Flaming Gorge (old – 2012)

Flaming Gorge was actually quite a while ago, but all these images were buried in the old blog somewhere so I just made them into this image-a-roo so people can see them.  Obviously I don’t look like that anymore, nor do I still own either of those shirts, but it was still a nice place.

Screenshot 2015-02-04 at 10.03.27 PM

Flaming Gorge is a ~90 mile long reservoir on the Green River, with the Flaming Gorge Dam and the southernmost part of the lake in Utah’s Uintah mountains and the rest of it in Wyoming.

 

 

I also thought that fish was really big.

That first one just looks like someone kind of just decided to take a big bite out of it. We actually caught nine fish, two of them were too small and the other one jumped back in as soon as we got the hook out.

Daaaaayum.

That was all full of water on the other side, so it’s a deep lake.

 

That’s a hydroelectric generator inside the dam.

Big cat.

The Red Canyon, from inside the visitor center right on the cliffs.

We were in a raft we rented when we caught the fish, but we took no pictures on the boat.

 

2011 – Let’s do this!

I’m only two Sundays behind on the new year’s resolution to blog on Sundays! Yay, me! I’ve decided I’ve been subconsciously paralyzed in my blogging by the fact that both my husband and yes, my 11YO son, now have my blog in their readers. I’m just going to push past it and expect the barrage of teasing (DH) and questions (DS) to begin.

In sum, we have had all sorts of trauma, trials and plagues, evil enslaving pharaohs, miracles and sea-partings, and we’re still in the wilderness wandering, we hope, toward our promised land.  Probably just like you. 
My painfully private husband has had to go pretty public with his current preparations to take the Utah Bar, in part because we needed prayers (and still do, keep ’em coming).  He also is still working, which adds up to 18 hour days.  He now lives in a cave downstairs where I take his meals when my watch alarm goes off thrice a day, then I sneak out quickly. Only Words With Friends keeps us connected (iPhone Scrabble).  
We are almost in the middle of our 11-week ordeal right now, thus the radio silence–we were burned out and exhausted within the first week thanks to a perfect storm of Bar application demands and Christmas. I’m sad to say I kind of missed Christmas this year–I went through all the motions to try to make it fun for the kids but the stress levels were so high. As I took down the tree, I had that relieved feeling of checking off a big box, which really is sad. Next year, hopefully, I’ll internalize a little more Christmas.  
So, David takes the test on my birthday, 2/22 and 2/23, and at this point, everything revolves around that. 
In my relatively single-mom state, I still have much to do, both to bring in additional needed income and to keep the family going. The Children’s Choir is going wonderfully, I am enjoying it so much and hoping to expand it this year. I wanted to keep it very inexpensive, and I end up putting most of the money back into the choir anyway, so it is much more hobby than job, but it is very fulfilling and I hope to be doing it for years to come.  
I’m also applying to the U to start more music study in the fall. I keep telling the Lord it is not a good time but keep feeling like I need to move the process forward.  Our AMAZING piano teacher  is a great example to me, as she also has kids, just finished her Bachelor of Music and is going back for her Masters.  
The Utah Chamber Artists will be back in session at the end of the month, with our Winter concert happening just after the Bar. I LOVE being part of the UCA, it is a huge blessing in my life.    
The rest of my time that I’m not preparing or cleaning up meals or taskmastering the homework/chores/piano daily drill, I’m working on marketing jobs to pay the bills.
Benjamin is just plugging away at life, getting ready to progress to his Deputy Black Belt III in Tae Kwon Do, enjoying scouts and technology class and really excelling at piano as he prepares for AIM reviews in March.  It’s a pleasure to hear him play, unless it is 6:30 a.m., but some days that’s what has to happen to get those five days in–our teacher is very strict on that!  He’s excited to start taking a C++ programming class at school and dutifully goes out and shovels the driveway at the crack of dawn anytime it snows–without a single request.   On a busy night, I can just say, “Ben, can you take care of dinner?” And he’ll jump to it, providing a great meal, vegetable included, a well-set table and sometimes even a decent cleanup job, too.  
