Tuesday, June 29, 2010

We Made it to the Lake

We did actually make it to the lake this weekend. I took some pictures on Monday morning.

We drove down by the dam so the kids could get out and climb around on the rocks. They are like lizards. :) They hunted for rocks and played 'Star Wars' between cool-off dips in the lake. I managed a good sunburn (will I ever learn?!)



The 3 youngest Martins came too. They tried to make the most of their cousin time.




John tried to take a picture of the two of us, but it was too bright to look up at the sun. Of course, I guess we could have stood up, but I was too lazy. ;)

The kids have a new favorite thing to do on the boat. We drive along at 15 MPH and they all jump off the boat (the prop is up under the boat or i would not go for this...). They did it several times as we headed back to the launch ramp. Each time there were lots of screams and laughs as they jumped out then climbed back in.



Lake Powell is still the magical, fun place of my youth. I love that we are creating happy memories here for our kids and their cousins there too. We owe the Martin Clan huge after they let us stay and have sick kids all weekend! Thank You!!!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Up All Night

I've still got it baby! Oh ya! I am proud to say that I lived like a teenager last nigh!! :)

Last night was the multi-year reunion dinner. I was super excited to go until I learned that my hot hubby (aka my best accessory) was feeling super not good (that's code for: he puked). This was not totally out of left field, as Jebb puked Friday afternoon, but I was really bummed when he pushed me out the door to attend on my own. I don't usually mind going to social functions on my own, but I had kinda gotten a mental image of us hangin' with my HS peeps. You know, chattin' it up with folks, then telling John some crazy back story about them later. I know it can be a drag for a spouse to attend something like this, but John is a champ about things like that. He even pretends to find humor and interest in the back stories. So my excitement was hugely reduced, but I hopped in the car and met up with my houseboat girls.

Since John wasn't there, I will give the backstories now of my houseboat girls.

Lisa--Lisa was the hook-up. Her hubby is a Senior VP for the company that owns Antelope Marina. "He's kind of a big deal," as Lisa would say. She graduated with me and then was my roommate our first year at Rick's College. She left Rick's after one year so she could move to AZ where Garin would soon find her and quickly marry her. Lisa is a lot of fun and easy to hang out with. I remember meeting her with her curly brown 80's perm and her red lipstick on her fantastic smile! I liked her instantly.

Dabrielle--Also graduated from HS with us and is one of Lisa's closest friends. They both live in AZ and still hang out all the time. Dabe is our swingin' single girl who gives us the liberal perspective on hot button issues. I really enjoy talking to her because she isn't afraid to challenge what you say or your conservative point of view! :) She is a loyal friend and remembers lots of fun HS details. Her basement was the place to be every Saturday Night for SNL back in the day. These days, she is the Girl's Camp director for her ward. Because of this, she didn't get in until Sat morning.

Lori--Lori is a young-un (I am not sure how to spell that...), and a younger sister to Lisa. She is 2 years younger than me but I think of her as one of my favorite friends from Page. We were in tennis together in HS and got to work together at the Polo Outlet the summer before my mission. Lori also reminded me that we are close because we both made out in the same basement (I dated her brother for a while when she dated one of his friends). She obviously has a fun sense of humor. :) She now has a bunch of kids and lives up in Denver and it just so happens that my nieces are best friends with her oldest daughter (I love that!)

Jarica--Lisa an Lori's youngest sister who brought her new baby along. This freaked me out a little, as I think of Jarica (or Suzy as I like to call her) as a little girl. She's all grown up though and is such a cute mom.

Amy--The first person I met in Page was Amy. Her dad was our bishop and he sent her over to be friendly. Amy is a HOOT! She was always involved in some crazy scheme or mischief and I used to think it was largely circumstantial that she was a part of it all. I decided on this trip that she was the mastermind behind most of it! :) I will forever be grateful to Amy for taking me under her wing and introducing me around town that first summer. She made a move to a new town before my Junior year so much easier and even FUN! Amy comes from a pioneering Page family and I call her the keystone of all sociality in Page. She knows everyone and what they're up to.

Andrea--The oldest in her family, Andrea graduated before I moved to Page, but I know everyone else in her family and was friends with a couple of her brothers. She was always this beautiful, older, really-cool persona to me and was the girl that every guy was secretly in love with. I enjoyed hanging out with her and found her to be inspiring and courageous. She just finished Chemotherapy and her hair is short, brown, and wavy which is the complete opposite of her long, blonde, straight locks that everyone in town knew her for.

