Saturday, June 25, 2011


Mormon Miracle Pageant in Manti

We went to the Mormon Miracle Pageant in Manti, Friday, June 24. Mike and I drove with his Mom up there. She has been wanting to go and see it for a long time, as it had been many years since the last time any of us had been up there. It was the last weekend for it. I brought my camera, but I never took it out to take any pictures while we were there. Gail's family met us up there. They had an extra with them--Lexi from California! Tandy and kids had come the night before from California. Seth's parents joined us, and we all picnicked near the Temple Grounds and had a nice dinner. The kids ran around and ran around till Jonathan finally conked out partway through the production. It does start late (9:30), so even I was nodding part way through. ha. It's really a lovely production and I'm glad we went. Sitting in the chairs, closer, would have been nicer, as we were quite a ways back. But it was still nice. The mosquitos are quite big and ferocious, too! (I came away unscathed, thanks to Gail's OFF.)

Getting out through all the traffic is kind of time-consuming, but we opted NOT to drive all the way back to Cedar at 11:30 pm or midnight when we needed to be back in Joseph, UT the next day. So I got a hotel room in advance and we spent the night in Richfield, UT. Gail, Seth and family DID drive all the way home and they got in at 2:45 a.m. Too late for me. Maybe in another life time.

Old Church Vacation Rental, Joseph, UT

Mike and I and his Mom went to Joseph and saw Mike's sister's family. They were all gathered to celebrate their 50th anniversay with ALL five of their kids and ALL the grandkids and ALL the great-grandkids! What a fun party for them. So Mike and I dropped his Mom off there and we headed on home to Cedar City, as we had lots to do. We did, however, take the longer way home and drove down highway 89 and over hwy 14 to see how much of the snow pack was left. It's not. There's little bits and pieces up in the trees up on top at midway, but that's it.

Navajo Lake

Duck Creek Pond.

The streams and ponds WERE quite full. I managed some shots out the car window, like the one above.

More of our family had arrived from out of town, too. Not only had Tandy and kids come from California, but Katie and her family were here from Reno! Casey blessed their new baby, Corbin on Sunday. They had quite a few friends and family there, as Casey's little brother had a baby blessed that day, too!
Tandy holding sleeping Corbin

Ella is speedy with the camera. REALLY speedy--I can't even capture her!!

We had ALL seven of our grandkids here in the afternoon/evening for dinner and fun play in the house and yards. Mike grilled us some hot dogs, we had root-beer floats for dessert and we just played hard on the hammock, the little jumpoline, the Little Tykes car, dirt clods in the times.
Count 'em-- all seven in one spot! A miracle that doesn't happen quite often enough.
(and a miracle that I actually remembered to edit a photo and crop out most of the peripheral junk)

Mike and Kate with a pile-o-kids. Note the fledgling garden in the background. It's coming along. Another of life's little miracles. Gardening may come easy to some, but not all of us have a green thumb.

Careful Hayden!! Don't jump out of the moving vehicle!!
I've tested my new modem and internet service at home. I switched on Friday and have a Qwest Bundle now (but no cable tv-ick! I am SOOOO not a fan of TV). It's supposed to be faster on the upload, and it is. But not extremely so. I still had time to dust the living room while they were uploading. Welll, part of the living room... I also got a new little personal notebook-sized laptop out of the Qwestdeal (which was the clencher for me--that and what I HOPE will be the same cost for faster photo uploads.) I've never had a new electronic toy all to myself before, so I tried it out on Sunday.

I have newly discovered the Church's MUSIC link on the menu on their website. What FUN stuff!! But it wasn't loud enough for my little classroom of noisy kids. I like to sing with the primary kids in my class, but it can get ugly because I don't have the right pitch or have suddenly LOST the tune!!!--it's happened before and is very sad. And embarrassing. You should check out the website if you haven't already. Cool stuff.

