Saturday, July 30, 2011

My time in Manassas, Virginia

Last weekend I was in Manassas, Virginia for the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Bull Run/Manassas.  It was fantastic!  My friend Amanda and I flew out and had a wonderful Virginia experience.  I uploaded a bunch of pictures onto Facebook, if you are interested, look here for them.  The picture above was one that was found in the Yahoo News online picture gallery of the event.  We were wishing the soldiers well as they marched off to battle.

I have a thing for fife and drum music, so whenever I heard it, I would smile, and then sometimes follow the sound to the makers of such fun music!  These are a bunch of talented Yankees, but I found some wonderful Rebels also!

Friday we were able to sight see and I am grateful for the chance to see a few of the places I had been wanting to visit and experience.  The visitors center was amazing!  This is the monument build by Union troops a year after the battle to honor those Union boys that lost their lives at the Battle of Manassas.  It is found on Henry's Hill.

This picture is found on the info board near the monument.  I love this picture for some reason, I guess because now I have actually been there - stood where they stood.

And here I am touching where they stood.  I know it seems silly, but I loved it.  I am so grateful for anyone that serves their country in any way and feel honored to be where they have been, especially the patriots of long ago.

Another sight I wanted to see was The Stone Bridge.  It was so pretty!  This is Bull Run Creek and I loved it also.  The temperature was 116 degrees when this picture was taken of Amanda and I.  This little desert rose was not used to that humidity!

We were able to join in with a group of re-enactors from Arizona.  Here are a few of them.  Such nice and fine gentlemen!

With the temperatures so hot, we headed to a sweet little creek one afternoon after the battle.  It was the only way to escape the heat while remaining sane!  This is me, Amanda, and Michelle in our very period correct underpinnings cooling off in Little Bull Run Creek.  I think we spent about 3 hours of the hot afternoon soaking up the coolness of this little oasis.

And here we are the next day, fully dressed and refreshed for a new day of sweating and portraying sweet ladies of the South!

I loved watching the soldiers march, and with 8,500 of them I got to see alot of them!  We would wish them well as they marched off to battle.  They would tip their hats our way, give us a smile, a few officers would wave their swords to us, and we heard a few "I'll be home soon darling" and "You are the reason we are fighting this war sweetheart."  It was so fun.  On Sunday when they marched off to war, Amanda played her hammer dulcimer and the Marahs girls played their violin and cello for the boys.  They loved Dixie and Bonnie Blue Flag being played as they went to fight.  There were many whoops and hollers as their spirits were gladdened with the music!

It was a fantastic trip and I believe a once in a lifetime event for me, as I think me getting back east for another 150th anniversary event is going to be hard as a wife and mother in the west! 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

My pony is facing East

 At around 5:00 tomorrow morning I am headed to Manassas, Virginia for the 150th Anniversary Commemoration of the first major battle of the American Civil War.  If you are a Rebel, you call it the Battle of Manassas, if you are a Yankee, you call it the First Battle of Bull Run - either way, I am so excited for such a wonderful opportunity!

 I am flying out with my good friend Amanda.  We are so excited to be able to participate in this event.  Some of our UCWA guys are driving out and are on their way right now.  It is going to be such a great experience with around 8,500 reenactors!

I am leaving my sweet little ones with my niece April for a day, and then Matt is taking Friday off.  They have great plans for the 24th of July weekend.  I know they will be so busy with all the festivities that I will miss them more than they will even think about missing me!  With the 24th of July in mind, all of you Utahans please think of the history of our great state!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Ackerman Family Reunion

Saturday I went to my Ackerman Family Reunion in Pleasant Grove.  Here is a picture of the only remaining children of Parley and Diantha Sorensen Ackerman.  My grandma Lela was the oldest child, and here is her sister Jalene, brother Boyd, and her sister Melba.
When I drove up to my great aunt Melba's home for the party, I continued to drive down the street a little bit to see the old beautiful sandstone home of my great grandparents, Parley and Diantha Ackerman.  I kept driving and never saw it when I realized I had gone too far.  I turned around and there where the house used to be was a pile of rubble and a newly paved road that led into a subdivision with a large sign that said "Parley's Place Subdivision."  My throat constricted and my eyes burned.  I wanted to cry, but I didn't.  Actually, one little tear did leak out the corner of an eye.  I had stopped in there about five years ago and didn't get the chance to take a picture of the old house.  I have meant to do it now for a few years but have always been in such a hurry and I rarely go to Pleasant Grove.  I could just kick myself now.