******************

Saturday night was the big dinner event for all of the classes out at Wahweap. LOVED it! It was great to see people, but it was definately too short and I didn't talk to half of the people I wanted to. They finally kicked us all out of the place and I hopped in a car with Andrea, Amy, and Dabrielle. We went to RD's and convinced them to sell us some treats even though they were closed (Amy worked the Larson charm) then we went to and got some food at McDonalds as it was closing. By now it was midnight and I was thinking I should probably head home, but I had loaned my car to my friend Jimmy, so I went back to the houseboat to pick it up and tell everyone goodbye and goodnight.

Back at he houseboat, everyone was planning on hot tubbing and I just couldn't resist staying to hang for a little while. Lisa loaned me a suit and we all headed to the top deck where the hot tub is. Talk about a beautiful setting! Holy Cow! We are sitting at the marina, on the lake, the desert rocks all around us, and we can see pretty well as a bright full moon illuminated the night sky. The weather was perfect and we all settled in for a soak.

We talked about old times and caught up on what we were all doing now. We told funny stories and shared some of our challenges. We talked about old classmates and about our own families. It was hilarious, sad, heart warming, heart breaking, and everything else you would imagine when 7 girls are chatting it up all night.

As I thought about all of these good women and all of the other people from our reunion that I had visited with I began to think that something was wrong. It seemed like everyone has some big challenge in their life. Sickness, death, family struggles. I wondered if there was some weird bad luck going around with everyone I knew. But then I thought about it a little more and I realized that this is just life. It wasn't that all of my old classmates were having some really bad year, it was just that we were all getting together and really sharing what our lives were about. Because we had to catch up in a day, it seemed like all of their trials came at once.

Of course this isn't the case. I think if you got any random group of people together and they were open and honest, you would realize that everyone has a story. Everyone is wrestling with a big challenge. I know that sometimes I feel like my own life is really difficult, but I realized at this reunion that it is also the life I need. I wouldn't trade my trials with anyone else's. I found it inspiring to hear that people were struggling, but they were keeping the faith. They were still fighting on. I love that kind of exceptional courage in the common, everyday battles.

We were all feeling a little tired and waterlogged as we noticed that although the moon was still shining brightly above us, the sky was getting lighter in the east. We all laughed when we realized that we had stayed up ALL NIGHT! The clouds on the horizon got pink and the sky turned orange just before the sun popped up over the distant buttes. Sunrises in the desert are phenomenal-I have seen a few in my younger days, but this one was more colorful than any memory.

We decided to come in and let our fingers and toes de-raisin. Everyone headed to bed. I decided to go for the power nap on the couch. I longed to let sleep wash over me, but I have 5 kids and we all had church at 9:00!! I cat napped for a while, then decided I'd better get up and go home before I really fell asleep. As I walked up the hill to my car in the same clothes I'd worn last night, I couldn't help but feel a little triumph over oldness. What a rebel I am!!

I walked in the door at my sister's house at around 7:30a and Seth was sitting on the couch. He looked at me with a stunned expression and asked if I were just getting home. I smiled and told him I never wanted him staying out this late...EVER! My kids were somewhat awed when I recapped my night. Now that I am writing this, I am questioning the wisdom of letting my kids know about this... sleep deprivation can impair your judgement.

I intentionally left on my same blouse, and we all headed to church. I admit I only made it through Sac Mtg before I was ready to go home. I felt OK about it because not only did Gabe and Seth both forgot their church clothes, but Jackson and Elise were not feeling well. OK, who am I kidding, I just wanted to go home and take a NAP!!

It was so great to see old friends and pull a girl's all-nighter with some amazing ladies! Things like that never get OLD. ;)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Navajo Tacos

Page is located near the Arizona/Utah border and is surrounded by a ridiculous amount of natural beauty. It is called the Hub of the Grand Circle because of it's proximity to Zions Nat'l Park, Bryce Canyon, Arches NP, the Grand Canyon, and of course Lake Powell.. This corner of the world is not only home to some phenomenal desert scenery, it is also the home of the Navajo Nation.

As a nod to this part of our unique Page culture, there was a Navajo Taco lunch organized in the City Park. I was SUPER excited about this event, in fact, I am sure this was my #1 on my "to attend" list. Anyone that has had an authentic Navajo Taco doesn't need to wonder at this sentiment. There was also live entertainment at the picnic--drummers and dancers that performed for us.


There was a dance that everyone can join in as they trot in a chain. Gabe grabbed Jackson and Jebb and joined in.


Everyone brought shade canopies and we all relaxed and enjoyed seeing old friends. It was great hanging out in a venue like that because the kids could run around while their parents remembered their good old days. John loves a good Navajo Taco and drum show, so he was a happy camper.

It was of course a great opportunity to get some group shots...

