Aug 29, 2011

Logan in 3rd Grade

Logan started the 3rd grade last week and that makes me feel a little old. I remember 3rd grade pretty well and it doesn't feel that it was THAT long ago. I hope he gets along with his teacher, I certainly didn't. 3rd grade was my worst one in elementary school.

Before he went to school...

The obligatory picture after his 1st day back to school.

Seriously, when did I get so old?

Aug 26, 2011

Random Ramblings: All Belinda Edition!

Looking Forward: What a horrible rough week. One that I am so glad to see come to an end. Almost every thing has become a major disappointment. Last week I had such high hopes and this week saw all of them come crashing down. I guess I shouldn't complain but this is my blog and I'll complain if I want too! I am looking forward to next week already. It can't possibly get worse right?

*knocks on wood*

Committing: I have not blogged as much as I thought I would when I completed my 365 Challenge. It has been a lot more difficult than I have anticipated, I am easily distracted and have had issues coming up with ideas. Combine that with the bigger problem of being plain lazy and it is crystal clear why I am not blogging as much. So I am trying a new approach, I am going to try to blog every other day. If that happens to land on a Sunday, I can call an audible and blog if only I have something I can blog about. We'll see how this goes.

Listening: Belinda Carlisle's A Place on Earth. I bought this CD on eBay a few years ago. It is a set of her greatest hits along with a bonus disc of remixes. This CD is not available here in the States which is why I resorted to eBay and it was worth every penny.

Reading:few days ago, I was stressing that I have not read a book yet this quarter. I finally broke open my copy of Belinda Carlisle's autobiography that I picked up months ago and dug in. And I can now check that goal off my checklist! Lips Unsealed was not was I was expecting. It was a very detailed look at her life and her battle with cocaine addiction. Now I knew that she partied while with the Go-Go's but I had no clue that she was coked up for many years after and that it was just recently that she finally conquered those demons. It was hard to read about someone you admire go through such hell. Aside from the drugs, it was a neat peek behind the scenes behind her music. Some things that I learned that I didn't know was that she didn't think she could sing. Beatle George Harrison also played on one of her songs because he loved her voice. When she was younger she snuck into a hotel to try to meet Freddie Mercury and those events led to her forming the Go-Go's. Quite interesting stuff and it makes me appreciate her music even more since she definitely came off very humble and human. Great stuff!

Plucking: My fingers are sore from playing the bass. I have been trying to learn some new songs by yup, you guessed it. Belinda Carlisle. Some songs have been easy to pick out but my favorite song, Summer Rain has been elusive.

Laughing: Sometimes the internet comes up with something that for some reason just gets me. I found this cat video at work the other day and I can't stop watching it. Both my dad and I must have watched this for ten minutes straight laughing our heads off. Oh man, my side hurts again.

Aug 24, 2011

Familiar Faces

Logan brought home this free magazine from Aunt Lynn's house (which was from the grocery store Macey's) the other day. 

As we were flipping through it we found a few familiar faces.

Hey look! Some of my ol' fellow bloggers are here! It is a shame that this is the first time in months that I have seen them. And to see them I have to open up a magazine!

Aug 22, 2011

Random Ramblings: Get Shorty

Writing: I have struggled greatly what I should blog about. A few years ago I translated my mission journal into a nice formal book and I have debated whether I should publish it here on the blog. There are some things that I wouldn't mind sharing but there are some things that might be better left unsaid. I am running out of ideas here!

Listening: Men Without Hats - Pop Goes the World. My sister's first husband gave me a cassette of this and I really liked it. I tracked down the CD through eBay and that is one of the few CDs that I cannot let go of. It is not available here in the States so you might have to track it down online. I highly recommend it and it certainly takes me back to the days.

So cheesy!

Reading: I only have a few days before the quarter is up and I have not even started my new book! I better get a move on.

