Saturday, August 14, 2010

Why Scouts should not have Video Cameras at Camp

video

Friday Flashbacks - Backpacking Edition

It's OK to call these Friday Flashbacks even if I'm a day or two late sometimes, right? 

Summer is slipping away and that tiny pull that reminds me to not miss a minute has turned into a giant rope playing a killer game of tug of war between the stuff that needs to be done and the last days of summer joy: 
-the morning pile of boys in my bed just laying around and chatting,
-the lazy morning pancake feasts that have no time limit,
-riding bikes to 7-11 for an afternoon Slurpee,
-Sculpy clay creations just because,
-games in the yard while I fuss over the garden,
-dinner at whatever time we get around to it followed by staying up too late having a 30 Rock-a-thon.

Nixon and Easton are home safe and sound from their big adventure.  There were THREE Jamboree troops on their flight home (so sorry for the 3 or 4 other people on the plane!).  That was a quite a crowd at the airport and the hugs were tight and long and as sweet as I had imagined.

Nixon left two days later for our ward's High Adventure - a backpack to the highest point in Utah - King's Peak.  They hiked over 40 miles to 13,528 feet in 4 days.  He was sooo tired when he came back.  The word fun hasn't come out of his mouth yet, but he was proud of himself and glad he went.  I'm proud and glad too!

My first backpack trip came when I was about the same age.  I went for one week in the mountains near Lake Arrowhead, ending at Big Bear.  It was a co-ed trip and there were only 2 or 3 girls.  My pack weighed about 1/2 what I did.  I do remember it was hard and I was super glad to see those ski lift chairs in Big Bear and know we were almost home!

Jennifer getting ready to backpack - 1983ish

Nixon getting ready to backpack - August 2010

Nixon on the top of King's Peak - August 2010

Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday Flashbacks - National Jamboree Edition

What else would be on my mind? 

1993 - Sara and I took a road trip with my mother, grandmother, sister Becky and brother Jeremy to Washington DC where we traipsed in and out of museums like super tourists and visited my brother Tim and dad at the National Scout Jamboree.  I remember it was hot, it was muggy, we saw cool stuff, it was hot, the fire alarm at our hotel sent us fleeing to the parking lot in our PJ's at 3 in the morning, we spent too much time in a van together getting there, and it was hot.  I distinctly remember the fire alarm incident because when we got to the stairwell, it was full of smoke and rather scary.  We reached the bottom floor and the emergency exit where 6 or 7 people were trying to get the door open with no success.  Suddenly, Becky - with all of her 10 year old strength - came flying past me, uttering a war cry that would scare the most savage warrior.  She threw her body into the door and it flew open as if it was made of balsa wood.  I bet those other people felt pretty dumb, but I've never feared for Becky's safety since then - I know she can summon her inner superwoman when she needs to.

It turns out that every night I had Sara color a picture and we wrote what we had done that day.  I put all those journal pages along with every ticket stub and brochure and picture we took into a 3 ring binder.  This furthers my theory that the drive to preserve our lives is in fact embedded in each of us! 

Sounds a little like a trip - minus the fire alarm incident - that Nixon and Easton are having now.
Some comparisons:
Sara and Jeremy in Recreation Hall at the Naval Academy - August 1993
Nixon and Easton's troop visiting Recreation Hall at the Naval Academy -  July 2010
Sara dancing with Grandma Sommers at Fort AP Hill - August 1993
Nixon, Tanner, and Easton at their camp - Fort AP Hill - July 2010
A Journal Page from our trip.  Sara was quite the artist!  I'll be thrilled if the boys come back with ANY kind of journaling!
Jennifer, Becky and Sara - easily entertained by fountains in Washington DC - August 2010
Easton, Nixon and Scout buddies - easily entertained in Washington DC by just about anything, including tacky souvenir T-shirts?! - July 2010

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Waiting for the Kick

Hopefully this is not currently a dream that I missed the kick out of.  Did you know the title of the kick song means I have no regrets?  I saw that on the internet, it must be true, right?  Hopefully, that movie will stop making my brain spin soon.

Really missing my boys today.  They sound exhausted when I get to talk to them, but they are having fun!  Good thing I have so many pictures of them to keep me laughing!