Friday, June 25, 2010

Cheers

There is a TV sitcom from the 80's that I was definitely not allowed to watch. It was called 'Cheers.' Although I didn't really watch the show, I must have watched whatever preceded it because I still remember the opening song. The chorus says, "Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name...and they're always glad you came..."

This weekend is a High School reunion in for me in Page, AZ. Yes, I did have a 20 year reunion just last year, but this reunion was for all those who graduated from 1980-1990. Brilliant! I was so excited because I have friends from classes other than mine. There is just something about people who knew you when you were young. I think it must have something to do with the fact that you are all going through your formative years together, but it seems like people who knew you back then still 'get' who you are.

I think that all people have a deep need to feel like people know them, and with that knowledge, are still OK with who you are. Maybe that's also why friends from your youth are a little different--they knew you before you had all of the titles in life that define who you are as a grown-up.

Just like last year, I was struck by the realization that I am really, really vain. I was worried about how I would look to everyone. But I am more even more lazy than I am vain, and I never did get around to that awesome work out routine and diet for myself. ;) I did get my hair and toes done though--I never got around to doing the eyelash extensions that served me so well last year.

The first activity was at the lake and that pretty much cured me of my vanity because how vain can I be in a ponytail and swimwear. Eek. So I just hung at Lone Rock and enjoyed the afternoon. Sure enough, it was AWESOME to see people from my younger years. It is strange how talking to some people can bring you back and make you feel like 20 years ago wasn't that long. It's also weird how even though you have all those grown-up titles, people are mostly the same as they were when you were all just in High School together.

John and the kids went boating around Lone Rock while Lisa (she got in last night and stayed with us) and I made the rounds. When John came back, a few other people joined us on the boat and we took a spin. In true Lone Rock fashion, a huge storm blew up pelting us with rain and sand. And then it passed and it was a beautiful day once again.


When we got off the lake, John, Lisa and I decided to do what ALL people from Page long to do...we ate at RD's. You have not lived until you have had an oreo shake from there. Oh man!

Not only did we get to enjoy the food, we got to hang out for a long time with some great people from the class of '87. I am SUPER bummed I was such a slacker in the photo department this trip! I think RD's is kind of like the bar in the TV show Cheers, especially for the non-bar-attending-Mormon crowd that gravitated there. We all just kind of hung out and sipped our shakes. We talked about life and about our families and some of the great things as well as some of the challenges we were facing. When you're in a reunion situation you usually do the surface kind of chatting (Where are you living? How many kids do you have now?). But what makes a reunion really great is when you have the chance to sit and really talk. It is that kind of talking that I love, and the kind that we all crave. It's the belly-up-to-the-bar-and-stay-a-while kind of stuff. We want to share the fact that our lives are challenging, or wonderful, or sad, or even crappy. And everyone is in a different situation with their own unique set of circumstances. I was inspired by the strength and goodness of the people that I got to talk with. It reminded me of a quote I should practice more often:

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. ~Plato

When we finally left RD's, our night was still not over. Our trio (Lisa, John, and I) headed to the Class of 90's reunion to see if we were in time to crash the party. They were just wrapping up and we got to say hello to some of our friends there.Tiffiny, Jason, me, and John. I think I am telling about how Jason ruined my self esteem--or at least my big 80's hairstyle--the first time I met him at the lake.

Everyone then headed to the Gunsmoke Saloon. Yee Haw! John was done for the night, so we changed up the trio. I hopped in with my girl Tiff and she gave Lisa and I a ride. I saw some more old friends but the whole bar scene is not my thing and unlike the bar in Cheers, there is a dance floor and it's loud enough that all you can pull off is the 'Now, where are you living?' kind of stuff. Tiff was feeling the same way, so she gave me a ride home. I loved having a little time to talk with her. I remember meeting her and thinking she was one of the prettiest girls I had ever seen in person. She's also flat-out nice. As her grown-up self, she has lived in Denver near my brother Skip and now lives in South Jordan by my sister Kim. I guess if I can't live by them, at least Tiff can. :)

I went in the house and kissed a snoring John goodnight. I was feeling pretty stinking grateful for him and the life we have together, even if it is challenging at times. He's the one guy that knows ALL about me and still is kind.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Monday, June 21, 2010

It's June 21st

What do you do on the longest day of the year?

You can leave for the lake at 6pm and still get in a good session.

Welcome first day of summer. We are glad you are here.

I, sadly, didn't go to the lake. I went to a meeting to hear a debate between the candidates for County Commissioner. I seriously need to reevaluate my priorities....

