Friday, July 27, 2012

Arches, Goblin Valley

I am writing this just for a record of what we did last weekend.  I have a hard time remembering anything, and an account with some great pictures helps.  On Friday, Jake, Sam(the dog) and I went to the Grotto in Payson Canyon, we let the dog run and got some good shots.  Sam loved it, he does not get off the leash very often and he even got to chase some cows. 

Saturday Rick and LoReen took us out on their boat.  It has been years since we have done this, we used to go all the time.  We really appreciate them taking the time to take us out on the lake.  We slathered on sunscreen, grabbed some water, a few snacks and the camera, and headed off to the lake.  Unfortunately, Megan had to work and could not go.  Kyler got up on the wakeboard, Jake and Aubree tried, but did not quite make it.  I got bounced around on the tube, and so did everyone else.  We had a lot of fun and all came home burnt.  

Sunday morning Kyler, Aubree, Jake and myself headed out for Moab.  I have been to Moab before, with the scouts on a Colorado river trip, but none of the kids have ever been.  We drove down Sunday morning, leaving early after Christy made us breakfast.  We got to the campground at 10:00 and checked in to make sure that we had a place to lay our heads that night.  The campground was nice – had some tepees and an old church there.  We did not set up the tent because we did not want it to get blown away, we just got back in the car and headed to the park.  After paying our entrance fee, we went to the visitors center to check out the area and plan our day.  photo.JPG photo.JPG
We decided to start in the windows area of the park, and we headed off.  When we got to the first stop, I was very disappointed.  There was no parking, and there were tour buses everywhere.  I parked in an illegal space, slathered us all in sunscreen, grabbed the camera and some water and started up to the arches.  The first few times we came up on tourists, we tried to stay out of the way of those trying to shoot a picture, but we decided that was impossible due to the sheer number of cameras, so we just decided to head up to the arches and they would just have to shoot around us.  I am wondering how many of them will get home and wonder who the big guy is in the fluorescent green Vivint shirt is.   We stopped at the first arch, took some pictures of our own, had some people request that we take their pictures, and then headed off to the second arch. There were just a few people at the second arch, because the trail ended before the arch and most people did not walk down to it.  We got some great shots of the kids and that arch.  I was glad that Christy was not with me at that point as Jake kept climbing up the rocks and then finding interesting ways to get down.  We walked to the third arch (Turret Arch) and dodged tourists to get some shots in there.  

We were going to walk over to the double arch, but there were just too many people.  We decided that it was hot and that we wanted to go back to the pool at the campground to cool off.  We stopped in Moab and got some ice cream, gas and more sunscreen.  We got to the campground and someone was in our spot, so they moved us to another spot.  We ate lunch, got changed and got in the pool.  This pool is just a little smaller than the pools you can buy at Wal-Mart for your back yard.  It is an in-ground pool, but it is only four feet deep, about 10 feet long and six feet wide.  It was cool though.  Just what we were looking for at that time of day.  
photo.JPGWe played there for a while and then went back to Arches National Park.  We again stopped at the visitors center and this time, I let the kids get a few souvenirs.   We drove to the parking lot at the trail head to the Delicate Arch, slathered on sunscreen, grabbed some water, some snacks and the camera, and off we went.  Kyler and Jake wore sports shorts with no pockets, and I made the mistake of wearing cargo shorts.  My pockets were full of snacks and water, and I was carrying the backpack with my camera, tripod and more water and snacks.  There was a younger girl in the car next to us that was wearing some bright orange shorts.  She started out at the same time we did, and I would gauge how slow I was going by how far ahead of us she was on the trail.  I was slow-going, over hills and rock and around a cliff, but we finally made it.  
photo.JPG photo.JPGThe arch is really cool.  Not like I imagined it though.  There are drop offs all around, and you can’t approach it from the front side, you have to walk around the rock to get to it.  We took a lot of pictures and just spent time hanging out at the arch. 
 This is a major accomplishment for me.  I had knee surgery three weeks ago and gastric bypass surgery the week before that.  I had cortisone injections in both my knee and my foot days before leaving on the trip.  I am so glad that that we were able to go.  This trip had been planned for the exchange student to go on, but she left a few days before, and we decided to go anyway.  So glad that we did that.  After hanging out at the arch, we headed back down the mountain and back to the campground.  Kyler and I started the charcoal and Jake and Aubree went back to the pool.  We had prepared our tin-foil dinners that morning using vegetables out of the garden and some other stuff, so I put them on the grill and hung out and watched them cook.  There was a group of rowdy boys at the pool so I waited to go.  The dinners turned out perfect.  They were done, but not overcooked.   We ate and the boys left the pool, so Jake and I went back to the pool and Kyler and Aubree showered.  I had a hard time sleeping because I always have a hard time sleeping at camp, so as soon as the sun came up, I showered and took a few pictures of the sunrise.  The thermometer said it was 80 degrees as the sun was coming up.  
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None of us slept in our sleeping bags, we all slept on top of them.   We got everything packed up and headed to Goblin Valley.  We had originally planned to hike some slot canyons in the area, but the heat had tired us and the blister on my right foot told me that it did not want to go.  When we got there, we slathered on sunscreen, grabbed some water, a few snacks and the camera, and headed off down into the valley.  We walked further back into the formations than I had ever gone before.  We found some really amazing formations that look like mud castles. 