Listening Part II: Yesterday I had the pleasure of hearing Elder Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles at a special Stake meeting here in Logan. He was very serious but very funny at the same time. He said a lot of things that I felt I needed to hear. In fact, my mind was wandering a bit (a kid distracted me) and suddenly he said in a very loud voice, "Listen Up!" Could he tell I was not paying attention? I made sure that didn't happen again. His talk made me want to get up and do something. I have been debating back and forth with myself if these promptings I have been getting are for real or just something else. I don't want to get into all the details but I was disqualifying them because they seemed to be "out of my jurisdiction". But he said something that struck me and quickly changed my mind. It was fantastic to hear him speak (Logan even got to meet him) and I will definitely heed his challenge.

Watching: I caught Rise of the Planet of the Apes last week. I went in not expecting anything and I came out quite enthralled and entertained. That may be the best summer movie I have seen. The special effects were unbelievable. It had a lot of heart to it and I was surprised how John Lithgow's character really affected me. It had some very fun nods to the original and it made me eager to see more. That had to be one of the best prequels I have ever seen.

Typing: But than erasing... I guess I don't know what else to say so I will quit.

Aug 19, 2011

My Life According to Queen

I got this off of Facebook awhile back and thought it would make a fun blog post. And I curious to see if my original choices were the same.

Using only song names from ONE ARTIST, cleverly answer these questions. Try not to repeat a song title. It's a lot harder than you think! Post/bog this as "My Life According to (BAND NAME)" 

Pick Your Artist: 

Are You Male or Female? 
White Man 

Describe Yourself? 
Doing All Right 

How Do You Feel? 
Under Pressure 

Describe Where You Currently Live: 
Good Company

If You Could Go Anywhere, Where Would You Go? 
Seaside Rendezvous

Speaking of Queen... I would LOVE this t-shirt.
Your Favorite Form Of Transportation: 
I'm in Love With My Car 

Your Best Friend: 
Sweet Lady

Your Favourite Color Is: 
My Melancholy Blues 

What's The Weather Like? 
It's a Beautiful Day 

Favourite Time Of Day: 
Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon 

If Your Life Was A TV Show, What Would It Be Called? 
Some Day One Day

What Is Life For You? 
Play The Game 

Your Relationships: 
Staying Power 

Looking For: 
The Miracle 

Dear Friends 

Wouldn't Mind: 
Heaven for Everyone 

Your Fear: 
Ride the Wild Wind 

What Is The Best Advice You Have To Give? 
Don't Lose Your Head

If You Could Change Your Name, What Would You Change It To? 

Thought For The Day: 
The Show Must Go On

How I Would Like To Die: 
Sheer Heart Attack (it was either that or Chinese Torture or Dragon Attack) 

My Soul's Present Condition: 
Was It All Worth It? 

My Motto: 
Hang On in There

Aug 16, 2011

Bear Lake

Last Tuesday my sister Jennifer invited my family and I up to Bear Lake to spend the day with them at Justin's father's cabin. It sounded like it would be fun and it would be nice to dip our hot feet in a cold lake so we headed up there after I was done with work.

I have not been to Bear Lake in a year or so and I was shocked to see how full the lake was. Normally, you would have to walk and walk and walk to get to the water from the shore. But this time the water was right up to the road. The cabin was not even a stones throw away from the water. I have never seen it so full in my life!

If you look beyond the boat you might be able to see a patch of trees. That is where the water was last year.

The cabin was so awesome. It was better than most homes I have been in.

Normally I am not much of a water guy but I ventured on the jetski with Kristy driving.

We came back and snagged Logan. He was not a fan of it either but by the time we got back we were both used to it.

It was fun just to sit back in the fresh air, eat some Canadian candy (thanks Jennifer!) and chat and relax. It was a very nice day getaway.

Aug 15, 2011

Random Ramblings: BOOGER!

Wondering: I will give a shout-out to anyone who guesses why I named the column the way I did. Any takers?

Watching: Kristy and I have been slowly going through the first season of one of my all-time favorite shows in WKRP in Cincinnati. When I was a kid I wanted to be Dr. Johnny Fever and I would pretend to be a DJ all the time growing up. Watching this awesome show makes me want to be a DJ again. Which leads to...

