Friday, June 29, 2012

Rocky Mountain Hi-igh

I was off the grid at my brother Tabor's house so I have some blog catch up to do.  Everything has been going swimmingly and every detour I have made to see everyone I've detoured to see has been worth it a million times over. So, to catch you up...

You know that John Denver song, Rocky Mountain High?  I don't.  I only know that one line.

Rocky mountain hi-igh.

I sang it over and over as we drove over the Rockies.  (I am a lot of fun on a road trip.)

The Rockies, besides my singing, were incredible.  At one point we had to detour over a mountain pass because the road was closed because of an accident.  We, along with a lot of other people, snaked over a windy road.

We went up...

and up...

and up.

About this time:

...I decided I had to use the bathroom and it was an emergency.  It may have had something to do with Diet Coke consumption.  (I am a lot of fun on a road trip.)

Luckily, Adam pulled over at a deserted ski resort.  He was able to knock on the door and have someone let us in and I used the bathroom.  He truly is the best sort of husband. 

And the scenery (besides my singing) was truly beautiful.

I can't remember, did I mention it was a little winding?

After we got back to Interstate 70, we saw a lot of this:

and this:

...which was gorgeous.

And we saw some of this:

which wasn't so gorgeous.  (By the way, we were stopped at a rest stop, Mark wore his seat belt when we were driving, I promise.)

We drove through a National Park and up and over another winding mountain pass to where Tabor and Katie and their darling girls reside.

But that is a story for another day.

I have to pace myself.

P.S.  I am going to Nevada tomorrow to continue the whirlwind parade of siblings.  Again, off the grid.  You likely won't hear from me again until I am home.  I'm thinking fondly of my own bed...

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

No more Egbert loads

When my brothers were old enough to be helpful and young enough to still live at home, my parents heated their house with a wood burning stove.  Every Saturday in autumn, my dad and brothers would hitch my dad's horses Betty and Billy to a wagon and head up the mountain for enormous logs to cut into firewood.  I think I went once.  I was a girl and I stayed inside and did things like make bread and bicker with my sisters on Saturdays.

My mom would ask my dad before they went, "Are you going to get an Egbert load or a Dahl load?"  She was referring to the two families my dad was descended from.  According to her, an Egbert load was one that was so full you struggled to get it home and sometimes it was so full it caused enough trouble that the wagon broke.  A Dahl load was smaller.

I enjoy a good Egbert load.  If given a choice, I weigh myself down with so many things I drop half of them.  It's sometimes inefficient but always seems like a good idea before you start.

We have quite an array of things to cart in and out of each hotel room.  We each have our suitcases.  We have a bag for dirty laundry.  We have our cooler.  We have a pillow for me (because I'm high maintenance at times--like when I sleep.)  Some nights we have an air mattress and bedding depending on the configuration of the room.

Each night, we load ourselves down with things.  Sometimes we have to take a few trips.  It's an enormous pain.  Yesterday, Adam and I saw someone walking with a luggage cart and we both had the same idea at the same time.  "Why didn't we think of that!?"

All this time.  All those loads.

This morning we got a luggage cart.  (We decided it was a photo op.  That's how exciting it was.)

We didn't get Horace involved.  (We're not quite that weird.  Yet.)

Horace stayed in the van all day in fact.  We drove across Kansas and stopped at the Eisenhower Presidential library.  Once we got to western Kansas, it got hot hot hot.  113 degrees.  It was 55 degrees at home and...wait for it...rainy.

We are in Denver tonight and I feel sad for the people who have lost homes to the fires here.  I also feel for the people that are evacuated.  Colorado is burning. 

It makes us all feel bad.  Mark said, "When we get to our hotel, can we say a prayer?"

Adam said yes and he told him he could pray right then if he wanted.  Mark said, "I already said two prayers."

We hope it helps.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The first step is admitting you have a problem

The hotel we're staying at in Junction City, KS has a convention center attached.  We looked to see if there was a Cracker Barrel Anonymous meeting we could attend.

We are frequent visitors of Cracker Barrel.  We know it's not the most healthy fare available.  We. Can't. Stop. They don't have them in Washington.  People of Washington, we are missing out.

Here's Mark at Cracker Barrel.  This was Sunday night.  He still has his church shirt on (unbuttoned) and he's wearing the hat my mom made him.  Notice the peg game.  We are getting good at the peg game.

That's what happens when you go to Cracker Barrel.  A lot.

