Saturday, July 25, 2009

Back-to-School Beautification

Since this was likely the last time we would be at Grandma's salon before school starts (can you believe that?), we decided it was time for a beauty day. Shaylie got her hair turned out way cute, I think. And she had her DS to keep her from getting too antsy during the it worked out great!
Then, both girls decided to get their ears pierced. For Taylor, this is about the 6th time she's done this. She was actually nervous. She always lets them grow back in, so we'll keep our fingers crossed that it sticks this time. Shaylie did very well for her first time! It did hurt but she was very brave! They have matching studs and are looking great for the new school year!
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Fun Pioneer Day!

We had a great time at our annual Holden Pioneer Day celebration! Scott even talked me into running a three-legged gunny sack race with him! I haven't done that since I was about Taylor's age! We loved the breakfast as usual and were too busy eating to snap any pictures. The highlight of the day was the Bottle Rocket competition. It is fast becoming a tradition for a Jesienouski to take home the Big Prize! Taylor won this year with a height of 412 was awesome!
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Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Warning

I got pulled over today!!! I have never been pulled over before and if it had been an actual ticket, I would be VERY upset, because I was not speeding like he said I was.
I was on 1450 South heading toward Summit, I saw him passing, and looked at my speedometer, like you do, and I was going about 45 and I had just passed a 40 mph sign (where the road widens in front of Stone Cliff) and he flipped around and turned his lights on. He came up to my window and said, "You were speeding." I said, "Yeah, I guess I was a little bit...45 in a 40." He said, "You must have slowed down then. I got you at 51 in a 35." Yeah, right. I said, "I wasn't going 51 and I've never even been pulled over before" but that was as cheeky as I got. He gave me a warning. Grrr. I guess I should be glad, but I really wasn't speeding.
It wasn't 30 seconds after he let me go that he had another car pulled over. I think he was just bored. The worst part was I had Taylor with me and she couldn't wait to tell Scott and Shaylie. So much for my perfect record. I guess one warning every 22 years isn't so bad.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Listen to the Still Small Voice!

I just have to share this wonderful experience that Taylor had yesterday. She told me it would be okay! I always feel that when we see the hand of the Lord in our lives it is important to acknowledge it, be grateful for it and share it with others!

So, if you read about camp already, you know what happened at the testimony meeting at camp. If you didn't, here is the abbreviated version...Taylor spoke for about 30 minutes about her family and friends, she didn't get a chance to finish since she was asked to wrap it up by one of the leaders to leave time for others, she felt REALLY bad about taking so much time and then not even bearing witness of her true feelings about the gospel and the Savior, she stayed up most of the night crying & beating herself up about it and had been moping whenever anyone mentioned it since we've come home. My prayer for her was that she could feel good about the things she said that night and only have good memories of camp in the years to come. Whenever I mentioned it, she would get all funky so I decided to not say anything about it, hoping that time would pass and she would move on and only remember the good stuff.

At any rate, my mom was visiting for the weekend and Taylor talked Grandma into taking her back to Holden, when she left on Sunday, until we would join them on Pioneer Day. She got packed & loaded up Sunday morning as we were all getting ready for church. Taylor kept saying to me, "I feel like I'm forgetting something." "What am I missing?" "Can you think of anything?" I told her we'd bring anything that she might forget and sent them on their way.

About half an hour before church started, I got a phone call. It was Taylor calling from my mom's cell phone. "We're coming back," she says, "I just have a feeling I need to go to church today." And so they came back, Mom dropped Taylor off and she went upstairs to get ready. My mom said she would wait at my sister's until we got back. I was just thrilled that Taylor was coming with us. Like most teenagers, she keeps her eyes open for any excuse not to come to church and being in the car on the way out of town was one of the best excuses ever. I wasn't about to question it. :)

We went to church and I didn't really think about why Taylor might have been meant to be at church until we went to the Young Women's class and Brother Massey got up to speak, a very unusual occurance since he doesn't regularly attend with us. He started to say how he'd been having very strong feelings about saying a few words to the Young Women. He talked to them about the camp testimony meeting and about how the things that Taylor said that night were completely appropriate and that she shouldn't feel bad about anything that happened that night. He spoke to the leaders and said that it was completely appropriate that time was a concern and that no one should feel badly for what happened. He talked about how all the girls bonded that night and that we all needed the words that were said.

