"Women of God can never be like women of the world. The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind... We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith." -- Margaret D. Nadauld

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Oh What a World It Would Be!!

This morning I mentioned to Inigo that I had a nightmare last night and it scared me enough that I woke myself up with a sharp intake of breath. (Are you surprised that the nightmare involved a big black wolf?)

Without missing a beat, without being overly concerned or dramatic and in a very matter-of-fact voice (hand gestures included) Inigo offered me some sound advice:

"Mom, when I wake up like that from a nightmare, I just think of a world made out of chocolate and candy and I can go right back to sleep."

Ummmm......whose child is he?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Zombies and Wolves... OH MY!!!

What a crazy weekend!! There was no school on Friday so Shackie, Little Miss Do-Little, Steck, Inigo and I did the only logical thing we could think of .... go to National Park. That was a complete no-brainer.

It was mostly non-eventful. We wanted to show Steck some of the places she hadn't been before... which is basically the whole park. I love that place so much, I'd move into a bear cave or wolf den if I could. I think we're teaching Steck to love it and enjoy all there is to do there! Before long she'll be as fanatical as we are... I know it!! :)

There was a serious lack of animal sightings. Usually when the hoards of tourists leave and the weather turns colder, we see more animals. We only saw a few bison and elk. It seems rutting season is over, so the elk have calmed down and dispersed into the trees to prepare for winter snow. And to be honest, I was glad the rut was over because on one of the trails, we walked right past this guy... he was only about 20 feet away and could have cared less that we were there. Whew!

The highlight and absolutely SCARIEST part of the day was while we were eating lunch. There is a spot we like to go because there are a lot of "camp robbers" there. (FYI: A camp robber is a bird that likes to fly around your table and steal food. They are very brave and will even take food out of your hand -- or off your head -- if you offer it to them.) We were happily feeding our faces and playing with the birds when Shackie said, "Is that a wolf?!?!?" We looked and about 1/4 mile away into the meadow was the BIGGEST black wolf I've ever seen!!

My DSLR camera was in the car, so I ran at top speed to grab it out and snapped this ONE picture before we realized the wolf was headed STRAIGHT FOR US!!! It didn't ever look at us and acknowledge that it had seen us, so we were unsure where it was going. With great haste and some panic (mostly on my part) we literally THREW our food into the basket and scurried back to the vehicle to wait for either a very scary encounter or possibly a really cool photo moment.

There is a small ditch that the wolf went down into and that is where we lost sight of him. (It's that dark line in front of him.) We were nervous losing sight of him because we weren't sure where he was going to come out of the ditch and the trees. (Yes, we were hoping that a tall, muscular, bronze skinned young man named Jacob would come out of the trees....) This was seriously, the BIGGEST wolf I have ever seen -- in captivity or the wild.

(Cropped photo)

He moved FAST. Within about 3 or 4 minutes a car drove by and the excited driver asked us if we had seen the big black wolf. So, this wolf must have travelled up the ditch and across the road south of us.

What can top that experience? Beautiful scenery of course!! We had an enjoyable rest of the day. The weather was perfect, the autumn colors beautiful and peaceful moments abounded.

We've got one more trip planned before the Park closes for the winter. I can't wait to go!!

Yellowstone Lake Panorama
This weekend Max participated in his first 5K race. It was called the "Zombie Chase." He registered as a "survivor." The survivors got a one minute head start before the Zombie's were let loose to chase them... (The Zombie's were instructed to NOT eat any of the survivor's.)

Max did a great job. His running usually takes place on a tread mill in the gym, so he didn't feel completely comfortable, but he pushed forward and finished with a respectable time.

Before the race... the wind had come up and it was pretty cold!

And he's off! We forgot to bring a pair of gloves for him to wear, so he's wearing a pair of socks on his hand.

The Zombies are chasing the survivors now!
Finishing the race!! Go Max!!!

Buttercup's Busy-ness

I have wanted to write about Buttercup for some time, but I didn't have any pictures to go along with the post. Finally, I was able to take some, but they're not the best quality because she was mortified that I was taking them, so I had to snap them quickly and immediately hide the camera in my purse.

