Saturday, July 30, 2011

Grand Teton National Park

We were very interested in trying new and different things during our Yellowstone trip this year. One major change was to go out the south entrance to the park so we could visit Grand Teton National Park. Several people have told me they think it’s a great travesty that I’ve been to Yellowstone many times but have never seen Grand Teton. Let me tell you it was well worth the visit I made there!!!

The Tetons are breathtaking, and the best part of this tour was watching them get steadily closer and then you’re right on top of them. So gorgeous! I fell in love with both Jackson Lake and Jenny Lake. Years ago I read the book “Jenny of the Tetons” by Kristiana Gregory. I thought the story was sad because of the way it ended, but I loved seeing this lake named after the wife of Beaver Dick. Plus, the boat ride across the lake was one of the major highlights of the trip for the kids. They loved it, as you’ll see below!

Here are a few pictorial highlights of the trip.

Going out the south entrance meant we saw some different sites. This year that included the beautiful Lewis Lake. The kids enjoyed playing the water, and the adults enjoyed helping them rock the jetty.



We saw two new waterfalls on our way to Grand Teton that we’ve never seen before, Lewis Falls, left, and Moose Falls.


Here’s those beautiful Tetons I was just raving about.



Jenny Lake! It was gorgeous. As I mentioned, the kids LOVED the boat ride. I enjoyed it too. We had some people who were less than happy at that point and luckily, blessedly, the boat ride seemed to bring the happy out in everyone. Smile On the way back we had a smart aleck driver who deliberately dipped the boat so it splashed up and got us all wet, but it was okay.



Once you get to the island on the lake, you can take a short hike up to Hidden Falls. Halfway there are some pretty wicked rapids, well they’re especially wicked this year because of the wet spring we’ve had.



Anyway, those were fun, but the falls were AWESOME!! We didn’t have much time to enjoy the falls because we arrived on the island at 6, and the last boat departs at 7, so it was kind of like hike as fast as you can and then hurry back to the boat. But it was so worth it! In fact, these falls were my favorite that I saw the entire trip.


It took forever to drive all the way through the park, stop at all the viewpoints, continue on to Jackson Hole and then make our way to Rexburg where we were staying that night. But, it was so worth it! Not only did we get to do something new and different, but we got to see some of the most beautiful scenery around.

Yellowstone 2011

My poor neglected blog! It’s been such a busy month that I’ve hardly had time to write in it. I meant to update it along the way when I was in Yellowstone last week, but, alas, I either got home too late or was too exhausted when I got there to do so. I hope I can make up for it by writing about it now.

This year was memorable in that my entire family was able to come for the first time in five years. Yippee!! I have some feature pictures, but my main goal this year was to have people in as many pictures as possible. So here’s a few highlights of my trip.

Of course we saw plenty of geysers: Grand, Riverside, Castle and Old Faithful.



Plenty of hot pools




And of course any given Yellowstone trip involves plenty of waiting . . .



This trip was special because it was all about family, and as I mentioned above, I wanted to get my family in as many pictures as possible.



This year we saw quite a few waterfalls, including Kepler Cascades (below left), Lower Falls (although you can’t see it because it’s just the brink), Crystal Falls, Upper Falls, Gibbon Falls




I have a million more pictures I’d like to include, but this post is already really long. I’m definitely going to do a separate post on my visit to Grand Teton National Park, but I might also do one just on my family because they’re so great! Stay tuned!

I can’t resist ending with a little irony. Enjoy!


Monday, July 18, 2011

Moments in Time

I have plenty of things I’d like to write about in here, HP7.2, which I saw last week and loved, my upcoming vacation to my favorite place with my entire family or even my love for White Collar. But tonight my heart is turned to just one thing, or rather one person.

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You see tomorrow would’ve been her 14th birthday. For the last two weeks I’ve felt just fine and thought I could make it through this day without a lot of emotions and/or tears. Wrong.

Tonight I just started thinking about this night 14 years ago when she was born and little did we know what a beautiful angel had been sent to our family or that we’d only get to keep her for 12 years. But she lived a wonderful life and that’s always worth celebrating.

