Friday, July 31, 2015

Church sponsored "girls week" = GIRLS CAMP!!

Saturday as I was mowing the lawn I came across a big praying mantis. I mowed up to it and waited while it inched away. Then came back down the row and waited for it again. The 3rd time I reached it I stopped and said, out loud, "don't worry little guy, i'm not gonna get ya." It took me off guard. Never in the history of my lawn mowing have I stopped for pedestrians. I just mow over them. I've even shredded a couple garter snakes.

I was confused, but then realized, "ah…… girls camp!"

I got to spend a week at girls camp and it was a blast. It has taken me out of this negative funk I've been in over the past couple of years. Forty girls and 13 leaders. A stink'n riot! It was just our ward and we got to stay in a cabin up in Walsburg. All the leaders stayed in a big master bedroom, all the YCL's stayed  in two back bedrooms and the rest of the girls stayed up in the huge loft area. I was surprised at how quickly I resorted into a 12yr old girl. haha

Our camp theme was, "Anchor your soul in Christ." Tues morning we met at the church, split into crews and decorated a crew flag. I'm always getting on my kids about potty talk and then all the sudden I'm with a bunch of adults and we can't decide between, "shake your buoy, I like big buoys or It's all about the buoy" as our crew name. And then of course couldn't quit laughing about it. From then on out it was pure laughter about anything and everything.  Laughter is definitely the best medicine.

We left the church, headed up provo canyon to float the provo river. 
Next day was devotionals, game day and certification stuff. 
third day was devotionals, boating at deer creek, sec sister revealing, awards and testimony meeting. 

Last day was devotional, lunch, clean and go home.

Fav's from the week

*Sis Allen (leisl) bowing and sarcasticlly saying, "You're welcome" after everyone was complaining about the river and how cold and miserable it was 

*Most of the leaders forgetting to bring a bra (because we started in our swim suits)


*Coming up with words to our roll call song (shake it off by taylor swift) and including a bra line. 
laughing uncontrollably about it and sis price's (tami) innocence. 

*The girls being so good, responsible, accepting, creative and inclusive.


*Sis Allen and Sis Church (leisl & brook) facing each other in the dance off

*Sis Butler (kate) being able to kick all the girls buts in a handstand contest.

*Being up there with Kate (charlies mom)

*Kamae Orton teaching everyone her gossip song and all the cute verses she made up 


*The girls testimonies

*Sis Butler and Allen (kate & leisl) freezing my bra. I only appreciated it because the girls thought it was pretty funny.

*Boating. The leaders on our boat


Sharing my favorite scripture with other leaders through a small, personal devotional.
Not really- watching taylor swift video to get moves for our roll call

Girls testimonies by the fire

The older girls were so funny and wanted to prank us so bad. They tried to hide out in our room to scare us when we all got in bed. It didn't quite work. The last night, about 1:30 in the morn we were headed to bed and I noticed the bear rug on the wall and thought, Oh man we have got to get this down and scare the girls with it. There were still some of them awake so half of us snuck out the back door, went round front and the other half pulled some girls out front. I was crouched by the bushes. Kate rustled the bush and I roared and they screamed like little girls. Well they actually are little girls. hahahahahahahahhaha

Then that night they covered our door in toilet paper. 

The last morning we did a little walk around the cabin and had diff stops to talk about the 8 diff yw values and women in the scriptures who portrayed those values. Then ate and headed home

good bye to such a great time

A little sunshine in my soul!
Just what I've needed in my life right now

Friday, July 24, 2015

A full July

All of  our summer fun was pretty much squished into July. 

The very first week was our ward trek. Not just the youth- The whole ward. It was at Martins Cove in Wyoming and the ward had been planning it and carrying out pre-trek activities for a year.  At the end of June Mike found out he had to go to Brazil for work the same week. We went back and forth about me going alone with the kids. I never did trek as a youth, I knew it would be hard so that wouldn't be a surprise and our home teacher said I could team up with his family. His kids are 17, 15 and 11 so they could help with my kids. I pretty much made up my mind I was going. I don't think Mike really got to make up his mind. 

