Sunday, August 25, 2013

Spring Break at Arches (2013)

We like to get away from the Logan snow and head south for Spring Break. Arches National Park is one of our favorite locations. We usually stay in Moab, but this year we decided to stay at the Red Cliffs Lodge, along the Colorado River. We left on Monday (Mar 11), lunched in Price, and arrived at the lodge in the early evening. It is about 20 minutes from Moab, but is nice and quiet.

Red Cliff Lodge - the red cliffs
Red Cliff Lodge - Colorado River
Tuesday was our day for Arches. We had a nice buffet breakfast at the lodge then went into the park for our essential hike to Delicate Arch. 

Hikers to Delicate Arch
Delicate Arch
We then went to the windows area and hiked around the arches.
The Windows
The juniper hammock
Wednesday (Mar 13) was our hiking day outside the park. We started by hiking up Negro Bill Canyon (which was a new trail for us). After nine creek crossings (resulting in wet feet at times) we arrived at the arch. There was a tour group that were on top of the arch repelling down to the canyon below. It was a nice hike.

Stream crossing
Another stream crossing
Along the trail
The arch
Repelling from the arch

We then went to Corona Arch, also outside the park. As we started on the trail we noticed a sign warning about jumping off the arch. Who would be crazy enough to jump off the arch? When we got there we found the answer - college students on Spring Break. they would tie ropes around the daring who would then give a running jump into nowhere and swing within the arch. Not for the faint-hearted (like us). 

On the way to Corona Arch
Corona Arch
People on the arch
Swinging from the arch (look for the dot inside the arch)
The week after we returned from Arches we heard on the news that a man died after jumping off Corona Arch - they miscalculated the length of the rope. We had time in the evening to walk around Moab, eat at the Broken Oar (pricy for not the best food), then soak in the hot tub after returning to the lodge. While at the lodge we met a movie star. Her name is Kathy Jarvis (we wondered if she were some relation to Diane) who is a stunt coordinator and has performed stunts for Meg Ryan, etc.

Thursday (Mar 14) was our driving day. We first drove to Dead Horde Point State Park, west of Arches. It gives a nice view of the Canyonlands area. 

Dead Horse Point
View from Dead Horse Point
We then went to the Island of the Sky area of Canyonlands National Park. We went on the hike to Upheaval Dome. We had been to the first overlook point before, but we decided to go to the second overlook which is a bit of a walk. 

Canyonland National Park
Upheaval Dome overlook
We then went to the Grand View overlook. There is a road along the white rim (above the deep canyons) that we drove in the 4-Runner a few years ago. There is also a road from the white rim to the top we took when there was still a little snow on the narrow road.

Grand View
Road to the top
We enjoyed watching the ravens, as long as they were not tapping at our chamber door.

The Raven
The real adventure on Thursday, however was breakfast. We decided to pick up a few things from the store so we could have breakfast in the room. Diane has fixed scrambled eggs in the microwave before with no problems. Paul found a recipe on the web giving instructions for making poached eggs in the microwave. He followed the instructions carefully and had no problem cooking the eggs. When he went to lift the egg out of the microwave, however, it blew up in his face and splattered all over the kitchen in the room. We finally got it cleaned up. DON'T MAKE POACHED EGGS IN THE MICROWAVE!

On Friday (Mar 15) we made our trip back to Logan after stopping at a few stores. We stopped by briefly at Schofield to visit Paul's cousin Judy. It was a nice visit, but put us a bit behind getting to Provo. Paul ordered a sound-level meter from Larson Davis in Provo and made arrangements to pick it up on the way home. The problem was that they closed at 5:00 PM. We got a late start and the GPS gave an arrival time of 4:57 PM. That's cutting it close. when we got out of the canyon we were able to get through on the cell phone and let them know we were coming. We got there just before 5:00 and they waited for us, so we were able to get the sound-level meter.

