I love the celebration Cottonwood Heights puts on every year for Pioneer Day. Parade - with nearly half of the floats from the days of 47 parade, antique car show, bounce house's, fun music and dancing, games, magic shows, gold digging, and fireworks. Every year we gather with my family and with friends from my childhood neighborhood, this year we also had our good friends from Heber join us. It was a wonderful day - hot, but still great fun!
Brandon, Jason and Chandler enjoying the three little pigs float. The kids pulled in a large stash of candy, did lots of waving, and tried to get in the line of fire when the fire truck came by squirting everyone with water (all except Brandon who hid under the chairs as far away as possible :))
Tyler, Grant, Chandler, Jason and Brandon - five boys having a great time.:)
Digging for gold (painted rocks)
Brandon was thrilled when Jared buried him in the sand - it was just like a mama croc and her nest of eggs.
Chandler and Jason were both so brave and wanted to go in the dunk tank. Although once they were on the seat they were not so sure they liked the anticipation of being dunked.
Grant was a pretty good shot and managed to dunk kids a few times, but couldn't manage it for Chandler, which made the anticipation even worse.
Yeah Chandler - You did it!
A roaming magician found our group and offered to do a show for the kids - it was great. It was also fun because Jason's birthday was in just 2 days, so he got to be the first special helper. I was very impressed with this magician, he was darling with the kids, fun to the adults and his tricks were so cool - wish I knew how they did that, the kids were also amazed. :)
At long last when the heat of the day finally cooled down a bit we went to the car show and bounce houses. The boys had a great time, bloody noses, bumps and bruises and all. I was also so impressed with a darling boy 10-12 years old who saw Grant and Tyler needing help through one of the bounce houses, he was so cute to the boys and so helpful. I hope I can raise boys who are just as thoughtful and kind.
There was one group of musicians who perform Irish music, that made for some very fun dancing from kids and adults. :)
Uncle Scottie was so cute to take care of the boys from time to time, he and Grant have such a cute little bond.
We had a great time - love community celebrations with family and friends!! Happy Pioneer Day!
Camp this year was WONDERFUL!! I loved nearly every minute of it. The last night of camp when the bishopric came for testimony meeting he asked us to share the highlights, it was impossible to choose just one highlight, there were so many great moments. Some of my favorites were;
Ultimate Uno right before bed, or any other time we could squeeze it in, there was a lot of screaming, outright laughing, and competition. We saw every one's true colors when we played, and we loved it!
Reading a fantastic little book called Beautiful by Jenny Phillips, I highly recommend this book to all women and even men, it was great! Everyone in our camp was touched in one way or another by the book.
Singing Oh Dear What Can the Matter Be for the first time with my girls and making our dear priesthood holders blush and giggle, by the time we were to the 2nd verse we were all nearly "laughing so hard the tears ran down our legs" :)
Hanging crystals every time someone did a service. By the end of camp we had 100 "SHINY" crystals hanging with rainbows dancing all around to remind us that we are like crystals and if we will let the light of our Savior shine through us others will be drawn to our beautiful rainbow of values and in reverse if we will work on our rainbow of Personal Progress values others will see His light shine through us and be drawn to Him. The 100 crystals and 100 acts of service were also a way to celebrate the 100th anniversary of girls camp.
Roasting marshmallows on the grill, because no fires were allowed.
Having so much fun with the girls that I often forgot I was a leader and more then once when the girls asked for permission to do something I said "I don't know, go ask a leader" - the looks they gave me were priceless. :)
D.E.A.R. time - Drop Everything And Read. each day we had a 1/2 hour-45 min. dear time where we got to read from our scriptures and ponder. It was wonderful, so much so that I have begun to attempt to implement D.E.A.R. time at home with my boys ( a future post will go into greater detail :))
Being in nature. I love it! I think part of me is the "tree hugger" that so many others loath. There is such peace and clarity when you are removed from the "world". There really is a spirit in nature that draws you closer to heaven and heavenly things. I love that peace, I crave that peace, and long for the day when I can realistically be out in nature regularly.