Soooo, Mike left for Brazil on Monday. We left for trek on Wednesday. The drive there was easy breezy. Left at 6:00 am, following the Waites and Tedrows. It was about a 5 1/2 hr drive, but didn't really seem like it. So I was in good spirits.

When we got there reality set in pretty quick. It was hot. Actually not as hot as it normally is, but it was hot and there really wasn't any shade. The heat, plus the fact that I didn't bring the kids all the same spray bottle produced some pretty cranky kids, pretty fast. Then Jack decided he wanted his pant legs zipped back on. When I zipped the first one on I did it backwards and it got stuck and I couldn't zip it all the way on and I couldn't get it back off. Ya'll know how that went over.  I still had to unload our van, help get our tent up (actuality the Waites did that for me), help get our wagon situated, all the while Jack was hanging on my leg begging and crying about his pant leg. FINALLY I got the damn thing off.  Everyone then gathered and we watched a short film about the Martin Handcart company and about pioneers. Emery fell asleep, which was fine, but then I had to carry her around.

After the film, we basically got with our wagons and headed out on our 3 mile trek to camp

Carry Me!
Ivan was a pretty dang good sport. He walked. Jack and Emery just whined, "carry me." I had like 5 other capable people around me who would have loved to help carry the kids, but of course my kids wouldn't go to them. Our cart was full with water jugs and other things and there really wasn't room for them to ride in the wagon soooooo I walked and carried and walked and carried and walked and carried. 

We hadn't really been walking too long before they announced the "women's pull." All the men and children left the wagons and went up a hill to wait for us. The women gathered and talked about how sometimes the men were called off to serve their country or serve missions or were sick or had died. These times, women had to pull the load alone. 

Then we each went back to our wagons (I helped the one behind us because they had fewer women) and began to pull without the men. It wasn't a long distance, it wasn't a huge hill and the cart I helped with wasn't that full, but it was HARD. The ground was sand and pretty rocky. I was amazed at how tough it was to get that cart up that hill. It looks like i'm smiling under that hat, but I AM NOT. 

See my two cute boys standing there watching
I couldn't believe how tired I was from that short of a distance.

We all continued trekking

 until we made it to our camp.

The campsite was pretty spread out. We'd been on a single file trail the whole time and then as we arrived everyone began to fan out to their various tent locations. I just watched everyone and it was like my neighborhood from home had been picked up and plunked back in time together. It was pretty cool to see everyone walking around in their pioneer get up. Especially all the little girls in their dresses and bonnets.

Isn't this about he cutest picture! One of the guys in our ward took pictures during the trek and then posted them all afterwards and even though they aren't my kids I just had to post this picture

 I was tired from carrying kids for 3 miles. I was emotional because of where I was and the reality of what the pioneers had been through. But I was happy because my kids could now run and play with friends for the rest of the evening. When Ivan ran up to greet two of his friends they ran away from  him. He kept running after them and they just kept running away from him. Until he finally came back to me. Kids do that sort of thing and normally it wouldn't have been a big deal, but because of some previous, similar behavior involving Ivan and friends,  the current heat, the whining and the spiritual emotions riding the surface I was about to crumble. I wasn't sure I was going to be able to make another 7 miles the next day. Our cars were parked close so I thought about just heading home in the morning. 

After a little bit, we headed over to line up for dinner. On the way over a friend stopped to chat. It opened the tear gate. I stood in front of her and cried for a little bit, but assured her it wasn't' because of trek, because I really don't think it was,  I think I was crying over the Ivan situation.

We got in line for dinner. A guy in the ward (Brother Pettit) came up and insisted I cut up to the front of the line, but because I was on the verge of tears I just couldn't take him up on it. As we stood in line Ivan and Jack wouldn't leave each other alone. Ivan ended up shoving Jack so hard it sent him flying. They were running circles around me until they knocked into each other and left a big goose egg on Ivan's head. I finally bent down with my meanest face ever, grabbed Ivan by the arms, surprisingly I didn't leave claw marks, and with a muffled swear word told him he'd better stop. Then gracefully stood up as I noticed the couple behind me looking concerned. They are new to the ward, I don't really know them, but gave them a nice impression of who me and my kids are. 

