We had our annual Willard Reunion June 18th-20th. I always look forward to seeing my sisters and their families. This year a lot of the nieces and nephews were unable to make it so I didn't get to catch up with as many as I would have liked. I was really happy this year that our oldest, Shannon and her husband, Chris, and our granddaughter, Jennsen were able to make it. Chris also brought along his little nephew and niece, Tyler and Makayla. My family has really enjoyed getting to know my step children and have really taken them in as a part of the family. I think that they feel that also and I'm happy that they will make an effort to come. I was really happy that Becky (Hegerhorst) North and her hubby, Stewart, were able to be there. They won't be able to make it for the next few years with Stewart's busy schedule and them living in the east. Katie and Margie were also there, who are always a ton of fun to have around. Some of the others have moved back east like Kent and Jackie Stowe and now Justin and Nichole Merrell. We hope that they will be able to make it out once in awhile. I was happy to get to see a few of my oldest sister's girls. I hadn't seen ShaNae for quite a few years so that was nice, and it's always great to see Rasheil and Melodie and families too!! I was glad that even though Cassy and her family had some prior committments that they were able to make it up on Saturday and spend some time with us too!! Roberta was in charge this year and we had it up at Pine Basin Lodge in Swann Valley, Idaho. My brother in law, Keith's Father was a part of a group who opened the lodge with some tow rope ski lifts. They did a great job with the reunion and we had a lot of fun.
Larry and I went up on Thursday and spent the night in Idaho Falls. We had lunch with Shan and Chris in Idaho Falls and then they took their trailer on up to Swann Valley to spend the night. I talked Larry into going up to Rexburg to see the Ricks College campus, now known as B.Y.U. Idaho. It had been years since I had been on campus and Larry was not sure I really had attended the school there. lol There were so many new buildings, but I did get pictures of the dorm that I had stayed in my two years there and they hadn't changed all that much. We also stopped to see the temple there, which is beautiful. We then went back to Idaho Falls and went to the temple grounds there. My parents were married there in 1946, which was cool because they were married on the 19th of June, so we were there around their 64th anniversary. We then went to the little park that runs next to the falls by the temple. It was enjoyable.
The next morning we went on up to Swann Valley and met up with Shan and Chris. We decided since we weren't suppose to be up to the Lodge until 1:00 that we would go on up to the Palisades Dam a few more miles up the road. We just took some relaxing time there letting the little dogs and kids play in the water. The Snake River was quite chilly.
Then we headed up to the Lodge and met up with Roberta, Bonnie and their hubbies. Soon many of the others began to show up too. My mom's youngest brother was also invited and he and his daughter, Chandler, also came. We were excited to see them. We had a lot of fun activities that night. We learned a lot about our ancestors. Many of my ancestors lived in that area of Idaho, so it was enjoyable to talk about them and learn about them. Marla had also brought some papers that she still had from mom (things to do with genealogy and our family) I especially loved reading through some of our Family Home Evening minutes. Yes, my mom had us keep minutes of our meetings....and I must say that I'm really glad that she did, because it brought back a lot of memories. Roberta took that stuff to her house and we are planning on getting together to go through it. Roberta has caught the spirit of Elijah and is trying to work on the genealogy, especially on Dad's side of the family.
Saturday we did some GEO caching, went and got famous square ice cream cones, and did other fun things, including a spontaneous dog race. Shan, Chris and Jennsen had their to little dogs there and Sha Nae had hers and of course Katie had her Rupert. So Shannon set up a course area and we had a race. It was quite hilarious...Rupert came in 3rd only because Sha Nae's little chihuahua left the course. LOL We're proud of all of our 4 legged family members!!