E-mailing: I am e-mailing a local radio station (a Classic Rock station that I listen to a lot) and asking if they offer any type of internships or if they are currently hiring. Don't get me wrong, I like what I am doing but I don't love it. We'll see where this could lead. I might as well check it out. I have had pretty good luck before.

Chewing: My dad and his family recently came back from Canada and they brought back loads of candy. And much to my surprise they brought back something I used to love as a kid that I thought they didn't make anymore. There were these gums called "Chews" and they came in all sorts of flavors. They were really cheap gum and each piece had a flavor of its own. They would all have a fruit flavor, depending on the pack you bought, but some of them would have a mint flavor to them and some of them were extremely sour. In fact, whenever I think of them, my jaws ache. I am so glad they are back and I totally want to get more of them.

Cherry and Grape Chews. They are no longer called Chews but they are exactly the same thing.

Watching Part II: Looking forward to this evening. My mom is coming over for dinner and we are watching the first preseason Jets game. So happy that football is back. I got my first invite for Fantasy Football and look forward to getting into that. I am still debating if I should do a column here on the blog like I did last year. It was a lot of work but it was fun.

Drinking: Remember the Pop Shop? I was at a local grocery store and saw that old familiar Pop Shop logo. And not only that, they had a Lime Rickey flavor so I had to try it.

I have to admit that I was a little disappointed. It was not as flavorful as I expected it. I might have to get the Root Beer one to see if it tastes like I remember it. Root Beer was my favorite flavor back then.

Listening: So I finally used some of my birthday money and got the first Queen Remasters Box Set. The sound is definitely improved. The first two albums (Queen and Queen II) had the most dramatic improvement. That made the purchase worth it but the 2nd bonus discs have been a lot of fun. It is fun to hear other versions and demos and it makes me appreciate the band a whole lot more. I look forward to the next set and hopefully with those surveys, I can get it for free.

Smarting: My knee is still giving me fits and it looks like I may not be able to run a 5K. I went running last week and it seemed fine but today I did a small walking/running workout and it hurts. I hate being old.

Staring: Kristy and Logan went down to Antelope Island and snagged this beautiful sunset. I could stare at this for hours.

Catching Up: Boy I have a lot of catching up reading blogs!

Watching Part III: I caught Captain America: The First Avenger and even though I knew what was going to happen going in (being a comic geek and all) I was pleasantly surprised by the whole thing. Of course I like the WWII era and I love Nazis being enemies. This movie surpassed my expectations, I was thinking it would be the weakest of the Marvel movies but I think this one was the strongest. Fun stuff and Chris Evans is quickly becoming one of my favorite actors.

Watching Part IV: I also caught Cowboys and Aliens last week. The movie was definitely entertaining and I thought that the special effects were absolutely breathtaking. The acting was good, but then what do you expect with Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig? The supporting actors were just as great. Aside from that, I thought that the movie was rather ho-hum and full of cliches. I think my 25 plus years of reading comics (and this was based on a comic) has spoiled me. It was rather predictable and didn't offer anything that would set this movie apart from others. If you have seen a Western movie in your life, then you have seen most of this movie. And if you have seen an Alien Invasion movie, you have seen this movie too. It is not like I didn't enjoy it, because I thought it was fun but it was nothing new.

Aug 11, 2011

Survey Says!

About a month ago I shared a way that you can take online surveys and get paid for them with the goal of getting  this book through Amazon absolutely free.
Claremont/Lee X-Men Omnibus Vol 1

Well, guess what?

I have now completed enough surveys to pre-order this baby! 


And it was way easy to get my Amazon code. All I had to do is click on a link and they immediately sent an Amazon gift code to my e-mail.

Now the hardest part will be waiting until October for my book to arrive. But until then I will work on some more surveys for my next purchase.
Claremont/Lee X-Men Omnibus Vol 2

Quite the surprise right? There are also two more Queen Remasters Box Sets coming out that I will try to get free as well. This has been totally worth it. If you want to know more, shoot me an e-mail mplatis28(at) and I will give you some info.

