A Rainy Afternoon......

July 27, 2010


Cousin Niki has a creative eye!
She took all of these photos and did a beautiful job editing them!
I am always amazed what two cousins will do for a beautiful picture.
And I still do remember the days where fun was found in the rain!
Here's to you.....you beautiful cousins!
I love how you love each other so much!




One Of The Best Parts Of Utah.....

July 26, 2010

Auntie celebrated a birthday while we were in Utah.....
(This post is a little belated....)
The birthday party "theme" was a Mexican Fiesta....hehe....
We met at The Brick Oven....it is one of our favorites....took our own centerpieces....
made her wear a party hat and chile necklaces....and we ate until we were all sick!
Oh, and I am pretty sure we bothered everyone around us with our singing.....
Auntie was one of the best parts of our summer life in Utah.
She moved to Utah with us and after a few days found her own apartment and started her
life as a BYU student. It was fun for us to be a part of this new adventure in her life.
I turned 21 years old two months after Auntie was born.
In fact, she was born while I was on a trip with The Farmer,
to this place I now call home. Between us are six brothers. She was a miracle;)
The Sunday she was blessed....a lovely lady at church.....well meaning I am sure....
came up to me and announced that Auntie should not have been born to our Mother...but that she should have been my daughter, after all I was old enough to be her mother.
Shortly thereafter, I decided to serve a mission for our church.
(not because of the well meaning lady, by the way.....)
When I left for my mission she was 4 months old.
When I came home she was nearly 2 years old.
And then a few months later I married The Farmer.
We never really lived in the same house at the same time, and didn't really get to know each other as sisters until later in life. She came to Mexico to live with us, a couple of years ago... and she became a part of our family in a very special way. The Darlings love her as a sister.....
I love how she "fights" with them like a sister.....
How she wrestles with them....like a sister....
How she loves them...like a sister.....
How she encourages them...like a sister....
I love how they confide in her and trust her....like a sister.
She is about three years older than our Gracie would be...
and I see her filling an an empty space that Gracie would have held. Preshie has said many
times through the years that she has missed her big sister and that she needed her.
Auntie has filled that need for her. Auntie fixes her hair...they tan togther....they share clothes...
Auntie offers fashion advice...and more importantly....boy advice.
The Boy has needed a sisters hand to steady him at times....and Auntie has done that for him.
He listens to her when he will not listen to anyone else.
The Rooster just loves, loves, loves her.
And she just loves, loves, loves him back.

The hardest part of leaving Utah was leaving her behind.
We cried alot.
The Darlings cried alot.
The Farmer thought we were all nuts....but he felt pretty sad to leave her too.
She is beautiful....
She is talented....
She is smart......
She is giving.....
And she is strong!
(And she brought me Sonic drinks without me asking....now that is a sister!)

I love you Auntie, and am so very proud of you and all that you have accomplished!
Thanks for melting right into our family and becoming one of us!
Thanks for letting us share a part of your life,
and thanks for bringing some great entertainment to the condo....
(you have dated some fun guys! good thing we had the strobe light!)
I love the relationship that we have developed and sisters and friends.
And, thanks for sharing my sense of humor, even when we were the only ones laughing!
I love you Auntie/Sister/Friend!!!


July 23, 2010

The journey began Monday morning....
It ended last night....very late....
And Dorothy knows what she is talking about when she said...
"There really is no place like home."
Leaving Utah was sad....we weren't quite ready to go.
But it was time.
We packed up our "summer life" into the trailer.....said alot of good-byes,
(and cried alot....) and hit the road.
The Farmer is always looking for trucks for the farm workers...and this trip it was a truck and a
trailer that will be used to test the potatoes in the field.
The Boy...who is still a young buck....was assigned to drive the truck and trailer....
It is a 4x4 disel truck, which thrilled The Boy.....The Farmer called it a
"young man's ride" and that he was too old to enjoy it ;)
The Mom....(me)....thought that The Boy was a little young for this type of task. After all
we weren't traveling a short distance....it would be hours until we reached our destination. The Farmer assured The Mom that The Boy was plenty capable and that it was a "right of passage." And then we heard stories of when the The Farmer was a teenager he had to pull peach wagons loaded down with freshly picked peaches....to the local
co-op for packing. Some of his stories are just flat out disturbing....anyway....he lived,
and that was his "right of passage." We drove and drove...through rain, engine trouble and we finally arrived in Mesa....in the middle of the night. After parking the vehicles....The Farmer
met The Boy with a fatherly hug and announced..."Boy, you have done a man's job"
And it happened....he became a little more of a man.

