Thursday, May 28, 2009

In Loving Memory

I know... a lot of memories... but this is a special one to me... *sniff*

First, Shadrack and Meshack are no longer in their nest this afternoon! I found them with their funny hair styles (what is it with kids these days?!) behind my cabin hopping around and learning how to fly. They were pretty cute and I am very excited that there were no kids around to try to catch the poor things. It is fun to see that cycle of life working and I am able to witness each and every stage because I am there every day...

However this post is not about a robin, but a duck.

Over the past week I have grown rather fond of a certain baby duckling that we have here at the park. The livery girls named her Rya. She is a runt that ended up hurting her beak somehow... cute, little fuzzy and yellow. Rya was just the perfect size to fit in my apron pocket.

I have spent the last couple of days taking care of her in my cabin (away from all of the children) and she came to the point where she would follow me around. If I had to put her in my pocket she would nestle down and sit relatively quite. When I sat down she would snooze in my apron or in the crook of my arm where my sleeve acts as a protective wing. And if a put down my hand to her she would climb down and sit on it knowing, somehow that I was the right one. I have become mother duck...

This afternoon a very unfortunate even happened to my poor baby duckling... and I had her die in my hands. Her poor limp body was buried in my herb garden and it is hard to explain the loss I feel now that she is not here... I know, its a duck... and she's not even mine... but I can't help but feel sorrow and remorse over my little Rya... *sniff*

This is Rya resting in my pocket... she's the runt who was picked on and got a bloody beak. She's the smallest and most delicate of the bunch...

Nature is an interesting thing... and it really helps to put life and the blessings we have into focus... life is such a fragile thing that has to be cherished every minute of every day. Why do we waste so much time doing unproductive nothings when there is so much to do and see and experience!!! Heavenly Father is watching over us and understands how much we can handle. If we are going though something that we can't handle by our selves, there is a reason for it. He wants us to come closer to him, to rely on his help and his blessings... If we can do that than anything is possible. :) What a blessing that the gospel and the knowledge that it brings is to us. Yay for the Gospel!!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

An Engaging Memorial Day

Well, here it is the story you have all been waiting for and the never-before seen footage!!! Ok, so there is no footage... but it sure sounded good...

Memorial Day at the Park was advertised as Baby Animals Day (its the 3rd day now...) and we were swamped with people all day long. It was crazy! We easily topped Saturday's numbers. I was so blessed to have Elora and Millie helping me out with the cabin today. When you are trying to watch a couple of games, stilts, rug beaters, drying laundry, and a nest of baby birds in the reach of children, it can be a little overwhelming sometimes. We also had some extra help by way of Bryce. He decided after a co-worker of mine helped me out the other day and had to play "Mr. Gardiner" (for the sake of our guests) that he wanted to volunteer as a pioneer. I wasn't expecting this, but was well appreciated. With 4 pioneers in the same house, we were able to keep control over the crowds. Actually, there was one gentleman who asked if Bryce was married to all three of us. His sincerity was enough to cause Millie to quickly explain that she and Elora were "just visiting the Gardiners as their children were busy else where in the village" or something like that... it was pretty funny.

Bryce wandered off around 11:00 wanting to see the sights. He hasn't been up there with actual people and was curious about the new Native American village. I should have quizzed him about it... now that I think about it... but he was the last thing on my mind with the hoards of children all around. he came back a little while later and as I was doing laundry I say him and Elora chatting in the garden. (Don't worry, its important later. I promise...)

As the day was winding to a close we put the wash up, the rugs back in the house we took them from, and the buckets back against the house. I was excited that I might actually get out of the park around 5:00... at about 5 minutes to close Bryce shut the back door and went over to shut the front door. This is where I leave you as the narrator and you can enjoy the lame flash-back music as I reminisce...
Jess: "what are you doing? it isn't closing yet." (I am the last cabin on the way out... people often stop in to say hello around 5...) *open the door again*
Bryce: "Its alright Elora and Millie will watch." *close door and locks it."
Jess: "aah! What are you doing?! help!" (I was totally oblivious to what was about to take place...) *resist some as he guides me to my rocking chair.* *sit down*
This is about the time that my brain started putting it all together... it took a minute. (another side note, Bryce was up late last night writing his poem, and memorizing what he was going to say. He had checked his pocket, where the ring was, all day long to make sure it was still there... and had waited all day for the right moment to arise... but there were too many people.)
Bryce: (Poem)
"I never knew the way I'd feel
Each time I felt you gentle touch
When you smile, I simply melt
For I simply love you so much!"
*sings part of our song* (for personal reasons, this part I keep to myself...) :)
Bryce: This is the Place (notice the play on words... he's proud of it so I must point it out...) that I fell in love with you back in December. I feel that it is only appropriate that this happens here. *reaches into pocket and unwraps beautiful ring* *kneels down* Jessica, will you marry me?
Jess: Yes. Yes of course I will!
Bryce: *sigh of relief* :)