So, with cousins I have not seen in 15 years, I took pictures of my close family.  How lame is that?!?!?  Here is Tori, Brogan, me and my mom.  We did have a nice little lunch and had a good time talking with folks I barely know, but still made me feel like I have known them forever.

This is my dad holding an original pencil drawing of what an artist thinks my great great grandma Nettie De Groot Ackerman looked like.  There is a published story of her paying her tithing in chickens to the bishop, so the artist drew a 'poor, stout Dutch woman' carrying 2 chickens to the Bishop's Storehouse to pay her tithing.  I wish I had that drawing, but I do have the story.
Okay, my mom, me, and my sister Tori - I love the gals in my family.  We know each other so well and are so different that we love each other despite all our differences.  They are great ladies.

Kelsey and Jared.  My girls were pretty good sports about sitting around in the heat with all the old people!  Matt and Emmitt escaped to the ranch to fight the bugs, fix some fence, and spray the thistle for the day.

After the party, we went to my cousin's cherry orchard up on the hill for "a handful of cherries."  Well, that is what I said anyway, but they were SO GOOD and there were SO MANY, that I ended up with a bag full.  So did my parents and so did Tori.  This is Tori and Jared - she is so stinking cute.  Her little tum tum makes me smile.  It makes me smile because I am glad I am not the one pregnant in July, and it makes me smile because she is an amazing mother, and another sweet babe is coming to her home soon.  She is doing her sexy cherry pose here and it cracks me up.

This is us - yeah kinda silly.  Tori was giving a 'come get me' look and I was trying, but I just don't have it in me!  My look is more like, 'hurry up so I can pick more cherries!'

Kelsey has climbed a tree again.  My dad did say on this little trip that she is a monkey without a tail.  She and my dad made a good team - she would climb the trees, pick the cherries, and then drop them into my dad's hat.

This is Tori's little man Brogan.  I just thought the orchard was so nice and cool in the heat of the day, and his little sweetness of presenting his mom with a cherry poked onto the end of a stick was so sweet!  It was a fun day.  I am still sad about missing the picture of my great grandparents' home, but I guess I learned my lesson.  Don't put off till tomorrow what you know you should do today.  We still have a few cherries left, and nobody is sick yet!  Thanks family and thanks Ackermans!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Capitol Reef National Park in July

Last weekend we took the Jones family down to my parents home and stayed and played for the weekend.  Mark Jones loves to hike and I had told him about a little hike down at Capitol Reef that only the locals know about.  It is not a marked trail and I don't think one person in the park's visitors center knows about it.  It is one of those wonderful 'good ole boys' secrets.

This is the Jones family at the beginning of the hike, wait, Emmitt is in there too on Mark's shoulders.  Where is William?  Okay, it is not the entire Jones family!

It is a short little hike, where towards the end you run into a wonderful cave and then a rock wall.  I have scaled this rock wall before with a few super strong and tall guys to help (my dad and brother, high school and college boyfriends, etc) and it is quite difficult.  Since Mark was going to be the only super strong guy with us, I grabbed a few ropes at my dad's house; an 8 foot lead rope and a longer lariat.
The first obstacle of the rock wall was to get a piece of wood wedged between it and another rock to use as a stepping spot.  We had to break the ends off of a piece so it would work the way we needed it to, and then we got another one, to make two steps.

The kids just waited and played at the bottom for a few hours while we went to work!  It started raining on us, but we were so sheltered in the little canyon that it wasn't bad at all.  The kids climbed around and played on the ropes, and Emmitt just loved to sit in the sand and run his fingers through it!

