August 15, 2013

SLC Mini-Vacay

So...

Today's date is August 24, 2014. I was looking at photos on my memory card and found pictures from about this same time last year that I never posted. I thought I'd do it now, and just back date the blog entry.

Last August, we were scheduled to take a little road trip up to visit our friends in Cananda. As we were making our final preparations, Katie got out our passports and noticed they were all current except for one–mine. Somehow we had forgotten that the expiration date on mine was different from everyone else's. This shot down our trip up north. 

I was pretty bummed, but Katie helped the boys and me look on the bright side, and we decided to take a min-vacation to Salt Lake. 

Our first morning in SLC, we visited This Is the Place State Park located where Brigham Young first looked over the valley and decided this is where the Saints would make their new home. Below is the monument dedicated to Brigham Young and the others who made that first trip from Nauvoo.


The park has a pioneer village with a bunch of authentic and replica buildings. We wanted to see Brigham Young's farm house where Katie's grandmother's pioneer stove is on display, but it was closed for an event. Each of the buildings has volunteers dressed up in pioneer clothing who teach about life back then and who lived in the some of the cabins.

Tomas learned how the pioneers tilled the ground.
We learned how to play some popular pioneer games.
It was a super hot day, so we were more than happy to take the train to get around the park.

One of our favorite activities was panning for gold in the stream. It sort of ruined the illusion when I saw the volunteer throw a handful of fool's gold in the stream just as we were approaching. But still, it was next to water in the shade, and we had fun.



If only it were real, we could have done a heck of a lot more on our vacation.
We saw the home of Mary Fielding Smith, wife of Hyrum Smith and pretty awesome pioneer woman.


They had some Navajo Indians doing beadwork and teaching a craft. 


In one of the homes, the volunteer taught Tomas about a courting bench where a young man and woman could sit and talk while almost facing each other.

Tomas doesn't look impressed.
Liam tried his hand (and foot) at a pioneer sewing machine.


We also spent some time in the petting zoo.

I loved this pig taking a nap.



Here are a couple of photos of pioneer cabins.



In the Zion's Mercantile, we saw a sign advertising the best root beer floats in Utah. Liam and I had to try the out. 

Our verdict: mighty tasty!
Later in the day, we headed to Temple Square. We were looking around at every sister missionary to see if we could find Sister Mendoza, Chloe's first companion who returned to finish her time at Temple Square after serving a few months in Alabama. We didn't find Sister Mendoza but talked to several missionaries who knew her. The boys had never been in the Brigham Young's Beehive House. It's not quite on par with touring the palaces in Vienna, but it was a great tour.






And after the Beehive House, we naturally had to eat at the Lion House.


Below is a photo of Katie and the boys bored out of their minds while I walked around taking photos.







One of my goals while visiting SLC was to stop by the Genealogy Library to see if I could find any information on an ancestor from Germany. I'm a newbie to family history, so I asked for help. I think only the crazies were working that night. This lady wasn't interested in helping me but rather telling all kinds of weird, wacko stories. I could not get away. Liam took our picture. Eventually, Katie and boys left me there to go to the planetarium.

I think I'll try BYU next time.
At the planetarium, we got to see bits of the meteor that landed in Chelyabinsk, Russia in February 2013. Pretty cool.


The boys pretended they were on the Moon.


And then on Mars.

Maybe Mars isn't ready to be inhabited yet.

We spent considerable time mesmerized in front of this giant marble contraption thing.



We also had fun playing with the static electricity thing.


Here we learned how clouds form.


Boil, boil, toil and trouble.
The following day, we went to Lagoon. I hadn't been there in more than 30 years. I really couldn't remember much about it other than I liked Disneyland better. This time, I'm sure I took pictures, but I can't find them anywhere. I remember the Katie and the boys had a great time. For me, I just remember Liam talked me into doing all the big roller coasters first thing so I got so sick to my stomach I felt like barfing the rest of the day. I think it will definitely be another 30 years before I go back.

All in all, it was a fun little getaway–a much needed break. We should do it more often.

August 13, 2013

Blast Off to Camp Jeremiah Johnson

Katie and I had the opportunity to take the Cub Scouts to Camp Jeremiah Johnson again this year. Including Tomas, there are only three Cub Scouts in our ward.

It was a perfect day weather-wise, and it was really beautiful up the canyon.

The theme this year was "Soaring to New Heights"—a space theme. I can't remember what the theme was last year, but I know I liked this year's theme better and all the activities they had planned to go along with it.

The boys began by making rockets they then got to launch from a air compressor launcher. We were amazed at how far those things flew. This was a big hit with the boys. If I had an air compressor and a clue as to how to build one of those launchers, I would.

Building rockets. Tomas sporting his Alabama pride in honor of his sister, and Malachi looking unimpressed with Tomas' gluing skills.

Tomas getting ready to launch his rocket.

Tomas, Stephen, and Malachi displaying their high-flying rockets.
The next stop was a science station where they learned about liquids and solids and made corstarch and water goo.

The camp counselor chose a boy for each activity who was being a good participant to wear the "Shades of Awesomeness."
Finally, the Cubs got to go to the station that makes the whole camp thing totally worth it—the BB guns. They called the station, "BB Ballistics" to try to tie it in with the space theme. The connection was very tenuous, but the boys could have cared less. 

What amazes me is that even though Katie and I are pretty much all for gun control, our son is a total sure-shot. Tomas was knocking down tin cans left and right. Other boys were not so successful, I was standing a good distance behind them and got pinged by a BB.

All the practice with Nerf guns must have helped.
Tomas and the boys also got to shoot bows and arrows,

Tomas also had some very good shot with the bow and arrow and hit the target.
paddle a pontoon thing around,
The boys got to race against another group to gather up floating balls in the pond lake.

and make wooden airplanes.
Photo-bombed by his fantastic camp counselor, Aaron. 

The boys had a great day at camp.
One or the most exciting parts of the day was when I had to save the camp and fend off a vicious bear attack. Here a photo of the injury I sustained.

It's only a flesh wound—or so I thought.
Or...

I leaned against a fence railing that wasn't secure and fell over. When I stood up, I didn't feel hurt or any pain, but Katie noticed I was bleeding. I went to the medical hut and was cleaned up and bandaged. The next day my arm was a little sore, but I didn't think anything of it. The photo above was taken three days later. It really looks worse than it was. But more than a week later, it just wasn't getting any better. In fact, it hurt any time I lowered my arm. We went up to visit my parents in Midway, and everyone noticed how nasty it looked. After much prodding, I finally went to see a doctor. Turns out I got a touch of blood poisoning. Yikes. I've learned my lesson. If I ever get cut again, I'll have the wound cleaned very well, have it disinfected, and wear a bandage. To help remind me, I have a lovely scar.