Saturday, December 29, 2007

7 Random Things

Ok, I have been tagged by Candace and Jenn

So here are seven random things about me:

1. I am a twin. Yep, I have a twin brother. He is a great guy and I miss him. We haven't seen too much of each other for the last 8 years after I moved away from California. He has yet to come out to visit. I have been back to CA several times. Let's go fishing, Pat!

2. I am learning the bagpipes! I go up to Billings once a week for free lessons. Once I am good enough, I can join the bagpipe band and perform with them. Yes, I get to wear a kilt. And yes, I do know what goes or does not go under a kilt.

3. I have run in a 10k race before. Always wanted to do it and got in shape and ran in the Long Beach Grand Prix 10k run. Ok, I was in my 20's at the time, but I felt it was a great victory for me, especially since I have always battled my weight my adult life.

4. I love to stop at historical markers. I have the urge to stop at every one. I usually stop now only if I am alone in the car. My family wants to kill me when I do that. But when we are driving somewhere, I think the journey is just as fun as the destination. One of the coolest markers I've seen is the spot where Bonnie and Clyde were shot dead in Louisiana.

5. I have seen and touched all the oceans around the USA. Pacific, Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. In fact I have been in 33 states. I only have 17 more to go. AL, AK, CT, GA, HI, IN, KY, ME, MA, NC, ND, NH, OH, RI, SC, VT, and WV. I will be in MA in March, so one more down
soon. Also been in 3 different countries: Canada, Mexico and Spain.

6. I've been skinny dipping before. Yep, there were lots of fish traumatized on the Colorado River. We had a cabin on the River and I would spend all my summers down there growing up. Still one of my favorites spots on earth.

7. I have been married to Page for almost 24 years. First real girlfriend I ever had and only girl I kissed more than twice, and only kissed three of them. Third time was the charm. 3 is our special number. We were sealed in sealing room #3 in the Los Angeles Temple. She is a great wife and mother to our children. She wants to go to Hawaii for our 25th. Hmmmm, that would mean one more state......

ok- I'm supposed to tag 7 more people. I think most that I know have already been tagged, so if you are reading this and want to be tagged, I tag YOU!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

Christmas was a blur just like this photo! I have gained a new found appreciation for all those homemakers that put together Christmas for their families every year. Page wasn't able to do too much with her surgery last Thursday. Yesterday, I went and bought the fixins for the Christmas dinner and breakfast before the stores closed at 6 p.m. Last night, took the kids to dinner (see prior post), wrap gift, stuff stockings, bake pumpkin pie, fall into bed at 1:30 a.m.

This morning, get up early and prepare a Christmas breakfast (see photo below). Clean up, open presents, clean up wrapping paper, then must go take a nap for a couple hours.

Get up at 3 p.m. Put ham in the oven. Cook for 3 hours, basting it with cola (tried something new), make cherry/orange glaze, glaze ham last half hours. In the mean time, make homemade apple sauce (thanks Sean for peeling all those apples for me!), make funeral potatoes, make apple cider green beans, set table (thanks Lacey for helping!), stuff celery and put olives in glass platter (which I forgot to serve at dinner- as they sat in the refrigerator), pour the sparkling cider, set out the rolls, and we are good to go.

Dinner was delicious, and it was nice to have us all sit together at the table. Lacey's friend Stephen also was at our table tonight. Then it was time to clean the kitchen (lots of cleaning along the way too), and then watch a couple Indiana Jones movies. I had a slice of chocolate silk pie and Sean had the pumpkin. So much of the holidays is surrounded by food! That's the real hard part. It took over 3 hours to get everything ready, and then another hour to clean it all up. Is it worth it? Oh yeah. It is so good to have the whole family together for Christmas. We also got to talk to family back in California on the phone today.

So how was your Christmas? Hope it was a Merry one!

Christmas breakfast featured a Christmas Fritata, Orange Julius, bacon, sausage and cinnamon rolls.

Santa thought Lacey was a good girl this year.

