Thursday, July 21, 2011

Livin' the DREAM

Cowgirl Heaven

Last week Sophie's dream of riding a horse for days on end and even participating in a rodeo came true.  If you are not aware of her fascination with all things HORSE that began at age 6, you can read about it here, here, and here.  Even her bedroom is decorated with a sweet horse quilt, a framed horse watercolor she painted, and plenty of "Breyer" horse collectibles and stuffed animals.

So, after a few years of riding lessons and realizing that we are obviously not ranch people nor will ever own a horse, I made a deal that if she discontinued the lessons she could have an entire week at "rodeo camp."  Sophie readily agreed, and after finding the perfect cowgirl hat, boots, rodeo shirt, and silver buckled belt, she was off to spend a week in breathtaking Island Park, Idaho with other kids who love horses as much as she does!

It turned out to be the stuff dreams are made of, and the morning I went to pick her up, she was begging to stay another week.  While she was at the camp, Liza and I had a mini vacation ourselves which is just what our neglected child needed - one on one time with mom . . . win-win.  I'm sure this will become a tradition because Sophie is already talking about next year and how she is definitely going back . . .

 Riding into the arena

 Watching her was pure joy

The kids even sang for us and line-danced too!

What a fun evening with my girls!

 Spying on Sophie and camp kids as they ride in from the lake

 Embarrassing Sophie as we check in while the kids are having dinner

Liza taking it easy at Mack's

 Heading out on a hike - such a trooper to stick with me for 5 miles

 That's my girl!

 We even enjoyed an evening of culture on the banks of the Henry's Fork - these kids were amazing! (my friend's daughter is in the center)

For more pics of our time in beautiful Island Park, click here.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Lazy Days of Summer?

For anyone who actually reads this blog, the entries this summer have been few and far between.  I haven't even logged on the last couple of weeks and just found my 4th of July post sitting in my drafts waiting for some captions before it goes public.  So, along with that entry and an attempt to bring those avid followers (all three of you :-) up to speed, here is the low-down of our not so lazy summer happenings:

Youth Conference, Liza's swim lessons, Special needs girls' camp, tennis lessons, tennis tournaments, tennis league, BYU tennis camp, Ryan's High Adventure, Island Park, Girls' camp, FRIENDS, track team, book groups, Bear Lake, FAMILY, Temple walk with Caroline, hikes, morning trail runs, toilet paper clean-up, spectacular SUNSETS, non-stop feeding of people, teen late nights, swimming at the club, Jordanelle, sleep-overs, neighborhood fun . . . 

and an overload of pictures:

Joyful scene: Lucy chasing the kids as they rip down the hill on their scooters

Liza and friends Ellie and Chase pulling weeds for our friend/neighbor Joe who is in the hospital

Caroline and ward friends - youth conference at Bryce Canyon

Ya, the kids get creative during the summer :-)

Utah Arts Festival 

Last day of school chalk art courtesy of Caroline

Riding horses at youth conference

Ryan and crew heading off for some fun on the lake

Ryan and the three other 16-year olds in our ward

Ah yes, spending a day on the lake tubing with the ladies

Ryan and friends at midnight premiere of Harry Potter

Liza and friend Gracie at the club

The teens goofing off in Millcreek Canyon


Sophie's last soccer game of the season

Neighborhood kids taking it easy in the shade

Sophie and friend Emmie during a grueling 3-hour tennis match

Caroline and neighborhood pals

Bear Lake with cousins - watch out for these two CRAZY waverunner drivers!

Cousin Rachel and Sophie

Finding some quiet time to read . . . loving our mother/daughter book group

Track meets - Sophie lining up for a race

Competing in the 800m - GO SOPHIE!

We have been blessed with several magnificent sunsets this summer

We sometimes do take a minute to slow down and take in the view . . .


Note:  all teen pics were snatched off their facebook pages - thank you to their friends for keeping mothers up to date on our children's happenings :-).

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Independence Day '11

“All that I have, and all that I am, and all that I hope, in this life, I am now ready here to stake upon it; and I leave off as I begun, that live or die, survive or perish, I am for the Declaration. It is my living sentiment, and by the blessing of God it shall be my dying sentiment: Independence, now, and INDEPENDENCE FOR EVER.” 
John Adams (quoted in a beautiful talk given by Ezra Taft Bensen, November 1976)

How grateful I am for the founding fathers of our country and the foundation of liberty, freedom, and peace they created for those who live today.  I know my children don't fully appreciate the sacrifice, courage, and divine inspiration that laid the bedrock for the freedoms we enjoy, but I hope for the few days surrounding the 4th of July, their hearts were touched for a moment and they felt a sense of appreciation and gratitude toward the great men and women whom we owe so much.

Some pics from our celebration . . .

Ryan and friend Jeffy at the Granite breakfast

Traditional pic with the flags - note Liza's enthusiasm . . .

All smiles as we wait for the parade to begin (candy sacks READY!)
The youth from our ward getting ready for the parade . . .


And they're off on the parade route . . .

Caroline explaining to the kids she is already out of candy

More neighborhood kids!

Our favorite - fresh eggs and horses - feels like country :-)

At the club that evening to watch fireworks

The girls are ready . . .