Jake and Aubree climbed and Kyler and I watched.  We took a lot of pictures and had a good time.  Jake hurt his back when climbing down one of the formations, by he walked it off and was ok.  We pilled back into the Tahoe and started back to Orem.  Last time we were at Goblin Valley, my keys got locked in the car and a locksmith had to come rescue us, I did not let the keys out of my sight at any time during this adventure.  We made it home alive, and I slept very well that night.  We decided to go to the waterpark on Tuesday, and invited Sam and Lizzie to go with us.  We also took our neighbors.  We got there and found Travis and Jessica and their family.  We slathered everyone with sunscreen and had fun. 
Jake still ended up with a bad, blistering sunburn and the rest of us burnt as well.  But the fun was worth it.  Had to go back to work on Wednesday, but had such a great time over the weekend.  We all felt terrible because Meg had to work and did not get to do any of the fun stuff.  Her and Christy got to hang out on Sunday and Monday by themselves.  We are planning a return trip to Arches in November when it is cooler and when Rick and LoReen and Megan can go with us.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Back to This Place Once Again

Over the past several months I have been trying to see things in a different light. Hoping that life would take a turn for the better. To be completely honest, it did, for a while. Problem is that after a while everything went back to the same old thing, at least in many areas. I want all to know that I have put a lot of effort in to being hopeful and thinking positively. It does help, but when many others around me aren't changing and adjusting as well, it doesn't go anywhere.

I made a comment in Relief Society a few weeks ago about how a person becomes what they are consistently told they are.  A person can try to be happy and hopeful, but if the only reaction and comments they get from those around them are telling them they're hard to be around and completely negative, well, they become that. I know that I have struggled with this and that's what I said. The worst thing a person can say or do to me when I am already struggling to be happy and hopeful is to tell me I'm not doing a good enough job. I had many after that meeting come to me and tell me thank you for making that comment. That they didn't realize that this is what they were doing. I understand that, but felt it had to be said. I will admit that most of the adults that have been an issue in regards to Dan and I and our family have been much less judgmental and a lot more friendly to us over the past while. I so wish that was enough to help their children be this way. I have 4 kids who do not want to participate in any church activities or church itself. They have really tried to not let things bother them and participate and feel a part of things. Problem is that with a few people, it has gotten A LOT worse. Megan finally got a job after looking for a year and has to work most Sunday's. She has gotten so much negative backlash for this from her peers. Usually from those that don't have nor need a job, but that feel they should be telling her she is falling away from the path because she is being a responsible person and holding a job. This is no ones business but ours and Megan's. The thing is, why do others feel they need to watch and analyze and pick apart our family's flaws? Or what they think are flaws? It is a fight every Sunday. One that I won't continue to have. My kids are responsible, confident, independent people and they have free agency just like anyone else. Both of our daughters have expressed that they don't even want to go to camp next year if certain people are there. There are just a couple of girls that feel they are in charge, and take charge of everyone and have pretty much honed in on our girls for several years now. Why should everyone have to adjust to one or two? Shouldn't it be the other way around? 

