Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Grand Canyon & Lee's Ferry

While we were in St. George after Summer's birthday, we took a quick road trip to the Grand Canyon.
After days and days of triple digits, we kinda forgot about the elevation change and cool nights in the Grand Canyon.  ooops.
It was 58* and rainy when we arrived at the GC.

This cute little lady on the trail with us volunteer to take our picture. 
She had trouble with the zoom, even though she told us they looked good.  Oh well.

This is the view of the GC when there is a constant rainy mist happening.
It was chilly, but it did smell heavenly.

Some young man wearing wranglers gave us this invitation to a shindig. 

Working on our Jr. Ranger activities.

At the Grand Canyon Lodge.

Sierra and Cole taking their Jr. Ranger oath.  Very serious business.  
(Summer was a Jr. Ranger dropout at this location)

We took a few scenic drives.  This is the view from The Roosevelt Loop.  
We sent Rick out on the point to take the pictures because the rest of us were too cold.

Our cabin at Jacob Lake

Summer, Sierra, and Cole

After we left Jacob Lake, we drove over to Lee's Ferry.  It was fun for Rick to reminisce his river guiding days on the Colorado River. And it was a good thing that it was raining because it was just us and a group of people loading up their gear to head out on the river.

It was fun to read and review some of the events that took place over 100 years ago at this location.

Summer was highly engrossed in rock hunting adventures.

This is the location where the ferry actually launched from the north side of the river.  The last ferry sank in 1928, killing 3 men.  (It was 8 months later before the bridge was completed and there was a way across the Colorado River.  During that time, it was an 800 mile drive around the Grand Canyon to get to Arizona.)  The water in COLD.  As you walk down the bank to the water, you can feel the air temperature drop at least 10 degrees in just a few feet.

Next we drove down to where the bridge connects Utah and Arizona.  The bridge (on the left where we were walking) was built in 1928.  It was opened to traffic on January 12, 1928 at a cost of $390,000.   
In 1990 it was determined that traffic flow and load capacity were too great for the bridge and a solution was needed.  It was determined that the old bridge could not be rebuilt or strengthened and still meet all of the highway safety standards. There was a lot of opposition to building a new bridge which included issues like protecting sacred Navajo lands, protecting native plant species in Marble Canyon, and possible construction debris polluting the river below.  The bridge (on the right) was finally completed in 1995 with a $15 million price tag.

The view of the Colorado River from Navajo Bridge.  
Every necessary precaution was taken during construction that not even a rock would fall down into the river below and thus endangering the safety of those in rafts on the river.

We met a cute Park Ranger that gave us some peaches that were grown at Lee's Ferry.
Fun little walk down memory lane with a history lesson on the side.

Shop Til You Drop 2013

aka:  Summer turns 16
We were already in St. George for Choir Retreat at the first of August.
So, to celebrate Summer's 16th birthday, we headed to Las Vegas for the weekend.
We dubbed it, #shoptilyoudrop2013
because that is all Summer wanted to do for her birthday.
Friday night found us on the strip at Caesar's Palace trying on prom dresses.
Who in the world enjoys trying on dress after dress besides Summer?  not me!!

We also went "Window shopping" at Tiffany's.  And we ended up trying on a few rings.
While I had Summer occupied in a dressing room, Rick went back to Tiffany's to pick up the ring we picked out for Summer for her birthday.
On Saturday, in 115 degree temperatures, we ended up at the ginormous outlet mall.
Again, not my idea of fun, but I'm not the one turning 16.
It doubled as birthday shopping/school shopping.
We ended at The Cheesecake Factory for Saturday Evening birthday dinner.
And we also took the family to see Mystere (Cirque de Soliel)

We obviously fooled Summer, she had no idea that we had made a little blue bag purchase.

