Sunday, December 11, 2011

Scout leaves January 2nd for her new job as a nanny for a family in Glenview, Illinois. For a year!
More later:)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Yes - Our trip to Yosemite was clear back in August, but it still needs a belated mention in the blog archives. So forgive me because here it goes...

Jaw - dropping.

That is the the reaction I had when JT, Rock, Mayflower and I turned the corner in Yosemite Valley and saw El Capitan for the first time. This is one of those places where pictures are worth a thousand words and yet just don't do justice to the scope of the landscape. I was simply speechless at times.

The first day in Yosemite Valley (hereafter known as "the Valley") was spent leisurely sight-seeing, taking photos and gathering some last minute trail beta and tracking down some gloves to use on the chains of Half Dome. We camped outside the park in a campground called Yosemite Pines. It was about an hour away, but the accommodations were much cheaper than in the Valley.
August 8th - Half Dome Day ...8.5 miles up to the top....which means 8.5 miles back down:)
Start time: approx 6:20 am
Rock, JT, Mayflower and I (DB).
Waterfalls - 2 major falls plunging hundreds of combined feet. Mist, moss, rainbows, weeping rocks, etc.
Breathtaking views - numerous at every corner.
Towering granite formations - always in view.
Trees stretching to the heavens - a forest full of them.
Until we got to the "shoulder" of Half Dome, Mayflower was the youngest person on the trail that I saw. Out of 400 permits for hikers that day, I saw only 2 boys younger than her.
Now about our little Mayflower. I am pretty proud of her. She was literally the energizer bunny (thanks in part to a little Zipfizz in her Camelbak) that kept bopping along the trail in front of us, waiting patiently as I took pictures and never whined or complained. She wanted to turn back twice (1. as she made her way up the granite steps cut into the shoulder of Half Dome and 2. when she first saw "the cables" to the peak. Her fear of heights and the exposure put tears in her eyes. It turns out that her fear of being left behind to sit and wait was greater), but only when her strength literally gave out and she could not safely pull herself up the cables did she wisely turn back. Rock turned back down the cables with her to make sure she got down safely and I was left to follow JT and pull myself and the camera up to the top and document his bucket list check mark. I had not prepared my upper body for this at all! Legs and cardio were no problem, but the dozens of pull-ups required while trying to keep my mind focused on putting one foot above the other while keeping a tight grip on both cables was one of the toughest things I've done in a long time. I kept thinking that if I turned around, JT would have no one to take his picture at the TOP! That, and the thought that I just might not get here ever again. ( A sad side note here - for some reason I can't get my pictures of Half Dome to upload here. Please see them in my facebook photos).
So, I hauled my sorry carcass up those blasted cables, never looking down, and blessing my garden gloves the entire way. I am extremely grateful that Mayflower wisely decided not to continue up the cables. She pushed herself past her limits as it was and I am very proud of her for knowing her abilities. JT and I enjoyed taking photos on top of Half Dome and marveling at the view of the valley. The "shuffle-slide" back down the cables was much easier for me. It felt like rappelling:) Only with much more concentration required seeing as the "rope" was missing. It was still very slow going, though, because those people coming up the cables have the right of way, so those going down scoot over as much as they can and let those pulling themselves up go past.
As the 4 of us made our way back down the trail, our water ran low. But knowing that we brought a water filter eased my mind. As we came back to the river to filter water, it was discovered that a small crack in the filter we noticed that morning had grown to the point that it was virtually unusable. The nice couple that we told to meet us at the river and we could fill up their water bottles were sadly out of luck as well, but extremely kind and forgiving. It was fun getting to know June and Brian from LA.
So we hustled down the trail, JT and Mayflower taking the slightly longer but less steep way we had come up, while Rock and I ventured down the Mist Trail to see another waterfall. We all met back up together near the end and finished the hike in just over 12 hours. Thirsty, hungry and tired never felt so good!
First of all, special thanks need to go to Little T for her amazing permit-getting skills. Without her, this special trip never would have happened. Next time for sure!
Second - My big bro JT rocked! It was so fun to share this adventure with him. It was because of him that I made it to the "TOP".
And last - My Rock and my Mayflower. You amaze me. You both made this adventure ...priceless.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

August Relief Society presidency message

Here is my quarterly contribution to my Relief Society's monthly newsletter....(was that confusing enough?) I love my calling:)

