Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Mantua Lake

So, how would you pronounce Mantua?
Can you believe that it is pronounced Man-a-way?
I doesn't make sense.
Ever since leaving California near the beach, Kirk and I have been searching for a place near water that we could spend our time as a family. We never found a place in Arizona that we could easily get to.
We love Cache Valley. We have found many places to visit that are practically in our backyard. We enjoy our time spent at Mantua canoeing, kayaking and sitting on the beach reading books....or taking naps. I love being outside, and I'm glad my family does too.
The first time we went to Mantua, the kids and I left Kirk at home to work on freelance. Just minutes after we staked our claim on the beach the boys took off in the canoe and Daphne in her new kayak to row the perimeter of the lake. I didn't know of course and after a while I lost visible contact. I didn't have a pair of binocculars and couldn't call them on a cell phone. They were gone three hours which made me really worried. Only because I wasn't sure if Daphne could get make it that far. So now we have this.....
A waterproof box for Jared's phone. So now I can use the binoculars to watch who ever is out on the lake and they can check their phone to see how long they have been gone.
We have made many trips this summer to the lake and have mentally refreshed upon leaving.
I love that my boys are such great brothers. They have their moments though..... I think I like the kayak better. I like to do my own thing.
Mr. Smarty Pants modeling his mother's sun hat, speaking in an English accent. Sigh...

Monday, July 21, 2014

Backpacking Temple Fork

We have been waiting 9 1/2 years to backpack as a family and it was well worth the wait. We were going to attempt to hike the Grand Canyon when Victoria was just 5 years old but decided that we had better wait. We might still do that some day....from the north end. I hear it is greener on that side. 
Anyway, we put the trip on the calendar....which got changed twice and set our focus on gathering the supplies. I think the hardest part about this trip was making the time. I am so glad that we did it. We managed to piece together what we needed and found a backpack that would fit Victoria. Her pack weighed 12 pounds with her sleeping bag,pad, jacket and water. We dispersed the remainder of her supplies with the rest of us. She begged to bring her beloved Bolt (stuffed doggie) with us. I made her promise that she would carry him the entire way or he was going to have to walk on his own.
The owner at Campsavers in town told me about the Temple Fork trail. He said that it was beautiful with water and wildflowers. He was right. We hiked along a river the entire way, past beaver dams.
 The dogs were completely ADHD with all the new smells to smell. They marked every blade of grass until nothing came out. Anyone who has a male dog knows what I am talking about. It was great because we were able to trust them off leash until they went gallavanting through the tall grass chasing a ground squirrel. Sammy almost caught one and freaked me out. I yelled at him just in time for the squirrel to get away.
 We only hiked 4 miles in. We could have easily gone farther if we knew where the trail went. It was so overgrown that we decided to camp in the clearing where an old sawmill once was.
In preparing for this trip we all decided that we didn't want to eat freeze dried meals. For one, they are horribly expensive when you have to buy them for six people and second, who wants to eat freeze dried meals. The though kind of grosses me out. I have no idea what I will do if we go on an extended backpacking trip. I guess I will deal with that when it comes. We packed three compact stoves so only three of us cooked for two people. It worked out great. We had hamburger, potatoes, bell peppers and carrots. It tasted fact it is making me hungry right now. We even packed in eggs for burritos the next morning.
Once we established where we were to camp we put up 6 single tents. I wasn't sure how Victoria was going to do in her own tent in the middle of the night. I guess I didn't need to worry, she loved having her own tent.

I saw Kaleb resting with his hat over his face using his pack as a pillow and thought of all those years we spent jeeping with my dad. My dad used to sleep just like that when we would take a break from bouncing over rocks or splashing through creeks. It is freaky wierd how much my boys remind me of my dad when I was growing up. 
 We went for a we hadn't just hiked with a 35 pound bag on our backs. We jumped across this creek. We hadn't seen Jared get across so I made him show me where he jumped. I remember my dad jumping across a creek with me on his shoulders one time in Monanche Meadows as a kid. I don't think Kirk could jump across holding any of our kids like that. No one is that little anymore. My legs were kind of tired when we did this. I wasn't too sure if I was going to have the strength to make it back across.
 We woke to a beautiful, crisp morning. It is hard to believe that we needed jackets when the sun went down. I love it here. Of course Jared refused to wear anything more than a sweatshirt. The girls and I brought extra layers. We don't like being cold. Jared on the other hand is a minimalist so he will do whatever it takes to not bring extra stuff. On the other hand, Kaleb will pack the kitchen sink if he can. A true boy scout at heart. Always wanting to be prepared.
Daphne's tent was the only one that attracted this cute little caterpillar. We found it ironic because she absolutely hates caterpillars. She thinks that they are the grossest things in the whole universe and will let you and anyone willing to listen know how much she hates them. She called us over about four times to get rid of a caterpillar.  We aren't quite sure if it was the same one or a different one.
 Hiking out was much easier on the girls than hiking in. I think I actually pulled my neck back into alignment. It actually felt great afterwards. We were all tired but felt excited that we had actually done it. We didn't want to go home. We would have loved to have gone further but we actually only had two days that we could fit this trip into.
I love that our family enjoys eachothers company and that we all love to be outdoors. 
I love that they don't complain.
I love that we can count on them to want to participate in a family outing.
I love that my husband will agree to our crazy ideas.
I love making things happen.
And most of all, I love to exhaust two highly energetic dogs!

