Monday, August 24, 2015

Summer Guitar Recital

Bailey had her summer guitar recital. She played 'Home,' and 'Boondocks' with the Stickman Band, and 'Kiss the Girl' on her own. She did a great job!

Next month marks 8 years since Bailey started taking guitar lessons from Seth! He's taught her a lot, and she's come a long way in those 8 years!

The Stickman Band
Kiss the Girl

Youth Conference: #embark

We had the best Youth Conference with our young men and young women over the weekend! I'm amazed at the caliber of kids we have living in our neighborhood! They are INCREDIBLE! The theme of our conference came from Doctrine and Covenants 4:2- Oh ye that embark in the service of God, see that you serve him with all your heart, might, mind, and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.
We met Friday afternoon, boarded a bus, and headed up to BYU-I for a fun adventure. We divided into 3 groups and did team building activities at the Ropes Course. So fun! They learned about working together, supporting each other, and building each other up. Then we met at a park for dinner and a devotional. We ended the night with a really cool activity. Everyone was given a shirt with the theme on the front, and their name on the back. Then they went around writing on everyone's backs. They wrote things they liked and admired about each person. They had to wait until they got home and took their shirts off to read what everyone had to say about them. They loved it!
The next morning we met for our big service activity. We spent the day at the Ruth House (a homeless shelter for women and children). We made breakfast for the women and children there, and then went to work on several activities. The kids worked so hard, and accomplished HUGE things! They painted 2 rooms, built a playground, put together 2 sets of bunk beds, sorted/organized tons of donations, and did a huge amount of yard work! We ended back at the church for lunch and a closing devotional. It was such a great experience for everyone!

BYU-I Ropes Course!
Prepping to paint!
Painting crew in room one!
Painting crew in room two!
Building a playground!
Donation sorters!
They guys did tons of yard work! The place looked so much better when we left!
Building bunk beds!
After they finished painting, these cuties joined the yard-work crew!
The Hoplas and Larsens were our awesome Youth Conference organizers!
The youth in the Eastview Ward rock!
Writing their testimonies on the 'EMBARK' banner!
I'm so grateful I get to work with these kids! Hands down I learn more from them then I could ever teach them. They are a great example of what it means to embark in the service of God! They truly are a representation of Christ to everyone around them!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Lava Hot Springs!

We've had to miss a lot of 'Water Wednesdays' this summer because of bad weather, or being out of town. We save Lava Hot Springs for the end of the summer, so we can end with a really good one. Last year we tubed the river, so this year we decided to do the pool area. SO FUN! This one made up for all the ones we had to miss. These kids are hilarious! I'm pretty sure they could have a good time anywhere. 
Bailey, Hannah, Jakob, Dagan, Andrew, Emily, Preston, and Vanessa
This picture is great! The boys are hilarious!

This might be my favorite picture of the day!
Bailey wanted to go off the lowest platform with me. We went up, I took one look over the edge, and went back down the stairs. Jakob saved the day and went off with her.
I'm happy to say that after I did the high dive, I got my courage up and tried the platform again. This time I did it! It was scary to look over, but the jump wasn't too bad. 
The kids swam and went off the diving boards, but the slides were the biggest hit! It wan't very crowded, so they went on them a million times! I had the flu at the beginning of the week, so I thought I'd just lay in the sun and read my book the whole day while the kids played. Ha- I didn't read a single chapter! I might be a sucker for water slides too!
An awesome day in the sun with an awesome group of kids!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Guitar Gigs!

Bailey had a couple fun guitar gigs over the weekend. She played all her Disney songs for the ladies at New Beginnings. It's a house for special needs adult women. We love all the ladies there, so it was a super fun performance. Bailey was grinning the whole time, because the ladies would get all excited about each song Bailey introduced. They would sing along, give high fives, and even do a little dancing. So cute! We're hoping to go back and do a little Christmas show for them.

Performing at New Beginnings
Bailey with all her special friends!
 Later that evening, Bailey and Mark performed for a half hour at our annual neighborhood dutch oven dinner. This was the 20th anniversary of the Irvings hosting this dinner! It's always fun and very yummy!