I was watching Taylor as this speech took place and as soon as the testimony meeting was mentioned I could see all the feelings of shame and embarassment that she'd had since we'd come home return to her face. However, the more she listened to Brother Massey, I could see her sitting up taller, starting to smile. I saw those bad feelings lifted from her, and I was in awe!! As far as I knew, Brother Massey didn't even know that Taylor had been feeling so badly about it. But to see the change that came over her was so amazing. By the end, she was practically glowing.

Afterwards, I went up to Brother Massey and told him that Taylor had been on her way out of town and was called back to come to church. I was so proud of her for listening to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. She needed to hear his words, she needed to be there for that. It would have been so easy to keep going, to ignore her feelings, but she didn't.

I truly feel like this was an answer to our prayers. I feel so strongly that the Lord loves his children individually...He knows Taylor and felt her pain and knew exactly what she needed to feel better. How blessed we are as children of a loving Heavenly Father! I'm so grateful to Brother Massey, too, for listening to the promptings he felt to come and say what he did. I just know that Taylor will always look at this whole experience as a miracle in her life. When things like this happen, I just don't know how anyone can doubt the power of God in our lives. He lives, He loves us, He wants us to be happy!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Camp Day Three...The End & The Beginning

It was a little harder to get girls up on the last day because of the lateness of the activities the night before. As I returned from my morning ablutions, I went to each tent singing a wake up song "Good Morning To You!"....most of the girls stirred but Lauren H. was the sleepiest. We finally all gathered in her tent and Janna Adams sang "Up, up in the sky"which she told Lauren was always followed by cold water. Lauren was up pretty quick after that and with a smile. :) The girls all got a head start on getting bags and bedding packed up.
Breakfast was a yummy dutch oven hash but had to be pushed back a little bit for cook time. We went to the morning Flag Ceremony and then back to camp to eat. I think most of the girls really enjoyed this breakfast. Sister Miguel and Sister Dewey surprised us with a morning devotional.

After cleanup, which again went so quickly thanks to many helpful hands, we had our 4th year girls take charge of some fun activities. Lauren taught the girls a fun game called "Dippity, Dippity, Dip" and Aspen had a fun gift exchange game. She brought each girl and leader a bandana filled with fun prizes like sunglasses, nail polish, and other fun cute stuff and as she read a story with the girls name in it the gifts had to be passed around the circle, one space for each year of camp attended. So cute and fun! Yay Aspen for taking the time to prepare for this great activity! Finally, Tori taught all of us the Cup Clap game. She was a terrific teacher. It was a little complex and she was teaching a large group, but she broke it down and took it slow and eventually we all got the rhythm and had a great time! These girls were great examples of 4th year campers!!

Next up was Friendship Bracelets. We had cording, beads and an easy pattern to follow from Annette's younger years and the girls picked these up so quickly. The bracelets turned out super cute too. We had some fun lampwork beads that I ordered ahead of time--bugs, snakes, frogs, flowers, and pony beads. Many girls made more than one to give to friends, moms, sisters, etc. (I actually wanted to make one for my Shaylie, but then decided that they were so easy that I would let her make her own once we got home. She picked it up so quickly that she has decided that she wants to sell them at an upcoming yard sale...she's my entrepreneur...always looking for something to sell. I bought her some supplies and she's already made about 4 of them and sold one! You go, girl!!!) An exciting moment came during this activity when someone noticed that Ashlea had a bug in her hair and the more girls that noticed and made scared noises, the more Ashlea started to panic. I hurried over and saw that she had a big (quite big) beetle in with long antennae kind of tucked under her hair. I just grabbed it and threw it as far as I could. Poor Ashlea...the first rule in this situation is Do Not Freak Out The Girl With The Bug In Her Hair...but these are teenage girls we're talking about, not to mention a few leaders!! ;)

