Thursday, June 30, 2011


Tuesday of this week I had a great day. My closest friend from High School, Ellen Lee Anderson, was coming up to spend time taking care of her youngest grand daughter, while her son and daughter in law got their schedule put together as they adjust to both going back to work. I knew that she was coming up for a few months now. We keep in pretty good contact with each other and have seen each other quite a bit since high school, she was even able to make it to my wedding. I also have another great friend from high school, Shelley Decker Griffiths, that lives right up here in Centerville. She's been her since I got married 8 years ago. We've not been good at seeing each other, only a couple of times, although we have called and sent texts to each other. Anyway, since I knew that Ellen was coming up, I contacted Shelley and said that Ellen was coming and wouldn't it be great if we all got together for lunch. Just a side note, even though I've seen both of these wonderful ladies, Shelley and Ellen had not seen each other since high school. Dare I say that is 32 years. So this is the first time all 3 of us have been together in that length of time.

So...I thought it would be fun to go up to a little fun diner called "Ruth's Diner" (they have the best chocolate malt pudding) up above Hogle Zoo in Emigration Canyon in Salt Lake City. Larry took me there once and I thought it would be a fun little place to go and up the canyon it feels like you're out of the city. Ellen was of course, babysitting and had her very cute grand daughter with her.

She met us there and I met Shelley and then had her hitch a ride with me for the rest of the trip there. Ellen was there waiting for us. We got there at 1:00 and then spent until 4:00, laughing, reminiscing, and creating new memories together. The 3 of us really did use to spend a lot of time together. The 32 years really did seem to fade and we were just enjoying each other just like we always had!!

I know that Ellen will be up from time to time, with 2 sons living up here along with her husband, Steve's, mother. I also hope that Shelley and I can make a better effort to "see" each other more often also. I love you ladies and so enjoyed our visit. I can hardly wait until we can do it again. Thanks Ellen and Shelley, Love you Both!!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Stern and Lucille Willard Family Reunion 2011

June 23rd through the 25th was our family reunion. My sister, Bonnie, and her family were in charge this year. Since it was such an interesting year with the snow pack still being up in the mountains, their original plan of going up to Deer Haven up the canyon at Cedar City, UT had to be changed. So we went a little closer to them in Leeds, Utah. Kraig, my nephew, has an old track coach, Mr. Lott, from High School that he has stayed in touch with that has some land by his home that he rents out to Father and Sons and other activities for pretty cheap. So the morning of the 23rd, Larry and I put our two babies into the spa here in Stansbury Park (the new kennel here in our area). I know they'd rather be going but they do well there and they have an exercise area where they can get out and run around, so that is nice. Anyway....back to the we headed down south. We had a nice drive and went the back way to skip all the construction that is on the Wasatch Front now days. We had a little lunch in Cedar City around 1:30 or 2:00. When we arrived in Leeds we were the first except the Stowes to arrive. It was fairly warm at 101 degrees, I was glad that, that day was suppose to be the warmest of the days that we would be camping there. We found a place close to one of the trees that would provide us some shade at some point during the day, but it didn't really matter as we spent very little time at our tent anyway. I had bought a new air mattress that was one of those ones that are a little higher off the ground. It made camping even better, cause it was a nice soft place to sleep instead of the hard ground. I really don't mind camping at all except if I have to sleep on the hard ground, so it was great.

The Stowes had already set up some tables and chairs in a spot that would remain shady most all of the day which worked very well. Soon after we arrived, our daughter and her husband, Shan and Chris, arrived with their trailer and moved in close to where we were set up.
It wasn't long after that that the rest of the crew came on in and by night fall we were all there. The Milletts, Hegerhorsts, Kopps, Tenneys had finally arrived and we began to get ready for dinner. We had great hamburgers and hot dogs for our first night. We had a lot of fresh fruit at about every meal so that made it great. When it so hot the fruit just makes it so refreshing! Randy and Bonnie had gotten some cherries for fairly cheap and I had my fair share of them at about every meal.

We played a few games on Thursday night and one of my favorites, even if I had hard time coming up with some for myself, was "Two truths and a Lie". It is amazing how much you think you know about your relatives and yet you don't. Especially when you tweak the truth just enough to make it a lie. It makes things a little more confusing. Mostly it was great fun talking and enjoying each other. Katie and Margie also kept asking everyone survey questions which brought up some interesting conversations. Soon throughout the weekend we all soon asking our "survey questions."

