Monday, October 20, 2014

Eagle Idaho Stake Youth Trek 2014

This past June, Kendi and I participated in Trek with the youth from the Eagle, Idaho area.  For those unfamiliar, Trek is a 3-7 day activity for church youth 14-18 years old.  Families of 8-10 are put together led by a “Ma” and a “Pa”.  Each family pulls a handcart with clothes, water, and equipment, walking close to a dozen miles each day.  It’s a small reenactment of the Mormon pioneers crossing the western plains 160 years ago.  In all, there were 35 families or about 300 youth in the handcart company. 

Before moving to Eagle, Kendi and I were called as a “Ma and Pa” but were unable to participate with the youth in Salt Lake because of the move.  Kendi was relieved as the thought of walking and pulling a handcart several miles each day in the heat without a shower just didn’t seem appealing to her.  Go figure.  But shortly after moving here, we were asked to do it again.  Both of us felt that it was something that the Lord wanted us to do, and it gave us a greater sense of purpose in our preparation.

Getting in shape was important, but we also wanted to be prepared spiritually.  We read The Price we Paid, an inspiring and honest account of the 1855 journeys of the Willie and Martin handcart companies to the Salt Lake Valley.  We also read the scriptures better as a family, and we did some family history work. 

I was excited to learn that I have an indirect ancestor that was in the handcart company.  Sadly, he lost his wife and two children along the way due to exposure.  He was overwhelmed with the loss and decided to turn back for England, leaving his three young, surviving daughters to the care of others.  Some years later, this man came back to the church in England and baptized his younger brother there, who would become my great, great, great grandfather.  This man then finished the journey to Utah that he had started decades before, and found that all but one of his daughters had passed on.  After a joyous reunion with this surviving daughter, he died at peace a few months later.  The lesson for me, and what I shared with my trek family, is that it would be easy to fault the man and dwell on his mistakes.  Instead, we should focus on his redemption and who he ultimately became.  We all make plenty of mistakes.  But with God, it’s never too late to change and become who He would have us be.  

Kendi and I grew to absolutely love the kids in our family.  We were worried the first night as it was clear that one of our girls, really didn’t want to be there. But by the next morning, everything came together.  We couldn’t have asked for a better Trek family.  Each day, we asked the kids to share something that they had learned that day about themselves or about their pioneer experience.  Then at night, we would sit together and each person could share.  I learned to appreciate how much our Heavenly Father loves each one of these kids, and was so impressed by their strength. 

Our boys were like warriors.  They ran to the rescue of other handcarts and never, ever complained.  I called our oldest boy Brenton (17) a stallion because he would rope himself up and pull or push until he was physically unable to do more.  I kept having to remind him to watch himself.  The kid was pulling his hamstring and busting up his ankes he was so gung-ho.  Dylan and Clark were great – so kind and thoughtful.  When we needed something extra, I’d yell, “Come on Garrett!!” and Garrett would give us the surge and laugh we needed.

Our girls were amazing.  Two of them, Jada and Aspen, were 14 and well under 100 pounds – so sweet.  Morgan (17) and Allie (15) were stronger and the best leaders you could ask for.  They worked every bit as hard as our boys (sometimes harder) and always wanted to be upfront pulling the weight.  The part that blew me away and had me shedding a few tears was when the women did the “women’s pull”.  This was a steep, mile long strength of the trail where the men/boys line the trail and were asked not to help or provide encouragement in any way.  This represented the time when the U.S. military needed hundreds of male volunteers to leave the pioneer trail and march to San Diego as part of the Mormon battalion, leaving many willing women to complete the journey on their own.  I was full of love for the women as they came up the trail.  They were at the point of exhaustion and some in tears, but not none of them gave up and they were giving each other words of encouragement – telling each other how much they loved each other.  Kendi and our girls were awesome!  It was an awesome lesson in how strong our women are.  We talked later about how it gave us a better sense of appreciation and respect for what women do.

I found it interesting that each member of our family had different moments that spoke to him or her.  To me, it was the women's pull.   To Morgan and Allie, it was a fireside talk.  For Aspen, it was one-on-one conversations with Morgan, Alli and my Kendi.  To Brenton, it was the time spent alone after reading a letter from his parents.  He told me later that he had been praying for three years to know whether or not the gospel was true and if he needed to serve a mission.  After that time alone, he told me that he knew it was true and was so full of joy.  I just gave him a hug and told him how happy I was for him.  Amazing things happened on Trek for every one of the members of our family.  It truly was the experience of a lifetime.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Summer Can Be Exhausting

Spending an afternoon at the pool, in the hot sun, can really wipe a person out!

A Little Summer Boredom

Finding surprises on my computer like this are priceless!  It makes me think that I better find them a chore to do or a book to read.....obviously they have too much time on their little hands!

You Had a Birthday!

Maggie turned 4! Even though she promises me that she won't grow up she keeps getting big.  She told me the other day that when she turns 5 she wants to have a certain something for her birthday (I don't remember what it was).  I told her "I thought you told me you weren't going to grow up anymore after you turned 4?" With tears in her eyes she said, "ok, I won't turn 8".  
This is the little girl that constantly questions me about where she will live when she gets bigger and asks if I can ask the builder to build a house by hers.  "Will you still be my mom when you are a grandma?"  
She's definitely my baby and it makes it really hard to watch her grow up.  We have a good little bond and I only hope that she forever wants me to be "her neighbor".

Her birthday fell on Sunday so we celebrated the day before.  
Since she got her bike stolen at the park she really needed a new one and she was so fickle on exactly which one she wanted we just took her to the store to hand pick it right there!
Of course the princess is always a winner out!

