Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Burley 08-12-08 to 08-17-08

My sister, Lori, was in Burley for fair week with her three kids. I was very wishy washy about when exactly I was going to go home. I wanted desperately to go home and get my hands on that darling new nephew of mine. I also wanted to give my children a chance to play with their cousins that they don't see that often. The only hang up is Bryon started his school contract that week and the earliest he could go to Burley was late Friday afternoon. I decided at the last minute to leave Tuesday night and if Bryon could find a ride to Burley he would join us later in the week, if not we would see him Sunday night when we got home.

Of course it was late by the time I left Rexburg on Tuesday night. We didn't even get home until 11:00. You would think they kids would have slept most of the way. They hardly slept at all. They didn't fall asleep until Masacre Rocks which just means they are sound asleep by the time we hit Burley and it is hard as ever to get them out of the car and into the house.

Wednesday we went to the parade. The kids had a great time and the temperature was just right for a parade. Wednesday night we all went to "cow cutting". My mom really enjoys this event. Sam & Conner bumped into the two neighbor boys from Rexburg. I think all the kids were so surprised to find each other in Burley. We kept telling them that both their Grandparents live just down the road from each other but I don't think it registered until now. They had a great time playing together.

Thursday afternoon we met up with my mom in the late afternoon in Twin Falls. My mom had some work meetings and was already in Twin Falls. Lori and I wanted to get some school shopping done. I had tried to do a little in Idaho Falls on Tuesday but didn't have much success. We only went for a couple of hours but with eight children seven and under that was about one hour and fifty minutes too long. Sam had gotten up early that morning and went fishing the whole day with my dad and brother-in-law, Mike. He had an awesome time. Thanks dad for taking him. He sure looks forward to it and it is all he talks about for days after. I was able to find quite a few things during our shopping excursion.

Friday my sister, Lori; my mom; my niece, Katie; and I went for pedicures. Alyson had to work. I had never had a pedicure before. I loved the experience. I guarantee it will not be another 33 years before I go again. I already have plans to find out how much the beauty colleges around here charge. Friday night my mom watched Natalie and Logan while my dad, Sam, Conner, and I went to the rodeo.

Saturday morning we got up early and was at the Twin Falls temple by 8:30. It was the last day for the Twin Falls open house. We had tickets for later in the day but decided to try to go before the big rush. We were glad we did. We timed it just right. Our tour was fantastic. I swear my children don't realized how fortunate they are. I look back and I was able to attend two temple open houses growing up. This was also my children's second temple open house. However, Sam has been three other times to be sealed and to witness the sealing of his siblings to Bryon and I. I have been so glad for these open houses so that we can rediscuss some of the things that happened the day we were sealed as a family as well as discuss the special feelings that we feel there. The Twin Falls temple is very beautiful. It reminds me quite a bit of the Rexburg temple. Saturday afternoon, Bryon was able to find a ride and meet me in Burley. Saturday night we went up to the fair, yet again, to look at the exhibits.

Sunday we went to church with my parents, had a delicious dinner and then headed home. My parents have a beautiful yard. One of my favorite things to do while in Burley is to sit on their patio and enjoy their yard. While I was home, we ate almost every meal outside so it was very nice to be able to enjoy their yard.

Thanks mom and dad for such an enjoyable weekend!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Logan Trip & Kennedy Reunion

I have a childhood friend named Terra Anderson that I grew up with. She is now married, has a family and is living in Logan. We have stayed in touch through the years. She offered for me to go down and spend some time with her. It worked out that we were going to be going over to Randolph for a family reunion and I decided to leave a day early so I could spend some time with her. Bryon was going to stay home and work and then drive down to the reunion with his parents and meet up with me in Randolph.

I left the morning of August 7th. It was just me and the kids. We got to Terra's around noon. Terra's kids have grown. She has two girls and a boy. One of her girls was on the road trucking with her dad so we were only able to see two of her kids. She had never met Logan and Natalie. The kids had a great time playing together. Later that afternoon, we went into the Cache Valley Fair. We just walked around the exhibits and ate shaved ice. We walked through the exhibit where each town makes a display with seeds and vegetables. It brough back so many memories of me going to the fair with my parents and grandparents when I was younger. We stopped and got Chinese take-out and a movie before heading home. Chinese take-out totally hit the spot! I had Tiny Spicy Chicken which was one of my favorites while we lived in Logan but you can't get it here. The kids watched a movie and went to bed while Terra and I visited. We talked until almost 2:00 in the morning.