We left Vegas on Monday morning and arrived back in St. George just in time for Summer to go down to the Driver's License Division and pick up her driver's license.  
Too bad she wasn't yet insured, so no driving yet.
Happy 16 Summer!!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Chamber Choir Retreat in SG

So, here's the Chamber Choir story...
Last spring when it was time for Chamber Choir tryouts, Summer did not know if she was going to be able to be in Chamber Choir because it requires 2 class periods out of her schedule.  It was dependent on whether or not she made student council, as that would talk up one of her available class periods.  She talked to Mr. Mendenhall about her situation.  He asked her to go ahead and fill out the paper work  for Chamber Choir and go ahead and tryout.  Then, come talk to him as soon as the election results were available.  Unfortunately, Summer was not elected as a class officer.  She was sad, but she still didn't feel like trying out for Chamber Choir.  She left her application incomplete and settled with being in Concert Choir.  
About a week later, on Friday evening, I got a phone call from a student in Chamber Choir saying that Summer had "made it" for Chamber Choir next year and that they would be coming at 6 in the morning to kidnap her for the Chamber Choir breakfast.
I thought that was weird since Summer hadn't tried out.
I hung up the phone and told Rick that they must have made a mistake or called the wrong person.
But, sure enough...6 o'clock the next morning, a group of loud, giggling girls showed up on our front porch to kidnap Summer and take her to breakfast.

After Summer got home, she told me this story...
She told the girls in the car that had kidnapped her that there must be some mistake because she hadn't actually tried out for Chamber Choir.  One of the girls told her this...They (they senior chamber sings that were doing the kidnapping & breakfast) were waiting for Mr. Mendenhall to give them the list of the names of the new Chamber Singers.  They waited and waited.  Day after day.  Finally, on Friday evening Mr. Mendenhall gave them the list of names.  He had finalized the list, but just couldn't pass it on.  He went back to his office and added Summer's name to the list.  Once he did that, he felt certain that the list was complete.  And he was finally able to give the list of names to the kidnapping committee.  And that was when they called me and told me that Summer was going to be kidnapped.  He said it was kinda a confidential thing because he didn't want anyone to feel bad that Summer didn't technically tryout, but was still included in Chamber Singers.  Summer in one of only 4 Junior girls that is in Chamber Choir.  Quite an honor, considering that she didn't officially tryout.

The Chamber Choir went to Dixie State University for 3 days at the beginning of August.
I was lucky enough to be a chaperone.  (makes me wish I were in high school again, did I really just say that?)
We got on the bus at 4:55 am at the high school to ride to St. George.

First thing they did was warm up those voices.

Maybe not everyone agrees with me, but I think Mr. Mendenhall is amazing.
I don't know why things happen the way they do, but I am absolutely, positively grateful that we ended up in Utah, in Utah County, and in Mapleton, so that my girls could go to Maple Mountain High School and study music with Mr. Mendenhall.  He will be big and do great things in his lifetime.  I just hope he stays at MMHS long enough for Sierra to have the opportunity to study with him.

Summer and Savannah.

Summer and Savannah again.

On the first evening, we went to Tuacahn to see Thoroughly Modern Milly.  Then Rick picked me up and I got to stay at our condo while the rest of the group went to the hotel.
On the second evening, we went to see Mary Poppins and Rick, Sierra, and Cole joined our group.  It was fun.  I have no blasted idea who thinks it's a good idea to put an outdoor theater in the middle of the desert where it's 110 degrees on a cool night.  Just glad it was a "cool night" for us.

 At the end of the last day of rehearsal, it was time for a hug fest.

 And the MMHS 2013-14 Chamber Choir

Girls camp 5 year recap

We went to Flaming Gorge for Ward Camp.
It was fun.  Our poor camp director had a really hard time delegating.
Therefore it was a 4 day vacation for most of the leaders which resulted in a 4 month recovery for her.
Pretending to faint so the YW could assess the situation.  (all in the name of certification)

There were some questionable food handling practices.
So, we got rid of some of the cheese and other items we were worried about.
(Without said camp directors permission.)

Doreen, me and Rebekah
The Beehive leaders.  We had so much fun in this calling.  I love these ladies to death.
I really miss them both.  why do things have to change?

