Monday, September 26, 2011

A Week in Burns

7-23 to 7-30
While we were on Trek, the boys had a great time in Burns.  Grandma flew to Salt Lake on Monday morning and the boys went to Burns on Tuesday night.  Skye and I then left for the Trek on Wednesday morning.  The boys were able to spend the week having summer fun.  The week included lots of swimming and playing outside, several trips to Dairy Queen, a few rides on the Razor with Uncle Jeff, and many car rides with Auntie Shery. Of course Brandon took advantage of his opportunity to feed Balen some more....

Thank you SO MUCH Jana and Sheryden for watching the boys and thank you Sayge and Shaylee for showing the boys a good time with all of your friends in Burns.  

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Camping in Lowman

Our second family camping trip of the summer was with some of my co-workers and their families and our friends the Miller's.  We camped about 1.5 hours north of Boise near Lowman, Idaho.  Unlike our previous excursion to Three Forks, this trip had camping sites and bathrooms.  There were 12 children on the trip and they had a lot of fun getting dirty while playing in the forest.  Many thanks to David for getting the campsite reserved and providing a yummy desert on Friday night!
We'd been in the woods about 2 hours and the boys looked like they had been there for a week!  Enjoying their s'mores
Running around the campsite (with our tent in the background)

The Miller's - Nate, Colette, Lila (4), Carlee (2), Tessa (baby) - are our friends from the ward.  We were excited to spend some time with them camping and enjoying the beautiful outdoors. 
The boys and I getting ready for bed.  Right before dad took this picture we were all enjoying the starry night looking for the big dipper and North Star.  The boys thought the whole star gazing experience was fun.
On Saturday morning, we decided to venture out of the campground and head into the forest on a quasi-trail.  The first picture (left) is of all of us heading up the trailhead.  The middle picture is the group climbing up this hill after we decided we wanted to "see what's on the other side"  So, we went up the straight incline with all the kids...  The last picture (right) is of the group on top of the hill after roughly a 500 ft climb.  Good job to everyone, especially to Collete who did it with baby Tessa in tote!
This was the view from the made the climb worth while to talk to the kids about all of God's creations and how we need to enjoy this beautiful world.
The "older" kids raced down the hill with David and Bryce (my co-workers), while the rest of us slowly made our way down the hill .  When we arrived at the bottom, David had the older kids singing a camp song in unison that he had just taught them; it was awesome.  Another fun camping trip.

Friday, September 23, 2011

More pictures...

I found more pictures that I forgot to add to this post, so I am putting them up now. I also forgot to mention in the other post that Sabrina took all of these amazing pictures!
Brandon feeding Balen
Brandon, Shaylee, Mason, Sayge, and Bryce
And, this picture was taken on Jana's cell phone of the oldest and youngest grandsons!

Baseball Game

Skye's boss, Clay, took the company to a minor league baseball game after work one night.  The Boise Hawk introduced himself to the boys.  Brandon wasn't too sure, but Bryce wouldn't leave him alone.   

In the 3rd inning there were back to back home runs and the boys really got a kick out of that, then about 5 minutes later a nice old man (who I think owned the stadium) presented the two balls to our boys and asked if they wanted them.  They were thrilled!  We just had to keep them from throwing the balls back on the field since we were sitting right near the third base dugout.  
Snapshots of some of the people that Skye works with at WestWater Research.  

Picking Apricots

One of our favorite things about our backyard in the massive apricot tree that bears the most amazing apricots.  One Sunday morning before church, Skye was busy collecting fast offerings with the youth and going to meetings and the boys and I began the harvest.  

Bryce enjoying himself
Brandon posing for a cheezer!
The apricots will now be enjoyed throughout the year thanks to grandma and her amazing jam she made.

Pioneer Trek - Boise West Stake

7/27 - 7/30
This summer Skye and I were  able to be a ma and pa for the stake trek that occurs every 3 years here in Boise.  The youth leaders in the Boise West Stake don't mess around when it comes to planning a rigorous pioneer experience to test the faith and strength of all involved.  It was an amazing experience to say the least.  Our eight "children" from various wards in the stake couldn't have been better examples of hard-work and dedication to the gospel.  In a very short time we came to love them as the stellar youth that they are.  

The trek took place in the Owyhee Mountain Range south of Boise.  We started at 3,000 ft elevation and reached as high as 8,500 ft.  The total distance was 30 miles over 3.5 days, which doesn't sound too bad until you consider the intense elevation fluctuations, while pulling a loaded handcart. 

