Saturday, November 22, 2008

Friends from Mongolia

This week we have had the privilege of making new friends; some wonderful visitors who stayed in our home. They traveled from Mongolia half way around the world to visit the Preston Schools. In this photo; from left Odge; a student who lives in Seattle, Dashzevge; the Director of their School, Byamseren, the 9 year old daughter of the Interpreter, Bolormaa; the Interpreter(a friend who we've stayed in touch with for about 6 years, Nyamseren; the 4 year old daughter of Bolormaa, Shinetsetseg; an English Teacher in her school, and J.; a 2002 SLC Olympian speed skater from Mongolia. J. obviously is only the name we learned not his Mongolian name.We learned so much from our guests and will continue to gain an understanding and appreciation of their culture and customs. This is a first time visit to USA for two of our friends. They live in a land where life is challenging. We take so much for granted; warm showers every day, running water, insulated homes that are warm in winter and cool in summer, a wide variety of food to choose from for each meal, and transportation that is reliable. They are wonderful people who are proud of their culture, but want to have more opportunities in the future.

As a gift, we were given traditional Mongolian clothing. These are worn for special occasions. When I told them I would have to find a special place to wear mine - they suggested I should wear it the next time I went horseback riding. These pieces of clothing are made from silk, fully lined, and custom fit for us. The children and teachers from the school worked some dedicated long hours to design and sew beautiful gifts for us. Our school superintendent and her husband also received a set of clothing like these as gifts. We will cherish the many gifts that were given to us. We recognize what a sacrifice it was for these to be given to us.

Layne entertained the group while I did some cooking. They loved riding the 4-wheelers. The adults eventually got so they were pretty smooth drivers. When they first took off on their own I sure was glad we have a big back yard. They were pretty rough at first. The girls especially loved being outside and enjoyed our beautiful fall days. The temperature in Preston is very similar to the climate of Mongolia, but the days they were here were unusually warm, a welcome relief from the very very cold of Mongolia.

One of the new things we learned from our friends is that the games of Mongolian families are played with bones. Below you can see that we were playing a game of "Horse Racing." Horse racing is a very poplular sport in Mongolia. The school children ages 5-16 compete in a real horse race. The race is 22 miles long. I can't imagine letting my children speeding off across the countryside on a running horse. The game we are playing is a simulated horse race. Other games played with bones are: jacks, guessing game, a type of bowling, and fortune telling. We had a great time playing and of course Layne, Mr. Competetive, was the winner and was awarded a leather keychain for the prize. They insisted that prizes must be given. When the friends visited my classroom they taught my students to play bone games too. Delightful! Who needs Wii?

This final picture is our last day with our friends. We had kept them very busy during their stay with us. We visited Preston School Superintendent; Barbara Taylor, visited each of the 4 Perston schools, rode on a school bus, ate lunch in the school cafeteria, attended a school assembly honoring them and receiving the 8 boxes of winter wear donated by Preston's Elementary School children, we met a former missionary to Mongolia, watched Mongolian DVDs telling about their school, had a cello concert at our house, we attended a school board meeting, we visited USU's Education Department Chairman over teacher education, we went for fast food at Wendy's, we shopped at Sam's Club, Wal-Mart, Ross, Best Buy, Cal Ranch Stores, Family Dollar, DI, and Kings. We shopped and shopped. We took them to Provo to spend time with some of their family and friends. We hope to see these wonderful people again and look forward to that day when we can visit them in their home. We are blessed to live in America. We will never forget the things we have learned. We will cherish the many memories we have made with our friends from Mongolia.

May each of us count our blessings every day. We have so much to be thankful for.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

It's Been a Long Time. . .