(The Boy....searching for cell signal at Yellowstone....just one more text....)

The "manly" Boy.

022 After spending a few days in Mesa.....and some extremely yummy Mac-n-Cheese at ZTejas....
with some pretty amazing men that I call "Brothers"....
we hit the road again. This time we headed to The Thorn Ranch. The Thorn is the home
of scout camp this year as well as the anual round-up, which is also going on at the moment.
It was just beautiful!
Many wonderful memories have been made at The Thorn Ranch.
The Farmer's Father loved that ranch, and he especially loved it when the whole family would gather there. Our gatherings were usually because of a round-up and everyone was needed. Whether it be for cooking or gathering cattle, there was a job for everyone.
He was also a fan of an evening trip...after a long hot day....to the local DQ,
which was about 20 miles away, at the end of a dirt road.
He also loved a good Pawn shop....and was known to purchase something for everyone at the Pawn Shop in Silver City. We really did have some great finds there!
He was one of the last real cowboys around.
Back to The Thorn Ranch/scout camp.....We headed down the dirt road, leading
to the ranch house.....to drop off The Rooster....when we came upon a wash...
that had completely "washed out" the road. And so we parked on one side of the wash, and The Rooster carried his gear to the otherside and waited for Uncle D. and Aunt M. to give
him a ride to the ranch house. They arrived...we talked...we hugged.....we said good-bye...and
we hit the road again. This time we headed to Deming....to change cars....and then we said
good-bye to The Manly Boy....who returned to AZ to work for the next few weeks.
We then purchased a little food....afterall we have been away from home for over a month....and then we hit the road again....this time headed for The Border.
We were met by a few of the things that we have NOT missed at all.....
The border agents called Aduanas...and the soldier check points....but we successfully arrived
home very late in the night. We were met by our loyal beasts....all three thrilled to see us!
(don't you just love dogs??!!)
Kitty Meow Meow found PreShie, they hugged, and he drank two bowls of milk.
Oh, it is good to be home!


The Rooster....crossing the washed out wash.....with a suitcase on his head

This morning....before the unloading began.....I walked through the yard to make
sure everything was in order. The Farmer had called ahead to make sure everything was clean
and weeded before we arrived. He knows that I don't like an unkept yard.....
and that if it is in bad shape....I complain alot. So although he did a kind thing for me....he also
did a kind thing for himself ;) Everything is beautiful! The rains have begun and that means that
everything is green! The afternoons cloud up....and it rains...often that means phone service and electricity is lost....but that makes it even more fun!


The only thing bad about Monsoon season....is my hair!
Can you say curly?????

These guys look great! They have really grown .....when we left they were chicks and now
they are teenagers.....They seemed happy that we were home too.
The cousins...that haven't seen each other for over a month....spent the day catching up....
we have tasted the fruits of our garden....okra and squash....it has been a great day!
There is no place like home!!!

"The Ranch..."

July 18, 2010

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My creation
Grandpa S. was raised on a ranch in Southern Idaho. His family moved to Arizona when he was 16years old. As I was growing up, memories of life on the ranch were shared often. It was a place that he loved. It was a sheep ranch and life there was not easy. It required alot of work, and it required that each family member participate. This ranch had been in the family for
several generations.....their experiences there shaped their lives and helped
make them into some pretty great people. When I was a little girl, I too had the chance to spend
some time at The Ranch, during the summer months. It was an extremely long drive from Mesa Arizona, but I can remember....very clearly....how impressed I was how green both Utah and Idaho were, and how many streams and rivers flowed so freely. It was pretty amazing for a girl who had spent her whole life in the desert.

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It was always so exciting to arrive at The Ranch. The home seemed so large, and there was a large brass bed that I looked forward to sleeping in. There was no TV. But there were cousins that lived next door and lots of places to explore. Everything was named for our family,
the roads, the nearby canyon....and many people who lived in the area. It always
made us feel special to see our family name posted in so many places.
I can remember drinking from colorful aluminum cups kept in the kitchen,
Visiting Soda Springs and actually making our own "soda" from the mineral water,
Picnics in Skinner Canyon....
Driving "into" church on Sunday mornings.....
Walking to the milking house to get fresh milk.....
It was a life that, at the time, seemed so unusual to me, but I liked it


The last time that I visited "The Ranch," The Farmer and I had just finished school at BYU and had decided to accept a job back East. We thought it might be awhile until we would be close enough to visit, and so we took a little weekend trip to visit this special place.
That was nearly 20 years ago.
When we decided to spend some time in Utah this summer....we also decided that it would be a great time to show The Darlings, "The Ranch" and teach them a bit about their heritage.
I don't think they knew what to expect....but they very quickly connected to The Ranch,
and asked why we didn't spend our summers there now. Their lives are pretty similar to what life on "The Ranch" is like....but they felt the goodness of those who had gone before them, and loved the images of Grandpa S. that they found there. The Boy really enjoyed the old basketball hoop that still remains on the side of the barn, where Grandpa S. played many games.

