Scripture stories and primary songs- fabulous way to bring the spirit

I notice a huge difference in our day when we start with scriptures. My boys love these scripture story videos put out by the church. I’m amazed how much Scotland picks up, and it provides great content for conversation. Ideally, I’ll pick scripture stories that go along with what they are studying in Primary.

I’ve also learned the power of playing primary songs in the car. For some reason the car is often a stressful place for us, transitions are hard.  Anders often throws royal tantrums when I put him in his car seat and Scotland can take FOREVER to get buckled up- which stresses me out. Sweet children’s voices singing uplifting messages always calms me and the boys right down and puts us in the better state of mind!

Southern Utah Vacay: Bryce Canyon National Park

Tom had a week of vacation while we were in Pocatello, so we took advantage of our location and headed to southern Utah to visit Bryce Canyon National Park and Zion’s National Park. It was a wonderful week full of breath taking vistas, invigorating hikes, and time with family. I was a bit worried about how the boys would do on a national park’s vacation, but they loved it. We upped the excitement by choosing a hotel with a pool and spa. We also made sure to let them sit and play in the sand/water whenever they wanted. We started the trip out at Bryce Canyon. We arrived late Monday night. The next morning the boys arose early. Realizing that we could see the sunrise, I suggested we try. It was a bad idea. It resulted in a stressful and chaotic morning. Scotland was a wreck, and Anders freaked out when he was drug out into the 10 degree morning.  We missed the sunrise and I was grumpy. Things turned around, however and we had a wonderful day taking in the sites. The canyon had about three feet of snow, which made most of the trails un-passable. (They recommended snow shoes.) While it was frustrating that we couldn’t do as much hiking as we would have liked, the snow made the Hoodoos breathtaking, and the boys LOVED playing in the snow.

Scotland listening to the wind for his Junior Ranger badge.

Bryce is set up so that you can drive through and stop at about 17 lookouts. Several of the lookouts have short hikes off of them to leading to a better vantage point, but unfortunately many of these were closed. The second day Scotland and I hiked along the ridge of one of the most heavily “hoodooed” canyons. Hiking through 3 feet of snow was thrill enough. Coupling that with amazing scenery… mmmm!

The second morning we decided it was best for me to capture the sunrise on my own. I wasn’t the only one who awoke early. It was a beautifully bonding experience. There was something special about standing there with this small group of fellow photographers and nature lovers who had also risen early to take in the wonders of the Earth. I felt this overwhelming sense of unity and love for them. I wanted to take a group selfie! I took advantage of the time alone to hike down into the canyon a bit. It was euphoric. I had a silly grin on my face the whole time- something about the early morning, the sunrise, the chance to play with my new camera, hiking, and the surroundings really “filled me.”

I’ve never experimented with sunrise photography. I loved watching how the colors changed as the light increased. The reds were so much deeper!

It was a quick visit, just enough to know we want to come back!

Gotta boast. . .

Yesterday, my hubs put nine recessed lights in our kitchen- it’s glorious! (While I know he mostly did it to show me he loves me, I can’t help but think it’s also his sneaky way of getting me to stay in Seattle after residency- If he can’t give me more days of sunshine at least he can give me more light!)

So many thoughts …

So we’re renovating our kitchen. It’s an thrilling prospect and I feel beyond blessed to have the opportunity at all. That being said it’s also entirely overwhelming. I’ll get all excited about making it this dream kitchen, this “me” kitchen, this stylish kitchen and then I’ll get all befuddled about what that even means. I’m drawn to sophisticated polished kitchens. Dramatic kitchens with white and black. But I’m also very drawn to rustic kitchens, with raw wood, and cast iron. But I’m also really drawn to bright happy kitchen with lots of color. So what do I choose? Sometimes I think I should just go for the white kitchen that I can splatter with colorful accents, other times I thing- UGH! too much white. So I consider dark countertops, mmmm that rich contrast and sophistication, then I worry, yikes- too dark? I live in a forever shadow. So I’ll go back to the drawing board, again and again and again. Our goal is for me to go into IKEA and choose our cabinets on Saturday. The deadline excites me, I need to just have an end to ideas, but it frightens me what if I do it all wrong? Then I’ll think, I don’t even care, it’s just a kitchen. Just do what is mainstream, white cabs, white subway tile, and granite countertop. . . but I LOVE the look of soapstone, and I prefer the look of the lower cabs a different color. . . back to the drawing board. Am I wearing you out? I’m trying to. This is my nightly routine.

