Sunday, October 24, 2010

Some Autumn events.....

"I Know My Savior Lives"

Today we had our Camarillo 2nd ward Primary Sacrament Program where Hans participated in his very last Primary Program! He and Audrey, Addie and Isaac had speaking parts and sang the beautiful messages of the gospel, as well. Kirsten, our ward Primary President, shared her testimony at the beginning of the program and started it off with a beautiful, sweet spirit as she expressed her love for the Savior and for these precious children. We enjoyed the meeting so much and felt the Savior's love.

Then, John and I and Hans went to Camarillo 5th ward's program to feel more of that same, sweet spirit as Ditte and Jeremy participated as primary leaders and pianist in their ward and Cozette, Atalie and Wyatt all sang and had speaking parts. We had tears of joy in our eyes many times today as we thought about how much the church has done for our family and now to know that our grandchildren are being blessed with the same teachings and growing opportunities to draw near to their Savior and strive to keep his commandments. We know our grandchildren in Tehachapi, San Francisco and New Hampshire are participating in their primary programs this fall, as well. How I wish we could be there for all of them! I am so thankful to belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!
Last Sunday, I had the opportunity to attend a special devotional at the Los Angeles Temple with John. He has been an ordinance worker for a number of years now. Every year, they invite all the ordinance workers to a devotional they hold in the Solemn Assembly room on the 3rd floor of the temple. This room is as long as a football field...huge! The Southern California Mormon Choir sang quite a few numbers and it was so beautiful. Our special speaker was Elder Russell M. Nelson, of the quorum of the Twelve Apostles. It was a lovely experience to spend a Sunday afternoon in the temple.

A Saturday morning walk to one of our favorite Camarillo spots.

A boy and his dog.

Hans and his skateboard

We recently took Hans and a couple of our granddaughters to the newly remodeled Los Angeles Temple Visitors Center. It is a fantastic place to visit and we had a lovely evening together, ending with a stroll around the temple grounds, singing "I love to the see the Temple" at the front doors of the temple for Gramps and eating matzaball soup at one of Gramps' favorite delis nearby.

Atalie, Hans and Cozette

I love to the see the temple, I'm going there someday.....

Father and son Saturday morning project, building Gretel a dog house to keep her out of the rain. (We've had quite the rain already this fall and more to come.)

Hans playing "keeper" at one of his soccer games this fall.

Hans ready to go to his first day of middle school this fall. He is a 6th grader at the University Charter Middle School

Steffen and Emily on September 1st after he officially asked her to marry him and gave her the ring he designed and had made just for her. We had the privilege of going sailing with them and her family that day out to Santa Cruz Island where the event occurred. It was a wonderful day.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I have no greater joy than this....

I have been extremely busy the last month with details surrounding Mette's and Brent's wedding in the Los Angeles Temple, Friday August 6, 2010. There are many things I could and would like to write about so we can remember these special times in the future. For now, until things settle a little more, I will post this family photo that Brent's dad, Joe Griffith, took of our family as Mette and Brent came out of the temple. More photos will come later and more details. For now, this photo says a thousand words....most of all, it expresses the joy in my heart for this precious family of mine and how blessed I felt that day to have them all gathered at the temple to celebrate Mette's and Brent's Temple Marriage. "I have no greater joy than hear that my children walk in truth". John and I rejoiced as we looked at 8 of our 9 children in that sealing room that morning with all their spouses, to witness another eternal family being made. There just isn't anything happier or worth striving for in this life.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Our Summer Vacation July 5th-July 12th, 2010

Our summer vacation this year was different in that John and I only had one child with us! For years we have vacationed with lots of children and sometimes grandchildren, but this year we only had Hans with us and although we missed and thought about all our family and wished we could share many parts of it with them, it was a very lovely vacation.

We headed toward Utah on Monday, July 5th after our 4th of July breakfast and celebration at the church. Since we got a mid day start, we stopped over in St. George at a Marriott Courtyard for the night. It was nice for a change to divide that long drive in half.

As soon as we got into our hotel, Hans wanted to try out the pools...they had an outdoor and indoor one.

Ahhhh...the advantages to being an "only child"...a queen sized bed all to himself!

The next evening we arrived in Rexburg and Steffen made dinner for us in his and Brent's apartment. It was delicious. Here's Hans, John, Mette, Brent, Emily and Steffen.

Steffen found out from their apartment manager that we could park right behind his apartment on the street without any problem from the city. We rented this RV in Draper, UT to save on mileage and it sure was convenient to have our own home on wheels!

The next couple of days we spent going all over campus, watching Mette rehearse in the Kirkham Building during her modern dance class.

Mette's modern dance class. It was fun to watch for over an hour.

Mette took us on a little tour of the gardens and the campus between her classes. The gardens are incredible this time of year...lots of student projects and such a lovely place to wander.

Our walk took us up the hill toward the Rexburg Temple which is right next to the campus.

Rexburg Temple.

The view of the campus from the temple.

The entrance to the campus gardens. I wished I had taken more pictures of this area. It was absolutely beautiful. We were trying to come back down to meet Steffen in the MC building for lunch.

The religion building and chapels where Steffen and Mette's wards meet on Sunday for their church meetings. Beautiful architecture.