The next day, we spent the morning visiting some more before I had to leave for Randolph. I told Bryon I was going to leave Cache Valley about 3:30 so I could beat the traffic traveling through Logan Canyon for the weekend. Well, I didn't get away as early as I had anticipated. Plus, I stopped in Old Navy in Logan to look for some school clothes for the kids. They were hungry by this time so we stopped at McDonalds to get some food before heading over the canyon.

I forgot to call Bryon before leaving Logan and when I tried traveling through the canyon, I already had lost service. So I wasn't able to touch base with him until I was out of the canyon and by this time he is already expecting me to be at the reunion. Upon entering Garden City, just off of Logan Canyon, my brakes were sounding awful. So when I did talk to Bryon I told him I thought the brakes had gone out on the van. So he was already a nervous wreck about me not being there and then the first thing he heard from me was the brakes were out in the van. Then someone at the reunion told him it was Raspberry Days in Bear Lake, which made him even more nervous. I am not going to lie: the traffic around Bear Lake was awful! I talked to Bryon's uncle about the brakes. He informed me to go slow and they would look at them when I got there. Come to find out the brakes were fine, they had just overheated because I rode them so much through the canyon.

The reunion was held at Bryon's grandparents home which is now a vacation home. Every other year it is the Kennedy Reunion and every other year it is the Kennedy/Hatch reunion. This year it was the Kennedy/Hatch reunion. It was a great reunion. I'll admit I was really dragging my feet about going. However, once I got there I was instantly reminded how fun the reunions are and how much I enjoy spending time with Bryon's extended family. They are all such great people!

Saturday's activities were jam packed with horse riding for the kids, a fishing pond for the kids, crafts for the kids and another craft for the ladies, 3 on 3 basketball, visiting, a duck race, a silent auction, and of course eating way more than we should have. It got a little rainy during the duck races but quickly blew over. Logan's duck came in third place during the duck races. He got a little trophy and a ribbon. That is all we have heard about (that and Terra has all the cars to the movie Cars) nonstop since our trip. That night we had a program of some cowboy poetry by a family member and then a lady came and sang some songs. The weather seemed fine when we went to bed that night in our tent. However, we were awoken about 4:00 to the sights and sounds of thunder, lightening, and rain. It wasn't long before the wind picked up. Bryon's brother and his family were in the tent next to us. We were the only two families braving sleeping in tents. Everyone else had gone home, were in the house or were sleeping in trailers. We heard Bruce get up and drive his car up next to the tent. He had found coolers to put on some of his stakes so they wouldn't pull out of the ground. About the time it started pouring rain and getting really windy that our kids started freaking out a bit. We told them we were perfectly safe in the tent and actually if we got out, we took the risk of our tent blowing away and so we were just going to lay there and ride out the storm. It wasn't long before the "fly" flew off our tent and the wind had pulled most of our stakes out of the ground. The tent started hitting Bryon in the face. Bryon decided we were done "riding" it out and we needed to load up the car as fast as we could and then make a run for the house. He pulled the van back to the tent and I handed him things out of the tent just as fast as I could. I don't think I have ever packed so fast in my whole life! Then I took the kids and we made a run for the house while Bryon and Bruce carried the tent to the garage. By breakfast the storm had totally blown over and the sky was clear blue. We had breakfast, got ready, loaded up and left.

I hadn't been able to do any school clothes shopping and had talked Bryon into making a big loop and going over Monte Cristo through Ogden so I could stop at Mervyn's in Ogden and Layton. I know it was Sunday but I couldn't figure out any other time we would be in Layton that I could go to Mervyns and I did a majority of school clothes shopping there last year. I had never been through Monte Cristo before. The drive through Monte Cristo was beautiful, some of the sights were breathtaking. Later when talking to my mom, she informed me that my Grandpa Pehrson loved driving through Monte Cristo. I could now see why and I felt a little closer to my Grandpa that day. We were able to find a few things at Mervyn's but not as much as I had found the previous year. We stopped for lunch at the Olive Garden and then headed home.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Thursday, July 31 -- International Folk Dance Festival

So today was probably one of our favorite days of the festival. Today was Youth Culture Day. I had to pick up tickets in advance. The tickets are totally free and are for ages 6 and up. I think they do this as a measure of crowd control. You can choose what countries you want your child to learn to dance from. Each class is one hour long. I decided to choose three countries for Sam. I chose China, Russia, and Mexico. I looked at the tickets wrong and so we realized at 9:15 that Sam's first class started at 10:00. We were running around like crazy trying to get breakfast on the table and Sam and I out the door at 10:00. Iscidro and Filipe didn't have to be there until 11:00. They stayed home with Bryon and the other kids while I took Sam to the Junior High.