There have been a lot of “episodes” today. Like when I went outside to find Scotland completely drenching his brother in ice cold hose water. It was only 50 degrees out. Or when I step into the restroom to take care of business, and hear Anders wailing 30 seconds later- for the duration of my stay. The repeated not-run-by-Anders, but run into Anders. He’s getting sassy (After I requested his help holding a measuring tape he said “Sorry Mom, I’m busy.. . you don’t always get what you want!”) He’s getting rude. Perhaps this is the “They’ll be happy when you’re gone, but they’ll make you pay when you get back” in action. Scotland was by and large terrific on our two month whirlwind, but the return to “normal” life has not been so smooth. I guess I need to take a deep breath and realize he’s missing his cousins that he can rough and tumble with. He’s begrudging the return of chores and structure. I’m trying SO hard to talk him through it, be understanding, and turn the other cheek. But what is the godly, saintly response to your 4 year old son laying on top of his 1 year old brother after you asked him kindly three times to remove himself? How do you handle it when he smacks you in the face as you carry him calmly to his room? There have been a lot of episodes lately. . .

I watched this documentary  today and I want to find my own voice, my true voice, untainted by the desires and opinions of others.

I missed my daffodils blooming, and now all I’m left with his TONS and TONS of greens. I’m severely tempted to yank them all. I have more patience when I’ve savored their blooms for weeks. With out that, they seem like a real pain.

The return to “real life” has been refreshing. Though I’ll admit to being rather really uptight. So much to do. . . so little time.

Cache Valley: Sabina and her family and two sets of Grandparents

After our visit with Getti, we returned “home” to see Tom for a few days before I got stir crazy and we headed back out to visit Sabina and my Grandparents in Cache valley.

They were sweet to treat Scotland to yet another birthday celebration. (I guess he got four ’cause he’s four!) Really, it was just all of my siblings being amazing aunts and uncles. Their love and attention to my little ones always warms my heart.

We got a big snow while we were there which was a literal answer to prayer- (The whole valley fasted the day before for snow.) We were thrilled to finally get some snow play in! Sabina suited us up and we headed to a great sledding hill.

Anders LOVED going down the hill, even when it got fast. He has NO inhibition. As always, I’m amazed at how individual children are.

It’s fun to be Seattleites who don’t get snow, because then it’s SO exciting. I guess it’s like Tom who still LOVES rain, because he grew up in Arizona.

We also took the kids to a big bounce house one afternoon. Rhyse and Scotland were in heaven. And Anders, with his newly acquired walking skills, was happy to follow his brother about, walking between the huge inflated structures. Rhyse and Scotland played so happily this trip. Its the first time its been just the two of them, as we’ve always come up with Brigette’s family, and I appreciated the chance for Scotland to get to know Rhyse a little better. She’s a darling girl.

Rhyse struggles with what some call “intense emotion.” It has really crippled her in the past, but with some research and LOTS of practice Sabina has helped her work through a lot of it. I was really amazed at the transformation within her. She knew when she needed to take “downtime” and has learned to verbalize her needs. Sabina’s patience and creativity with her was truly inspiring, especially because I know what a challenge this has been for her. Rhyse has been a graduate level course in parenting, and Sabina is passing with flying colors!

Sabina treated me to a morning walk to myself. The crisp air and exercise felt wonderful, and the scenery wasn’t so shabby either!

It was their ward’s ski night at Beaver Mountain ski resort while we were there. With cheap rates, and a willing babysitter in my injured nephew, I took advantage of the opportunity to take Scotland skiing for the first time. He was such a champ. Sabina was sweet enough to take him the first several rounds as I got used to being on skis myself (I’d only been once before.) She was so patient and encouraging with him. (He said at the end of the night when he was starting to get tired. “I want to ski with you three more times and then I want to ski with Sabina one more time!”)

He was determined, and quickly picked up the skills to ski on his own, he learned to snow plow enough to slow himself but not enough to stop, so after a few crashes he decided he’d rather hold my hand the rest of the time. Which I didn’t mind at all. Hearing his endless chatter as we moved up the bunny lift. Holding his hand as we moved down the hill. Working together to do something both of us were beginners at. Seeing his smiling goggled and helmeted face. It was a memory I’ll always cherish.

In addition to getting to spend a lot of quality time with Sabina and her family we got to spend a day with my maternal grandparents. It was a lovely day. Grandma read and played with the boys, Grandpa took them out to feed the horses. And I was able to help them a bit with Grandpa’s life history.

