Sunday, August 30, 2009

True Blue Calls

The beautiful Salmon mountains at Williams Lake was the site for the family reunion.
We went to Springfield Illinois while we were at Nauvoo and got to see alot of the museums about Abraham Lincoln. It is his 200th birthday this year. Anyway, on one of the books we bought on CD was a wonderful story about a group of men the fought with Ulyssys S. Grant, they proved themselves so valiant and committed to the cause and firm in their resolve that they became known as the "True Blue Core". It gave me the idea that our family can be "True Blue". We wanted to honor Brian and his family for their sacrifice also.
Lots of opportunity to be together and have fun and eat!

Thanks to Ryan's Uncle Jim Bob, we had a great place to hang out and we brought the motorhome for a few extra beds and storage.

Everyone tried their luck in the water. Brianna and Maylie got more brave as each day went on.

They each took turns on the tube behind the boat with dad at the helm they felt pretty confident.

We invited their neighbors to take a picture of the "True Blue Calls" I dyed shirts for the adults and we had matching neck ties and Grandpa taught everyone how to make waggles for their ties.
(Good practice for Woodbadge in a couple of weeks)

Brad and Shanna showing their True Blue colors!

Ryan and Julie, Maylie, Brianna and Ashlie look especially patriotic to show how proud we are of their brother who is serving as a Jag in Iraq.

The whole gang saying "We are True Blue"
We miss Brian and Natalie, Kennedy and Nathan.
We love you and God Bless the USA!

We had a great time with the boat and Ryan even helped us to get the canopy to work. It was great.

The "True Blue Calls " are
*True to our God
*True to our family
*True to our country
*True to ourselves.

Brad is going to try his luck at starting on the dock. It looked easy for him.

The Arfmann gang all had to jump in the water one last time.
They know how to make things fun!

Ashlie wanted to make sure Dad was near. It was pretty cold water. She is brave!!

Jules did some knee boarding and wake boarding. You'll have to check her blog for the wake boarding. I was doing crafts with the kids.

Brad did some pretty cool jumps on the wake.

Lots of smiles and hugs from Maylie.

Lots of hugs and kisses from Brianna.

Ryan did some cool sprays while he skiied.

Sisters forever!

Grandpa and Brianna, two sweethearts.

I loved this picture with the googles and the earrings! This girl is ready for anything!
She didn't want to take off the earrings till absolutely necessary.

Jules ready for some water fun.

Shanna the Wake board dudette.

Life jackets everyone!

We are ready for fun!!

Everyone painted Lulu Lady Bug but Ashlie especially showed her talent with paint. She was so careful.

Brad and Shanna in the lake withthe new little paddle boat and Uncle Jim Bob's kayak.
I'm not sure who won this race. I just know I kept going in circles in the paddle boat.

I had prayed that this time together would be fun and help us build our unity as a family. Well the Lord answered my prayer but a little different than I had planned. On our way up a very steep pass to Williams lake, Ryan got a flat on his truck, with 4 wheelers behind him. Quite a process. Everyone jumped in to help and I kept the kids entertained in the motorhome. Then 15 minutes later Charlie and I took a wrong turned and climbed much further than we needed and smoke started coming from under the hood. We had to sit and wait while it cooled but Ryan and Brad came to the rescue when we didn't show up and took the kids back while it cooled. It drove fine to the cabin. Charlie drove Brad and Shanna's car home on friday for Woodbadge. Brad and Ryan left early pulling the boat so they could do some 4 wheeling. I drove the motorhome down this steep revene with Julie and Shanna shaking the whole time. It was simple but Shanna was on the edge of the cliff. When we got to town we did some shopping at Arfmann's Four Seasons.
All the girls buckeled in the motorhome and headed for Idaho Falls. We had gone a few miles when I saw some strange white smoke coming from the exhaust I thought. I really just wanted to get home and tired to imagine it came from another car. Then I asked Julie if she could see it. She thought it was because of the new pavement. (She wanted to get home too) Finally there was so much smoke that we could not ignore it any more and I finally found a spot to pull over on this narrow 2 lane road. When I tried to move the motorhome ahead a little it would not go forward or backward. We got Ryan on the phone just as they were passing us and we determined it needed to be towed to Salmon. We put everyone but me in the truck and headed back to the Arfmann home of hospitality. Brad and Ryan met me with the tow truck at 10:45 at night in Salmon and helped me unload the motorhome into the back of Ryan's truck. We all went to Arfmann's where they found beds for all of us. ( They are in the middle of remodeling but still invited us in with open arms. ) We all got up and waited for Charlie to come with the pickup to tow the 4 wheelers and haul all of our stuff. When it was all done we all worked together and included all the adventures as part of the fun and part of being a family. The Lord knows that challenges make us strong. We want to be a strong family. I am thankful to the Lord for his blesssings. I want to thank everyone for going the extra mile in preparation and planning and helping with everything. I felt the unity and love as I had a group hug with everyone who helped. Thank you.
Brian and Natalie, Kennedy and Nathan, we look forward to when you can unite with us.
We are the "True Blue Calls"!

Nauvoo Pageant

As we were getting ready to pack, Ryan came over with the girls to say good-bye and they climbed in the trunk of our new car. We sure hated to leave them! They truly light up our lives.

The beautiful Mississippi River. We were almost there.Nauvoo pageant site. We are back. What a wonderful spirit here!

This is the home we rented for 2 weeks. It was on a bluff just 1 mile out of town. We saw deer, racoons, foxes, skunks rabbits, possoms, and dozens of birds.