That night we attended a concert where Steffen played the bassoon with the BYU-Idaho Symphony Orchestra. They performed Beethoven's 7th Symphony. It was so wonderful to enjoy this inspiring music and to especially enjoy one of our children performing with them.

BYU-Idaho Symphony Orchestra

After the performance.

It is is about 9:30 pm after the performance. We ate dinner around 10:00 pm or later each night we were with the kids because they are so busy with their activities and classes!

The 2nd day in Rexburg, while waiting for Steffen and Mette to attend their classes in the morning, we drove down the road 15 minutes to this little lake in Rigby. It was perfect for Hans for a couple of hours.

We came back in the afternoon to sit in on a rehearsal of this chamber music piece. Loved it!

Hans following along with the music over Steffen's shoulder.

That evening we first attended a piano recital that Steffen's girlfriend, Emily Thompson, was part of. We got to meet her parents and family that evening and they even cooked us a delicious dinner at Emily's apartment after the recital and after Steffen's Jazz Combo performed as well.
We ate dinner well after 10 PM each night we were with the kids....Young Adult hours...ughhh!

Steffen playing the tenor sax during his Jazz Combo Performance.

Next day we got in the RV and after a short visit with a dear friend from Camarillo, Steve Broughton who now lives in Rexburg, we headed to Jackson, Wyoming and north to the Grand Teton National Park. Oh what beautiful scenery we enjoyed!

Lots of whitewater rafting groups going down the Snake River. We followed and crossed the Snake River so many times on this trip!

Hans reading and reading up on his bunk bed in the RV. He finished "Eragon" in 3 days after we bought it for him in the BYU bookstore. We had to keep telling him to look out the window at the scenery!

Rain and thunderstorm came on suddenly in Jackson, WY and then it left just as quickly. It was actually a fun part of the adventure.We parked here in a grocery store parking lot to fix lunch before we went in to stock up on some groceries. Sure was convenient to travel in the RV. I loved it!

What a luxury to be able to have a stove and refrigerator and bathroom and bed and roof over our heads as we traveled along. I could really get into this RV'ing thing!

View of the the Grand Tetons!

Beautiful wildflowers all over the place.

We camped overnight next to Jackson Lake at Coulter Bay State Park Campground. I wished we had had more time to stay here longer. This was one of my favorite nights of the week. So peaceful and beautiful.

Our campground at Coulter Bay State Park in the Grand Tetons.

Hans practiced and practiced learning to make the perfect roasted marshmallows! Here's the best ones of the night for our s'mores. The three of us also sat around the fire and sang campfire songs for awhile and looked into the fire and the trees (and swat the mosquitos....always some opposition). The sun sets quite late each night because we are so far north.

Mmmmmm smore's in the great outdoors!


Hiking around the woods to the lake to skip rocks. Small and Simple pleasures.

Self-timer photgraphy...there was no one around but us....not bad, huh?

The dump, the dump, the's favorite part of using an RV! It wasn't so bad though.

Yellowstone National Park

Mud Volcano in Yellowstone

Our first siting of Bison....up close and very personal! What a huge beast!

These trees are all fallen because after an earthquake, the ground heated up to over 200 degrees here and "fried" the roots of all these trees so they died. They call this "Cooking Hill".


We stopped here to hike down toward the bottom of Yellowstone Lower Falls. Well worth the hike.

Going back up the stairs we came down!

Ta-Dah! We made it back up to the top!
The last step of 328 steps! John and Hans counted them!

This is the view of the Lower Falls from what they call "Artist's Point". Amazing and beautiful colors in the stone. They call this the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone Park.

Then on to Old Faithful. We waited for about an hour. They can predict the eruption within 10 minutes either way. It erupts about every 90 minutes day and night and lasts about 3 minutes.

Waiting....and waiting.....

Thar' she blows!

After going back to Rexburg late Saturday night so we could attend church meetings at 9:00 am with our kids, Steffen and Mette, on campus, we said our good-byes and drove 3 hours south-west to Rupert, ID to visit John's sister, Ida and her husband, Boyd Chugg. They let us park in their driveway overnight and fed us a delicious roast Sunday dinner. We enjoyed their gardens, their home and the nice drive out to see their cattle and farm. Boyd was good enough to saddle up his horse and let Hans have a ride. At one point, Hans let the horse get to galloping a little too fast and we had a bit more thrill than we expected, but all was well. Thank you Boyd and Ida!

John and Ida visiting.

Boyd giving Hans a lesson about driving the 4x4.

We woke up at 6am Monday July 12th, drove south to Draper, Ut where we dropped off the RV and got our car again. We called our nieces, Julie and Terri to say hi and asked if we could drop in on them....they gathered at Terri's and Jay's new home and treated us to a delicious lunch before we had to say good-bye and get going on the rest of our 11 hour drive home that day to Camarillo. Thank you for your hospitality, Terri and Julie!

Terri's family has a tradition of walking or running to the corner to wave good-bye to their they are saying good-bye to us.

We drove all day and evening and arrived safe and sound and tired back in our driveway in Camarillo a little after midnight! It was a wonderful week and we feel so thankful to have been able to see where our college kids attend school, see and hear some of their talents, enjoy beautiful places and sights, visit some friends and family and enjoy a nice time with each other.

We are grateful!