Sunday, June 13, 2010

San Raphael High Adventure

The first week of June, Russ and Brady packed up and headed to Southern Utah with Brady's Teacher's quorum. Here's how it went down in Brady's own words:

Well, on Wednesday our teachers' quorum headed down on our way to the San Raphael swell. We stopped at Denny's on the way, and after some pancakes and juice we got back on the road. We got there midday, and after spending some time exploring the surrounding area, we found the perfect campsite, nestled in between giant rock formations on either side. They were definitely a lot of fun to climb around, and we definitely spent a lot of our "down time" climbing around on them.
On Thursday, we woke up, grabbed some pop tarts, and headed for Goblin Valley. The landscape of rock formations was a playground beckoning to us, and we wasted no time starting to climb around. We all hung out on top of the goblins, and just had a lot of fun exploring caves, and scurrying around on the rocks. When we felt like we'd had enough, we left to start our hike through the canyons.
In Little Wild Horse and Bell canyons we had a lot of fun squeezing through crevasses and really taking in the rocky beauty all around us. I definitely had a lot of fun playing follow the leader on the hike, jumping off of rocks and across gaps and just being silly.
On Friday, everyone woke up energized for the day ahead. We started off by going to a little waterfall just off the side of the road. We jumped in and started to swim, the cool water an antidote to the intense heat. There were so many things to try--swimming against the waterfall, throwing kelp at each other, and even riding through a natural water flume thing! Some highlights: two of the teachers getting in a fight, Ryan losing his swimsuit in the waterfall, and some crazy European tourists taking off their clothes! It was a lot of fun.
We stopped for lunch at a local burger joint, and on the way back to camp we even stopped at the set of a Disney movie that was being filmed. After resting at camp, we left for our night hike through Ding and Dang canyons. It took a while to get into them, but when in the canyons, we just had an amazing time. There were narrows to squeeze through, and little fissures to shimmy across, and big rock formations to climb up! Plus, when out of the canyons, the starry sky was beautiful. I could see the milky way! I think we all had fun together trying to make it through, and even though we got back to camp around 2:00 AM, it was definitely an adventure.
After all the planning, packing, and work required to make this a reality, I know I definitely had a lot of fun on the trip. I don't think I'm ever going to forget the hikes, the beautiful landscapes, or the spiritual firesides we had each night. I definitely grew a lot closer to my quorum, and I just hope that we can do something like this again. It was really great. Thanks to my leaders, who made it all possible, and to my mom for making that killer video. And definitely thanks to my dad, for coming, being cool with me climbing around on everything (even when it made him nervous), and for just spending time and having fun with me!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Bountiful Baskets

A couple months ago I volunteered to be a site co-ordinator for Bountiful Baskets. BB is a non-profit organization started by two women in Arizona , Tanya and Sally. They must have last names, but to thousands of housewives in Arizona, Utah, Nevada, Idaho and Wyoming, they are just Tanya and Sally and what they have done is amazing.

My site runs every other week, some run every week. Participants log onto the Bountiful Baskets website at a certain time each week, choose how many baskets they want and then pay their contribution amount of $15. Tanya and Sally oversee the co-ordination of thousands of orders in 5 states, order the produce and then get it on its way for the Saturday morning pick-ups. Friday night or Saturday morning I print out a sheet that tells me what's coming on the truck and then the order sheet listing each person and what they ordered.

Saturday morning (for my site it's 6:15) I show up and hope that several other participants get themselves out of bed and show up to help as well. The truck arrives and we unload boxes and boxes of produce. We have amazing volunteers that show up each week and help to count out the baskets to be sure we end up with just the right amount, count what comes off the truck, and disperse the produce into the baskets. Each participant gets two baskets, one with the veggies and one with fruit. Participants bring their own boxes, coolers or shopping bags to load the produce into and take it home. I can't say enough about how great our volunteers are, I've been the site co-ordinator for just a few cycles and the volunteers have made everything run so smoothly. We have between 110 and 120 participants each week and the hope is that everyone shows up, gets what they ordered and leave happy. The participants start lining up about 7:30 and as soon as we have everything ready to go, the volunteers check people in and make sure they get what they ordered .

The popularity of Bountiful Baskets has grown like crazy in the last 6 months. The BB website has gone through some growing pains trying to keep up with the demand of so many people logging on and trying to get their order placed before their site sells out. Tanya and Sally re-did the website and several new locations have opened up in an effort to make this co-op accessible to as many people as possible.

This has been a great thing to be involved with and I'm appreciative that Russ has been so supportive. If he's not camping with the scouts he gets up and is right there helping with all the other volunteers, counting produce, breaking down boxes and whatever else I yell out to him to help with. BB isn't just for the ladies, we have lots of great husband volunteers--which we appreciate, boxes of potatoes can get pretty heavy!

In addition to saving money on the same produce at the grocery store, participating in a produce co-op exposes us to items I would never have purchased. We're still not fans of brussel sprouts, but we found out we do like asparagus and even swiss chard. The coconut I got two weeks ago, I'm still not sure what to do with...Most of the items are things everyone likes and uses but there is always something new to try. This week it's Bok Choy..lots and lots of Bok Choy. Fortunately I have a Rachel Ray, Lo Mein recipe that it will be perfect in!!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The time has come...

Finally, I decided the time has come for me to put together a blog and hopefully I can make the time to keep it up. I plan to post lots of pictures of the events and day to day happenings of our family. I don't pretend to be a writer so keep your expectations low.

I have loved reading the blogs and seeing photos posted by family and friends so here is my attempt. As everyone close to me knows I have spent more than my fair share of time on Facebook keeping up with friends all over the country, but as that community has grown, I'm not as comfortable sharing my stories and photos with so many people... are pics from the last couple weeks leading up until the end of school.