Later that night we let her pick what restaurant that she wanted to eat at.  I think she had a little coaxing from her siblings but she chose Texas Roadhouse.

She loved have the birthday song sang to her and her free whip cream or I mean ice cream treat!

Never a dull moment with her!

The next morning she woke up so excited that she again got to be celebrated on her REAL day!

She got lots of phone calls, facetime, and sung to at primary!  She felt very special. 

Yeah for her new scooter from Grandma!  She road it around the house for a good hour in her birthday suit! 

That night we had rainbow cupcakes down at the park.  Both her requests!  She had her very special friends there and opened a few more gifts.  It was a great day!

I love this picture of her blowing out her candles.  I would like to say I wonder what she was wishing for but she didn't keep it much of a secret for said, "save your pennies".  

4th of July 2014

We didn't have much prepared for the 4th of July this year as we had just returned from Trek and the kids from Utah.  

We still had a great time and all of us were very happy to have a wonderful day off spending it together.  

Maggie and her bestie!

We are so lucky that our "old" neighborhood friends invited us to set off fireworks with them again this year.  Looks like we will be making a tradition out of it!

Thanks for the awesome props Howells!

And we all brought treats to share!

Things got a little crazy but no one was hurt, luckily!!!  I may have feared for my life just a couple times!

So grateful for this country we live in and the independence that it allows!  We are very lucky!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

While the Cats Away the Mice will Play

After leaving the reunion in Park City we headed down to Salt Lake to leave our kids behind for a full week. 
Glen and I were asked to be Ma and Pas on our stake trek.  
The kids were going to be watched by my two sisters while we went back to prepare and head out on trek.

It was so sweet of my sisters to take the kids and it was even more fun for them to get to hang out with their friends that they don't get to see very often.
I loved getting these pictures sent to my phone from their friends!  Oh how we miss our Utah friends!

Bess went boating one day with Adrie....these girls can be CRAZY!

Carter got lucky and hit up the water park with his buddies!

It was hard for me to leave them behind but it made me so happy to see them totally happy and back at "home."

Park City Utah Family Reunion

The third weekend in June we headed up to Utah for a family reunion with Glen's family.  
Our first stop was Joni and Paul's great new house!  We've been there before but they are always adding and doing something fun and different to it, it's fun to watch!

While the guys were off golfing the kids heard the ice cream truck and it was over!  They were so excited and Aunt Joni let them each pick out whatever they wanted.  The girls were pretty girly and stuck with Hello Kitty!

Not sure who really won but they all came back with grins and funny stories!

Paul and Joni cooked us hamburgers and we started a fire to roast marshmallows while we waited for Joel and Erin to arrive.  (SIDE NOTE: Paul may or may not have almost killed us and burned down his house trying to start that said fire!)

The next morning we woke up bright and early to head up to Park City for more fun!

We all met up at a strip mall right by our hotel/condo for lunch.  Bess and I were SO happy when we saw Zupas, we thought we were going to miss it on this trip! YEAH!!

First stop: POOL!

We spent most of the day swimming in our hotel pool.  We LOVE Newpark Resort.  It's one of our all time favorite places.  We were happy that others agreed on our recommendation! 

We enjoyed a little time on the Alpine Slide!  Here's my company catching the ski lift up to the slide.

Ellie was so excited to go on the Alpine Slide.....until she got up there, then she wanted to back out but she was brave and DID IT!  I even caught this smile before she went down.

Afterwards we hit up our favorite Mexican place for lunch.  We are glad that others were willing to indulge us in the things we miss about living so close to Park City!  Everyone left full and happy!

Back for more pool time!

And relaxation! & good conversation.  Lots and lots of that!

The kids loved this idea of just soaking your feet in the hot tub off the condo.  They would tell stories and laugh and just enjoy each other.  Isn't that what reunions are all about?!

The very last night we all gathered in the hotel common area to play games.  We were able to put the little kids to sleep and feel close enough to listen for them in our rooms with monitors and phones.  It was perfect!  
Games with this large group of people can get funny and crazy!

Maggie was in heaven for 3 full days with these girls.  She loved being with Sophie and Ellie.  They were always together!  It was sad to say goodbye!  She still talks about when she can see them both again. 

We missed not having all the family together, it's hard with us all living all over the place.  We really hold these memories and times dear.  Family just is the best!

Friday, September 05, 2014

Dentist Downers

Carter has the problem of his teeth not wanting to leave the comfort of his mouth!  They like it in there. But he has permanent teeth that need to come down and they are starting to come in all funky cause the baby teeth just won't leave!
Hence a trip to the dentist for his assistance.  
We really tried to do it without the gas as assistance BUT Carter needed it to calm his fears of the shot.  

It was kind of funny to hear him afterwards talk about what the laughing gas made him feel like.  He said he felt like he was at a disco!  I guess whatever works!

Free Fishing Day

Carter can't pass up fishing and when his dad tells him that it's free fishing day in all of Idaho he for sure can't pass it up!

This little pond, in the middle of Meridian,  is stocked with fish so your chances of catching something are a bit higher.  I think we walked away with 2 fish.  I'd call that a success!

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Crouch, Idaho

We kicked the summer off with a fun afternoon up in Crouch, Idaho.  It was about a hour drive up through Garden Valley.  
We picked out a little day camp spot with a fire pit so we could roast hot dogs and marshmallows.  
Just on the other side of the road was the best secret!

There was the freezing cold river........

And then right next to it the natural hot springs!

The kids would get cold in the river and then run up this little hill and hop in the hot springs to warm up.

Maggie even made her own little hot pool!

It was such a fun day.  I promised the kids we would go back soon!