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The home is the same. It hasn't changed too much. The people, who live there now, love the home just as if they were family. The yards are fantastic! Many of the plants, Lilacs and some beautiful yellow roses have been there for generations. The barns remain, and they are wonderful! They still contain items that were left behind like old tools and things that were used to farm. Many old horse shoes have been dug up....along with marbles and a darling pair of overalls that must have belonged to a child many, many years ago. Treasures
The family cemetery can be seen from the back porch of the house, on the side of a hill.
It was really great to walk through that cemetery and
see those who paved the way for us.
I was glad that The Darlings were able to connect a little with those great people.
I sat on the steps of that porch....many a summer day......
Sometimes the days were hot and dry,
Other days I was quite board....wishing to be back in Mesa....
And other days, I loved sitting on those steps, imagining what life would have been like when Grandpa S. was growing up. I have so many fond memories of "The Ranch" and am so very grateful that The Darlings had the chance to walk on the ground that their ancestors walked.
It is a special place...."The Ranch."

The original homestead can also be seen from the back porch of the existing home.
The Darlings enjoyed checking the house out....it was a great adventure for them.

Animal Style

July 17, 2010

Let me just say....I live OUT of the country....
I have heard everyone talking about In & Out Burger.... and so a few months
ago, on a trip to Mesa, I thought I would try one. I ordered a burger and some fries.
I sat down, I ate the burger, and some of the fries and then I got in my car and left. It was OK,
it was not amazing. And so it left me wondering what the big deal was.
To be honest with you, I never thought about it again. And I have not looked for another
In & Out Burger since. A few nights ago, it was late....we hadn't eaten....
our condo was full of family...and I do mean full! Someone suggested In & Out, because it
was close by. Remembering my past experience,
I again asked what the big deal was.....
and I was put in my place.
It is all in how you order the burger apparently. No one told me.
And so we all loaded into the car and headed to the local In & Out....to be educated.

Aunt Amy knew exactly how to educate us!
We stood in line. We ordered......
We got some hats and stickers, because it was out first time.
And we returned to the condo.
All the way back, Aunt Amy was telling us about all of the
"secret menus" that exist in Utah.....who knew!
Well actually everyone knew except.....the folks who don't live in the USA.
I mean really....how were we supposed to find out????
Ok, back to the burgers......
Once home, we carefully unwrapped the burgers and found alot of oozing goodness....
and I now agree.....the are pretty darn tasty!
The fries were pretty great too!


The Farmer, on the other hand.....is not sold.
He says it is a burger. He thinks all of the lines at all hours of the day or night are just
a bunch of people wondering what the other people are doing and so they are there
to see what the big deal is....and they soon find out....it isn't such a big deal.
While he was expressing his feelings he gave us all a little lesson on marketing,
and how we are all victims of marketing and advertising;)
(this is what he used to do....and Proctor and Gamble...so he should know....)
He said he didn't think he would go back again.
He did think that the shakes were good, but still wouldn't wait in line for one.
Who knew that something so simple and yummy could cause such an stir.
I am sold....and I will go again....given the opportunity!!

After the burgers....the cousins played a little....
Logan who we lovingly call "Loady" since she is a "Load"....
loves The Rooster, and The Rooster loves her,
even when she pokes his eyes out!

Reunited And It Feels So Good......

July 10, 2010


It is a little late....but totally worth the post.....
Our 4th of July celebration began on the 3rd of July....at the local Red Lobster.
After a little shopping to get Preshie ready for EFY we met for lunch. It was tasty,
and full of families celebrating the 4th too. A few interesting conversations were overheard......
*From a small child...."hey mom, when are we going to see Carrie UnderDEAD"
*From a not so small child...."why are you picking your teeth with my straw??"
*From a child who thinks he's an adult...
"I give my opinion....and people write it down..."
*From an adult who wishes they could return to childhood....
"hey Boy....why do you have all of those wristbands on....did you make a trip to the hospital?"
*From another adult...momentarily visiting his childhood....
"did you get the high seats??? (at the Stadium Of Fire)
"I Like to feel the thrust of the jet engines as they pass by...."
Wow! So many great discussion in such a small space;)

Next, we moved the party to Uncle Tom's in Springville.
They host an annual party for the 4th in their backyard. He and Aunt Charli are the best hosts around. The food was wonderful and better than the food....childhood friends were reunited.
This group spent a good amount of their early years together,
The Farmer, Uncle Jim, Uncle Tom, Uncle Dave, and Carlos Nielsen.
They had a chance to catch up, share some memories and share even more laughs!
They are all great men, and it was a treat for them to be together.