Aubree is a free spirit. She has been babysitting this summer and earning some money for herself. She chose to have her ears pierced a second time and have her hair colored. I will admit that her hair is a little on the interesting side, but I did it! I colored it. She did it all with our permission. Honestly, she could be doing much worse things. These couple of things are trivial and don't really mean anything in the scheme of things, but to a few of her peers in church, this makes her a heathen that is going straight down a bad path and they will not be around her for fear that her badness will rub off on them. They have lectured and humiliated her so much that she doesn't want to even be around them. Again, this isn't concern, this is judgment. It isn't anyone elses business and they need to leave her alone. 

All of Jake's friends his age have moved. He also gets in trouble at church when he goes. He uses his ipod he got for his birthday for his scriptures and his peers, the only ones around, take exception to this and let him know he shouldn't have an ipod at church. These are 10, 11, and 12 year old kids!! COME ON!!!! First of all, there are more iPads and kindles at church than regular scriptures. It just shows how much people are honing in on our family and thinking they need to "SAVE" us. We are not heathens, we are just people who live in the world and accept people and situations for who they are instead of trying to "FIX" everyone. In fact, our girls got hassled at camp this year for the same thing people have been hassling all of us about for years now. Something they didn't even have anything to do with and that people have it all wrong about anyway! 

I will not be enforcing a go to church rule at this house any longer. I haven't really for a long time, but now, I most Sundays have a hard time making myself go. Can't make other people, and that's what they are, do something I am not sure I want to do. I have so many questions and frustration regarding church again. I can't understand how so many can preach (and I do mean preach, sometimes to a ridiculous level that makes me want to puke) one thing and do exactly the opposite. I know the Gospel is true, but can't wade through all of the other junk I have to to be able to go and participate and worship. Always something in complete contradiction. Dan has felt this way for a very long time and it has taken me a long time to understand how I feel, but I agree with him. Maybe at least now when people think our family are heathens who are lost they will at least be partially correct. We have a very large group of people who really do love us and care about us and think we are good loving people. It is an eclectic group that many here don't accept, but that is exactly the purpose for feeling this way so much now. Just because a person chooses a different way than you doesn't mean they are bad.Some of our best friends and family are gay. Some are not married and having kids, some are artistic models, the list goes on. The point is, they are the ones that have shown more Christlike actions than the majority of those who claim to be living this way. When Dan was in the hospital having his surgery, it was a friend who was in the middle of a divorce with interesting happenings, and a model than Dan has shot quite a bit that took care of our family. We didn't even gt a phone call from anyone around our neighborhood or ward. That's not true, Will and Bro. Wengreen came over and offered a blessing for Dan. Problem is that while Dan loves them for coming, he just wasn't in the frame of mind to accept it. That is it though. Nothing else. We have friends that are a gay couple who live not far from here that check in on us regularly just to make sure we are doing well. These are Christlike actions. 

We recently had a horrible experience with an exchange student. We are new to this, and felt we were very prepared for this situation. I guess we should have studied more about the French culture. I will just say that I don't have a very nice opinion of french teenagers. This has really hurt our family, but we are looking forward with faith and hope to the next person coming. Her name is Anna and she is from Germany. We have formed a friendship with her parents and with her and feel she will be a good fit in our family for the next 10 months. She seems like a very nice young lady who is down to earth and loving. We are excited to meet her. 

We keep trying to see hope for the future. It gets harder and harder as things unfold and life happens. We just tonight got some stressful news. I will share more later about that. 

Thanks for reading, sorry it's not a happy post again. Just need to get it out there so I know I've done what needs to be and then when people want to talk behind my back and think they know what's going on, I know what I have said. I know I have given no chance for misunderstanding.