Monday, June 27, 2011

Trek 2011

What a blessing and privilege it was for Mike and I to be called as a "Ma and Pa" for our Stake Trek. It was also overwhelming and stressful. There were many meetings to attend, materials to gather, things to prepare, and lots of prayers. But when all was said and done both Mike and I agree that Trek was one of the best experiences we've ever had and we loved every minute of it! We chose to call our family the "Happy Harkers." We focused on the scripture in 1 Nephi 4:6-7 which says, "And I was led by the spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do. Nevertheless, I went forth..." We wanted to get across the fact that even though Nephi faced some tough challenges, that at times seemed almost impossible, he still went forward with faith and with a good attitude. (Unlike his brothers who were always murmuring.) We talked about how you can choose your own attitude in all situations and decide how you will respond to challenges.

(Thomas, Kevin, Boomer, Bishop Kemp, Me, Mike, Kimmy,
Whitney, Erica, Keven, and Uncle T.J.)

This is our Trek family on day one. We had just gotten off the bus after a 5 hour bus ride. We were all excited and ready to go.

I really feel like Heavenly Father picked the perfect family for Mike and I. I loved all their personalities. They were all so willing to do everything and pitch in and help. They also played all our silly games with us and even taught us some new ones. Every one of them wanted to be there and I think all of them got something out of Trek. They were also fun to talk to and hang out with. I would be honored if my boys turned out like these teenagers!

I bragged that I had never been beaten at stick pull. Because of that I was challenged by some pretty fierce competitors and was beaten several times. This is the Stake YW president, Jackie Standing, and luckily I was able to beat her.

Mike and I are standing at the actual place they call Martin's Cove. This is where they stayed for five days until the rescuers came and where many of them died and were layed to rest in the snow. We were all asked to be very quiet and respectful here and all the men removed their hats. The spirit was strong here and we all knew we were on hallowed ground.

Later, several of the members of our company "died" and Mike was one of them. I also lost one of my daughters and our uncle was the one taking people away. So when all was said and done, I only had 8 people of my family left to help pull and push the cart for a while. Having Mike "dead" wasn't too emotional for me this time because for some reason he also "died" on our last trek and I knew he would be coming back in just a little while.

Statues have been put up to honor the four men who helped the people cross the freezing Sweetwater river. The river normally is only five feet across but because the people were already half frozen to death, crossing that small river seemed impossible. Four men are given credit for helping hundreds to cross. We also crossed the river, but it felt wonderful to us since it was hot that day. I don't know how those pioneers did that in the freezing temperatures.

We didn't really have to walk very far during our Trek. I think in the three days, we did a total of 13 miles or so. It wasn't very physically demanding, but because of the place we were and what took place here, it was emotionally demanding. The spirit was very strong here and I was able to feel such amazing gratitude and a connection to the pioneers here.

I was sad to see Trek end. I loved our family and felt like we were able to bond and have fun together. I am grateful that Mike and I got to experience all of it together. Doing things like this strengthens our relationship and marriage and makes us appreciate each other more. We are so blessed to be members of this church. We owe so much to these faithful pioneers who gave everything they had so that we could have the lives we have. I am grateful that I got to strengthen my testimony while on Trek. It was an experience I will always cherish and never forget!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Crazy, Crazy month of June

My plan was to document this summer week by week like I did last year. This month though was probably one of the busiest, craziest, most stressful months I have ever had in my entire life. There were just too many things I was responsible for and too much work that had to be done. Luckily, I also think spending time and having fun with my kids is also one of my responsibilities, so those things got done too. On the last day of school, my kids came home to find all sorts of summer time fun surprises waiting for them on the kitchen table. Water guns, a pool, beach toys, popsicles, stuff like that. We all were so excited for summer to begin!
Mason and Mike finished their spring soccer league. Mason was an AWESOME soccer player. He is very aggressive and was able to score a lot of goals. He loved it!

On the first Monday after school was out we were lucky enough to have a warm enough day to fill up our pool for the first time and test it out.

Another afternoon we invited Grandma Miller to Temple Square with us just to walk around and enjoy the beautiful flowers. (and to take lots of pictures)

I am so grateful that Grandma came. I know these are the kinds of experiences my boys will remember having with her forever.

We also took advantage of the John Huntsman free day at "This is the Place State Park." It helped me get into the Pioneer spirit for the trek I would be taking in the next week.

Mike had a birthday in between all our craziness. Both these boxes held new t-shirts for him and out of the four, he only liked one. Next year I'm just going to give him a gift card to save me the hassle!

It was also time for our annual stay up at the Park City condo. Aunt Tracy came with us and we stayed up Monday to Tuesday and went up again on Friday. Most of that time was spend swimming.

This year we also decided to take a spin on the Alpine Slide. Mitchel and Max were old enough to drive their own while Tracy and I took the younger two as passengers. Everyone loved it and thought the chair lift ride up and the slide ride down were "The best thing ever!"

And of course, there was Father's day. Could these boys look any more like their dad?? They are all so handsome and I am so blessed to have all these good boys (and man) in my life!

In between all this fun was lots of work. Mike and I were spending hours on end planning for Trek. I also had a couple videos that I was working on. There was our 14th wedding anniversary, Cub Scout camp, Matt and Holly's wedding, dentist appointments, YW activities, lawn mowing, house cleaning, tons of laundry, shopping, and very little sleep.

The next few weeks don't look very relaxing either. I have to give 2 talks in Sacrament meeting in the next four weeks, Girls Camp the third week of July, making the Trek video to show at a fireside, editing two wedding videos, running a 10K, and all the normal "stuff" too. The boys are dying to go to some swimming pools and our house looks like a disaster. But I guess that is what this stage of my life is all about, go, go go! Summer is happening and going really fast already.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Goblin Valley/Little Wild Horse Canyon

Goblin Valley is one of the coolest and weirdest places I have ever been. It really looks like an alien planet.
(why Miles won't look at the camera, I have no idea. I think he inherited that from his Grandma Harker)

It is such a cool place to explore. We love climbing all over the hodo formations and finding caves and such to play in. We spent a half a day here just climbing around.

That evening, we went on another hike to nowhere. We were supposed to find an arch, but never did. Here we are taking a break.

The next day, we spent the morning hiking Little Wild Horse canyon. This is a very cool slot canyon that gets pretty narrow in places.

My kids always think it's time for a snack break every ten minutes on a hike. Here are some of the "power snacks" I bring them, Fruit Roll-Ups, Pringles, and Slim Jims. Yeah, I know, really healthy huh!

This is my favorite picture of all. You can really tell how water and flash floods have formed this canyon. Very cool!

Mason is one tough little dude!

We had a great time over Memorial Weekend. The weather was windy, but nice. Summer has officially begun!!!!