We got our food, found a place to sit and then Emery had to go to the bathroom. So I walked CLEAR across camp to the discussing outhouse. Came back, sat down and then guess who had to go? Jack. You couldn't have thought of that when I was taking Emery? So I walked CLEAR across camp again……

after what felt like 6 trips to the bathroom I got to eat my food that had been sitting and was now cold.

camp was pretty, I love the people in my ward, but I was glad the sun had set and we could go to bed.

Ivan had joined a bunch of boys playing football and played for a while. Then he played night games while we settled in the tent. That's the best part for kids. They hated walking, but loved being in a tent.

Finally Ivan joined us

The next morning I must have been a tad refreshed because I decided not to pack up and go home.
We did 7 miles this second day. 

Emery got to ride in Jaceys wagon which was a huge help

 When the pioneers came through this valley they had to cross the Sweet water River multiple times, because it zig zagged through the area. It was up to their necks back then and for the Martin handcart company, who came later in the season, it was freezing waters. It wasn't deep for us, it was blazing hot so we welcomed the water, but it was still a very tender experience. There were two girls from our ward set up on the other side playing "come, come ye saints" on their violins. I really am not one for cheesy, and it kinda sounds cheesy, but it wasn't. 

Here we come. I thought the kids would want to walk, but as we inched in Emery started crying so I picked her up. 

Then Jack started crying so I picked him up

After we crossed we gathered around these 4 statues and the missionaries gave us some information. When the Martin handcart company got to yet ANOTHER spot in the river where they were going to have to cross they were devastated. Grown men and women fell to the ground in tears. By this time they were beyond our comprehension of tired, hungry, frozen with clothes and shoes hanging on by threads. In Salt Lake Brigham Young had asked for volunteers to rescue this company and they have record of 4 men who left immediately. The men arrived at this time they were ready to cross and carried everyone one of those pioneers through that last stretch of water. 

Hilary Cheney then got up and talked about when they lost little Carson and how the Savior has been their "rescue"

After the river cross we walked a little farther and stopped for lunch.

After lunch we left the wagons and headed up to Martins Cove. We stopped at a little pavilion first so they could tell us about the cove. This is Zach, Hilary, Bridger and little Hazel. (who talked about losing Carson)

After the missionaries were done talking to everyone we said a prayer. As everyone bowed their heads Jack blurts out, "why do we have to pray anyway? I HATE trek!" Here we are everyone….. the Balle family!

After the little meeting you could either stay and rest or walk another couple miles up through the cove, loop around and meet back at the pavilion. Ivan went with a friend and his family because I had to alternate carrying Jack and Emery and wasn't sure how far we'd make it.

We didn't quite make it to the cove. We stopped in this little shady spot  for a bit and then walked back.

It was a long day. 

But we finally made it back to camp where the kids could play

We had testimony meeting that night

Ivan stayed out and played again till late and then we went to bed

Our third and final day. We packed up camp and walked the 3 miles back to the start. Here's our last picture with our cart. It's cute how the boys are pretending to push. I promise they never laid a hand on that cart to help

Here is a bridge that was built so that no one would ever have to cross those waters again.

I've always wondered why we do the whole trek thing? We put on these clothes and try and reenact this hardship that we really can't even pretend to understand. Especially the Martin Handcart situation. Why suffer again? I don't think the pioneers want to relive it? Why do we do it for them? It was hard. I might have been crazy to take 3 kids by myself. But it was definitely worth it. Mainly because of the spirit that is in that place. I don't pretend spiritual things that aren't there and I don't really have a lot of powerful experiences. This was one for me.

4th of July

We made it back from trek friday night, just in time for the 4th of July.
Mike got home sat morning and we enjoyed dinner and some neighborhood fireworks

Then the next weekend was the Ute Stampede

Emery's first official birthday party- neighbor friend Clara

 When we picked her up she got in the van and went and whispered, "meow" in Mikes ear

24th of July
Aunt Opals house on Main Street- awaiting the grand Panguitch parade


 I just wanted some pretty scenic pictures of the lake and my girl in this soft  dress. 
We tried.

The cabin

July ended with a FABULOUS trip to girls camp…. in the next post

And July 31st was Carson Cheney's annual birthday bike ride