They were good kids.  Kelsey is like a little monkey but without a tail, that is what my dad says anyways, plus she is pretty brave, so she climbed all over the place while Kendal, William, and Emmitt watched. Here she is in that tree while they sit on the rock and watch!

After Mark and I got a few pieces of wood in place, we tested the ropes.  We only had the ropes on a few small broken off branches of a dead tree, so we were not too trusting of them.  Kelsey tried them out and of course, climbed the rock.

Here Kelsey is at the top of the rock while Mark and I watch.  Mark did have to give her a little 'cheerleader lift' with his hands and her feet, and then she was scrambling up the rock like a monkey and was up!  The rock was a little too slick and wet from the rain, and the ropes were not all that strong, plus I just had stitches taken out of my foot 3 days before, so we stayed down - DANG IT!! 

Here are a few pictures Kelsey took at the top to show Mark and I what we were missing by being too cautious.  Cool bridge and also cable to help you stay on the rock as you walked across this part.

There are a couple of spots that have hand and foot holds carved into the rock, but I don't think she took any pictures of those.  It was fun for her to go and explore by herself.  She didn't go up last time we went there because she was only 6 or so, so it was fun for her to see.

Kelsey also took this picture of the rest of us from the top while she was exploring.  Here is Mark and I between the two rocks that we wedged the poles into, and the little ones at the bottom with Emmitt playing in the sand!

Boy they were good kids!  Amanda, Thomas, and Lydia had to head back to the car while we were hiking.

This is the fun cave right before the rock wall.  I went on a Junior Prom date here when I was a Senior.  We had a sweet little picnic in here with blankets and candles.  It was really fun.  I think it was raining then too!

After our little excursion, we headed to the big picnic area at Capitol Reef and had some lunch and played around.  The weather was so cool and nice - what a crazy weather day for Capitol Reef National Park in July!

Here is Kendal and Lydia.  They have become quite good little friends over the past while.  They love to play together!

This is sweet little Emmitt back at my parents' house.  He loves the 4-wheeler.  We had just gone for a little ride and he wanted to sit on there for awhile.  I took Emmitt and Kelsey out to the 'dirt track.'  The problem was that my foot I just had surgery on could not shift, so Kelsey drove us to the track, but I took over because I love the speed!  As we were racing around the track, Emmitt kept yelling "WAHOO!"  It was the cutest little thing!  Thanks to the Jones family for a great weekend, and thanks to my mom and dad for letting us stay in the cabin and letting us have a such a good time.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

My most precious memories - in a box or two

This is my sweet sweet son and his fun little boy cousin running through the sprinkler at my mom's house.  Man the good times I had, and the good times we had a few weekends ago together.

Kendal, Emmitt, and Brogan are the cutest little buddies.  They have such a good time together and seem to always find something to keep them going - sometimes in a naughty direction!

This is my nephew Waylon who is 14 years old.  He is such a crack up.  I wish I were able to be around him more because he has inherited my dad's sense of humor, and my brother's face.  Just watching him reminds me of my childhood and sometimes I think I see my brother right before my eyes!
I remember August evenings at home when I was somewhere around 8 or 9 years old seeming to last for hours.  We had an old empty wooden spool used for wire from my dad's work and this old fiberglass ladder that was our jungle gym.  We would see who could walk the spool the farthest without falling off, and we would see who could climb the ladder the highest before it fell over.  Man, good times!  I remember quite vividly getting up there pretty high on that ladder.  I showed Waylon how we used to do it and for an old aunt with a buggered up foot, I did okay.  Waylon was set on beating me, and he did.  What ever happened to good old fun???
This folks, is the attic.  The wonderful little spot above my dad's shop that was so much fun when I was growing up.  We used to sleep up there in the summer, play up there, and I am pretty sure we had some 'club meetings' up there too.  It was a sweet set up - a queen bed, a black and white TV, a little carpet, and this crazy swing thing my dad made to hold flour sacks.  Did my mom bake??  I am not sure why we had 50 pound bags of flour, maybe it was cement!
Anyway, the attic has been the house of all our wonderful memories and junk for too long.  My mom and dad told me and my siblings this spring that we needed to come and get our treasures because the attic was getting cleaned out and dad was tearing down the stairs and landing.  Ouch - memories just demolished!!  Sorry mom, just had to throw that in!