Because we had a later breakfast, we also pushed lunch back until after the closing flag ceremony. Brother Staheli was already heading up the effort to break camp! Boy did we love having Brother Staheli with us this week! He was so enthusiastic about everything, even doing the Toot-a-tot dance, and he got us packed up and ready to go in record time!

We were heading down the mountain by about 3:30. Kasey had asked if I could drop her off at her grandparents in Cedar City and I was happy to do that. All the girls piled in and we said goodbye to camp!

By the time I caught up to everyone else at the church in St. George, parents had already arrived to pick up girls. We had a few forget stuff and some things with unidentified owners, but I'm sure we'll get that all sorted out by the next activity we have at the church.

Well, I'm sure I've forgotten a lot of the details...but it was an amazing few days at camp! Better than I dreamed it would be! I'm sure this will be an experience that will stay in my heart and mind forever!


  • I want to express my deep, undying gratitude for all the help, support, great ideas, leadership, and laughter that I received from my official camp helpers: Annette Belnap and Janna Adams. Both of these ladies made my job so much easier and so much more fun! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  • My thanks, again, to the YW leadership! What beautiful, amazing women you are!!! I am so glad my daughter has you in her life to help guide her and help her learn what kind of woman to be when she is grown.

  • Another heartfelt thanks to our Bishopric! You all helped make our Testimony night so special! Thank you for letting yourselves be guided by the Spirit and for touching us all with your wisdom and wonderfulness.

  • My apologies to Josie Robison!!! We didn't get to do your bedtime story on Thursday night and I was so looking forward to it! Please let's do it at some activity...maybe Camp Awards night! I am sorry we ran out of time and I forgot to remember it on Friday! Thanks for your willingness to help with it! Thanks to Sister Reid for her story, as well!!!

  • Extra special thanks to all the Stake leaders from our ward! Brother Neil Bennett, who spent a lot of time in our camp and really added something with his experience and great advice! Sister Cheryl Cozzens, who was so encouraging and supportive to me! And Sister Rosie Miguel, who is always so wonderful, and who delivered a wonderful devotional to us on Friday morning. I saw a plaque with the Mother Teresa poem you read to us at the mall this weekend and I was so tempted to buy it...I loved it so much!

  • Thanks to our YCLs, especially Katelynn Neumeier! We were very well looked after thanks to their planning and good efforts. We loved the morning devotionals and handouts.

  • To all the wonderful Young Women of the Washington Fields 5th are incredible, amazing, talented, fun, beautiful, kind, generous, clever, creative, responsible, and all things superlative!!! Thanks for letting me be a part of your Camp experience! Know that you were in exactly the right place, for exactly the right time! Thanks for giving so much of yourselves to all of us! I love you all!!!!

And, I'm happy to say that the Camp Experience has not quite yet come to an end. We will have our awards night in a week from Tuesday at which time the girls will get a DVD with all our camp pictures and memories on it....provided I can get it done by then. Which I'm sure I will!

So though it's the end, I hope it will just be the beginning of great friendships, many more new memories, and great faith and testimonies for everyone who participated!!!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Camp Day Two--Highs and Lows

(Again, fair warning that this is a very long post...and my apologies for no pics...I was very busy at camp and didn't have time to snap many pictures. I will have to get some from Annette who was very good to be our camp photographer, as well as all-around super woman ACD.)

Thursday morning the girls woke up bright and early, about an hour earlier than our 7:30 am wake up time...I think they were excited to get things going on the first full day at camp and I admit I was too.

