Friday, February 21, 2014

Houses for the Holidays

Normally we don't do much for Martin Luther King Day and President's Day, but this year we headed  south house hunting. Maybe it's the temperature inversion in Logan that makes us want to move south (at least for the winter). On the Martin Luther King weekend we went to Heber City. On the President's Day weekend we went to Cedar City and St George. Believe it or not, we found a nice little cabin near Park City.
Our cabin
It would accommodate a family reunion. It has 12 bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, and 15,000 square feet for only $11,900,00. Maybe we could all pitch in :-) It ends up that after the Salt Lake Olympics the billionaires bought up Park City and the millionaires moved on to Heber City.

Heber City (Jan 17-20, 2014):

It is a beautiful drive up Weber Canyon to Heber City. Paul had a class Friday morning so we didn't get off until after lunch. When we arrived in Heber City (about 5 pm) we found out that it was the weekend for the Sundance Film Festival which means all motels were sold out in Park City, Heber City, Salt Lake City,and Provo. Fortunately the Swiss Alpine Inn had a cancellation just as we drove up so we were able to get a room for two nights.
Swiss Alpine Inn in Heber City
Even more fortunate was to learn that the Dairy Keen (next door and owned by the same people as the Swiss Alpine Inn) has an extensive gluten-free menu. It has been a long time since Paul has been able to order a hamburger and fries with all the trimmings. The menu listed at least 11 different kins of gluten-free hamburgers as well as many other items.
The Dairy Keen
On Saturday we drove around Heber City looking at houses in several neighborhoods. We found Wheeler Park (a new housing development) on Wheeler Road. 
The "real" Wheeler Road
 We looked at some model homes with an agent. We were hoping to downsize, but the smaller houses are the same price as our house would be.
Model home
We decided to drive through Kamas where Diane's ancestor, Ruth Mosher Pack used to live. It has grown up a bit since then, but Diane decided she didn't want to live there.
Western store in Kamas
We went on to Park City to see what the fuss was about the Sundance Film Festival. It was crowded with stop-and-go traffic and no place to park. We didn't see any movie stars, but there were a lot of people on the streets. We did stop at an outlet store outside Park City so Diane was able to find a dress, a blouse, and some shoes. It was good to get back to Heber City for the night.
Sundance FilmFestival - Park City
On Sunday we decided to attend church near Wheeler Park. We got there by 9 am (the time the Internet said church would start), but almost no one was there. We found out it was stake conference and the meeting would start at 10:00 am. It gave us an hour to drive around Heber City and Midway before conference.
Two big Wheels
Trapper in the park
Ice Castle in Midway
We enjoyed the stake conference which was broadcast from the stake center, but we didn't get to meet anyone, being stake conference. This area has some beautiful views of Mt Timpanogos.
View of MtTimpanogos
After conference and a quick lunch in the car at the city park we headed off to Provo. The canyon is beautiful, with icy rivers and a frozen lake where people build their shelters for ice fishing.
River fishing
Ice fishing
We drove through Provo, searching for the apartments where we lived while attending BYU. They look much the same, but with a lot of growth around them. Our first apartment was on Apple Avenue. There is now a big church right behind our apartment.
Our first apartment - Apple Avenue 
Our second apartment was on Ash Avenue. This is where we were living when Andrea was born.
Our basement apartment on Ash Avenue
Our final apartment in Provo was on Center Street. We lived there for about 4 years while Paul was working on his PhD. There are now a lot more apartments close by and a resort.
Our Center Street apartment complex
We went on to Ephraim where we spent the night. Monday morning we continued on to Manti where we stopped to see the temple. Paul would attend the Manti Temple before they completed the temple in Provo. 
Manti Temple
We then went on to Richfield, Monroe, and Joseph before heading north again. We stopped to see the tomb of Paul's ancestor, George Washington Bean in Richfield.
Tomb of George Washington Bean
On our way back to Logan we decided to see if the ByU bookstore were open on a holiday (we needed the break anyway). As we parked we noticed a lot of people going into the art museum to see the exhibit "Sacred Gifts". We had wanted to see the exhibits, but didn't have tickets and didn't know when we would be in Provo. We were able to get some standby tickets. It was a nice exhibit, featuring the religious art of Carl Bloch, Heinrich Hofmann,and Franz Schwarz.  
The Nobleman
We really enjoyed the trip, even though we didn't find a house to live in. We did put Heber City as a possibility in the future. We also eliminated several places. 