Sophie is enjoying school, piano and choir, and is still in Tae Kwon Do and progressing quickly, although her attention wanders often and now she wants to go back to gymnastics and try out for a community play of Annie. We’re in a contract for TKD through the summer and I really want her to get to black belt before quitting, but we’ll deal with it when we get there. She is really starting to enjoy cooking, too, and can make several things independently.  She is very good at math and seems to be enjoying Latin at school also. My mom is teaching her to sew and she made her very own Christmas stocking with a great deal of appliquéd work. Overall she seems pretty happy these days.
I’m so grateful for Capitol Hill Academy–what a great find that was.  That on its own may be why we are supposed to stay here in Utah–we still aren’t really sure why, but we feel it’s the right thing for now.
So it may seem strange that I actually ended up pulling Noah from the CHA 3-day kindergarten this month and just kept him in his afternoon public school kindergarten program. But, it saves us a third tuition payment, and we still plan to send him next year.  He loves it, and is such a fun, mischievous little squirt and still has the kissiest fat cheeks.  He is begging to go back to gymnastics too, and hopefully we’ll be able to do that soon. His reading is coming along nicely and, when they are not fighting, he is best friends with Lucy and can be so considerate of her.  
Lucy is a sweet little partner to my days. She’s so observant and constantly comments on what we’re doing (and my own inconsistencies) in such a remarkable way. Yes, I’m not yet 40, but she already feels like the comfort of my old age. She’s not doing any extra-curriculars these days, although she also dresses in her “monkeynastics” clothes often and begs to be taken, which again I hope to do again soon.  Oh yes, I added a 5-7 music class to the choir for them and some of their friends and it’s so much fun, so she has that. I’m trying to remember all the fun things I did when Ben and Sophie were where Noah and Lucy are now, I want to give them a taste of that pre-burned out mommy era.
This has been a rough few months, and we are facing at least three more rocky ones ahead. I’m frankly very tired.  Some of you are not going to believe me when I say this, but I very much would like less drama in my life. Or at least, I would like the drama I bring into it myself, like the choirs and kids and music study, but less of all the other stuff.  But that’s not how life works, and apparently I came for experience and am getting it. 
Today I was preparing for my lesson next week on the prophet’s talk on Gratitude and was struck when he said gratitude was the key to the windows of heaven. I realized that complaining really limits the Lord’s hand in my life, no matter how much I may feel I have to complain about, and it’s becoming easier to see how amazingly blessed I really am.  It has been interesting in past weeks to see so clearly the hand of the Lord working miracles in our lives, and although our long-term requests still need to wait on the Lord’s timeline, it has been such a comfort to see Him so close. When I am grumpy and make a concerted effort to count blessings, it really is an instantaneous transformation.  There are people in the direst of circumstances who have tapped into the divine power of gratitude, so in my warm home full of kids and food and clothes and the gospel, I should be able to do no less.
I was recently reminded by Chantelle in the UK about a post I did a while ago on gratitude, where I said that I’d specifically told the Lord, “Don’t change my attitude, change my crappy situation!” and He went ahead and changed my attitude anyway, because apparently He felt that was the crappy situation. If it’s going to be the way it’s going to be, why not be happier? It’s just a constant effort. And, since gratitude was the keynote issue of the prophet in this last conference, trying to “follow the prophet” these days really takes some work on the inside. But that’s always the case when trying to follow Christ–just who knew that “becoming a new creature” process really is as painful as it looks in the werewolf movies!
Well, next Sunday should be shorter now we’re all caught up, and I have several pics I need to upload from the phone, so forgive the long, pic-free post.
Love to all.
Valerie

