Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Camping up Provo Canyon and Grounded

Growing up, my family and I never went camping. For my parents who come from a country where living in leaky banana leaf homes and experiencing hunger on a daily basis were a reality, camping never crossed their minds as a vacation. The concept of choosing to live out in the wilderness without amenities and be gross for a few days is bizarre to them--I don't blame them. 

It's funny to think that those of us who live in the luxury of modern day conveniences would need breaks from all the distraction. But we do.

There's something about being out in nature that reminds us that there's more to life. Being surrounded by trees under the a blanket of stars up above bring me solace. I find inspiration in all the creation around me and am reminded that I am one of them. The knowledge that I am part of something greater and that Heavenly Father has a plan for me, ground me.

This weekend we got together with a couple of friends and their kids for some time away from the city. We headed up Provo Canyon to a secluded camp ground where the city was in sight but the mountains were our home for a brief moment (there are plenty of these spaces in Utah). I've been waiting all summer for this. Leaving the daily routine at home and seeking out adventure get me so pumped. I like sleeping in a new bed placed somewhere out of the ordinary, and living simply with just what we have with us. I just loved being up there, and I savored every little bit while we were up there. We talked, we laughed, we watched our kids share and play together.
We relaxed (I got to read and practice holding two babies, which is not easy at all).

 We breathed in fresh air and sat around a campfire (and Boston got totally sticky thanks to Daddy),

We ate delicious s'mores made to perfection, steak, cheesy potatoes, and a dutch oven cream cheese pumpkin cake made by my friend, Jo (how she does it all still amazes me). It was all awesome. And end off our perfect camp day, it rained. 

Camping in the rain. You know what that means, right? Wet clothes, cold noses, muddy wheels, and messy gear. Wow. I don't know about you, but that was pretty hardcore camping for me. I had never done anything like it. But it was still nice.

We bundled Boston up and put him to bed. Instead of spending hours talking and staring up at the night's sky, we talked for hours under our canopy. And we were happy :)

Admittedly, the storm was a bit scary. When it came time for bed, I laid for hours in my tent, cold and slightly afraid. The lightning was so sharp that it's brightness shone through my closed eyes. I would count the seconds before I heard thunder, "one-one thousand, two-one thousand, three-one thousand, four-one thousand" and it would stop. It was a bit mind boggling how close we were to possible danger. But moments like these ground us. We prepare as much as we can, but there are circumstances in life that we can't control. And we have to be OK with that. We just hope and pray for better things.

I'm grateful for this camping trip that offered time to think, ponder, and grow. Amidst my plan of escape came various other thoughts mainly of gratitude for the wonderful things in my life; shelter and warm covers in a time like this, beauty in this earth and how it regenerates itself, mountains to escape to, my safety net of family and friends to do funs things and create memories with, and my God for making all of this possible. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Our First Rodeo

You know how in old cowboy shows, the older people usually say something like, "Son, this ain't my first rodeo," meaning they know what they're doing so you better trust them? Well, I had never heard that saying until I came to college, so I didn't know what that meant! My husband had to explain that to me (there are some disadvantages of growing up in a home with immigrant parents). As I was researching local things to do during our year of dates, I saw that there were several rodeos going on in Utah (and they're actually pretty big here), so I knew this was my chance to get to some western culture into me. But since no one in our clan had ever been to a rodeo before (except for Dad), we decided it had to be a family date instead. It's quite important that our family be familiar with and take advantage of local cultural events. Being the fashionable cowboys and cowgirls that we are, we put on our checkered shirts and boots and headed down to the Spanish Fork Fiesta Days for our first rodeo. I was very excited, to say the least, and even moreso that I could get around with Boston in my wheelchair because of the accessibility of the stadium.

Spanish Fork
As a novice spectator, everything was exciting, especially when the animals and their riders came out. We saw beautiful girls on beautiful horses riding around the stadium while doing acrobatics. They were so in tuned with their horses. It was touching to see how they loved each other. Little Holly was convinced she needed to get on a horse soon after, or at least enter in the mutton bust next year. haha. 

So mutton bustin'. How did I not know such a funny thing existed? I hadn't seen anything as hilarious as children holding onto a running sheep for dear life for as long as they can. Those kids were brave! Some were victorious and stayed on for some 7+ seconds while others fell down right away. For the victorious ones, this may be the beginning to a really successful riding career (I couldn't believe how much the professional riders are making per year!)

Spanish Fork

Spanish Fork

I saw some curious things at the rodeo. For a particular event, the rider on a horse and was supposed to lasso a running goat, jump off, catch it, and bind its legs together. It was pretty cool. I bet it took tons of talent and skill to do that. I can't imagine anyone in my family doing that (we're pretty comfortable spectating)! But that event wasn't anywhere as crazy as the bull riding. It was agonizingly painful to watch. Those bulls were out of control! I can't believe the men would hold on through all of that bucking and the pain! But I can definitely see why they get paid the big bucks.

Spanish Fork

We had a really good time and got to see some fun things. Boston had his fill of fun as well. He would move from side to side on my lap to follow the riders, and was even startled a few times. We'll be entering him in mutton bustin' someday and maybe he'll win a buck or two! Not bad for our first rodeo. I may be warming up to the idea of staying in cowboy country :)