Monday, August 17, 2009

A CraZY buNCh of COusiN's

Another year of Cousin's Camp is over. Once again, it was wonderful beyond our expectations. Three full days and two nights of singing, archery, swimming, hiking, crafts, FOOD, fun, play rehearsals, trampoline, big buddies etc etc etc. If they weren't a crazy bunch of cousins when camp began...they were when it was over!! All fifteen campers! This years theme as HEROS.. Each day the aunts gave devotionals sharing experiences and ideas about heros--heros among us, the hero within and the ultimate Hero.

Ruthie, Emma and Lucy settling in to sing some campfire songs.
Monica--the craziest camper of them all. Cousin's Camp would not exist without Monica. She is definitely a hero to us.
Aunt Cathy taught the kids how to tie dye. The shirts were so bright and colorful. The campers were thrilled.
Aunt Sarah, Mary Markoff, Uncle Jake and Grandma.
Madison was always smiling.
Matthew and Hannah enjoyed a few friendly games of tetherball; but they enjoyed the licorice they seemed to be constantly eating even more.
Mary taught Abbie, Anna, Ruth and Madison a synchronized swimming routine.
The barn on Empty Saddle--where all of the fun takes place.
This year Anna created this hang out for the girls.
The last night of camp is always the uncles fireside. The kids look forward to this as much as anything else because their uncles always have the greatest, most inspiring stories to tell.
Camp would be incomplete without all of the singing...
...and without the Ukelele.
Love my girl!
Putting on a top notch play has become a highlight at camp. This year uncle Greg wrote a hilarious (and possibly somewhat political) play about who heros are, and who they are not. The kids had a great time hamming it up!
Dave played Nephi (definitely a positive hero) who came to Wendy (of Peter Pan fame) because she was afraid of growing up. He introduced Wendy to many would be heros and guided her through the process of deciding which examples to follow in life. You wonder why Nephi is playing an electric guitar??? To quote a line from the play, "you've heard of teh sword of Laban, this is the the AXE of Laban.
Harry and Hermione--they show courage and fight the bad guy (that's heroic), but are they really good role models???

Every moment of camp was wonderful. As a mother, I am so grateful that my kids have this opportunity ever summer. They come home talking, laughing and reminising about all the funthey had, but the also come home with a stronger testimony of the gospel and strengthened family ties. You can't beat camp!!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Family Reunion Update

A highlight in July was going to Utah for a Rowen family reunion. It had been way too long since we had seen some of our family--and there was some family we hadn't even met yet. We had one week to jam pack with as much fun as possible and I think we suceeded. We can't wait for next time. Hopefully sooner rather than later!

Hilary with hubby Lewis. Are they cute or what?

Emma got this hat for her birthday a few weeks ago and thought that a hike up Rock Canyon would be the perfect place to try it out.
Mark and I with the kids and cousin Austin
On the way down the canyon, the boys were learning how to whistle.
Matthew loved Austin
Grand daddy of us all.
Abbie's birthday fell during our trip. We all had a great time celebrating with her.
As you see, Matthew got in on the action. Baby Grace with mommy Deana!
Matthew loves Eric.
Here's the Birthday girl!!
A little bit too much noise at Abbie's birthday party.
We love having lunch at the Garden restaurant at the top of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building.

Cute Emma in front of the SL Temple

Secret fishing spot of Grandpa's. The family was up at the crack of dawn to go fishing with Grandpa Rowen. The excitement got them out of bed...the donuts kept them going.
Abbie's first fish, what a beauty! Cousin Maddy was next with her fish.
Way to go Emma!
Here's Collin's with his catch of the day. The kids kept uncle Eric busy baiting all morning.
Unfortunately, you just can't force an almost two year old to sit for a picture when he has other things on his mind. The rest of the kids and grandparents had a great time though!

Getting there is half the fun!

If you prefer to read about events as they happen chronologically (as I admit, I do) , scroll down, read about Cedar Breaks and then scroll back up (Unfortunately, this posting is turning into an IQ test. I really need to read Blogging for Dummies because I have spent too much time trying to move these photos of Cove Fort below the pictures of Cedar Breaks).

A stop at Cove Fort was next on our agenda, preceded by a quick picnic on the grass outside. Cove Fort was great. We loved learning about life for the Hinckley family during their days here. Ira Hinckley (President Hinckley's grandfather) was asked to build this fort as a way station for early travelers. After the fort was built, it became a center for activity--complete with a telgraph station, post office, dinner and beds for travelers, a blacksmith shop, huge barn etc. Our kids were facinated by all of the artifacts from the time period. They just loved it.This summer we took our first road trip as a family from So.Cal to Utah. It can be quite a daunting drive with three children, as many know. WELL, WELL, WELL, we made the most of our drive to Grandma's this summer and definitely went over the mountains and throught the woods.

We left our home on Friday at noon and drove through the Mojave desert to Las Vegas, arriving around 5PM. First of all, I had forgotten how much I disliked Vegas. To be fair, I should actually say that what I really hate is the strip. It's such a filthy, keep your eyes low, kind of a place. But, on the positive side, staying in Vegas did give us the opportunity to enjoy a few stops on Saturday morning... Abbie loved all of the wild flowers at Cedar Breaks. We ALL loved the cool, crisp air. Seriously, the freshnes of the air, after driving through the hot desert was dreamy! Matthew, in particular, was totally excited by the views. "Abba, Ewww", "momma, momma!" translation..."Abbie, look, isn't that neat?", "Mom, you've gotta see this!"
Here's the whole gang at one of the beautiful look out spots. We all loved Cedar Breaks. It was a short distance out of our way, but the views and fresh air (minus a few cracks of thunder that terrified Emma) made the side trip 100% worth it.