Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Getting Ready for the Big Wedding and Conference Weekend

My family has started arriving for my baby sister Charity's big wedding day after tomorrow. We're going to have three days worth of celebrating starting with a fun bachelorette lunch and family dinner tomorrow and extending through her wedding on Thursday and her big reception party on Friday. We've all got lots of duties to take care of (I'm in charge of the salads for the family dinner, the kids' area at the reception, getting the dessert to the wedding dinner, stuff like that) and it'll be fun to all work together and enjoy Charity's beautiful wedding. It looks like the nice weather she's been earnestly praying for will happen and almost everyone in the family has been able to arrange to be here.

My brother Jonah and family arrived from Hawaii on Friday afternoon and came up here to surprise the kids when they got home from school. Wish I had a photo of their shocked and then delighted faces when some of their favorite people were sitting in the living room when they got home from school!

We spent a lovely afternoon chatting and hiking and enjoying tons of delicious tomatoes from our garden on a perfect sunny fall afternoon.


Jonah surprised us all with his new look. What a beard!

The twins and Camden did some serious rock climbing. Oh how happy they were to be together!

We were planning to head to Arches for a fun family mini-vacation Friday evening after Jonah and family left. But we got some offers of tickets to attend conference and Charity needed help with finishing some wedding stuff and we decided we'd better stick around.

So on Saturday, we cleaned and worked on our porches (the neverending project!) and watched Conference. The day before, Eliza and the twins built a huge tent to watch/listen (trying to be like the people who came ot hear King Benjamin in the Book of Mormon). They were pretty darn proud of their tent.

Here they are showing off all the "rooms" in their tent to our neighbor.

And we made our traditional pumpkin cookies to enjoy during Conference:

Then Saturday afternoon, Jared and the big boys headed down to SLC to attend the Priesthood Session (they were supposed to have tickets and attend with Jared's brothers but various happenings resulted in the brothers and the tickets not quite making it - but they really enjoyed watching at the Tabernacle on Temple Square and running into several good friends and family members).

While they were gone, Oliver, Silas, Eliza and I walked downtown to go out to dinner. They wanted to listen to music on my phone on the way and pretty soon it was a full-on dance party heading down the street. These kids can DANCE - and they don't care a bit if people stop and smile.

We also had to take a picture with our favorite horse - it has a picture of our house on it! They put out these horses every year for Pioneer Days in Ogden and then keep them up until the end of October or so. It's fun to see some of our old favorites plus some cool new horses all over town every year.

On Sunday, we had a nice conference-morning breakfast, snuggled up to watch the first session, then headed down to watch the second session at the Conference Center with some of Jonah's family. My parents had received some really excellent tickets near the front of the Conference Center and were kind enough to share. What a beautiful experience to be right there and share it with loved ones.

As we parked and headed to Temple Square, Eliza and her cousin Ana were joking around about ways to get their picture into the Ensign (since our family's picture ended up in the last Conference issue). So they couldn't stop laughing when a photographer started snapping photos of them like crazy as soon as we entered Temple Square.

I think Jonah is the one they should be featuring in the conference Ensign. His awesome beard would mix things up a bit and remind everyone of all those great scripture stories involving men with beards.

The kids got to pick numbers between one and ten to see which ones would get the tickets to the conference center. These were the winners:

We were right near the front. I loved the talks and loved being bathed in the goodness of the 21,000 other people there who want to do what's right and follow the prophet. I think one of the most touching parts for me was watching all the church leaders on the stand get up and sing the congregational song with gusto. Many of those men had to struggle just a bit to stand up - they have lived long, long lives. But they did it. And they sang with all their hearts. I also loved seeing them pat each other's hands after finishing a speech and help each other stand up and exit the stand at the end. It was nice to be close enough to see that and to feel of their devotion in that way - especially after hearing this great talk.


Now it's on to the big wedding!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Sunday at the Temple and Spiral Jetty

Sunday was a really really special day.