For breakfast, the girls and Janna made us pancakes and Omelets in a Bag. Each girl mixed two eggs with toppings of their choice in a ziploc freezer bag and we dropped them into boiling water for about 15 minutes. I thought it was pretty good and I think the girls did too. I would definitely try these again.

At the morning flag ceremony, Taylor and Kaitlan helped with the theme and the patriotic thought. Then after some announcements and songs & silliness from the Stake, we performed our skit. Before camp, the girls and leaders brainstormed some ideas for our skit and the one we ended up doing was a Star Trek skit where Kirk and Spock visit different planets looking for good examples or "shining stars" to take back to Starfleet. The girls really made this fun and they were so excited to show it to everyone. Taylor played Kirk and she really hammed it up and Jessie was perfect as Spock. Everyone did such a great job!

Katelynn N. was a YCL and offered to record the skit for us while we performed. Unfortunately, my camera is kind of tricky and she thought she was recording when it was paused. But then, fortunately, we got a chance later in the day to perform it again for the bishop, and we got a video then (to be posted when I can figure out what I'm doing wrong!!)

After flag, we went back to our camp to begin our day of fun. The first activity we had planned was to make scrapbooks and rubber stamps to use for our Letterboxing activity later in the afternoon. In our pre-camp meetings, the leaders had expressed some concern about letting the girls use Xacto knives to carve stamps our of rubber erasers, but I was sure that they would be fine. After all, my 8 year old had carved her own stamp a while back and I was sure that we could supervise the girls and it would be fine.

Well, I learned a valuable lesson about listening to the leaders from now on because it wasn't 5 minutes in and we had our first casualty....Sister Belnap cut herself while she was carving. She was trying to keep it quiet, but we noticed and gave her a hard time. Then, not even 5 more minutes in Shyanne M. sliced her thumb too. I took her up to my car and used my first aid skills to patch her up and before I even finished, lo and behold, my own Taylor came hiking up to the car with a bleeding hand. She had sliced her thumb too!!!! Well, that was enough!

I didn't even put a bandaid on Tay before I marched back down to the table and banned the Xacto knives. The girls were not very happy with me, but I told them they let me down....I had higher hopes for them and they proved me wrong. ;) (All in fun, of course.) They did want to have stamps though, so I told them that if they designed their stamps, I would carve them out, after I patched up Taylor, of course. I was pretty proficient at the carving since I had carved a bunch for the letterboxes earlier in the week, so it went pretty fast. I had also planned for an alternative method of making stamps and some of the girls chose to make those too.

The scrapbooks were a huge hit, and not even a papercut in the process. We made them out of paperbags and the girls all decorated them with a page for each of the Values. The paper bags make them fun because you can use the bag openings and flaps for fun popouts and cards. Every single one turned out to be so cute!

Lunch was fabulous again and another birthday surprise for me...Sister Josie Robison brought cupcakes from 25 Main!! They are so delish! This was a special treat. I had a hard time deciding which were better though...Annette's from the day before or these...I loved, loved, loved Annette's strawberry frosting, so they actually might have the edge...but I digress. Thanks Josie for the awesome treat!

After lunch, it was time for our (drumroll, please)....LETTERBOXING activity!!!! Yay!!! I had been planning this for so long and now it was finally here. I had been hoping and praying that it would go well and that the girls would enjoy it. I started by telling them how my family had been Letterboxing for a while and that this was a special version for camp. I asked them to be reflective and reverent as they visited each box in preparation for our testimony meeting that night. We divided into teams and sent a leader with each group of two girls...Sister Cozzens from the Stake came with us too and went with Tori and Shelby. Unfortunately, Sister Reid and Sister Pratt weren't feeling very well this day so they stayed behind to rest too. I felt badly that so many of our leaders seemed to be suffering, but it didn't last too long, thank goodness.