Santa thought Sean was a good boy this year too

Monday, December 24, 2007

Count Down to Christmas

I took Lacey and Sean over to Cody tonight for a Christmas Eve dinner at the Rib and Chop House. We love the Rib and Chop in Livingston, so we thought we would try the one in Cody. Same menu and just as delicious! Page is still not feeling well so she wanted to stay home in bed. Hope she feels better for Christmas tomorrow.

It was snowing in Cody. So we got to see some of the white stuff for Christmas.

Sean and Lacey were having a little fun drawing on the dinner table.

Here is a picture of the Crazy Mountains as we are leaving Livingston.

Page, Sean and I went to Livingston last weekend. Sant is leaving for Germany in the Air Force on Wed. so Sean wanted to see him. This also gave us an opportunity to go to church at the Livingston Ward. It was good to see old friends. I also loved singing the Christmas hymns in Sacrament Meeting. We headed back a little earlier than expected because Page was feeling really ill. She had hand surgery on Thursday and we may have pushed a little to hard, having her come on the trip. Thanks Jenn for the nice room and letting us have a late departure. Hope you didn't get in too much trouble....

Friday, December 21, 2007

Sean finally made it

See that little storm over the Dakotas? Well it was over Utah and Wyoming last night, right when Sean was heading back home from his semester at BYU. He left campus at 6 pm last night to get to the SLC airport before his 9:10 p.m. flight. We thought he had plenty of time. Well the snow slowed down traffice up to SLC and it took him 2 hours. Still enough time.... then flights began to be delayed because of the storm. His 9:10 got bumped to 10:15. He called us that he was boarding. At 11:15 p..m. I head to Cody. Clear skys in Powell.... 20 miles away it's a major snow storm hitting Cody. I slowly work my way to the airport and they tell me the flight just left SLC. It wont be in Cody until 12:30 a.m. this morning. That's if they are allowed to land!. Oh great. So I slowly work my way to WalMart to do some quick shopping along with only three other cars in the WalMart parking lot. I get back to the airport about 12:30 a.m. and the lights are turned on the runway (good sign) and their is a plow on the runway, clearing it. About 10 mintues later the plane lands. Hurray! So Sean made it to Cody two hours late. But he made it!
Page had surgery yesterday too on her hand. They fixed her carpal tunnel and also found a torn ligament in her thumb pad, so they fixed that too. She is going to be miserable for about 2 weeks. We are trying to keep her comfortable and help her out anyway we can.
The move happened last Saturday. We are in the new house. It is great. I have unpacked so many boxes.... Also got the Christmas tree and decorations up. We put the ornaments on the tree tonight.... on Dec. 21st! This is the latest ever for us. Might be making a trip up to Livingston tomorrow too, have to play it by ear, depends on how Page is feeling.

Monday, December 17, 2007

BYU winter dance

Got t his picture of Sean and his friend Natalie. She is in Sean's ward at BYU. They went to the winter dance together last week and had a good time. Nice how the tie matches the dress!

Sean comes home on Thursday night. We are so excited. Now he just has to get through the next four days of finals. Good luck Sean. Study like crazy!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Worst than water boarding?

I'm right in the middle of torture. Packing the house for an 8 a.m. move tomorrow and we are not anywhere near ready. It snowed this morning too. We got to get everything over to the new house, clean up the old house, unpack boxes at the new house before Thursday (when Page has surgery and Sean comes home from BYU), and get Christmas tree, decorations up before Sean gets home. I'm not a happy camper.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