About 6 weeks ago, Buttercup finally started cosmetology school. She was so excited!! She is attending a local school so she can live at home while she's working toward her licence. Well... she SLEEPS at home, occasionally eats, and throws us a "how-do-you-do" every once in a while.

My girl is BUSY!! This girl -- who spent the entire summer sitting in our basement catching up on all her chick flicks/romantic comedies and doing basically nothing because there were no jobs in our town for non-college students -- has had her life turned upside down. I'm so proud of her for keeping a smile on her face, for getting herself out of bed every day and for plugging ahead even though it's hard.

Not only is she going to school full time, but she's also working. She will put in a 13 hour day without complaint. She has work or school 6 out of 7 days a week. The only day she has all to herself is Sunday.

An example of her schedule is: She leaves for school at 7:45 a.m. Sometime between 12 and 2:00 she'll come home for an hour for lunch. School ends at 5:00 -- most days it's later. She's supposed to be at work by 5:45. Spends time at work until 8:45, but usually she doesn't get home until after 9:00. I force her to eat when she gets home. She's so tired she just wants to go to bed. Bed is usually 9:30.

Get up the next morning and repeat.

The two days that are different are Monday and Thursday. There is no school on Monday, so she works 8 hours at her job. Thursday is her regular day off work, so she just goes to school. Monday is a good day for her to go to FHE with the Single's Branch in our stake and Thursday is the day she can hang out with friends.

I'm exhausted just writing about it.

Recently, Buttercup was assigned a "station" at school. She has her own chair, mirror and supplies for "doing hair." She is now able to accept clients and begin the hands-on training that is so essential for becoming a good beautician.

This is a picture of her station. They had to decorate it for Halloween. You can see her mannequin head that she practices on.

Inigo was her first BOY haircut. Interesting fact: I had to teach Buttercup how to run the clippers! WHAT!?!? They haven't covered that in her classes yet. That was somehow disturbing. However, once the awkwardness of learning how to hold the clippers and trying to figure out how to do a boy's haircut wore off, she did a GREAT job! She did a really good job! Inigo looks very handsome! (I didn't get a picture of them AFTER the cut!)

I have already had her give me a manicure and this week she'll do a pedicure. I'm also invited to have a scalp treatment and a facial. There are some seriously delicious perks that go along with having your daughter in a program like this! Oh, I can't forget that I promised her she could color my hair... so if you see me with a streak of some wild color peeking out of the bottom of my hair, you know she practiced her coloring skills on me!!

The program should only take a year. We tell her that if she can survive this year, she can survive anything. We're so proud of her for stepping up to the plate and for taking on this crazy schedule!

Way to go Buttercup!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

That Was A Great Dunking!

If you are 8 years old, have a baptism recommend signed by your bishop and a font full of warm water, then by all means you should get baptized!!

And that's what Inigo did! Last Saturday, October 9, he decided that his recommend had been sitting around long enough and he was determined to use it!!

It was a wonderful day. Inigo had both sets of grandparents - travelling from Wyoming and Montana - there to support him. He had friends and cousins from Arizona drive to Florin to offer their support. He had local friends take time out of their busy lives to come and help him celebrate this special day.

We felt so loved!!!

The funniest part of the day was when Inigo was baptized. I reminded Max that the baptism prayer was printed on a laminated sheet and visible from the font, so he didn't look up the prayer in his scriptures. But when they got into the water, he couldn't find it. He said the prayer from memory (it sounded good to all of us) and submerged Inigo deep into the water. Both witnesses gave their approval -- no elbows or knees or toes came out -- and we thought that it was a done deal.

But NO!!! The high councilman and another stake leader came bounding out of the shadows and clarified that the word "OF" was omitted from the prayer: "In the name of the Father and OF the Son and OF the Holy Ghost."


Inigo was almost to the dressing room by then, and they had to holler and bring him back. Thank heavens the water was toasty warm and not an ice bath (like it was when I was baptized).

Max performed the ordinance again and this time it was flawless. Such a beautiful moment for my little boy (and my big boy)! Inigo was so happy that he was now baptized! It seems that he waited forever for this moment!

He had a beautiful blessing and confirmation and now my boy has the Gift of the Holy Ghost AND is officially a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He is so thrilled!!

