July 15, 2013

Stake Girls Camp...After 26 Years!!

Wow!  We're not quite sure what our own bed looks like, let alone feels like, since we've been on the go so much!  I thought it was called "summer vacation" so we could RELAX!!  Ha!!  But I must say, it has been fun in spite of the constant state of flux...

We arrived home from the 4th of July week, and had ONE DAY to get packed and ready for our Girls Camp experience.  In a nutshell: The whole week was GREAT!!

I was called to be the Stake Camp Cook, which meant I planned the menu, bought the groceries, and cooked all the meals the stake youth leaders and stake adult leaders ate, which meals started on Tuesday evening, and ended Saturday morning.  There was NO WAY I could have done this without Rod.  He helped me every step of the way!!

And talk about things going well. . .
Everyone loved what was cooked.
It was easy only having ONE THING to be in charge of. . . the cooking.
Rod was there...and even though he was a HUGE help, his PRESENCE was so very beneficial to me.
I got to interact with many of the girls at camp, and the leaders.  (Hiking, singing, skits, testimony meeting)
We were in the mountains, and it was beautiful and refreshing!!  The large amounts of rain we received were enjoyable, too, because we had a HUGE fire within a covered pavilion!  (I felt badly for our ward leaders and girls, because they didn't have this luxury!!)

It had been 26 years since my last Girls Camp excursion.  And it was to the same location!!  26 years earlier I had gone with Kristy (she was 2 months old!) for the entire week of camp.  During that week so long ago, we had hiked the mountain across from our campground, and Heidi Graf (then 15) taught us "The Zulu King" song...yep, kids, that's where one of our "family favorite" songs came from!!  Little did I know that during this camp in 2013, there would be three girls who needed this association in their lives, and asked if we could hike the mountain together and would I teach them The Zulu King.  We did and now that song will be passed down for another generation or two!!

And I am continually amazed at how our Heavenly Father directs us to people's lives and how we help to lift and strengthen one another!!

Although this camp was a LOT of work, it was very memorable, and life-changing in many ways!


July 8, 2013

Harrison's Last Ride!!

Rod and I got back from our 4th of July festivities AND Baby Kate's blessing on Sunday (still can't believe I don't have any pictures!!  Tann & Brand, want to send me some???)  Then we had one day to get packed and ready to leave for Girls Camp with the Stake.
However, there was one VERY important thing that had to be done before anything else:  One last horseback ride with Harrison...HIS request!!  So, that's what we did.
We took off at 7:00 a.m. (THAT was a sacrifice for Harrison, for sure!!) and we headed up to Snow Canyon.

As we easily galloped alongside of each other, I thought back over the past 7 years since Scott (Harrison's dad) died, when Harrison was 13 years old.  I thought about piano lessons, and how I finally had to make a judgment call -- quit teaching him and keep our relationship, or keep teaching him, and lose the boy.  I am sure it felt like "abandonment" to his mother, but I KNEW the piano wasn't the most important thing.  About a year later I had a very strong impression that I should have Harrison help me train Dante, a colt that was nearly 3 years old.  Julie thought it was kind of crazy because Harrison didn't know anything about horses; but when I assured her this was not MY idea, but a prompting I had felt, she was supportive and gave permission.  Harrison took a little more convincing, but finally agreed.  Thus began the training of the boy AND the horse.
On our last ride, Harrison mentioned what it meant to him to train Dante.  It changed his life.  Sure, he still struggled with things, but he has always been able to relate to the horses, and the "therapy" that comes about through our riding.

We retrieved Denzel's geocache at Three Ponds, which Harrison had not known about.  As we looked through the cache and read some of the papers our family had placed in there, it became a very emotional experience.

At one point, I asked Harrison if the many tears were for Denzel or, perhaps, for Harrison's father.  When the tears couldn't be shut off for awhile, I think we both understood what this release was really about.

