Sunday, July 24, 2011

The last family style!!

We had a grand week together at Kathie and Bill's mountain retreat.  They were introduced to you all last month and have been our closest friends for the longest time and brought to us the most important message of our lives...the truth of the restoration of the gospel.  In the early 2000's, they built this great cabin on the north face of the Uintah mountains a mile north of Bear River Lodge on the Mirror Lake Hwy south of Evanston.  Because they were living in California [and still are actually], I served as their local contact person and worked with the builder to make sure everything was done perfectly.  It was a great experience for me and it turned out to be a beautiful second home for them!  They are generous cabin owners and have let us bring family and friends for relaxing weekends or extended weeks.  Randy and Bill have tinkered many hours on this property and actually worked together to construct the split-rail fencing that surrounds the entire area.

On our way to the cabin area, we had to share the space with sheepherders who were moving a flock along the road-later that evening, we heard the baa-ing as they passed our cabin on their way to a new feeding ground.

 A favorite activity for all ages but potentially dangerous as noted by Alexandra's rollover wounds...we were so grateful she wasn't seriously injured!
Randy and KC

Food is always plentiful when we run away to the mountains and this year was no exception.  I created a sign-up sheet and everyone had the opportunity to help with the prep or the clean-up, whichever they wanted and it gave me time with each individually.  Creating memories and nourishing relationships are always two goals for our family time together.

And of course, the games and just relaxing, visiting and a little hammock time!

Jake and Emma

Rob and his brood

Chip, Cristin and Rob
The food was eaten, the dishes were done, the cabin cleaned and readied for the next occupants but the most important thing was, we had a grand family week despite the rain, the blackout, the injuries to people and stuff and the lack of family members who were not able to come.  We hope to have the entire group together August of 2013 when we return and enjoy a reunion somewhere in Colorado...can we top this facility???  Probably not but as we grow, the cabin doesn't so Cristin, Kim, Tawnya, April and Stephanie will be in charge of finding and planning for next time!  A grand farewell to this marvelous and gorgeous retreat with it's wonderful memories...

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Family time is the greatest!!

As we wind down our time before entering the MTC in a little over two weeks, we are realizing how important family time is in our lives and what a void will be left as we leave for two years.  Families are the greatest and we are treasuring every moment we can muster!

Monday was Family Home Evening at Chip's house and after a lesson, we had a fun activity of relay races.  The overall winner was KC.  She definitely got her competitive spirit and athletic ability from our side of the family.

The malt balls debaukle!!
My friend Carolyn gave me a grand recipe for brownies that I made for camp this year-this is the same one that inspired a song and one of the main ingredients is Malt Balls.  WWEEEELLLLL,,because they don't sell them in the Philippines, my sweet friend and my mission president's wife asked me to bring some SSSOOOO...being the maximizer again, I bought and crushed 27 boxes of Whoppers with the help of  Rob, Ellie, Tawnya and KC.  With our restricted suitcase weigh, not sure how many we will be taking but they are all crushed and ready!!!  I am sure my kids will be happy to use whatever I can't fit in.  They would be great topping for a bowl of ice cream or just added to milk and ice cream for a great shake.

Took the Frontrunner to Salt Lake City yesterday and did some shopping at The Gateway with Kayleen, KC and Cora.  The girls were given $10 each and told to spend it on themselves while Kayleen and I shopped for 'old lady' stuff.  California Pizza Kitchen was our lunch destination and then the trip back to Davis County.  Had a great day but all slept well last night!
Cora and KC sporting their 'hair feathers'

A couple of pooped grandmas!

The cabin shopping will take up most of today and tomorrow, after church, we will start our great week of
relaxation and fun at Bill and Kathie's wonderful retreat in the Uintah mountains..stay tuned...

Monday, July 11, 2011

Burgers, brats and a great porch swing...

What a relaxing and enjoyable weekend with our 'firstborn in the wilderness' and her kids.  Had a cookout with some great burgers and brats along with Bruce Bishop and his gorgeous girls.  [how many 'B's can I find?]

Now who is Bruce you ask?  He is the 'main man' in my daughter's world [besides her four sons] and is a keeper if you ask me.  We had a great dinner with Potato Salad [thanks to Sam's Club], watermelon, cantaloupe, kraut for the brats, and a great Chocolate Torte [also courtesy of Sam's] for dessert.

Some of you know about our card group in Omaha and our signature game we called Crud.  Well, this Bishop family also plays a variation of Crud and we were all whomped royally by Emily, Bruce's 17 yr old daughter.  It was a fun evening and so glad we had the weekend with them.

Yesterday we attended Sacrament Meeting and heard Cora's girl's camp report.  This was her first time to speak in church and she did a marvelous job!  After dinner, Randy, Kayleen, KC and I drove to a Stake Center in Salt Lake and attended a Fireside where Rob and Tawnya were performing with the Jenny Phillip's Choir.  Both of them are members of the choir and have actually traveled with them to distant places to perform.  It was awesome!  The stake that attended is getting ready for their Trek and this fireside prepared them so well.  We loved it!!!

