Our first home leave from Japan is over and done. It went way too fast!
First stop: Nauvoo
The girls (and Sammy!)
The boys with the kids
Pioneer past times
Playing hoops with Grandma
Grandma's office at Nauvoo Restoration Inc.
Another wagon ride, sort of.
My favorite freckled face.
Next Stop: Peoria
Where we spent a lot of time running around to various doctors, etc., and visiting some friends and where I took no pictures.
Next Stop: Utah
Y Mountain trailhead
At the top of the Y
If you keep going past the Y, there is a trail that will take you to the top of Maple Mountain. We didn't go that far, but we did go to the canyon before Maple Mountain.
Mike has a picture of himself as a teenager on this same outcropping. Only, he was hanging off of it by one hand. Maybe I'll let Bear do that when he is a teenager. Maybe.
Beaver was super excited to go to BYU because he thought that going to BYU meant going to watch BYU football. Sorry, Beaver. We happened to drive by the practice field later, and the team was out practicing. So, Mike took Beaver and they peeked through a small opening in the fence and watched for a few minutes. Someday we'll take him to a real game.
Thanksgiving Point with cousins.
Watching the koi.
Allison and Wesley. We stayed at Allison and Justin's house and they were great hosts!
A hike in Mapleton Canyon
A hike on the Nebo Loop
Beaver and Wesley - buddies!
We spent a day in SLC and went to This Is The Place Monument to see where the pioneers ended their journey after leaving Nauvoo.
Final Stop: Idaho
I had a brief moment of emotion when we stayed on I-15 going north into Idaho rather than veering off onto I-84 as we have always done on our way to Jerome. We were headed to a different destination this year. To Uncle Jim and Aunt Colleen's house in Ashton. We had a couple of reasons for going there. First, it is the home of Mike's favorite childhood memories - taking pack trips into the Tetons with Uncle Jim and his cousins. Second, Luke has been wanting to see Yellowstone for a couple of years now, and the Marshall's house is only about an hour from the park.
First up was some horseback riding. Even Grandma and Grandpa rode!
Both kids loved riding the horse, but ultimately, I think that Beaver preferred the 4-wheeler. Bear said he liked riding the horse better, though. That's my boy.
Take a look at the horse with the stripe down its face. There's a story with that horse as a significant player coming up.
By the time we left, Bear was riding Duke all by himself. Yes, I was proud.
I swear that horse is posing. Indeed, my boy, you are a handsome fellow.
Yellowstone - Beaver with elk in the background
The only wildlife we saw in Yellowstone were elk. I was surprised that we didn't even see bison. I remember them be everywhere last time I was there.
The Canyon that gives Yellowstone its name
On our way to Grand Teton National Park - a growling little bear in the meadow.
The majestic Tetons.
Although he grew up on the Wasatch Front, I think that Mike's heart belongs to the Teton mountain range. I had never been there before, but now I can understand why.
One final story:
We were scheduled to be on a plane to San Francisco at 5:48 Saturday morning - the first leg of our trip back to Japan. The plan was to spend Friday morning packing up and doing a little more horseback riding in Ashton, and then heading to Salt Lake in the afternoon. I slept in that morning, and by the time I got outside, Mike was already out with not only Duke (the gentle horse we had been riding) saddled, but also Bruce - another horse that his cousin had been working on a couple of years ago when we were last in Ashton. Honestly, I don't even feel like going in to too much detail because it was one of the scariest moments in my life, but Mike got on Bruce and was riding around the field. Bear was riding Duke. Bruce was acting up a bit and suddenly took off across the field at a run, then dropped his head and began to buck. Mike went off his back and hit the ground. We've both taken falls off of horses before, so I was kind of waiting for him to roll over and sit up, but instead he just lay there, motionless. I jumped down from the fence and ran to find him lying unconscious on the ground. It probably only lasted a couple of minutes at the most, but it felt like so much longer. Bear jumped off Duke and ran to the house for help. By the time Mike's parents got out to the field, he had come to, but in that short amount of time my life as a widow flashed before my eyes. We called an ambulance and ended up spending a couple of hours in the emergency room in Rexburg before being sent home with a diagnosis of a concussion, and instructions for Mike to rest and only get on our flight in the morning if he experienced no more headache or nausea. We got to my Aunt Janell's house about 11:00 pm and woke up the next morning at 3:00 am to make our flight. Thankfully, Mike was alright and after a few days of being pretty tired here at home, he is pretty much back to his old self.
If anything good came of that incident, it was that I gained a renewed appreciation for my husband, the priesthood, and the fragility of life. I am thankful to God that he is alright today. Also, I warned him that I will hold this over his head whenever he does something that I consider risky. :)
So, we are back in Japan and getting reacquainted with our life here. We are meeting the new families that are arriving and missing those that have left. Bear starts school in just over a week, and a new season begins again. We didn't feel ready to leave, but now that we are here we are glad to be back. There's no place like home, wherever it may be!