Spring Break was good for us. It helps to get out of the house and probably helps the rest of the family not to have us there, but we do miss them and are happy to return. Even though we have been to Arches several times, we tried a few new things this time.

March 2013 Highlights

 Andrea started her morning job at Woodruff School which means the mornings are hectic around the house. Andrea catches the bus just after 7:00 AM. Hanna's bus picks her up about 7:15. Kamary catches the bus about 7:40. Paul rides the bus at 8:30 with Alyssa and Kohler, dropping them off at Hillcrest School and continuing on to USU. That means Diane is at home with Lauren and Brinley. On Tuesdays and Thursdays Paul can be at home and often takes the girls out for an activity so Diane can get something done. Andrea gets home about 12:30 in time to take Lauren to school at 1:00. It isn't long before they all start coming home wanting a snack.

Diane has been substituting for the choir accompanist who has had surgery on her hands. She also attended a workshop at the library on how to check out e-books and read them on her iPad. She had her first Relief Society activity (Mar 5) since becoming the RS Meeting Coordinator. It involved a dinner in the cultural hall (nicely decorated, of course) and several workshops about family history. It really went well.

Kohler was student of the week in his class so we attended a special tribute in his honor (Mar 4). We also attended a special Dr. Suess night at Hillcrest school (Mar 25). Kamary has been attending rehearsals for the school musical "Honk" about the ugly duckling. She was a duck. The performance went several nights (we attended Mar 22 and really enjoyed it).

Kamary in "Honk"
The ducklings awake
Kamary, center stage
We had two holidays this month. The first was St. Patrick's Day. The Leprechaun came over night leaving green water in the toilet bowl, etc. We had had our traditional corned beef and cabbage dinner with blarney stones (small cake squares coated with frosting and peanuts) for dessert. We also had Easter which involved making string eggs and, of course, Easter dresses.

Making sting Easter eggs
Easter dresses
March is the month for Spring Break. We were thrilled to return to Arches National Park after being away for awhile. We'll save that for a separate post.

We took another trip to Provo this month (Mar 26), this time for the wedding of John Woodruff (Elder Woodruff). We were able to attend the sealing in the Mount Timpanogos Temple and the reception at the BYU sky room. It was a special day for us (as well as the Woodruffs). We were able to talk to several missionaries we knew in toronto, including Sis Lindsey, Pres & Sis Brower, and others.

February 2013 Highlights

We made it through January and are now in the February grind. In spite of the groundhog we still anticipate a long winter. Diane is especially busy trying to take care of the house and filling in on the needs of the grandchildren. This includes a lot of running around and holding down the fort while Andrea is running around. Added to this is the Portuguese class three afternoons a week as well as study time.

We had some visitors and a couple of get-aways this month which helped us keep our sanity. The first was a trip to Salt Lake for the blessing of Matthew (Steve & Melissa's baby). We decided to take off Saturday (Feb 2) and stay in Little America. We were able to visit the Church History Library, the City Creek Mall (a new mall in the city center that wasn't there when we left on our mission), and the church art museum. On Sunday morning (Feb 3) we got up early to attend the tabernacle choir broadcast live. It was interesting to watch the behind-the-scene production. We then went to Stansbury Park for the blessing. When we returned Sunday night, Diane found out she was sustained as the Relief Society Meeting Coordinator, which surprised her since the bishop had talked to her about a different calling. Now she will have to find out exactly what her responsibility will be.

Paul's brother, Richard, and his wife, Virginia,  were here for the baby blessing and decided to come to Logan for a visit (Feb 7). It meant we had an excuse for a nice meal at the Copper Mill. His other brother, David, and Faye visited later in the month (Feb 12). We enjoy visiting with family again after being away for so long.

Hanna celebrated her 15th birthday on February 10th. She is growing up too fast.

On our mission we didn't have a chance to celebrate a lot of occasions, so we decided to go to dinner at the American West Heritage Center for Valentines Day (Feb 14). We had a wagon ride to the location (horses driven by Chris, whom we met at AWHC, and is now an ECE student). The dinner was nice and it was followed by a magic show. We really enjoyed the night out.