The highlights of the trek included Skye and one of the young men from our ward (Braden Rice) race our handcart up the last hill (pretty much a straight incline) on the first day as it was attached to a 4-wheeler going full speed (they collapsed at the top), pioneer games, water-crossing, Skye getting a cold on day 2 (maybe not a fun highlight, but he pushed on), beautiful scenery everywhere, horse ride with Skye after a long day of pulling, and the amazing testimony meeting near the end of the trek.  It was an unforgettable experience that strengthened our testimonies and brought us closer to the youth.  A special thanks to Skye's mom for watching the boys all week in Burns.  They had a blast, too, and didn't want to leave Grandma Jana!
Our family flag and motto (T.T.T.F) - we adopted other kids into our family, if they could guess what T.T.T.F stood for (True to the Faith).  Our conversations as we walked and hung out at night centered on how we, like most of the Mormon Handcart Pioneers, can stay true to the faith.  
Here is our family after a really long day of pulling.  Each family had their own color bandana and our color was neon green.
The boys pulling in the front with our extra wooden bar.  Thanks Bro. Dunkley, from our ward, who gave us the idea.  Pulling would have been much harder without the extra bar.
A view of our cart before we started out for the day and of the entire trek (all 18 carts)
Having a devotional in the middle of a meadow (covered with rocks) on our 5-gallon buckets.  
Skye and I riding horses, while the kids were hanging out with friends.  It was beautiful!  Thanks Bro. Devoe  
You cannot go on a pioneer trek and not play stick pull, apparently.  This game was a favorite of the Prophet Joseph Smith.  I decided to play and got second place in our company (because most girls didn't even want to give it a try) and had to compete in front of everyone in the finals.  Jenna Price (our bishop's daughter) beat me very easily in the semi-final match shown above. Haha!  
A view of our third campsite
Near the top of the climb
The evenings were beautiful high on the mountain top.
The whole clan!  

Thanks to our trek kids; they were more than we could have hoped for.  And most of all thanks to the many leaders and cooks that put on the trek with the important purpose of remembering our pioneer ancestry and strengthening our commitment to the gospel.  It was a memorable 4-day trip.  And we all slept A LOT when we got the handcart pioneers did it for 6 months straight in harsh weather is beyond me.   

Great Granddad Phil

On either side of Sarah's graduation weekend we were able to have Granddad Phil stay with us at our house.  The boys loved tapping into his engineering mind and recruiting him to help them build a log cabin. And, what better thing to wear than a baseball cap, underwear, t-shirt and boots while building. Oh, Bryce!  

Granddad Phil reading one of the boys' favorite books on Bryce's bed.  I was probably the first to fall asleep, but the boys will both remember reading with their great-grandpa.  

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sarah's Graduation

Sarah graduated from BYU-Idaho and we were so happy to be able to go and make a fun weekend out of it.  Granddad Phil flew into Boise from Seattle a few days before the graduation and made the trek across Idaho with us.  It was a fun weekend filled with graduation, a quick trip to Jackson Hole and Jenny Lake, and lots of driving! 
The boys stood still long enough for Skye to get one picture of them with their Auntie
Sarah and Granddad Phil
Sarah and Grandma
We were able to convince the boys to stop running around the gym long enough to put on the graduate's cap
Sarah getting her diploma for her Communications degree
Skye and Granddad Phil stayed with one of Skye's close friends from Burns - Jeremy and his wife, Amy.  Amy also graduated in Communications.  Congrats Amy!
The whole group together
Sarah and of Sarah's best friends and old roommates
The happy graduate!

We woke up the next morning and Skye, Sarah, the boys (in the jogger), and I went for a 5.5 mile run around Rexburg.  After our run, we enjoyed a nice smoothie before heading to Jackson Hole for the rest of the day.  
We left our camera in the car when we arrived at Jenny Lake outside of Jackson Hole, WY, so here is a picture of the Tetons as we drove back into Jackson. We had quite an adventure.  We took the boys, Sarah and Phil on a hike around Jenny Lake (Grandma was supposed to take a boat to the water fall on the other side and we were going to meet her there).  Apparently, Grandma took the boat ride and waited for over an hour for us to arrive, then walked on her own to the waterfall, enjoyed it for a few minutes, and returned to the vehicles, all without seeing us. 

Our journey took us on a trek rather challenging for two toddlers and Granddad Phil.  We walked nearly 2.5 miles on rugged terrain to eventually arrive at the waterfall.  Our original plan was to then walk back, but we decided at that point to jump on the ferry boat and take the easy (and quicker) way back to the vehicles.  We were proud of ourselves; it was a long hike with little ones and everyone finished.
We ended our fun-filled adventure at a very yummy Mexican restaurant in Jackson Hole.  By the time we got back to Rexburg at 11 PM that night, Skye (the driver) was the only one awake.  It was a memorable weekend for sure!  Good job on graduating Auntie Sarah and thanks for coming trekking with us Granddad Phil and Grandma Maureen!