Monday, November 14, 2011

Believe. Hope. Endure.

Justin and I were blessed to be called to be a Ma and Pa on Trek this summer.  The theme was "Believe.  Hope.  Endure."  It was such an awesome, life-changing experience.  One of our favorite parts about the whole Trek experience was actually preparing to go.  We read so many fascinating stories that really increased our own faith.  The Trek theme focused on the Martin and Willie Handcart companies and also the rescue companies that were sent to get the stranded pioneers.  The Bailey family came across the plains in the Martin Handcart Company, and I was able to read many stories about them.  It was humbling to read about all they went through to get to Zion.  I also gained a greater sense of pride about my heritage.

We left for Martin's Cove on July 26, and we arrived home on July 29.  It seemed like a long time to be away from Jackson, Bowen, and Alivia.  But they were in good hands with Grandma Bailey!  We arrived at Martin's Cove and did a little 6 mile hike around Martin's Cove and even crossed the Sweetwater River.  Martin's Cove was beautiful.  We had a really spiritual devotional there.  Our Stake President gave a blessing over the youth of the Stake that was very powerful.  Then, we were able to go and sit for awhile in Martin's Cove.  I tried to picture the Martin Company seeking refuge there--starving, freezing, waiting out the storm, and praying for help.  We then walked down and had another devotional by the banks of the Sweetwater River.  This is where a great rescue effort occured by young men who were part of the rescue party.  When the Martin Company reached the Sweetwater River, they shrank back.  They couldn't imagine having to cross another frozen river in the physical and mental condition they were in.  When these young rescuers saw this, they literally carried the pioneers across, and helped pull their handcarts and their belongings across the frozen river.  We were able to participate in a silent crossing of the Sweetwater River. 

Day 2 was a bit trickier!  We pulled and pushed our handcarts for 15 miles.  It was really fun to be with the youth in our ward, especially those in our family.  They are amazing people.  We were definitely tired when we got to camp.  But, we still set up camp and had family devotionals that were fun. 

Day 3 was hard.  We were already tired from the day before and from camping out 2 nights before.  We had another 15 mile walk as well.  We had quite a few "water crossings," and the Women's Pull was this day as well.  Our family definitely got quieter towards the end, which was good.  It was a humbling time.  We just kept reflecting on how the pioneers walked at least this much every day, but they were freezing and starving.  They literally had no food.  We had sunshine and lots of snacks.  This experience was really faith building, and it was evident it had an affect on everyone.

We were able to camp right by Rock Creek Hollow and view the little cemetery there.  This is where 15 people were buried from the Willie Handcart company.  On the final night, we ended with one of the most powerful testimony meetings I have ever been a part of.  I am amazed at the strength of the youth today.  We left Trek with a stronger resolve to be like our pioneer ancestors--strong, faithful, enduring.

Martin's Cove

  The Boys

The Boys in our group:  Dillon, Alex, Jared, Justin (Nic not pictured)

The Girls

Me, Mikaela, Kaitlin, Whitney

The Mauss Family!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Look! No Training Wheels

On July 22, I went out to run some Saturday morning errands.  When I pulled into the circle, what did I see?  Bowen riding a "big boy bike!"  No training wheels!  Justin took off the training wheels, and Bowen took right off on the first try.  He was obviously ready! This is one accomplishment that brings big smiles to everyone's face, don't you think?! He, of course, was addicted to riding the rest of the week.


Aren't parades a little strange?  We line-up along the street and wait for floats, politicians, baseball teams, and local businesses to come by and throw us candy.  Strange or not, Jackson and Bowen enjoyed two fun parades this summer:  Draper Days Parade, and Spanish Fork Fiesta Days Parade!

Family Fun at Draper Days Parade.  Draper Days is in the middle of July, so it was a little toasty, but I wasn't complaining!

Jackson and Bowen anxiously waited for their treats, while Alivia wasn't too happy about her Firehouse Subs hat.  Alivia wasn't too sure about this parade stuff.  It was loud and hot, and even the candy didn't make it better for her.  Maybe next year!

We went to the Spanish Fork July 24th parade, just like I did every year growing up.  We missed Grandma Hanson so much.  It was so strange to not go back to her house after the parade for a yummy lunch and visit with her.  But we did gather for a great lunch at a park and played with cousins from the Hanson-side of the family. Each time one of these major traditions comes along, I realize how much I miss and love my Grams.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Ledgemere Campground

I LOVE our new tradition of tinfoil dinners at Ledgemere Campground in Big Cottonwood Canyon.  We started doing this last year, and continued the tradition this summer.  We got a late start coming to Ledgemere because of the colder Spring, so we tried to pack it all in during July and August!

First campfire of the season!  In attendance:  Jake and Tey and kids, Brad and Jenn and kids, Us, and Grandpa Dan!  We always try to get this campfire spot because the kids can climb around the dirt hill and the climbing rocks.

Our little climbers!

Cute buddies.  Looks like Alivia and Hayes didn't miss out on the S'mores with those chocoately faces.
Bowen is the best marshmallow toaster!  He's better than the adults too.  Look at that toasted perfection!

Our last campfire dinner was a "good-bye" dinner for Joanna and Chris.  We've loved having them join us for these campfires too!  This event was in August, the day before they were moving Chris to Oregon to start Law School.  We will miss them!
I just noticed something in these pictures of Alivia. She is crying in the first picture, and then happy in the next picture.  What could be the cause of the happiness?  Yep, looks like a carbonated beverage.

Zoo Time

What summer would be complete without a visit to the Hogle Zoo?  Our favorite animals to see are the elephants, the giraffes, and the gorillas.  Teylor is always nice to get us in for free with her Membership discount.  And cousins make the zoo so much funner!

We always stop for a little carousel ride on our way to see the giraffes.  Alivia had so much fun this year.  She was just a baby last year, so it was fun to watch her get excited about the animals and the rides. 

Check out Bowen's gorilla face!

The Hogle Zoo Train

I'm sure we'll end up back at the zoo this year, but the first visit of the season is always the funnest!

State Am Golf Tournament

He did it!  Justin made the cut this year to play in the State Am Golf Tournament!  We were so proud of him.  This year, it was held at Soldier Hollow in Heber on July 5 and 6.  On the final day, he (being the cute dad that he is) wanted the boys to come and walk the course with him.  He ended up not playing as well as he would have liked, but he definitely had fun doing it.  There was no doubt about that.  We enjoyed being a part of his big day.  Congratulations, Justy Boy!

Summertime Visit with the Bryans

After the Bailey Family Reunion, Alison and her family usually stay for an extra week in Utah and play!  They stay with us, which makes it all the more fun.  It's like a sleepover for a week!  This year, we were able to celebrate Keaton's birthday while they were visiting.  He had a Dinosaur Birthday Party, complete with a dinosaur egg hunt! 

Birthday gathering in the back yard.  The eggs have been found!

Looking for those darn dinosaur eggs!

Here's the big 5 year old!  Bowen loves Keaton!  We just recently framed some pictures to hang in Bowen's room, and this is one of the pictures he chose to have hanging in his room.  Cute Cousins!