Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hie to Kolob for Parker

Do you ever have those moments where you know you are in the perfect place at the perfect time doing the perfect thing? Monday morning brought an unlikely group of us together for the Parker Bradford Timpanogos Memorial Hike. We gathered to celebrate the life and legacy of Parker, who at just 18 tender years left this life for the next.
This picture was taken just before we made the last push up through the snowfield shown behind us and into Emerald Lake at the base of Mount Timpanogos.
We gathered bright and early at the trail head, most of us strangers to one other but a common honor the memory of an amazing young man. In a large circle of 35, introductions were made and tears were shed as the commonality among many of us was revealed. This hike was not only for Parker, but for Katelyn, and for Brigham, and for Michael, and for our Jocie and a few others that had passed away too soon. This hike was also for a very young Parker namesake who continues his fight to get well. It is impossible for me to describe the love, the sorrow, the overpowering emotions in that circle on a sunny morning. There were long-time friends and supportive family of the Bradfords. I never had the honor to meet sweet Parker, but his mother Melissa has been instrumental in the healing of my broken empty mother heart.

Of course Princess Izzy made the trip. She is an excellent trail dog and mostly has good manners except when it is food time. Then her pleading puppy dog eyes pierce into your heart and you can't help but give her half of your sandwich. She really is such a moochy pooch!

Izzy started out clean as did the rest of us. However, after plodding through a couple of streams it soon looks like Izzy is wearing socks...dirty socks!

The trail climbs upward at a steady pace and levels out for a bit upon a cliff band with a meadow of wildflowers everywhere you look.

Luc and Dalton are Parker's brothers. We were hiking buddies for most of the trip in. I was very sorry Chet was at scout camp during our hike, he would have loved hanging with these boys.

There were so many beautiful vistas along the way. I will admit I actually took around 400 pictures on the hike. Most of them were on the way in...too tired on the way out.
Here are a few of the advance group, with more to follow. Look at the number of boys on this hike...Chet where are you, we finally found some families with boys...and they are your age!

Look closely...Michelle (in pink) is the mother of 5 boys and she knows how to play. She is winding up to throw a snowball/frozen ice ball at unsuspecting the back! I just met her that morning, but what a great Mom she must be. She was always up for spontaneous fun during the entire hike. She is also a professional photographer and she and Sharlee are gifted writers. I hope they look at my blog with eyes closed!

We turned around after the snowball fight and Izzy had somehow adorned herself with a wildflower. After all, she is my pooch and knows how to accessorize.
Photographer Michelle on the other side of a lens for a change along with her beautiful blond boys. No peeking Michelle...remember I am an amateur!
Whenever I get the opportunity, I jump at the chance to spend time in the mountains, for it is the place where my heart heals the most. As I rounded a bend in the trail, I came upon this beautiful scene. A sudden wave of warmth and love enveloped me. I know this is that perfect moment, perfect place and perfect thing. I marvel at God's beauty around me and I know Jocie is there.

Daniel, Dean and Dalton stop for a short break at the temporary shelter located just on the hill above Emerald Lake. Daniel taught us all about what to wish for if you are ever stranded on a desert island. He insisted that your #1 wish should be for a machine that would make all things for you. I insisted that my #1 wish would be for Chapstick...end of story! We learned many things from these 2 boys including everything you could ever possibly want to know about Lady GaGa.

So let's say you have just hiked about 6.5 strenuous steep miles and you reach an emerald lake fed by melting glacier water...what to do? I know, let's strip down to our boxers and plunge into the icy waters! Daniel started the nonsense and mayhem soon ensued! The boys' exit from the water was almost as fast as their entrance. Nearly as soon as they emerge, their backs turn a bright red from the freezing waters.

A quiet moment for Blakely and Ranae. Blakely was our youngest hiker and made it all the way...isn't she awesome! The cool waters feel so good on tired little feet.

And perhaps my favorite moment of the day...what I called "Girl Power Plunge". Parker Bradford lost his life while bravely saving the life of another young man from drowning in a canal in Idaho. His mother Melissa (in green) steps up to the small cliff to face the icy waters. She is accompanied by a niece, a long-time friend, a daughter, a sister-in-law, and mother of boys Michelle. I stand on the opposite bank snapping photos and admire their bravery...all the while thinking they'll never do it!

Well, I am here to tell you that "They are women...hear them roar"! Never underestimate the power of a woman's mind over matter. I have never been more proud of "girl power" than at this moment. As they scrambled to escape the emerald waters, I couldn't help but think how proud Parker must be of his incredible Mom . I could almost see his hand reaching into the frigid lake and helping his Mother to the safety and warmth of dry land. Such a moment...

After the polar plunge, a short devotional and all 5 verses of "If You Could Hie to Kolob" in the high mountains. The chorus ringing upward to all those we were missing from our family's on this day!

The Bradfords

Meeting Melissa for the first time ever, in over 2 years of email communication was certainly a highlight for me. She has listened to my written words of heartache and responded with gentle words and encouragement. She living in Germany and I in Utah were virtual strangers until we both became members of the same unfortunate club. I can't imagine how I could have survived the past 2 years without her.

The Bradfords and The Garlicks...we are quite certain that Parker and Jocie have met and become good friends as well. Melissa is so cold in this picture, still shivering from the icy plunge.

There were 25 of us able to finish the hike on Monday.

As we often of Jocie's necklaces left behind to mark the occasion.

A funny but scary moment...we were walking along chatting and suddenly the fabulous Miss Sharlee disappears. Her foot fell through the upper crust of the snow and into a crevasse below. Luckily just a small scrape with nothing broken.

