Sunday, July 26, 2009

Pioneer Day Activities

What in the world did I let Ryan do?!?!No, he’s not skydiving, although he’s already asked me how old you have to be to skydive. Heaven help me!

Every year on Pioneer Day, the Bountiful City Park has carnival games and rides. This is the bungee jump/trampoline that he waited in line for TWO HOURS to do! Luckily, there were chairs nearby in the shade where we sat and waited.As always, there were a variety of pioneer games, including the log saw that Ryan and Papa did together.And carnival games such as the fish pond, bouncy shark, etc. I keep enjoying these, thinking any year may be the last he’ll want to do them. He didn’t want to ride the ponies this year. :(

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Kenny Chesney/Lady Antebellum/Miranda Lambert Concert

For the first time since we moved back to Bountiful (and for the first time in Ryan’s life), we missed the Bountiful Handcart Days parade. It is always held on the evening of July 23, ending at the Bountiful Park, where the carnival rides and food booths are. But it was well worth it.

Several months ago, I heard that Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, Sugarland, and Kenny Chesney were coming in concert together. I, of course, being a Kenny Chesney and Sugarland fan, bought tickets immediately. We have been looking forward to the concert for MONTHS!

We heard the day before the concert that Jennifer Nettles, the lead singer of Sugarland, had suffered voice strain and was told by her doctor to cancel a series of concerts. Unfortunately, Salt Lake City fell in that timeframe. We were disappointed that Sugarland wouldn’t be there, but excited for the other performers. As we got to Rio Tinto stadium, there were signs posted everywhere about Sugarland’s cancellation, and offering refunds, but reassuring fans that the other performers would perform longer sets to make up for Sugarland’s absence.

The entire night was GREAT! All of the performers put on great shows, and really seemed to enjoy performing. The surprise of the evening was Kenny’s encore: Blister in the Sun (by the Violent Femmes), With or Without You (by U2), Love Is (by Sublime), and the Rocky Mountain Way (by Joe Walsh). On the radio after, a lot of people expressed their disappointment that Kenny chose songs for his encore that weren’t even his. We didn’t care. It was Kenny!

Here are a few pictures of the evening…

Friday, July 24, 2009

Church in the Canyon

Marc and Frances live in the greatest ward! They live in Emigration Canyon (where the Mormon pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley). For twenty-four years, their ward has been having “Church in the Canyon” the Sunday before Pioneer Day (July 24). Marc has been out of town this week, so Frances invited Rara, Ryan and I to attend Church in the Canyon and help her with the girls. Of course, we were anxious to agree!We learned that the flat place surrounded by a grove of trees where we met was called “Cold Creek Camp.” It was the place where many pioneers camped their last night before entering the Salt Lake Valley.

The main speaker was wonderful! He is an emeritus professor from BYU, and has written several books on Brigham Young and the pioneers. He reminded us of the history of the canyon, and related many pioneer stories. It was a little longer than the normal Sacrament Meeting talk, but it was so informative, we really enjoyed it!

Of course, we also sang “Come, Come Ye Saints,” “They the Builders of the Nation,” and other great pioneer songs.The best part of Church in the Canyon is that they serve refreshments! I was holding Claire as we walked over to the refreshment table. I picked up a chocolate doughnut with chocolate frosting (of course!) and a cup of milk. Before we even got to our seat, Claire had poked a finger in my doughnut. As I sat down, Claire grabbed an entire fistful of my doughnut and shoved it into her mouth! Then she grabbed another fistful with the other hand! Within moments, Claire had a mouthful and two fistfuls of doughnuts, and we were covered with chocolate! I thought Ryan was a young chocoholic, but he may have competition! (Frances snapped these pictures as the event unfolded.)Ryan also enjoyed the zip-line swing. He was about 10 kids back in the line as we were ready to go. I called to him, and he was disappointed that he wasn’t going to get his turn, but he was obedient and was going to leave the line. But then a girl ahead of him said, “Hey, guys! This kid needs to leave. Let’s all let him go ahead of us!” I couldn’t believe it! And they all did! He loved it!Church outside…with refreshments…and kids that voluntarily do kind things for others?!?! I may change wards!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

WGU Semi-annual Meetings

Wow! It has been a busy couple of weeks. Once again, I’m surprised at how much I’ve missed posting! I’ll try to get to everything in the next couple of days so I can be caught up again.