Chris and his wife 
Diane, on the wagon
Magic by Richard Hatch

On Feb 16, we took Andrea to see the Jane Eyre, a new musical by Jay Richards (who lived in Andrea and Jason's ward some time ago). We really enjoyed the music and the acting.

Diane and Andrea have been practicing for a musical number, "The Lord's Prayer" for sacrament meeting which the performed on Feb 17. They were really worried about it because they have had many interruptions which made it difficult to practice together. It went very well and many people commented on the wonderful spirit it brought to the meeting.

Our second trip was to Provo to see Elder Woodruff, from our mission, and meet his family. We were able to go on sunday (Feb 17) and pick up Elder Lima (another of our special Portuguese missionaries) in Salt Lake and take him with us to Provo. After visiting with Elder Woodruff and Elder Lima briefly we visited Diane's sister Lisa. On Monday (Feb 18) we drove around towns south of Prove (Santequin, Payson, Spring Lake, etc.) to see what it might be like to move there. We really liked Spring Lake. In the evening we were able to meet Elder Woodruff's family and his fiancĂ©, Kaitlyn. Elder Woodruff's father was a mission president in Brazil and now works for the missionary department in Salt Lake. He said if we wanted to serve a mission in Brazil, he could arrange it. Tempting! The next day (Feb 19) we went around BYU and met with Jeremy Grimshaw who heads the world music program at BYU. We were able to stay in a motel for two nights which provided a good break. 

Andrea interviewed for a teacher's aid position at Woodruff Elementary School. She will soon be teaching reading part time, which will change the family dynamics in the near future.

January 2013 Highlights

Our mission is over so we were not sure what to do with out Blog. We decided to go ahead and continue our activities for family history reasons. this means we need to catch up a little, so here goes.

We have started a new phase in our lives. the holidays are over and we are trying to adjust to a family of 10. Andrea is living with us full time with Hanna, Kamary, Alyssa, Kohler, Lauren, and Brinley. Jason is looking for a job and travels between Logan and his family in Salt Lake. School has started with a complex schedule. Hanna goes to Logan High School, Kamary to Logan Middle School, and Alyssa, Kohler, and Lauren to Hillcrest Elementary School. Lauren is in kindergarten and goes in the afternoon. Meanwhile Paul has been asked to teach a new class, ECE 2290 (Electrical Circuits II), for Utah State University. Diane and Paul are auditing a Portuguese class on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoon. No wonder it has been so hectic.

We have lived in our house for 30 years. After being away for our mission and getting through the holidays we felt the need to make a few changes. We started by putting our musical instrument collection away in the attic and rearranging the living room. Even more severe, we got new windows for the sun room (the deck off from the family room). Several of the windows had broken from storms, letting the rain and snow into the room.

Winter is here
We are making adjustments with the biggest family we have ever had. A lot of energy has been added to our home. Diane is teaching piano to five of our grandchildren. We now have pizza and movie night every Friday. We attend special programs at the schools, such as an international night at Hillcrest with special musical numbers and displays as well as taco salad in a bag (a small bag of Fritos with chili and toppings added). It also means making up a "job list" so everyone knows how to clean the house on Saturday mornings. Even more of a challenge was having to replace the engine of the their 7-passanger van, the only car that holds the whole family (almost). 

We also have more celebrations, such as Alyssa's 10th birthday. Alyssa is very creative and writes plays for her siblings to perform.
Alyssa turns 10-years old
In Honor of Martin Luther King
The stake was having a series of workshops for prospective senior missionaries. We were asked to present our view of what a mission would be like. After much thought and prayer we finally chose the topic of "how to survive an MLS (Member Leader Support) mission". Preparing this workshop helped us put our mission in perspective and hopefully helped others who are considering serving a mission. (At least one other couple who attended is now in the mission field).