Easton and Nixon entertain themselves while during some marathon antiquing stops across the west
They have big plans for their hard earned money at Weapon Blender
They are skilled at not cooperating for pictures, but I still love them!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Friday Flashbacks - Jellystone National Park Edition

Stephanie and Nancy McHone, me, Gretchen McHone, Karen Markin, Paul McHone, Tim and Jeremy Markin, Erich McHone - Old Faithful 1983
Larry and Margery Cozzens with their grandchildren (including Geoffrey!) - Old Faithful 1988

Kalli, Lesa, Hannah, Tanner, Jenna, Geoffrey, Easton and Nixon - Old Faithful 2010

Here are pictures of three trips that prove Yellowstone is more fun with good company!  My family often met the McHone family for camping trips - we had kids that were similar ages and we must have all gotten along really well.  I'm glad my parents had such good friends!

I'm so grateful for friends that we can travel easily with.  We have camped and hoteled and toured and driven many miles and cooked many meals and hiked with this family and it has always been great.  Our kids have so much fun together and the adults do too!  We share the same vacation philosophy - we don't stress about being over scheduled, we love to go do things, but we have fun just relaxing by a pool or playing phase 10 in a cabin too.  We are comfortable starting a day with scriptures and prayer or saying "I need a nap" or loving each other's kids like our own.  I feel so lucky to have shared so many great times with them!

We spent a long weekend in Island Park - fishing the lake, visiting Virgina City, floating and fishing the Madison, and a quick stop in Yellowstone and Jackson Hole on the way home.  It was super fun!  I'd like to camp in Yellowstone next year, although I'm not sure I want to in July.  There were enough people there to make it feel like Disneyland.  It's easy to see why Yellowstone is the crown jewel of the National Park System.  Thanks for a great trip traveling friends!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Flash Forward

Geoffrey and I are living in a flash forward right now - to our lives 7 years from now.  We have children - we talk to them, we talk about them, Sara stopped by for dinner for last night ...BUT we have no children at home right now.  We figure by the end of these 3 weeks we'll have a good idea of our lives as empty nesters!

Wade, Lesa, Geoffrey and Jennifer getting ready to drive

Yesterday was Geoffrey's day off of work.  We slept all the way to 8:30 or so, he went to PCHS football practice (Geoffrey does the play by play of all their games for PCTV), I watered my garden, "cleaned" the house (which it turns out is super easy to do when no one is around to mess anything up), studied my scriptures at a leisurely pace, we went with good friends to lunch, to the temple, to Red Mango (Yum!), and to the Miller Motorsports Track to ride Go-Karts, Geoffrey went to Bishopric visits while I worked on some Girl's Camp things, and then we had dinner with Sara.  What a fun day!  I'm so grateful for a husband and friends that I could enjoy all of those things with!  I can't wait to take the kids to the go-karts - that was a blast!

Life is good.  Life will keep being good even when the kids are grown.

Still missing those cute boys - you can follow their adventures at http://jambo604.blogspot.com.  What a great trip they are having!  You can read about some of their mishaps the first day - lost medicine, boarding pass, hat, wallet.  That was nice of them not to name names on their blog.  We knew Easton must be responsible for at least one of those things.  Try two - he managed to leave his hat on the plane and his wallet at McDonald's.  Everything was retrieved and the leaders haven't killed him yet.  It takes 4 brave men to agree to herd 36 boys around the country.  Can't wait to squeeze them, but I'm so thrilled for the fun things they are doing!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Tales From The Wasatch Back



Tales from the Wasatch back is a local radio series that tells about life here in the Park City area.  This year, Easton's writing teacher had the students write their own TFWB story and then she chose a few to submit to the station.  They called Easton and asked him to come in and record his tale - a literary classic about mosquito's.  I had never read it until the day he recorded.  Let's just say that Easton makes me laugh!

You can listen to his story here

In Jamboree news - the badges are sewn, the boys names have been sharpied onto everything they own, the bags have been checked and rechecked and packed and they are off!  They are on a plane as I type and I know they are already having fun! 

Easton is the youngest scout going in his Jamboree troop.  Plus he is very short.  He looked tiny this morning with all the other boys.  I was standing in the cold dark grocery store parking lot with a charter bus and a crowd of boys dressed alike and a crowd of moms who never want to buy anything at the scout office or sew another badge again.  I was thinking "Is Easton old enough for this?  Have we talked enough about Nixon and Easton looking out for each other?  Have we talked enough about keeping track of his stuff and his wallet?"  We've talked about nothing else for weeks!  The Senior Patrol Leader was checking the boys in and he gets to Easton and the next thing I hear is Easton yelling to me "Mom, do I have any money?  Where is it?"  Wait ....Whaaaaat?  We spent like an hour last night arranging everything into his wallet, practicing putting it in and out of his pocket and securing the pocket after he used the wallet.  The pocket his wallet was in AS HE WAS ASKING ME THIS QUESTION.  Let's just say that Easton makes me laugh.