2011 – Let’s do this!

I’m only two Sundays behind on the new year’s resolution to blog on Sundays! Yay, me! I’ve decided I’ve been subconsciously paralyzed in my blogging by the fact that both my husband and yes, my 11YO son, now have my blog in their readers. I’m just going to push past it and expect the barrage of teasing (DH) and questions (DS) to begin.

In sum, we have had all sorts of trauma, trials and plagues, evil enslaving pharaohs, miracles and sea-partings, and we’re still in the wilderness wandering, we hope, toward our promised land.  Probably just like you. 
My painfully private husband has had to go pretty public with his current preparations to take the Utah Bar, in part because we needed prayers (and still do, keep ’em coming).  He also is still working, which adds up to 18 hour days.  He now lives in a cave downstairs where I take his meals when my watch alarm goes off thrice a day, then I sneak out quickly. Only Words With Friends keeps us connected (iPhone Scrabble).  
We are almost in the middle of our 11-week ordeal right now, thus the radio silence–we were burned out and exhausted within the first week thanks to a perfect storm of Bar application demands and Christmas. I’m sad to say I kind of missed Christmas this year–I went through all the motions to try to make it fun for the kids but the stress levels were so high. As I took down the tree, I had that relieved feeling of checking off a big box, which really is sad. Next year, hopefully, I’ll internalize a little more Christmas.  
So, David takes the test on my birthday, 2/22 and 2/23, and at this point, everything revolves around that. 
In my relatively single-mom state, I still have much to do, both to bring in additional needed income and to keep the family going. The Children’s Choir is going wonderfully, I am enjoying it so much and hoping to expand it this year. I wanted to keep it very inexpensive, and I end up putting most of the money back into the choir anyway, so it is much more hobby than job, but it is very fulfilling and I hope to be doing it for years to come.  
I’m also applying to the U to start more music study in the fall. I keep telling the Lord it is not a good time but keep feeling like I need to move the process forward.  Our AMAZING piano teacher  is a great example to me, as she also has kids, just finished her Bachelor of Music and is going back for her Masters.  
The Utah Chamber Artists will be back in session at the end of the month, with our Winter concert happening just after the Bar. I LOVE being part of the UCA, it is a huge blessing in my life.    
The rest of my time that I’m not preparing or cleaning up meals or taskmastering the homework/chores/piano daily drill, I’m working on marketing jobs to pay the bills.
Benjamin is just plugging away at life, getting ready to progress to his Deputy Black Belt III in Tae Kwon Do, enjoying scouts and technology class and really excelling at piano as he prepares for AIM reviews in March.  It’s a pleasure to hear him play, unless it is 6:30 a.m., but some days that’s what has to happen to get those five days in–our teacher is very strict on that!  He’s excited to start taking a C++ programming class at school and dutifully goes out and shovels the driveway at the crack of dawn anytime it snows–without a single request.   On a busy night, I can just say, “Ben, can you take care of dinner?” And he’ll jump to it, providing a great meal, vegetable included, a well-set table and sometimes even a decent cleanup job, too.  
Sophie is enjoying school, piano and choir, and is still in Tae Kwon Do and progressing quickly, although her attention wanders often and now she wants to go back to gymnastics and try out for a community play of Annie. We’re in a contract for TKD through the summer and I really want her to get to black belt before quitting, but we’ll deal with it when we get there. She is really starting to enjoy cooking, too, and can make several things independently.  She is very good at math and seems to be enjoying Latin at school also. My mom is teaching her to sew and she made her very own Christmas stocking with a great deal of appliquéd work. Overall she seems pretty happy these days.
I’m so grateful for Capitol Hill Academy–what a great find that was.  That on its own may be why we are supposed to stay here in Utah–we still aren’t really sure why, but we feel it’s the right thing for now.
So it may seem strange that I actually ended up pulling Noah from the CHA 3-day kindergarten this month and just kept him in his afternoon public school kindergarten program. But, it saves us a third tuition payment, and we still plan to send him next year.  He loves it, and is such a fun, mischievous little squirt and still has the kissiest fat cheeks.  He is begging to go back to gymnastics too, and hopefully we’ll be able to do that soon. His reading is coming along nicely and, when they are not fighting, he is best friends with Lucy and can be so considerate of her.  
Lucy is a sweet little partner to my days. She’s so observant and constantly comments on what we’re doing (and my own inconsistencies) in such a remarkable way. Yes, I’m not yet 40, but she already feels like the comfort of my old age. She’s not doing any extra-curriculars these days, although she also dresses in her “monkeynastics” clothes often and begs to be taken, which again I hope to do again soon.  Oh yes, I added a 5-7 music class to the choir for them and some of their friends and it’s so much fun, so she has that. I’m trying to remember all the fun things I did when Ben and Sophie were where Noah and Lucy are now, I want to give them a taste of that pre-burned out mommy era.
This has been a rough few months, and we are facing at least three more rocky ones ahead. I’m frankly very tired.  Some of you are not going to believe me when I say this, but I very much would like less drama in my life. Or at least, I would like the drama I bring into it myself, like the choirs and kids and music study, but less of all the other stuff.  But that’s not how life works, and apparently I came for experience and am getting it. 
Today I was preparing for my lesson next week on the prophet’s talk on Gratitude and was struck when he said gratitude was the key to the windows of heaven. I realized that complaining really limits the Lord’s hand in my life, no matter how much I may feel I have to complain about, and it’s becoming easier to see how amazingly blessed I really am.  It has been interesting in past weeks to see so clearly the hand of the Lord working miracles in our lives, and although our long-term requests still need to wait on the Lord’s timeline, it has been such a comfort to see Him so close. When I am grumpy and make a concerted effort to count blessings, it really is an instantaneous transformation.  There are people in the direst of circumstances who have tapped into the divine power of gratitude, so in my warm home full of kids and food and clothes and the gospel, I should be able to do no less.
I was recently reminded by Chantelle in the UK about a post I did a while ago on gratitude, where I said that I’d specifically told the Lord, “Don’t change my attitude, change my crappy situation!” and He went ahead and changed my attitude anyway, because apparently He felt that was the crappy situation. If it’s going to be the way it’s going to be, why not be happier? It’s just a constant effort. And, since gratitude was the keynote issue of the prophet in this last conference, trying to “follow the prophet” these days really takes some work on the inside. But that’s always the case when trying to follow Christ–just who knew that “becoming a new creature” process really is as painful as it looks in the werewolf movies!
Well, next Sunday should be shorter now we’re all caught up, and I have several pics I need to upload from the phone, so forgive the long, pic-free post.
Love to all.
Valerie

July 24 Parade

In the spirit of positivity let me just say that the July 4 parade
that goes right in front of my house in West Bountiful is the best. It
is shortish, quaint and old-timey, and enough candy is thrown to feed
my kids for a week if I allowed it. If I get thirsty, hot or tired I
traipse into my house and do whatever while my kids scramble for candy
safely in my own driveway. Why aren't all parades like this?

But this post is about the Bountiful 24 Pioneer Day parade. I had a
date to see Salt with David I was anxious to get to and the website
said 120 entrants in the parade, but I was trying to be optimistic. In
the end, there were almost 130 and we barely got to our 9:10 seats in
time although the parade started at six. How many dance companies and
drill teams can be in one town? (Answer: 9)

We go to my grandmother Louise's retirement center to watch it with
her each year. Here are the highlights, according to me: (doesn't look
90, does she? May I be so lucky!) what is it about the Wendys people I
like so much? The frosty guy, I guess.