Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sun Valley to Richfield to Durango to Pagosa Springs (and back) *sigh*

We love the drive between here and Boise, particularly riding along the river from Riggins to Banks. I never get tired of watching that river blast its path down the road. We stopped to pick up a geocache at the swinging bridge and Kaylee braved her way across and back. (and I do mean braved--even I got a bit nervous) The river was really roiling and there was just the top cable to hold onto.

Sun Valley was beautiful. I can't ever remember being there before. Jeff ditched his Friday night meeting and we took the kids up the valley for a fun little walk. This monument to Ernest Hemingway was a fun stopping point. The kids had fun tossing sticks in and racing them down the little canal-stream and catching them again at the bridge.

This was a gorgeous drive up into the mountains to pick up a fun geocache. The view of the stream roaring down the mountain was pretty breathtaking.

After the kids and I left Jeff to his work for a few days we drove south down to Richfield, UT where my super great cousin and her fun family live. We just happened to time things just right so that my other great cousin and his family were there too. The kids all slept out in a tent in the backyard and the cousins played so great together the whole time.
We took a fun day trip over to Cove Fort which is not too far from their house. Cove Fort is an old mormon fort that was initially built by some of my ancesters. A few years after they left it Brigham Young sent some of Pres. Hinkley's ancesters down there to establish a regular stopping post for the saints heading south to start new settlements.
I honestly enjoy visiting sites like these. I love how the pioneers are always able, through sheer determination and a bit of ingenuity, to make something out of nothing--build little bits of "paradise" out of scrubby dessert and make things work that never should have been possible.

I guess I just love how utterly determined they were to make IT work--whatever IT was that they were asked to do. They never said, "That's not possible". They always just said, "OK, I'll go".
I wish my own children like that.

After our fun stopover at Krista's we headed east and this was our favorite rest stop. We actually spent about an hour here climbing all over these rocks, taking pictures and enjoying the views of the salt flats.
I have to admit, my adventurous heart sometimes gets the better of me and I fully love scrambling around on the rocks, looking into the chasms and trying to climb to the top of them.
I guess, sometimes the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

This was another fun stop. Anyone remember "Hole in the Rock"? Well, this is the rest stop right next to that. The kids were dying to go but I remembered what a disappointment it was from childhood so I convinced them that snagging another geocache hidden here was even better than hole-in-the-rock. We grabbed the cache and did some rock climbing and away we went--ready for the last leg of a very long journey.

We made it to Durango. Have I mentioned before just how much I love Durango. No matter how long I have lived away from here and no matter how short a time I actually lived here there will always be a small part of me that feels like I am coming HOME whenever we start to descend into the valley.
The kids and I got to spend a whole day with my sister before everyone else got there and the chaos of so many cousins and so many things to do swept us away. We took a walk downtown. We wanted to show Drew the train but they were all out at the time. We let the kids play in the Animas, walked through the bank (which has tons of cool animals and rocks and stuff), and of course stopped at Del Sol to buy some cool nail polish that changes colors in the sunshine. We made it back to the car just in time to see the stinking meter man putting tickets on cars. Yep, there it was, that pretty, orange envelope letting me know that I was 5 minutes late getting back to my car. I hate parking meters! Seriously, you'd think they would want us to take our time and browse through all of the shops instead of being so worried about getting back to the car in time. I guess I shouldn't have wasted the time shopping in their stores and giving them sales tax moneys. (ok ok, climbing down from soap box now)

We had stopped at the temple in Monticello to surprise mom and dad with a quick hello on our way down. We caught them just between sessions and they were definitely surprised. They were not expecting us at all. I think they enjoyed the surprise.
Pagosa Springs is know for its natural hot springs so while we were there we took the kids to a hot springs pool for a swim. On a hot day, it was almost too hot. But everyone had a great time, especially K and A who learned the art of dog-fighting.

Almost the whole clan made a quick trip up to Williams Creek for some fun in the river. It was so fun to see the cousins getting to know each other again--picking up where they left off the last time. The bonds were strengthened, even just a little. That's a good thing to see.

The mosquitos were crazy-bad though and we all came a little unprepared for them so we didn't complain to loudly when it was time to head back. We needed to get back for Addy's Baptism.

Before we left we did manage to get a picture of almost all of the cousins all together. Amazingly enough every one of them look great---except for KC. He had to ruin perfection. I'm considering it a full-on miracle that we were able to get all of the other ones to sit in the same spot at the same time and look at the same place with an actual smile on their face. That's a lot of kids! Look how totally cute they all are--even Mr. Butterball. The main purpose of the trip was to help my parents celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. How crazy is it that I don't even have one picture of them during that event. I do have a pict. of all my siblings and their spouses---all except Lisa who somehow managed to escape. I love my family! I hope they know it!

The rest of the week consisted of plain ol' fun. We went to the river a few times. We even hopped on some inner tubes and took a little trip down the falls. After a few tumps into the cold water and the adrenaline rush that always follows such things, that became the #1 dinner conversation for days afterward.

That's my boy--two fisting his ice cream.

We even took some of the cousins out shooting. I loved watching these brave, little, girls shoot some pretty big guns. They are actually darn good shots. Not many 30 year olds take the opportunity to learn how to shoot a 44---let alone 10 year olds. They did awesome! You're not gonna want to mess with these girls. They're gonna be able to kick butt!

We had such a good time. After more than a week on the road and going 90 miles per hour it was kinda surreal to jump in the car point it towards home and be able to just sit back and relax. This view seemed to help a bit though.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Belle's Baptism

Bella has been preparing for this day for 8 years now. She has been learning about Faith and Repentance. She has a testimony of Heavenly Father. She knows that he is real and has made the decision to be baptized. We are so happy for her to take the big step in her life. The scriptures say that baptism is the Gate by which we enter into the straight and narrow way. We are thrilled that she has opened the gate and has started walking down that strait and narrow path towards all happiness.

She decided to get baptized down in Colorado so that she could be with all of her relatives that had gathered for her grandparents 50th wedding anniversary. It was so fun to watch all of the cousins get to know each other and really bond with each other.

I love the picture in the background. There is something special about it--I hope that Bella will always turn towards the light that comes only from Christ. It is this mother's prayer that the Light of Christ that she finds within the gospel and the scriptures and the temple will touch her heart time after time and that she will constantly seek for that light wherever she goes and however old she becomes...

...Because our Family depends on the strength of her testimony and dedication to that Light.

We LOVE you Bella!
In the words of the "best grandpa EVER"----------------"You done good, girl!!!!!"