As soon as each team knew what they were looking for and they had their instructions, they were off. Because of my illness the day before, I thought it would be better if I stayed in camp and while I was waiting, I felt inspired to write down some thoughts about how this activity relates to our lives. The word Treasure kept popping into my mind and I found a couple of great scriptures that were so perfect. I know the things that came to me were inspired of God and what He wanted these girls to know. I planned to process the activity later that night.

As the activity progressed, I was able to watch the different teams come through our camp. They all seemed to be enjoying themselves and Bro. Staheli especially seemed to be having an awesome time. He was partnered with Taylor and Aspen and he was so impressed with their thoughtfulness and spirituality. He told me so as they passed through. Each box was designed to help the girls pass off a requirement in their Personal Progress book. The requirements ask the girls to read certain scriptures and think about how they apply to our lives. One box had the girls writing down all the qualities they would wish for in a husband, then they looked at the list and crossed off the things that weren't really important to them. Another box asked them to list 5 qualities they admire in another girl at camp, and 5 things they liked about themselves. One asked them to guide each other through a maze, practicing faith in each other to lead them safely through. Another asked them to commit to providing an act of service for 3 people within the upcoming weeks. The others were equally fun and amazing!

Just before the girls finished, I went up to the amphitheater for some reason, and as I returned several of the teams had finished and were back at camp. When Tori Larkin saw me, she ran up to me and said, "Can I give you a hug? This was so awesome." I almost started to cry...well, who am I kidding, I did start to cry but I held it together. It meant so much to me that they had a good time. All the girls had positive comments and even though it was super hot they seemed to enjoy themselves. I really hope that it made a lasting impression.

By the time this was finished, it was time for the evening flag ceremony and for the bishopric to arrive for our Bishop's night. We enjoyed this so much. Though the girls might have been tired from hiking around camp all day, as soon as Brother Massey and Bishop Brooks arrived our girls came to life! They were so excited to sing all their songs for them and show them the skit. The dutch oven dinner we had tasted so good and it was fun to see the girls telling Brother Massey scary camp stories or trying to outwit the if. How I admire these men for their service and love of the girls!

About 7:30 we settled in for our Fireside and Testimony Meeting. This is always my favorite part of camp. We started with processing the LB activity. We talked about how the girls would easily find the treasure they were looking for if they followed the instructions exactly and about how that is so like following the instructions the Lord has given us to find His treasure for us...eternal life. That if we make a mistake or miss a critical turn we can back up--repent, retrace our steps and find the right path. We talked about how the opportunities we have to serve others and to attend camp and church are like the landmarks we look for to make sure we are following the right course. We talked about the treasures that are important in life...having a testimony of Jesus Christ, seeking to build His kingdom...and how they can follow the examples of their leaders who are such amazing women and pattern their lives after those who are following the Lord's path.

Brother Staheli then told us about a trip he took to Washington DC with some students who radiated virtue and goodness and how everywhere they went people were so kind and nice. The girls he took on the trip said that is what they would remember most about the whole trip. Bro. S told the girls that one of the "rules of life" is this: Others are a reflection of you. That people will give back to you what you put out into the world. He passed a mirror around the circle and asked the girls to observe that if they smile into the mirror there is someone smiling back! What a great message.

Brother Massey and Bishop each bore inspired testimony as well and then each of the girls took their turn around the circle. I had given everyone a packet of Fire Crystals with a quote by Elder Boyd K Packer that said, "Oh that I could teach you this one principle: A testimony is to be found in the bearing of it! In the quest for spiritual knowledge their comes a "leap of faith" when one steps out of the light and into the darkness only to realize that the way is lighted ahead for a footstep or two." Something like that, anyway. And then I wrote, "If you choose to take the "leap of faith" tonight and bear your testimony, step out of the darkness and into the firelight. Place this packet on the flames and see what the light holds for you. We love you and are proud of you!" After each testimony, the girls poured the crystals on the fire and the flames would change colors. I kept thinking of the YW value colors and felt like this was a nice touch to the meeting.

