October 31, 2012

Tender Mercies

Life at our house has been a bit busier than usual, and a little more emotionally taxing.
I am so thankful that God does not ask of us, more than we can do.  I have been so blessed in a thousand tiny ways lately.  Elder Bednar gave a talk a few years ago about Tender Mercies (you can read it here, if you are interested).  I have been making a mental list lately, and since this blog is my pseudo-journal, here is my short list (in reverse chronological order):
The Halloween costumes were easy, and the sewing I needed to do on them was easy.
I went to Target, and chatted with a friend, who said all the right things.
I needed an oficial copy of my birth certificate and the organization kept it for now, and then I realised I needed it for something else and I found another one in my files!
Kenneth and I went to play tennis on the newly refinished courts and I was not too bad.
My Oboe practicing is improving faster than it should for the amount of time I can find to practice in.
When someone in the ward has a crisis, it is on a day I started dinner early.
My bike doesn't have a flat tire.
The welding teacher is willing to weld Christian's bike frame back together.

The list may seem insignificant, but I can tell you  at the moment each happened, I knew that God was watching over me and he knew I was doing the best I could.

October 26, 2012

Ward Campout

After Tonto Bridge, we headed to Sharp Creek for our annual ward campout.  We were not so lucky with the rain, it followed us.  We got our tents set up before the torrents were upon us!  It rained all night and much of the next morning.  The Brazilian kids were cold and bored.  It was their first trip camping and the Grand Canyon had been a lot of going and doing.  So to wake up to cold and rain and no schedule, they mostly huddled together and watched nervously.  They were happy about the hot chocolate, and they did have board games to play.

Nate and Hazel did what little kids do, rain or no, they found some friends and some sticks and ran around in the woods whacking things.  Usually, there are some boys who build  a crude fort so that they can hide and throw stuff at each other.  Sydney, Abby, Rebekah and Louise were the fort builders this time.  The fort is the only part of the campout I managed to take pictures of.  It is an impressive structure.  They really put a lot of thought and planning into it.  They were so proud that they scratched their initials into a stick and hung it inside.  I really hope that the next kids to happen upon it, add to it instead of destroying it.

October 25, 2012

Tonto Natural Bridge

Thursday morning, we broke camp.  Which by the way, is a far more difficult feat when you have 15, instead of 9!  We left camp and went to the Visitor Center for our Junior Ranger Swearing in event.  As we were pulling out, it began to rain!  How's that for timing.  We drove out of the rainstorm, and enjoyed beautiful weather at Tonto Natural Bridge.  As we were returning to the cars it began again to rain! Lucky again.

 Here is Christian at the near end.  We hiked through the tunnel.  It is a fun adventure.

 Ladson is in this picture, on the right with Cecy. (The ladies in blue, centered so nicely in this picture, are not part of our group. If I had photoshop, I would just remove them)

Sydney.  I think the braids remind me very much of Captain Jack Sparrow! (If only she could do his fancy pirate walk)

Once inside, the trail scrabbles along the rocks.

Here is Gerlany, she is smiling now.  She was not smiling earlier when the trail went along the cave wall on a very narrow edge.  She got up and panicked.  I had to go up and help her, even though she didn't really want my help.  Once we got over the rough spot she hooked up with Ladson, I think she much preferred his help to mine.  She was smiling again by the end.

 Kenneth waxes artistic with the camera.

Me and Syd.

Hazel and Cecy.  The Brazilians do seem to find it easier to talk to Nate and Hazel.

See, I told you we brought Ladson with us.  Here is another of the rare pictures.  He did seem to enjoy the rock scrabbling.

"The Thinker"
(contemplating a great joke)

Here he is a little more serious!