It plays it for you, highlights the notes, can change the keys, you can print it, download it. Gotta love technology.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Stake Youth Conference Handcart Trek

Mike and I were asked to be a "Ma" and "Pa" for our Stake Handcart Trek. We were gone from June 9 thru the 11th, 2011. A more detailed description of the things we did can be requested. These are just some photos I took and minimal (for me) narration. Enjoy!
The group. 170 bodies, 19 handcarts. We were in the ponderosa forests north of the Grand Canyon, AZ.

The first break for lunch. The meals were yummy, organized and such a herculean undertaking by the leaders! Amazing. I stress over feeding my extended family of 15-17 bodies if they all show up at once.

On the trail. Above is my "family." Two of the six children were in my ward, and we added an "Uncle Morgan," an adult from another ward that I didn't know to assist us since Mike was along as support and not walking with us.
Kassie and Venice enjoying the lunch break. Venice is in my ward.

DJ and Weston and Me. Yes, I do look tired, don't I?

My family at our first night's camp. We slept out under the stars. We cooked with another family, sharing a camp chef propane stove. We were COLD by morning and you could see your breath! We ended this day with a group fireside with stories shared, then a family meeting as well. We were very tired. It was about 8 miles of hiking that day.

This was an A.M. break on Day 2 of our Trek. Our flag was light blue. We have all the carts lined up to make way for any passing cars, etc. We did have some support crew to haul the camp chef stoves and the bounteous food that they fed us. We also had a very proactive medical team that watched over us.
The temperatures in the day time were in the 70's. We had light breezes to cool our sweaty bodies. And the trees provided welcome shade along the road.
Day 2, our first activity of the day was the "Endurance Pull." This was for the youth to push our fully-loaded handcart up a very steep hill with no assistance from the parents. It was a little difficult to see them struggle. (But I was busy documenting, so didn't watch as closely as I should have.) Mike helped with this station and gave the talk to each family as they began, and we were spaced out about 5 minutes apart. My family climbed the hill last of all. And they did it!!
This is what Mike did as he waited for the road to clear. We did not sleep well at night, needless to say. Pine cones do not make good beds.
Up and up and up the hill. We had some serious athletes in our family. The two girls in the back on the left ran cross-country and one of the boys plays football.
This is where I wish I had photo editing skills. Imagine the one above, cropped to just their hands. Cool. This was the steep endurance pull. Uncle Morgan is walking beside.
See? It's very steep. And it was very hard.
Our stake patriarch met with the youth and spoke during an afternoon break.
Friday afternoon, we camped at this meadow and had 4 stations set up with 8 activities. This activity was quilting. Some of my kids are tying a quilt.
These kids are plugging their ears because they are waiting for their turn to shoot a black powder rifle.
Savannah is in my ward. She's prepared to shoot, but the gun is being loaded. I didn't think to get a picture of her actually shooting it. Oh well.
For some reason, the pictures are out of order. Close up of Craig Jones, patriarch. He and his son, Jeff (who lives in my ward) delivered our Pony Express letters to the youth earlier in the day. That was kind of fun.
Friday activity: Archery. Brandt is in my ward and in my trek family. He shot a Bulls-eye!
Saturday morning, someone said it was 37 degrees F. Brrr. That first burst of sunlight did feel oh-so- good! I packed a jacket and in the pocket I added gloves and a headband. It helped. The hot cocoa helped, too. Mmmmm, chocolate. :-) This (above) was taken Saturday morning.
Friday night, a brief, blustery storm blew through. Some thought we needed tarps set up to protect us from rain. But it didn't even settle the dust. Some kids slept in the shelter once it was up, however.
And, yes, we were dirty. Dusty, dirty, filthy. Venice is writing her name in DIRT on her leg. No, she's writing it in CLEAN while cleaning away the dirt. That's a lot of dirt.
This was the butter-making station. Patrick Dowse and his wife Coleen are in my ward, and he was just so TICKLED to be making butter. I missed the shot of him grinning ear-to-ear. But many of the kids were just as elated and excited and just plain amazed at what they were doing! It was so dang cute to watch. :-)
The meadow in the background is where we all lined up the last morning (Saturday) for a group shot. I hope to see that picture some day.
Our Saturday destination was a place near the north rim of the Grand Canyon. We stopped at Crazy Jug Lookout. The flowers above were there. And the view below. Pretty spectacular.
This (below) was on the way Saturday. Lots of trees, lots of hills to climb, too. We were hiking uphill most of the day.

