Thursday, August 25, 2016

new mexico: hot air balloon ride

while we were in new mexico, my grandmother, lucile, celebrated her ninety-first birthday. before her ninetieth birthday, she came up with a bucket list of sorts of things she'd like to do. last year, she rode a motorcycle. this year, a hot air balloon!

i do not have a picture of everyone together (face palm!) but our balloon passengers were anna, danton, summer, afton, me, kenny, emme, lucile, matt and beka.

it was an awesome ride and a once in a lifetime experience for sure. 

i got a little shaky in the knees everytime summer looked over the edge (afton and danton were too short, thankfully), but it was otherwise lovely and serene. 

fun fact: we landed at the post office.

the wheeler girls with the birthday lady herself!

helping emme fill the hot air balloon with --you guessed it! -- air :)

up, up and away...

the girls were able to view out of these square openings (used for climbing into the basket).
afton had her ears plugged most of the time because the hot air turning on was too loud for her.
(the noise level would oscillate between blissfully quiet and alarmingly loud.)

a room with a view.

a toast to grandma lucile!


thanks, grandma, for letting us share in your awesome day!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

new mexico: ABQ biopark

our first stop in new mexico was the abq biopark. we were only able to visit the botanic gardens and the bugarium, but it was good to let these littles get out and stretch their legs after all the traveling they had done the day before. 

also, the botanic gardens has a railroad garden with a miniature railway the kids can help operate. they played with and watched those trains for probably forty-five minutes (and would have done so longer if their parents hadn't been so hungry and anxious for lunch...)

luke, afton, summer, caleb, danton, dallin
(not pictured: derek and eli)


we didn't pack a stroller for the first time ever.
this munchkin still couldn't quite keep up, so he was toted around like this a lot.

desert flora.

exploring a fish pond.

dad's turn!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

wedded bliss

introducing mr. and mrs. schmatty and schbeka young!
(aka matt and beka)

we just got back from a little summer jaunt down to albuquerque, new mexico to see these two lovelies marry and enjoy some time with family. more to come on the trip, but first, wedding pics! 

beka and matt (emily's youngest brother).

mothers and sons (the six young family grandsons).

girl's club.

wheeler boys.

emmelie with the newest member of the family, baby derek.

all the boys.

entertaining toddlers at a wedding: not for the faint of heart.

matt and ken.

father-of-the-groom, dennis, toasting the newlyweds.

beautiful mother-of-the-groom.

dancing the night away.

congrats matto and beka! (currently off in iceland on their honeymoon.)
wishing you many years of happily, happily wedded bliss.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

gap toothed

afton lost her two front teeth this past week.

when those same two teeth had just come in here.

Friday, August 05, 2016

Ross Lake

(by Bryan)

Although you'd hardly guess by the weather in these photos, we used the first official weekend of summer to take an onvernight trip to Ross Lake. This trip was a bit of a departure from some of our previous backpacking trips (Hyas Lake and Clyde Lake) inasmuch as it involved both hiking and boating. 

To get to the lake's numerous camp sites, you hike about a mile down a steepish trail to a dock and summon a ferry from Ross Lake Resort. Upon arriving at the resort (in this case, "resort" is basically a bunch of rustic log cabins floating in the lake), we rented a small aluminum boat that we used to explore the terrain for two days. The girls loved it and quickly dubbed this the best camping trip ever.

Awaiting the ferry from Ross Lake Resort.

Summer learning to drive.

Afton named a large number of interesting rocks she found. 
She was devastated to learn that national park 
regulations forbid visitors from taking rocks home. 

As always, Top Ramen features prominently in the girls' must have backpacking dinners.

In spite of the cool, cloudy conditions, Afton spent most of her free time in the lake. 

High spirits at the start of the hike.

Exploring one the lake's side channels (Nelson/Gessel crew in the background).

Sunday, July 31, 2016


old enough to wear mom jeans.

i've been waiting my whole life for this.

Friday, July 29, 2016


spending the day with friends on jetty island.