So Tori and I went to the attic.  She was not feeling as sentimental as I was and told my dad to bring the dump truck over and park it under the landing.  She tossed lamps, microwaves, stuffed animals, Barbie houses, college textbooks, cheerleader clothing, and all kinds of other fond fond memories!  I on the other hand, had a hard time chucking anything.  I even kept a few of HER things she wanted to throw away!  I did finally part with my 'bug boxes.'  The sweet wooden boxes my dad built for my insect collection in college.  That hurt - badly!

Anyway, here I am on the landing going through some treasures.  I had every handout I ever received from Young Women's, every secret sister gift from girl's camp, stitches from our dog Andy when she was spayed (I am sure I was 10ish!), wonderful Avon perfume from long ago, kidney beans my brother once put in my bed as a joke, love letters from 8th grade and beyond, and so so so much more!

I kept pulling things out of my boxes and saying "Oh, I remember I got this in 7th grade from Trena when we had field day at Capitol Reef" and then I would hold up a stick.  Okay, so that was a stretch, but not by much.  My mom, sister, and husband finally left me to bask in the dust of my high school years.  It was awesome!  For pity sakes, I saved the plastic sword from my junior prom that had my name on it!!  And I hate to admit it, but a sampling of the streamers also!!

I really just wanted to leave all of my stuff in the attic.  It was FINE there, just fine!  But no, I had to dig through it and decide what was important (all of it!) and take home what I wanted to keep, and throw the rest into the dump truck.  It just seemed wrong wrong wrong!  I did enjoy looking at all my clogging and gymnastics costumes I wore in middle school, dang I was sweet!  There were oodles of things from my high school boyfriend Brian.  Wow, oodles.  I did keep some great memories, but I did chuck the poster he made at the last minute to ask me to the Harvest Ball one year.  What a crack up!  Oh, and the wooden pencil holder Randy Hiskey made me in 9th grade I held onto; you never know when you might need a pencil holder in the shape of a number one.  I did let the earrings Cameron Ekker gave me for Christmas in 8th grade go, it was hard, but I let them go.  Kelsey asked me if she could have them and I told her "no."

I had around 5 or 6 boxes like this one - clearly marked.  My mom informs me that the dresser in my old room is still full of great things too, but she will let me get all of those sweet memories another time!  This exact box is still in my car trunk.  I did not open it at my mom's.  There was just not enough time to sift through it all!  So I guess I get to see what treasures are in this sealed box next.

So, I guess since all my junk is out of there, the attic will be locked up for good.  Well, my brother still needs to come and get his things.  As I set my 4 boxes of stuff that was spared from the dump truck aside, I looked at my sister Tori.  She got away with a shoe box size of treasures.  What is it that makes me so sentimental??

Hey, anyone up for a chocolate SMILING SANTA that has to be a good 25 years old??  Or how about some hot chocolate mix I got at girls camp one year?  Yeah, I am pitiful!

After the attic festivities were taken care of, we needed to eat.  Thanks mom for such great meals and for cooking for us all.  You are great!  Emmitt loves his fruit and smiles so nicely when I tell him to now! 

Brogan showed me his love of the glorious corn on the cob - another fabulous summer memory.

This is my mom and I.  Yeah, we look rough, but Tori just chucked all of our great treasures into the dump truck!

I love getting together with my family, and teasing and laughing around the table.  I sure enjoy them and love them so very much.

We had a wonderful, if not traumatic weekend sifting through our junk and letting the kids play with their cousins.  We had a killer game of croquet that Waylon sweetly and humbly schooled us all in, that of course reminded me of the killer croquet games I used to play at my cousins' house.  I swear my cousin Diantha took great pleasure in knocking my ball into the sage brush!  Oh, good times!


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