Performing at the dutch over dinner.
There was about 100 people in attendance! We live in such a great neighborhood!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Summer Cross Country

I coach the Rocky Mountain and Bonneville cross country runners over the summer, and I LOVE it! They are the best group of kids! Very fun, energetic, happy, hard working, dedicated kids! The season officially starts this week, so our summer fun is over. I'm so sad about it, but I'm also so excited to see how all of them do this season.
It's okay to have donuts after practice sometimes right? They are hard workers, so they deserved them!
'Twinner Tuesday' at our sand dunes practice!
We ended our summer fun with a  'Cool Runnings' backyard movie night! Sawyer even had some of the graduated runners come.
Good luck this season to all these great runners!

Backyard Campout!

Bailey and I had our annual backyard campout with the dogs! Mark even bought us a new tent for it! As soon as Reeses realized that we were setting up a tent, she got so excited and started running around the backyard like a total crazy. She loves sleepovers! We cooked hot dogs and s'mores over the fire, played Yatzee with headlamps, and then went to sleep. The dogs actually did really good this year. Reeses slept at the foot of my bed all night. Oreo would get up at random times during the night, stand over Bailey, put her face right in Bailey's face, and give her an occasional kiss.  So funny!

Campout time!
Dinner and s'mores over the fire. 
Party in the tent!
Oreo tried to be good and stay in her bed, but by morning time she just needed to snuggle with Bailey.
Reeses was a good girl all night!
We would wake up to this right in our faces at random times during the night! Hahaha, good thing she's so cute!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Yellowstone: Grand Canyon Area

Mark, Bailey, and I spent a day hiking in Yellowstone. Sawyer opted to stay home and hang out with girls. Psh...whatever! It was foggy and rainy, but it made everything look so cool! I've been wanting to hike the Grand Canyon section for a long time. It was as awesome as I was hoping it would be! Bailey hasn't been there since she was young, so she didn't remember most of it. She was fascinated by the hydrothermal stuff, and we didn't even see the good spots for that. We already have lots of other hikes and touring planned for our next few trips up there. Good thing we have a park pass, because I think I'm obsessed. Yellowstone has never ending, beautiful hikes, and I want to do them all! 
Our first stop was Gibbon Falls on the way to the Grand Canyon area. So pretty!

We took a short detour to the Artist Paint Pots. This was a fun area with lots of hydrothermal stuff going on.

These pots were thick and milky looking. They were spitting up the white mud (or whatever it is) pretty high in the air. Bailey thought it was so cool. I can't wait to take her back and show her the really pretty colorful ones! 
Artist Paint Pots 
The weather was awesome! It was nice and cool, the fog made everything look awesome, and the rain was light enough to be fun, not annoying.
 We made it to the South Rim, and parked the car at the Upper Falls viewing area. We hiked the whole south rim, and made a fun loop back to the car. It was about 5 miles. We love hiking! You can see things and get to places most people never get to see.

Upper Falls 
We descended about a million stairs on Uncle Tom's Trail to get to a great viewing area of the Lower Falls. Coming back up wasn't as fun, but totally worth it! 

This is the view up the canyon from Uncle Tom's Trail.
I took a TON of pictures, but I couldn't help it! Look at that view! 
Artist Point- This is the exact spot that initiated Bailey's fear of lightening lots of years back. Good thing we didn't have any on this trip! 

On our way to Point Sublime. 
We were looping back to the car and passed Lily Pad Pond. It was the cutest little pond. The whole top was covered in lily pads, except the spots that were bubbling from the thermal stuff going on.
We passed Clear Lake along the way too. We were messing with the pano setting on our cameras so we could get a picture of the whole lake. Hahaha, check out this gem of a picture!
 When we got done hiking the south rim, we drove across the river to the north rim and did all those viewpoints.

We were standing on top of the waterfalls! The pictures don't do it justice, but it was so powerful! This was a really cool viewpoint. 
This is the view up the canyon from the top of the waterfall. We were up pretty high, and we could still see all the spray and mist from the falls. So cool!
 We didn't see a lot of animals on the way in (probably because of the rain), so we stopped on the way out to see a herd of elk. There were cute babies in the herd, and they started walking right toward us and bugling. We turned around and saw the mom coming down the hill on the other side of the road. The traffic was stopped in both directions as the babies crossed the road. They nursed for a while, and then crossed back over and rejoined all the others. So cute!

We had a great adventure, and can't wait to go back!