Grandma pulling out puzzles and games for Scotland.

Grandma was doing really well on this visit. She read Scotland several books, narrating expressively and pointing out all the interesting parts of the pictures. She helped entertain Anders while I helped Grandpa write his history, and asked Scotland dozens of questiosn. She was high spirited and jovial, it was wonderful to see her and feel of her loving spirit.

Keeping a fire going downstairs.

Teaching Scotland how to feed the horses.

My grandfather has Parkinson’s disease. His whole body was covered in an itchy rash when we were there, but you wouldn’t have known if he hadn’t told us. His determination to still be a grandpa- taking the boys outside, giving them treats, and taking them up on his lap to talk to them always touches my heart. He spoke deeply and sadly of friends and family members of his who have recently left the church. He bore his testimony of the priesthood, of the truthfulness of the church, of the joy it brought to his life. I love this man!

Showing him how to ride the tractor.

One of the things I love about Anders is how free he is with affection. When Grandpa leaned in to give him a kiss he nuzzled his head into his shoulder.

I’m not sure why but this picture really means a lot to me. I spent two summers with my grandparents, and we ate nearly every meal at this table, with these plates and these placemats. The seating arrangement was the same, except this time I had my two boys with me. The prayers and conversation were similar. I’m just so grateful that my two boys will get to experience a bit of the peace and stability that resides in this home, around this table.

We also got to have lunch with Grandma Petersen. It was a shorter visit than I would have liked- her houses is NOT baby proof, and the boys were high energy and rambunctious. But she smiled and laughed at their sweet displays- Scotland’s acrobatics and Anders abundant blown kisses. She encouraged Scotland as he colored in his coloring book and made sure the boys had plenty to eat during lunch. Her eyes sparkled as she watched Anders tottering about, and enjoyed Scotland’s lively conversation. As he sat next to her at the bar stools, waiting for lunch he asked her. “So, what games did you play when you were a kid?” (A question I had suggested he could ask Grandma and Grandpa Harrison a few days earlier.)  It was great to see her and get to express our love, if only briefly. It felt good to be in her home, so full of memories for me.

Bountiful: Brigette, Dave, Brielle, Keiton and Coleman

We flew back to SLC from Phoenix and spent the following week with Brigette, Dave and their children.

Scotland and Brielle were in dress-ups the whole time we were there. It was fun to see the difference in play, between Scotland and his boy cousins and his play with Brielle. She was much more into the role playing, which he loved! They couldn’t get enough of each other.

We had a couple of sunny days as well as some snow- so as well as sand play Anders had his first time on a sled down their back hill! He loved it.

We spent a day at the children’s museum in Salt Lake. It was fun to see the kids engage in some older activities- like more dress-ups, theater, and even drawing comics.

Scotland got to join Brigette’s preschool for two days. I was totally blown away by what a good job she does. She kept the kids moving, engaged, and learning. It was a good wake up call, to remind me that Scotland is capable of learning and doing more. It got me really excited to step up the academics this fall in our co-op preschool. This is just one way that Brigette really impressed me. She just does SO much, whether it’s watching extra kids, re-landscaping her yard, overhauling her home, or teaching her children, she goes all out. I marvel and her vision, work ethic and drive.

Bountiful Temple- unfortunately, also closed.

Brielle and Scotland’s birthdays are just a week apart so we held off so we could celebrate them together. It was a simple celebration, but between the helium balloons, cake, candles and presents they were thrilled. What a treat to get to celebrate with cousins. (Four times!) Tom even drove down to join the celebration which made it extra special.

Phoenix: Derek, Audrey and kids

One of the perks of having my in-laws in AZ is that I get to see my oldest brother, Derek and his family often. We always tack on a few days so we can hang out with the kids and chat late into the night a few times with Derek and Audrey. This time we also got to watch Eli and Owen play soccer, got a private concert from Ryanna, Owen and Eli on the violin and piano, and I got to go on a 12 mile bike ride alongside Derek- as he ran, (his lost long run before a half marathon the next weekend.) Scotland and Caleb held inflatable shields and swords of some kind 85% of the time we were there. And Derek got Anders to start really walking.

I was so impressed with Ryanna on this visit. Her helpfulness around the house, her sweetness and creativity in entertaining and caring for her brothers, and how often I saw her holding Anders really warmed my heart. She’s a “little mother.” Here she is pictured after carrying Scotland back from their “adventure” while I watched one of her brothers play soccer.

Reading scripture to the boys.