The boys can't have phones, but I sure am glad their leaders do!  Will, Tanner, Easton, McKay and Nixon in the SLC airport this morning.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Friday Flashbacks...hijacked! Toy Story Edition

This is Geoffrey, Jennifer's devastatingly handsome and brilliant husband (her words not mine).  Recently I was drugged and forced to go see Toy Story 3.  I had resisted for several reasons but as I watched the movie the reason for my hesitation became clear.  Seeing Andy grown, and out growing those characters is my fear for what was happening in my life with my Buzz and Woody.
Easton and Nixon Christmas 1999

My two sons were tiny little guys when Toy Story came out.  They were in LOVE with Buzz and Woody.  Nearly every article of clothing, every toy, every cereal had a picture of either Buzz or Woody on it.  When we went to Disneyland they would follow Buzz around and yell "to infinity and beyond" as they trailed behind him. The laughed and played together and loved each other, looked out for each other, and especially they both looked out for Sara. 
They are not tiny little guys anymore.  They are two very different, beautiful young men who I am very proud of.  But seeing Andy put his toys away and prepare to go off to college brought home the realization that my time with these two is short.  My little Nixon will be on a mission in 5 years, Easton in 7.  I guess my biggest fear is that in my case I am the toys and eventually they will outgrow me. 

Those were my thoughts as tears rolled down my cheeks watching Andy leave Buzz and Woody behind.  We all have so little time with our children, I want to make the most of mine.  I want them to know that they are loved.  I love them completely, I love who they are and who they are trying to be.  I'm proud of the way they work, they raised the money to go to Jamboree on their own (special thanks to all who supported them with donations and work projects to reach that goal).  I hope they don't outgrow me, they will always be my little buddies.  I love you boys, be safe and be good examples, remember to pray and bath, mix in a toothbrush.  Look after each other and help others be part of your group.  Don't forget to come back to me and if you could each stop growing for a while that would be nice!  I love you!! Dad

Friday Flashbacks - Away From Home Edition

Nixon and Easton leave on Monday for the National Scout Jamboree.  They won't be home again until August 6.  This seems like a terribly long time to me.  I have seen some signs of nervousness on their parts also.  Signs like Nixon saying "I'm getting nervous".  It's hard to pack up your kids and send them out the door.  Will they remember to shower?  Brush their teeth?  Will they lose their money, their group?  Will they be lost on a Subway in New York or a street in Washington DC?


Sara's first times away from home were for EFY, Girl's Camp, BYU Ballet Camp.  I knew she would be able to keep track of her clothes and remember to shower everyday.  I wasn't worried about her losing her money or getting lost.  She is a girl and an oldest child!  I hugged her tight and missed her and counted down the days until I could pick her up.  She always came home chattering a million words a minute about what a great time she had.  She was learning things and growing in ways she couldn't have at home.

Sara enjoying her favorite part of EFY (meeting boys) - July 2004

Sara at BYU Ballet Camp - July 2005

I went away every summer from the time I was going into first grade.  Always to the same place and I'm sure I always had fun and always came back in one piece because my parents kept sending me.  When I was tiny, I loved sleeping in the TeePee's and doing crafts.  I loved the campfires and the silly songs ands skits the counselors would do.  I thought they were so cool.  As I got older, it was at camp I spent a week on horseback and another week backpacking in the mountains.  I learned things and grew in ways that I couldn't have at home.

Laura Hines, our camp counselor and I at Arrowhead Lutheran Camp - Summer 1978

I'm so excited for the adventure my boys are embarking on.  They are going to get to see and do amazing things.  They have worked so hard to be able to go on this trip - I hope it is all worth it for them.  I know they will learn things and grow in ways that just couldn't happen at home.  I'll hug them tight and miss them and count down the days until they return. 