One day this past week I found myself alone, laying in the warm sand of Zion National Park next to a hidden waterfall in a beautiful side canyon with some very rare “alone time” on my hands. I took the opportunity to meditate and pray in gratitude for the love that I felt from my Heavenly Father for allowing me this precious gift. We all feel our Heavenly Father’s love in different ways, and for me, I often feel it the easiest when I am enjoying His creations. I am reminded by Elder Bednar in the October 2009 General Conference that ....”Love is the motivating principle by which the Lord leads us along the way towards becoming like Him, our perfect example. Our way of life, hour by hour, must be filled with the love of God and love for others... It is love of God that will lead us to keep His commandments. And love of others is at the heart of our capacity to obey Him.

Remember the challenge to look for and acknowledge the ways that you see God’s love for you in your life. Record them. Share them when appropriate. And not least of all, please know that as Relief Society sisters in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, you have all of our love as well!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

I won!

In reference to my post of May 23...I won! It certainly wasn't easy, but it will be well worth it. I am so grateful that through fasting, prayer and the work that I do for a living, I have been given the knowledge and understanding to know my way around health insurance companies, policies, procedures and appeals. I was notified yesterday by my health insurance company that my visits with the "Voice Doctor" will be processed to my in-network benefits:) I receive my next treatment on Friday July 15. Happy Day!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

2 for 1

Last Monday, Scout and Michex ventured forth for a summer at Camp Sugar Pine, a Girl Scouts of America sponsored resident camp. They spent a night in Panguitch and picked up best friend Karli and then spent the next night in St George visiting cousins and Aunt Bethany and Uncle Brandon. They reached camp safe and sound (as far as I know) because Scout called me Friday night and told me all about how she had spent the day cleaning out the Art Barn. She swept, dusted, wiped, inventoried, cleaned out shelves and drawers and then swept and mopped again. She was planning on painting some of the bulletin/cork boards the next day. They can only get cell phone service about a half mile away from the camp, so once the campers arrive, Scout and Michex won't be leaving the camp to make phone calls or anything. So.......! Here is the mailing address:) They would both love to get letters from anyone!

Jet or Jazz
Camp Sugar Pine
Box 4398
Camp Connell, CA 95223

For the protection of their staff members, the camp has them go by a nickname.
Scout = Jet
Michex = Jazz
Karli = Smalls

It would seem that my house is quite a bit quieter and somewhat empty for the summer. Not so! Rock's nephew, Dallin (Big D) has taken up residence in Michex's empty room. Since he graduated from Ben Lomond high school a couple of weeks ago and is currently under employed like a lot of people in today's economy, the "rent" of $200.00 he was being asked to pay at home was too expensive for him. So he happily helps around the house and especially in the yard in exchange for a bed, pillow, food and shower. I think I am getting the best end of the deal:) He is sweet, cheerful and gracious so far and Mayflower loves doting on him. He has helped dig out unwanted fence posts and railroad ties, mow lawns, re-stack wood piles, clean out the shed and fix broken sprinkler pipe. We also enjoyed having Rock's parents parked in our driveway for a couple of weeks with their 5th wheel. They have gone up to Idaho to spend the summer and will stop by again on their way back home to Mesa, AZ in the fall. We sure love having them!

Shematite's play, Into the Woods opens this coming Friday, June 17th.
Get your tickets online at

So that is what is going on in our neck of the woods!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Done with that!

Well. I just sent appeal letter #2 to my health insurance company last week. Apparently the only doctor in the entire state that comprehensively treats the voice disorder that I have, and that I have been seeing for over 3 years, is not a contracted provider for the new health insurance company that we switched to in September through the school district. So I have been balance billed for the 2 treatments I have received since then. $500.00 each. I can't afford any more balance billing, so I won't be getting any more Botox treatments for my voice unless I win the appeal, or until September when we have the option of enrolling in a different health plan. So I will apologize now for using up valuable energy as I try to battle feeling frustrated, fatigued, emotional and withdrawn. Any prayers would be appreciated. There you have it. Wo is me.
Okay! Done with that! Shematite and I went to the nursery on Saturday and picked out lots of fun flowers for her to plant and take care of . It makes her GIDDY:) She is also busy rehearsing for another play this summer - Into the Woods. She plays one of Cinderella's step sisters. More info on that will be forth coming. Michex took a power tool to the side yard fence and took it down. We now call her, "Michex, the Destroyer". Mayflower is finishing up school and had fun running on the track team as a seventh grader in the 800 m. Scout is home from Dixie and she and Michex are eagerly preparing for their departure in June to Camp Sugar Pine in northern California to work for the summer. Scout will be the art director and Michex will be a unit counselor. I look forward to running a few miles out on the trail once in awhile. It seems to keep me sane:)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"Spiritual Revival in my Heart"