See the bomb Huckabee laid at Romney's feet? He was talking to a reporter for an article in NY Times Magazine that will be published on Sunday. At the end of the interview in hushed tones, he asks the reporter (all innocently) "is it true that Mormons believe Jesus and the Devil are brothers?". Why would he ask a reporter that? He didn't want to plant that image in the minds of the evangelicals of Iowa did he? Of course not! He says he doesn't want to bring religion into the race. Isn't it interesting that he doesn't have a problem letting people know he is an ordained Baptist minister? And he says he knows nothing about the LDS church. I lived in the south, every Baptist I knew heard anti-mormon sermons given from their pulpit. Interesting he knows nothing about Mormons.
The LDS church came out with a statement that Huckabee mis-represented the LDS belief of the nature of the savior and the devil. What else is new? I was glad to hear the church say that this is a tactic used by people who want to slam the Church. YES! I guess this is backfiring on old Huck. After the Republican debate in Iowa today he tells CNN that he went up to Romney and apologized. Of course Romney accepted.
Interesting that he couldn't wait to report to the press that he apologized. Shouldn't Romney be the one to tell the press that? And if he was so sorry, why didn't he apologize on camera when he had the chance in his closing statement? I have lost all respect for Huckabee. I wonder when he talks to that reporter again if he is going to whisper "Did the Jews really kill Jesus?" or "is it true Catholics pray to the virgin Mary?"
Well, a focus group said Romney looked the most presidential and won the debate. Let's see if that has any impact on the polls. I know I am helping contribute to the religion debate with this blog entry, but wouldn't it be nice to choose a candidate based on their views, character and plan for the country?

Friday, December 07, 2007

Christmas "tagged"

Thanks for the tag, Karie. I will go ahead and tag: Jenn, Candace and Jamie

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
Wrapping paper. I love opening up a wrapped gift. I usually stick something in a gift bag though, because it is a lot easier. I can make the tissue stick out of it really fancy. Somebody showed me how to do it.
2. Real tree or artificial?
Artificial! You can put it up early and take it down late and never have to worry about watering it or vacuuming up needles. I also think they look so real now too. Just doesn't have the pine smell- so go buy pinesol and spray it.
3. When do you put up the tree?
Between the Friday after Thanksgiving and the first few days of December. Except for this year because we are moving on the 15th. How fun for us!
4. When do you take the tree down?
When we get around to it. We've had it up until Feb. before, but that was only one time. It'susually down the first week of Jan.
5. Do you like eggnog?
I love it! I am usually the only one to drink it, so I have it all to myself. This year I bought some Cinnamon Eggnog and lacey loves it, so now I have competition over the eggnog.
6. Favorite gift received as a child?
Fishing tackle box full of lures. I knew my Dad picked it out for me, so it really made an impact on me.
7. Do you have a nativity scene?
Yes, but I want a better one. I do have a nice porcelin Mary and Jospeph with baby Jesus, but it is not a complete nativity. I have also been hunting for year for the three kings riding camels, but haven't seen anything I like. I have become obsessed in finding them.
8. Hardest person to buy for?
My boss- usually some type of snack basket.
9. Easiest person to buy for?
Lacey- she usually has a long list
10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
Not really a gift, but worse Christmas was 1984. My sister, Connie, was killed in a car accident a week before Christmas, and it was Page and my first Christmas together and should have been special. The world stopped for us.
11. Mail or email Christmas cards?
Mail! email? are you kidding? We also put together a Christmas poem every year. Still got to do that this year.....
12. Favorite Christmas Movie?
It's a Wonderful Life
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas ?
Day after Thanksgiving, then it trickles during Dec. then full speed Christmas Eve
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
No, but did recycle Wedding gift way back when. We got like 12 Woks, what were we going to do with all of them?
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
All the sweets! Not good for me, but I love it.
16. Clear lights or colored on the trees?
We have clear lights already on the fake tree. But Page loves color too, so we add bunches of colored lights to it.
17. Favorite Christmas song?
Hand down, it is "The First Noel". I always get teary eyed too when I sing it. The spirit overcomes me with that song for some reason.
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home?
We stay home, but I would love to travel to California to see family.
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeers?
20. Angel on the tree top or a star?
Star. We looked for one for years but never could decide, so no star on tree, but it should have one. We have had this red ribbon bow thingy that Page likes that has been our tree topper, but we really do need a star!
21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?
Christmas Eve is not Christmas! Page and kids can't get that through their brain. We have let them open PJs the night before.
22. Most annoying thing about this time of year?
It's a pretty amazing time of year. Maybe having to scrape ice off your windshield to get to work.
23. What I love most about Christmas?
Making people happy