Friday morning we got up and had breakfast about 8:30. We had good ole' pancakes and sausage, which of course was yummy. We then planned a little hike that we hoped to get off on a little earlier than we did, because of the heat, but it was all good. We drove a little ways down the road to a State Park called "Red Cliffs" (I believe) This hike has a few pools of water as you hike.

We stopped at the first pools which had an area that was fairly deep. Deep enough that you could jump from about 15-20 feet and not get hurt. The kids loved playing in this area and some even got brave enough to jump in from a shorter distance to the adults. Most were not too good at swimming yet.

Chris was the brave one of the group that went to the top to jump in, in our family. We then decided to go up just a bit further to the next pool. It was a beautiful canyon and it felt a little cooler up there too. Other than a few mishaps on the slipper sandstone rocks, the hike wasn't too bad since we all took it slow and we had our stops along the way. Of course the water made it a bit cooler too. It was hot, though, by the time we returned to the cars about noon.

We made our way back to camp for lunch and had some sandwiches. After lunch, I think the heat had taken a bit out of some us and so we chose to take a short nap before getting back up and playing some card or board games or putting together puzzles. The wind blowing was a little hard to keep all the cards and puzzle pieces on the table, but we were thankful to the breeze to keep it feeling a little cooler. After passing our time in the afternoon playing games, we had a great dinner of BBQ chicken and dutch oven potatoes. Of course all of us had brought some sort of treats so there were way too many treats to get myself into trouble with.:)

That night was our annual raffle. Everyone brings something to put into the raffle and then we buy some tickets and put them into what we would like to win and then take our chances. Some years you're lucky and some years you're not. It brings a little extra money into the reunion fund, which is great. I had a fairly good year and got some things for the cabin and some things I'm going to give away as gifts. Yeah for some Christmas shopping being done!!!! After that we did a lot of visiting and the kids were all very busy too. We really didn't need to worry much about them as there was a cool playground that Mr. Lott had made and a trampoline, along with some bikes, and battery powered cars. We were lucky to get them to come for meals.

The next morning we got up had my favorite breakfast, french toast, and then the Hegerhorsts needed to get headed home. They had the farthest to travel and had some obligations to get home earlier. So we had our family meeting so they could get on there way. The family meeting went well and we didn't feel the need to make many changes to the reunion as a family. Marla and Mark will be in charge next year and so we'll be headed to Idaho. It was asked that if needed if our cabin would be a possibility, and we told them that we can always go there. It is fun though to go different places and do different things.
(I must have been too involved with visiting etc., because today when I went looking for pictures, I realized that we only have pictures of us on the hike. I thought for sure I had put some on my phone or on my camera, but no. So thanks Honey for taking your camera along on the hike at least.)

Larry and I then took down our tent so that we wouldn't have to do that in the very hottest part of the day. We also helped take down and help pack the Stowes up. After lunch we parted ways for another year. I know our parents are very happy with us carrying on the tradition. Family was always so important to them, and I know that they are happy that we are keeping our families connected. It was a small group this year, but there has been a lot of things happening in families this year. I hope that there can be more of us there next year to continue keeping our relationships going.

I'm also so grateful that Shannon and Chris have made the effort to come. I know that my family has enjoyed getting to know them better. It makes me feel great that they care enough about me to have a desire to make a connection with my family. I don't feel like I have two separate families when they make efforts to get to know my family and my family gets to know them. I hope that some of my other step children will get to know my family as well.
After we left there Larry and I went on down to Bonnie and Randy's in St. George to finish the weekend. Roberta and Keith also came down to tune Bonnie's and Kraig's piano's, so we had a nice time just relaxing, taking a shower and visiting there. I also caught a small nap, which was nice. Roberta and Keith took off for home and then Larry and I spent some time with Bonnie and Randy and their boys, Kraig and Kameron and families. We went out to eat and then over to Kraigs for some card playing. Sunday morning we went to Sacrament meeting and then Larry and I headed off for home. I don't know what I came down with, but I was a little upset to my stomach and headache with a bit of a fever. So sorry Sweetheart, I wasn't too much company on the way home as I slept a lot. After we got home we picked up the kids at the spa. They were very happy to see us....even though going is so much fun, there is "No Place Like Home" for them and for us!
Thanks for the fun time family!! I love you all so much!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Trilobites and Internment Camps.....History...History

