Journal-like Re-cap of the Memorial Day weekend:
Fun, what fun! My awesome cousin and his wife had spent a fabulous week in the Bay Area (of course, after we moved from there, sheesh!) and decided to spend one day in UT (with his parents) before heading back to the Great White North (that's Canada, in case you weren't sure). So, we got together with our kiddies and enjoyed some time at the Museum of Ancient Life at Thanksgiving Point. As predicted, we had a great time! It was wonderful to talk to my cousin again; we rarely see each other anymore, what with the distance (well, they did just move to Calgary. Before that, they were in Edmonton!). He was like a big brother to me growing up, and seeing him again made me realize how much I've missed our conversations. I'm not sure how much he realizes what a positive influence he was on my early life. His letters and advice got me through some tough times as a teenager. Personally, I'm very grateful that he found such an amazing and wonderful wife! Amy is a gem and he is so lucky to have her around.
After the fun day [and the long, tedious out-of-the-way drive back to Provo because of a massive and scary accident on I-15 South which actually turned out to be quite spectacular --the drive, not the accident --because we got to see Utah Valley awash in beautiful light and my kids even commented on the beauty of the views before us (see, we were driving up on the bench near Cedar Hills, etc.)], Brandon-the-hot-hubby and I went out on a date. Date night has become quite the regular routine around here, and we are both addicted. I don't think we can ever go back! Anywho, we went to Magleby's restaurant and a quick stop for me to pick up some lotion at Bath and Body Works. Short date, but fab, none-the-less. Ooh! And I saw one of The 5 Browns at the restaurant (the older brother). I've seen them perform a couple of times and they are very good!
The kids, by some divine miracle, got all their chores done before 10:30AM. The divine miracle, if you were wondering, was the arrival of three second cousins. I agreed to watch Brandon's cousin's three oldest daughters (ages 7, 6, and 4) for a few hours. Wonderful, this miracle! The house was clean and the kids had a blast enjoying their cousin's company.
In the afternoon, Brandon's sister arrived. Long story short: Brandon's father was supposed to be getting married on Sat, but due to some unfortunate consequences, the wedding has been postponed. Brenna still came to visit, though, and we were so happy to see her! Although the kids protested, we took her to Omar's (sans kids; thus the protests) that night. She loved it. No surprise! We love it, too.
After we got home, our Bishop stopped by for a chat...and guess who got a calling? Nope, not me. Unfortunately. I mean, I guess it's okay for now, but honestly? I want a calling! I'm sure I'll get one soon enough...sigh...Anyway...what? You want to know what Brandon was called to do? He has two callings now, dear reader, and they are the Course 14 Sunday School teacher and an Assistant Priest' Quorum leader. Yep! He has graduated! When we lived here before, he worked with the Deacons for 5 years. When we moved to California, he worked with the Teachers. Now he is with the Priests! (for those that do not know, the Young Men are divided into groups. Deacons=12-13 year olds; Teachers=14-15; Priests=16-17. Brandon's callings have to do with religious instruction on Sundays and weekly activities on Tuesday evenings. It also calls for occasional scouting camp outs and outings). I was not surprised. At all. Brandon is such a great leader for the boys.
We said good-bye to Brenna (her stay was too short!) and began our busy Sabbath. I had to play for the choir (last minute substitution), and Brandon sang with the choir. When they called Brandon to his new calling in front of the congregation, the reaction was immediate and expected. The young men were thrilled! So were their parents...
After church (where, by the way, #4 was spectacularly good for once) we had a visit from our home teachers, and later we invited over part of a family Brandon home teaches for dinner. I say "part of" because it is a couple in our ward and the wife is in Africa helping people in Mozambique. So, we invited her husband to eat with us. Although I told Brandon that having so many guests over the weekend gives me stress, it was very nice because I actually kept things clean! Very nice, indeed.