Friday, July 11, 2014


I love that these poppies just grow all over the place on the way in to Mantua Lake, our new found place to hang out.....canoe, kayak and swim. For me, just sit in one place and rest.

National Youth Leadership Training

Kaleb has matured so much this past year. Back in January, I was somewhat surprised that Kaleb told me that he wanted to attend NYLT, National Youth Leadership Training this summer. The boy who became very emotional about six years ago when we left on a three week vacation saying that we needed to turn around and go home on day two.
He attended NYLT on his own and learned lots about what it means to be a leader and how to lead others. I am really proud of him.
The camp was in Morgan, UT at a private camp. It was absolutely beautiful. Unfortunately it rained the first two days they were there but fortunately I have a son who packs the kitchen sink. So he had all his rain gear with him including a waterproof tent.
Kaleb is a true boy scout, always prepared and there to lend a helping hand.
He received an award for his willingness to help out when needed and without being asked to do so.
Yep, that's my Kaleb.
Well Loved.

Ogden Nature Center

Ogden Nature Center has been on our summer bucket list for two summers. We finally decided to go and it turned out to be a free day. Can't beat that.
It was a gorgeous day, still a little crisp with June weather.
 The trails leading around the entire grounds was a perfect walk. They housed many birds of prey. All with a story. Most of them have been injured and could not be returned into the wild so they keep them.
 I could have sat alone in this field of prairie grass. I would have loved to just walk out into the niddle and crouch down so that no one could see me and just sit. Our lives have been so busy I probably would have cried if I had, but I kept it together and thanked God for the wonderful husband and children that I have and embrace the business of our lives.

Star Academy Camp Out

After being gone almost an entire month in Arizona it was hard to pull ourselves together to make it to our co-op campout. I am so glad that we did. We barely got our tent and sleeping bags together, brought broken chairs, and had our potluck salad, smores makings and bagels for the next morning. I felt like we were minimalists.

One of the moms came up with this awesome idea and arranged for it to take place at Guinevah camp ground. The drama class put on their productions in the amplitheater. Jared was part of the group that wrote the plays. They took fairy tales and twisted them. Jared played prince charming (which is so unlike Jared to do so). Kirk and I kept nudging eachother because we were shocked at how he was performing. He was so funny and played the part well. Kaleb thought it would be funny to play a guy fairy. At first I was like....WHAT are you doing? But after seeing how he played the part, he had everyone laughing until we had tears in our eyes. I know he can be funny but this was hysterical. And he didn't even care that everyone was watching him.
One of the groups wrote a play that had Walt Disney when he was young and older, so Jared and Kaleb played those parts since they are brothers and atleast resemble eachother. Where they found plaid pants for Jared to wear was beyond me. And they were tall size too. Once again, Kaleb was hysterical. We have always said that he should be in drama but he would always deny his ability.
It was a wonderful evening. I am so happy that I pulled myself together because
 it was so much fun to visit around the campfire with all our friends.
It was a perfect way to top off the school year.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Swimming Buddies

I loved listening to the giggling and laughter that took place with these two. It cracked me up what they would laugh over. Just having fun like they just saw eachother the other day. Oh yeah, they did see eachother the other day!

Crazy Cousins

Kyle and Kaleb got the crazy idea to do this!
Everything came out okay......
It still worried me a little.


These two haven't seen eachother in two years and they picked up where they left off.
Kelly and I did the same. It was great.
As soon as we knew for sure when we were going to be in Arizona, Victoria started making plans to sleep over, whether Kelly wanted her there or not. But that's okay, they are like family so that would make Victoria and Hannah cousins.
That works for me!
Hannah's bird, Joey, is a talker. I didn't know parakeets could whistle and talk. If I remember right, he says hello, I love you and more. Very impressive.

Poppa's Shoes

My Dad has done the craziest thing to his shoes many years ago. He has cut the toes out of his favorite shoes so that there was more room for his toes. He loves these shoes but is forbidden to leave the house wearing them. My mother has been deeply embarassed by these shoes....
Kaleb grew out of a pair of shoes and decided that he would cut the toes out of them to be like Poppa....jokingly of course. So he waited for just the right time to adorn these shoes. He quietly walked up to Poppa and looked down. My Dad definately did a double take and had a good laugh.
 I have asked Kirk to please never do such a thing.