I have not forgotten all you bloggers. In fact I watch for your updates every single day. I love how blogs have kept the fun facts and information about each of you and your family flowing. Dad, "Layne" has prettty much lost his two of his best friends in the past weeks. I am sure he will be so disappointed when new friend #3 is gone too. I might be able to post pics of these departing friends, just for posterity sake. But, since July 18, he has not walked without one of the four best friends for support. Friend #1, the walker with wheels, borrowed from our 85 year old neighbor, friend #2, the crutches are gone, and still to go is friend #3, the boot, and #4 the white compression sock. When he is finally finished with all these he won't know what to do. Three months is long enough to get really attached. He has been so good not to complain or mumble about his recovery process. I know he and I both recognize how lucky he is to be living. We're so thankful that a few broken bones was all we had to deal with. We are so thankful to great freinds, ward and stake members, and family who helped in so many ways. We are looking forward to being able to get outside and enjoy these beautiful fall days ahead.

Friday, August 8, 2008


We want your input as to what kind of a car you think we should buy. Do you think a couple in their 50's should buy a: sedan (grandparent car), a Hummer (a wannabe wealthy car), Nissan (Ashlee, Natalia, or Krachel look alikes), Ford F250 crew cab pickup (good for lots of adventures), Subaru (looks good, goes anywhere, a little tree huggerish), Honda Accord (no brainer - lost one in the wreck, looked good, worked great even at 233,000 miles), Hybrid (lots of driving not so much gas guzzling) Honda SUV (more leg space, even crutches and boots(casts) fit). We are starting to think more serious, but really would like all our family to give us some advice. Layne can't do any test driving and you know it really stresses him to make payments. His dream would have been to keep driving our Accord for 5 more years. So keep all our needs in mind.

no silver or gold cars, good gas mileage, and as few $$$ as possible (this is Layne you know)

Please leave your suggestions and we will weigh each of them carefully. As always, family we love you and are always glad to hear from you. Keep on Blogging!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Inspiration Point 4-Wheeler Ride

It seems like all we have done this summer is prepare for the Trek so the day after the Trek we took a little 4-wheeler ride. We started in Mantua and rode to the top of the mountain looking down over Huntsville and Eden. It was a beautiful day and a beautiful ride.

We stopped for a little lunch break on top of one of the mountains.

This is a picture looking off the top of Inspiration Point toward Willard Bay. I didn't realize that Willard Bay was so large.

This is a picture looking off Inspiration Point toward Ogden. It was a pretty view but Mom was the most inspirational thing that I saw all day.

Inspiration Point was well marked and a nice place for a snack before heading home.

The Trek

Last October we were called to be the leaders of our Stake Trek that took place July 14 through the 17th. It has pretty well been a full time calling ever since then. Someone suggested it was like serving a nine month mission. We trekked through Martin's Cove and had the privilege of trekking the sacred grounds of our pioneer ancestors.

There were 328 participants in the Trek. It is a little hard to see but they are strung out over about 1/2 mile when they were all moving together. It was an awesome sight and a great blessing to be a part of it.

We had the opportunity to reenact the crossing of the Sweetwater River. It was a lot of fun for us but pretty humbling to think that there were chunks of ice floating down the river with subzero temperatures, gail force winds, and a foot of snow on the ground when the Martin Company had to cross the river to get to the Cove. There was no place to get dry or warm once they crossed.
Our tent city was packed in pretty tight at Sage Campground. We had over 100 tents to house the trekkers. It made for a great party but after everyone went to bed there were plenty of snoring sounds throughout the camp.

This was the last day of trekking as we began the ascent over Rocky Ridge. Rocky Ridge is the highest point of the pioneer trail. We ended the day after trekking 16.2 miles into Rock Creek Hollow. Ilene's boots aren't pretty but they just kept on walking. We clocked over 30 miles on the Trek. It was an amazing experience and we are very blessed to have had the opportunity to participate. We learned a lot from our preparation and our participation. We survived our 9 month mission with no more wear than a few mosquito bites, sunburned lips, and not quite enough sleep.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Moab Trails

Ashlee has been encouraging us to start a blog. I am not convinced that we have anything to put on a blog but she started one so I guess we will try. I am sure that our favorite pictures are of the grandchildren.

We recently had the opportunity of vacationing with the family in Moab. It was great to be with the Burnetts and most of our family, we missed Clint, Ainslee, and Andy. We will have to catch them on the next go around. We had a wonderful time, we had so much fun with everyone.