The pictures will also show many other terrific highlights from camp -
Our crazy group. :)
The leaders - I adore and admire these women so much - another highlight was a new tradition we have at camp which started last year. Through out the week each leaders takes a turn to share a 10-30 minute mini devotional relating to the theme. I am amazed that each of us can approach the same theme in such a variety of ways, but I am even more amazed and the powerful women these leaders are. I am in awe of their strong testimony and goodness. I have so much respect for them. When I am with them I feel like I can conquer anything! I love them!
I adore our girls. We managed to go through an entire week of camp all in the same cabin with no fighting, no bickering, no hurt feelings, no seclusion. That doesn't often happen at camp. I was so impressed with how well these girls handled the challenges camp presented to them, how helpful they were, and how happy and up beat they were - I don't even remember them complaining. I adore my YW!
The leaders had the opportunity to go on the zip line a few days before the girls so that we could encourage them - funny actually - the girls should have gone first and them encouraged us. :) One we got past the horrible rope ladder it was mostly smooth sailing - although I used to be such a dare devil I would not blink an eye at hurdling myself off a 50-70 foot tower, but I guess with age comes new reservations, it was harder to jump off facing forward so went off backwards, I laughed and screamed the whole way down and wished I could do it again - but only if there was another way up to the top, dumb rope ladder!
The hike was beautiful, but it was torture, really I was not a very happy hiker. It was five miles of straight up, straight down, straight up, straight down, and up and down all over again. Over and over and over again. To make matters worse our hike guide was a pro hiker, having just gone on a 80+ mile hike with her 10 year old the previous week, she kept up a pace that made it near to impossible to stop and smell the roses. And the best part was she managed to get lost more than once, leading us down several step hills (all the while we were thinking I sure am glad we are going down this one and not up) only to realize she had taken a wrong turn and we had to hike back up the steep nasty hill. Ew it was tough, but we finished and I learned some things - I am really tired of being tired, because I am so out of shape. I want to be able to go on an 80+ mile hike (well maybe 10-15 mile hike) with my boys as they get older, I want to keep up with the youth when we do these fun activities, and I want to enjoy it
Our wards skit was memorable to say the least. The theme for the skits was "Put Your Shiny On" from Sister Dalton's recent General Young Women's talk. So we had three girls sit on the ground (with ponchos on) doing their best to look DULL. Then two other girls came by, remarked on how Dull they were, and remember that in a magazine they had seen an ad for petroleum jelly, and that it would make you shine, so they pulled out their jelly and smeared it all over the girls faces and anywhere else they could think. Then one other girl came by, noticed how Dull the girls STILL were and remembered hearing on the radio that glitter will make you shiny, so she covered the girls in glitter, which stuck nicely to the petroleum jelly. This did not make the girls shiny, so in walked two more girls who remembered seeing a show on the food network that sang the praises of chocolate, if you have lots of chocolate you will be shiny and happy, and of course they poured chocolate syrup over the girls, in the hair and everywhere (you should have heard the moans from the other wards) finally to the girls rescue came two daughters of God who knew that to truly be shiny you need to pray, read the scriptures, do personal progress, etc. So they gave the girls scriptures and personal progress books and wha-lah the girls were happy and shiny. And headed straight for the showers with big grins on their faces and filling the camp with giggles. The other wards skits were also full of great messages and lots of humor, but I am like a proud mama and I think our wards was the best. :)
The challenge course at the Heber Valley Girls camp is exceptional. It was so fun to see them work through the problems both physical and mental. And the spiritual applications that followed were really neat. Here Jodie had to cross an ocean full of sharks because the island she and the other girls were on was on fire. :)
Here the girls had to get from one end of the log to the other while passing each girl standing on the log. And they had to do it all without knocking someone, including themselves off the log. This was probably the hardest one for the girls to do.
This challenge required each girl to get through one portion of the spider web without touching the web and without putting their arms through to the other side while helping someone get through.