Friday, July 9, 2010

Friday Flashbacks - When I Was a Pioneer Edition

Sara in Wyoming during our move to Utah - June 2004

Not when I pretended to be a pioneer on Trek, but I really came across Wyoming to start a new life!  I was a newly baptized member of the church, a single mom with a darling 4 year old that my whole world revolved around.  I had quit a great job I loved directing volunteers at a Medical Center, and I had sold my house (in 7 days in a recessed market - a sure sign I was doing what the Lord wanted me to!).  I drove an 89' Honda Prelude - a stick shift that I loved to drive!  The Honda dealership in town refused to install a hitch on it, but the U-Haul store said they would put one on if I promised to only tow the smallest trailer.  So I sold my furniture, dishes, pretty much everything except our clothes and Sara's favorite toys - we loaded up that trailer, threw a tent in the back seat of the car and headed west!

I couldn't actually back the trailer up, so all along the way I only stopped places I could pull forward.  This plan was successful until we stayed at a campground in Nebraska that only had spaces you backed into.  This was the best I could do:


I don't remember every detail of the trip, but I do remember it was pretty fun until we hit a thunderstorm in Wyoming.  I remember the wind and rain and hail scaring me to death - that trailer was blowing all over and huge semis were all around.  Night came quickly  - I was clutching that steering wheel with a death grip and praying like I had never prayed before.  We finally made it to Evanston and spent our first night in a hotel.  Like the storms of our life, it didn't seem so bad the next morning!

If you're ever going to move to Utah, I suggest coming in June and driving through Provo Canyon - you will think you have just come to the most beautiful place in the world.  Eventually you will learn that's only true for a few months of the year!  Sara and I had quite the adventures during that time of our lives.  It was so easy for me to be confident I was doing the right thing and so easy for me to see the hand of the Lord in our lives when I look back, but also so easy to say "What was I thinking?  That was Crazy!".  Thank Goodness I can also say - I love my life today and I wouldn't change a thing.  I feel so blessed for a Savior that loves me, a husband that loves me and puts up with me everyday, and three awesome kids!

Sara on our drive into Utah - June 2004 in Provo Canyon

What I Have Learned from the Pioneers - Lesson #1

Geoffrey and Jennifer at Trek - July 2008

Lesson #1 - I NEED FAITH IN EVERY FOOTSTEP

For a mother crossing the plains, burying babies, hungry, seeing her children hungry this was literal.  Every footstep forward required faith.  I do feel like the same faith is required of us today, it's just easier for us to be distracted and not realize we should be leaning on the Lord like the pioneers did.  I remember reading a story of a woman who was praying for a situation to work out and she realized, What if the Lord has something better for her?  So she changed her prayer to "let this work out or something better if you have that in mind". 

I think this is the greatest lesson of those who have gone before us - whether they came across the plains or not - we can learn by the examples of faith that are so moving, so inspiring that it makes us say "If they did that, I can handle my life right now!"  There is a very temporal thing promised to me in my patriarchal blessing that has yet been unfulfilled in my life.  Sometimes I think "When Lord, when?", but there have been many moments that the faith I have in that promise has been what keeps me putting one foot in front of the other.  Grateful seems too small a word for what I feel for the countless tender mercies I have had and continue to have in my life.

President Hinckley said:  "It is good to look to the past to gain appreciation for the present and perspective for the future.  It is good to look upon the virtues of those who have gone before, to gain strength for whatever lies ahead.  It is good to reflect upon the work of those who labored so hard and gained so little in this world but out of whose dreams ...has come a great harvest of which we are the beneficiaries.  Their tremendous example can become a compelling motivation for us.  For each of us is a pioneer in his own life, often in his own family and many of us pioneer daily in seeking to do God's will and lift and serve those around us."

Action Plan #1 - Seek to do God's Will Daily

Thursday, July 8, 2010

What I Have Learned from the Pioneers - Lesson #2

Stephen, Nixon and Easton - Pioneer Day 2005

Lesson #2 - LOOK FOR MIRACLES IN YOUR LIFE

I'm so glad that so many of the pioneers kept journals.  Some wrote about the stuff they did each day, some wrote about how they were feeling, some wrote about the spiritual experiences they were having.  Without these records, most of the inspiring stories would be lost to us - how tragic that would be!  I read their stories and love their optimism - people are dying, they are starving, their feet are freezing, but they remember to write and be grateful for the one tiny good thing that happened that day.