Sam's first class was China. We had a great time learning about China's culture. The China dancers then danced a few numbers. They then taught some moves to the kids. They had also given each child that attended a "Passport." These were for the kids to get autographs right at the end of class. Sam had a blast getting autographs of all the Chinese dancers. I also noticed there were some younger kids there. I called Bryon. I told him if Conner wanted to come, he could drop him off when he dropped off Iscidro and Filipe.

Conner wanted to come and made it in time for the second class. The second class we attended was the Russia Cosack team. The immediately put the kids in a huge circle and started teaching them some basic dance steps. Sam held Conner's hand and helped him in the circle. All of a sudden, the dance started jumping around in the circle and Conner came out screaming that he was scared and I couldn't get him to dance the rest of the day! Again, Sam had a blast getting more autographs and meeting the dancers. Conner, on the other hand, was a little more hesitant as you can probably tell from the pictures. Probably Sam's favorite of the whole day was the class we attended from Mexico. In this class, the dance director talked about all the costumes and from what part of Mexico they came from. He then had each group dance just a small part of their dance to give us a sample of what the music and dance from that area in Mexico was like. Then they had some kids go up and partner with the Mexican dancers. The dancers showed them some dance steps. Sam was in the process of telling me that he was not going to dance. I was in the process of saying "Oh, yes you are", When a beautiful Mexican dancer came and dragged Sam up to the front of the room. Sam picked up the dance steps beautifully. Once again, Sam had a blast getting autographs of all the dancers. One of the girl Mexican Dancers kissed Conner's Passport. Conner screamed and cried at how she had ruined his book. I felt so bad. She was just trying to be friendly with a cute little boy. Well once Sam found out she kissed Conner's passport and not his, Sam wanted to get her to kiss his. So we went back over and asked some of the Mexican Dancers if they would kiss Sam's book. They said, "No. Boy sad." I tried to tell them that Conner was sad but Sam would be happy. So Sam's partner kissed his passport. Sam said he was going to cherish the book and never let it out of his sight. Sam and Conner even got Filipe and Iscidro to sign their passports.
Here's a close up of Sam and his partner. Aren't they adorable?!?Then the boys and I came home for the rest of the afternoon. We didn't have to go get Filipe and Iscidro until 4:30 p.m. I then took them, my friend Linda and her two girls and a guest of Linda's to Sam's soccer game while Bryon took Conner to his soccer game. Filipe and Iscidro were so excited to watch the boys play soccer all week long. I kept telling them it was nothing like in Mexico. I still think they enjoyed watching Sam's game.

We then came home and I made homemade spaghetti and meatballs for dinner.

That night the dancers had a party at the park with the other dance teams and so our job was to just drop them off and pick them up about 10:00 p.m.

Tuesday & Wednesday -- International Folk Dance Festival

So Tuesday was a pretty uneventful day for us. They had to go to Blackfoot for a performance. They left early afternoon and did not return until late Tuesday night.

Wednesday, they loaded the buses and spent a good portion of the day in Bear World. We picked them up late that afternoon. That night, we went to a "team party". This is where every family that was hosting dancers, chaperones, musicians, and even bus drivers went to a party. This party was at the home of one of the host families. We had a great time. It was a typical Mexican party, scheduled to start at 7:00 but we didn't even eat until almost 8:00 p.m. Every family was asked to contribute $5 for fried chicken from Albertsons. Then every family also brought a side dish. I took a vegetable salad but alot of the host families had the dancers cook for them. So the meal was a good mix of American and Mexican dishes. There was a huge pit where you could play sand volleyball. Mexico was one of the few dance teams that brought their own band. The band came and played music for a dance after dinner. We had a great time socializing and dancing! Here are some pictures of our evening.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Monday, July 28 -- More International Folk Dance Festival

Communication is a huge factor. I can never quite understand what the house guests are trying to tell us. Anyway, I got up and made them breakfast. Then they proceeded to tell us they had to go clean their bus again. I mean really how clean do you have to clean that thing. Anyway, they left and I told them to come back in time for lunch. For lunch I served grilled cheese sandwiches, grapes, chips, and cookies.

After lunch, Bryon took them to the public library for my friend to translate for us. They ended up telling her that they want their free time. At first I was a little bummed because this was not at all what I had been planning nor expecting. However, on the flip side of that, I really enjoyed not having to worry about entertaining them every minute of every day when they were here. So Bryon and I tried to work out that after breakfast they would go and have their "free-time". Then after lunch or sometime during the day we would try to squeeze in a family activity so the boys could spend time with them. I really think in the end it worked quite well.

After the public library, Bryon, Sam, Iscidro, and Filipe all went on a drive. Bryon took them out to see some potato fields as well as up on the dry farms. Then they drove out by the butte to try to see the elk. We think they guys really enjoyed that.

