Thursday, August 28, 2008


On Monday, Peggy and I were looking for a quilt shop when I spotted smoke coming from Corner Canyon - just miles from our house. This turned out to be the beginning of a large fire that consumed over 800 acres of our beautiful mountain and came dangerously close to many homes and the Draper Temple that is still under construction.

Firefighters worked furiously all day and managed to save every home at the base of the mountain.

Due to unfortunate high winds, the fire swept up and over the other side of the mountain, and at sundown the fire was still 0% contained.

Later that evening, as we were all coming home from the movies, I glanced up towards the smoldering mountain and saw the most surprising thing - for the first time, the Temple was lit up and glowing white from it's place on the mountain side. It was like a bright beacon, reassuring us that it was still standing. I've been waiting to see the Temple light up that dark hillside. The see it in it's full glory at the end of such an unnerving day was almost miraculous! This is all terribly cheesy, but I've got a soft spot for temples and this is the one I can see from my front window and the first temple I've actually watched "grow up". It was a beautiful sight!

The next day, I watched helicopters continue to dump water on the smoking mountain. The fire was still not contained, but no homes were being threatened.

This is the view of the fire from my front door:

Here's how the mountain looks now. You can see the red line made by the fire retardant dropped by the planes. Look how close the fire came to some of those houses! Yikes!

It really is depressing to see the mountain all black and charred. I know that fire is a part of nature, but it's sad to lose such a pretty view!
Note: The Draper Temple lights have not shone since the night of the fire.
Disclaimer: Most of these photos were taken by various citizens. I only took the ones of the temple and the aftermath!

Nana and Papa Visit (Part 1)

Nana and Papa came to visit us last weekend after they attended Education Week at BYU. We met them Saturday morning at the Timpanogos Cave National Monument. The caves are really neat, but you have to hike 1,063 feet of elevation increase for 1.5 miles - no small feat. We started out okay, except for a little whining from Elliot. By the time we got halfway up the mountain, we started to think that Nana wasn't going to make it (mostly because she was telling us that she wasn't going to make it).

Nathan went on ahead with Henry and they beat us to the top. Samantha, Elliot and I finished the hike soon after, and then we waited for Nana, Papa and Gillian. We hoped that they would be able to make it to the top - well, because Papa had the tickets for the cave tour! Soon enough, they arrived at the cave entrance - good job Nana! - and then we toured the caves. These caves are pretty cool (figuratively and literally - we needed jackets!) Check them out!

The next day was Stake Conference. In the evening we decided to take Nana and Papa to Little Cottonwood Canyon to find a moose. Nana had never seen a bull moose either and was jealous of our previous moose sightings. Nathan's co-worker/photographer said that he had seen a rather large bull moose recently right at the Alta Ski Resort. So, when we drove past Alta, I looked out the window so I could start scanning the slopes. I immediately spotted the biggest bull moose we had seen thus far! We quickly pulled over and hiked over to the moose. The closer we got to him, the further up the slope he went. Nathan took cover in the trees closest to the moose to get some good shots of him. He was really impressive and Nana was happy that she had finally seen a bull moose!

Nana and Papa left Tuesday to travel to Bear Lake and the Teton National Forest, but they will be back tomorrow for another adventurous weekend - one that doesn't include hiking, per Nana's request!

Monday, August 18, 2008

I Love to See the Temple, I'll Go Inside Someday

Ever since I was little I have wanted to go inside the Salt Lake Temple. Not only is it my favorite, but has loads of historical significance, not to mention it's an architectural marvel! We decided to invite two couples in the ward (who happen to be our best "Date Night" buddies) to attend a session with us this last Friday. Much to my surprise, one of them had also never been in the Salt Lake Temple, and one couple hadn't been in 14 years! I just assumed that people who live in Utah attend the SLC Temple regularly - apparently not! So we were all pretty excited. First we went to Settebello, a restaurant in downtown Salt Lake that we've been wanting to try. It was yummy, but eating took a little longer than expected. We made our session in just the nick of time - thanks to getting lucky with a parking spot right on No. Temple Street. The temple was just as I expected. Of course, I can't go into detail, but seeing a live session was really special and much different than the other temples. I got a little emotional in the Celestial Room thinking about how old the temple is, how many prophets had walked those halls, and all of the hard work and sacrifice that went into building it. It was a wonderful evening, and I definitely plan on going back!

Me, Melinda, Scott, Emily, & Barry

Yes, that is a full moon next to the temple spire! Awesome!

