Sunday, January 25, 2015

Peaceful Sunday Evening

Last week we took out the camera to try to capture the beautiful view from our backyard at sunrise; this week we wanted to share our view in the evening, particularly of the majestic Sandhill Cranes that decided to visit our lawn.
We noticed them while talking on the phone with Brooke. She wasn't sure whether to believe Grandpa or not when he said there were birds on our lawn bigger than she was. It's hard to tell without something to gauge them against, but here's the proof that he wasn't pulling her leg.
So beautiful and peaceful!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Return to MacArthur Beach State Park

Wayne didn't have to work on Martin Luther King Day, so we decided it would be the perfect day to go back to MacArthur Beach State Park, rent a kayak and do some exploring. As you can see, it turned out to be a gorgeous day. Wish you all could have come with us!
Choosing our kayak and "setting sail"
Leaving the estuary and going under the bridge into the Intracoastal Waterway
Exploring the "inland waterways" of Munyon Island
Docking at the beach on Munyon Island
There was a nature trail!
Complete with a bridge over what we had explored earlier
We checked out several different beach areas on the island.
Then kayaked around the perimeter to find more pretty beaches.
I told you it was a gorgeous day!
One final stop on a sand bar
to check out the sign.
We learned what they meant when they said it's best to kayak at high tide.
But we made it back safely, and there were plenty of people waiting to use our kayak, in spite of it being low tide.
A late lunch of barbecued hamburgers was the perfect ending to our adventure!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Friday, January 16, 2015

Village Park

We had a free Saturday and decided to go visit one of our local city parks and see if it would be a good place to take grandchildren when they visit. Here's what we found:
Four football fields, complete with bleachers and a concession stand.
Four baseball fields.
More soccer fields than I could count (because they were spread throughout the park).
An exercise trail with various stations.
A large multi-purpose building (where Michelle helped with a Halloween activity a couple of years ago) and the parks department headquarters.
There were a couple of hockey rink buildings, a skate park and a large playground area. 
Adjacent to Village Park is the Peaceful Waters Sanctuary; we'll go back to explore that area another day.
Part of the trail had trees planted in loving memory of family members; we read every one.
Another portion of the trail went around a beautiful pond.
 There were a few other ponds as well.
The final verdict? This would be a great park for a future family activity!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

It's a brand new year! Let's see if I can do a bit better at posting on my blog this year. At least I can start the year with a post. Today's activity was visiting the next county park on the list - Dyer Park. It's a regional park so there's plenty to do and we'll go again some day. Because it was built on an old landfill, there are even a couple of hills to hike up and down. 
 Today we decided to hike along the mountain biking trail. Part of it was in a forested area.
There was plenty of water, and although there were reminders posted that alligators could be present, we didn't see any.
Part of the trail was out in the open along some dirt roads. It was actually a very pleasant hike, particularly with the cloud cover, although it may not be quite so pleasant if you try it in August.
 After our hike, we took the time to relax by the lake and enjoy a yummy barbecue lunch.
It was a beautiful day and we're looking forward to many more such days as the year progresses. We hope you had a great start to 2015 as well.

Happy New Year!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Family is of God

"The family is ordained of God." 
I believe this truth that comes from The Family: A Proclamation to the World. It's been a guiding influence for me my whole life. I love my family. I wish the whole world could understand the importance of families and the strength they provide to each of us as individuals.
This summer we added a daughter through marriage. We also recently learned that two grand-daughters will be joining our family early next year. We love our growing family, and each member of it.
We recently had the annual Primary program at church and both my husband and I were deeply impressed with the song which was the theme for the year. I suspect the lyrics were taken straight from the Family Proclamation! The truths this song professes are profound. Take the time to listen to it if you're not familiar with it. (You can go here to read the words and music.)


The Family is of God, by Matthew Neeley

I'm grateful for parents who taught me by example. They learned from their parents, who were also a great example to me.
With both sets of my grandparents at my wedding.
Our son with both sets of his grandparents at his wedding.
Another hymn, which we sang recently during a family "scripture and prayer", also has a great message. As we turn to God, we will receive the knowledge and support to help us strengthen our families, not matter what our current situation may be.

Our Father, by whose name all fatherhood is known,
Who dost in love proclaim each family thine own,
Bless thou all parents, guarding well,
With constant love as sentinel,
The homes in which thy people dwell.

As thou thy Child didst fill with wisdom, love, and might,
To know and do thy will and teach thy ways aright,
Our children bless, in ev'ry place,
That they may all behold thy face,
And, knowing thee, may grow in grace.

May thy strong Spirit bind our hearts in unity,
And help us each to find the love from self set free.
In all our hearts such love increase,
That ev'ry home, by this release,
May be the dwelling place of peace.

I look forward to recreating the "grandparents" picture with each one of these sweethearts at their weddings.
We'll give them a few years to grow up first!
Remember, "God gave us families to help us become what He wants us to be." Among other things, he wants us to be happy and successful. He wants our families to be happy and successful as well. It's possible.
This post is part of Celebrate the Family Proclamation. Go here or here to find what others have to say about the importance of families!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Tale of the Lost Ring

A Family Story: The Tale of the Lost Ring
Here's the picture we took of our rings on our wedding day. They were nice and new and shiny then! Mine still is, but your dad's looks a bit different. I figured it was time to remind you of the story behind the replacement wedding band, so that you will be able to tell it to your children some day.