Cedar City and St George (Feb 14-18, 2014):

Our next excursion was to Cedar City and St George for President's Day. We have been remodeling the master bathroom and the men laying tile barely finished before we left. Again, Paul had a class on Friday morning so we didn't get off until afternoon. We were able to find a room at the Abbey Inn (who had a hot breakfast) in Cedar City and have our Valentine's dinner at Applebee's.

On Saturday we started to look for houses in several neighborhoods in the Cedar City area. We started with Enoch, north of Cedar City. We then found a nice area on the east side of the freeway, close to the mountains. When we stopped at the visitor's center we found out that this area is notorious for shifting earth which cracks the foundations of houses (stick to the west of the freeway). We were also guided to a real estate agent who was able to show us several houses. There were some things we liked, but we didn't make an offer. 
The house we didn't buy
We thought it might be interesting to find a cabin up Cedar Canyon so we took the drive to Duck Creek Village. It is a beautiful canyon. 
Icefall along the road in Cedar Canyon
Cedar Canyon view
When we got to Duck Creek Village the roads were muddy. We found an agent who showed us a few listings (out of our price range, of course). She took us to see one small cabin. It was small and too expensive. We then went on back to Cedar City.
Cabin at Duck Creek
We got up and ready for church, expecting a 9 am meeting (based on the Internet again). The closest chapels to our motel were for young single adult wards. At breakfast we talked to a man who used to live in Cedar City. He said he was going to attend at the Old Rock Church, where he was baptized as a child. We got there just before 9 am and no one was around and the doors were locked. It ended up that they were having stake conference (sound familiar?). We drove around and found a church with parked cars and decided to go in, hoping it wasn't a young single adult ward. We slipped in the overflow at the back of the chapel. There were a lot of children in the meeting so we deeded it must not be a single adult ward. Right after the sacrament a deacon slipped us a note saying the bishop wanted to meet us right after the meeting (maybe he noticed that Paul didn't take the bread). This was characteristic of the ward we attended. Everyone was very friendly to us as strangers. 

After the church block we headed for St George. Diane said it should only take an hour, but it took us a bit longer. Paul likes to go the scenic route. We headed west on Highway 56. We crossed some mountains and stopped to see the Old Iron Town Ruins where iron ore was smelted by early pioneers. It is now a state park. 
Old Iron Town
Kilns for making charcoal 
Mill for grinding molding sand
We passed through a broad desolate valley (called Escalante Valley) through Newcastle and Beryl Junction (not even on the map) to Enterprise. We rather enjoyed Enterprise. It is a small, clean town just before you cross the mountains into St George.
An interesting house in Enterprise

Does this come from the movie "Cars"?
We stopped at the Mountain Meadows Massacre monument. It was a sad part of our history. The site is maintained by the LDS Church.
Mountain Meadows Monument
Burial place
We decided to visit Pine Valley. It is a beautiful valley with a lot of history. We were able to have a tour of the old church. Last time e were there they had bats in the belfry (literally). They are gone now. We were there at the right time for a Sunday afternoon tour. Elder Holland used to attend meetings there during the summers when he was a youth. He would get in trouble for ringing the bell. For some reason they let him ring it when he visited a few months ago.
Pine Valley
The old church 
Inside the church
We drove through Snow Canyon State Park on the way to St George. We would like to return some day when it isn't Sunday so we can do some hiking. It is a beautiful area.
Rocks in Snow Canyon
As we drove into St George we saw a lot of big homes and construction booming. It was warm for February, but will be really hot come July and August. We had difficlutly finding accommodations.  We didn't know it, but President's day weekend is when St George sponsors soccer and baseball tournaments so all the youth from up north descend on St George. We finally found a place and as we were leaving to eat we passed a family from our ward in Logan. We were able to visit with Nathan and Stephanie on Sunday evening. We always enjoy visiting with them and playing with Amelia. 