This is at one of the afternoon vinettes. This is the person who played Emma in the pageant and at all the vinettes. Here, she and Joseph share letters.

This is the gentelman who plays Joseph in the pageant. He has a wonderful smile and a great testimony you can feel as he speaks Joseph's words.

This is the silk panels the members of the pageant raise to represent the building of the first temple in Nauvoo. It is a joyful scene where couples enter the temple to be sealed. At the end of the pageant the panels drop and the new temple on the bluff of Nauvoo is lighted and the voice of President Hinckley speaks of the Nauvoo temple and the Salt Lake Temple as book-ends and they face each other. The Moroni on the Nauvoo temple faces west. The only one to do so.

The finale scene where every one has changed into light colored costumes and Joseph and Hyrum and all are on the stage representing the resurrection and families being together forever. It brought tears to my eyes every time I had the chance to see it. Their are about 150 people on the stage at various times and most of them have at least 3 costumes. That is what I helped with. There are 2 casts there at all times it is amazing what the costume department does. One cast turns is their costumes on Saturday night they have volunteers who take out all the hems on all the dresses we go the every laundromat within 15 miles at about midnight and wash and dry, bring them back and hang them up to be ready to fit on the next cast who will learn all the dances and songs and be the primary cast the following week. It is quite amazing to see how peaceful and loving they do all the instruction and direction. The spirit touches every life that comes or particiaptes in any way.

Just below the temple they have a lovely garden. This statue represents Joseph and Hyrum as they looked back at Nauvoo as they were on the way to Carthage.

We love going to the temple in Nauvoo. A special feeling is there as we both think of the sacrifice many of our ancestors made in the early days to build the temple and now I feel as though we are fulfilling the promises made to them. Both sessions we had time to attend were led by a relative of Charlie's. We were even chosen to be the witness couple at one session. We love to see the temple!

Costume room filled with different colors and sizes. The color of dresses and style was determined by what district each family was assigned. Men, women, and children are fitted with costumes on Monday and Tuesday. During that time costume department is hemming skirts and pants and little girl dresses and boys pants as fast as we can. Some families may have 100 pieces of clothing to keep track of for two weeks. All the men have hats, shirts, vests, pants in at least 2 colors. Ladies have bodices, skirts, huge slips, pantaloons, hats, and shawls in at least 2 or 3 colors. The costuming is amazing!!!

Charlies favorite past time when he wasn't doing security. We lived on a dirt road and our new Avalon did not like the dust. (Charlie loved cleaning and driving it to Nauvoo.)

We worked backstage at night also to help with the costume changes.

These were 2 very talented ladies, Pennie and Marlene.

Charlie worked with Pennie's husband Denny.

We were taught alot of skills while we were there and made new hats to replace the ones that are getting worn out. The base of this hat is a mum wicker basket that you iron, cut and wire before covering it with fabric and putting an eyelet lining inside.

These were costume helpers from Canada. Everyone comes with such willing and helpful hearts.

Maxine and I helped in "the can" behind this green curtain to help alot of ladies change in a matter of minutes several times each night. She had her son-in-law there also as cast members.

We feel so blessed to participate in this great work. The Lord is bringing to pass promises. The people in the area are softening their hearts and great things come from the pageant and the truth it teaches. Missionaries came to our last cast meeting and told us of some the miracles of conversion as investigators listened to the truths of the gospel taught by the wonderful story and the spirit that testifies of the truthfulness to them. Thanks to our family who took care of things in our absence. We love you all and hope to be faithful forever like our forefathers who were inspired to join the church and endure the persecutions so that we could have the blessings of the gospel and the temple.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Florida Fun!

Grandpa demonstrated how Pinnochio's nose grows.
Kennedy was not going to be out done and her nose grew even longer!

Nathan loves lemons!

Nathan, the muscle man!

Kennedy and Sleeping Beauty doll.
Nathan and Grandma exchanging hugs!

Grandpa and Nathan playing on the beach.
A birthday cake for Daddy!

Nathan and Mom and Grandma and Handy Manny tools.
Handy Manny tools and Kennedy.

We flew into Florida on Tuesday and met Kennedy running to greet us in the airport. Nathan had a giant smile and not quite sure who these grinning huggy people were. Now he is nine months and he was only 3months when we saw him last at his blessing. Natalie had been living with the kids at her Aunt Chie's for a week or so because of a mold problem in their home. Natalie is such a good sport! She and the kids moved into our hotel for the week while she was
encouraging the rental company to do what they said they would do. We had so much fun with them there. We went swimming in the pool and looked for a new home for them (which thankfully they don't need). We spent a day at the beach and built a birthday cake for Dad in the sand. We tried to get Natalie to let us help her clean their home after the crew did their work cleaning the mold, but she wanted us to have a bit of a vacation and play with the kids all we could. (We were happy to play, play, play.) Handy Manny is a tool box that dances and makes music that we brought for Nathan but the fun was not lost on Kennedy. We acted out Handy Manny scenes every day. Kennedy was Handy Manny, I was the hardware store lady named Kellie and Nathan and Grandpa and Mom gave Kennedy repair jobs and she would come to the store for parts! We never lacked for things to do because I like to bring a bag full of games and paints and art paper. We missed Brian every day, especially as we went to his favorite Indian restaurant Bombay Masala. Brian, I gave double hugs each day. One for me and one for you.
I'm surprised the kids were not tired of hugs but Kennedy could always find time for one more. Nathan is so cuddley that he didn't seem to mind. We were amazed at how capably Natalie managed staying with us and working out the mold issues. We know the Lord has blessed her to take care of their family in Brian's absence. We love their little family so much!