My family was so pleased to be at the very front of the handcart company! Eric Brown, from my ward and our trip leader, was the first in line. He led the way to Crazy Jug lookout and to the next destination where we had our Stake Youth Conference Testimony meeting. I bawled my eyes out for just about the whole thing. Just look at that View!! We sat there, on the side of the hill, and this is what we were looking at the whole time. Magnificent. Again, if you need more detail, I have it typed up and on my desk top.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Spring Creek

Spring Creek Canyon is a beautiful little spot just south of Kanarraville. I'd never been before, so when there was a guided hike offered this Saturday, I showed up. Caroline came with me. We started at 9:00 meeting at the Cedar City park, then carpooled down there. The hike was sponsored by the SUMA folks--Southern Utah Museum of Art--which does not exist quite yet. It was to show how artists ply their trade and use nature, etc. Our artist was Arlene Braithwait. She's a favorite of mine and does wonderful work in pastels. She spoke for a bit at the trailhead, and then we started our hike. It looks like nothing particularly special as you start, but following the little gurgling creek is very pleasant.

We crossed over the creek multiple times. Below is Caroline being helped along by our photographer. If our photos show up in "" please let us know. :-)

There were pretty wildflowers. These are Indian Paintbrush. Because we have had a wet spring, there was lots of grasses, bright green leaves on the brush oaks, healthy pinyons and cedars. And lots and LOTS of biting flies and mosquitoes!! We had to constantly move and flat our arms about to keep from being eaten alive. And we put our jackets back on, despite the heat later in the day.

I don't know why I have such a hard time posing. I'll have to work on that. I just had Caroline take a photo of me really quickly so I'd have proof of having been there.
Spring Creek is a slot canyon. I didn't go a good job of positioning the camera so you could see how narrow it was, but it is. Trust me. Red rocks, clear creek, good company and perfect weather. You couldn't ask for more. Our guide, Anne Smith, was there one week ago and there were no flies or mosquitoes. She also said that every time she goes, it 's different. I can see why. The flora and fauna would change, as would the water levels, etc.
This is called the "Volkswagon Stuff." Each time Anne passes this hole in the rock, she tries to stuff as many people in it as she can. I think we only got nine or so in, but most of us were hefty adults. ha. This picture was taken after a couple had left. You can see the reflection of my glasses back in there.

Here's Caroline alone in the hole.
We only walked in about 2 miles, to this slope/side area. We stayed, Caroline painted a watercolor of the scenery. I wish I would have taken a picture of what she painted. Arlene's comments were very complementary! She captured the size and actual shape of the rocks and her values were very good, too. That from a professional!! Woo hoo! A budding artist in Caroline!!

One of the rests along the way. Two friends from our ward were on the hike, too. Janet Seegmiller and her daugher, Joy.
We were home by 2 pm. It was a very nice hike. I'm glad we went. And, no, that's NOT toilet paper in the box next to Caroline. It's a roll of paper towels in a box of water-color painting supplies that I hauled all the way along on our hike. They said they needed help carrying Arlenes' things, so I grabbed the box and headed up the trail. Only, silly me, they needed people to haul the stuff BACK to the car. Duh. Oh well. It's a well-traveled box now. ha.

These are columbine from my front flower bed! See what a little fertilizer and a lot of water can do? Who knew!!??? I think maybe I'll be more generous with watering in the future. Nah. We live in a desert... and I water sparingly.
Memorial Day weekend we were in Provo, American Fork, Orem, and Springville. This home belongs to one of Mike's cousins. Don't you just LOVE the wisteria climbing over the patio area in their back yard. It was stupendous!! I don't know that I've ever seen one so big and SOOOO fully in bloom. I just had to take a picture.
In their front was the irrigation ditch that passed by their home. They have a lot of fruit trees, a garden, etc. But this water moves on down the road. What do you suppose that little thing is on the left? It's like a little side canal or something, but goes no where really. Any ideas?