During the year I was preparing for trek I read everything I could get my hands on about the pioneers (specifically the Willie and Martin Handcart Companies), but the best book by far was The Price We Paid by Andrew D. Olsen.  He told the Willie and Martin stories separately instead of mixing them together like most books do and he did a good job of examining what could have been done differently.  He relied, as most authors do, on journals to tell the stories. 

In one of my favorite conference talks, President Eyring says:  "Tonight, and tomorrow night, you might pray and ponder, asking the questions: Did God send a message that was just for me? Did I see His hand in my life or the lives of my children? I will do that. And then I will find a way to preserve that memory for the day that I, and those that I love, will need to remember how much God loves us and how much we need Him."

I know Heavenly Father has blessed our family more times than I could ever count.  There have been blessings that have been accompanied by overwhelming feelings of the Spirit and blessings that I'm sure have gone unnoticed.  I need to do a better job at recording these events!  Action Plan - Write It Down!

My biggest blessings!  April 2010

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

What I Have Learned from the Pioneers - Lesson #3

I Need Pioneer Qualities - Unselfishness, Sacrifice, Obedience, Unity, Cooperation, Hard Work

Since my experience spending a year planning our stake trek, the biggest changes I have made have been trying to eliminate extra "stuff" from my life and working on these qualities.  I've felt such a pull to do things the "old fashioned" way.  Don't think I've given up my vacuum for some kind of hand cleaned carpet, but I have found great joy in my garden and trying to avoid processed stuff when cooking and looking for simple joys with the kids.  I try to "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without".  The things that are uplifting for my spirit also seem to be the things that are good for the earth we live in and for our bodies.  As I study the principle of virtue (especially in Proverbs 31), I am amazed at how connected I think a woman of virtue and a woman who lives providently are.
Snap Peas in my Garden - the plant that leans on a good friend for survival!

We've LOVED volunteering at This Is The Place Heritage Park where once a week we get to dress up like pioneers and spend an afternoon living like them.  Our time there just flies by - the boys are quick to find some project to keep them busy - sometimes it is work like digging irrigation canals for the corn or stripping and whitewashing a fence and sometimes it is pure fun like making a wooden bat and ball at the carpenter's shop and finding other kids to play stick ball with.  I think when it takes most of the minutes in your day just to meet the physical needs of your family and do the things required for survival it is easier to stay focused on what is important. 
Nixon working in the corn field  - Summer 2009

Easton in the Carpenter's Shop - Summer 2009

Easton and Jennifer at the Fairbanks House - Summer 2009

On trek, we each had to "trek for someone".  We had to find a pioneer who had crossed the plains and know their story.  We had a badge around our neck with 7 oz. of flour on it - what the daily ration of food was during some of the snowstorm in Martin's Cove - and our person's name/story/picture if available.  I trekked for the first pioneer I read about when I started looking - Elsie Rasmussen Nielson.  Elsie traveled from Denmark with her husband and 5 year old son and a 9 year old girl they were taking to her family.   They had sold their farm in Denmark and could have afforded to join one of the wagon trains, but instead bought a handcart and gave the rest of the money to other families to help them cross the plains. 

When their handcart company was caught by snow and out of food, both children died.  Elsie's husband had frozen feet and at one point sat by the side of the road and told her to keep going, he was just going to die.  She looked at him and told him to get in the cart - she would pull him.  Sometimes we need to be pulled, sometimes we need to do the pulling.

President Hinckley said : "Stories of the beleaguered Saints and of their rescue need to be repeated again and again.  They speak the very essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I am grateful that those days of pioneering are behind us.  I am thankful that we do not have brethren and sisters stranded in the snow, freezing and dying...  But there are people ...who cry out for help ... Ours is a great and solemn duty to reach out and help them, to lift them, to feed them if they are hungry, to nurture their spirits if they thirst for truth and righteousness."

Action Plan #3 - Work on those Qualities!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

What I Have Learned from the Pioneers - Lesson #4

Jill, Valine and I at the end of Trek - 2008

Lesson #4 - I CAN DO HARD THINGS WITH THE HELP OF THE LORD.