Derek took us to see the Gilbert Temple. Unfortunately, it was closed for cleaning so we could only enjoy the grounds from outside the gate. It’s a gorgeous temple. I’m going to have to schedule a visit in next time I’m in town!

I had such a lovely time riding my bike alongside Derek’s run. Even though it felt terribly silly. (I wish I would have been in good enough shape to run alongside him.) I always love talking with Derek. He’s insightful. He asks propping questions, and I always leave with something to ponder.

There was a lot of boyness going on while we were there- foam swords and inflatable shields rarely left Caleb and Scotland’s hands. Scotland has fully embraced the imaginative world of heroes and bad guys. As a result there is more and more play combat and even “killing.” My guts twist every time I hear my sweet little boy say “Watch out! He’s trying to kill you.” Or even hearing that he’s personifying Wolverine. (The “boys” have informed me that wolverine is a good guy, but he sure sounds nasty!) I’m at a total loss as to how to handle it. We talk a lot about what it means to be a hero, and Scotland is very passionate about always being the good guy, he loves “saving people” and “protecting people.” Those are both wonderful things. I try to turn his active imagination towards discovery and exploration, but “bad guys” always emerge. I’ve read several books about “boys,” so I know that such play comes with the territory, I just wonder- when is it too much?

The last morning we were there Audrey took us to their neighborhood park where they have a sand volleyball court- the boys were in heaven! I appreciated the opportunity to get to chat with Audrey one on one. I was really impressed with her during our visit. With a 4 month old baby, four other active involved kids and a husband who works a ton, she’s still holding it all together. working with her kids individually, finding movements for tender hugs and teaching, exercising hard daily, maintaining her home and even cooking delicious meals! Her love for her children is so apparent. Her sweetness and tenderness really touched me this visit.

Seeing these two little heads looking out the window together- melt!

This was my first time traveling alone with the two boys. I was a bit nervous- especially with Anders being at the “let me get down and crawl around” stage. But the trip was smooth sailing. I was blessed with several kind people who willingly stepped in to help- carrying my extra box to skycap when my hands were full, holding my water on her tray when Anders and I fell asleep on the flight, smiling and telling me “What a great mom I was” when my energies were beginning to ebb, the pilot who asked Scotland “Wanna come up and do some loops with me?” and the sweet woman who gave my boys animal crackers as we waited hungrily. Every time I travel my faith in mankind is increased. People are good!

Tucson, AZ- Foutz cousins and Grandparents

Tom’s sister, Cassie, and I are starting a tradition of cousin get-togethers in February at Grandma’s house. She’s from Boston, and like me come February she’s craving some sunshine. It’s the perfect opportunity to get the cousins together with their grandparents and enjoy the beautiful February weather in Tucson. It was an easy breezy vacation full of good family time, relaxation, fun and good eats.

Cassie and Pam are such attentive mothers. Seeing them interact with Anders as they taught him how to use the shape sorter- cheering every time he got one in, warmed my heart. He was equally thrilled by their abundant attention.

I always love hanging out with Cassie. She’s such an impressive mother, and I always come away with lots of inspiration regarding how to rear children. And beyond children, she’s just a really kind, smart, thoughtful person. I feel lucky to call her sister.

Every day before dinner Poppa took the kiddos in the spa. It was always a task dragging them out, they LOVED it!

EEGEES!

We spent a day at Reed Park- laying on the play ground, having a picnic with Eegees (a Tucson favorite), and riding the train. It was a perfect day. And seeing how excited the kids were on the train ride made me super excited for our Storyland vacation this summer.

Another day we visited the Museum of Miniatures which was fascinating. They had the traditional christmas villages but they also had miniature replicas of homes and mansions from around the world.

The amount of detail in such small figurines and edifices was astounding. Talk about the perfect place to play “I Spy!”

They were having a special exhibit on famous diamonds. And had miniature replicas of the people who wore them-Marie Antoinette, Shah Jahan, Napoleon, etc. Scotland with his love of all things glitzy as well as his love of swords was fascinated by it. I’m afraid the historical significance of it all was a wash. But he and Archer were pretty excited by the idea of men wearing swords all the time! Oh if only they’d been born in an early century! After the museum we headed to Bookmans (another Tucson gem) to pick up some used books for the kids before heading home to indulge ourselves with Beyond Bread sandwiches.