I guess it's not much of a story, but last month on our anniversary I was reminded that while many things have lasted for 30+ years, this wedding ring wasn't one of them. Maybe someday you'll wonder why.

It all begins with your dad's goal to hike every single trail in every single national park. We first went to Capitol Reef National Park in 1989. (See here.) However, we weren't able to hike all of the trails that first trip. (Here's the post for our Labor Day trip in 1991.) Capitol Reef also has several trails that just aren't conducive for family hikes with toddlers. So, on the Memorial Day weekend in 1990, Wayne decided to go to Southern Utah with his brother Greg and his sister-in-law Vicki and do another hike. They went to Brimhall Arch.

After they had been hiking a while, his fingers started to swell, so he removed his wedding ring and put it in his pocket. Many miles and hours later, when they had returned to the car and he decided to put it back on, the ring wasn't in his pocket. That's when he also discovered there was a hole in his pocket. Since he wasn't about to re-transverse the sandy, difficult trail again to try and find it, we dealt with its disappearance.** Who knows, maybe it was the answer to prayer for some later hiker who might have discovered it!

Brimhall Arch and Hall's Narrows
If you want more information so you can take this trail again - after all, maybe the ring's still buried in the sand - here are some links to websites describing the trail to Brimhall Arch, complete with maps and more pictures.

Capitol Reef National Park - Things to Do

Natural Arch and Bridge Society

Brimhall Natural Bridge -

David Muench photo

Brimhall Double Arch

**Since we live on Wayne's salary, and it just didn't feel right to have him pay for his own ring, we waited a couple of years and I saved the money I earned personally through giving piano lessons. Then we went ring shopping again. Because we had learned more about each other's likes and preferences over the years, we both actually like the second ring better! And just to have it documented for posterity, the second purchase with "piano money" was a freezer for the garage.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Happy Birthday, Darling Daughter!

It's your birthday! You survived being a teenager! In fact, I would say you thrived during your teenage years, and we're looking forward to seeing the amazing things you'll accomplish in this next "Decade of Decision." You're well prepared. (See this wonderful talk by Elder Hales.)

Blog posts aren't as much fun without pictures, and I tried planning ahead, but didn't make much progress. Now it's your birthday and I don't have access to all the pictures from your growing-up years. But that's okay, because I posted your birthday cake pictures last year, and I did find a few others on the flash drive I have with me.

Do you see the common thread in these few pictures? It kind of goes along with the idea of the teen years being a time of preparation. This morning I was reflecting on how well you lived the Young Women Theme, and I'm positive that it's laid a great foundation for the rest of your life. In particular, I'm grateful for your example of virtue and modesty. I know it wasn't always easy being different, but I'm glad you were willing to do so. You'll be forever blessed because of it.

So, this isn't really much of a birthday post (welcome to the world of adults!) but we do hope you have a wonderful day celebrating you. Thank you for bringing so much joy and happiness into our lives!


Maybe your latest post started me thinking about this subject, so I'm linking it here.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Visiting Atlanta - The Georgia Aquarium

Now that the kids are off to college and we have an empty nest once again, we get to do some of the things we've been looking forward to for years. One of those things is having me accompany Wayne on the occasional business trip. Wasn't it convenient that he had one scheduled for early September? And it was even more convenient that it was to Atlanta, where Brad is living with his family. So, we came up early to spend the weekend with them and are having a wonderful time.

Many people have raved about the Georgia Aquarium so we decided that it should be at the top of our list as we played tourist. It did not disappoint. First, however, we took a detour to stroll through Centennial Park, where Brooke had a chance to play on the playground, and Wayne had a chance to pick up some pamphlets which gave him plenty of ideas for activities during future trips!

The first order of business at the aquarium was giving the dolphin a giant hug.
 Then it was time to start exploring.
I think I was most fascinated by these little eel-like creatures that were in the bottom of one of the tropical tanks. They just kind of stood there, and would retract into their holes as the other fish passed over them.
I could have stayed there for hours just watching them. There were many places I could have stayed for hours! Watching fish swim back and forth is just as relaxing as sitting on the beach and watching the waves come in over and over and over.
What a great variety! Imagine the work that went into creating all these unique creatures!
After going through the tunnel under the giant tank, you reach another place where you could sit for hours.  Hopefully having the people in front gives you some idea of perspective.
This was a huge tank filled with beautiful and magnificent fish. (You can click here to view the webcam if you want.)
I may have been able to sit for hours, but not a toddler. So, we moved on. There was still a lot to see!
Although disappointed that her favorite part (where you can touch the star fish) was closed, Brooke was able to show us how much fun the penguins can be.
Then we ended the morning by watching the dolphin show, but we were asked not to take pictures during that, so I didn't. I guess you'll have to go yourself someday to see what that's like. (I also didn't get any good pictures of the beluga whales, but the aquarium has a webcam for them as well.)
We enjoyed our visit to the Georgia Aquarium, but we enjoyed being with these awesome tour guides even more. They did a great job!