It's been wonderful seeing the transfomation in my son. After the luncheon and after we said goodbye to everyone, we went to Guilder to a shoe store so Max could buy a new pair of running shoes. Inigo LOVES Sketchers and thinks it's fun to read the comics that are included in each box. He went to the kid's section, grabbed a comic from a box of shoes and started walking around the store reading it.

He was standing next to me and suddenly he said, "Mom, I just heard a voice."

"Oh really?" I said.

"Yes. It said to me that I shouldn't keep this comic and that I need to put it back in the box."

We discussed what the voice was and what he should do and I let him make the final decision.

Of course, you know what that decision was. He walked back to the kid's section and put that comic away. When he came back, his face was shining and he was clearly estactic that on the day he was baptized he had actually heard the voice of the Holy Ghost. It gave him such a boost to feel like he had passed his first test on being faithful.


Fast forward to Sunday evening. Family Home Evening time. (Mondays are bad for us so we have it on Sunday.) We stole an idea from our neighbors: before the FHE lesson starts we have a Hymn sing-a-long. Every person in the room gets to pick a Hymn or Primary song and we all sing it... EVERY verse. Buttercup had some friends over and one of the girls picked Joseph Smith's First Prayer. (We love that song!!) We sang it with enthusiasm and gusto and when it was over, Inigo was kind of quiet. Then he said, "I don't know what it is, but I feel kind of like crying. There's water in my eyes and I can't stop it."


It's so wonderful that he is ready to feel the Spirit.

I'm really not surprised. This is the kid that has enough faith to move mountains! Remember... he prayed to be able to see the prophet when our temple was dedicated and not only did he get to see the prophet, but he had one-on-one interaction and stood with the prophet in the Cornerstone Ceremony!!

Pres. Monson speaks to my boy and tells a story about red-headed missionaries

We are proud of you Inigo! We hope you will remember this day and these experiences and that you will draw on them to strengthen you when times are hard!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Nevada/Utah/October/Gold Mines

So what do you do when it's the first of October and the temperatures are still in the upper 80's, it's Conference Weekend and school is out for Spud Harvest?

That's a no-brainer! You get in the car and drive 5+ hours to no man's land in Western Utah near the Nevada border... where you can't even find a grazing cow let alone one bar for cell service ... and look for your great-great grandfather's old gold mine on top of a non-descript mountain in a sea of non-descript mountains. I mean... really!!!... what sane, fun loving person wouldn't come up with an idea like that?

My Uncle K2 (who is a twin to Uncle K1) is FANATICAL about family history. I mean, seriously, he has the gift and the drive to research and find out all sorts of family stories -- good and bad. We rely on him for everything. Don't know what line this great-granmother came from? Call Uncle K2! What were the particulars of this ancestor's journey across the ocean or across the plains? Call Uncle K2!! What year did so-and-so die? Uncle K2 knows the answer!! And, as an added bonus, he knows it all in his HEAD!!! He doesn't need the charts sitting out on a table in front of him to trace the lines... this ancestor comes from here and that ancestor comes from there. I (and most everyone else I know) have to write it down and trace the lines with my finger to understand.

Like I said, Uncle K2 has a gift!!!

About 5 years ago, he made this trek alone to find my great-grandfather's mine. It was no easy feat, but he couldn't be swayed out of his decision to see where this amazing man lived and made his fortune... for my great-grandfather did become very wealthy mining the mountain. (Sadly, he got very sick from the chemicals he used to clean the gold and subsequently used his entire fortune trying to find a cure. He died poor.)

Uncle found the mine and we have been intrigued with it since. This weekend seemed like the perfect time to meet in Wendover and find it ourselves. Along for the ride was his twin, Uncle K1 and his daughter her husband and baby boy. My Gorgeous Aunt. A second or third cousin I don't know named Martha and Max, Inigo and I.

Have you ever heard of Ibapah, Utah? Neither had we. But that's where we were headed for. Some history buffs have probably heard of the Lincoln Highway, so that might give you a clue as to where we were. (A side note for my family members: I guess Grandpa Pat travelled across the Lincoln Highway when he ran away from home as a youth and travelled to Sacramento.)

