Thursday, August 16, 2012


I'm talking like 2000 relatives kind of large!  It all started with this man: 
 Henry Grow is my great, great maternal grandfather.  He was a pioneer to the Salt Lake Valley during the Mormon settlement in the 1800s.  He was a bridge builder who was commissioned to build an assembly hall.  His radical design of a dome shaped building was the first of it's kind, which makes the Tabernacle a historic building nationally, and within the church's history.  9000 descendants have been identified as coming through him and 2000 showed up to this special family reunion.  It was pretty cool to walk all over temple square for a weekend and to see people who totally looked like my cousins, aunts and uncles but who were people unknown to me.  Those Grow genes are STRONG!  I tend to take more after my dad's side of the family so I didn't see anyone that I thought looked like me but there were definitely a lot of people walking around that looked like my mom, her brothers, one of my sisters, and my cousins.  It was wild!  We also laughed at how other people talked about the Grows inability to whisper.  Yep, that definitely describes my Grandpa and my Mom!  It was a fascinating weekend to come together with my parents, siblings, aunts and uncles, and cousins and to learn more about my heritage.  It was truly a weekend that caused me to reflect much upon who I am, where I came from, and where I am heading.  And I couldn't help but think about how not only do I descend from someone who built impressive things, but that we are all builders in our own rights.  We build families, and happy homes.  We build and strengthen our testimony's in Jesus Christ.  We build our lives and I hope to continue to build always on the firm foundation of the gospel of Jesus Christ...because with such a foundation, I'm certain that whatever I build will be beautiful.
Aunt Linda, Cousins Heather and Amber, 2nd cousin Kaylee, Mom, Dad, siblings, spouses, kids, and nieces and nephews in front of the Tabernacle at Temple Square.  I only wish Grandpa Grow was alive to be here!  He would have loved this.
Blaine and I inside the Tabernacle.

Cousin Heather and I...she looks like a Grow, for sure!

Mom, Dad, and my sisters and brother and I

All the cousins...just missing Makell.
In the Mormon Tabernacle choir seats...learning about the design of the building.

This I know to be true...Families are Forever! 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A modge podge of summer activities...

I can't believe school starts tomorrow!  Summer break went by way too fast!  It was a fun summer though, filled with lots and lots of activities.  It was also an unusually hot summer!  Luckily we were able to spend much of it at the pool.  

 Blaine had to work on Father's Day so we brought the party to him.  He hooked the kids up to a few machines and let them see what kinds of things Dad does to take care of kids in the emergency room.  I loved watching him work.  He is so good at what he does.  
 My sister Tanya brought her son Ryan out for a visit to Colorado.  It was fun hanging with my sisters and giving our kids cousin time.  Blaine loves to "play" at the cousin's house, too.

We had a super fun camp-over in my sister's backyard.

 It was a tight fit to get us all in the tent but that's part of the fun, right?  Before bed we roasted s'mores, of course.
And then when we woke up, we took the kids to the pool. 

And summer just wouldn't be the same with out hitting the drive-in theater at least once.  Glad the cousins could go with us!
And I need to just mention how lucky I am to have sisters.  I wish everyone was so blessed.  Growing up, we weren't super close because they were 9 and 6 years older than me.  We were always in different stages of life.  However, as adults, we have become dear friends and some of my best times are spent with my sisters.  My sisters, in particular, are super creative and crafty.  I get all of my greatest ideas from them.  

This is one of those ideas.  When I came back from the gym, I found my house decorated for my birthday.  Of course, my sisters were the culprits behind such a clever idea.  Now I get to use this same yard art to decorate for my kid's birthdays.  


 I'm also blessed with awesome friends who held a birthday lunch for me.  And, later, a few of us got to go see one of my very favorite plays, Legally Blonde.  This is the best show to see with girlfriends!

 And thank goodness for grandparents who come into town to help with the kids when we need it.  This is the second year in a row that I have been the stake girl's camp assistant director, which means that I spent half a year planning girl's camp and then spent a week in the wilderness running a girl's camp for about 200 girls.  Blaine's parents came again to take over my motherly duties while he worked and I didn't bathe or sleep for a week.  (Just keeping it real!)

Luckily, I recruited some of my greatest friends to come up to camp, too.  This year, girl's camp was held during the week of the 4th of July.  That's why I am pictured looking completely ridiculous yet very patriotic.  

And even though this is a tough and time consuming calling, it was so helpful to completely love the people I worked with!  We had so much fun together.  

O.K.  So, maybe I slept a little bit, as evidenced by this picture that Leslie snapped of me and then texted me with a good morning message.  

This year's camp was truly awesome!  Even though it was hard to be away from my family on the 4th of July, it provided a very unique opportunity to combine a patriotic, spiritual and fun experience for about 200 12-18 year old girls.  Some of the highlights for me were the 4th of July talk by a marine (so awesome!!!), line dancing, raging storms, laughing with Leslie, forest fire and evacuation scares, giving my fireside talk in the rain, and seeing young girls blossom and grow friendships.  Girl's camp is amazing and I can't wait for my own girls to experience it someday.