A letter to Mi hijo

Mi Hijo,

I drove Emma to school incognito this morning.  I had on your gray hoodie (I always wear one of your sweatshirts when I am missing you more than usual).  I even had the hood over my head.  It was one of those "hard to get out of bed"  days.  I may even have dropped a tear or two okay maybe a waterfall of tears. Don't worry though, we still had a warm breakfast and family scripture study- we are in 1 Nephi 11.  Stockton and Madsen had great comments.

I came back and cuddled Maleck in bed before reading with him in the Book of Mormon.  We are reading about Moroni- Maleck loves him.  After all if "all men had been and ever would be like unto Moroni... Satan would never have power over the hearts of the children of men.(love that scripture).
Maleck and I then pulled ourselves from bed, and I fed him breakfast (scrambled eggs and cinnamon toast- his favorite) while he watched Curious George.  Yep, I caved and let him watch TV before school.  While he was eating, I took a cup of hot cocoa over to Julene (Juge) and wished her a very happy Monday- not always the best day of the week for we moms.

Good News though, I made it to the shower and here I sit hot cocoa in hand tapping a letter away to my favorite missionary. It seems Mondays just can't come fast enough.

The air is changing here and the leaves too!  I can't  wait to get on the mountain and see the explosion of color.  I am hoping we can hike to "Grandpa's tree at Cedar Breaks" this Saturday after Maleck's football game.

News from home:

Maleck is tearing up the flag football field, enjoying basketball and just can't stop talking about Hudson Springer's birthday part Saturday where they played some sort of virtual reality video games at the movie theatre.  He is convinced he and I should go on a date and play together.

Emma placed 6th at her meet in Hurricane last week and medaled.  She looked so strong.  She also spoke in church yesterday and nailed it.  There were however a few alligator tears just prior to her going on the stand- she was terrified, but you wouldn't have known it.

Madsen enjoyed a week in Colorado with daddy hunting last week.  But unfortunately had to return home to a LOAD of homework- AP Geography is pretty tough.  He jumps right into fall baseball and basketball this week.  On Thursday, he has a game here against Desert Hills in baseball. I am excited to see him on the diamond again. He has good friends and is working hard, but has his own struggles.  He is very kind and loving and realizes when my anxiety is shooting through the roof- he always has!

Stockton had a great game Friday night although the team lost.  I loved watching him play as I thought it may never happen again.  His ankle is getting stronger and the cortisone shot is helping.  Thank heavens for Dr. Reber and good coaches.  Coach Miller has been great with him! He had fun at Homecoming with his pals- horse riding, 4 wheeling, and dinner at Rusty's ( I got off easy on this one).  Last night was the kick off for Mission Prep for parents and seniors.  I think a few things are starting to resonate with him. I pray that he will have a desire to serve a mission!

Daddy returned home from the Colorado hunting trip sick- BAD cold.  It is an awful one- I have had it twice.  Although the hunt was unsuccessful, he seemed to enjoy his time with grandpa and Madsen.  He actually has taken two days off and today he is playing "catch up and clean up" and then tomorrow he will finish up the job he is helping Bishop Heath with at his powder coating business.

Grandma Rigby's surgery last week was a hard one and the recover excruciatingly painful. Grandma and Grandpa Weaver are on a cruise in Canada and down the coast of Maine and onto Boston.  They are celebrating their 54th wedding anniversary- so glad they went!

I am so glad you are enjoying Elder Adams- he sounds and looks like a lot of fun.  What's the progress with your contacts last week- Perla, Noe and Norma, Juan and Maria, and Rafael?

I will wait patiently for your letter this morning- or try to.  My goals for today are as follows: make gluten free banana bread (if it turns out, I will put a loaf in the mail to you), homemade bread, get the laundry going and put away, have lunch ready for the brothers at 11:30, sneak a little visiting teaching in with Sister Wright this morning, get dinner going, finish the temple newsletter (I will send you a copy), catch up on Young Women stuff, and run with my little Cross Country team at 2:30- wish me luck!

