Can you say " I am a happy girl?' Grandma and Granpa lovin' our number 6 Note the hair. It was amazing!
Allie May is beautiful! And here...she knows it!
This is by far one of my most favorite pictures of Allie. Can't you just feel her sweetness? I can, and wish I could see her more often. Maybe now that they are moving to the Western side of the U.S. we can make that happen!
It was Thanksgiving Day in 2005 when the cutest little girl arrived. She was surprising with her full head of dark hair!! It was fun to watch that grow out and see her blond roots...now she has the prettiest strawberry blond hair!
AllieMay, Grandpa and Grandma J really love you...and traditions says we get to take you to Disneyland now that you are 4...so hurry and come to California!!
5 years ago today, this little angel joined our family. Since she has lived near us all of her life, we have had so many fun times together: We have gone to her dance recitals, soccer games, Grandparents Day at kindergarten, Primary Programs and fun places like Disneyland, Sea World and Leg land.
Her laugh, smile and bubbly giggle has brightened many of our days!
She is a charmer, a gret big sister, a wonderful daughter and baker!
She is ALWAYS happy when she is swinging!
We love you Taylor Marie and are looking forward to many more adventures with you!
The mountains are calling and I must go. John Muir
Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul. John Muir
Keep close to Nature's heart... and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean. John Muir
Take a course in good water and air; and in the eternal youth of Nature you may renew your own. Go quietly, alone; no harm will befall you. John Muir
Picture #1, 11-11-'09 The trail up Mt. Baden-Powell, 9399'. Trailhead 6593'. Elevation gain 2806' in 4 miles. I was pretty proud of myself for making it up in 2 hours. I left at 7:00 and arrived at the top at 9:00. I was walking around enjoying the view when Jeff Enriquez zipps by me and touches the monument and checkes his watch... 1 hour and 40 minutes he says. Yeah, big deal. He's younger than me, skinny, and a fireman... he's supposed to be in shape.
#2 The view NE towards Victorville and a bit of the trail showing.
#3 Looking east at Mt. Baldy. I've been up there. You ever been up Baldy, Jeff? Hah! Probably take you 4 hours to get up that one! (Took me 2 days!)
#4 Looking SW... That's Catalina Island off in the distance there. Trust me.
"Walk away quietly in any direction and taste the freedom of the mountaineer. Camp out among the grasses and gentians of glacial meadows, in craggy garden nooks full of nature's darlings. Climb the mountains and get their good tidings, Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. As age comes on, one source of enjoyment after another is closed, but nature's sources never fail." John of the Mountains
My sister just sent me some pictures of my Mom and Dad. Some I hadn't seen before, like this one of Grandpa with Tyler at about 2 years old taking nap. Now, this is dangerous to say, because little girls are so cute and I don't want anyone getting jealous! But there is something very tender about a little boy when they finally slow down enough to cuddle. You can also see Dad's golden ring in this picture.
We were "evacuated" from Wrightwood for a couple of days while we waited for the firefighters to save our town and went to stay at Tyler & Tanya's house. We are so thankful that they live close enough to see often. But now we are home and miss them and their kids. We got lots of cuddles while we were there.
Here is a pic of my little boy with his little boy.
We were able to go watch Taylor play soccer on Saturday. I don't know how many times she actually kicked the ball, but she was definately the cutest player on the field!
Then we were able to treat the kids to a trip to Sea World.
(We all had free tickets! haha!)
This one has WAY too much energy!
Grandma J let them bury her feet. Wild and crazy grandma!
Watching the pet show.
Now, here are where my thoughts are going...
The reason we were able to do all these fun things with our awesome family, is because I didn't go on a planned backpacking trip. Why not, you say?
I had planned a three day 45 mile trip thru the High Sierras culminating on the last day summiting Mt. Whitney. But everyone else had to cancel. My friend from back East was busy with business. And my son Tyler, had just been called a 1st Counselor in the Elders Quorum Presidency and decided it was more important to stay and get sustained and set apart and get to work in his new calling.
I feel some concern for my son.
He has had some very tough business decisions to make lately, and not everyone he is associated with agrees with everything he has had to do. There has been a lot of talk going around and some of it is hurtful. But I think he is doing pretty well. It's going to be a long haul, but he knows that and is trying to do the right things. I am especially impressed at his resolve to not talk ill of any others that may have been involved. So in a time when getting away for a few days may have been enjoyable, he decided to stay and attend Church.
It brings to mind a scripture that many quote as their favorite:
1 Nephi 3:7 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them. I believe this scripture typifies Tylers obedience (or at least his efforts!) However, the following scripture is actually the one that is one of my favorites:
1 Nephi 3:8 And it came to pass that when my father had heard these words he was exceedingly glad, for he knew that I had been blessed of the Lord. So when Tyler told me why he decided not to go, I felt nothing less than exceeding gladness that he wanted to stay and serve the Lord.