When we finished the hike, we were tired and dusty, but our spirits were charged...hungry, but charged! I am so thankful for my friendship with Melissa and for the opportunity to hike with her family...and for the many new friends I made along the way. I believe that we are all deeply connected and have a responsibility to care for each through the good times and the tough times.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Summer Chicken Pot Pie

Oh are finally here!
Dean trooped out to the garden today to see what he could find for dinner. Surprise, surprise, surprise...look what he brought me. One of our family's favorite Sunday dinners is Chicken Pot Pie. We usually have this meal during the cold winter months. However...the very best Chicken Pot Pie is made with fresh summer vegetables.
Here are the ingredients all mixed together and ready for the crust!

Freshly baked Chicken Pot Pie...can you smell it yet? You should taste me, it's delicious!

And here is where it all happens.
Dean's garden this year is the best I've ever seen him grow. Every day we walk out and encourage the tomatoes to grow faster...hurry...hurry...turn red. I need to make our famous Ultimate Tomato Cheese Sandwiches. We can hardly wait.
New this herb garden.
I have many different herbs growing here... including Parsley, Tarragon, Cilantro, Rosemary, Lemon Balm, Lemon Verbena, Chives, Mint, and my favorite... Basil.
Are you hungry yet? Come on over...there's a little bit left over.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Grand Marshalls

Dean's parents...Unni and Gramps were bestowed the dubious honor of being the Grand Marshall of Farr West City's Independence Day Parade. Owen has lived in Farr West his entire life except for the time that he spent on an LDS mission. Chet asked what it meant to be a Grand Marshall. I replied that it basically meant that his grandparents were the prom queen and king of the parade. Farr West has grown over the years since Dean grew up there, but it still has that small town America feel.

Aren't they the cutest couple...enjoying every second of their grand marshall-dom! I snapped this picture right before the horse pulling their carriage started freaking out. ? Lucky for Unni & Gramps someone jumped up from the sidelines and started leading the horse forward.

When you come from a small town, it turns out you know just about everyone in the parade. Here is cousin Kelly parading as Tinkerbell.

There is something about these shirts that I adore...they really say Happy Independence Day

OK so personally...horses and I aren't friends...but I do like to admire them from afar.

More people we knew...Cody and Uncle John were in charge of horse poop patrol. It's not really very glamorous but I guess someone has got to do it...just not me!

I'll bet you've never seen this in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. And yes...they were throwing out candy from the trunk!

The Farr West parade had the usual classic cars...this one had a rumble seat complete with darling little ones.

Also, people throw out the strangest things in small town American this bag of salted peanuts. Chet is wearing his new shirt from China that Dean brought home. It has absolutely nothing to do with America, or Independence Day...I think the writing means "dragon".

One of Farr West's residents owns a car dealership, which explains the Camaro entry in the parade. There must have been about 1o of these super cool cars in the lineup. Also more people we turns out that cousin Logan was driving this black one.

OK so I don't think we knew these people, I just got a kick out of Dad riding with his daughter on her Barbie fashionable!

This is Dean's sister Annette...she was in charge of parade details. She is on very official parade move!...please?

More people we know...this is Chet's friend who lives next door to Unni and Gramps. He always hangs out with him when Chet stays with Unni and Grandpa. I have no idea what his official parade entry was for...maybe he is drumming up lawn mowing business. He is holding a water balloon and told Chet he couldn't throw it at him because he was saving it for someone else.
OK fine...if you say so!

This float was the Wahlquist Junior High Student Body brought back many memories of when I was an SBO at Wahlquist..."Oh Wahlquist we love school in the land". I'll spare you the rest. Can you believe I remember my school song from Junior High?

Perhaps my favorite speaks for itself!

Every parade needs a beauty queen...this is Miss Teen Continental...whatever that means...she was beautiful just the same!

And the best for last...Help Hayden Heal!

Hayden is 5 years old and in desperate need of a liver transplant. Hayden's friends and family were out parading to get help in paying for a life-saving surgery this sweet young boy needs. This one got to Dean and I. Dean quickly stuffed some cash in the collection can...and then a little while later he added some more.

And here is that cute Hayden passing out candy from his float.

Sweet child...I wish you the very best!

Overall, it was a great Independence Day. I feel very lucky to have been born in this great country. I have travelled around this wide world enough to realize how truly blessed we are! It was fun to be part of small town America again. Oh and I forgot to mention the fabulous young Miss Kylie was in the parade (missed her picture, darn it), and Dean's sister was the DJ for the entire carnival. We were able to see people that day we hadn't seen in many years, including Coco (better known as Collette) and her darling family...who chastised me for not posting to my blog since Meat Day. So Coco...this entry is for you!


I hope you all had a fun Independence Day wherever you were!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Park City Ski Town Shootout

The boy has been busy with lacrosse this Spring and was invited to play with the team at a tournament in Park City. The team worked hard in preparing for the upcoming games, knowing they were going against some tough competition. The very first opponent was the San Diego 8th Grade Select. Basically the very best 8th graders from San Diego were playing our mostly 7th graders from little Logan. It was a tough tournament to say the least, but the team learned a lot. There were teams from all over the country...Texas, Colorado, California, Illinois, etc. Our boys learned a lot and had a great time.
Here is The Boy and his team posing after the final game. These boys are such great kids...we really loved cheering them on. You would have thought the last game was the NCAA lacrosse finals as excited as the parents were.

The Boy looking tough...and tired after a total of 5 games in 2 days.

Of course Izzy came along...she spent the night at Bob and Cassandra's since our hotel discriminates against Goldendoodles...haha!