I was reminded today, as I had the privilege of singing with my sister Bethany at her sweet friend Stacy's funeral, that music has a special power to comfort and heal hearts. Best friends do the same thing:) Sweet Stacy's husband said to us with love and tears of hope and healing in his eyes that, "that was the most beautiful song I have ever heard. It was like a spiritual revival in my heart."
YES - The plan of happiness is in place, the atonement is accomplished, the resurrection is assured. Thank you Stacy for the beautiful example of friendship and love.


We spent the last weekend in February up at Lava Hot Springs with the"clan". Rock's parents, Bob and Karen, gave us a night at the Aura Soma Lava Convention Center as a Christmas gift to our family. We decided to buy another night and invite Rock's sisters and their families and have a huge cousin slumber party! It was a blast:) We played games, swam in the private hot pool on the property, ate yummy food and laughed until we cried. Definitely a do-over.

It snowed a lot the night we drove up there. We wished we had brought our snow clothes and boots so we could have built a snow cave and had a snowball fight. Instead, the kiddos got really hot in the pool and then had a "who can lay in the snow the longest in their swimsuit" contest. Ashlyn getting a big hug from Uncle Rock.
Mayflower, Kyle and his friend Kelsey.
All the cousins (and some tag-a-long friends) enjoying a hot soak!!
Playing games.

Eryn, Teran, Kyle and Dallin playing Just Dance.
I hope we can make some more memories next year:)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Job Well Done

Due to chronic arthritis, a tooth abscess and cancer, our furry friend Milo was gently laid to rest at Li'l Dew Ranch last week. We are so grateful to Wildbound, Wildman and the kiddos for loving him, taking care of him and making all his herding "jobs" important:)

Dear Milo,

May the sheep be fluffy, plentiful and slow.
May the thunderstorms be muted and short.
May the rubber tires be forever detached from the lawn mower.
And may the Hands that scratch your ears and rub your tummy be gentle and warm.
Keep up the good work! We'll see you again:)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

What transpired at the lunch table.

Today at our lunch table (as opposed to the dinner table), the conversation went something like this...

Michex: (While eating a lemon cupcake) Hey. This tastes like Christian Bale.

The rest of us: Huh?

Michex : Christian Bale is lemon. If he were a flavor, it would be lemon.

Me (DB): Well, in that case, what flavor would Robert Downey, Jr. be?

Shematite: Dark Chocolate.

Me: Jude Law

Shematite: Caramel

Me: Who would be milk chocolate?

Shematite: Ryan Reynolds...with strawberries.

Me: How about cinnamon?

Shematite: Will Smith

Michex: Chocolate covered cinnamon bears!

All: Ya!

Harrison Ford?....Allspice/gingerbread
Clint Eastwood?....licorice
James Franco? Reese's peanut butter cup
Apple pie?...........Toby Mcguire!
Cookies & Cream?.......Zachary Quinto!
Gerard Butler?........ mint chocolate chip
Judd a.k.a. "Fabio" ( the newest winner of Survivor)......anyone? anyone? Pina colada!

Me: Okay girls. So who would be Rocky Road?
Shematite: (without missing a beat) ...Sylvester Stalone!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Family news in the traditional letter kind of way...

Here’s the low-down on the family for 2010!

Mayflower (12)~ Entered the Young Women program in April. Backpacked over 10 miles each way into the Grand Canyon to Havasupai in June with her mom, dad, grandparents, and various aunts, uncles, cousins and friends! Enjoys voice lessons, but has discontinued piano and tumbling. Loves roller coasters and skinny jeans. Hates to be alone in public places (won’t even walk to the next aisle in the store without someone with her). Likes to crochet and make friendship bracelets, but hates pudding, applesauce and pizza with sauce. Passed the Canyoneering 101 course designed by Rock by hiking, downclimbing, swimming and rappelling through Keyhole Canyon in Zion National Park. Performed in The Crucible this past fall at the Union Station under the direction of Aunt Chelsea and Uncle Caleb. Got braces on her teeth and helped her 7th grade girls flag football team win the 7th period championship! Likes banana bread, but hates bananas.