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Mitt Romney gives "The Speech"

I just happened to be walking by a tv at the hospital this morning and there was Mitt giving the anticipated speech on his faith. So I stopped a listened for a litte bit. The part that I heard was very good. He looked and sounded "Presidential" to me. He talked more about religious tolerance than "what do Mormon's beleive". I was happy he did not run away from his beliefs, however, when he said he believed in his religion. I liked how he included things he liked from many different religions. I liked how he said "anybody who bends their knee to pray has a friend in me". I was happy with the speech. I don't know how it will play in Peoria, but I think he hit it out of the ballpark. What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Happy Hanukkah

Today at sunset is the beginning of Hanukkah, a Jewish Holiday, the Festival of Lights. I have to admit, I always wanted to celebrate Hanukkah. I wanted to be able to have a menorrah and light a candle each night during the 8 days of Hanukkah and eat Latkes and jelly donuts and all the other wonderful Jewish delights. And especially spend each evening with my family.
Hannukkah is the celebration of re-dedicating the temple in Jerusalem after it was defiled by Antiochus IV. The Maccabee rebellion kicked the Greeks out and they were able to go in and clean and re-dedicate their temple. They needed to use oil to light the eternal flame. They only had enough oil to keep it lit one day. It would take them eight days to make more olive oil, but by a miracle the lamp burned bright for eight days until more oil could be obtained. What a wonderful blessing from the Lord! The Jewish people love their temple. We, LDS, also love our temples and know how sacred they are. So even thought I am not Jewish, ( but I am an Ephraimite, so I'm very closely related!), I can appreciate the meaning behind Hannukah and wish all Jewish peoples around the world a Very Happy Hannukah season! May the Lord continue to bless us all!
This week, I mailed Sean a humorous Hannukah card at BYU. Hope you enjoy it Sean! I know how much you love funny cards! Only two more weeks until your home! We can't wait!!!!!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

First Presidency Christmas Devotional

Now the Christmas Season is in full swing. For me, the First Presidency's Christmas Devotional kicks off Christmas. It is always on the first Sunday of December. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir always does a great job. This year my favorite was "Still, Still, Still". President Eyring spoke as the new second counselor. I have to admit I missed President Faust. He always shared a wonderful Christmas memory with us every year. I love hearing from our dear Prophet, Gordon B. Hinkley as well. I know we won't have him forever, so I enjoy every chance I get to hear from that great man, and having him share his wish for us during the Christmas season.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Trojans beat the bRuins

USC 24 ucla 7

USC beats it's cross-town rivals today and propels them into the Rose Bowl!!! We win our unprecedented 6th straight Pac-10 championship, it will be our 6th straight BCS Bowl and third straight Rose Bowl. This team has been on fire for several years. I wonder how long it can last? I'm not complaining, mind you. I am enjoying the ride. We will find out tomorrow who we will be playing against on New Year's Day. How sweet it is!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A Charlie Brown Christmas

Ok, I'm 45 years old , so why am I watching "A Charlie Brown Christmas"? It still puts a smile on my face. I love this Christmas cartoon along with "Little Drummer Boy" and "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas". Makes me feel like a kids again. Besides it is a nice way to pass the time waiting for Dancing with the Stars..... Did you see last night's show? Could the judges try any harder to knock Marie Osmond down a few pegs. They really don't want her to win.

Anyway, back to Charlie. Best line of the whole movie is after Charlie yells "Does anybody know what Christmas is all about!?!":

"And there were in the same country shepherds, abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them! And they were sore afraid ... And the angel said unto them, "Fear not! For, behold, I bring you tidings o great joy, which shall be to all my people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ, the Lord."

"And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger." And suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the Heavenly Host praising God, and saying, "Glory to God in the Highest, and on Earth peace, and good will toward men."