In addition to risking our lives with copious amounts of comfort food from Cracker Barrel, we lived dangerously by driving on Interstate 70 from St. Louis to Kansas City.  Is there some unwritten law in Missouri that says you have to drive like a maniac on Interstate 70?  (I'm a little sensitive about laws in different states.  I don't want another ticket.)

We stayed the night in Independence, MO. 

Braeden, contemplative at Liberty Jail
We toured some church history sites and chatted with a ninety year old man from Church of Christ--Temple Lot church.  It was interesting and we sensed a big contrast in their convictions and our own.  We felt sort of sorry for him and Adam bought a book from him. 

It was a nice day though hot.  Our ice cream cones practically melted before we could eat them.

It's a tough life, this vacation stuff.

Kansas City is a beautiful city.

Also, a very serious city:

Also, a very hot city.  (Oh, did I mention that?)

Horace tried to cool off in one of the many fountains.

But we didn't let him.

Everyone knows that goats rust.

(Metal goats do, at least.)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Real friends

We are in St. Louis.  We took a detour to see our dear friends, the Thatchers.  It was well worth the detour.

We haven't seen them for almost exactly 12 years.  12 years!  Mindy and I started chattering like no time had passed.  Bill and Adam seemed to take up a conversation they had started 12 years ago.  Our kids eyed each other for about 30 seconds then became friends as well.

It was just a really fabulous time.

Mindy was educated as a math teacher but could easily have been an interior designer.  Their house is amazing because of Mindy's style and vision and really hard work.  I loved it.  We reminisced about old times and old people we used to know.  I laughed because even though Jessica is now a sparkling and beautiful 16 year old teenager, she is still the sparkling little toddler I once knew who knew how to push her mom's buttons.  I have always loved Jessica.  Jackson, who was two last time I saw him, is a handsome and strapping young man and then Nic and Olivia, who weren't born then, have been added to the family but it seems like I should have known them all along as well.

We drove to downtown St. Louis (girls in one car, boys in the other--Mindy and I didn't want to stop talking to each other and I don't think Adam and Bill did either).  As we chatted, I was over and over impressed by what a great person Mindy is.  She is a really good mother and inspirational to me.  She described, with gratitude, a situation she has been involved with.  She is grateful to be led through prayer in how to help someone.  I was astounded by her charity and goodness but then at the same time, not at all surprised.  Same Mindy I've always known.

When we were reminiscing, I recounted the ways she'd helped me when I had mono and Emma was a newborn.  She didn't remember.  She also didn't remember coming to stay with Braeden the night Emma was born.  She didn't remember staying behind at Emma's birthday party to help me clean up after Braeden shut the party down by throwing up all over everything.

I told Mindy she needs to remember these things!  She ought to always remember what a great person she is.

I had to snap a picture of Bill.  Poor one armed Bill.  He was at scout camp and dislocated his shoulder water skiing.

Mindy, Bill and Adam.  The Mississippi River is in the background.

 We saw the St. Louis Arch.  

Horace tried to climb the Arch.

silly goat
The Thatchers have a dog which made Mark jealous.  I think our goat made them jealous though.  At least it made Mindy jealous.  Goats are quiet and don't eat anything or make any messes or have to go to the vet.  At least that's how metal goats are.  I can't speak for real goats.

I tried to get a picture of our kids.  Didn't quite work.

Nic is the one in red, in the top picture, caught mid handstand.  That kid is athletic like his mother and can walk on his hands.  I told him (with a bit of pride in my voice) that I'm really good at walking on my feet.  Alex, is in pink.  He's not related but staying with the Thatchers.  Olivia is the cutie in purple and Jessica the cutie in white.  You know my three and then Jackson is between Mark and Braeden.

If we had room in our van, I would try to sneak some of those kids home with us.

We went to their house where the kids relaxed:

The men cooked dinner on the grill:

I sliced the watermelon in crooked slices and enjoyed visiting with Mindy as she created a lovely feast for us.

Happily, I got to meet my imaginary friend Christie as well.  She and I have read each other's blogs for awhile and she and Mindy are good friends.  Mindy invited her family over for dinner so we could meet.  Real life Christie did not disappoint.  She was explaining to her teenage sons who they were going to meet and they said, "So you're like LaFawnda and Kip?"


Except we aren't in love.

Just friends.

I don't know if I'd rather be LaFawnda or Kip.  LaFawnda has the snazzy shoes but Kip gets the bling necklace. 

Christie is also a primary president.  She told me I'll survive.

