Tuesday, August 26, 2008

10 minute list

So, what would you take if you had 10 minutes to grab whatever and get out?

Yesterday afternoon I was talking to my friend Lisa down in Draper as she picked up her kids from school. She was giving me the play by play of a fire in the foothills and I thought, we'll have to check it out when we head over the mountain later. Just after hanging up with her my neighbor called and asked if I was packing...I walked around to the front of my house and about dropped the phone. The way the smoke was billowing I expected to see flames creeping down the valley any second. Brin and I jumped in the car and drove up to the top of the mountain to see how close the flames actually were. Thankfully the fire was in the foothills a couple miles away. We picked up Emilee and Sadie at the bus stop and they were worried. Their bus had been delayed while the school made sure it was safe to send them home, but as they came up the mountainside it really looked like the fire was in our valley.
From our front porch

"Mom, what do we do?" they asked. I had each of the girls pack an overnight bag with a few changes of clothes and some of their "special treasures". But then I found myself wandering through the house...what should I take...

From the top of the mountain

The fire never got closer and I never really did pack. But I've been thinking a lot about what I would have thrown in the car. This week I'm constucting my own 10 minute list. I'll post it later. Yesterday was just the practive run, I'm sure there will be more scares in the future and next time I want to be a little bit more prepared, but honestly as long as my family was in the car, who cares about the kitchen table?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Kitchen Therapy

No, as much as it needs it, kitchen therapy at my house involves no kitchen cleaning, because kitchen therapy is not for the kitchen...it's for me. Give me an hour or two with no time limits in the kitchen and I will come away happy. I've never made blueberry pie before, Brian's not a big blueberry fan. But, this might have to be a repeat recipe...we had it with homeade ice cream and it was awesome!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Piece of History

Of the original 200 copies, only 25 are still in existence.

In 1989 this copy was found in a flea market, the buyer paid $4 for a frame he was interested in and found the document underneath the picture.

It was most recently sold for 8.14 million dollars.

There is a handprint on the bottom left corner and writing on the back (but no secret treasure maps).

It is a Dunlap Broadside. One of the original 25 copies of the Declaration of Independence printed on the night of July 4, 1776. It was on display in the Utah State Capital last Friday and the girls and I went with Grandma Diane to see it.

I struggled a little to explain the significance of this very old piece of paper that we waited in line for 2 hours to see. Our freedoms had their groundwork laid with this document, these were the thoughts behind the value of the individual and their right to self-determination. And America has lived up to the Declaration's promises and taken it's high-reaching ideals and implemented them for everyone. There have been failures to live up to the promised life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all, and yet we've done a pretty good job. Even when we haven't quite lived up to the assurances provided the Declaration has stood as an ideal, as a better way, and as a hope for the future. And it is one of the reasons that our country is great!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I Give In

It’s been building for a while, my THIRST. Everyone asks if I’ve PARTAKEN yet…after all I am known for DEVOURING them. But I was afraid, of the subject, the hype, and the audience, how could anything live up to this buildup of MYTHICAL proportions? And the fallout, you finish SATING your THIRST either OBSESSED or indifferent.

Well, I started CONSUMING them this weekend during our family vacation. I began at TWILIGHT, when Brin informed me it was time for bed. I tucked her into her sleeping bag and read by the light of the NEW MOON (and the tent light). It was a little COLD outside, and I found my arms falling asleep from loss of BLOOD as I rolled from side to side. But I…I was SLEEPLESS. I did eventually SURRENDER to the NIGHT but continued my HUNT the next day. It took me all of 72 hours to PREY through all 2444 pages, I read through the ECLIPSE (ok, so it only visible at the North Pole) and into the BREAKING DAWNnot really.

It took me a day or two to recover from the reading FRENZY. The DAZED look has finally faded from my BLOODSHOT eyes. And now I feel…QUENCHED.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Flaming Gorge Improvised

Vacations when I grew up were planned to the last minute. In a family with eight children the opposite of structure was chaos. So, on Tuesday night last week when I realized that we didn't know where we were staying, we didn't exactly have rafts reserved and we still weren't sure who was coming, I took several deep cleansing breaths. This was a boy's trip, and it was time to roll with the punches.

I asked myself the important questions...

could I sleep in the car...Yes

would we have enough to eat...I could plan for that

did it matter what we did or when we did it...No
And that was just on Tuesday!!

Thursday 1)we left an hour and a half later than planned, 2)we made it almost to Evanston before Brian realized he hadn't packed his brand new wetsuit...or any wetsuit...a crucial piece of equipment in 50 degree water, and 3)our friend didn't have his dive mask or gloves or booties. In the Wal-Mart Evanston parking lot at roughly 9:00 at night (no, apparently they don't carry 5 mil wetsuits or diving masks) the guys decided not to drive back home and retrieve their equipment. Truthfully, part of this was my fault as I refused to pull the trailer, in the dark on a winding road to a location that I had never been to before (bad sport, huh!). The new plan was to drive to Vernal the next morning and hope for the best at the local dive shop. 4)We pulled into our camp about 1:00 in the morning.

On Friday we picked up the rafts and put in the water just below the dam at Flaming Gorge. We loaded up the life-jacketed kids-all 17 of them- and started down the river. By the end of the first mile we had successfully determined the hierarchy of splashing. Adults-ride the raft-some splashing is fun. Teenagers-jump from raft to raft-splashing is necessary. Tweens-can jump in the river-will giggle if splashed. Kids-will drop their legs over the edge of the raft keeping a death grip on the side-splashing other people is fun. Toddlers and babies-where the heck am I, why am I wearing a marshmallow that I can't eat and splashing makes me scream.

When the family ride was over the serious stuff began. I was the lucky one selected for dive support and so with the able bodied assistance of a 12-year-old and 2 nine-year-olds and with 5 spare tanks on board we started again at the dam with the divers. They had an awesome time. A couple guys described it as flying as the current carried them down the river, and Brian said it was one of the most unique dives he has ever done.

Saturday we hiked down a precarious cliff to fish for 10 minutes until the rest of the group arrived and refused to endanger the lives of their small children by joining us. After hiking up the precarious cliff and relocating to a sandy beach (where you could cast your line to your hearts content without catching a single thing) the group split up. Serious fisherman, crazy trail runners, and the other parent not participating in the two before mentioned groups, now left to be responsible for their own part of the 17 children. After our group reassembled at camp, all 5 guys decided it was time for more fishing--coincidentally at the exact same time that dinner preparations were just about to begin. And Brian and I decided that instead of driving home we'd stay an extra night.

Sunday we were supposed to be home at 1:00 so we could be showered, cleaned up, and I would have time to make Brian's birthday cake before everyone arrived at 6:30 for cake and ice cream. By the time we had cleaned up camp...we could still make it by 6:30. By the time we finished fishing again at 1:30 maybe we could make it. By the time we left Vernal at 4:40 we were never going to make it.

And you know what we had a great weekend. Every day was fun. It wasn't what I had envisioned or planned for and it turned out just fine, in fact it was more than fine it was great!

So, for camping this weekend I'm just going to let it all go. I won't plan for anything. I'll have no expectations and I won't worry about what time we're leaving or getting back. I'll just go with the flow, I won't stress about packing or food or sunscreen and everything will be just fine...Yeah, right.