My favorite part of the whole night was my beautiful daughter's testimony. She was so touched by the testimonies that she heard and when it was her turn to speak, she was moved to speak about each of her family members and friends in turn. She talked about me, her dad and Shaylie and how much she loves each of us. It was so wonderful to hear these innermost thoughts that she rarely shares and how funny and entertaining she was too. I was proud that she has inherited a portion of her mother's gift of gab. She also went around the circle of girls and said what she loved most about each of these friends. I feel like this was so important to each girl and really built up the unity in our group. One girl even ran up to Tay after her comment about her and hugged her and said, "You're my new best friend." Taylor has felt so apart from these girls for so long and I really felt like she was inspired to say these things. I couldnt' have been prouder of her! After she had been speaking for probably about 30 minutes, Sister Robison came up and put an arm around her and told her to wrap it up. I could have listened to her all night, but I know we were all thinking about the lateness of the hour.

I bore testimony shortly after Tay did and I feel badly that I made a stupid joke about her talking for "an hour" and I heard her gasp behind me saying that she had no idea she had taken so long. The rest of the testimonies went quickly and after the meeting I found Taylor crying in my car. She felt so badly that she had taken so much time, and I felt badly that one flip comment from me had pretty much ruined the effect of her beautiful words--another lesson learned. I tried to convince her that her testimony wasn't "pointless and stupid" as she put it. She was upset that she hadn't had a chance to bear testimony of the most important parts--her love of Jesus and the gospel. She felt like the testimonies that followed her had to be cut short because she took up all the time. I couldnt' convince her that what she had said was inspired and needed to be heard. She was beating herself up so badly over this that I needed to get reinforcements. I collected some of the other leaders to help me to encourage and support her and, for the most part I think this worked, but it did take me quite a while to get her settled down and into bed. I really do feel that sometimes the Spirit moves us to speak and we should all listen to that no matter how much time it takes. Taylor knows that what she did wasn't what was supposed to happen, but I'm convinced that it was what needed to happen, not only for her sake, but for who knows what other purpose. I love that girl so much and I pray that she will only have good memories of this night and know how much her words meant to me and others I'm sure, as well.

We did have a sweet mother/daughter moment about 1:00am. I thought I left her tucked in bed and went up to the bathroom, but when I got back she was out of her tent and sitting next to the dying fire. I sat with her and we looked at the stars and talked quietly until I convinced her that she really needed to get to bed.

The leader tent was a little less crowded this night, thanks to the heroic efforts of Annette Belnap and Jennifer Riddle who both bit the bullet and decided to sleep in their cars, so I was able to sneak into the tent without stepping on any bodies. We all slept like logs and I promise you no one was up early the next morning.

Again, a great and spiritual day at camp. I rarely feel the overwhelming presence of the Holy Spirit as strongly as I have at Girls Camp. I believe this is because these girls are so precious to the Lord and He wants them to know that they are in the right place and learning correct principles that will guide them to true happiness in their lives. I am so glad that I got the chance to be a part of this experience.

More about Day 3 and hopefully some pics...I did shoot a come!

Camp Day One: We ARE the Shining Stars!

Back from camp and, oh, what a trip it was! I fear this will be a lengthy post, so consider yourself forewarned!
The first thing I have to say is that we have the most amazing girls in our ward! They were so great at helping and doing everything Annette, who was my assistant Camp Director, and I asked of them. It made the work seem like half the effort because we always had willing hands. We met on Tuesday night to pack up the trailer and to get our personal gear loaded up so we could leave bright and early on Wednesday morn. The girls were so efficient that the effort took only about 20 minutes!!! That gave us extra time to practice our skit and have a huge birthday cake for Sister Jana Stapley!