And so I say to my son, as Lehi said to his:
1 Nephi 3:6 Therefore go, my son, and thou shalt be favored of the Lord, because thou hast not murmered. Well, that and "we'll do the trip next year!"
Diane said she'd be willing to camp in a tent, but we couldn't find a camp site to reserve so we had to settle for a condo. Not too disappointing to Di, since when we travel I like to help cook (and even clean up!)
But I was craving some outside activity so we headed right out to see the sights.
The lakes are beautiful even if there were tons of people around. I actually like a little more solitude, but Di is not a backpacker. Knowing we were going to be "in town" but also knowing we were going to a place called "Mammoth Lakes" I took the canoe along just to make sure we didn't spend all our time shopping!
I wanted to put in and paddle around every lake, but we were limited on time so we just picked a couple. This is Silver Lake on the June Lake Loop.
We paddled across the lake and found the inlet stream. Very scenic and very few people. We paddled up here enjoying the quiet, peaceful scenery. We followed the bends as the channel narrowed and it was actually pretty fun to paddle in... until we decided to go swimming. If you have ever been canoeing, you know that "swimming" is what happens when "somebody" paddles a little too close to the bushes and "somebody else" leans over to try to avoid being scratched by them.
This is the last picture the camera took after our adventure. Luckily, there were some rocks nearby that we could swim to. And from where "somebody" got to go swimming two more times, once to retrieve the paddles, and again to retrieve "somebody else's" glasses from the bottom of the 7 foot deep stream...
We hadn't planned on this adventure so it seriously cut into our shopping time. Bummer, huh? We did take a little hike down to Devil's Postpile but the camera was still suffering so we didn't get any pics.
All in all, a very successful trip. A little relaxation, a little outside activity, and all with the one I love the most.
Sometime this last Spring I realized I hadn't been hiking and camping enough and decided I was going to get out more this year. After I made this decision some interesting things started happening. For some reason I found myself in the shed sorting through all my camping stuff, just wanting to see it all again. There are some great memories there and they came back as friends, almost asking why I had been ignoring them for so long. Then a friend called and said he wanted to climb Mt. Whitney this year. He lives on the east coast and works for the same company as me and we have gotten together several times to do some nice hikes in Yosemite and along the Appalachian Trail. Well, he wanted to climb the big one and so we made plans. And I started training for a pretty serious 3 day 45 mile hike.
Even my wife suggested we go tent camping in Mammoth for Labor day (I couldn't find a campsite to reserve so we ended up in a condo... bummer, huh?!). But we did take the canoe and had a great time on the water and we also hiked to Devil's Postpile. How out-doorsy are we! OK, I wore a Hawaiian T shirt and not my North Face fleece, but it was warm! Di will have to post those pics... they are on her computer. Anyway, I have always loved the outdoors (especially the mountains) and I was getting right back into my element. So, here's where I'm going with this; I was told last week that I will be released from High Council during Stake Conference next week and that my Bishop had a calling for me. I figured in the last 7 years I have written and delivered over 70 talks and traveled many miles and fulfilled countless Stake assignments so I was OK to move on... but I had to wait for the Bishop to call me to find out my new calling. Have you guessed it? I am now the new scoutmaster for Troop 159 in Wrightwood. Well, who'd a thought? It's been a long time since I served with the youth and to be honest, I don't even know most of the boys that I will be working with. But this much I know, every one of them will be better for having been a scout. Scouting builds character. It builds friendships. It builds memories. And I am looking forward to every minute of it.
Dylan's best friend Caleb was in a tragic traffic accident and passed away. Dylan described him as "the only friend I had that could run as fast as me and liked what I liked." We met him a couple of times on our visits and he was a good boy. We loved him because Dylan loved him. I wrote this for Caleb:
When little boys go home
It’s hard to pin point what it really is: Maybe it’s because they are so tender with their mothers. Maybe it’s because they love to play with their dads. Maybe it’s just because they seem to love life so much. They will play to the point of exhaustion, but won’t go to bed without a fight. In a little boys ideal world you would run until you fall asleep and then sleep where you fall until you wake up and start running again. They will play any game with a ball. And if a game is not going on, they will make one up. And they don’t need to be outside. They can make up just as many games in the house. As long as it includes throwing, or bouncing, or chasing a ball they can entertain themselves for hours. In fact, if the game involves a little screaming from mom, all the better. We’re glad when they are smart, but we are proud if they can knock the ball out of the park. Maybe it’s because when they do get tired, they are just so fun to cuddle. Normally they won’t stop long enough but to give you a short hug. But when they are completely worn out, then they will finally slow down long enough to hold and squeeze. That moment just before sleep is best. They eventually relax and cuddle in close as if they finally accept us into their world. They slow down just long enough to let us in, then they are off to sleep. That is why moms don’t want to lay them down. They will hold them close just a little longer until another duty calls, then they will reluctantly put them in bed to rest up for another day of running. And then there is the laugh. It is so great when you find just the right tickle spot. They laugh so loud that everyone looks, and you are so proud that your little boy is happy. If the whole world would laugh like a little boy, we would have a wonderful world. Maybe it's because little boys give us hope. We watch them run and play and laugh and enjoy the world, and we think; "this one is going to get it right." We want them to do better than we did. We want them to make all the right choices. But all that will come. When they are little we just want to love them. We want them happy and fun loving and full of life. We want it to last forever, for they are an irremovable part of our very being. That’s why it’s so hard when a little boy goes home.