Sunday, we went down to Sacrament meeting and helped Roberta and Keith get the lodge cleaned up. Then we had lunch and said our goodbye's. What a fun reunion. Thanks to the Kopps!! Larry and I had planned to stay around the area another day. So we went back up toward Rexburg to Parker and Teton, where many of my ancestors are buried. I took my camera and took a lot of pictures of the headstones. I took pictures of any graves that had Housley or Bird on them. It was a nice way to spend the rest of the sabbath. It was wonderful to look around and see the area that my ancestors called home and lived. I could feel their spirits it seemed. We then headed down to Pocatello where we had planned to stay the night.
Monday on our way home I asked Larry if we could detour off to Huntsville, Utah where my great grandfather Willard was buried. However for fun we had to stop at Smith and Edwards to get some amo cans for geo caching and of course a few other things that we couldn't pass up. I had never been to Huntsville before and loved seeing the beautiful valley. I could imagine my family living there and the love of this beautiful valley. I still want to go to Mendon and Paridise Utah to look at more family. Since I've been back, I've been doing a lot of looking up these names that I took pictures of. I've found many of these names being aunts, uncles or cousins. It's been a ton of fun. I think I feel the genealogy bug biting me a bit too!! Reunions are so important. Not only is it a time to enjoy our families, but it brings us closer and builds bonds. We know each other better, we learn about our eternal families. We've been linked together through temple marriages and we are eternal families. I love my family and enjoy spending time with them. We all have so much to share and give to one another. It is so important to try to make our families and our extended families a priority!! I love you all...thanks family for the fun and laughter!!
June 14th was Larry and my 7th anniversary. There are times that I can't believe I've been married that long and then there are times that it seems like it's been more than that and I mean that in a good way! It was a pretty normal day. I had just gotten back from Girls camp the end of the last week and our anniversary was on a Monday. Soooo Larry went off to work and I did a little laundry and a few other things to clean up after camp here at home. I also got Larry's present wrapped. I've had his gift since April. I had gone in and gotten it during my spring break. I knew what I wanted to give him this year. He has this favorite jeweler, Mike's Custom Jewelry, that he always gets my jewelry at. I decided I wanted to get him a ring this year. I knew I had to get it at Mike's. They are a little more pricey 'cause they do custom work...they're REAL Jewelers. Anyway...it was a beautiful ring and I think he really loved it.... at least he's been wearing it every day. We had decided that weekend that it would be fun to do dinner and go out to a movie. I thought we might just keep it low key and go here in Tooele, but Larry emailed me during the day and asked if I'd like to go out to dinner at Tuscany (a nice Italian place in S.L.C.) and to a movie in there. That sounded great to me. We had reservations for 7:00 pm. I looked up the movie we had talked about going to and found the times and where it was playing. Dinner was delicious and the chefs even sent us out a nice dessert with a candle in it for our anniversary. We then went down to Jordan Commons to see a movie called "Killers". Doesn't sound like a very good anniversary movie does it?? lol It actually is a Romantic Comedy and has a lot of good guns in it that kept Larry interested too!! (He actually is very willing to watch the romantic comedies with me.) With just the two of us at home almost every night we have a lot of time together anyway...but it was a wonderful evening to remember the love that we share and enjoy each other. Just want to say with all the ups and downs, I still love Larry so very much and hope for so many more wonderful years together right into Eternity!! I love you Larry!!
This year the stake decided to let us have ward camps for girls camp. Our camp leader decided to try and go to this place called "Reid Ranch". It's out past Strawberry Reservoir and Current Creek. You make a turn towards Tabiona when you get to Fruitland. Anyway, we knew it was going to be a bit cushy, not really camping. We decided that our goal for this camp was to try to build some bonds between all of the girls in our ward. We called it a "Sisterhood Retreat" instead of camp and had the theme of "Building Bonds of Sisterhood". When we first got there the people who run the place met us at our lodge and gave us a introduction to the ranch. We had a lodge to ourselves with real beds, our own swimming pool and spa. And when the girls heard that the help would be in each morning to make their beds their jaws just dropped, as did all of the leaders. The best part for us as the leaders was that we weren't going to have the trouble of getting the girls to fix the dinners or clean up afterwards because we all ate at a central dining area provided by the management. There were some mighty good meals I must say. The weather was going to be beautiful while we were there which made it even better. My only problem was on the way up I got a flat tire. It could have been from the 13 miles of dirt roads and rocks that we went through to get there.(by the way I went all the way home on the spare donut, but I made it.) We also assigned each girl a "secret sister" that we wanted them to get to know better and even we as leaders had one within the leaders. All of our Presidency was able to attend along with our two camp leaders. We planned devotionals for each morning and evening. There was quite the air of excitement from all the girls as they settled in and got prepared for a few days of fun and relaxation.
