Friday, October 3, 2014

Cole Turned 8!!

 Cole chose to be baptized back in July. He and his friend Talan decided to do a double baptism. It was only fitting since these two started off their friendship in the NICU 8 years before. :) Talan was a preemie and Cole was just a fat baby who couldn't keep his sugars up. It was so funny to see a tinnie, tiny Talan in the crib next to a fat, chubby Cole. 
Kim and I set out one evening to get a few pictures of the boys together for their announcements and program. They turned out pretty great, and the boys had a blast together.

 The big day!! It's always such a special day when my kids get baptized. I love that I have a worthy husband who can do his priesthood duties. I'm so proud of my Cole Boy!!! He was so excited to get his nice set of scriptures for his birthday. I sure love this kid!

Come Unto Christ Trek

 Back in February of this year Cris and I were called into the Stake Presidents office.(Which is kind of a trend lately, but that's a different story for a later post) We were called to be a Ma, and Pa for our stakes Pioneer Trek. We gladly said yes as long as we could find someone to watch the kiddos, to which Cris' mom obliged. 
Kennedy was old enough to go this year, and wasn't too sure about it. No bathrooms, showers, makeup, real food for 3 days and she also had to sleep under the stars on the ground!!! What a girly girl! With some help from my mom she sewed her own pioneer skirt, and apron.
 Here we are all ready to go the morning of the trek. I was pretty excited to go and was ready for an adventure! Cris grew his beard for about 1 month before we went. I hated it, but now I kinda miss it.
This was the "family" Kennedy was in. When they announced the Ma and Pa for her family I just knew she would be in it. She had lots of fun, and made some life long friends, including her now best friend from Joseph City, Kassidy.
 This is Cris and I's family. Most of these pictures will speak for themselves so I won't be writing about each one. We had 10 children in our family and 1 of them was an "adult child". Our adult child was amazing!!! We was from one of the branches in Chinle. Boy did he know how to tie a knot, and boy did that come in handy! Our things were packed and secured well because of him.
 From left to right: Dani(from Chinle) Damon(Holbrook) Shannon(Joe City) Alistar(Chinle, our adult child) Katie(Joe City) Cris, and I, Camren(Holbook) Micah(Holbrook) Maci(Holbrook) 
Amanda(Joe City) and Allison(Joe City)
The Trek consisted of the Winslow Stake, Holbrook Stake, and Chinle Stake.
I went into this to help strengthen these kids testimonies. I think it may have strengthened mine more than theirs! I love each and everyone one of the kids as if they are my own, and I love that when I see them(we see more than others) that they call me Ma! These youth are amazing, and strong kids. I miss them so much and wish I could see them more.
 I also loved all the other Ma's, and Pa's, they were all so awesome, and so fun to get to know! There was a lot of work done to get this put together and I'm so thankful for all those who sacrificed their time, and resources to do it! 
Most of these pictures are out of order but I want to write about what we did each day anyway.
Day 1: We were all split into our families. It was so neat to hear each one called out and I know that they were spiritually guided in getting each person in the right family. After families were called out we put our handcarts together, loaded them up, got our family pictures taken, gave out the oranges(the only thing the kids had to eat until we pulled into camp that night), and set out on the trail. It was a beautiful day for walking 10 miles. Not much wind, sunny skies, and our kids didn't complain one bit! Although I think I threatened to turn the cart around and go back home once. :) Towards the afternoon the kids realized that the orange was all they had until dinner, and pretty soon they were all talking about food. Fry bread, candy bars, fruit, pasta, and many others were mentioned. We pulled into camp around 10pm in the evening. The kids set up their stuff and we were all given a roll with a cup of broth. We read family scriptures, said prayers and went to bed.
Day 2: A perk to being a Ma, and Pa was the fact that we got fed. Not that the kids didn't get any food, but we got BETTER meals at "staff meetings" This morning the kids made corn meal mush. Not many were fans, and you could hear lots of them trying to choke it down. They knew that this would be the only thing until lunch and in order to push and pull the cart they needed to eat up!! We only walked 3-4 miles this day to our final camp where we stayed for the next two days. When we pulled into the meadow where were would make our "homes" we found a nice spot, and set up. The kids got a sack lunch with jerky and another orange for lunch. They had some fun activities set up, tin can lantern making, hair, feet, and beard washing, spoon making, archery and roping, and ice cream making. I thing the best was washing my hair it was so dirty and my feet were so nasty! Plus it cooled me down.
Right before the activities someone rode in on a horse and delivered us some beef to go in what the kids thought would be just vegetable stew. Boy were they stoked!!!! Funny thing about our stew. Pioneers never wasted anything. Well, I wouldn't make a very good real pioneer. We had a few leftover carrots, potatoes, and onions that wouldn't fit into the stew pot so I threw them in the bushes. One of our sons, Micah wondered where they had went since he was still hungry after dinner. Opps, they are in the bushes!! He knelt down, and picked up every single one, and rinsed them off so he could cook them. He instead saved them on a plate and cooked them the next morning. We also had the privilege of having fry bread after dinner!! Man, I really wish I could make it! We had our adult child, and a daughter that were Navajo, and they made it for us. I was hoping for a recipe but they just do everything by feel. 
Day 3: This was our Sunday out on the trek. In the middle of the night mana, aka cinnamon rolls were delivered, the kids were in heaven! They had special permission to hold a sacrament meeting. It was such an amazing experience that I will never forget. After all our Sunday meetings we had alone time in which we went off for a couple of hours to reflect on our experiences we had. My favorite thing that we had done that day was to take our family out for a scavenger hunt. We blindfolded them all and told them to look for 3 things, something smooth, something rough, and something soft. Little did they know it wasn't a scavenger hunt at all. After about 10 minutes if watching our kids walk aimlessly around Cris and I started to sing the hymn "Come Follow Me". We sang this about 4-5 times by ourselves until they kids realized that they needed to follow our voices. Each one came on their own and in their own time. Once one came in we asked them to sing with us, until each of us where there. We likened this unto us following the Savior. It was such a neat time spent with our kids.
Another thing that happened this day was two of our girls had gone for a walk. When they got close to camp they both screamed death screams. Come to find out a rattle snake was in their path, and struck at one of them, but thankfully missed. Good ol' Pa came to the rescue with a shovel and chopped that thing into pieces and buried it, minus the rattles which a boy from another family took.
The kids went to bed that night with a full stomach. A nice meal was prepared by our stake and the kids were so happy they didn't have to cook!
Day 4:We woke up bright and early, packed our carts, and walked the 3/4 mile to where we were to be picked up. A yummy breakfast was waiting for us, and so were many happy smiling parents and leaders. We took our after trek family pictures, said a family prayer, and sent our kids back to their "real" families. I'm shocked that my kids even wanted to hug me. 3 days without a shower does not make for a very good looking, and smelling mom.(Although I did sneak on some deodorant) 
I really truly miss my "kids", love them with all my heart and can't wait to have a family reunion one day soon! If I were asked to do it again I would do it in a heart beat! It was worth sleeping on the ground for 3 nights, and no showers.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Some Randon Fiji Pictures