Today is Our #2 Grandchid's Birthday. Michael is turning 9 years old! We were so lucky to have him and his Sister come to visit for a week this summer...it is a;ways such fun to sharie in all the growth they are making. Michael lived in Wrightwood for 5 years and we were able to spend lots of time with him and his family. Grandpa J and Michael became really good buds! This is a snowman they built.
We have spent a lot of time at the lake at the Wrightwood Country Club. Michael is like a fish in the water and this summer was so happy the be able to swim and play in the deep end!
After they moved far far away, we went up to visit and this is Michael playing with a tractor at the Children's Museum.
On another visit here, Michael was excited to drive the bumper car!
We were ever so proud the day that Michael chose to be baptized. Isn't he a handsome one??
This was this summer, now he was nearly 9, more independent but still a whole lot of fun! We are so happy to have Michael in our family and to share in his warm and loving spirit.
Here is a little re-cap of our summer of 2009. It is backwards..so you have to enjoy it this way..hope you can figure it out!!
I ended my summer with a Sisters in Law's escape. We went to Oceanside. It was a lot of fun and I am hoping we can do this again.
Legoland was a lot of fun with Michael and Danielle. There was something for everyone, and the weather wasn't too hot, but they still really enjoyed getting all wet in the kid's water-play area. i think their favorite part wa driving their own cars and getting drivers licenses!
We had a lot of fun at the Lake here in Wrightwood, Michael was so happy to pass the test and be able to swim and play in the deep end.
Michael took this shot of all of us in the backyard! I don't know where Danielle went.
Then Michael and Danielle came to visit us for a week while Teri Le was in Arizona attending classes for her PhD. We had a lot of fun. Here they are making their Great-Grandma's day a lot brighter!
While on our trip south from Lincoln, we traveled to Carthage Illinois. I stayed in the van while Lance slept, everyone else went in to see the jail where Joseph Smith was held and killed. I had ben here once before, and remembered the feelings I had while there. It is a sacred spot.
We traveled to Nauvoo Illinois, a wonderfully historic place in the History of our Church. We haven't been there for nearly 8 years, and enjoyed being there with the Drapers. The temple is beautiful and the statues and monuments are all so touching.
Being able to share in Dylan's baptism day was a true highlight. His Dad gave him an amazing blessing and Dylan's Mom mad sure the day was perfect in every way.
We traveled to Nebraska to spend time with Amy Quinn and their kids. This will probably be our last trip out there to see them, since they are leaving in December. We have really enjoyed our visits in Lincoln, ...it is a beautiful place.
We spent a great week in Hawaii to start the whole things off. It was a terrific trip and we did some new and fun things.
It is over. I have been back at work for several weeks now...but it was one terrific summer! I'm already looking forward to next year, but I wonder, how can I top this one!!!
Last month Dylan, our super-terrific #3 turned 8 years old! He has been such a wonderfully fun kid! When he was born, I traveled all day to get to Pocatello Idaho the night before his birth, and I drove alone, so I ate lots of sunflower seeds to stay alert! Needless to say, my mouth was swollen from all the salt when I got there that night!
Dylan has lived in Idaho, Nevada and now Nebraska, and in December off to parts unknown. He is a great young man! He LOVES video games, swimming, Webkinz, money and sports, (especially baseball and soccer) When they were moving to Nebraska, Grandpa J and I set him up in his 'Huskers' uniform!
Dylan is a real Pal to his Grandpa...he makes us laugh! He has the most infectious giggle!
Dylan was baptized with his 'Best Bud' Caleb..it was a really special time for us all.
We have loved every minute of the 1st 8 years of Dylan's life. He is growing into a super guy, and we are looking forward to pictures of him in his new Cub Scout stuff as he adds another fun things to his list of 'likes'!