Aug 9, 2011

The Flying Tire Incident

Kristy had mentioned before and during Girl's Camp that we should go out to eat as a celebration and treat that Friday night. I was all for it and thought that Coasta Vida would be the best place to sit and get full. I passed this idea on to Shonda (our Camp Director) and she loved it and soon all the leaders (and their families) were invited to come and eat and relax and of course laugh about our Freaking Magical time at Girl's Camp.

The meal was awesome (as always) and the company was just as awesome. We had a good time going over all the details of camp. When the meal ended we all got in the car and it was decided that we should hit Stone Cold Creamery for an ice cold treat. But as we drove up the busy street we begun to hear this strange thumping sound. Now this sound was not the sound that my mechanic had warned me about. This was in between that thumping noise. And it got worse and worse as we got closer to Stone Cold. Finally, I turned into an empty parking lot worried that my car was going to collapse. Kristy thought that perhaps we got a flat tire but after inspection we saw nothing. So I decided that we should turn back home and call my mechanic and have him take a look at it. Instead of getting some ice cream and instead of going down Main Street we took a different route home. 

The noise was still getting louder and so I was taking it extra slow because I was not sure if our car would make it home. As we passed a busy intersection and past the middle school we suddenly dropped to the ground. We heard a crash and our car felt like it collapsed to the ground. I slowly pulled off the road to the side and saw my tire screaming down the road.

Seriously, it was moving like a bat out of hell. I looked back at Kristy and her eyes widened. We got out of the car and I looked back and saw that my back left tire and suddenly ejected itself from my vehicle. I looked down the road to see if it was still going and I saw these people coming out of their house and looking off of their porch. There is no way that my tire could have ended up there. I looked at Kristy and she knew, she saw the tire hit a boulder and take flight and almost crash into a house!

I wish that was a skid mark made by a rubber tire.

The tire ended up past that first telephone pole.

This is the house it almost smashed into. It hit those boulders right in front and took off.

That black mark on the first rock is from my tire. 

We ran across the road and up the block to that house and sure enough, our tire was resting comfortably in a smashed flower bed, inches from the house. They saw us and saw our car down the street. I apologized to them but they were more worried about our health. They asked us a couple of times if we were okay. And we were, we were not injured in any way. In fact, it was pretty funny and I busted up as I told them what happened. I asked them if I could use their phone so I could call for help. Unfortunately Lynn was gone and my dad was at work and I didn't know any other numbers. I thought about calling Jennifer and Justin but I could not remember their phone number. Didn't I learn my lesson? I remembered the last 4 digits and Kristy remembered the first three and I was able to call. Justin left right away to come and help me.

It smashed this flower bed just inches away from the porch. The people thought something exploded in their basement. I wish I could have seen their faces when they found a tire in their front yard!

Our car was by the second house you see starting from the left side across the street.

Some people were moving out of their house and they saw the whole thing. In fact, one of the kids exclaimed "That was the funniest thing I have ever seen!" They came to my rescue and helped me put the tire back on. Luckily we found all the lugnuts. They were surprised that there was little damage down to my car and to the tire. They were so nice enough that they allowed Logan to use their bathroom! (of course he would have to go at this moment... ...maybe this incident scared the pee out of him) Justin arrived and he followed me back to my house.

I decided to call my mechanic and tell him what happened. He must not have tightened the lugnuts and he came right over feeling really bad. So I had him take a look at it and he thought they looked alright as well (I am getting another opinion just to be sure) and he helped Justin and I fix the other thumping noise. Now I could have been really angry but there was not a lot to be mad at. It was a miracle really. If God intended us to lose this tire than he sure made it so it was as painless as possible. The tire crossed a busy street and didn't hit anyone, the car is alright, we are not injured, we found all the lugnuts, the tire didn't hit the house. We were lucky blessed that our tire didn't cause any more damage than it did. It could have been far worse. 

We even took the car to Salt Lake the next morning and it drove just perfect. I will say that every time I hit a pothole or something, it made me a bit on edge. And I will make sure my lugnuts are tightened everyday! 

Aug 8, 2011

So Long Melton's!

My sister-in-law Sherry and her family are moving to Missouri today.