"That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown." - Linus Van Pelt

Sunday, November 25, 2007

For BYU- 4th and 18? no problem!

"It's 4th and 18, the fans are chanting BYU... you guys never lost faith."
Brian Kehl, Senior Captain in post game speech
Rivalry games are exciting, but I think many will remember this BYU - Utah game for a long time. Sean said it was a real defensive battle. I was comunicating with Sean by texting on cell phones since we couldn't see the game and it wasn't on the radio up here where we live. Page, Lacey and I were in Billings most of the day shopping anyway. I was trying to get updates on a sports radio station too. Sean texted afer the last touchdown that things were "intense!". I should say so. 4th and 18 on the BYU 12 with a little over a minute to play? Appears impossible. But the BYU faithful had faith and rallied behind the team. QB Hall hit Collie for a 49 yard gain! Utah stumbles with a couple of penalties which sets up an 11 yard touchdown run by Unga. The radio announcers in Billings thought BYU would end up kicking a field goal, but they got the TD. Radio announcers thought BYU left too much time on the clock for a Utah comback. Last contact with Sean on the cell it said there were 10 seconds left. Never could get him after that. I was dieing thinking Utah could still pull out a victory, and I had no way of knowing what was going on. It appears Utah threw a hail mary pass and it dropped to the ground. BYU VICTORY!!! The students, including Sean, rushed the field. I couldn't get cell connection with Sean, guess there was cell phone overload going on in LaVell Edwards Stadium.

Harvey Unga seals the victory with an 11 yard run. BYU goes for 2 point conversion and gets it ! BYU 17 Utah 10
Congratulations to the BYU Cougars, Mountain West Conference Champions!

Friday, November 23, 2007

USC destroys Arizona State

USC knocks Arizona State out of the Rose Bowl hunt. USC wins the Thanksgiving Day battle 44-24. USC looked like the USC I know and love. Booty was awesome. Everything was clicking. Arizona State was higher ranked and had the inside track to the Rose Bowl. We have a chance for the Rose Bowl if we beat UCLA next week and Oregon loses one of there last two games. If we win and Oregon wins, they go to the Rose Bowl, but we might get a Fiesta Bowl bid. I really enjoyed watching this game. First game we have played on Turkey Day since 1938. Since Carrol has been our coach we are 23-0 in November. Carrol has never lost a game in November. How unbelievable is that?

We also had a very nice Thanksgiving dinner. Had all the traditionals: turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, mashed taters and gravy, green bean casserole, stuffed celery, olives, pickles, pumpkin pie.... Lacey, Page and I then played a fun game, then it was USC football! Sean called around midnight and kept Page on the phone until 2:30 a.m.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving Day Best Wishes

We hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day. So much to be thankful for this year. We send our love out to all our family and friends. We miss you Sean! (get that paper done for class at BYU and see you at Christmas.... and go BYU beat Utah!)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Marie Osmond in the finals

Marie had enough votes tonight to make it to the finals next week in Dancing with the Stars. Her fan base is huge. I have voted for her week after week. She has really improved over the last few weeks. If you saw the show Monday night, did you feel Bruno was trying to keep her score down on her quick step? Marie and Jonathan were wonderful. She got 10s from the other two judges. I think the crowd was correct to boo Bruno's 9. Well they haven't been able to keep Marie out of it. Even thought she had the lowest judge scores, she was safe this week and Garth went home tonight. I was a little irritated at Len tonight when he slammed Marie with his comment saying the best dancers didn't make it to the finals. Next week Marie, Helio and Mel all dance for the mirror ball trophy. Go Marie!

Snow Day

We had a nice little snow storm last night. Snow is fine, but the temp is only hovering about 30 degrees. Yesterday before the cold front came in we were enjoying 60 degree weather. I miss the warmth already.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney, Republican candidate for President, was in Wyoming today. This is such a small state, electorally speaking. We only have 3 electoral college votes, but we have our nomination process on Jan. 5th which is giving us a little more influence. Mitt made three stops in the state today and I went and saw him this afternoon.