We got to Moab and set up camp and it was still 98 degrees at 6:00 pm in the evening. The kids loved the sand and the camping but the sleeping part didn't go as well as it could have. Bryce, Tanner, and Grandpa left at 6:30 pm to ride the 10.5 mile Slick Rock Bike trail. We were so eager to get on the trail that we didn't even take any pictures of our bike ride. That is probably the best anyway. Bryce and Tanner seemed to think that I looked a little bit out of place in my full length levis but we headed out anyway. It was still 98 degrees when we left. The ride was a workout but it was awesome. It took us 4 hours and it was still 88 degrees when we got back.

Cohen and Shay were having a great time playing in the tent. I think that they were trying to figure out how to jump on the bed.

A gal just can't get enough sand. It feels soooooo good!

Cohen was fired up and ready to roll. Where are the keys, mom?

Laynee felt the same was as Cohen did. She was wondering why everyone was taking so long to get loaded and ready to move out.

Bryce and Laynee giving the cowgirl rodeo wave. It was working well for Laynee but I think that Bryce needs a cute helmet like Laynee's before his wave will be very effective.

It didn't take long for Cohen to doze off. It's a good thing that he has mom for a chauffeur and grandma Burnett as a back rest.

Biker babes! Cute helmets, cute hats girls. Just had to take a short rest in the shade.

We had to take a short rest at Gemini Bridges. We all enjoyed stretching our legs.
Our three little paleontologists had to stop and take a closer look at this dinosaur track. They must all be working on the same team, notice the matching T-shirts.

In between rides we watched movies, swam in the Burnett's pool, and blew bubbles. Tanner and Shay posed for a quick photo shoot.

Grandma and Laynee were pumping out bubbles right and left. Laynee loved the automatic bubble blower.

Biker grandma just eating up the trails. She can even ride one handed, or maybe that might even be with no hands.

Cute pigtails Ash, you are a professional when it comes to 4-wheeling.

Ashlee and Bryce working out a technical spot on the trail while Leanna catches it all on film.

Kevin and Bryce ran cleanup crew and picked up any dead ones along the trail.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Mount Whitney Hike

I recently had the opportunity to hike to the top of Mount Whitney, the highest peak in the lower 48 states. My friend Chad invited me to go and we had an awesome time. Mount Whitney is located in California in the Sierra Nevada Mountains just outside of Lone Pine. It took us 13 hours of travel to get there. Here are a few pictures:

We stopped at Death Valley on our way to the mountain. It was 116 degrees and there was a 10 to 15 mph wind. It felt like there was a hair dryer blowing in your face. Dirt, rocks, sand, and alkali was about all there was to see there.

This is a picture of the crew hiking up the trail. The picture is taken looking back the way we have come. We are at about 11,000 feet, just above the tree line.

We hiked in 6.5 miles the first day with full backpacks and set up base camp at 12,070 feet elevation. We had to carry in bear cans to store all of our food in to protect it from bears and the marmits. There were lots of marmit that looked like a huge rock chuck. They were always snooping around camp to see if there was anything to eat.

The next day we waited until 6:30 am for the ice to soften on the rocks and then we headed out. This picture is taken at the top of 99 switch backs that trail up the face of the mountain to Trail Crest which is at 13,600 feet elevation. It is hard to see but our base camp is to the right of the small lake on the center right of the picture.

This picture is taken from Trail Crest looking over the California side of the mountains. Only another 900 feet of elevation to climb.

A picture of my friend Chad as he came across one of the snow fields along the trail.

Just a short victory dance at the summit with the American Flag. There was quite a view from the summit. It was 37 degrees with about a 30 mph wind blowing on top. It was too cold to stay very long.

I had to throw in this picture to prove that we were really on the summit. We also left our names in the register. Before leaving the summit I gathered some rocks to take back to Laynee, Shay, and Cohen (Laynee calls it her very special rock). We hiked back to base camp, loaded up and hiked out the same day, 18 miles of hiking, I was feeling it by the time we made it back to the vehicles. Overall, it was an awesome hike. I would love to do it with the men of the family someday.