If we were to label this vacation it would have to take the title “The Lego vacation.” Grandma and Poppa Foutz gave Scotland a  lego set for his birthday and he and Archer were in Lego heaven all week. With Archer as his mentor, Scotland completed his first lego creation, step by step. (He got Legos for Christmas but he’s only used them freestyle, he’d never followed the directions.) It was a pretty big deal and once he’s gotten a taste for it he was determined to finish all the other pieces in his set.

Scotland’s first step by step creation.

I loved hearing Archer say to Scotland or visa versa “Wanna play legos” and then seeing them run off to the table to build together. It resulted in a more peaceful vacation than we’ve had in the past. Even Amelia got in on the fun with an adorable Friends set. I love legos!

Because it was only a few days before Scotland’s birthday. Cassie and Grandma made cupcakes and we all sang to Scotland. He was absolutely thrilled by it. His big smile as we all sang to him was so sweet. (Tom’s cousin Steve’s kids were over for a playdate.)

Cousin sleep overs

The cousins all had so much fun together. A few memories I hope to always remember:

Archer: “Infinity is a number.”

Scotland: “Actually, Infinity isn’t a number.”

Archer: “yes it is!”

Scotland: “No, it isn’t. . . .” and on and on for five minutes!

****

(We heard this one over the baby monitor, after they were tucked in bed.)

Amelia: “I’m a princess.”

Scotland (ever the realist): “Actually, you are just pretending to be a princess. You are not a real princess.”

Amelia: “Yes, I am.”

Scotland: “No, you’re not. You’re just pretending.”

Amelia: “YES, I AM!!!!”. . .  and on and on for five minutes.

****

Nighttime prayers with Archer, Amelia, Scotland, Poppa and I where each of them wanted to say a prayer.

One of the things I loved most was seeing this sweet relationship between Anders and Pam develop. He adores her. He would reach for her and lay his head on her shoulder to give “loves.”

Pam and Stan go above and beyond to make these weeks as enjoyable and easy as possible. They are your quintessential grandparents- dotting and adoring. The attention is on the kids and the love and acceptance free flowing. I really admire their determination to be active participants in their grandkids lives- despite their spatial distance. They look for ways to interact whenever possible, whether it be reading books, telling stories, swimming, feeding, or just taking them for walks as a means of distraction. My boys adore them, as do I.

Provo, UT- Devin and Jessica

The boys and I had such a good time visiting Devin and Jessica. We got to see their beautiful apartment and spend some time seeing historic Provo, the Bean Life Science Museum, and hiking up to Bridal Veil Falls. (In addition to visiting the Museum of Natural Curiosity and watching my eldest niece Brecklyn swim in the state competition.)

 

I always say this, but something about seeing my brothers play with my kids really touches me.

Provo City Temple under construction. (I want to see as many temples as I can while we’re here in such close proximity to so many. Unfortunately I’ve had terrible luck and the majority of them have been closed! Spring cleaning I guess.)

 

Both Devin and I had just gotten new camera so we had a lot of fun trying to figure them out.

I really appreciated having a bit more time to spend with Jess. (She and Dev got married last spring so I know her the least of my in-laws.) I just really like her. She’s kind, easy- going, positive, hard working, smart, great with kids, and perhaps this is not the right way to say it, peaceful. She just seems to bring a calm with her.

We met up with Sabina and Brigette and their kids at the Museum of Natural Curiosity in Lehi, Utah. It’s the most amazing children’s museum I’ve ever seen. Ever. The kids had SOOO much fun. I got few pictures, because the lighting was terrible, and the kiddos were moving to fast to catch. But much fun was had by all.

Tom drove up and joined us for the weekend. It was so fun to get to have family time with him, since so often I have to go solo due to his work schedule.

 

This water table for infants is the cutest thing I’ve seen in a long time. I mean, really, does it get any cuter?

This is perhaps the first time I’ve experienced a family get together like this. A few days before I sent out a text, hey want to get together Saturday morning. . .  and then Boom four of us sibs and our kiddos gather and have a blast together. Our children moved fluidly under changing supervision, cousins swapped out playmates by the minute. It was a beautiful thing. It’s outings like that that make me think… it would be so fun to live near family.

That and the outing we had between Bear River City and Provo when we stopped in Bountiful for an hour to hanging out with Getti’s kids at the McDonald- just because we could!

My boys- forever not looking at the camera.

Impromptu pinic: Scotland, Brigette, Coleman, Brielle, Anders, Rhyse, and Capriel

After our fun packed morning at the museum we headed back to Provo to watch Breck swim at state. Here’s some of her biggest fans: Jess, Devin, Anders, Landen and Sabina. Not picture- Brigette, Joette, and I.