I unfortunately didn't get any pictures of her cute kids and the one picture I got of the three of us, is not the best.  It's the only picture though.

Mindy, me and Christie...Mindy said her picture can't be on a blog.  Is she in the witness protection program?  Sorry Mindy.  My blog.  I want to remember my pretty friend.

Christie is unfortunately not looking at the camera (Adam was trying to be stealth so I wouldn't blink).  If you want to see a picture of Christie looking at the camera so you can get a better idea of how lovely she is, I'll direct you to her blog.  You may want to go there anyway because she's funny.

As we left the Thatchers, one of our kids said, "They should move to Seattle."

I agree.

Then another kid, looking outside at their great neighborhood said, "Or we should move here."

I'd be OK with that too.

Before falling asleep, Adam and I were talking about the day.  We felt deeply satisfied with our visit.  It was so fun to see the Thatchers again.  How wonderful to have lasting friends that withstand twelve years of absence.  We also felt a little regretful.  Twelve years.  That's a long time.  I wish we could all see each other more.

Maybe we'll live in the same cul-de-sac in heaven.

Tip toe goodbye

Yesterday we left Nauvoo and my parents.

I hate leaving my parents.  Why can't we all just be neighbors?  I cried a little when I hugged my mom goodbye and she did too.  I left my keys in the cushion of their couch and my mom is going to mail them to me.  These are all pretty typical things.

Even though it was a house I'd never been to before, because it was my parents' house, it had a certain home-ness about it.  A few days ago I took a nap on my parents' bed while they were gone.  Because it was their bed and their pillows, I slept deeply and securely and was relaxed.  (It should be said that I hate it when my kids sleep on my pillow--get your rotten head off my pillow!  Maybe my parents feel the same way.  They weren't home though...)

We stopped by to say goodbye to my dad.  He was giving people rides on wagons pulled by oxen.  He doesn't enjoy that as much as the horses. 

I wasn't at all afraid of the gigantic horses.  They seemed gentle and intelligent.  Those oxen scared me though.  I stayed away.  Their eyes look a little crazy.

We said goodbye to my dad.

On tip toe.

If you go to Nauvoo (and you should), look for my parents. 

You'll be glad you did.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Time well spent

the view from my parents' living room--The Mississippi River

I think a mark of a good vacation is tired feet.  We have been busy.  We are taking a short breather and then we'll get back to the business of vacationing.

I keep feeling happy that my sisters are going to bring their families here to spend time with my parents too.  I wish we could all be here together (but imagine the line for the bathroom).

Here's what we've been up to (this is where I warn you that a lot of pictures are to follow):

We took a carriage ride yesterday.  My dad was the narrator and another teamster did the driving.

Oh yeah, and we took Horace with us.

My dad:  telling us about the area's history.  That's my crazy hair off to the side.  Blame the humidity.

The nice (and really tall) horses.  My dad is 6'6".

We went to a show:

Young Performing Missionaries presented a puppet show and a play.

very talented kids
The children got to sit in the front row and Mark loved it:

They had us all stand up and sing Popcorn Popping on the Apricot Tree.  Even though it was a roomful of strangers from all over, we all knew the same song.  :)

We took a tour in the print shop where my mom was working.  She taught us about how they made the newspaper in old Nauvoo.

We also toured the John Taylor home with her.  Since we knew the tour guide, we were able to slip Horace in for a photo op.

This horse belonged to John Taylor's little boy.  When they left Nauvoo, it was left behind.  A few days later, John Taylor came back for it because his little boy cried for it.  Very sweet.  Horace thought so too.
I loved spending time with my mom.

My mom made each of the kids a hat.  Emma is sporting hers in this picture.

 We were able to take Braeden and Emma to the temple to do proxy baptisms.  It was a wonderful experience.  I may have cried.

Last night we went to a performance of Sunset on the Mississippi, which my parents are a part of also. 

Before, there was a children's parade:

My dad carried a flag when they honored the armed forces:

My parents, the performers...

Today we went on a wagon ride.  My mom was the narrator and my dad drove the team.

Horace, the Percheron horses that pulled us along and my dad's leg...
My parents, after the wagon mom is holding Horace.  (She is a good sport.)
My mom took us on a tour of a schoolhouse. 

Mark and I brushed up a little on his math.
Here we are outside of the school.  It looks like we carefully orchestrated our clothes to match.  We didn't.  This is what happened to be clean and at the top of everyone's suitcases.  Sometimes things just turn out nicely.


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