Our semi-annual WGU meetings were held July 7 - 11. I always enjoy getting together with my good friends. Once again, we had a great week!

We were color-coordinated a couple of times…
We had a fun BBQ dinner and carnival at the Gallivan Center…And we all enjoyed spending time with our former boss, Tom. He has now moved on to another department. A couple of us put together a thank-you recognition for him and worked on it during the week. I took pictures of groups of Tom’s former employees throughout the first couple of days, and then compiled them in a book. We passed the book around to all of the former employees to sign and write a memory or message. Then we were able to present it to Tom at dinner one night. He was very pleased.Graduation was great...My friend, Carrie, was my inspiration to change PhD programs. She started her PhD a year after I started mine, and just finished! This was her first graduation with her new regalia. I wanted a picture of the two of us together as my inspiration to continue with this new program.I had expected one of my students to come, but then didn’t see her at the Friday night reception, so I figured she was unable to make it. I didn’t hear her name during the services, so I was sure she wasn’t there. Blake and I changed out of our regalia and started walking to the car. A WGU employee that I didn’t know (in her regalia) came up to me and said, “Aren’t you Melanie Olson?” She then told me that my student was looking for me and led me to her! I was so glad she had found me! I had already taken off all of my regalia, and had heat and hat-head, but we still took a picture. She even brought me a gift! It was so fun to meet her in person!Most people fly home on Saturday, but Blake didn’t fly home until Sunday. So, instead of leaving her stuck in her hotel room, we entertained her for the day. We took her to our house to meet Copper and pick up Ryan, went to lunch, and then went for a drive around Bountiful, including Mueller Park to dip her toes in a cool mountain stream.Of course, we also had her semi-annual “height check” with Ryan!As always, it was a fun week, and it has taken me the entire week since to get caught up! But it’s always worth it!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Summer Celebrations

We’ve had a fun week! Since a few of our favorite annual summer celebrations occurred this week (and since we’ve had SUN this week instead of RAIN), it finally feels like summer!

On Tuesday, June 30, the Utah Cultural Celebration Center began their World Stage Concert Series with the Utah Symphony! We missed last summer’s symphony concert (we were visiting Yellowstone), so we were excited to be there this year.

As always, we had a lot of fun with Kristin & Abby.Our friends and neighbors, the Moons, were also there. We enjoyed visiting with them, too.And Ryan kept us all entertained during intermission with his popcorn throwing skills!Our Independence Day festivities began on Friday, July 3, with the North Salt Lake City carnival and fireworks at Eaglewood. We missed last year (same Yellowstone trip), but have made that a tradition every year since we moved back to Bountiful from Las Vegas. It was fun to be back. Mom & Dad were at the temple with a cousin who is going on a mission to Canada. So Ryan and I went alone. As we approached our usual spot, the Strand/Chilton clan was there! They had brought pizza, birthday cake and ice cream for Lil’ Troy’s 3rd birthday, and invited us to join them. It was fun to still be with family there! (Thanks, Teya, for taking our picture!)It was great to see Troy, Teya, Loni, and their families. It was great to see Teya's new baby, and to see Loni, another family member expecting twin girls!

Randy, always teasing, annoyed Nate by pouring water on his head. (I know, hard to see into the sun.)But, finally, after years (generations!) of Randy doing “bunny ears” to everyone in pictures…karma!We had a great time hanging out with the fam, watching the skydivers and flyovers, and doing the carnival games.Finally, on the 4th, my good little cub scout put up the flag…...We picked cherries and made a couple dozen pints of jam…...And enjoyed visiting and lighting fireworks with friends and family. It was a great week!