Harrison has experienced some VERY difficult things in his 20 years of life.

Dallin (Harrison's "brother" by consensual  adoption) finally had a small clue of what Harrison had experienced  with the loss of his father, when Denzel (Dallin's oldest brother) died last year.  Definitely not the same, but enough pain to bring understanding.

And so, Harrison and I ended our ride by 10:00 a.m., bonded together even more closely.  I love this boy.  I am so grateful Julie has shared him with me.

We are so proud of this boy, and we're excited for the challenges and adventures he will have over the next two years, as he serves a mission in Sweden!!

Love you tons, Elder Schram!!

The Mothership

July 7, 2013

4th of July in Northern Utah!!

Dad and I headed north, yet again, as soon as I was done teaching lessons on Wednesday.  We met up with Brandon, Tannya, Nikki and Kate over at my dad's and mom's house.  I had time to wash Grandma's hair before Tannya brought lasagne over, and we had a great dinner together.  (I'm wondering when the last time was that 8 people were sitting around that dining room table with a sit-down dinner...I know it was two years ago for us...when we had our Hunt Family Dinner together...just before Denzel left for Iraq the second time, and Brand & Tann had just returned from their Philippines trip...except Denz wasn't there because Anna was sick...)  Anyway, it was a very nice time together!!

Thursday was the 4th of July and the first time we have attended the Cherry Days Parade in North Ogden. FUN TIMES!!
Nikki rode her bike in the children's Pre-parade Bike Parade.  

I'm always amazed at how darling Nikki looks, and the things Brandon and Tannya do to help Nikki grow and learn!

We felt VERY blessed to have Dezmond with us Thursday evening, while Amelia and Hans went to the Stadium of Fire in Provo.  They were wise not to take Dezmond to that very LOUD show.  He would not have been happy.  As it was, he enjoyed his "special time" with "Grand-ma-ma" and Grandpa Hunt, and all of the Hoopes clan.  The BBQ and fireworks were great, and we loved watching all the different cities' fireworks displays from our perfect view on the mountainside!!  Thanks Gary and Annette!!

Nikki loved being in the hammock with Grandma!!
And Grandma loved being in the hammock with Nikki!!
Friday was kind of a kick-back and relax day!  In the afternoon we went over to Layton to Don and Doris Petersen's home, overlooking Layton all the way to the Great Salt Lake, and enjoyed a couple of hours of swimming!  Sooooo, nice!! 



That evening we watched a video called "Chasing the Mavericks," a surfing show. It was good, but it was even nicer to lay around together and watch it!

Saturday, Brandon, Nikki, Amelia, Dezmond, (Hans had to go back to St. George for work on Friday), Rod and I did a cool little hike called Adams Canyon.  The trailhead is just off of Highway 89 in Layton.  It was only 3.5 miles round trip, however, there was an elevation change of nearly 1200 feet in half that distance.          

There was a bit of uphill climbing, but it was great, AND it ended at a cool waterfall!  Of course, Rod and I went under a part of the waterfall to "validate" our hike!!

On Sunday morning, I got ready for church early, then went over to my parent's home, got my mom ready for church, then brought them to Kate's baby blessing.  It was pretty special to have three of the 4 sets of GREAT grandparents there.  Rod's parents were probably attending in spirit from the other side of the veil, along with Kate's Uncle Denzel!!  Kristy and Chris were there, along with the rest of us.  Then there was a really nice luncheon at Brandon's and Tannya's afterwards.  It is SO nice to have such wonderful family gatherings.  And we love getting together with Tannya's side of the family.  It's great!!

After dropping Dad and Mom Barton off at their home, Rod and I headed south for a rapid 24 hour "get everything packed up and ready for Girls Camp" before leaving on Tuesday morning.  I guess we enjoy the drive to and from St. George because there's nothing else to do but DRIVE.  We get to talk, sleep, listen to stories on CD, and just be together!!  It really is great!!