My family has started arriving for my baby sister Charity's big wedding day after tomorrow. We're going to have three days worth of celebrating starting with a fun bachelorette lunch and family dinner tomorrow and extending through her wedding on Thursday and her big reception party on Friday. We've all got lots of duties to take care of (I'm in charge of the salads for the family dinner, the kids' area at the reception, getting the dessert to the wedding dinner, stuff like that) and it'll be fun to all work together and enjoy Charity's beautiful wedding. It looks like the nice weather she's been earnestly praying for will happen and almost everyone in the family has been able to arrange to be here.
My brother Jonah and family arrived from Hawaii on Friday afternoon and came up here to surprise the kids when they got home from school. Wish I had a photo of their shocked and then delighted faces when some of their favorite people were sitting in the living room when they got home from school!
We spent a lovely afternoon chatting and hiking and enjoying tons of delicious tomatoes from our garden on a perfect sunny fall afternoon.
Jonah surprised us all with his new look. What a beard!
The twins and Camden did some serious rock climbing. Oh how happy they were to be together!
We were planning to head to Arches for a fun family mini-vacation Friday evening after Jonah and family left. But we got some offers of tickets to attend conference and Charity needed help with finishing some wedding stuff and we decided we'd better stick around.
So on Saturday, we cleaned and worked on our porches (the neverending project!) and watched Conference. The day before, Eliza and the twins built a huge tent to watch/listen (trying to be like the people who came ot hear King Benjamin in the Book of Mormon). They were pretty darn proud of their tent.
Here they are showing off all the "rooms" in their tent to our neighbor.
And we made our traditional pumpkin cookies to enjoy during Conference:
(Recipe is HERE if you want it!)
Then Saturday afternoon, Jared and the big boys headed down to SLC to attend the Priesthood Session (they were supposed to have tickets and attend with Jared's brothers but various happenings resulted in the brothers and the tickets not quite making it - but they really enjoyed watching at the Tabernacle on Temple Square and running into several good friends and family members).
While they were gone, Oliver, Silas, Eliza and I walked downtown to go out to dinner. They wanted to listen to music on my phone on the way and pretty soon it was a full-on dance party heading down the street. These kids can DANCE - and they don't care a bit if people stop and smile.
We also had to take a picture with our favorite horse - it has a picture of our house on it! They put out these horses every year for Pioneer Days in Ogden and then keep them up until the end of October or so. It's fun to see some of our old favorites plus some cool new horses all over town every year.
On Sunday, we had a nice conference-morning breakfast, snuggled up to watch the first session, then headed down to watch the second session at the Conference Center with some of Jonah's family. My parents had received some really excellent tickets near the front of the Conference Center and were kind enough to share. What a beautiful experience to be right there and share it with loved ones.
I think Jonah is the one they should be featuring in the conference Ensign. His awesome beard would mix things up a bit and remind everyone of all those great scripture stories involving men with beards.
The kids got to pick numbers between one and ten to see which ones would get the tickets to the conference center. These were the winners:
We were right near the front. I loved the talks and loved being bathed in the goodness of the 21,000 other people there who want to do what's right and follow the prophet. I think one of the most touching parts for me was watching all the church leaders on the stand get up and sing the congregational song with gusto. Many of those men had to struggle just a bit to stand up - they have lived long, long lives. But they did it. And they sang with all their hearts. I also loved seeing them pat each other's hands after finishing a speech and help each other stand up and exit the stand at the end. It was nice to be close enough to see that and to feel of their devotion in that way - especially after hearing this great talk.
Now it's on to the big wedding!