We first stopped at an old cemetery, because when you're on a family history tour, that's what you do, right? It was immediately awkward... believe it or not, in the middle of this old, desert cemetery where the average person was born in 1850, there was a funeral!!! (And yes, I was intrusive enough to take a picture!)

It was so dry and so hot. It hasn't rained down there in ages. Every step we took sent clouds of fine dust flying mixing with the sweat running down our backs. We had to watch every step we took to avoid stepping on over-dry foliage or scratching our legs on cactus. Our early morning shower was wasted!!

After leaving the cemetery, down a dirt road we went... we were in the last car. We have a saying, "Unless you're the lead elephant, the view never changes." All we could see for miles and miles was clouds of dust kicked up by the two cars in front of us. We had to put about 1/2 mile or more between us so we wouldn't choke to death.

When Uncle stopped the car and pointed to the hillside, I knew my day was going to get very difficult. I found the 4wd button, pushed it and got ready for my first off-roading experience. See, even though I write with great bravado about all the fun adventures we go on, ultimately I'm the biggest wimp there is. I'm terrified to do so many things... afraid of death and dying... sure that every time we go somewhere it's going to be my last adventure. I knew -- for sure -- that I was going to roll the Tahoe (yes, I was driving) and that even though there are air bags and seat belts we were going to be smashed to death.

(The pictures I'm posting aren't of our car. As far as I know, no one took a picture of me being brave.)

Proudly, I made it (with very little profanity) and stopped near the place where the old cabin and the old mill were located. The mine was further up, but there was NO WAY I was going to drive further up that mountain.

I put the car in park and followed my boys up to the mine. (Of course, Inigo ran the whole way.)

This certainly isn't what you'd expect an old gold mine to look like, is it? It collapsed many years ago so I don't know what it looked like when it was active and working.

We had a gorgeous view from where we were!!

I can't imagine how hard it was for my great-grandfather to live there. His wife and children stayed behind in Nephi while he was living in this desolate desert area. We didn't see a water source anywhere... no rivers, streams or canals. How did he get water up there? The terrain is difficult. Yes, we made it in our 4wd vehicles, but the grade was steep, dry and rocky. I couldn't imagine driving a team of horses and a wagon up that hill. We walked from our car to the mine and about died in the autumn heat. How hot was it in JULY when he was dredging valuable minerals down that hill?

(Our car is the furthest away. You can see the old cabin in the middle with family members climbing up the ravine. They turned back when a rattle snack challenged their trek!)

It was hard living for sure!! And again I'm reminded how grateful I am to be alive today. I'm too big of a wimp to have survived as a pioneer.

We spent a lot of time prowling around the hillside, trying to imagine life here. Trying to make it real. But eventually we had to come down. (Down is always easier!) We briefly stopped at an old Pony Express Station and headed back to Wendover.

Red was gracious enough to let us hang out at her house in Happy Valley for the rest of the weekend. We were actually able to watch Sunday's Conference and enjoyed spending time with her.

A horrible drive home up the I-15 corridor with all the Conference attendees reminded us why we DON'T travel south the first weekend of October and April and we made a vow never to do it again. Unless it's to visit cool family history places! Then it would be worth it!!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Scrub Scrouts

Inigo's First Pinewood Derby:
September 30, 2010
The journey through pictures:

Gotta get the wheel axels smooth so they'll roll easier!

Look at the tongues! Like father like son. :)
Lookin' Good!
How's the weight?

Finished and proud of the end result!!
Good job, guys!!
The official weigh-in. At home, the scale said the car was 4.5 oz.
At the derby, the scale said 6.5.
OoopsRemoving some of the weight...
like the AA battery Max imbedded into the center of the car.
Had to remove the Legos driver too.

Inigo performed his first flag ceremony.
Ready for the first race...
They'rrrrrrre off!

The boy on the right was stiff competition. Inigo won this heat!
But this boy won second over-all.
Award: Best Use of Decals
(His theme was Sir Edmund Hillary: First person to summit Mt. Everest. The car had a picture of Sir Edmund on the peak and the words "The Hillary" above the wheel.
3rd Place Overall!!

Out of 10 or 11 heats, Inigo only lost two. The second race he lost because the weights fell out of the bottom of his car in the middle of the race and stopped him dead on the tracks.

We're so proud!! Way go to, Buddy!