Monday, September 15, 2014

September!

This is the name of our favorite family dance song, sung by Earth, Wind & Fire.  We play it at every Street Dance and the tradition is that the whole family comes to the front and we dance in a circle to this song.  We go through the family and do everyone's "signature" dance move.  It's a great tradition.  I read a study recently that said that the number one predictor of confidence in a child was knowledge of their family history!  Wow!  What a blessing to have histories to share.  This blog is a big part of our family history.

Speaking of family history, Bruce, Joshua and I were able to go to the Temple two weeks ago and do over 40 sealings for ancestors related to Benjamin Covey, Jr., or the Caryl Hill names, as they are affectionately called in my family.  What a blessing!  I truly felt their joy as the door opened for them to progress in the eternities.  I want to thank all those in my family who worked to get these names to this point, from extended family back to my grandmother and her sisters, to Dr. Caryl Hill himself, who gathered the names in the first place.  It is truly a blessing how this came to pass, and it is still an on-going work.  There is a lot more to do!

Labor Day weekend we went up into the mountains for a horseback ride.
Libby and Josh

Peter and Libby

Unfortunately, Mary and I stayed back in the truck because Stormy stepped on Mary's foot while saddling up and she was in a lot of pain.  So Bruce, Josh, Libby and Peter went for a short ride and I stayed with Mary.  When they got back, Josh and Bruce gave Mary a Priesthood Blessing and her pain went down considerably, and by the time we got back, she was able to move her toe, and the only pain was from the layer of skin that had rubbed off.  From all the evidence I had, I am certain that before the blessing her toe was broken, and after the blessing, it was no longer broken.  Some question whether miracles have ceased, but Josh gave Mary a blessing, with Dad helping, and she was healed.  We were truly grateful, as dance is such a big part of her life, and a broken toe would have affected her deeply for a long time.

Josh worked hard at his landscaping job for the 6 weeks he was home on break.
But he also went on a lot of fun dates!  On this one he went with Alyssa horseback riding down to the river, left the horses tied up, floated down the river, walked back to the horses, and then rode home.  They had a blast!


Alyssa told her Mom, "I like Middleton!  I get to go do the funnest things!"

Mary got asked to Homecoming by Chet!  He put a rose on the front door before she got home from school with a note to go up to her bedroom.
In her bedroom was a bouquet of 2 dozens roses, with another dozen roses scattered all over her bedroom and bathroom.

And then there was a note on the bed to go to the backyard. 
Originally, he was supposed to be there on a horse, but Bruce didn't get home in time to get the horses ready, so he was just leaning against the fence.  Haha. 
They did eventually go on a horseback ride and then came back and watched It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.  Fun afternoon for Mary!

And Mary took the ACT last Saturday!  She said it went well.

Here are some pictures of Peter doing a science experiment for one of his classes.
 The experiment was to test gasoline, white gas and lighter fluid to see which one lasted the longest.  It was gasoline, by the way, but it was smoky and dirty.  The white gas burned a lot cleaner.

Libby is reading, reading, reading.  She reminds me of another 12 year old I know that read all the time...

Jesse made Concert Choir at BYU!  This is the second best choir at BYU, after University Singers.  There are 85 students in it, male and female.  Jesse was ecstatic that she made it in.  They already performed at the Inauguration of Kevin J. Worthen as the new President of BYU.

After only 3 days of practice, they sang "He Watching Over Israel" and "Come Ye that Love the Lord". 
It was awesome to see her singing with that choir as Bruce and I watched the Inauguration on BYU TV.  Way to go Jesse!

Bruce and I have also been focused on preparations for future events.  We got an awesome Grizzly double sleeping bag this week!  It's so big we fit Bruce, Peter, Libby and I all in it yesterday afternoon.  Ha ha!  We figure we only need three sleeping bags like this for our family - one for Bruce & I, another for the girls and another for the boys.  Haha.  But seriously, though, we have felt very guided in our preparations.  We are so thankful to be guided by a prophet, President Thomas S. Monson.  His message in the Ensign this month is about Preparedness, and we are doing our best to follow this guidance.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Happy Birthday to Jesse!

Happy 19th birthday to this cute girl!

Here are some more pictures of her on her birthday with one of her best friends, Tori.