On Wednesday morning, I came out of the house to find Taylor surprised me with this fun idea! She is so cute and creative! Anyway, when Brother Staheli came to the house with the camp trailer to pick up some equipment, he saw our car and said hurriedly, "I'll be to the church in a bit, I just thought of something I need to do." and off he went. About 25 minutes later, he came pulling up to the church towing our big, white trailer. He got out of the car with a couple more paint markers, yelling, "Who wants to sign the trailer?" Wow. The girls went crazy signing their names, polka dots, and stars all over the trailer. All the cars got decorated and it was an amazing way to start off our trip. Thanks Taylor and Bro. Staheli for your excitement and enthusiasm!

The trip up Cedar Mountain only took about an hour and a half or so. We pulled in to find that we were assigned a VERY SMALL campground, but we all had a great can-do attitude and decided that we would make it work. It ended up being a very cozy, and well designed setup for us, even though all the leaders (about 8 of us) ended up crammed into one tent!! I know Annette got a picture of this, but I'll have to get it from her to post. It was pretty hilarious. We enjoyed a tasty lunch from our camp chef, the marvelous Janna Adams, who fed us beautifully throughout and some yummy birthday cupcakes that Annette made for me.
The first day was led by the Stake and our first meeting was the Opening Flag Ceremony. We met and went over the rules for camp, sang some songs and got to know each other a little bit. Immediately after this the girls went on their hike. This was a departure from the norm, as they usually go hiking on the second day of camp, but the leaders thought it would be good to get up hiking when the girls are fresh, before allergies kick in, and before anyone has a chance to hurt themselves. I think it worked...all our girls went on the hikes and loved it. It also gave Annette and me a chance to set up for our big activity the next day.

My family discovered a fun activity about a year ago called Letterboxing. If you know geocacheing (sp?) it's a bit like that, except that instead of following GPS coordinates to find your destination you use clues like in a treasure hunt. With Letterboxing, people carve rubber stamps and leave them in a box with a notepad and ink. If you find a box, you are to take your own hand-carved rubber stamp and exchange stamp imprints in the notebook you find and in the one you bring. There are boxes like this hidden all over America and it's so neat to see the stamp designs and who has been there before you. So....having explained that...I thought it would be neat to modify this activity for camp.

I enlisted the leaders to help me and we created 8 letterboxes, one for each of the values we teach the Young Women in our ward: Faith, Divine Nature, Individual Worth, Knowledge, Choice & Accountability, Good Works, Integrity, and Virtue. Each box had a hand carved rubber stamp, a scrapbook page, and an activity that the girls completed as they made the circuit. We had everything ready to go up and the challenge was going to be hiding all the boxes and creating the clues to find them once we got to camp. I even took my computer and a printer up to camp so that I could type the clues quickly, change them up for the different groups and print them out to give to the girls. (I must have looked pretty silly sitting in my car, printing papers from my laptop at camp. And I had a scary moment when the computer wouldn't turn on--it was hot from being in my car all day...but it worked out in the end!) Annette and I hiked all over the mountain finding stumps, and hollowed out trees and rocks where we could hide our boxes. I felt such relief when it was all taken care of.
At the end of the hike, we also had set up a Camp Spa for the girls. We filled a small swimming pool with cold water for a foot soak and had lotions and foot spray, nail polish and lipgloss, hair bands and barrettes. I think the girls had much fun getting their hair done by Sister Stapley and Sister Riddle. We hardly looked like we'd been hiking in the mountains at all.

By dinnertime, it was starting to cool off a bit. It was so hot while we were up there! I didn't expect the heat, so the cool was very welcome. After our delicious tinfoil dinners, we went down to the amphitheater for a fireside by the Stake Leaders. Our Stake President talked to the girls about our newest value, Virtue. He was awesome! He spoke to the YW about what it means to be "virtue seeketh virtue." He told the story of Joseph, sold into Egypt, and Potipher's she was attracted to him because he was righteous and how when he saw the "red flags" appear, he ran even though it meant his imprisonment and probable death. He encouraged the girls to look for "red flags" and to protect their virtue always. We were all touched by the Spirit and the truth of what he was telling us.