The man is amazing. He is such a good communicator. He had three main points to his message,

1. Strong Families 2. Strong Economy 3. Strong Military

I agreed with everything he said and I have cemented my support for him. I even accepted a bumper sticker and put it on my car as I left the event. Mitt Romney would be a great President. After his stump speech he opened the floor for questions. I was happy to see nobody asked about his religion. Another thing I liked about his speech was he was totally positive the whole time. No doom or gloom, no bashing other candidates, just told us what he would do if he were President.

Mitt held a meet and greet after his speech. He is very personable and warm. As people get to know him and hear his message, I think he will only go up in the polls.

UPDATE: We just watched the 10 o'clock news and I was right in the shot of the crowd listing to Mitt. Lacey was very impressed!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Por que no te callas

Porque no te callas (Why don't you shut up!) That is what King Juan Carlos of Spain said to the leader of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, last week at a summit in Chile.

This is a photo of the royal couple, King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain.

Chavez was on one of his rants again calling the former Prime Minister of Spain a facist. The current Prime Minister was asking Chavez to show some respect for a democratically elected Prime Minister (you may recall Aznar, the former PM, was a big supporter of the USA and the War on Terror, and was leading big in the polls just days before the Spanish election, when Al Queda bombed the subways of Madrid, and the Spanish people freaked out and voted the oppostition party into power because they were campaigning to pull out of Iraq- in that case terrorism worked.....) Anyway, Chavez was bashin Aznar when the King leaned forward and said "Why don't you shut up". I love it! I really like Juan Carlos, I liked him a lot, when I was a missionary in Spain too, back in the 1980's. Now Chavez is demanding an apology. Yeah, right, when Venezuela freezes over.... I wonder when Chavez is going to apologize to our President for the aweful things he has said.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Anti-Mormon campaigning- just disgusting!

Anti-Romney, anti-Mormon calls being made in Iowa
In an apparent push poll, a research firm has called Iowa Republicans this week praising John McCain and critcizing Mitt Romney and his Mormon faith. An individual in Manchester, Iowa, contacted me on Wednesday night saying he received a call with information about McCain's military service and anti-spending record.Then there were "lots of negatives on Romney," said the recepient of the call in an e-mail, including mentions of his "flip-flops," hiring illegal immigrants as landscapers and extensive discussion of Mormonism."Statements were on baptizing the dead, the Book of Mormon being on the level of the Bible, and one about equating it to a cult," said the Iowan, deeming them "common criticisms of Mormonism." "I think they asked twice if being a Mormon would be an issue," this person added.The person conducting the call said he didn't know who they were polling for, said the source. McCain's campaign, which has fielded calls into their Iowa headquarters complaining of similar such calls, emphatically denies responsibility."Sen. McCain strongly rejects this style of campaigning and we have absolutely no involvement whatsover," said Jon Seaton, McCain's top aide in Iowa.Another McCain source, however, said tonight that the calls had been traced back to a number linked to the Tarrance Group — Rudy Giuliani's pollster.Giuliani spokeswoman Maria Comella said their campaign has "absolutely nothing to do with this."Calls to Ed Goeas, Giuliani's pollster and a principal at the Tarrance Group, and Mitt Romney's campaign were not immediately returned. UPDATE: Romney communications director Matt Rhoades offers the following statement:"Whatever campaign is engaging in this type of awful religious bigotry as a line of political attack, it is repulsive and, to put it bluntly, un-American. There is no excuse for these attacks. Gov. Romney is campaigning as an optimist who wants to lead the nation. These attacks are just the opposite. It's ugly and divisive."

Ok- This is just disgusting! Romney is a good man, Mormons are fine people. McCain's Mom blasted Mormons on Hardball on MSNBC last week too. They can't attack Mitt's views for the country? They have to go after his religious beliefs? Nice to know there is still religious tolerance in the country. This really makes me see red!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Happy Veteran's Day

Today we honor all those who have served our country in uniform. We have brave men and women today risking their lives for our freedoms. We can never repay them for their service, and for some the ultimate sacrifice of their lives.