Brecklyn is in lane one. Beautiful form!

Brecklyn is the oldest grandchild on my side. And as a result she’s always held a special place in my heart. She made me an aunt after all! Sabina and Craig lived in Washington for the first few years of her live, so I got to see Brecklyn as she grew up. When she was 11 she lived with Tom and I for a couple of weeks with her sister Talia. It was a time I’ll always cherish. So it shouldn’t have been surprised but watching her swim was really emotional for me. My eyes teared up and my heart swelled with pride. Breck set a goal to swim in the BYU pool a year ago, back when swimming was still quite new to her- and she did it! Impressive. I love you Breck!

After the competition we headed back to Bountiful, put the kids to bed and Brigette and Dave and Tom and I went on a double date for Valentines Day. We enjoyed a quite sabbath together before parting ways, Tom back to work in Pocatello and the boys and I to Arizona. . . to keep the family time coming!

Honoring Ancestors- Bear River City, UT

The bend in the Bear River, where Ane likely had her dug out.

En route to Provo to visit my brother, Devin, the boys and I stopped in Bear River City. This was a much anticipated trip for me. You see, my paternal great-great-great-grandmother, Ane Larsen Andersen, was the first to settle the area.  I like to think I was named after her daughter Kjerstin. Anders is partially named after that Danish line. Ane was an impressive women. Her and her husband were close friends of the King and Queen of Denmark. Her husband died in a riding accident and after learning of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, she joined and decided to gather with her fellow saints in Utah. She sold thousands of acres of land in Jaegerspris, outside of Copenhagen in order to pay for her children’s and many other saints’ passages across the ocean to New York. Later, on the trail, when their supplies were depleted, she used her money again to purchase food for the entire company. After arriving in Utah she was sent with others to settle the Bear River area. She, and five of her children, built a dug out in the bend of the Bear River and lived there for the first year before they were able to build a home. She is considered the first settler of Bear River City. The thought of a woman of influence and wealth leaving all to undertake such an arduous life moves me. A cousin of mine visited Jaegerspris where Ane lived, the land is beautiful and she found her self asking “How could you leave all of this?” She heard in her mind “No amount of land was worth more than we were given.” I had very similar feelings as I walked into the cemetery. There was an overwhelming feeling there.  I can’t describe it. I felt it, viscerally. There at the base of those gorgeous mountains were laid many of the stalwart members of my family. Grandmothers and grandfathers who had truly given all to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Immediately, I wished I had brought flowers. Something to symbolize my gratitude. I voiced this wish, to Scotland. In his sweetness he gathered a interesting stick and a pretty feather to lie at Ane’s grave. I added a few nice leaves. It was a humble offering, but a sincere one.

Bear River City is a tiny town. There isn’t a stop light. I didn’t know exactly what I would find there. So I pulled into the only government building around- a small civic center. Immediately upon walking in the side door I saw a large framed map of the original layout of Bear River and there on it was the name of my great-great-grandfather Carl Jensen (husband of Kjerstin). As I walked to the end of the hall there was another large frame housing the pictures of all the mayors of Bear River City and there, the first picture, was the same man, Carl Jensen. I easily found his property. His house has long been torn down, but this gorgeous tree (above) remains, the only tree on the property. I wonder if he saved the tree, or planted the tree. Perhaps the tree was planted after his time, but I like to think it was there. That he kept it pruned, maintaining its stunning shape. Carl headed up the planting of trees all along main street while he was mayor. So it makes since. I love trees. I love pruning. So seeing this tree I felt a real kinship with this man, my great-great-grandfather. I felt his presence there in that beautiful town.

A picture of Anders and I- because it is this Danish line that our names honor.

I knew that all of my grandparents back to my great-great-great-grandmother on my father’s side were buried in Bear River, but somehow I didn’t realize my grandfather was. I was walking alongside the graves in search of my great-great grandmother when I looked up and saw his tombstone and immediate started sobbing. It was so unexpected. My grandfather died when I was ten. I’ve spent a good amount of time coming to know him since his passing, and I feel close to him. It felt good to finally see his grave. I can’t imagine a more beautiful place to be buried. I kept thinking, this is where my father should live. He would love Bear River City. It’s small, quiet, slow, and oh so beautiful.

 I hesitated to write this post. Because this was such a sacred experience for me. But I felt the desire to testify of the overwhelming assurance I felt that these family members are alive. That they are still involved in our lives, and can be even more so if we know them, and allow them.