I will certainly miss them, especially the kids. I wish them all the best in Missouri and hopefully we will see each other soon. I have a lot of good memories of spending time with them. Thanks you guys! 

Aug 4, 2011

Girl's Camp Part IV: The Finale

I was the first one up Friday morning and I think it was because I was a bit eager to get home. I was so eager (how eager were you?), I was so eager that I made three trips to the truck to load stuff up. I think I have reached my limit when it comes to camping and I hate packing up and trying to get out. It seemed like hours until the girls woke up and they didn't seem to eager to get packing either. But I made a couple more runs to the truck, I wanted to be ready to go right after breakfast.

The morning devotional was kinda sad. All of the girls were a little melancholy, they were excited to go home and they were sad to leave. I was feeling the same way but after using the portapotty that morning, I was really ready to come home. After the devotional we ate some cold cereal for breakfast and finished packing away our stuff. We brought all of our gear to the trailer and then we headed back to camp for one final walk through and to take a group picture of all of us.

And that was all that was left...  ...after a few hundred trips to the vehicles!

Can you tell we were ready to come home?

Then it was time to go home. I had a very nice time at Girl's Camp and I look forward to coming next year. It was nice to get away from all the bustle of life and away from distractions (both good and bad) and remember the true reason why we are on Earth. It was also nice to be with other people who desire the same thing. Aside from my family, I want to be with these people in Heaven. I am grateful that I was able to serve these Young Women.

Here is the No-Drama-Mama bracelet.

The Security Team. I really lucked out with my nickname of Dr. Pepper. Notice the funny placement of the word "dimples"?

This was our camp slogan. "We seek after these things"
We had a real beautiful song that was our camp song by Jenny Philips.

After we dropped off all the girls and gear, Kristy and I headed home to get cleaned up. We picked up Logan and got our car inspected and then in the evening we reunited with some of the leaders at Coasta Vida to grab some dinner and talk and laugh about camp.

We were going to get some ice cream afterwards but one of our tires had a different agenda. But that is for the blog tomorrow!

When we finally arrived home after the Tire Incident(tm) we found a plate of freshly made cookies from our neighbor Kara. What a sweet (pun fully intended) gesture that she would bake cookies for us so soon after returning from camp.

She also left both Kristy and I a personal note. And let me tell you, I needed that note after that long day.

Aug 3, 2011

Girl's Camp Part III: The Final Night

I slept much better and woke up feeling a lot more refreshed than I did the last night. I barely put my feet in my sleeping bag the night before because it was so warm but last night was blessedly cool. We didn't have any raccoon sightings but there was another animal that was right in my tent. I asked and teased the girls in the morning by asking if they heard that bear last night. The one that was in my tent. Kevin must have slept great because he snored the whole night. But I was tired enough that it didn't matter to me at all, I slept pretty good myself.

After we had all woken up (I think we were all exhausted from that epic hike) we started to cook our breakfast. Kristy had made these tin can burners to cook our food on. She also made these small tuna-fish can burners with cardboard and wax. We couldn't find any cheap wax so we went to the dollar store and bought these candles and melted them down. Every once in awhile while cooking you would get a whiff of vanilla. We lit them all up and gave the girls some assignments and waited for the food to cook. Some of the burners began to work quickly and some just didn't catch on. We felt bad for those girls whose burners were not working, it was not their fault! Unfortunately the girls had to go to the morning devotional so the rest of us leaders stayed behind and cooked the pancakes, bacon and eggs. It was funny because once they left, the food really begun to cook. By the time the girls were back, the food was pretty much all ready. The food was really tasty. After we finished breakfast (and a big special thanks to the girls that helped clean up) we waited for the older girls to come home after their overnight hike.

We gave all the girls a big round of applause when they came home. They went on the same hike that we went on only they had to lug a ton more stuff. But then we found out that they only went a portion of the way. So the younger girls (and older leaders) and the more difficult hike. After we finished up breakfast and rested for awhile, we had our special craft activity. Kristy and I were especially excited for this activity because we knew the girls would absolutely love it.