 The following couple pictures are some of the villagers homes. They are such neat people, and come from such humble places. They were always smiling and saying "bula" to us everywhere we went.
 One of the many flowers we always saw. I wish I had taken more pictures of all the flowers, they were beautiful!!
 This was a coco bean. Who would have thought that this is what they look like! We cut open the pod, and then tried a fresh coco bean. They taste nothing like chocolate and you don't even bite into them, you just suck on them. They had a really weird slimy texture, and was bitter and sour at the same time. They are actually cut open and then dried out and fermented.
 There were plenty of fresh bananas everywhere you went. Not only could you pick fresh bananas but we had fresh grapefuit, oranges, guava(not a fan), pinapple, and pasion fruit. Pasion fruit was our favorite and I really wish we could buy it here at home!
 On our last night there we went to a resurant that overlooked the ocean. It was so beautiful at sunset. The food was some of the best we had(besides our fresh wahoo Cris caught) and we even had some great entertainment. We thought we would hear some local Fijian music from the band that played but instead we heard lots of American oldies. :)

 This was the airport that we flew out of. If you could even call it a airport. It was more like a tin shed with the least security I've ever seen, and I loved getting on the scale to have myself weighed just to make sure the plane wasn't over weight.
We can't wait to go back, and are saving our pennies to take the family!!