The 1st night there the girls were put into 3 groups with each group having a bag of a variety of things. They were asked to come up with a skit that also had music in it. They did a great job!! We had a play about a princess that was looking for the right guy, we had a play about the Bra Fairy..if you look at the pictures I think you can see our newest Beehive with the Bra on.. and the other play was about a cooking show and the Cook, Kristin, was so hilarious that we were all crying. Then of course when those were finished we had the traditional camp Smores and a devotional before going to bed.
I wish I would have gotten some more pictures of the activities that the girls and of course we as leader could do. I didn't have my camera with me when the girls were out in the pool or the leaders in the spa. I wish that I would have had my camera with me when I was doing archery and made 3 BULLS EYES! Someone took the picture and I'll get it from them when I get a chance. The girls could have played Frisbee Golf, table tennis, Foosball, boat on their nearby lake with canoes or paddle boats. (That wasn't their most favorite as they could do that in their own back yards.) I think one of their favorites was the horseback riding. I did go up and get a few shots as you can see. We also found time to make crafts, which were mostly about the temple. And also just enjoy some down time at the lodge where we stayed
Wednesday evening after our steak dinner, we prepared for the always wonderful Testimony meeting. There was one other group up there the same time that we were and they were from Riverton. They were a Tongan & Somoan branch up for their Youth Conference. We had seen and talked to them when we all at our meals together. Some of the girls wanted to know if they'd sing to us with their instruments. They agreed and came to our campfire before our testimonies and sang us a couple of songs. They were beautiful songs. Then we had a devotional that I gave on testimonies and how important they were to build deep so that you will be able to weather any storms. The spirit was really there and most of the girls and leaders expressed their love of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We even had a few girls there that have not been very active...one that had never even been at or seen a testimony meeting. She bore her testimony about some miracles that had happened in her family in the last few weeks and how she truly believed it was the priesthood of this church that had made the difference. As new and budding as that testimony was it was beautiful. It was a wonderful meeting and I know the girls felt the spirit. After the testimony meeting the other branch asked our girls to come down and party a little with them...which they anxiously accepted. The polynesian people are so loving and accepting and the girls had a ton of fun!!!
Thursday morning was our last day there. We prepared the girls Wednesday night that we would be getting up at 5:30 for a sunrise hike. Well... the morning was beautiful and it wasn't a rough or difficult hike. It took us about 20-30 minutes to get there and along the way we would stop to see the rays of the sun starting to rise behind the mountains. We were headed towards some rocks that the help at Reid Ranch called the Thinking Rocks. It was a beautiful spot. Our President, Jill, gave us a morning devotional and we stood and said our YW Theme together. We also revealed our "secret sisters" that we had been assigned to do something nice for each day and to learn something new about them. This also brought some tears as we felt the love and bonding that had been our goal. I really feel that we came together and bonded as a ward Young Women. Thanks to all of the girls and leaders. I love you sooooo much. What a great YW Camp... I mean vacation!!!!
Thought it would be fun to keep a little journal this way, and I have to get up to speed with my nieces who are blogging. I'm a 4th grade teacher and have enjoyed teaching for 29 years. I'm married to the most wonderful man and have a step family that I love and have become just as much mine as they are Larry's. We have 4 children and 6 terrific grandchildren and there will be 7 in March. By the way...the baby with me in the picture is my beautiful niece Cortni LaDawn. She has my middle name.