Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Click on the http and take a minute for a laugh. Nicki sent this to us and I thought I would share it. We thought it was pretty funny. Thanks for the laugh, Nicki!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Encouraging Words

Since we were on vacation and missed Saturday's opening sessions of conference, I have been listening to them throughout the week. I loved Elder Bednar's talk about being consistent in our family prayers, family home evenings, and reading the scriptures. A few months ago, Kent and I were asked to speak during a 5th sunday combined RS/Priesthood meeting about the importance of and ideas for family home evening. Two other couples were invited to present too, a couple with young children, a couple with teenagers (us) and an empty-nester couple. In an effort to prepare for this assignment, I asked the kids which family home evenings they remembered. As I recall, they laughed and said they didn't remember any of them. Of course, I was slightly stunned, as we have had a few here and there that were memorable, or at least I thought. I really felt like I had nothing to offer at the meeting, (especially since the couple with young children brought a laundry basket full of cute cutouts, object lessons and various other items) except for the fact that we had mostly been consistent in these three things and that somehow, that consistency had a cumulative effect on our family.  Your can imagine my relief when Elder Bednar expressed the same concerns. He compared each individual and daily effort to a painting of a wheat field.  When standing very close to the picture all you see are individual paint strokes of gold, yellow and brown, that by themselves are unimpressive and even maybe dull. But as you back away from the painting, you see the whole picture and that each brush stroke, combined with all the other brush strokes work together to form a masterpiece. (He used a better picture, but I couldn't find it). I loved this analogy. If you wish to read the entire text of his talk, you may visit, click on General Conference, Saturday morning session. Very inspirational and comforting to all parents who have ever wondered if their efforts are paying off. I loved it. It was one of my favorite talks from conference. Please take the time to read or reread his talk. He was much more eloquent and he was funny at times, but his message was as timely as it is serious. We need to do all we can to protect and prepare our families.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

We've been profiled!

The 13 Articles of Mormon Culture

1. We believe SUVs and minivans to be our form of transportation, and in knee length shorts -- which are always nice and, of course, in multilevel marking.

2. We believe that church ball players should be punished for their own fouls, and not for unsportsmanlike aggression. 

3. We believe that through bread crumbs, cheese, creamy soups, and rice all casseroles can be saved through obedience to ward cookbooks and creativity in the mixing bowl.

4. We believe that the first layers and ingredients of the Dip are: first, beans; second, cheese; third, chopped tomatoes; fourth, the gift of sour cream; fifth, olives; sixth, salsa; seventh, guacamole, that is, if you have it. 

5. We believe that a Mormon should have a distinguished or a cute name, that it's appropriate to name a child after a church leader or a historical figure including an ancestor, that alternative spellings and French prefixes only add to a name, and that when referring to the names of General Authorities, middle initials should be a part thereof. 

6. We believe in the same wall decor that exists in many Mormon homes, namely, framed family proclamations, vinyl lettering, inspirational word signs, family photos, pictures of temples and Jesus, and so forth. 

7. We believe in the gift of re-gifting, church books, crafts, family photos, baked goods, emergency supply kits, and so forth. 

8. We believe in sparkling grape juice -- so long as it is nonalcoholic; we also believe in bringing root beer and sprite to ward and all other parties. 

9. We believe in all that we have scrapbooked, all that we will now scrapbook, and we believe that we will yet scrapbook many great and important things pertaining to our family, friends, pets, and vacations. 

10. We believe in the literal mixing of ketchup and mayo and in the generous application of ranch dressing; that CBAs (church-based acronyms) will be used to describe YM/YW, PEC, the Y, NCMO, and CTR; that Mitt Romney will get Mormons to vote for him any time he runs; and, that the Mormons will enjoy reading Twilight and The Work and the Glory. 

11. We claim the privilege of trying to identify common acquaintances with any visitor at church, and allow all other people at church the same privilege; we also believe in name dropping the names of famous people and general authorities how, where, or what we may. 

12. We believe in being subject to scoutmasters, pampered chef hostesses, and the writers of the U.S. News and World Report Rankings for professional schools, and in obeying, honoring, and sustaining Glenn Beck. 