Hail the conquering heroes!

The activity was for the girls to decorate their own pair of flip-flops. Our girls are addicted to flip-flops and one of the camp rules was no flip-flops. But we allowed them to decorate a pair and wear them down where we were. The girls made some real pretty flip-flops and they were definitely excited about the activity.

After the activity we headed back up to camp to have some snacks (we were going to have lunch but we barely just had breakfast) and then it was time for the girls to go to some Stake workshops. I decided to stay behind and clean some of the camp and sit in the hammock and rest. Well, that is what I told everyone. The real reason I stayed behind was to use the bathroom. When they all went to the workshops, I hiked down to the bathrooms where I knew I would be by myself. I hate using the bathroom anywhere else than my home but if worse comes to worse, I would use one. But only if I knew that no one would be around! I hiked back up and got me a Powerade to drink and relaxed in the hammock. I had a squirrel come and run underneath me and try to steal some food off of our table. I chased it away and promptly fell asleep in the hammock. I was awakened by Shonda, who came back to get some music ready and then I saw one of the girls coming back. She sat by Shonda and then burst into tears.

I promptly got off the hammock to see what was going on. The spring on one of her braces was cutting into in her cheek and it was very painful. I could tell it was bad since her lip and cheek were bright red and swollen. She wanted to go home and I don't blame her at all. Shonda went back up to the workshops to grab Kristy and I stayed behind to talk with the poor girl. I knew earlier that this was bugging her and I felt like I should inquire if she would like a blessing but I ignored that prompting. I felt the prompting again so I asked her if she would like a blessing and she replied yes. I was going to go up and find the Bishop but I found another guy that was still at camp and I asked him if he would help me administer a blessing. As I was coming back to camp I had this overwhelming feeling that was speaking to me. "This is why you are at Girl's Camp. She is the reason why you came." Me and this other brethren gave her a blessing and immediately I could tell that she was going to feel better. The other guy gave her a bottle of cold water (she looked a little warm as well) and we waited for Kristy and Shonda to come back. The girl tried to call her mom but she was not around. We got one of the nurse's to come and help her and she did.

After the stake meetings we cleaned up camp and got ready for the special fireside to be held later that night. Michelle and her mom had completed the Young Women Personal Progress and they were going to be awarded their medallions. So we had Michelle and her family and the Stake President (her grandfather) was there as well. We got up there and ate a fantastic dinner (you definitely eat good at Girl's Camp) and we had the girls spend a few minutes reflecting and pondering quietly. And then the fireside began (quite literally since we had two fires going) and it was quite spiritual. It was hard not to get emotional up there, it was a combination of what was being said, sleep deprivation and knowing that this was the last night.

The testimony meeting that followed was awesome freaking magical! I was impressed by the girls and how strong they are. A couple of girls that I didn't expect to say anything stood up quickly and gave the most beautiful testimony. I cannot describe the feeling, I cannot describe what it was like to see these Young Women give these tender testimonies. It was something that can only be witnessed and felt in person. I was not going to get up and say anything but I had to say something. I got up and told them that they were feeling the Spirit, they were feeling the love our Heavenly Father has for them. Then I told them to write their experiences down so they can remember them (which is why I am blogging about it because I don't want to forget this experience) and feel this feeling again. I also told the girls that I don't have any daughters and I probably won't have any, and I never had a little sister...  ...but if I did, I would want them to be like these girls. I adore these girls and I thanked them for being examples to me, Kristy and Logan. There was not a dry eye at the camp and it was neat to be able to stand up and share these feelings under the night sky. The girl that I was able to serve gave one of the sweetest and funniest testimonies and it was a miracle. She was not bothered or in any pain with her braces and she stayed the whole rest of the time. I am so thankful that I could serve her. She thanked me during the meeting and I was a little embarrassed because it was not me at all who helped her. I was merely an instrument for Heavenly Father. We were up there for a couple of hours and none of us wanted to leave.

Yeah, I know I am getting a little wimpy here. But you really had to be there. I am so thankful that I was there to witness all of this and to be there with the girls. I think I might have gotten more out of this testimony meeting than the girls.