My mind is caught tonight on moments in time. Moments that I was able to spend with her, moments when her silliness or sass delighted my aunt heart, moments when she showed just how much love was contained in that sweet heart of hers, moments when I was down and she helped pick me back up, moments I was able to pick her up, particularly when she was in the hospital since I lived so close.

My mind is filled to overflowing with such moments. Sometimes those memories make me smile, but tonight they make me sad. But I’m sad for selfish reasons because I know that she is now free from pain and suffering and is happy and safe on the other side, while we’re still here missing her like crazy and waiting impatiently for the day we get to see her again.

She isn’t here anymore, but I can tell you without a shadow of doubt that she isn’t gone. She lives on. She’s watching over us, and she’s sometimes permitted to join us for important family events. I’ve felt her at a couple already, and I know she’s going to be at many more.

The times when I feel her close comfort me because I know she’s living on and I’m sure she’s doing great work on the other side. But they also make me ache with sadness that she can’t be here with us right now. At those times I want to shake my fist at the heavens and yell at God for taking her away. I want him to feel the same pain I feel inside, but I can’t and won’t choose to do so. I know her life mission has been completed and that’s why she was taken home to heaven. As Elder Scott said in his conference address a couple of years ago, now we all have a reason to live extremely well so we can see her again.

And I know this is possible because our Savior Jesus Christ atoned for our sins and overcame death so we could all live again. I can’t be angry at Heavenly Father because He watched his son be crucified and rejected in the cruelest way possible and could do nothing about it because it was set up that way in the beginning. If anybody knows the true meaning of pain, He does, and so does our Savior. They can succor me and lift me up at the times when I think the pain is unbearable.

So, I will let myself fall apart when the occasion demands, then get back up and get to work, doing the work I’m supposed to accomplish. I know that’s what Ashley would want. She wouldn’t want us to be sad, but I know she understands when we are. At least I have special moments in time with her that I can hold onto that provide me peace and comfort in the times when I really miss her.

Happy birthday, beautiful angel! I still love and miss you very much. Please keep watching over all of us, particularly your family, who still feel your absence. Good thing families are forever. Smile

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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

“All the world’s a stage. . .”

'As I mentioned in my last post, I recently took my maiden voyage to see the Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City. I was delighted to experience this wonderful event that’s turning 50 this year.

Of course since I’m the queen of pictures, I took about a million, but I’m going to spare you by only posting a few highlights. I hope you don’t mind that my blog is at times my personal travelogue where I share my experiences. But I just get so excited that I can’t help myself. And since a picture is worth 1,000 words anyway, well, in essence I’m also saving you from my wordiness. Yes, I’m getting on with it already.

Here we are at the entrance.


The Shakespeare Festival is one place where you can enjoy a quick word with the master wordsmith himself. He’s a bit of a silent chap though so he doesn’t add much to the conversation, but we enjoyed conversing with him.



Did I mention we got to see Brian Vaughan, who is one of the most well-known (and talented) Shakespeare Festival actors? This year he’s Harold Hill in “The Music Man” and I’d highly recommend the performance. It’s fantastic!


The Green Show immediately preceding the performance of “Romeo and Juliet.” From what I’ve heard of last year’s show, this one wasn’t nearly as entertaining, but it was still very enjoyable. Have I mentioned “Figaro” lately? Fi-ga-ro, Figaro, Figaro, Figaro. . . You can see him in the picture on the left. He’s the one with the dog ears.


The Adams Theatre which is pretty stinkin cool! I’ve seen the Globe in London and attended a play there, and this is a great replica. I’ve been told that it’s the most authentic one in the United States, and that is quite impressive. I loved being able to attend a play there. No, I don’t have pictures inside because the camera Nazis won’t let you, so I took them outside.



Good old Will Shakespeare. Do you think he had any idea how famous his plays would become? And that they would still be shown to sold-out crowds almost 500 years later? And what a great boost to the Cedar City and Utah economies this festival is. In case you can’t tell, it was a fantastic trip, and I’d love to go again, maybe next year.