Michex (18)~ Graduated in May from Weber High School. Enjoyed all kinds of singing, dancing, performing and playing that came with being in Chamber Quire and Play Productions. Hated saying good-bye to lots of school friends, but loved being able to still go to girls camp as a youth leader and perform in the Arise Youth Spectacular. Has chosen to study Theater with an emphasis in technical design at Weber State University. That means lights, sound and cool stuff like that! Works part time at the local Arby’s, but will soon be joining our team at Dr. Major’s office as one of our front desk receptionists. Loves cheesecake, but hates confrontation. Continues to share her vocal talents with local sacrament meeting congregations. Loves soft pretzels, lemonade and banana bread, but hates bananas.

Scout (20) ~ Completed her 3rd semester at Dixie State College in St George (and just started her 4th). Enjoyed studying Art, Visual Technology, RA responsibilities and ninja skills. Promptly left the borders of the United States after spring semester to perform with her Dixie State Raging Red show choir in CHINA! Came back. Flew to Maine and worked/taught at Kamp Kohut for the summer as a camp counselor specializing in arts and crafts, outdoor skills and rock climbing. Loved the kids, hated the humidity! Loves taking friends hiking in Zion and hanging out with Aunt Bethany, Uncle Brandon, Kass, Mitch and the Coombs family in St. George, but hates pizza, gravy of any kind, girl drama (you know what I mean) and excuses. Currently is serving as the Relief Society 2nd counselor in her student ward. Likes bananas, hates banana bread.

Shematite (22) ~ Smashed the Terrace Plaza Playhouse’s previous attendance records by bringing the house down each night she performed as Milly in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers last winter/spring (a proud mother has the right to exaggerate to make a point). Discovered her green thumb and brought the flower gardens in the yard to life and new heights this summer with her meticulous, daily attentions. Enjoyed a couple of classes at Weber State University during the summer, but struggles with major depressive disorder and anxiety. Loves FOOTBALL and that means Peyton Manning, but hates it when the Colts lose and when her pants don’t fit right. Loves movies, but hates both banana muffins (especially if they have chocolate chips in them, because that is just taunting) and...bananas!

Rock ~ Finally got a new calling! Was released from the Elder’s Quorum and called to be the Teacher’s Quorum advisor. The fun is just beginning:) Instructs Fremont High students not only in Math, but driver education and tennis as well (which frequently adds up to 14 hour days). Continues his quest for his Master’s degree in Teaching with Technology. Says that there are too many things he loves to list here and too few things he hates to bother remembering what they are. Apparently has a beef with Associated Food Stores for their decision to discontinue the distribution of his favorite Brazilian beverage, Guarana. I must add my displeasure as well. Ran two 5k’s with his honey (Yep! That’s me!)...simply because he loves her- not running:) Loves both bananas and banana bread....and Hallmark Christmas movies!

Desertbound ~ Hmmm....what a year! I have thoroughly enjoyed my calling in the church as the Relief Society 2nd counselor. LOVED hiking into Havasupai and can’t wait to go back again. Loved trying a little bit of trail running and found what feels like a new lease on life with the increase in energy I feel. It also keeps me sane:) I have been working long hours and overtime at Dr. Major’s office trying to implement new electronic billing software as well as electronic medical records. A work still in progress. I hate the fact that I need sleep. I loved floating in the Great Salt Lake this summer, but hated the bugs. Loved making memories with my family and friends on various adventures, including hiking the Subway in Zion, hiking Ben Lomond peak and mountain biking in St. George. Hated making the change back to standard time and losing my daylight in the evening in which to run. But never fear! Daylight Savings Time will soon appear:) Oh! And I hate bananas, but LOVE banana bread!

Looking back at the previous year always helps me feel extremely grateful for all of our blessings. Even events or conditions that appear to be trials have helped us draw closer as a family and closer to the Lord. We see His hand in our lives. We know He lives. We hope this new year brings an uncommon sense of gratitude to you all. We are certainly grateful for all of you.