About halfway through the fireside, though, I started to feel sick. I was already crying because of the talk, but then I started crying because of my headache and nausea and by the time it was over, I could barely function. My sweet Taylor saw my pain and ran off to the priesthood camp to get a couple of the men to give me a blessing. I was so grateful for that! It was a powerful blessing and I felt immediate relief. I quit shaking and was able to relax and feel better within the hour. I also feel like it was a great for the girls to witness the priesthood in action. My thanks to Brother Mayfield and Brother Taylor from the Stake!!
After the fireside, we went back to camp...practiced our skit...and Taylor led everyone in songs...we roasted starbursts and marshmallows for s'mores (by the way, if you've never tried s'mores with Reeses PB cups, you MUST!!! I can't believe I've never tried or thought of this before. Janna A. brought them and it was amazing!) The starbursts were not Bro. Staheli's favorite...but the girls loved it.
We had a great first day! It took a while for the girls to settle in, there were noises and crazy birds...I had to climb out over everyone in the middle of the night to go to the restroom (sorry again, girls!) basically a perfect first day at camp!

Monday, July 13, 2009

In Absentia

You may have noticed that I have been absent from the blogosphere lately. In fact, I have been absent from most of my life of late. CAMP has been the only thing on my mind. Thank goodness I have such an amazing family that only barely shows their annoyance with me at their lack of clean laundry, the empty fridge, and the unvacuumed floors. I have been so focused on camp that there has been little time for much else.

I am excited to put all my planning into action and like any big event that takes months to plan, it will be over way too soon. I just hope the girls have a good experience up there. I have tried faithfully to make it a memorable and spiritual uplifting experience like I remember having as a Young Woman. My biggest fear is that the girls will be bored or think all the things we have planned are lame. I truly don't think that will be the case...our girls are awesome!

I will be sure to post the fun adventures we have as I'm sure I will have nothing but free time once we get back. Whatever will I do with myself? Now, onto packing...I haven't even begun to think of personally preparing...and I know I don't have jeans (since I've lost 45 lbs, nothing fits) so I'll have to go shopping. Again. Or wear big baggy pants.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Strong Family Reunion

We were so glad to get up to my Dad's house for our family reunion. Traditionally, we have held these reunions over New Years' but with everyone being so spread out, we all concurred that summer would be better. We gathered for some good old fashioned relaxing and chit-chat...catching up was fun! We missed my brother Bryan and his family, who couldn't make it from Colorado Springs. The girls especially missed the only boy cousins in the family!

Here are all the girls! We had Chad's girlfriend, Lynn and her daughter, Kaiah, too and it was fun to get to know them as well. This picture was actually taken at my grandparents in Holden, but it is a nice one!

Here's my dad, trying to get a smile out of baby one out of Erin...but I think Myka just hid!

Can't make a trip up north without stopping at Scott's favorite store...the Hobby Hut...he found some good bargains on train cars.

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Our Baker Fishing Trip

We have been a busy family over the past couple weeks! We had a great time up at the Baker Dam Campground with our friends, the Terry's and the Sabaitis's. We had never been fishing as a family, though I had gone several times as a kid with my Grandpa Heath, and the girls were dying to try it. So we bought some poles and a tackle box...forgot bait though...and headed up to the lake. Dallin brought a boat for us to ride in but most of the time was spent swimming, rolling on logs, catching weeds and rocks, and having a great time!

We barbecued, built a fire and roasted marshmallows...only later to find that the lake closes at dusk and no fires allowed...oh well, who knew? We had such fun we didn't even mind getting in trouble.

Kaitlan caught the only fish...she waited patiently in the middle of the lake floating in her life jacket....a nice little rainbow trout and the kids all gathered around to watch Dallin clean it. I never heard such screams of delight and disgust. What a riot!

Thanks to our great friends for making this outing so memorable!
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