The "second" generation. Their fathers were good friends growing up, and
now these two are great friends.

The food was wonderful! Uncle Tom is a great cook!
The Farmer thinks that there is nothing better than roasted sweet corn....he was in heaven!


Sharing memories from "back in the day"......
We made a point to keep the children away from the "memories".....we wouldn't want them
to get an ideas;)

Then it was off to The Stadium Of Fire.
It was PACKED! But is was great to be there.
Carrie Underwood was super! She sounds great in concert, and she sang a ton of songs.


The crowd was great....really into Carrie Underwood.....lots of singing along....
lots of laughs....and some "very interesting people" sightings.

The fireworks were amazing...I am pretty sure we sustained some minor hearing loss....
There were alot of gasps of delight from the crowd....
And then a few gasps of fear when one of the fireworks hit a light and shot into
the crowd. The parametics quickly attended to the folks in the "good" seats,
no-one was seriously injured....and the show went on.

The evening ended with The Farmer and I sitting for hours in traffic....
While The Darlings and Auntie walked several blocks away to another car....
and then they headed to a midnight showing of Eclipse.....Since PreShie was starting
EFY Monday, this was the only moment she could see it.
It was a great day....we were so happy to be in Provo for the 4th!

A Sundance Afternoon....

July 8, 2010

Sundance has got to be one of the most beautiful places on earth!
Monday, after dropping PreShie off at EFY, we headed to Sundance for a little
mountain biking. It was a beautiful day!


The teenage boys thought that they could manage the most difficult paths there......and
they boy promptly wiped out. One boy smashed the screen on his cel. phone, the other was
scraped up a bit. They then decided that the more moderate paths would be better until
they got the hang of it. While we were riding the lift, I noticed that several people, riding along with us, were heavily padded with motocross helmets on. And then I thought to myself,
that these boys had no idea what they were getting into.

The spent every moment of the day riding....they didn't break for lunch, they just rode!
They wrecked a few times.....shook it off and went on.


Me on the other hand....I rode the lift several times....
Took a little lunch break....the food was wonderful!
Took lots of pictures....
Checked out the darling store.....
Admired some beautiful art.....
And rode the life some more.
It was a lovely day for me too!


The "mountain bikers."

The scenery was incredible!


The treats were very yummy!
And cute!
It was a fantastic afternoon

Everyday is full of fun activities....we find ourselves together with family most every night.
We have overeaten....laughed way too much....
re-connected with old friends, and are just having a darn good time!

Freedom And The Tree Streets.....

July 3, 2010

It isn't often that we have found ourselves in the U.S. for The Fouth of July.
Usually we are in Mexico, where our ability to celebrate this great holiday is limited.
Our celebration usually is a picnic, sometimes at the lake, with a few firecrackers....and we are grateful for that. But we always honor the day.
This year I am in awe of the patriotism I see all around me. The flags flying, the homes decorated, The Freedom Festival, parades and so many other activities. This morning was the second day of the hot air balloon launch....there were people everywhere, and I do mean everywhere. Parents with little children, grandparents and many students. Many were dressed in red, white and blue, many were carrying small flags...it was a sight to see. Tonight we will attend the Staduim of Fire....it's sure to be a great time!

The streets of Provo are beautiful. Even red, white and blue flower beds.
We walked the streets of downtown Provo last night.....with a few thousand other people....
saw some great booths filled with great food, and many other items.
The Farmer found his most favorite in the whole world.....roasted corn!

The Tree Streets in Provo are my favorite!
The Farmer and I have spent some time driving up and down the streets....secrectly we would love to own a home on those Tree Streets. The homes are quaint and well kept and just darling. Children play in the streets and flags fly on many of the homes.
It's dreamy.