We decided we don't really want to live in St George so we were wondering what to do for Monday. We noticed that the St George Area Parade of Homes was going on so we decided to see how the rich live. We got tickets which let us have a car rally around St George to see 28 homes. It went from 10 am to 7 pm so we ran out of time and had to miss 2 homes. All the homes were new, big (some bigger than others) and many had fantastic views. It was fun to go into some million-dollar homes. Paul was able to meet and shake hands with golf icon, Billy Casper at one of the houses.
Diane is getting "trucky"
A home in the desert
The pools
A great room

Tuesday it was time to head back to Logan, the scenic way, of course. We started with a drive through Zion's National Park. This was an important stop so Diane could get her lifetime senior park pass.
Zion National Park
We then went on to Bryce Canyon National Park. We stopped at Ruby's Inn for some lunch materials and had lunch on a log bench overlooking the park. 
Bryce Canyon National Park
We were hoping to return by way of Escalante and Boulder, but we decided it would take too long so we returned the more direct route. As it was we traveled over 500 miles on Tuesday.

With two long weekends we have seen a lot of homes. We decided we don't need to envy those who live in luxury. We are thankful to have a nice house that is currently accommodating a family of 10. We are very blessed, in having a nice place to live and in being able to visit other places.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

January 2014 Highlights

A new year is here again. It doesn't seem that long ago that Dad and Dave were arguing over Y2K and what year the "real" millennium would start. Well, this year New Years Day had temperatures above freezing so we were able to take a walk. There haven't been that many walks this month, however.
January thaw?
Frustrated with her old computer, I told Diane I would get her a new computer with a touch screen running Windows 8. Now she has the frustration getting Windows 8 to do what she wants it to do. Her famous saying is, "If I can think about it, why can't all of those smart people developing the software think about it?" I have to agree.
Diane puzzled over scripture study

Diane's Relief Society activity for the month was on Comfort Foods, which included demonstrations for Chicken Casserole, Spaghetti Sauce (by Andrea), and of course Chocolate Lava Cake. When it's too cold to walk you might as well eat in comfort.

Phyllis, one of our ward members, gives a neighborhood luncheon each month so nonmembers of the church can get to know members. Diane was the honored guest this month and was given a flower (Paper Whites). It had nice white blossoms on tall stems, so tall it kept falling over. Once the blooms faded she cut the stems off and will save the bulbs for planting.

Diane decided she needed to work on a project each month. This month was her JOY project made out of painted (and papered) wood). It will be nice for next Christmas.
Diane brings JOY to our home
One Saturday we went to Layton for a Travel Expo. There were many booths set up for guided tours and cruises for the whole world. When I asked for information about Central Asia they showed tours to China and Thailand - I wanted Kazakistan and Uzbekistan.

Alyssa turned 11-years-old this month (Jan 16th). She's growing up fast, but is still in primary. She wanted an apple pie (instead of a birthday cake) so Paul was able to eat it. 
Get the pie lit, Alyssa
Where's the fire marshall when you need him?
Smile, this is family fun!
11-year-old girls still like toys
Things are always humming when you have a family of 10. Hanna is anxious to turn 16 next month; Kamary is constantly singing, hoping for a good part in Into the Woods; Allyssa is now only a year away from Young Womens; Kohler and Lauren are learning Chinese in school; and Brynlie is enjoying pre-school. Meanwhile, Paul is teaching an engineering class at USU, Jason is busy with his new job; Andrea is practicing the cello, and Diane is trying to hold it all together. We get together each evening for dinner and each week for Family Home Evening.

Kamary on her bed (her personal kingdom)

Andrea and her new love - the cello
Brynlie, is this what they teach in pre-school?
Family Home Evening game
This was also the month to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Hillcrest Elementary School had a special International night to highlight their Chinese and Portuguese classes. Both Kohler and Lauren are in the Chinese class. Lauren was chosen to give a poem in Chinese to the audience. She did very well. We also had a special evening at home with a full Chinese dinner and other Chinese activities.
Lauren gives her Chinese poem 
Kohler (in the hat) speaking Chinese
Lauren gives a Chinese goodbye
It's been a quiet month in Lake Woebegone (Oh, that's a cold month in Logan, Utah).