We then dropped them off at the school to get ready for the parade. We informed them that they didn't have to be "dancers" to be in the parade and that they should walk with their team. We weren't quite sure if what we were saying got through to them. However, we were pleasantly surprised when the team from Mexico came down the parade route, Philipe and Iscidro were walking with them. The kids loved seeing them in the parade and we all cheered so loud for them. It was also fun to see all the other teams, the pretty costumes, as well as the dances.

After the parade, we met up with them and told them we were treating them to dinner and gave them a few choices. They chose to go to dinner at Pizza Hut. Pizza Hut has some arcade games. Sam had two quarters in his pocket. So he played one game. Sam lost so Filipe gave him two more dollars to play arcade games. Sam was in heaven. We NEVER give him money to play video games.

During dinner, Filipe flips out this digital camera. I was a little surprised that he had one because up until now I had only seen him use his cell phone for a camera. Anyway, he tells me that he got it at the D.I. for $7. So here is where Bryon and I learn that they have been driving the bus all over town to get where they need to go. I figured that was my responsibility as a host. Once again, needing to give them free time and happy about not having to play taxi to them, I figure that is fine. Bryon and I looked at the camera but could never get it to go off of the first picture. We hand it back to him and tell him how great it is. I tell him he got a bad deal because $7 was the discount price because it didn't come with instructions. Bryon and I never did figure out the camera but Filipe thought it was the greatest find ever. All week long I kept saying to myself how well these guys would fit in with my dad. This D.I. adventure was just another affirmation that yes they would have had a great time with my dad!

After dinner, there was a big street dance. We told them we would be back to pick them up at the junior high at 10:00. I even said part of it in Spanish so I was sure they understood us. We took the kids home. I put Natalie and Logan to bed and Bryon took Sam and Conner back to the street festival for a bit. So about 9:45, Bryon goes back to the school to pick them up. I am downstairs downloading pictures on the computer. Shortly after 10:00 Filipe and Iscidro come in. I show them the pictures I am downloading from the parade. We laugh for a bit. They go in their room and I come upstairs. I figured when Bryon got home, the guys came downstairs and Bryon went to our room to go to bed or to watch a little television. So I soon find that Bryon isn't upstairs: he isn't in our bedroom, he isn't in Logan or Natalie's room. Then I find the van is gone. I think it is strange that he dropped the guys off and left again. Where did he go??? He didn't mention about going back to the store. The guys had been home about 20 minutes and it dawned on me that they walked home and Bryon is still at the school waiting for them. I call the cell phone only to find that Bryon left it here. About 10:40, Bryon calls me from the grocery store to see if the guys made it home because he is about the only one downtown now. Like I said, communication was a huge factor! We soon learned to take the cell phone with us everywhere.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Sunday, July 27 -- More About the Rexburg International Dance Festival

So we have church from 8:30 - 11:30 a.m. I need to preface this by saying that the people over dancing for the Dance Festival commented that if you didn't have responsibilities at church that day, it would be nice to stay at home with your guests. I had to teach the lesson in young women. Plus we figured our church is early enough we could still go to church and come home and go do something fun. We went to all of church (well most of us did). I came home during Sunday School to work on some food preparations. Also, Logan had really been favoring his left arm and starting Saturday seemed like he was in real pain. Bryon took him to Community Care after Sacrament Meeting. They x-rayed it and couldn't find anything. They kept asking what he had done to it and we seriously had no idea. Logan a few days later told us he fell on the trampoline and hurt it. He still favored it for a few days but a week later it is back to normal. We invited the bus drivers to go to church with us or told them they were welcome to stay home and sleep in and relax. They told us they needed to go and clean out their bus. So they left about the same time we left for church and they got home shortly after we did.