Ok the narration is back... as you can tell I am very giddy about the whole ordeal. But give me a break... its only been 24 hours!!! AHHHH!!!! I can't believe it is actually happening... It is crazy to think that this ring means... forever... It still hasn't sunk in yet... I know because I have not cried at all yet... :)

Most got to hear the news by phone. Grandma, you didn't quite hear me over the phone but it all worked out. ;) (PS. Congrats to Ashley for graduating! You are so beautiful!!!) I talked to Bryce's parents too. I'm glad to report that it is good news for them too! :)

Mommy, I know you cried all morning and I don't quite know what to say. I am so excited and scared and overwhelmed that I don't know where to even begin. I hope that you know that I love you so very much and that I thank my Heavenly Father every day for blessing me to be your daughter. I have learned so much from you and I can't begin to describe what you and your example mean to me. All of our girls days shopping, and relaxing. Our Brick Oven trips when the boys all leave. The Chick Flicks. Those nights that I was sick and you just sat there comforting me, or when my heart was broken and you wouldn't leave my side until I had cried myself to sleep. Even when you all abandoned me to go see that shuttle trial in Brigham City... I am glad I can celebrate my memorial day by remembering all of the good times that I've had with you!!! Life is moving fast, but you are always there for me to call or run home to. So thank you for all you do!!! (and Bryce thanks you for all your cookies too!!!) :) P.S. wipe that tear away... its embarrassing. ;)

Daddy, (if you are even reading this...) I appreciate the permission granted and the blessing bestowed. It would have cause great stress on Bryce if you changed your mind... ;) I love you so much and can't express in words how near and dear you are to me. We have had some fun times and some great talks in the car to Kanab and hiking the Bed... the rock and roll quizzes, bedtime songs, ice cream after concerts, you sitting there on the front porch with Don and a shot gun... my list can go on and on... Today my life changed drastically, and yet I know that those good times will continue on! I can feel it... :) Thanks for all you have done for me. Thanks for the stories, the love, the patience, and the comfort in my good times and in my bad ones. I love you!!!

Ok so this is really long and I now have upset parents... Thanks to all who have supported me and loved me. Thanks for making me into who I am today. I celebrate all those wonderful memories today. (I guess I'm celebrating an engagement too huh? ;] ) I love you all! Until next time!!!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Baby Animal Days

This weekend is Baby Animal Days... Today we had approximately 2300 people come through the park... and we are expecting more on Monday...boy are we tired... Yesterday we planted my garden. I am very excited as this is possibly my first full-sized garden... I have a pumpkin patch, 3 rows of peas, and a row of green beans... we saved half of it for corn. We get to try a historical experiment. The first pioneers in the valley arrived here on July 24 cultivated some land and planted ASAP to have something of a crop. So we are not going to plant my corn until July 24... or soon thereafter... we are going to see what kind of crop we can grow! How exciting.

This summer I have a regular site that I am assigned to. I am stationed at the John Gardiner cabin right at the front of the park. This little 13 X 22' log cabin housed 13 people (10 children; 7 boys and 3 girls) and was originally located in Pleasant Grove, Utah. I have come to adopt my little cabin and it is slowly becoming my home. The activity in my cabin is pioneer chores and games. We do laundry on washboards, beat rugs, water my garden... and some children make me think of other chores like sweeping my cabin and such... but its fun to see the glee in the children's faces. After chores are we bring out the stilts, hoops and graces, and the barrel ring...thing... I now have a flower bed in the front of my cabin... the seeds have yet to sprout... so we are crossing our fingers...