M. Russell Ballard said "Life isn't always easy. At some point in our journey we may feel much as the pioneers did as they crossed Iowa - up to our knees in mud, forced to bury some of our dreams along hte way. We all face rocky ridges, with the wind in our face and winter coming on too soon. Sometimes it seems as though there is no end to the dust that stings our eyes and clouds our vision. Sharp edges of despair and discouragement jut out of the terrain to slow our passage. Always, there is a Devil's Gate, which will swing wide open to lure us in. Those who are wise and faithful will steer a course as far from such temptation as possible, while others - sometimes those who are nearest and dearest to us - succumb to the attraction of ease, comfort, convenience, and rest. Occasionally we reach the top of one summit in life, as the pioneers did, only to see more mountain peaks ahead, higher and more challenging than the one we have just traversed. Tapping unseen reserviors of faith and endurance, we, as did our forebearers, inch ever forward toward that day when our voices can join with those of all pioneers who have endured in faith, singing: 'All is well! All is well!'"

Yep, sometimes life is hard. I do not know anyone who has led a life free of struggles. When I have times of trial, of heartache, I find inspiration in those who have gone before and not only survivied - but are grateful for - these experiences that strengthen us, give us empathy, bring us closer to our Heavenly Father. I find comfort in the words of Ether 12:27 -

"And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things becaome strong unto them."

One of my favorite things about the gospel of Jesus Christ is that He only asks us to do OUR best. He takes each of us where we are, and He makes up our shortfall - different as that may be for each of us. I know that I can't be just like any of my fantastic friends or role models, but I do know that in the strength of the Lord, I can do all things I have been asked to do, even hard things! Action Plan #4 - Start where I am - be better tomorrow!

Monday, July 5, 2010

What I Have Learned from the Pioneers - Lesson #5

Nixon and Stephen - Pioneer Day 2004

I needed a few weeks to clear my mind and sort out the fact that in one post I was saying I was going to use this blog to record what was important to me and the very next post I was talking about Star Wars toys. Geesh!

I used those few weeks to camp, swim, hike, work in the garden, hang out with my boys and decide once and for all that no, Star Wars toys are not that important! Lucky for me, President Monson has given us some direction towards even better riches:

"The Master spoke of riches within the grasp of all - even joy unspeakable here and eternal happiness hereafter. I wish to provide the three pieces of your treasure map to guide you to your eternal happiness. They are: 1. Learn from the past. 2. Prepare for the future. 3. Live in the present."

So in the spirit of July - the month we celebrate Pioneers here in Utah by taking a day off of work, attending parades and rodeos, and blowing stuff up - I've decided to write about the things I have learned from studying the people who walked across a country to start a new life. If you've ever spent any time in Wyoming, you feel admiration for the strength they had and a deep understanding of why they kept walking!

I'll hold myself accountable for completing what I started by counting down:

Lesson #5 - There is only room for so much in the Handcart - what is worth taking?

Have you ever done the FHE/Sharing Time lesson where you use masking tape to mark the size of a handcart and try to fit everything you think you need to live in it? You should try it!

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland - "I've often thought, and I've said to my children, that those parents who kept going past Chimney Rock and past Martin's Cove (and a few didn't get farther than that) where those little graves are dotted all across the historic landscape of this Church - they didn't do it for a social activity, they did it because the faith of the gospel of Jesus Christ was in their soul, it was in the marrow of their bones. That's the only way those mothers could bury that baby in a breadbox and move on, saying, 'The promised land is out there somewhere. We're going to make it to the valley.' They could say that because of the covenants and doctrine and faith and revelation and spirit. If we can keep that in our families and in the Church, maybe a lot of other things start to take care of themselves. Maybe a lot of other less-needed things sort of fall out of the wagon. I'm told that those handcarts could only hold so much Just as our ancestors Had to choose what they took, maybe the 21st century will drive us to decide, 'What can we put on this handcart?' It's the substance of our soul; it's the stuff right down in the marrow of our bones."

There are so many areas of life I need to sort through and rid myself of the excess, the unnecessary and the downright harmful. What is in the cart of my physical surroundings, the cart of my talents, of my time, of my spirituality? Action Plan #5: Unload the Excess!