When we lived in Kaysville from '92-'03, our home had a wonderful porch swing.  I grew up with grandparents who had a great porch swing and have many fond memories of heart-to-heart talks with my cousin sitting in that swing.   In Kaysville, I spent many hours perched on that swing, crocheting, reading or just watching the activities of my neighborhood and talking with neighbors, kids, grandkids, and my young women when I was an advisor.   Cristin has a swing on her front porch and yesterday, we spent a couple of hours sitting and swinging, yakking and making plans.  Love spending time with my girl...and her kids too, of course.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Bats, a train ride, some great Gelato and movin' on!!!

As we wound down our Texas time, we spent Tuesday doing some fun things.  Swim lessons occupied the morning and after lunch, we all set out for a great finale of a day!  Wednesday we headed west, leaving behind some wonderful memories and a great little family who will be SO missed!  Below are some pictures of our adventures.

see our group behind the engine??
With a temp of over 100 degrees, we were all ready for some 'cooling off' time-Whole Foods in downtown Austin really hit the spot!!

We then traveled to the Congress Avenue Bridge [a famous landmark in Austin] to watch the most amazing event-there are over 750,000 female and 750,000 baby bats that live under this bridge and at dusk, they all come flying out to spend their night feeding and such.  It was truly amazing to see them all spiraling out of their hiding places and up into the sky.

Libby and Jeremy waiting to see the phenomenon of the bats

Our 24 hour car trip from Austin to Salt Lake City was broken up by this beautiful scenery.

South of Moab

Monday, July 4, 2011

What a FANTASTIC splash pad!!!

We spent this morning at a new community splash pad here in Austin-it is a phenomenal facility and will be a frequent outing destination for this little group, I am sure.  Enjoy the pictures...
A cool waterfall..
Jeremy checking out the view

Amelia on the slide

Seth, Libby and Amelia in the sandbox
The canons...such fun to hit grandpa!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Splish, at the pool [and a little Farmer's Market, too]

This area of Austin where Kim lives is SO cool...[really it is HOTTER than blazes but...]  their subdivision has three or four community pools that are free to the residents and their guests.  Seth and Amelia are taking swimming lessons and we got to go 'observe' on Friday.  Actually, while Seth was taking his lesson, I swam with Amelia and Libby and while Amelia was in lessons, I swam with Seth and Libby.  The pools are so nice, clean, not crowded.  I had fun and thought you would enjoy a few pictures.
Libby leaping into my arms...
Meemaw and the girls
Kim [in the hat], Elliott [in the other hat] with Libby and Seth
Mr. Seth
After dinner, our whole group went to a different pool and had a fun evening.  Seth and Amelia are fish and Libby is learning.  She will be a great swimmer by the end of this season as long as they continue to go and encourage her.

Meemaw and Elliott
a little kick-back after a swim

Saturday morning we went to the local Farmer's Market and bought a few different things, one of which was fresh peaches-KC [who is accompanying us on our journeys until the 1st of August when she will fly home] said she loves canned peaches but has never tasted a fresh peach!!  I was shocked!  I guess I don't feel so stupid now because I had never tasted Mexican, Chinese or Italian food except Pizza and Spaghetti until after I got married.  It was another 15 years before I had Thai or Indian food.  Anyway, we bought her some fresh peaches and she LOVED them.

KC trying her first fresh peach.

When we were in Kansas visiting Todd and April, I took this cute picture of my ladies, Emarrie and Krezenz Cylien [KC for short] in fancy dresses.  KC went to Prom this year and wore the purple one and the black one will be her dress for next year, possibly.  Emarrie is still too young for fancy dances but likes to dream....

KC and Emarrie in their formal wear.

Friday, July 1, 2011

GRATITUDE...beyond compare...

Last Sunday we spoke in our Sacrament meeting in the Conestoga branch.  For the past 3 years, we have had the privilege to serve in an inner-city branch in north Omaha and have learned so much from that experience.  All along, we both felt this to be a grand preparation for our mission and leaving was one of the hardest things we have had to do.  It is amazing to me how the Lord molds our hearts to accept His will.  Our topic was 'gratitude' and it was so hard to deliver my message without blubbering.  We have been so blessed in this process but one of our greatest blessings was our time rubbing shoulders with and watching the growth in those great saints.
Randy, me, Claudia and Warren
Another great blessing was this wonderful couple.  Now you must understand, Claudia and I were supposed to be sisters but our mom's messed up-she is 6 weeks older than me and our experiences growing up in Nebraska are so similar.  Our friendship goes back to July of 1975 when we first moved into Omaha and upon attending Sacrament Meeting for the first time in our new ward, positioned ourselves in the row behind her family.  We became immediate friends and that relationship has just grown with age.  Upon the sale of our home, I called her and said..'you have a choice, my can either take over the 'chief' job at Girl's Camp in the kitchen or rent us a room for 2 weeks!'.   After lots of laughter, she opened her beautiful home to our family for 3 weeks-one week with all three of our adult boys as we finished the packing and loading process then the last two weeks with Randy, Emarrie and me.  She and Warren run the most marvelous B&B.  I have had the opportunity over the years to stay with many different people and this was one of the top 5 experiences...even if our Scrabble tourney was never resolved.  I am leaving with a tie!!  5 and 5!  Look our Claud...I WILL BE BACK!

This woman is in my heart...