And here is Bruce's personal favorite. (Even though she's putting him in a choke hold to give a kiss).

Bruce and I and Josh went out to eat with Jesse and Tori.  Cousin Lindsey met us there too, and it was so fun to see her!

I'm glad Jesse is finally nineteen.  She has been acting like she was nineteen since she was sixteen!  And now that she's nineteen, I think she's finally acting her age.  She got to buy some really cute dresses and clothes for her birthday.  She went shopping with Darcy and had a ball doing that!  Thank you also to our friend Gale who took her to lunch last week!  Happy Birthday Jesse!!

The first day of school was this week for Mary,
 and Peter & Libby.


The first week of school went well for all three.  Mary tried all sorts of ways to get out of taking Calculus, but we stayed the course and she said "it wasn't so bad".  But that's because the first few days were review.  But I think she'll do way better than she thinks she will!  Libby is a library aid this year, and they are both in choir.  Well, Mary is in choir too, but that is a given!  ha ha

Joshua went on a date this week with Aubree, and they went horseback riding on our horses with friends. Fun times!

Afterwards, a whole bunch of other kids from their singe adults branch came over and they swam, played ping pong and foos ball, and generally had a good time (as evidenced by their laughter).

Saturday we got to go to the Funeral of my former missionary companion, Glenae Turley.  We were companions for two months in Bolivia, and I loved her!  She passed away from cancer at the age of 47.  Bruce and I were able to attend.  It was lovely to see the group of friends from our mission that were there.  She was a firefighter for the Murray City Fire Department, spanning a 13 year career.  They said that she was the first woman in Murray's history to command a fire scene.  As a firefighter, she received an Honor Guard at the end of the Funeral. 

Wow - it was breathtaking in its solemnity.  They had a man playing the bagpipe, and if that doesn't bring out the deepest feelings from one's soul, I don't know what does. When they had the dispatcher thank her for her service and say that she had moved on to her next assignment, I just about lost it, and I could hear people all around me with the same reaction.  After folding the flag and delivering it to her family, the loaded her coffin onto the top of a fire truck.  Bruce and I were deeply touched by the respect and honor shown her because of her service to her fellowman and her community.  When that kind of respect and honor is shown, there is still a lot of good in the world!  And I felt my dear companion's joy and fulfillment at having lived life to the fullest and served well.  She is truly on to her next assignment!

Here is part of the tribute and pictures I posted on FB about her.
 

 I got bitten by a dog on my ankle, barely missing my Achilles tendon. The wound was deep, and bless her heart, she cleaned out that wound like none other. Her mother had just passed away from cancer when she came to be my companion, and we had a lot of long talks about grief and loss. I didn't guess at the time that she would also pass away from the same illness. I have fond memories of singing "Walk Like a Bolivian" to the tune of "Walk Like an Egyptian", learning to love Bolivia while singing "Viva mi patria Bolivia", and working hard to find and teach people the gospel we both love. Glenae, I look forward to meeting you and your very own Captain Moroni on the other side. I will miss you, and I'm grateful to have been counted as one of your many friends!



 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Family Pack Trip!

This is my favorite week of the year.  Even better than Christmas, as much as I love that.

Family Pack Trip!

Need I say more?

Probably not.  But I will anyway.  :)

This year we went to Utah to go on or pack trip because Jesse had a final on Thursday morning, and so we needed to be within 2-3 hour driving distance from her so she could come with us.  Bruce knows great websites that give detailed descriptions of hikes and topo maps (topography, for those of you un-initiated into back country life), and we found some good spots in between Logan and Bear Lake in Utah.


While waiting to meet up with Jesse in Logan, we parked by this beautiful Logan Temple for a few minutes.  We got to retell the story of Bruce and I going there when we were dating, and having the wonderful experience of sitting in the Celestial Room together and having a vision come over our minds and hearts of how happy we would be together.  It has come true many times over!

We met up with Jesse and had a great lunch at Panda Express.  Then we rode up the canyon,
parked at the trail head,
unloaded the horses, put all gear on them,
and took off hiking. Bruce's ankle was still not functional enough for long hikes, so we took four horses - Strawberry, Mackee, Cookie and Stormy - and Bruce rode Strawberry and ponied Stormy,
and Peter rode Cookie and ponied Mackee.
(Ponied means that the horse is on a lead rope and is led along by the other horse).
Josh was nice to stay back and hike with me.  He took care of his mama.  I can get up the trail, I just can't get up it as fast as everyone else can.


