaur is addictive.

Friday, May 28, 2021

Biome Was the Word of the Day

Ben told jokes on the way to Vernal this morning.  Why can't dinosaurs clap?  They're dead.

A tram took us to the rock quarry.  Ben wanted to sit next to Melanie, who we picked up at 6:15 this morning.

I liked this place.  Millions of years ago, dinosaurs died in a river.  They've since been pushed up and their bones are now exposed in a wall.  That's a good summary.

I took far too many pictures to post.

We all had a great time.

The signage was great.

I have never seen this many dinosaur bones.

This is an abydosaurus skull. 

I learned that finding skulls is a big deal.

This is an allosaurus.

And a skull for him.

This bone has tooth marks on it.  The ranger told us that they could determine that the marks were from one of three carnivorous dinosaurs (versus an alligator, which also lived at that time), but they couldn't determine which species.

This track reminded me of another time our family was together.

Then we drove to a nearby site and saw petroglyphs.

I was tired and hungry, but this was pretty cool.

Watching Ben and Melanie together was great, also.  Melanie told Papa that he and I are fine, but she felt Ben needed a cousin today, so she offered to join us.

She liked the petroglyphs, too.

This was my favorite.

Corinne tried to guess what the artists were thinking.

Mel had my camera by this time.  She took this picture.

And this one.

We had lunch at Subway.  I was hungry.  This was delicious.

Not wanting to waste the 2.5 hour trip to Vernal, Ben took us to a dinosaur museum.

I actually learned a lot about the Uintahs.

As we drove from mountains to deserts, Ben taught us about biomes.  I did not know this word when I was a first grader, but Ben knew and understood it.

The desert biome has beautiful flowers.

On our trip home, I learned our pool opened today.  We were out the door lickety-split.  This is Melanie's perfect cannonball.

Ben is a great swimmer.

He's also great at horsing around.

While we were at the pool, Corinne made dinner.  These were just going in the oven when we got home.

Spicy cauliflower with a dip from Trader Joe's made this almost more tempting than my toast.

There is always time for Lego's.

Thank you, Julie. You're Welcome, Louie.

Did I really want to start this last post of Steve's visit with another picture of my groupies watching Star Trek?  I sure did.  We'...