Sunday, August 18, 2013

Detroit, Michigan

For one last summer trip, I went with Brad to Detroit.
Brad had to work at his company's headquarters for a week, and I was hoping to spend time in the hotel room catching up on a million things I hadn't had time to do all summer.
Well, I didn't even get a fraction of the things done that I wanted to, but I sure had fun.
We spent one whole day with Brad's boss Gordy, his wife Maureen, and one of Brad's co-workers Chang So and his family.
After catching a Detroit Tiger's game in downtown Detroit, we walked through the park and along the Detroit River boardwalk, while listening to stories from Gordy's childhood (who grew up in Detroit).
The riverfront was beautiful, and the Chrysler Headquarter Buildings were pretty awesome.
It was neat to look across the river and see a huge ocean liner, casino, and other buildings lining the riverfront, only they were actually in Canada!
A picture of us all just chillin
The day ended with an authentic Korean meal. You're going to have to tilt your head sideways to see, but I was proud of the fact that I actually ate this stuff, and even kind of liked it.
Another co-worker of Brad's and his wife (Doug & Mindy) joined us for dinner (Incidentally, Mindy went into labor the next day). We had a wonderful time in Detroit, and want to thank Gordy and Maureen for showing us the sites, and for taking such good care of us!

Pioneer Treck Part II

Day two of Trek  
began with a beautiful morning.
And yes, port-o-potties were apart of that beautiful morning (it's amazing what you appreciate after a day in the woods, plus, it sure beats what the pioneers had to use!).
Even though we didn't do any "trekking" the second day, it was still packed-full of pioneer activities.
Pres. Holt consulting with other leaders and making plans for the day.
One of our "daughters" assisting Sister Omohondro with breakfast (yet another difference between the real pioneers and us - personal cooks).
Breck enjoying the wondrous bounty!
After breakfast we had fun talking amongst our families,
and playing music? It must be a family thing, only this time Breck's "sister" actually knew how to play the Recorder.
After more instruction from our trail boss,
we gathered in families once again to talk about our pioneer ancestors, as well as shared our own "modern day" pioneer trials and experiences.
Next, came pioneer games.
I am not sure what this game was called, or even the premise, but the kids sure got a kick out of it!
There were games for adults too, like stick pull. I don't know its official name, but it was fun to watch. 
Especially seeing the look on Brad's face when he got crushed by Joe Alexander (bigger does not always mean stronger).
Each family then showed off their own muscles with a game of tug-o-war.
Our family was feeling pretty confident after one win. 
Our victory was short-lived, however, after several families smoked us!
It's not because we didn't try our hardest, you can see it in our faces (well, at least in my face).
Despite the clinching teeth, grunting, and groans, 
we just couldn't hang on!
But it was all in good fun! (maybe we would of won if Joe Alexander was our anchor instead of Brad).
As if we didn't have enough rope burns, all the Ma's got to go head to head. Even though I gave it my best, my noodle arms just couldn't take anymore (and besides, I want to know how many real pioneer Ma's had energy left over to participated in tug-o-wars).

Next, came pioneer crafts. I don't even know if pioneers really painted close pin dolls, or made friendship bracelets, 

but they sure turned out cute, and even looked like the ones on Pinterest (under Pioneer Crafts!) 

After a tough work-out of pioneer games, we were more than ready for an authentic pioneer lunch of taco salad (ok, probably not a staple at the pioneer table, but it was so yummy, and the best part: we didn't have to make it ourselves in the pouring rain!).
The next few hours were spent in reflection,
or individual time spent reading letters from parents (real), scripture study, reading church magazines, meditating,
or napping (for those of us suffering from pure exhaustion).
Each family then had the opportunity to perform a skit of their choosing. Our family chose to reenact the story of Ammon from the Book of Mormon.
As a proud Ma, I have to say that our kids did a pretty good job. And what would the story of Ammon be without arms? 
Another family performing their skit,
and fabulous Ma Kathy and Pa Joe from Georgetown, with McKenzie and Aaron looking on.
As you can see from the colorful array of rain jackets, the weather couldn't decide if it wanted to monsoon, or be hot and muggy. But it did not deter us from the days festivities.
After listening to words of inspiration from our Stake leaders,
it was time to eat our final meal of Trek, only this one we had to prepare (or at least warm in our dutch ovens).
We all inhaled the ham dinner, and dutch-oven cobbler with ice-cream for dessert.
It was then time for one last family photo before returning to our separate homes. Brad and I had such a wonderful time at Trek, and even though it ended up being only two days, we felt it still accomplished the intended goals. We want to thank all of the leaders in front of, and behind the scenes who worked so hard to make this a success, and for our kids who showed total love and respect for each other despite hardly knowing one another before Trek. We will always remember this experience, and the renewed appreciation we have for our ancestors who sacrificed so much, not because we experienced anything remotely close to what they experienced, but because for one small moment during Trek each of us pondered what it might have been like to be a pioneer, and how blessed we are to be right where we are, here and now! 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Pioneer Trek Part I

Brad and I volunteered to be a "Ma" and "Pa" again this year for the youth conference pioneer trek. At one point we thought it might not happen because of all the rain. Even though it was cut short, it was still a wonderful growing experience for youth and adults alike. Here we are loading up vehicles for the windy ride to southern, KY.
Meeting together (two Stakes) for last minuet instructions before our journey. 
Our pioneer "family" visiting and eating together before starting the trek.
MaKenzie Barber saddling up her horse for Rex Holt (trail master for Lexington North Stake) to ride.
The first few miles of our journey involved walking along a paved road (I am sure the pioneers would have loved a paved road to walk on!).
We then loaded our belongings onto the handcarts and were off again (on the paved road of course).

Here are "our girls" are bringing up the rear.
Several pioneer "families" waiting with their handcarts.
There were a few steep hills to go down,
as the terrain slowly changed.
This is when we began to sing, "For some must push...
and some must pull as we go marching up the hill,
so merrily on the way we go,
until we reach the vally'O.
Well, this wasn't quite the valley,
but it was very beautiful,  
and the perfect place to soak our tired feet!
Even the horses were ready for rest and water.
Once our feet were feeling a little better
and shoes and socks were back on,
we all had a good time visiting 
  with our pioneer families, as well as our ward family,
 as we joked around,
relaxed, napped,
freshened up, and played music? (Breck's sad attempt at the Recorder).
Little did we know that the long break was to prepare us for what lay ahead. In several places, the trail was covered knee-deep with water.
Some of the girls discovered the ideal way to cross the rushing water
Here "our boys" are leading the way with the handcart,
and the girls are bringing up the rear.
In fact, that seemed to be a re-occurring theme  
(at least it was in our family).
After walking about thirteen miles, we made it to our stopping point.
Only ours wasn't a valley, it was atop a beautiful mountain.
The kids enjoyed throwing a blanket down 

and finally having the opportunity to rest, 
as they ate a wonderful meal prepred by the Stake of homemade chicken soup and rolls (somehow I don't think the pioneers had a hot meal waiting for them either). 
It was nice to just talk and laugh with one another,
as we watched the sun go down.