My grandfather fought in World War I and my father-in-law in WWII. My dad also served 20 years in the US Military. I thank them for all they have done for us.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

USC beats Cal

I thought this was going to be the biggest game of our season this year. Turned out both teams have stumbled and out of the national championship hunt, but today was still a big game. We had to play in Berkley. It rained most of the game, but we pulled it out 24-17 and our slim Rose Bowl chances are still alive. Chauncey Washington had one of his best nights and pulled out the win for the Trojans. Fight On, beat Arizona State!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Palmyra, NY- Sacred Grove, Hill Cumorah

The best part of our trip- we made it to Palmyra, New York. We toured the Smith farm, saw the temple, visited Martin Harris' farm, saw the cemetery where Alvin Smith is buried, toured the print shop where the Book of Mormon was first published, saw the Erie Canal, went to the top of Hill Cumorah (which is about 3 miles from the Smith home), but the most special experience was spending about an hour in the Sacred Grove where Joseph Smith received the First Vision.

Here is a picture taken on the Smith Farm looking towards the Sacred Grove.

Here is an entrance into the Sacred Grove. This is where Heavenly Father and the Savior answered a young boy's prayer. I never would have dreamed that I would be able to walk through the grove. What a spiritual experience. It was a nice warm autumn day, Page and I basically had the grove all to ourselves. You can tell this is a sacred place. The grove has never been changed or developed, even after the Smiths moved away from the farm.

Sacred Grove

Sacred Grove

Sacred Grove

Page and I sitting in the Sacred Grove

Page is walking out of the Sacred Grove back to the Smith's family farm

Early one morning, Page and I went to the top of Hill Cumorah, where Joseph Smith was told to go get the Gold Plates by the Angel Moroni. Here is a statue of Moroni up on top of the hill. We were all alone on a beautiful fall morning. It truly is a special place where we could feel the spirit.

Looking up the Hill Cumorah. I would love to come watch the pageant someday.

Here is a replica of the cabin the Smiths lived in when Joseph had his vision. The cabin was rebuilt on the exact spot where it was. Page and I got to go upstairs in the bedroom where the Angel Moroni appeared to Joseph. Awesome!

Here is the Smith Farmhouse. Alvin built it, but then died soon after (he is buried in the cemetery in Palmyra). The family moved out of their cabin into this farm house.

This is the actual hearth that Joseph Smith hid the gold plates under at one time, in the farmhouse

Page loved this statue in the visitor's center near the Smith farm. There is another visitor's center at the base of Hill Cumorah.

We walked around the temple one evening and admired the glass windows that represented the Sacred Grove. The light was shining through from inside the temple. Beautiful.

Here is the view of the Palmyra Temple looking up from the Sacred Grove.

We got to take a tour where the Book of Mormon was first printed in downtown Palmyra

About an hour and 45 minutes from Palmyra is Niagara Falls. You know we had to take a quick drive over to see them. After all the excitement of upper state New York, we had to head back to Philly so we could catch a plane back to Billings early Sunday morning. What a trip! We were everywhere and saw everything but Daniel Boone's House (we saw a sign in PA, but couldn't stop to see it). We are tired, but it was a trip of a lifetime and Page and I had such a fun time together. It was great experiencing all these things with her.

Up front are the American Falls, the Horseshoe falls are in the background and across the river you can see Niagara Falls, Canada. I had to talk Page out of riding in a barrel over the edge. She is such a daredevil.

Lots of things to see outside of Philly

On Tuesday, after the sessions at the conference, I took Page to New Castle, Deleware for dinner. It was only about 30 minutes from Philly on the Deleware River. This is where William Penn landed and founded the city. Penn's ancestors still manage the land here. We went and ate in an old colonial building and had a colonial style dinner.

Here is a statue of William Penn in New Castle. The locals wanted us to stay for their Halloween Parade, but we had other plans and places to see still before the end of the day....