RAIN! Holy cow, did it rain. So much rain! But we were not to be deterred. Remember our good friends, Ann and Brent? We decided to spend the day together and we all wanted to hike. Hike. In the rain? Well, why not? We drove up Provo Canyon and headed up to Aspen Grove Family Camp. The Alpine Loop was still closed, so we were glad we didn't choose American Fork Canyon! We stopped at Aspen Grove and ate our picnic at the covered pavilion, which, by the way, is not a good thing to do if you are in the area. Why? Because it's private property! So stay away! But we were glad we had our quick lunch there because we ran into the Parkers; they are the director's of the camp, and we haven't seen them in almost a year. For those who do not know, Brandon and I worked at Aspen Grove Family Camp for three summers (Brandon three, me two) and we have spent many, many hours romping around there. I think I've hiked Stewart Falls about 37 times, First Falls 7 or 8 times, and Mt. Timp. once (Brandon has hiked Timp many, many times). Brandon kissed me for the first time hiking on the First Falls trail; he proposed to me over-looking the valley (and no, we did not meet there; we worked there after we were married.) We know that area almost as well as our own home. It was so good to be back --even in the rain!
We decided to hike First Falls because of the pavement (Stewart Falls would have been very, very muddy!). When we parked in the right parking lot and got ready to go, the rain increased. We waited a few minutes to see if it would slow down. And it did! As it died down a little, we dressed the kids in ponchos, got ourselves packed up, and decided to head up the trail regardless of the water. We were determined! The kids weren't upset, either, and were up for the challenge (and the whining was much less than the Zion hike we did last month).
About half-way up the trail, the rain stopped, the sun shone through the clouds, and #1, in excitement came running down the trail.
"Mom! Mom! My prayer worked! I said two prayers that the rain would stop, and it worked! It worked!"
Indeed, it did!
We made it to the top and enjoyed a small break viewing First Falls, the view of Aspen Grove below, and we even went on a little bit to see Second Falls, although parts of the trail were impassable because of snow (which, indeed, stopped us from going too much further). As we started back down the trail, the rain came back, and some sleet/snow started to fall.
We made good time down the trail, but just before the bridge (well, the bridge that no longer exists, for those who know the trail), #3 tripped and landed right on his face. Hard.
Not being one for emergencies (and with a baby strapped to my back), I yelled for Brandon, who came to the rescue. There was a ton of blood --all from poor #3's little nose. Brandon ended up taking off his shirt to get the bleeding to stop and carried #3 down the trail for the rest of the hike. Now I want you to imagine this picture:
You see the back of a tall man wearing a Driza-bone jacket (floor length) and an Aussie hat (brown) walking down a mountain trail, holding in his arms a 3 year old little boy, speaking words of comfort. To some, the words "Jim Craig" come to mind. To others "Mountain Man" or "Concerned Father". To me? I had never been more in love with my husband than I was at that moment.
He's my hero, after all.
#3 is okay, for the record. He has some scratches on his face, and he was swollen for a few hours. But he's no worse for wear, thank goodness!
Once we got the kids in the cars and convinced them they had a "GREAT TIME!!!" on the hike, we all headed back to Provo to our house. We made the kids dinner (mac&cheese and hot dogs, yum!) and then sent them downstairs to watch a movie because we adults wanted to eat in peace. Why? Brandon --as if he wasn't already wonderful enough--made us an amazing Thai meal. We had soup, red curry, massaman curry, Pad Thai, and rice. It was soooo gooooood!
After dinner, we convinced the kids to go on a short walk with us around the neighborhood. It rained on us just a little bit, but the sun was out, so it wasn't too cold. It was funny, walking with our friends, our 6 children running around, Ann and I with babies on our backs (and incidentally, wearing matching Beco carriers). I'm sure we are a sight to see whenever we are out together.
It was a great day. Honestly, one of the best! I'm so grateful that we braved the weather and did what we wanted to do without fear of being bested by the elements. It taught me one good lesson: Why not try? What's the worst that will happen? And because we tried, we had a blasted good time.
*Some may wonder why I didn't mention any Memorial Day service or grave-visiting. I think this is because Brandon and I have never thought about it before. Most of our relatives are still alive, and if they are not, they are not buried here (that we are aware of??). But after reading about different experiences (like this one here), I think I may have to re-think our activities for next year.
How was your weekend? Did you do anything exciting? Do tell! If you wrote about it on your blog, let me know so I'll be sure to go read about your great weekend...