Monday, July 30, 2012

24th of July in Our LIttle Town

We live in one of those All American Small Towns. It's one of those places that hardly exist anymore, where people care about and take care of each other. Where people are aware of their neighbor's triumphs and sorrows. For instance: there is a couple in our community who haven't been able to have children of their own. They wanted children SO BADLY and went through the whole infertility ordeal for years and finally were able to adopt a beautiful little boy. It's been a joy to watch them as parents. They decided recently that they wanted to adopt a second baby, and as expensive as adoption is, they had a big yard sale to help raise some adoption money. They had people dickering over a 45 cent item, trying to get the price down and then  hand over a $20 bill for that item. Or they'd pay $50 for $2 item. It made my cry when I heard about it. And they just found out that they're getting another baby, due the first of January.

Our town has 2 parades per year. The 4th of July, the 24th of July (a state holiday in UT, also called Pioneer Day celebrating the Mormon Pioneers entering the Salt Lake Valley) and a county fair parade in August. Our parades are very small townie and homemade, but I love them. I think they're a lot better than big, fancy, city parades. The local sheriff's deputies stop traffic going through town, the main highway is also our main street, and the whole parade lasts less than 10 minutes. We have ridden our horses in the parade lots of times before. I've even driven my horse in a cart in the parade before, but we've never made a family float before. I've never had ANY desire to go to all the work to make a float. But something else happened this year. A lady who was a pillar of our community died a few days before the 24th of July parade. She was a wonderful person who raised a great family here. Her viewing was 2 days before the 24th and Marty spent several hours that evening with her kids and grandkids, hearing about what great childhoods they had. They told Marty about how she always did a family float in the 24th parade and how that was a great tradition in their family. Marty came home that night, inspired to start that tradition for our own family.

I groaned a little at first, I have to admit. My live is VERY full and I didn't know how we'd fit float-making into it. But Marty was determined and he even recruited my good friend Jenna, who is a great party planner/decorator/all around crafty and creative gal. So we took the nice flat bed that Marty made and has hardly used and we came up with a plan. The parade theme was "Our Heritage", so we decided to have the kids on the float playing some of our cool ancestors.  On the front half of the trailer, we put some old school desks, a chalkboard and Jaxon, Brynn and Ally playing the teacher and students. On the back half of the trailer, we put Marty's shoeing anvil and Luke as Grandpa Ted. Grandpa Ted was a master blacksmith, and I think Marty has similar talents that he maybe inherited from him. We also put Dallin on a horse with a mail bag, representing my Grandpa Howard who rode his horse and led a mule team from Escalante to Boulder and hauled the mail in his younger days. He was also a teacher among other things.

We put photos of some of our favorite ancestors along the side.

 This is my favorite ancestor - - my mom:

She, and Dallin and Allison's Grandpa Jeff, are teaching still.

 Jenna came up the with cool theme for our float: The Ordinary Lives of Extraordinary People
(themes are her speeesh-e-ality)

 The kids really had a great time riding on the float, especially the candy throwing part:

Marty built that cool schoolhouse/belltower piece in the middle and Jenna came up with most of the decorations.

The other entries were cool, too.

The Hoyt family, especially, is also one of those families that always does a great float for the parade. They've really done some amazing floats over the years and it's always fun to see what they come up with, but this year was my favorite. Our town used to be known as Souptown because they often ate dinner all together as a town and they usually made a HUGE pot of soup for dinner. So the Hoyt family made a soup float. It was the cutest thing EVER. Get a load of Jann and most of her grandkids as veggie soup.

They won the award for the best use of theme; totally deserved.

And guess who won first place?

 Us, that's who.

And we won just enough money to take everybody to lunch afterward. 

And guess who's already thinking about next year's float:

Monday, July 23, 2012

Hollywood Hillbillies - starring Brynn

Brynn has been after me for a couple of months to blog about her play, and I'm finally getting to it. Her 6th grade class put on a play called Hollywood Hillbillies. It was a really cute play with fun music and Brynn had one of the bigger parts. She played Cindy Lou, who was the town Postmistress and worked at the General Store. 

We were amazed and impressed at what a great little actress she was! She certainly didn't get that from Marty or me. There must be a recessive acting gene in the family because Jaxon got it too. 

Lots of music in this play - singing and dancing galore!

Her solo: 

 Cindy Lou and Sheriff Tom (Garrett) had awkward crushes on each other - these were my favorite photos:

And this is Brynn's favorite photo:

After the play was over, they had an after party featuring snow cones courtesy of Presley's mom, Camille. Here's Gena and Brynn demonstrating the dreaded brain freeze. 

I had to talk her into it, but I ended up loving this cute Cindy Lou portrait on the General Store set. Adorable.

We're proud of you sis, you are a very talented kid. I can't wait to see what you'll do next!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

How Can I Forget About Christmas?! (2011)

I've been such a negligent blogger that I completely skipped Christmas of last year. And because I print my blog book as my own personal journal, it's important that I include it, even if it is 7 months after the fact.

After Sharon and Charlie got married in November, they also ended up being able to come to Grandma's for Christmas. One of the reasons that was so cool was that we got to meet Charlie's two younger kids: Andy and Torrie. Andy is close to Maddie and Jaxon's age and Torrie is just a few months older than Brynn.

Here's Andy:

Fittin' right in with the boys:

And here's Miss Torrie, enjoying her newly unwrapped gift:

We had a great Christmas because we were together. And the kids thought the presents were alright too.

(Somehow I missed getting photos of Jaxon and Grandma, they must have been behind me or something. With all this family/blessings, we don't have a lot of room in the living room.)

In the afternoon, even though it was bitterly cold, we all drove up to Temple Square - three carloads of us. Temple Square at Christmas time is truly a beautiful and remarkable place. It's amazing anytime, but at Christmas time, it's really special.

 My beautiful sisters:
 Looking toward the temple:

 the newlyweds. :)
The next best part about Christmas for me - after all of us getting to be together - was getting to photograph some of the gorgeousness that is Temple Square. It was a rush job, but I still had fun.

I especially loved the floating lights and the reflections in the water.

So there, I finally got around to blogging about Christmas. I'm so grateful for my family and for the Savior's birth. Merry Christmas in July to anyone who might be out there reading this.