29 August 2010

My Girly Girl

Well Bailey loves all things girly (she did not get that from me)so I let her pick out some nail polish at the store last week. She was so excited, it was too late to paint her nails when we got home so I told her we would do it after her nap, and when she woke up she remembered. So I painted her nails, quick dry as suggested by Apryl (Thank you!), and then she wanted to paint my nails. Luckily my fingernails were already painted (again Apryl thank you.) and I told her so but she was not deterred and she immediately suggested painting my toenails. "Um, maybe later." (obvious concern in my voice)
That evening we discovered a flaw in our quick drying beauty product. As I noticed some strange things floating around in her bath I (having feared the worst) was amused and told her lightheartedly "Oh your nail polish came off." I was not prepared for the trauma I had just inflicted on my child. "Put it back! Put it back!" (accompanied by many "wah's" and large tears) I'm trying not to laugh too hard but the intensity of her emotional attachment to this is just so cute. Well I convince her that we can just put more on so she is now mollified and we can continue bedtime.
So a couple of days later when it starts chipping off she requests another coat and I comply only to discover she has a renewed desire for painting my toenails. Oh what the heck why not right? Well...I think she needs some practice but considering the mess was contained to my feet I am pretty happy.
- Jennifer

22 August 2010

Trek Day 2

I was really discouraged the first day and in fact doubted that a good night's sleep would improve the situation, I may have been correct, but as it turns out a bad night's sleep was just what I needed.

There were hardly any stars overnight as the clouds were thick overhead. Sometime during the night I began to feel a cold splash on my face. I tried to ignore it at first but then they fell more regularly, I dragged myself out of my sleeping bag and laid tarps over the girls who were all sleeping in a neat little row. I looked at the boys who were sprawled every which way on their tarp and just shrugged my shoulders and went back to sleep, they would manage.

In the morning during breakfast time the rains finally came full on. There was a scramble in the camp sites to try to get everything packed before it got soaked, we were not successful in that respect. Still we began our trek. I was somewhat apprehensive as I knew what laid ahead.

A short distance up the trail we were stopped and all of the men were "enlisted" in the Mormon Battalion. This meant we would leave all of the women to pull by themselves in the cold, muddy conditions of the day. The weather made the separation all the more poignant for me as we left. The women looked so miserable as we marched away. I really hope that the boys appreciated that fact. While the women were left to pull solo we were marched through the brush to a meadow where the stake presidency spoke to the boys. The talks were all wonderful but President Foote's words stuck out the most for me. He spoke of women and all that is asked of them and pointed out that as men we really get the best of it. His eyes were full of tears as he spoke of how he loved his wife and again I looked around me at those boys and just prayed that they were getting the meaning of these messages. I was reminded of just how much my wife has done for me and how much she means to me.

The day continued after our families were reunited with lunch and more vignettes. At lunch the youth received letters from family via the "Pony Express" and were given time to read and reflect on them in their journals and then we continued on our path.

There was one other big event planned for the day the infamous Rocky Ridge, the idea was to really push the youth and to really try them physically. It was meant to be grueling and hard and I personally feel that it was successful in this respect. As we looked upon the hill it looked hard, as he hiked it with the handcart in tow it exceeded what we had expected. I knew the vignette that was planned, I knew that there were to be "angels" who would come out halfway up and help us out but even knowing that I still was not sure if I was going to make it. I looked at my youth as they bent down and pushed the strain evident on their faces. Then one of our youth began our family cheer and I could have cried at the way he mustered us to push on. "Who leads the camp!" he yelled, to which we all replied, "The God of Israel!" It was what we needed, when we needed it. When the angels began to pull it was all I could do to hang on, I felt then that the cart was pulling me. It was a great experience.

Camp that night was a little less than great, we found ourselves in a beautiful lush meadow, with tall, soft grass all around and an abundance of cow pies. I think the number one complaint or criticism of trek afterward was the presence of the cow pies. It was gross getting into camp and it was even worse after dark when you couldn't see where you stepped.

I want to be clear that by day two my heart was in it all the way. I felt then and continue to feel today a sincere gratitude for the opportunity to participate in the trek.

01 August 2010

Trek Day 1

So I have been wanting to journal our trek experience since we got home but have had trouble finding the time. I decided that the situation was not likely to improve in the near future so I just decided to suck it up and do it. I will break it down by day to make it easier to follow.

I have to admit that Day 1 was hard. We needed to be at the stake center at five in the morning which meant waking up at four. The problem was compounded by the fact that we could not get a decent nights sleep. We had to leave Bailey with Jenn's folks which while we know they are capable was still hard. Plus there were the nerves and anxiety about Trek. What if our kids misbehave? What if they won't listen to us? What if we have trouble buying into it? So plagued with doubt and more than a little fatigued we made for the stake center.

Families were not assigned at this point so we listened to some speakers try to set the tone of what we were doing and then made our way to the Trek site. We rode with two of the young men from our ward. The drive was uneventful (save for the vicious cows on the road) and we arrived on time. There was a lot of milling about without any of us really sure what we were doing but then the families began to be assigned. I felt like the youth were sizing us up as they made their way over to join our family (except for Marleena who at least knew of us). We did have one boon to our family in the form of Mindy Childs. Her dad supplied us with a sturdy rod to loop about a leading rope on our wagon, the result, a two horse team! (It will make sense as you look at the pictures).

We listened to more speakers as the youth chomped at the bit to be off. Jenn and I were supposed to be cheer leaders to see that everyone's spirits remained high but to be honest with as much sleep as we got it was all we could do to plod on. I can only speak for myself but I definitely had some internalized murmuring.

Their were a few vignettes, most of which we missed being at the end of the company. Nevertheless our youth were great, they were eager to pull the cart, fun to engage in conversation and all seemed to have great attitudes. It was funny that a number of them had parents on the trek who would come up to us and thank us sincerely for helping their child. I could only reply, "your child is amazing, it really hasn't been a strain on us." I would like to reaffirm that sentiment the youth that we had the privilege of getting to know gave me faith in the rising generation.

There was a lot of stop and go which inspired some pioneer road rage but there were no fatalities (fortunately a pioneer drive-by involves pine cones).

One incident I think bears mentioning is that they had a raid of our handcarts to catch smugglers, (stashed i-Pods and the like). They made us completely empty our cart after having only recently loaded it. One of the "sheriffs" commented about the ponchos somewhat mockingly. He said, "It's like they expect it to rain or something." Famous last words. We reached the rendezvous and thick gray clouds began gathering above us. Then a few drops became a few more and the rains came down upon us. I bet there were more than a few Trekkers glad for those ponchos.

They really stressed the need to keep our families together but we quickly found that it wasn't really feasible at the stops. They were good youth and we just had to trust them. At the rendezvous we had black powder shooting, archery (nailed me a boar I did), apple fritters and a stick pull among other pioneer like games and activities. I met my match in the stick pull, literally. My son Scott Dover and I could not budge the other one inch, finally we broke the stick. We tried again with similar results. We were forced to admit that it was a draw.

The night brought a fireside from our spiritual leader, President Challis (always great to hear him speak) and some wicked cool Spongebob jammies (Daniel). Then it was off to bed under the stars, well under the clouds anyway.