I love you mi hijo- keep up the good work, enjoy this journey... laugh along the way, and always remember we pray for you morning, noon, night, and all the minutes in between.

God Speed,

XO, love always, mama


Labor Day at Lake Powell

 So I really never thought we would be a Lake Family, but we  may just have the bug.  This was only my 3rd time to Lake Powell, but I think I could get used to lake life- no worries about wardrobe, hair, or makeup.  It's so hot you eat very little, and the scenery is unimaginable. A perfect place for memory making. 

 The funny thing is... I am really pretty scared of water.  Okay, terrified may be the more appropriate word.  That being said, how did I end up at Lake Powell?  This is a good question. The answer-  Our "Fab Five" they absolutely love it.  They give me courage!

 This trip I actually jumped off a pretty high cliff and tried a little knee boarding.  I hate that my fear of water as trapped me for so many years- that it has stolen so much joy from me.  Thankfully, I haven't let the cycle continue- our kids don't share my fear- yay mom!  But that is all because of Rigby.  At an early age, he introduced water to them as FUN!  So glad he is the brave parent.

 Our weekend was fantastic!  We had plenty of boat fun, hiked to Rainbow Bridge and visited hole in the rock- loved them both!
 What a great way to enjoy the last days of summer! Maleck is already asking when we are going again- love him! Next year, we get to take Seleck with us- HURRAH!

A Rainbow Turned to Stone

Rainbow Bridge is one of the world's largest known natural bridges. The span has undoubtedly inspired people throughout time--from the neighboring American Indian tribes who consider Rainbow Bridge sacred, to the 85,000 people from around the world who visit it each year.

From Wiki
Hole in the Rock is a narrow and steep crevice in the western rim of Glen Canyon, in southern Utah in the western United States. Together with another canyon on the eastern side of the Colorado River, it provided a route through what would otherwise be a large area of impassable terrain.
In the fall of 1879, the Mormon San Juan Expedition was seeking a route from south-central Utah to their proposed colony in the far southeastern corner of the state. Rejecting two longer routes, they chose a more direct path that initially took them along the relatively benign terrain beneath the Straight Cliffs of the Kaiparowits Plateau. However, when this led them to the 1200-foot (400 m) sandstone cliffs that surround Glen Canyon, they needed a way to cross to the eastern rim. They found (and named) Hole in the Rock, a narrow, steep, and rocky crevice and sandy slope that led down to the river. Directly across the river was Cottonwood Canyon, a tempting route up to Wilson Mesa on the other side.
They worked for months to prepare the road, using blasting powder to widen the upper section and hand chisels to carve anchor points directly into the sandstone. On January 26, 1880 the expedition (250 people, 83 full-sized wagons, and over 1000 head of livestock) began their descent to the river. Wagons were heavily roped, and teams of men and oxen used to lower them through the upper crevice, which has slopes approaching 45°. Further down, a wooden track had been constructed along a slickrock sandstone slope. Posts in drilled holes supported horizontal beams to allow passage of the wagons.[2]
After an even more difficult journey on the east side of the river, the expedition founded the community of Bluff in southeastern Utah. They used the Hole in the Rock route as a supply road for only a year before replacing it with an easier route to the north, at Hall's Crossing. Decades later, miners of the Hoskaninni Mining Company carved steps onto the same path used by the Mormon pioneers. The blasting holes, anchor points, and gouges from the hubs of the expedition's wagons are still visible in the walls of the crevice.
Hole in the Rock can be reached today via two routes. The primitive Hole in the Rock Trail, which closely follows the path of the 1879 expedition, runs southeast from near the town of Escalante to a parking area just above the crevice. Alternatively, the bottom of the route can be accessed by boat, at buoy 66 on Lake Powell in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.
The Hole in the Rock was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.[1]

We visited Hole in the Rock from the other side when Maleck was a baby (LOVED IT!)- it was amazing to see it from the lake as well


Football Friday

Rigby and I are putting Stockton on the field this year with literally a $10,000 ankle--- the rest of the story is yet to be told.
Stockton take down his man 
 You won't find #19 at quarterback this year.  In Fact, you won't find #19 on the field for the Falcons this fall.  Stockton opted to take the jersey of his older brother Seleck, #35 this season.  Lots of changes this season for Stockton. 