First, we got to go to the dedication of the gorgeous newly refurbished Ogden Temple and be right on the temple grounds for that lovely event. I'm seriously so excited to have a temple in walking distance from our house! I was 8 hours from a temple when I lived in Boston for 10 years off and on (the nearest temple was DC - and then they built a temple right outside Boston after I moved away). We were one to three hours (depending on the crazy traffic) from the Oakland Temple when we lived in the Bay Area. We were 20 minutes from a temple when we lived in St George (but with 5 preschoolers, it was a bit of a challenge to get to the temple as often as we'd have liked). Then we've had a closed temple right down the street most of the time we've lived in Ogden and haven't made it to the Bountiful Temple all that much. But now - wow - we've got a temple just a few blocks away and we're excited and determined to get there very regularly!

After the dedication, we took advantage of the super rare and wonderful fact that Jared didn't have bishop's duties and we went out to visit the otherworldly splendor of the Spiral Jetty at the Great Salt Lake with some of our good friends.

Here's a little info from Wikipedia about the Spiral Jetty:
Spiral Jetty is an earthwork sculpture constructed in April 1970 that is considered to be the central work of American sculptor Robert Smithson. Smithson documented the construction of the sculpture in a 32-minute color film also titled Spiral Jetty.
Built on the northeastern shore of the Great Salt Lake near Rozel Point in Utah entirely of mud, salt crystals, basalt rocks and water,Spiral Jetty forms a 1,500-foot-long (460 m), 15-foot-wide (4.6 m) counterclockwise coil jutting from the shore of the lake. The water level of the lake varies with precipitation in the mountains surrounding the area, revealing the jetty in times of drought and submerging it during times of normal precipitation.
Smithson reportedly chose the Rozel Point site based on the red color of the water and its connection with the primordial sea. The red hue of the water is due to the presence of salt-tolerant bacteria and algae that thrive in the extreme 27 percent salinity of the lake's north arm, which was isolated from fresh water sources by the building of a causeway by the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1959.
Smithson was reportedly attracted to the Rozel Point site because of the stark anti-pastoral beauty and industrial remnants from nearby Golden Spike National Historic Site, as well as an old pier and a few unused oil rigs.

We went to visit the Jetty three years ago when it looked like this (you can just make out the outline). Of course, the kids had to follow the spiral to its center and everyone ended up pretty wet and cold but had a great time.

It was fun to go this time and see the whole jetty high and dry (that's just sand and salt out there around the jetty even though it looks like water - the water starts way out beyond the jetty).

Here's our afternoon in pictures (it was raining on the way there and looked threatening all day but it actually turned out to be the most perfect cloudy day and didn't rain on us one bit!)

We made a quick stop for bathrooms and a peak at the cool reproduction engines at the Golden Spike Historic Site where the train tracks joined together to connect the entire United States by rail:

Then we took a dirt road from there for about a half hour to the Great Salt Lake.

First we got to the skeletal remains of an old jetty for shrimping boats:

Then, just a bit further down the road, we arrived at our destination - Robert Smithson's famous crazy art installation - the Spiral Jetty:

The kids headed out to follow the jetty to the center:

And on the way they found an awesome snake:

What a creative mind Smithson had!

Here's what the ground looks like out there - salt crystal-crusted - so interesting:

The middle of the jetty!

Then we set out across the salt and sand beyond the jetty to get to the water and played and wondered in the white and pink of it all, bathed in a surreal light. It seriously feels like you're on another planet.

The salt crystals were so interesting:

 See how pink the water is out there?

There were some old metal spikes sticking up and the salt had stuck to them in layers for years - this is what resulted:

Jared was nice enough to give me a ride over the super-sharp salt crystals since I didn't bring the right shoes.

And Isaac was an awesome big brother and gave Liza a lift.

A couple final shots of the beauty:

And we found this cool old rusty thing to jump over (Thanks to my friend Emily for bringing her great camera and taking these great shots! Plus she planned the excursion. Emily is always planning fun things and we so appreciate it!)

And I'll close with a few more great shots by Emily:

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