Wednesday, September 07, 2011

An Unplanned Labor Day Weekend

We spent quite a fair amount of Labor Day driving and searching and worrying.

Labor Day weekend just sort of popped up this year and we didn't really think about planning much until it was upon us. We did our Saturday cleaning quickly and wandered downtown to the Farmer's Market to enjoy some wonderful samples, buy lots of delicious fresh veggies, and listen to great music (SUCH a nice farmer's market here - just 3 blocks down the street...).  Then my parents decided to come take the kids to a movie in the afternoon (the kids were over the moon about it) and took Jared and I out for a nice dinner at our favorite restaurant (Sonora Grill).

Sunday morning, my dad headed up to spend time with his dear mother in Logan (more about her below) and my mom went with us to church on Sunday (she just had to experience our  congregation of truly diverse, interesting and faithful people). I haven't seen my parents since we left Bear Lake so it was great to have some time with them - even if we did need to talk about the hard subject of how to help my grandma (her memory is dwindling daily) a fair amount of the time.

Sunday afternoon, we heard that Jared's brother Aaron and family were camping out up Logan Canyon and they invited us to join them. We decided to go up on Monday morning and enjoy some time in the cool of the canyon with some of the kids' favorite cousins.

Armed with a pretty basic but seemingly sufficient text with directions to Aaron and Michelle's camp site, we got up early Monday morning, packed a lunch, and headed out.  But after going a lot further than we realized we'd need to go up the canyon and driving up an increasingly bad rutty road/trail with no turn-around options (ours may be the only mini van to ever travel that road), we couldn't find them anywhere. And there was no mobile phone coverage (makes me realize how much cell phones have changed our lives). Then we realized we were totally out of gas and our priority changed from finding our relatives for a day of fun to finding gas and praying that our van could make it back down the rutty road we'd miraculously managed to drive up.

We stopped and said a prayer.

We found a very nice group of campers who had extra gas for their four wheelers. I'm sure they planned to use all the gas they brought to enjoy a full day of four-wheeling, but they readily handed over a gas can and we thankfully poured a couple gallons into the car. Our new friends refused to accept any payment. It almost made me cry. I love that there are such nice people in the world.

We were all sad that we hadn't been able to find our relatives but as we slowly maneouvered our way back down that crazy road and the good old van stepped up to the task, we counted our blessings.

There was the prettiest stream running by that rutty road!
It was a gorgeous area to be lost and run out of gas.
Down the canyon a ways, we found some hiking trails and spent the afternoon climbing up to some pretty impressive "wind caves" with sweeping views of the whole canyon.  It was a hard steep hike but the kids did beautifully and it was great to conquer that mountain together.  I love hiking with my family and we haven't gone on a serious hike together in way too long.  I love enjoying great little chats with different combinations of kids as we hike. I love how the kids help me notice the little details - the texture of a leaf, the way a rock looks like a face, an animal foot print.  I love being up high where there's always a breeze and always grandeur.  I love seeing God's love for us displayed in all His creations.

In a wind cave - amazing what water and wind can do!
Wish you could see how pretty it really was - only had Jared's phone to take photos.
Here we are at the top.
View from the the biggest wind cave - they call that rock strip across the canyon the "Great Wall of China"
We capped off the day by visiting my grandma on our way home (she lives in Logan and we visit her every chance we get).

As usual, she loved seeing the kids play with all the wooden jigsaw puzzles she made for her children 60 years ago - and as always, she reminded them that all of them still have all their pieces because of the rule of finishing and putting away one puzzle before taking out something else.  She smiled and sang along as the kids sang her the theme song from Joy School - "Oh Boy, I've got Joy" (she wrote most of the Joy School lesson plans as she tried out methods at the little preschool she ran for many many years). She didn't remember that we visited her for her birthday a couple weeks ago. She didn't remember that my dad went to visit her the day before.  She couldn't quite remember our names.  But she did remember that she loves us.

She held my hand in her cool, papery hand and told me that she loves me and that she was so very glad we came to visit. I looked into her watery, near-sightless eyes and told her that I love and admire her so much. I told her that I think of her every day when I remind my kids of the rule she always had - "You have to put away one toy before you take out another."  I told her that 1000's of kids and families around the world are still using the great preschool lesson plans that she wrote. Her eyes got big and she said, "Really?  People still use that stuff?"  I assured her that they do and that she has made a difference for SO many people in her long, beautiful life.  She smiled and said, "I hope I've done more good things than bad things in my life and I really hope my Dean comes to get me soon." (Dean is her beloved husband who passed away over 50 years ago when my dad and his siblings were very young.) Oh, how I love my sweet grandma and wish there was more I could do for her! My sister Saydi wrote a beautiful post about Grandma HERE.

So it turned out to be a great weekend - a little down time, a little adventure, a lot of connections to family and to nature and to God.


Cardalls said...

Saren your family is so darling and amazing! I look up to you a lot for all you are doing for families all over the globe in empowering mothers!Someday I hope to attend a retreat and become more involved. I too have 4 boys and a girl and read your blog often, but don't comment much. We too went hiking on Labor Day (here in Vegas it was heaven to go to 70 degrees with a light rain!) and I loved every second of it!

shawni said...

Oh my word that looks like such a beautiful hike! Wish we could have been with you. And I'm so impressed how your family just gets in formation for family photos. Everyone looks so good. Sure love you...good luck tonight and tomorrow!

Eyrealm said...

How fun to see all this! Loved being with you this weekend. Lots accomplished and lots to do! Love you!


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