October 22, 2012

Grand Canyon Day 2

We spent 2 nights camping at Mather Campground.  That was really nice because Wednesday we had the entire day to see the Canyon.  We were real tourists, we stopped at all the visitor centers, overlooks, and gift shops.  The exchange students visiting were the catalyst for the trip.  I have a firm belief that if you live in Arizona, even if it is only 1 semester, you must visit  Grand Canyon!   Our friend, Wayne Clement, came with us and he had 3 exchange student girls with him, 2 from Brazil and 1 from Denmark. We brought Ladson (who unfortunately isn't in many of our photos, because spent most of the trip enjoying the company of the other Brazilian exchange students) and another exchange student Paulo.   Anyway, Wayne had the great idea to hike part of the Bright Angel Trail, so that the Students could feel justified buying the shirts that say "I Hiked the Grand Canyon".  They did hike, and they did appreciate buying the shirts! Abby told me she wanted a shirt too, I told her I would buy her one when she hikes Rim-to-Rim.  She liked that idea, you go girl!

This is us at one of the overlooks. 

Abby, doing some observing for one of the requirements in the junior Ranger booklet! Some more of us in the background, also working on the booklets.  All the kids earned their Junior Ranger Badges.  The one great thing about the program this time, was that we had to attend a ranger talk as one of the requirements.  We learned all about Tarantulas.  I thought the ranger did a great job, she even liked Kenneth's sense of humor!

Sydney and Louise.  It was a lot of fun to have Louise on the trip.  She was easy to talk to, she told us all about her life in Denmark.  I think Sydney enjoyed her company the most, I could tell because I didn't see her with a book, except while we were driving.

Hazel on the rim, with a tree!

Syd and Louise again, deep in conversation.  I think it we learned more about Denmark in a week, than we have learned about Brazil in 2 months.  I am not sure what the difference is but, the students don't like to talk about their lives in Brazil.  We have finally stopped asking because they don't want to talk about it.   I often wonder what my own kids would be like as exchange students.

 Me, Cecy, and Rebekah on our way down Bright Angel Trail.

 The overachiever group.  Kenneth, Christian, Truman, Sydney, Abby, and Louise (the student from Denmark) hiked to the second water stop.  The rest of us only went to the first water stop and then hiked out. I was surprised that Paulo, who complains about the 1/2 mile walk home from school, was one of the best hikers in our group.  It probably helps that he speaks so little English, that there was no way for him to complain.

 Christian and Abby looking good after the hike. (Sydney and Louise, not looking bad, right behind)

 Waiting for the shuttle to take us back to the campground.  Which is an interesting story.  The  Shuttle came and was pretty full.  We thought that all the shuttles would be that full, so we got as many kids on as we could.  We actually got everyone on except Me, Abby, Wayne, and Christian.  We rode on the next shuttle (about 10 minutes behind).  As we were walking on the trail from the road to the campsite, some deer (6-8) came running through.  Wayne pointed them out and I looked just as they passed. Chasing fast behind them was a MOUNTAIN LION!  It was much more exciting than the one at the zoo.

October 20, 2012

Grand Canyon Day 1

We went to The Grand Canyon over October break.  I noticed an interesting thing, all the employees refer to it as "Grand Canyon", with no The at the beginning.  Is there another Grand Canyon?
 Here is Hazel Cold again!

The brazilian exchange students for whose benefit the trip planning was initiated.  They were all really excited to see it and took the appropriate number of photos required of foreign tourists.

Sydney's cool braid hair do.  The beads are all either glow-in-the-dark or UV color changing.

 All these years and he will still be seen with me!
 "Yup, It's big!"

Kenneth and a dead tree.

 Hazel Warm, at last!
Alpha and Omega.

October 19, 2012

Walnut Canyon

While we were at Walnut Canyon, we had lots of fun.

Kenneth in his Father's Day hat.

The hike had a lot of stairs and a lot of nuts!

We found this cute panda girl!

More nuts, and a...  Moose?

Hazel was cold, because the weather dipped below 80 degrees.

And more nuts.  I told you there were a lot.

Checking out the prehistoric living quarters.

Truman's self-portrait.

Truman's picture of Sydney.

Rebekah's sweet smile.

Two studs!