Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Pionner Day

Sunday, July 24th was Pioneer Day in the numerical and historical sense, but Monday, the 25th of July was Pioneer Day, observed by the state of Utah.

Side Note:  I've never heard it called, "Pie and Beer" day, but a bunch of people in my instagram feed called it that - ha.

To celebrate our pioneer heritage, all who were available to participate loaded in Grandma Judy's covered wagon (the family truckster) and ventured out on a hike in some dirt.  The boys and I (Ross had to work), joined Grandma, Grandpa and Uncle Willie (The Bings had other adventures planned) and we headed up Big Cottonwood Canyon to do the Doughnut Falls hike (with a good portion of the rest of Utah).


It was cooler up the canyon, we had three camel back water containers a backpack full of snacks and a 3 year old who we weren't really sure was going to walk.  But guess what!  We all made it, even grandmama and that little lazy fart that is my third child, known as Quinn, did the whole hike, round trip, without quitting or whining.  In fact, he ate an entire sleeve of ritz crackers for the duration of the mile to the falls and just held my hand and told me that he was so tired, he was "losing all his lives" on the way back.  He even crossed the water to get closer to the falls.  Proud of him I was.

All would have been excellent except I walked into a tree on the way back down the trail and smacked the top of my head really hard.  (Two days later it still hurts, FYI).  {Insert your, "hey Grace, how's charm school?" insult here.}

Wyatt, my mom, Quinn and I left the three daredevils to their own devices and they were a little over half an hour behind us coming back down the trail.  Why do you ask?  Because they decided to be Mountain Goats and climb over the falls, over the mountain, and then had to find their way back down.  But, no injuries or deaths occurred.  Phew!

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After the hike, rehydrating and chewing a TON of bubble gum (not me) we were headed to lunch at Hires.  And though the food was good, the AC was broken and the building was roasting.  It was bad news.  But, the heat of the building made it a perfect excuse to jump in Great Grandpa's swimming pool  before it was time to head back home.




It's also worth noting, that on this day of Pioneer observance, all of our cell phones were dead.  My mom's had been dead for days.  Willie was at 15%.  Mine mysteriously died (to be revived later at the phone store) on the way up the canyon.  All we had to rely on for the day for service, pictures, and replying to the 1 million texts from Haley, who wasn't with us, was Boompa's trusty phone.  It served us well, and he actually left it on the whole time!

If i'd have been a Pioneer, I would have died.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

3 weeks of summer


As much as I complain about year round school, the reality is that in a lot of ways, it really works well for my kids.  I found myself, the whole month of June, pining and whining for days off, ready to just check the boys out of school and be done with it.  But now, as we have only a few days left in our summer, I'm really tired and realize that I don't know what I would do with the boys if they were home for 3 full months.

Elliott starts 4th grade on July 26.  Wyatt will start second grade.  But, they only go for three weeks and then, we have summer number 2.  But summer number two will be without cousins and grandma's and uncles because they will all be back at work and at school.  But, at least almost every where we go, will be empty.

Anyway, in three weeks, we have crammed in a lot.

Summer NBA games.
2 days of grandma camp, with no moms
This is the place state park.
Swimming in the day.
Swimming in the night.
Soccer practice.
Cub Country.
Parade float preview.
Lots of lunch (lots of little Caesar's pizza).

We've got a few activities left to complete before summer #1 is officially over, and then we will put the list on hold for a couple of weeks for round two.





Parade float preview...cousin camp activity for the day.

I'd say cub country was a success.

Friday, July 08, 2016


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Never wanting too get political in any aspect of my life, I cannot help but feel like the events of this week should be documented.  That, in some way, I can help by writing my thoughts about what is happening to people.

Monday was the 4th of July.  Tuesday, a black man in Louisiana, named Alton Sterling, was killed at point blank range outside of a convenience store in Baton Rough by two police officers.  The shooting was captured on cell phone video. It was horrible to watch, and I'm shocked that I did watch the video.  My heart just ached for this man who so quickly was judged and killed.

Wednesday, another black man, Philando Castile, was also shot and killed while sitting in his car, after being pulled over for a traffic violation.  I read a little bit about him.  He ran  (or just worked in, I cannot remember) the cafeteria's for elementary schools in Minneapolis.  His girlfriend and her daughter were in the car with him, and his girlfriend filmed part of the incident on her cell phone as she watched her loved one die. This video, I couldn't watch.
I woke up this morning to the news that multiple police officers, and a few bystanders, were killed and injured in Dallas, Texas by sniper fire, apparent retaliation for the violence earlier in the week, during a peaceful protest march.  There was video of this scene, too.  I watched a little bit, of a sniper killing a police officer, standing just a mere foot or two behind him.  To say it was unsettling, is an understatement.

What is going on?

Every day when I drop my children off at school, I tell them to be good.  To be kind and nice to everyone.  We've had a few discussions, nothing too serious, about race and skin color in the past, but I've never felt the need to really dig deep into it with them.  I instead feel the need to focus on the importance of being good and helpful.   We talk a lot about bullies, and what to do if you see another child being bullied at school.  I think we need to talk more about race.  And their non-white friends.  And how to always be aware of situations involving those friends.  And how to be brave enough to do the right thing, because the right thing is to protect someone who is being treated poorly because of their skin color.

I've been thinking about the fact, and I'm pretty sure that it's a fact, that if my husband were to get pulled over for speeding today, he wouldn't have to worry about his safety.  He could probably joke with the officer and talk his way into a lesser fine.  He's safe, for the most part.  I cannot even imagine what a black man, or other minority male would feel in the same position.  No matter how safe or comfortable you feel where you live, that fear must always be looming on the surface.

I've been thinking about a conversation I had with an angry student, in a classroom full of kids, years ago when I was teaching high school - we were talking about a current event where, the government decided to pay war reparations to the descendants of Japanese Americans who had been interred during WWII.  He got mad and demanded to know why the government didn't pay reparations to the descendants of slaves.  Looking back this week, my argument was so...white!  I defended the US government (gross) saying that there was no way to pay back the families of slaves because they were undocumented, we don't know how many descendants there are, it would have been/would be an impossible undertaking.  I said these things in a classroom where one of my favorite students, Tim, a black kid sat looking at me, probably more interested in the fact that his buddy had managed to get me all fired up, than what I was actually saying.  But, I'm pretty sure I didn't say the right things.

The 1950's and 60's have been my favorite decades of history to study.  I've often thought, and said out loud a few times that I was born in the wrong era.  That if I had been a youth at the time of my parents, I would have been so outraged that I would have protested, been a freedom rider, stood up for those that needed some defending.  I hope that my perception of myself is right.  And that I still have that spark in me because it seems, that historic period of time that I longed to be a part of for a reason I cannot really understand, is staring me in the face.

People matter!  Lives matter!  Black lives matter!  All of the men killed this week have families who love them and are mouring their tragic and violent loss.  I know that my life is good.  That I am relatively safe.  That my children are set up to be successful in life.  I know that the color of my skin gives me something, affords me opportunities, that other people don't have.

I read a quote the other day that said no matter what a person says with regards to the issue of race, someone, somewhere will call her a racist.  Call me whatever you want, but the time is now to figure out how to stand up and participate.  To make a difference.  

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