After we got back, the girls had to run down and clean the bathrooms (it was our assignment) and Kristy and I stayed behind to clean up some of the camp. We had a CD player that we needed to return to the Stake. The Bishop suggested that we sneak up and turn the radio on full blast with rock music and place it behind their tent. We snuck up and we were being real quiet until the Bishop warned Shonda and Kristy not to snicker. But that only set them off! Shonda gave me her flashlight and asked us not to leave her behind. But we did anyway, once the CD player was on and set down we all took off down the trail. It was not like they wouldn't know it was us since we were the ones that asked to borrow it! We went back up and I shook the tent and ran back. The Bishop remembered not to abandon Shonda so as he was running away, he shined his flashlight behind him so she could see!

When we got back to camp, we all surrounded the older girls tent to listen in but they were on to us. I was right up to the tent when I heard "Hello Dr. Pepper. Are you going to shake our tent?" I didn't say anything and Kristy replied that they were just doing tent checks. "Well, go ahead and shake the tent." They said so I grabbed a hold of the tent and shook it and they all screamed anyway.

It was again very cool outside and when I got in my tent, I think I fell asleep within minutes.

Aug 2, 2011

Girl's Camp Part II: I'm a What?

Morning came way too quickly. I don't think I had slept more than a few hours. The morning was nice and cool and refreshing. For breakfast we ate muffins made in the fire with orange peels. You cut an orange in half and scoop and eat out the middle. Then put muffin batter in it and wrap it up in foil and then cook it in the fire. The muffins were tasty and very moist. One of the girls, Kiersta was having some jaw/teeth pain that kept her up all night. She definitely looked like she was in pain and she stayed behind while the other girls went to the morning devotional. I asked her if she would like a blessing and she replied that she would. So I ran to another camp to grab another guy if he would assist me in giving her a blessing. After the blessing she laid back down and I went up to the devotional.

After the devotional we packed up for our hike. Kristy had to speak to the stake leaders so I went along with her. She was asked to help run the hike and we quickly packed up our lunch and ran to catch the girls as they went on their hike. We hiked up past the amphitheater and headed right up the mountain, quite literally I might add. The first part of the hike was almost straight up. All of the girls made it up the steep trail except for one which Kristy and I stopped to help out. She was definitely scared so Kristy took her by the hand and helped her up. I stayed close behind to make sure she didn't slip or fall. She kept saying that she was going to die but she took it like a trooper and we made it up the mountain. And that is when we realized (well, the other leaders in front of the pack) that we were on the wrong trail and we had to hike back down to the amphitheater. It was so steep (how steep was it?) that almost all the girls (and we had about thirty of them) slid down the mountain on their rears to get down safely.

We found the right trail to take (and it was CLEARLY marked) and we headed back up the mountain to this lake. It was not as steep this time around but it was still quite the uphill hike. Kristy and I commanded the back to make sure all the girls were ahead of us. It was very hot and muggy but very beautiful. The trail was covered in green and at times the trail could barely fit one person. We took a few breaks here and there to view the scenery (or in my case to catch my breath) and we split off into our own wards/groups. I am really impressed with the girls. It was not an easy hike (and we were only half way) and they marched on with little complaining. We finally stopped up this steep grade to eat some of our lunch. There were a few girls that were really tired at this point and wanted to turn back but a few of our girls really took a leadership role and they motivated us all to finish the hike and see the lake. We were the last group to make it up to the lake and we celebrated when we got there.

It was so thick and green.

This was us half way up the mountain. I love this picture of the girls.

Taeler was so thrilled that we made it that she wanted to jump in the lake to cool off. It sounded like a good idea and then we saw the "lake". It was no lake, it was a swamp. I didn't even want to dip my bandanna in the water because it was so filthy. But we finished our goal!

That is no lake. That is a disappointing swamp.

We ate our lunch and then the other group of girls that made it up already got up to leave. We were so tired that Shonda suggested we stay for awhile and I am glad we did. We hiked a little bit further and found a real beautiful view of the valley. That made it worth the hike alone. Kristy had some Tootsie Rolls in her backpack and she tossed me one right before we were getting ready to leave. I commented, "This will give me the energy I need... ... to stand up."