About two weeks ago three little robins hatched in the nest that is sitting on the fence out in front of my cabin. I have named them Shadrack, Meshack, and Abendigo... Sadly, I found Abendigo in my garden this morning... featherless... and not breathing... so he is buried in my garden. I was a little upset at Ms. Wells (the mama bird) but I am learning a lot about birds and the cycles that nature has gone through for many years now... so I'm having to suck it up.

Pioneer life is great. Despite being dreadfully tired, I am enjoying the sunshine and the people, and the history of it all. The ambiance of this place is just... never ending... :) Well, I know this post sounds way tired... but I shall leave it until next time...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

"This is the Place" to come and visit!!!

So I start work at This is the Place again this Friday (the 15th) I am excited to get back up there. I have found that I miss it a lot more than I thought!!! I will be working at the Gardner Cabin (at least for this weekend... so... I get to do pioneer chores this weekend!) So in honor of the occasion, I thought I would do a little free advertising for my favorite park. :) As biased as I am, I will give you the best information I have!

This is the Place Heritage Park is located across the street from the Hogle Zoo. (Our animals are a lot more fun! We let you play with them! ;] ) Every day there will be houses open for our guests to take a glimpse into the past and get a feel for what it was like to live in the 19th century here in Utah. There are crafts for the family to do all over the park, and pony rides for the little ones. Throughout the season we have some big events planned and there are more than ever things to see!

May 15-16: Opening Weekend- Mountain Man Rendezvous. The mountain men will have some things set up to see what it was like to be one of the first explorers in these parts. They are all very fascinating to see.

May 23 &25: Baby Animal Days- This is the weekend that the park receives its new babies for the season. We will have baby lambs, goats, a cow, lots of little chickens, possibly some ducks... etc. It was fun last year for the little kinds to get to go into the petting zoo and find a baby animal to pet and even hold. :) They will be babies for most of the summer, so if that is something you want to see... you won't miss them if you come later in the season. :)

That's what is coming up in the rest of the month. Stay tuned for more information in coming months... :)

In other news, I have some missionaries that are getting ready to come home... and our swamp cooler is now finally working! Ya! (Now I have to go find a blanket...) ;) I hope everyone is having a wonderful spring and summer so far!!! Thanks for letting me brag... :D

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A Diamond in the Rough

Ha! Got ya! You thought this was an engagement announcement. Sorry to disappoint. Actually, I told my mother and my brother that I would update my blog with the recent news of my brother too! My brother is definitely one-of-a-kind...

Ben is now 16 years old, with a license to drive and a confidence that reaches into the eternities somewhere... Nothing seems to phase this boy in his surety that he is cool. Preston can attest to the amount of time this boy spends in the shower/bathroom getting his perfect hair-do in order... with his side-burns growing out, and his new fo-hawk he is looking pretty stylish. Braces no longer plaguing him with metal, he is free to flash his smile at any unsuspecting girl and he swears it works. ;)

On Sunday it was his assignment to give the lesson. He could choose any section in the "For Strength of Youth" pamphlet... what did my brother choose? nope, guess agian... yep that's right, Sexual Purity. He said the look on his leaders faces were priceless. I'm pretty sure he just likes the attention but whatever his reason, his bravery is astounding!

Last night my family was in for a shock as our conversation turned to my brother. Ben was making fun of my dad when mom told him to be careful or he was going to become as hairy as my dad. Ben then said, and I quote "oh, no man. I am one hairy beast."

Well with a comment like that, as he was wearing shorts, both mom and I naturally look to his legs as his proof. The last time I saw my brother he could have rivaled big-foot with the amount of hair on his legs... this time... well let me re-create the conversation for those who can't quite picture it...
Mom: "wha-? Did you shave your legs!?!"
Ben: *chuckling* "man its taken you, like a month to notice."
Mom: "have you been using my razors?!"
Ben: "well, you have like three..."
Mom: "now I wish I had a blog..."

Haha, so long story short, Ben apparently got bored in one of his bubble baths and thought he would entertain himself by trying it... but when it started to stubble it hurt to wear his skin-tight jeans... so he had to continue. He now thinks it feels kinda nice...

My mom and I still haven't quite gotten over it... But we are going to continue loving him with what we can.. on the bright side, I can compare with him technique right?