This service project was not part of the challenge course, but it was definitely a challenge. Our job was to restore two camp fire pits by loading up wheel barrels with rocks and pushing them down and finally up very large hills, it was almost too much for the girls to handle. The last hill was steep and narrow and full of roots which jutted out just when you least expected them to. But these girls worked hard, sweat hard, and cheered hard all while smiling. :)
We got to play on a lake - I had never done that at girls camp, or any camp for that matter. It was a lot of fun to watch the girls row around the lake. The leaders got to use the paddle boats. I am not sure that was the best choice because we had already had several great lower body work outs due to hiking and the service project, my arms had not been worked out and I would have like to change things up a bit, then again, the girls were probably just making it look easy. The lake was beautiful and a bit refreshing too, even if you couldn't get in the water.
Our beautiful crystals. :)
"Several weeks ago I stood in the celestial room of the Reno Nevada Temple. The light streaming into that room was brilliant and was made even more so by the crystal chandelier, which reflected the light on its many carved facets into rainbows of illumination everywhere. It took my breath away as I realized that the Savior is “the light and the life of the world,”that it is His light we must hold up and reflect. We are the tiny crystals that reflect His light, and in order to do that, we must be clean and free from the dust of the world. As I stood in the temple that day, I heard again in my mind Moroni’s call to us—the daughters of Zion: “Awake, and arise from the dust.” “And touch not the evil gift, nor the unclean thing.” “Awake, and arise … , and put on thy beautiful garments, O daughter of Zion … , that the covenants of the Eternal Father which he hath made unto thee, O house of Israel, may be fulfilled.”" Sister Elaine S. Dalton
Becca was so helpful and she fed me while my hands were stuck behind my back. Fun times. :)
Julie is one of our Beehives, this was her second year. When I tried to teaching them a camp song which is near and dear to me I wanted so badly to be able to play the guitar with us singing, I tried valiantly to teach myself the guitar, but couldn't figure out which chords worked best in the chorus. That same night after I ended up teaching it to them accapella, Julie went home and picked it up by ear - amazing! So she became our designated song leader (as well as the very entertaining YCL's). I love the sounds of a guitar around the camp fire at night, and I was so impressed with Julie having the courage and talent to share with us.
I was so surprised when our Bishop got in on the silly camp songs, actions, voices and all. He is a great guy!
Camp was wonderful. I learned a lot. I grew a lot. I strengthen great friendships. I am so grateful that I get to go - it is one of the best part of serving in YW. However, I am so grateful it is only 4 1/2 days. I was never more happy to be going home. I missed my boys (all three of them) more then I thought I would. I also really missed my shower. :)
Shine On :)
For Jared's birthday we went to the zoo, and it was about time too. The new Rocky Shore exhibit opened nearly a month earlier, and we were so ready to go see it. We had a great time at the zoo. It was a packed house, due to several reunions and several activities. We were able to see the wolf standing up walking around first thing, and then we had the good fortune of watching all three tigers eating ice treats made just for them, walking over the bridge and log and getting into the water. I love the tigers and love having three cubs that interact with each other, I will sure be sad, when they grow up and have to be separated.
Tillamook Cheese came in from Oregon, which made us both happy and very home sick, but they did give a fun bingo card to fill out while we went through the zoo, and these funny smile's to play with and there were samples, yum!
We had lunch at the new Beastro, and had a great time. The window where we sat had a GREAT view of the elephants, Zuri was throwing dirt, grass and water onto her, she was rolling on the ground and playing around her mom Kristy. We did not expect dinner and a show but we got one, and the boys were thrilled.
Big Guy! Ever since my dad read him an article in the newspaper about Big Guy Brandon has looked forward to seeing him, Big guy does not disappoint - he is huge!
The three new grizzlies were so much fun to watch, they never stopped moving, unfortunately they were one of the last animals we saw and the boys were getting weary so we did not get to watch them for very long.
Rizo is our new polar bear, she is so much fun! swimming, walking, foraging; I could have spent much more time observing them, but for some cray reason my boys were uninterested.
When we were done with the zoo I asked Brandon what animal was his favorite at the zoo for the day, his response, the crocodiles. Seriously? They don't move, ever! Oh well, Jared and I had lots of fun seeing so many animals having a playful active day. Happy Birthday Jared!