Seleck was never the athlete Stockton is, but he embodied dedication, passion, and hard work.  I think Stockton has grown to understand and appreciate Seleck on a whole new level since he entered the mission field for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints!

 In addition, Stockton is not playing Quarterback where he has been for the past two seasons.  
 Why?  In January, Stockton had a fibrous coalition removed from his left ankle (a birth defect).  Essentially, Dr. Reber chiseled and sawed a bone out our son's foot- Yuck.  Nope, this injury wasn't caused by football but the symptoms were accelerated by it. 

 Hoping to give Stockton his senior year as an athlete, he went under the knife.  It has been a HARD 8 months since the surgery and the 11/2 years prior to it were filled with chronic pain (due to an ankle fracture during his Sophomore year). Stockton doesn't not have the lateral movement back in his feet yet to play quarterback.  He can't cut and  it wasn't until August 1st that we dared put pads on him. But he took the field and as Stockton describes it, "he lit up a few guys.  In that moment I felt so much joy for our Stockton. 

 He takes the field at Strong Safety.  He plays for his team. These were not the conditions he hoped he would be experiencing as a senior, but you know what he is just happy to be on the field. 
As the CVHS Student body president Seleck led the way to put the CV on the hill
For years, I followed numbers 55, 44, and 41 (the numbers of my older brothers).  We breathed football deep into our bones. I am probably one of very few wives who after a few months of marriage asked her husband to turn on football on after getting home from church- it just made me feel at home.

But  I never planned on having football players.  I assumed they would be runners like their dad.  But in 2nd grade Seleck demanded to play football and his brother followed suit.  

I love the palpable feeling of competition.  I grew up a competitor.  It is in my "blood" as they say. The Friday night lights will always call me home- the boys of fall.  I will forever look for numbers 22, 19 and always 35 on the field they are my boys- my two boys born on April 22nd just two years apart.

Stockton- we are so proud of you.  Thanks for letting me join the sideline with my camera over the years- I love the sound of football and it will forever remind me of you. You are THE embodiment of a BIG TOUGH FALCON


Monday Memory- Honoring my great great grandparents Thomas X Smith and Annie Masters Howe

There is a link in my family chain that has left me with an emptiness and a wanting for more understanding.  It is the link that brings both of my great grandmothers Jennie Smith (biological mother of Ruth Mabel, my paternal grandmother) and her sister Marie Smith (adoptive mother of Ruth Mabel- and her aunt) together.. That link is Thomas X. Smith.  One day I found it- the Smith Family organization and David Barkdull.  Both of these connections I made while doing research on the internet on Thomas X. Smith

I put mine and my father's thumbprints between Jennie and Marie's branches.  Jennie died of the flu epidemic in 1918 and left behind my 9 month old grandmother, Jennie Smith, and her 21/2 year old brother, Edwin Cleveland Stoddard.  Jennie's Sister Marie and husband Leo Kimball adopted and raised Ruth and Cleve.  I claim  both the Kimball and The Stoddard line and I am ever so grateful for the strong lineage which is mine.

Questions answered- I found David while doing research on the family search.  He left his email  and I contacted him.  What I found was the mother lode of family history.  David descended from Marie and Jennie's older brother Eugene.  He had in his possession letters from Eugene while he served a mission mentioning Jennie as well as photographs that our family had never before seen.  Finally, we were getting to know our grandmother and gaining insight into her very short life- she was just 26 when she died.