13. We believe in being above average, good at crafts, optimistic, and being fifteen minutes late everywhere we go. Indeed, we may say that we follow BYU football. We believe rumors about famous people joining the church, we hope to meet the three Nephites, we have endured many pyramid schemes, and hope to be able to endure all pyramid schemes. If there is anything cheap, free, sold in bulk, or given away when somebody is moving, we seek after these things.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Ya gotta love fall!

I just love fall, especially when I get to pick pumpkins from my own garden. I've never grown my own and this year we planted only one plant and look at what we got! Trevor, who loves gardening with me, has already claimed the big one.
I also tried my hand at growing squash. I planted one plant of spaghetti squash, one of butter cup squash and one of butternut squash and only three plants yielded this much squash. Apparently this is something that is pretty easy to grow! I never knew that. As you can see by the picture, the onions didn't do as well! Oh well, there's always next year. Now all I have to do is convince my family that squash is good.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

What to do in Utah over UEA

Our annual early fall pounding of snow/rain.

Every year schools in Utah close down for a few days for UEA. This is one union holiday that I totally support, for the simple fact that it gives us a few days off school after Labor Day Weekend. Every year I want to go and do something, but usually we just end up staying home for a few days. But this year I wasn't going to do that. I made plans to go to Yellowstone and and Jackson Hole, but after seeing the forecast for temps in the 40's and 50's, and after getting hit with a snow/rain storm here in Cache Valley, we had to scramble for options. We decided to go south, visit Scenic Byway 12, and enjoy the last warm days of summer in Canyonlands.
We stayed home on Wednesday and waited for the storm to pass. Then on Thursday we spent a good portion of the day driving and by mid afternoon reached Capital Reef National Park. We loved the amazing rock formations here in the park.

Friday morning we took what was supposed to be a quick 4-mile hike, but it ended up being a bit longer as Kenna didn't pack proper foot wear and ended up doing most of the hike bare foot. Not as bad as it sounds as her feet are pretty tough from gymnastics. She did better bare foot than she did with her shoes on.
We totally loved and were awed by the striations and the sandstone.

Trevor took this picture from the floor of the canyon. He is looking straight up and got the shot of both cliff sides. Kind of a confusing picture. As you can see, we had perfect weather - not too hot and not too cold and, no rain!

Okay, I know, the cheesy "holding-up-the-mountain" shot, but the kids loved it.

Wish I were a better photographer. With views like this, it's hard to get a bad shot, but it looks like I managed - that glare is awful.
When we checked out of the lodge Friday morning, the desk clerk suggested we go to Lower Calf Creek Falls. We debated about this a lot, considering that Kenna still didn't have proper foot wear and was getting blisters. But around 5:30 we got to the trail head and decided to go. It was mostly a sandy trail and no problem. She wore flip-flops and we are so glad we did this hike. We booked through the 6 mile hike and did the entire round trip in 2 hours and 15 minutes. It was getting dark and some of the trail was over stumps and rocks that I didn't want to trip on coming back. It was totally worth the effort. We only spent about 10-15 minutes at the falls, but so much fun and so beautiful.
This falls is 120 feet high and drops into this amazing pool. Again, I wish I were a better photographer as the pics don't do this place justice. If you ever get near this place, GO! It's an easy hike (more like a walk). It was our favorite place we visited.
The pool at the bottom is a beautiful blue/green color.
Utah's version of "The Hanging Gardens of Babylon"
These plants were growing on these cliff sides out of the rock. It was so cool. We got off the trail just as it was getting dark and drove through Escalante and Red Canyon in the dark, missing the second half of Scenic Byway 12. We had reservations at a cabin at Panguich Lake and so couldn't stop. Since we had no phone service, we couldn't just call and cancel. So on Saturday morning, we drove back to Red Canyon to see the Hoodoos. They were so much fun.
My little family of rule-breakers. They totally ignored all understood rules about staying on designated trails and had to climb almost every single hoodoo we came to that was close enough to climb. I stayed on the trail and took bad pictures!!!

I way got into the hoodoos. I thought they were the most fascinating, plus it was just fun to say "Hoodoo" and then Kenna would say "YouDo". We're pretty easily entertained.
Kent and Tervor "bouldering" on the hoodoos again.

Just can't resist one more little climb.

Here's the man. Thanks, Kent, for a wonderfully fun few days in Southern Utah. We need to make this a yearly tradition, as we didn't even scratch the surface of things to see in Southern Utah.

Regan, I took this picture especially for you. This tree has a serious "nubbin" problem.