We are all together again....The Darlings have finished their camps this week.
It is nice to have The Boy back with us. He is happy, and he is fortified!
PreShie will begin EFY Monday....but for now....we are all together.
Yesterday we had lunch with dear friends that we hadn't seen in YEARS....we won't say how many;) She is also a dear blogging friend....Pedaling....she took some pictures....I am hoping that she will post them...so I can "borrow"them from her;) We also spent a little time in Salt Lake City, we were lucky enough to run onto Pres. and Sis. Taylor who are serving a full time mission there. It was great to catch up with them. We are looking forward to a fun filled
weekend and the chance to honor a very special holiday!

All Is Well.....

July 1, 2010

029 PreShie left this morning for another day at her BYU English camp. She looked so darn cute when she got of out the car....backpack and all.....as she stepped out of the car to join her
friends I caught a glimpse of her necklace which says...."All Is Well."
And it got me thinking.......
As I was driving back to our temporary home, I noticed a large group of EFY kids, walking from the location which The Boy is staying.....and in the distance I saw that Boy of ours.....
dressed in his Sunday clothes.....(7:30am) white shirt and tie...
carrying his scriptures, with two lovely young women,one on each arm.
The whole group was walking arm in arm headed for breakfast.
All through the BYU campus, at 7:00 am. you can find groups of faithful young men and young women, sitting in groups participating in their morning devotional. Headed up by some pretty amazing counselors who's desire is to strengthen these modern day Strippling Warriors.
It touches my soul and I shed tears.... every morning.
I am so grateful that The Darlings have had the chance to be in this special place, participating in some amazing activities. I am grateful that so much effort is made for the youth of this church.
When life seems so overwhelming and so rough for our youth.....
I feel so totally grateful for moments like I watched this morning. Goodness surrounds us....
"Though hard to you.....This jouney may appear....
On another note.......
While returning to Provo this past weekend....The Farmer showed alot of patience when I asked to stop....many times....because of great photo opportunities. The Lavender fields at Young Living Farms, are incredible. We stopped to take a few pictures and were quickly met by
"security" who deemed us "harmless enough" and so allowed us to continue the photo shoot.
The purple of the Lavender flowers, against the mountains is just fantastic.
The are hosting a 5K in another week, right through the Lavender fields, an interesting idea;)

We also took a few minutes and stopped in a town called Parowan. A few years ago the Grandparents S. moved to this little town. One of those unexpected experiences where they were driving down the freeway when they felt impressed to visit this little town, and the next thing we knew they had sold their home in Mesa and had moved to Parowan. They created such a dreamy life there. The filled their yard with beautiful flowers, a fantastic garden and some impressive chickens, which I might add were carefully hearded by Dixie the dog.
It was peaceful, it was beautiful for us it became a place of rest. We spent a few weeks each summer with them in this cute town. Right about the time they moved to Parowan, The Farmer had a dear friend, that he had grown up with, pass away suddenly. Intrestingly enough, his wife decided to burry him in Parowan. She also ended up moving her children to this little town to continue raising them. Each time we visited Parowan, The Farmer would find his way to the cemetery....which I might add....is very beautiful, to greet his dear friend. And again, this past weekend we found our way to the cemetery, where again The Farmer visited Norman, his childhood friend. Parowan also represents a time of healing for me and The Darlings.
After our Colton passed away, The Darlings and I decided to stay with the Grandparents S. for about a month during that summer. We were all emotionally tired and I was physically quite sick too. The Grandparents S. entertained The Darlings with lots of fun experiences, while I re-grouped. It was a much needed time of healing for us all. We left renewed, ready to embark on life again. So a little town, along the freeway....that we had never heard of, had become a place filled with wonderful memories for our family.
Back to The Farmer's friend Norman Call......
His family home is located about 5 blocks from our home in Mexico.
His family is known for their Christlike goodness.
His Mother is the closest to perfection of anyone I know.
She has burried 2 husbands and 4 children, and she has remained the picture of strength and gratitude. In moments of challenge....in my own life....I have thought of Sister Glenna Call and her strength. I love her and am inspired by her. When The Farmer and Norman were growing up, Norman had a windmill behind his house. They also had a "Pila" behind the house that they used as a swimming pool. Many great memories were made in that Pila. After all the children had grown and moved away, Sister Glenna Call decided it was time to sell the family home and move to Utah. The home was sold, the children gathered to help her move, and Norman took the windmill that had stood behind their home.
He moved it to Las Vegas, where he set it up behind his home there.
When Norman died, his wife moved to Parowan, and moved that windmill with her.
Now it stands behind their home, in Parowan Utah.
It was great to see it again!

Just a side note.....
Utah must be the home of the most fantastic barns in the world.
This is outside of Parowan.....another beautiful barn!
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