 It was very cool to see the very LONG descendancy chart- unfortunately, not a lot of Marie and Jennie's descendancy is listed.  The Thomas X. Smith and George Smith Family organization is most impressive.  This organization honors these two brothers who joined the church in England and joined the Saints in Utah.  This year the reunion was held in Farmington, Utah where both brothers lived for a short period of time after arriving in SLC. Thomas X. Smith arrived in SLC on Ocotober 16, 1853 with his wife Margaret Guerney Smith.  They were plaiters of Straw. Both brothers were friends of Willard Richards.  Willard Richards was assigned by the prophet to settle Farmington.  While here, Thomas joined a brass band, took part in the Mormon Reformation movement, built a 16x20 foot home with a board roof and a dirt floor, was sealed to Margaret Guerney in the Endowment house in 1855, took part in the Utah War, went to Camp Floyd and then onto Cache County.  At Camp Floyd the brothers parted ways and George W. answered the call to settle Muddy Valley Arizona (present day Moapa, Nevada).
My Aunt Katherine Gennee Weaver Walker- great granddaughter of Annie Masters
 My great great Grandmother Annie Masters Howe worked in the lace factory at age 14.  She walked 3 miles to and from work.  This Lace dress is an example of perhaps some of the work she did there.

 I loved spending the day with my dad and his sister Katherine.  They are both such treasures to me.  They are holding the picture of Thomas X Smith.  Thanks so much to David Barkdull for locating the original in the Logan DUP. I can't wait to visit it in person!
This is why I came and this is who I found- the great grandchildren of Annie and Thomas X Smith- the two on the left descend from David Smith, my aunt and dad descend from Jennie/marie and the cousin on the right descends from Patience (not pictured David Barkdull descendant of Eugene) .

I would love to find more great grandchildren before they pass.  Perhaps, they can provide more answers  to my questions about Jennie?

It was in Farmington in 1878 that the beginnings of Primary began. 

This mural which hangs in the old rock church in Farmington  depicts the first meeting of the primary on Augusut 25, 1878; 215 children ages 6 to 14 attended.

This is an example of the 16x20 home that Thomas X. Smith and his wife Margaret would have lived in while in Farmington.

Thanks so much to my Smith Family (Quinton Harris, Gary Hansen, Keith Poleman, David Barkdull, Francene Medrano, Sara Jordan, Cherri Wallace, Kim Smith and Brent Smith for making the event possible!  I am so proud of this family- May we continue to celebrate our family heritage through courage, faith, obedience, adventure, love, family, humility, holy, service, and inspiration!  #Noemptychairs!


Wednesday WANDER- ful- Covered Bridges of Ashtubula County, Ohio

August 2, 2017- My 43rd birthday
After visiting the sites of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Kirtland Ohio, Rigby indulged me on my birthday and let me wander- it was absolutely WANDERFUL!  It was nearing dusk but we were determined to find as many pics along the Ashtubula Covered Bridge Trail as possible.  I am so glad we did.  One of my favorite things to do is to wander....

 This was the first covered bridge we visited.  although it has been relocated from its original location, it was still a worth the stop "Grahmn Rd. Covered Bridge.  It originally spanned the west branch of the Ashtabula River in Pierpont Township, Ashtubula County, Ohio.  It opened in 1913 and is best known for the lattice on the trusses. Its length is 97'

I pretty much fell in love with this one... gorgeous and a beautiful setting to match.  It is only one of 16 drivable bridges in Ashtubula County.  It is noted for its town truss design.  Laminated arches were added during its renovation in 1985.  The bridge was built in the 1890's- builder unknown.

 The State Road Covered Bridge built in 1983 while I prefer covered bridges not made in the same century I was born,  I fell in love with this one too.  This covered bridge spans Conneaut Creek in Monroe Township,Ashtabula County, Ohio. Its total length is 157'. Check out the lattice trusses!

 Century Bridge, built in 1868, this bridge is both quaint and rustic and the setting is unmatched- This may be my favorite bridge visited? Can we not let time slow down and return to simpler things when life was ruled by the clickety clack of a horse and buggy and roads were shadowed by trees and connected by covered bridges.  

 I will continue to wander and be delighted by all that is old, historical, and beautiful.  I will pause with the wildflowers and the tiny tots.  I will gather rocks and pine cones, and I will remember