On June 9th and 10th my friend Brenda(also a 4th grade teacher) and I went on a little trip to Delta, Utah. I think you may have to be a 4th grade teacher to get really excited about this trip, but I'm sure that you may think it is fun also. Since in 4th grade in Utah we study everything Utah, Brenda and I have been planning on going down to Delta soon after school was out to go Trilobite hunting. We study Utah rocks and fossils as part of our science core. If you don't know what a Trilobite is, it was an arthropod from Millions of years ago. Most of the Great Basin was once under an ancient sea and Trilobites abounded there. So we decided to go hunting. Delta has a great place to do that.
Well to start at the beginning of our trip, we headed off Thursday about 11:00. I picked up Brenda and her 16 year old son, Nathan, in Tooele. We enjoyed our drive down to Delta, which only takes us about 1 1/2 hours. When we got there about 12:30 we decided to check in at the Motel. (Days Inn) I guess I should have taken a picture. It was a clean and nice place to stay. Then we decided to grab a little lunch at the pizza place there in town.

We then went down to the Great Basin Museum right there in Delta. They have rocks, fossils, and other historical things, but the reason we really went there was to see the stuff they had about the internment camp. The ladies there were very nice and gave us lots of information. We talked to them about why we were there and they offered us some rock samples for free. What teacher doesn't take free. So we got a couple of different kinds of Obsidian that we'll be able to share with our students when we are talking about rocks. Then we went out back and saw one of the Japanese bunk houses.

After leaving the museum we decided to head out to the Japanese internment camp that was there just outside of town in a little area called Abraham. American Japanese were put there between the years of 1942-1945, during World War 2. I was especially interested in seeing this site, I think because our house when I was born had been an internment home my parents had bought and had brought to Wendell. I'm such a visual person...I learn about things, but actually seeing the site brings it to life for me. I was thinking about how these American Japanese who were brought from the Bay Area in California to this desolate area must have felt. Not that this area doesn't have a beauty of it's own, but what a difference!!!! There really isn't all that much out there, but there are still the foundations of buildings and a scout has done a project by putting out small signs that tell what would have been in that area. As we drove around we could see where the schools would have been and many other things. I was amazed at how expansive it was and how many people lived there. They lost all their property and and had nothing when the internment camp was dissolved. Many went back to California, and others went other places and many stayed in Utah. I'm sure it was that way in all of the 10 internment camps they had. I guess you might just say it is another injustice that the people of the United states have done to another group of people. The worst part of going out there, and I'm sure it was because of this wet spring we've had, but there were GIANT mosquitos just swarming around the car just waiting for you to get out so they could attack you. The pictures we took were quick so that we could jump back in the car.

After a great nights sleep we were up early so that we could be out to the "U-Dig Fossil" site shortly after it opened at 9:00. It was a little bit of a trip out to the site. It is about 32 miles west of Delta on the highway and then 20 more miles along a well groomed dirt/gravel road. We made it there about 9:15 and the guy who runs it was running late and it wasn't open yet. He arrived about 9:30 and by the time we got started it was about 10:00. we paid to dig for 4 hours. A little pricey to do your own digging in rocks for 4 hours, but worth it to us....and we did get an educator's discount...and they do use a big back hoe to turn the rocks and make it a little easier to find them.

We thought if we dug for a longer time, we might get enough to allow our students to each have their own sample. I'm not sure that we got enough for all of them, but if not we might just use them for prizes. It was fun to actually dig the fossils out of the shale and see how the trilobites actually were buried in layers of what was to become this sedimentary rock.

The ones in the pictures were a great find for me to just have to share through the years. The ones we got for the students may not be quite this good, but we do have some good traces of the fossils. By the time 2:30, we were all very tired and ready to get something more substantial to eat. So we headed back to Delta and had a burger at a burger place there in town, and I couldn't resist a small fresh strawberry shake. By the time we got through it was about 5:00 so we headed back to Tooele. We had a great time and learned a few new things and on top of everything have some great fossils. Thanks Brenda for the fun time!!!