One thing about camping with these people for a couple of days is that you really get to know them. I had no idea that our Camp Director, Shonda, dreams about her teeth. "I like my teeth." Is what she told us. She also shares my fear of going to the bathroom in other places aside from our homes.

It was during the long hike that the quote of the day was spoken by Taeler. I don't want to divulge all the details for various reasons but I do want to remember what she said. I am certain that this will remind me:

I died inside when she said what she said. I didn't make any reaction because I didn't want anyone to know that I actually heard her.

We stayed around for a little bit longer and then headed back home to camp. The hike down was almost as difficult as the hike up. My toes were so sore from the hike down. Kristy led the girls down and Shonda and I stayed in the back. Suddenly, during our hike back, Shonda decided to take a fast nap. She was walking one moment and the next moment she was lying down on the trail. She must have slipped a hundred times down that hike. I felt bad because I couldn't tell if she was hurt (she was actually laughing) and I have to admit that I was laughing because it looked so funny. I reached down and pulled her up by her backpack. Kristy and the girls were far ahead of us and she claims it is because they were just being speedy. Personally, I think it is because Shonda spent too much time falling on the trail. The girls in front of us kept shouting out "Marco!" to see how close we were to camp. Finally we heard "Polo!" and we were so happy to get back. I was proud of our girls. They made it through a real difficult hike and they did it singing and cheering. I overheard some of the other girls from other wards and they said that they wished they were with us because we were so happy.

I think this is the only picture that I am in. I am eating my Tootsie Roll to gather some strength.

Look at the view.

I tried to get the girls to pluck this flower. That way I can turn them in and maybe get a reward.

Shonda and Kristy decided to reward the girls by driving them down to the showers. After some snacks and some relaxation, the girls had to go and do a compass activity. They had to use a compass to find their way around the camp and finally to the end of the course at the amphitheater where Kristy, Shonda, Tiffany and I were waiting. Then there was a small moment of reflection of how a compass can lead and how instructions from our leaders and our scriptures can also lead us like a compass.

For dinner we ate these delicious tin foil dinners and our No-Drama-Mama came to visit the girls. It would have nice to have Tara and Karen stay at camp with the girls. They brought these delicious Popsicles (oh boy do I love Popsicles) and this funny pink zebra duct tape which they made bracelets out of. The only stipulation was that in order to wear it you had to have NO drama. And for the most part, there was little drama in the camp. After dinner we hung around the campfire and just enjoyed our time together. Kristy broke out the candy and we roasted Starbursts and I asked if anyone would would roast me some Lime Tootsie Rolls. Taylor graciously cooked me up some and they turned out better than I thought they would. She brought them over to me and they were piping hot and I couldn't snag them off the pole. "Just put them in your mouth!" She called out and so I immediately popped them in my mouth. "Are you crazy?" I yelled back as the Tootsie Rolls about melted my tongue off. But they were so tasty. It was nice just to sit around the fire with these people.

After the girls went to bed, the rest of us leaders sat around the campfire just chatting. Kristy got up and wanted to do a tent check to make sure all of the girls were in their tents and we all decided to go with her. The main reason is that we wanted to stop and eavesdrop on the girls for a little bit. We got up and surrounded the tent with the youngest girls and listened in. We could hear the girls giggling and talking when suddenly I heard my name (Dr. Pepper) being mentioned. "And then Dr. Pepper was a..." is what I heard one of the girls start to say. I honestly didn't want to know exactly what they were saying about me so I grabbed the tent and yelled out "I'm a what?" as I violently shook the tent. The girls screamed in terror. It was such perfect timing. Us leaders laughed and laughed.

I finally got ready for bed and easily fell asleep, I was so worn out. Kevin invited the Bishop to spoon with him and then told me that he doesn't fall asleep that quickly. Yeah, whatever. Kevin was snoring within a few minutes time. And he didn't even go on the hike with us!