Easton and Cameron - Pioneer Day 2004

Amanda, Jessica, Sara, Megan, Courtney, Kari, Luke, David - Pioneer Day 2004

Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday Flashbacks - Treasured Toys Edition

Nixon and Easton are holding a yard sale tomorrow to earn the last of the money they need for Jamboree. Neighbors and friends and relatives have been so generous in giving them stuff to sell, we just need to cross our fingers that the weatherman is wrong about the rain coming!
We're at an age with our kids where we really don't buy toys or stuff much anymore. Gifts are usually equipment for sports or lessons or some kind of ticket to something fun they want to go do. Toy wise, we're down to 7 or so bins of toys in the garage - pretty much the stuff we don't use a lot now, but we don't plan on getting rid of. We did have a long talk about the giant bin of Star Wars Legos last night though. The boys don't play with them anymore. Even though we have the boxes and instructions for all the sets in the bin and the sets are mostly assembled, fitting all of that into one bin did require us to break some of the sets down and let's just say it would take some sorting out to get all back to where it belongs.
We looked on line to see what some of their Star Wars Lego's are worth. This is the first one we looked up. Are you kidding me? Needless to say, a spirited discussion of their new found riches ensued. Nixon thinks they will be worth "a fortune" when they are older. Easton thinks we should be heading straight to Ebay right now, but frankly, the sorting the sets out and pricing is more than my brain wants to deal with today.
This really made me think about the Star Wars toys of my youth. My siblings and I are sick that our awesome figures (remember the Jawa with the cloth robe?) and ships (I loved the Land Speeder) went the way of the garage sale sometime in our lives. It's probably good they did - otherwise we would all be fighting over them now! I did find a picture of my brothers with some of said toys though:

Jeremy and Tim Markin - 1981- ish

The toys left in our garage to be saved for grandchildren are a box of American Girl dolls and stuff, a Brio train set, almost every Chevron car made, the infamous Star Wars Legos, and a box of Toy Story toys. Buzz and Woody were our constant companions in one form or another for YEARS. After seeing those movies, how could anyone possible ever get rid of a Buzz or Woody?


Easton and Buzz - Christmas 1999

Easton, Nixon, Sara and Woody - October 2000

Do you have toys that you are glad your mom saved or sad they are gone?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

100

Were you scared this post was going to be some kind of 100 list? You should know I don't have THAT kind of time! This is, however, my 100th post! Hmm...I started this blog in February 2007 - there have obviously been long periods of silence from my typing fingers! My blogging goals remain the same though - keep a record of our family, stay in touch with friends and family, and a newish goal that I will be working more on in the future - record what is important to me.

It's possible 100 things have happened I could talk about since my last post. Here's a quick run down:

-Triathlon done! It was COLD and rainy, so they canceled the swim and added an extra run instead. So we did run-bike-run. I hate swimming, but I hate running too, so whatever. It was super fun and even more fun to do it with friends and Sara. If I did it again though, I would DEFINITELY use a road bike instead of a mountain bike!

-May/First Week of June was busy! Besides the tri, we had so many nights of School Plays (Easton was in TWO!), Band Festivals, Band Concerts, Orchestra Concerts, Jazz Band Concerts, National Honor Society Recognitions, Field Trips, End of the Year Parties, Scouts, Baseball. If BUSY really stands for Being Under Satan's Yoke, than May might be his favorite month.

-I have to include pictures of the yummy treats the boys made for the ward auction. Easton found a video on You Tube showing how to make tuxedo strawberries and Nixon found a cute cupcake book. They both made their treats all on their own and I thought they turned out great!
-School's Out! Mother Nature was kind enough to flip the switch from winter to summer the last week of school and now we are outside as much as possible - we don't want to waste a second!

-Garden's In! I made my own upside down tomato hangers out of buckets. I'll post pictures sometime, but I hope they work!
-Only a little over a month until Nixon and Easton leave for the National Boy Scout Jamboree. They have been working since last summer to raise money for this trip and are working REALLY hard right now earning the last bit of money they need. This week alone, they have hauled siding to a dumpster, babysat, pulled weeds, and are working on a garage sale for this Saturday. I'm so grateful to all the people who have been generous in hiring/donating/supporting them. I'm super proud of them and hope that they have a great trip and feel good about all the work they did to be able to go.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Friday Flashbacks - 7th Grade Edition

School's Out for Summer! There are three days of the year I LOVE - Christmas, 4th of July and the last day of school! The Last Day of School may be the best - all the fun and smiles, none of the shopping or preparing! We celebrated by hanging in Salt Lake with some good friends, a temple trip and a friends' giant bonfire (about 100 kids showed up) to burn schoolwork. So fun!

I can't believe my baby will be a 7th Grader next year. In honor, photos of our family around the 7th grade.
Nixon and Easton after a Jazz Band Concert - May 2010Sara at Big Bear - Summer 2003

Jennifer getting ready for to backpack near Lake Arrowhead - Summer 1983

Geoffrey with his Dad - between 1986 and 1988