Moose Hunt

Ok - ever since our vacation to Yellowstone, we've become more determined to catch a glimpse of a bull moose. We'd seen a female moose way out in a meadow in the Grand Tetons and a female moose on the banks of the Provo River, which was impressive, but we still weren't satisfied. Nathan works with a guy named John Blumencamp, who is a semi-professional wildlife photographer. Nathan told him of our quest to see a bull moose, and John told him that he's seen moose many times in Albion Basin at the far end of Little Cottonwood Canyon. This is really close to our house. So, last Sunday, after dinner, when it the "moose" time of day (7:00-9:00 pm) we drove to the basin. We got out and hiked around in search of our moose. Now, we'd been to Little Cottonwood Canyon before, but never gone to the end, past the ski resorts. This canyon is gorgeous this time of year! Apparently, July and August are the only months that the flowers are in full bloom. I couldn't believe how GREEN it was! In these pictures, I had to add a warm filter to them and they still turned out extremely green.

After walking around for almost 2 hours, we decided to call it a night. We were disappointed, but moose are known to be the most active in August, so we would be back.

When we returned to our car, who did we run into? John Blumencamp! He had been in the basin longer than we had and had found a few moose! He was actually about to head home, but decided to take us to where the moose had been. We only to walk a little ways (in the opposite direction that we had been, of course) and when we turned a corner - there it was! A BULL moose! He was standing just a few feet from the trail, and as we stood staring at him, a second bull walked up next to him. Moments later, a female moose came out of the trees to our left. We couldn't believe our eyes! We had to take a few steps back because we were so close to all of them! By this time, it had gotten too dark to take any photos, but I was determined to try. I just needed a rock to steady my camera. I crept up a few feet closer to the two bulls and set my camera on a rock. I took one shot when Nathan anxiously whispered at me to get back immediately. I had forgotten that the female was just a few feet to my left and a third bull had just walked up next to her! We were all so excited - it was one of the most amazing things I have EVER seen! John told us that we were really lucky to see this many moose together. I felt lucky! We watched as the first two bulls touched their noses together and started to play a little. One even jumped on the other's back! When they started to move towards us, we decided it was time to go. We didn't need to get in the middle of 4,000 lbs. of bull moose! As we drove home, all of the kids talked excitedly about what we had just witnessed. We had spent hours in Wyoming trying to see a moose and we ended up seeing four of them up close and personal right in our own backyard! To celebrate - even though it was Sunday - we stopped at the grocery store and picked up some Moosetracks ice cream for a late-night dessert.

I have plenty of blurry pictures of our moose friends, but here's the one good shot that I got:

Neat, eh? If you want to see some amazing photos, check out John Blumencamp's website at

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Safety Patrol

Now that Samantha is in sixth grade, she has the opportuntity be on the Safety Patrol. Each member is given an orange vest and flag and they are stationed at various locations around the parking lot. They assist the crossing guards and helps younger children cross the bus lanes and basically keep everyone safe. Samantha does Safety Patrol every Wednesday morning and afternoon. I thought she looked so adorable in her uniform that I stole a few quick pictures. When she spotted me with my camera, she was mortified, but she smiled anyway!


Caleb, Henry, Ian

Since we've been here, Henry has been trying to make friends with two little boys that live down the street, Caleb and Ian. It's been hard because they live across the street from each other and are rarely apart. These boys are inseparable. Two weeks ago, Henry and I picked some veggies from our garden and walked down the hill to give them to Ian's mom. Caleb and Ian were outside playing. Henry walked over to join them and they finally invited him to play! After I was through chatting with Ian's mom, I went to fetch Henry from Caleb's house. His mother said, "Oh, they told me they were all going to your house!" I quickly ran back up the hill and found all three boys in my house playing video games. And that was it - Henry was part of the group! Now the boys spend their days running back and forth to each other's houses. They can't get enough of each other. It's great - Henry feels so popular and he couldn't be happier! He's also had quite a few play dates with Max, a boy in his Sunbeam class. Max has church shoes just like Henry, which he calls his "Henry shoes". Henry gets along great with Max (the cutest blue-eyed, toe head blonde boy I've ever seen) and I also get along great with Max's mom, so it all works out! We took Henry and Max to Bounce U the other day and they had a blast bouncin' around together!

Last weekend, Nathan turned on the sprinkler for our boys. It didn't take long for Caleb and Ian to come running up the hill in their swimsuits!