Saturday, June 19, 2010

35 Mile Hike

This weekend Gabe and Seth went on a hike to Emerald Lake. They hiked half way to the lake on Thursday night with Greg Mann and his son Kanyon. They camped overnight then continued on Friday morning until they reached the lake and met up with a few scouters from Bayfield. The Kennedys were there as well as Brother Jack who had packed up the food on his mules. Gabe and Seth found Brother Jack very entertaining as he is a true mountain man--this guy is so tough, he has actually been struck by lightning several times and lived (that is true!). They fished and explored around the lake and by all accounts it was a smashing success. The boys were very grateful Bro. Jack was there when it came time to leave, as his mules packed everything back out. They thought walking without backpacks was much easier than packing them in.





I am really glad we have great leaders that can take our boys on these type of trips. When they got home Saturday night, the boys could not stop talking about how much fun the trip was. They were grinning from ear to ear as they recounted how hard it was and how much they enjoyed every second.

Friday, June 18, 2010

I Guess They Have Allergies

Jackson and Jebb love to go and play at their friend Kooper's house. They were over there for just a while when I got a call from Kooper's somewhat frantic mom. She said the boys were army crawling through the tall grass and had come in with their eyes visibly swollen and red. She wondered what I usually do when this happens. As it hasn't happened to me before, I recommended a good wash and took them some Benadryl. Who knew they were so allergic? John took a picture with his phone so we would remember to watch out for that tall grass.... :)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Child Labor


Seth has started his first week at work. He is up at the pit working at the shop. Gabe worked all last summer, and this year the boys will alternate working at the pit and here at home.



"Life grants nothing to us mortals without hard work."
--Horace

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Fruits of Summer

I have been anxiously anticipating the first strawberries of summer to ripen up. This morning I checked a few that were looking close yesterday. I decided one was ready and I could wait no longer.

So here it is, the first strawberry from the back yard.

Invitingly Red. If you flip it over, it's still got some ripening left to do, but I'm not going to let that stop me.

With strawberries from the store, they aren't very sweet if they are still white-ish, but when you pick them yourself, they are plenty sweet at this point. Um, ya, plenty sweet! YUM!

I wish I could share one with you-in fact, why don't you come visit and try it for yourself? ;)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Grandma Kristine's New Condo

Today is Grandma Kristine's birthday and her new condo got delivered this morning. After short stints in Denver and Arizona, she is back to Durango and is planning to stay a while. She has decided to purchase a new 5th wheel trailer and we are hooking it up at our place.

We are working on building the pad. It will be over by the shop, mere steps from our home. This will be her new spot in the trees. It's not quite done. We will add more material, build a retaining wall, wire it all in, and have a ramp to her door. You can see the equipment is ready to roll.


When it pulled up we were all very impressed at the hugeness of it. Jebb and Jackson immediately asked if they could move into it as well. It has lots of 'pop-outs' and is very nice inside.





For the last few years, Kristine has been working on 'sorting' through all of her things that she has acquired over her lifetime. I have to say, she likes to keep most everything. It has been quite a task. Some days I have gotten really grumpy at how much her 'stuff' has consumed a great deal of our time. Moving, hauling, re-moving, throwing, re-boxing, moving again. I am more of a minimalist and find it all quite overwhelming. But I have tried to remember that it is really hard for Kristine too. She attaches a great deal of sentiment to most every item and it has been very emotional trying to downsize.

For this reason, I was very surprised at her decision to move into this trailer. While it has all of the comforts of home, it has none of the storage. She is now in the process of deciding what few things she really needs on a daily basis. While this continues to be very difficult, I cannot help but think that it is healthy. She still has several large storage containers packed full of the things she wanted to keep, and they are stored at the pit. Here at the house, she will still have access to a small trailer of ours where she will store her 'treasures' (figurines, video tapes, etc.) These will be accessible if she wants to go and look through them. I am hoping this will be to her liking, as it will be quite different from the way she has typically lived.

Tonight for her birthday, we BBQed up some steaks and had our 'cousins' the Manns over. We are so glad they are here to celebrate with us, as they really love Kristine and are so good to her.

Everyone wanted a chance to kiss Grandma before we sang to her.

The girls made a mini cake themselves for her. We decided to stick the candle in it so she could make a wish. It was a nice night and Grandma seemed to enjoy it.

I know all of the moving has been stressful on everyone. I just have to say that I am so grateful for my good husband who always is willing to help his mother on her timetable--no matter how crazy his own life is. He is a great example to me and I am hoping my sons are all taking good notes. ;) I hope Kristine will enjoy having her own space close to our kids who adore her. They are so happy she is back in Durango and are already hoping to book lots of summer sleepovers in Grandma's new Condo.