Can you see the Capital Dome? It was nice in bright, but the camera only can do so much. Page has always wanted to go to Washington DC. She mentioned how it was too bad we were so close and didn't have time to go see it. Well it's about 2 1/2 hours from Philly. I know it was late and we had a nice dinner in New Castle, Deleware, but I made a dash for the capital. Who knows when we will be back this way again. Didn't get to tour anything, but we did get to see a lot of buildings. Just wait, our adventures only get better....

This is a little hard to see but it is the Lincoln Memorial. We parked in a handicapped parking area (nobody was there!) but it freaked Page out so we quickly took the picture and hopped back in the car. We drove around the Mall. Saw the White House, Capital, Supreme Court, the Archives, Washington Monument, and Jefferson Memorial. Then we headed back to Philly.

Ok we may be a little crazy, but my meetings at the MGMA conference were over by noon and we had all afternoon off. We really wanted to see New York City and the Statue of Liberty, and it is only 90 miles from Philly (the nearest shopping mall from our house is 90 miles away and we drive that all the time!) so we headed to NYC. We got there late in the afternoon, worked our way down to Battery Park to take this picture of the Statue of Liberty. The late afternoon sun was right in our face, so it really washed out the colors, but we saw that beautiful lady in the harbor. We also drove past Time Square, Central Park, and got caught in the 5:00 traffic on Halloween night, bumper to bumper cars and people. The city is just what you think it would be. Busy and crazy, full of people. We got honked at constantly. We saw lots of little kids in costumes trick-or-treating at all the businesses. We basically just went on a driving tour through the city and headed back to Philly. We entered and exited the city through the Lincoln Tunnel. It was a fun experience.

We drove past "Ground Zero" where the World Trade Center buildings fell on 9/11

We happen to come upon the LDS Temple in downtown Manhattan. It is right across the street from the Lincoln Center and down the block from Gray's Papaya, where we just had to eat. Regis Philbin always talks about Gray's. Hot Dogs are only $1 there so we had a very inexpensive dinner in NYC.

The day after my conference was over, we made our plans to see some sights outside of Philly. Just north of the city is Valley Forge. Here is a picture of the monument at the site. We also saw Washington's headquarters and replica's of the little cabins the men stayed in during the winter.

By lunchtime, we made it to Amish Country. Here is a young man driving his buggy through town. We took the picture without him seeing. We heard they don't like their pictures taken. We saw women dressed in their Amish clothes and older men with their long beards. It was really interesting. We also had a Pennsylvania Dutch lunch and were served by some Amish ladies. It was good home country cooking. We went to the Intercourse Canning Company store and tried lots of samples. I really liked the peanut butter sauce that they make.

We drove to Gettysburg to see the famous Civil War Battle Field. The battle field is huge and actually surrounds the entire town. More men died in that battle than in any battle in that has occurred in North America. A little side note: we ended up stopping in town to get an ice cream cone, before heading up to Harrisburg for the night. We had the best cherry-vanilla ice cream we have ever tasted in our life. So if ever in Gettysburg, you got to try their cherry-vanilla ice cream.....

Here is the spot where President Abraham Lincoln stood to give the Gettysburg Address

We got to tour Hershey's Chocolate World the next morning. They have an amusement park, museums and in town they have street lights that look like Hershey kisses. We had a long drive to get up to Palmyra so we only went on the factory tour to see how the chocolate was made.

We went on a tour to see how they make the Hershey's Chocolate. We were on a ride like at Disneyland (but it was free!). These cows cracked me up. We kept seeing them on the tour singing about Hershey's Milk Chocolate. After the tour we got a free sample of Hershey's Kissables. I also got me a chocolate bar in the gift shop. Tasted just like the ones you can buy in any store.... haha

After leaving Hershey we drove through some beautiful country in central Pennsylvania, heading to Palmyra and Upper State New York. The fall colors were still bright due to the warm weather. This picture doesn't do it justice.