Stake Camp at the Heber Valley Hilton
I was a 1st year cabin leader with Natalie Card.
It was Summer's first year at camp and here are some of her cute friends.
Alexandra, Summer, Rachel, Lexi, McKenna

Me and Rebekah

Me and Summer

This year I wasn't actually in YW, I was cub master, but thankfully my dear friend, Sadie asked me to come along and be the camp photographer.  So much fun.  
We camped at Pleasant Creek Camp Ground near Boulder Mountain/Capitol Reef.

Summer, level 2

Calf Creek Falls

a picture of me just to prove I was there.

Summer performing at skit night.

Me and Sadie
Right after camp, Sadie asked me to be the Assistant Camp Director.

the fearless leaders

"Pink Panty Hike"

I love this picture of me and Summer at Calf Creek Falls

Back at The Heber Valley Hilton for Stake Camp
This year I was the Level 3 Leader, in charge of all of the level 3 girls and their leaders.
I had so much fun.  It was a lot of hard work and a lot of meetings and planning, but I had the best time ever.  I really loved it.
We had a talent show and Summer brought her guitar and performed, "Who Says?" by Selena Gomez

Getting ready to paddle our canoes on the lake.

Me and Sadie out on the middle of the lake.
We may have broken some rules and made a few phone calls on our cell phones.

On the hike back from the lake, one of the girls dared me to make a snow angel so I did.
It was cold.

Me on the zip line.

Summer performing in the skit.  

Someone dared me to wear this flower on my head.  

My cabin mate 2 years earlier, Natalie.  She was a Level 4 leader with me this year. 
So much fun.  (We were roommates on choir tour, too)  bad pic.  ooops 

Ward Camp at Goblin Valley State Park

Sierra technically was not supposed to go to camp this year.
She was 11 and did not turn 12 until September.
Things were just not working out for our planning and preparations.
I wasn't sure what to do to make everything right for everyone.
Lots of tears were involved.  (plus, our YW's presidents mother died a few days before camp)
I counseled with a stake leader from our ward as well as the ward camp director and Rick and I decided that the best thing to do would be for me to go to camp and take Sierra with me.

This is Shelby.  Pretty much our adopted daughter.  She is a year older than Summer.


Ashlyn (my cute little Beehive class president) and her mom, Mundi
At times, I thought that I probably shouldn't have gone to camp.
Too many obstacles and conflicts.
But, I will forever be grateful that I did go to camp because 4 months after camp, my dear friend Mundi passed away.  I am so happy that I had the opportunity to spend a few days with her at camp and hear her beautiful testimony.

Audrey, our YW president, and Mundi

Mundi and Jenny, camp cooks

our fun first year girls learning how to tie knots for certification

working on our temple craft

I may or may not be raiding the food trailer looking for cookies.

Soooo, if you know me at all, you know my drama of being banned from attending camp this year.
(I am still not sure of the exact reason, and I still feel that I was treating incredibly unfairly.
I did meet with a member of the Stake Presidency, but never got any follow-up.)
(Not going to rehash it here.  or anywhere really)
But, I am happy to say that I am totally fine with the whole thing now.
I was ready to give up on the whole thing, Young Women's, church, the whole thing.
But, my husband fought for me behind and the scenes and allowed me to stay with my calling in YW's just a bit longer.  I think it was necessary for closure.  It helped to be so heavily involved in the whole July 24 Celebration 5K.  (that was sooo time consuming, but certainly a good distraction)
I have chopped all my hair off (also necessary when reinventing yourself, I say)
I filled my cup at Education Week last week.  I nearly didn't go.  Just didn't feel up to it.
But, I signed up at the last minute and dragged my sorry butt up to campus.
It was a good thing.  Those darn leaders told me exactly what I needed to hear (and not necessarily what I wanted to hear).
So, school has started, I have been instructed, and I am refreshed and ready to move on with it.
That may or may not include YW.  But either way, I'm good.
But, I am certain that my girls camp era is over.  So, so sad that I don't get to share in that journey with Sierra like I did Summer, but that's life.  and someone else's decision.
Ready for the next adventure.  I just pray to heaven it's not Cub Scouts.