  We traded off part way through, and Mary rode Stormy and Peter hiked.


We came upon beautiful vistas!
After hiking for probably 5-6 miles, we came to a sign that said "Shorty's Cutoff" that showed us a path back to a lake we wanted to go to (1.37 miles uphill), and 2.8 miles to another lake we had thought about.  We were stuck in the middle with the sun going down.  I looked at Bruce and said, "This is where we're camping!"  It ended up being a great spot.  It was by a creek, and there were flat spots for tents.  We had to build our own campfire, but the kids brought rocks and had that done in no time. 

We had an added amenity at our campsite this year!  Josh came back from his two year mission in El Salvador with one of these!
Josh carried this hammock up in his backpack and slept in it both nights.  He said it was so comfortable!

While we were eating dinner that night (Mexican Mixup),
 we had a visit from this fine gentleman, a real live cowboy!
He was looking for some of his cows that had wandered.  When we asked him if he wanted some dinner, he said, "I thank you very kindly, but I need to put some miles behind me before it gets dark," with the best western accent you can imagine.  While Bruce was talking to him, I leaned over to the kids and said, "This is the incarnate image of what Joseph wants to be in his life!"  Ha ha!  They all agreed.  Peter said he was only missing a bedroll and some saddlebags.  He was just awesome.  If we had been in Snowy River it couldn't have been any better.

Bruce and I slept in our own tent, which was heavenly, Jesse, Mary, Peter and Libby slept in the big blue tent, and Josh slept in his hammock, of course.  He thought he was in the lap of luxury, which he pretty much was!

The next morning we had Breakfast Burritos,



 Libby read Albrek's Tomb whenever she could get away with it!

 Joshua called for some "lounging" in his hammock.  I love these pictures!


And then we headed out on our "day hike". 




I put this in quotes, because the last few years, Bruce has a reputation for taking us on what seems more like a "week hike" rather than a day hike.  Ha ha  And this was no exception.  We were searching for White Pine Lake, but after a few wrong turns and wondering where in the world we were (the trails were not well marked), we started to think that it was a mythical lake that people searched for but never arrived at.  

These three hiked the hardest parts of the trail together without any complaint whatsoever!


After awhile we got everyone up on the horses.
Having these two on the same horse at one point was one long chatter-box session.
And we found a miniature "King Crack Rock", reminding us of the hike to Langer Lake.
We passed through beautiful meadows of wildflowers.  (I don't look very happy about it!)
And at last, we came to the mythical White Pine Lake!
We enjoyed our lunch of tuna sandwiches and apples,


and then played in the lake.



There were some people at the lake, so we had a chance to get a full family shot. Favorite picture!
The hike home was A LOT easier than the hike in, although we still took a wrong turn and had to re-trace some steps!
After we got back to camp, we had our favorite meal of the trip - Dutch Oven Chicken and Potatoes.  Libby built her first fire!
After dinner, Peter recruited Josh, Jesse and Mary to go on a bareback ride with him.



That night around the campfire we had a great time talking and laughing, remembering experiences and sharing the good memories and the hard/sad memories from the last year.  Joseph, most everyone's hard/sad list included you being gone.  :)  But we know you are in the right place.  However, it is no secret that you are MISSED!  We talked about you frequently.  At one point around the campfire we were talking about who turns off all the lights at night (or doesn't).  After some back and forth about this, Bruce said, "I don't know what you guys are talking about!"  Bahahahaha!  Oh my, if you know anything about Bruce, you know why this statement made us all laugh so hard.  You're right Bruce, you wouldn't know anything about that.  (Hint:  that's far too late at night).

The next morning we were able to hike out without any major incident.


We were blessed in so many ways on this Pack Trip.  We always feel a dependency on the mercy of the Savior when we get into the back country and feel pretty vulnerable, or at least I do!  But we also feel so very close to the Lord in the heart of his beautiful creations.  Being there with our family is icing on the cake.

Another year of a very fun pack trip - DONE!  Looking forward to many more!