After church I came home and made taco salad for lunch. There wasn't enough room in our van for all of our family plus the bus drivers and so we took Logan and Natalie to my friend Linda's for her to watch them while we went. I packed some snacks and away we went. We went to Lower and Upper Mesa Falls. It was beautiful. I think the bus drivers had a great time. They spoke very little English and we speak very little Spanish and so communication was very interesting. Every time we got somewhere they would say very beautiful. Then they would get out their cell phones and try to snap pictures of everything. By upper Mesa Falls, they have renovated a log cabin into a hotel and it has some hands on things. Bryon had to go in to get some change and told us how cool it was and so we spent some time in there looking around. There was a moose head mounted on one wall and a bear head mounted on another. Filipe and Iscidro loved that. Then in a back room they had all kinds of animal skins from animals found in the aread. We had a great time touching all the furs and trying to guess what they were. Upper Mesa Falls is breath-taking. While we were there we ran into another family that was hosting dancers from Mexico. They were making a huge loop and were going to feed ducks and fish by Macks Inn and then going on to West Yellowstone. Sam really wanted to go feed the fish and ducks. We had planned on cooking in the Dutch oven when we got home for dinner and so we didn't feel like we could really do that. So we started down the mountain. I then told Bryon while we were so close to Macks Inn we really should do that and I would think of something different to throw together for dinner. So away we went to find this place by Macks Inn to feed fish and ducks. It was beautiful there. Because it was so hot, we didn't see any of the "big fish" but saw plenty of birds. We had a great time feeding the birds. A seagul even pooped on Sam, which totally grossed him out! We got home about 7:30 p.m. I did something I swore I would never do with them there and that was make a Mexican dish for dinner. However, it was about the fastest thing I could think of. I made vegetarian enchiladas and homemade Spanish rice. I really think it was one of their favorite meals they ate while they were here. We had a great time today!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Our Guests

So last Saturday (July 26) was the day we had waited for. The day we were supposed to pick up our dancers. We worked hard all week outside in the yard and also in the house getting house work done. There were also so many projects I was hoping to get done but just didn't get around to it. So we were supposed to pick them up at 2:00 at the Junior High School.

We knew ahead of time that we would be getting boys. The housing director told me alot of people requested girls and where we weren't specific, she assigned us boys. No problem! I am used to boys plus this whole experience is for Sam right?!? Who better to bond with him than boys.

Sam and Conner wanted to go with me to the junior high to meet our dancers. The day was HOT! It seemed like we waited forever in the sweltering sun for the bus to arrive.

I need to preface a little here. Mexico was the only team coming to the festival that didn't fly here, they chartered their own bus. All the teams had been to Burley the week before and were coming over from Burley. Salt Lake Express (a local bus company) went and picked them up and Mexico drove their bus up.

Mexico was one of the last teams to pull up. Then it seemed like forever as they hauled costumes into the junior high school for the week's performances. Finally it was time to find out who our long awaited guests were. I must admit there were a few younger Mexican boys that I would look at and wonder if they would be our house guests. I didn't have to wait long. My name was called second and then I was told that Filipe and Iscidro were to be our house guests for the week. Here's the kicker: we weren't housing dancers but instead the two bus drivers. I admit my first thought was "this is just my luck"!

Because the bus couldn't stay at the junior high school, I got in my van and pulled it around to where they could see me. They then followed me to the Chamber of Commerce to where we were going to park their van for the week. I was so thankful for this opportunity of being alone with the boys. I couldn't help but show how disappointed I was that we weren't housing dancers. I made a phone call to my friend, Brenda, who got a huge kick out of what I thought was my misfortune. I then called Bryon to let him know how unhappy I was. When we got home, Iscidro and Filipe went into what was to be their room for the week for a "siesta". It gave Bryon and I a chance to talk. Bryon told me something that would totally change my attitude for the week. He told me that yes we did sign up for dancers. We were doing this to give Sam a taste of his heritage. We can make this a totally negative experience and complain and let our sour attitudes rub off on our children or we could make the most of the situation. We could still do everything, well just about everything (For some reason, I don't think these two men would have enjoyed a morning shopping trip in Idaho Falls that I had planned to do with the dancers.), that we had planned to do with the dancers. We would probably still have a wonderful time and yes Sam could still experience his heritage because we were still housing people from Mexico. I am so grateful for Bryon and his perception. It totally made me rethink my attitude.

After their naps, I made Hawiian Haystacks for dinner. We then loaded up and went to the football stadium on the campus of BYU-Idaho for the opening ceremonies. Words cannot describe the feelings that I felt as we sat in the stands and all ten countries walked into the stadium and danced an opening number. It was awesome! We aren't sure where Filipe and Iscidro went. They didn't march in with their country. We figure they sat somewhere in the stands. Each country presented a gift to our state legislator and then danced a number. After the program, they launched fireworks. It was a great evening.

Here is a picture of our house guests for the week. Filipe is the one in grey and Iscidro is in the darker colored shirt.

International Folk Dance Festival

Beware! I have a lot to catch up on so be ready for multiple postings. We have had an AWESOME week. At the beginning of the summer we realized that we were going to be at home during the International Folk Dance Festival that comes to Rexburg every year. We then heard that Mexico would be attending this festival. We figured what a great opportunity for Sam it would be if we hosted some dancers from Mexico. So we signed up! We have been so excited for this week to come all summer. This week has been busy to say the least but we have loved every minute of it.