Archive for the ‘Emily’ Category.

Happy Birthday Emily

Emily’s birthday was a few weeks ago. She’s now 18 although to me it doesn’t feel like she’s an “adult” yet. In my mind she’s still the giggly little 3 year old girl that ran around the quad and played on the swings when Nancy and I lived in student housing all those years ago. Heck, I still feel like a kid around my parents and I’m now well into middle-age. Although we have the normal struggles that come with raising teens, Emily is a good girl and has a very funny sense of humor when you can actually catch her in a non-teenagery mood.


Happy Birthday Emily!

Congratulations to Emily on her 18th birthday and on receiving a scholarship to Utah State University where she starts next fall!

Emily’s Birthday 2011

Emily turned 16 this month and we had her birthday party a few days ago. Nothing special for her Sweet 16th birthday – just a boring family party. Sorry Emily – that’s what happens when you have a December birthday.

Sweet 16

Sweet 16

There are two good things about being 16:

1. You can get your driver’s license
2. Because you can drive and are mobile with friends and such, you also finally get a mobile phone

Finally!  A mobile phone

Finally! A mobile phone

Nancy and I have held out on getting our kids mobile phones. I see no reason why a 12 year old, or 15 year old for that matter, needs a phone. But once they turn 16 and get a driver license they have a measure of independence that they didn’t have before and having a phone on you can be handy (Emily is under strict instructions to not use her phone at all while in the car).

I had Anne go with me to the phone store to figure out what kind of phone to get. I’m sure she would have liked something cool like an iPhone but no way was I getting a phone that required a data plan. I was worried that if I got her one of the cheap ones that the kids at school might think she was “uncool” but Anne convinced me not to worry about it when she said: “Nobody at school makes fun of what kind of phone you have, Dad. Just having a phone is good enough.” Sounds good to me. If Emily wants a fancier phone with a data plan and such she can pay for it herself.

Happy Birthday Emily! (and absolutely no using the phone unless you are pulled over on the side of the road!)

2011 Winter Recital

For the 2011 Winter Recital it was back to the piano teacher’s house. This is Emily’s last recital as now that she’s about to turn 16 she has the option to quit piano lessons and is going to exercise that option. I’ve always said that I would be happy as long as my kids learned to play the Hymns on the piano and Emily has certainly progressed to that level as she’s been the Young Woman pianist for most of her career in Young Women.

Caroline starts off with All Through the Night a Welsh Traditional tune Arranged by N. Faber, followed by The Tempest, also by Faber

Next up is Emily playing an arrangment of Piano Concerto in A minor, 1st movement Allegro molto moderato
by Grieg, followed by Dances With Wolves Medley of John Barry songs composed for the movie:

Finally Anne plays Polish Dance by Xavier Scharwenka and Romance, Op 24, No 9 by Jean Sibelius:

2011 Pioneer Trek

I was asked by the stake to be a “big brother” for Trek this year. “What’s a big brother?”, you ask. Well, it’s basically just a helper. All the youth on trek are divided up into handcart groups with a “ma” and “pa” (husband and wife couple) and adult “big brother” for each cart. The ma and pa are in charge of the handcart and the big brother basically just helps out, which suited me just fine. I had never been on a pioneer trek before. They weren’t en vogue when I was in Young Men. You have to be 14 by the beginning of June in order to go on Trek so that meant just Emily and I were going. I found a trek-worth hat at the local ranch store and Nancy made me up some pioneer shirts to wear. Nancy kind of over-estimated my size when she made the shirt so I end up with a big billowing shirt in the Wyoming wind for 4 days but they looked fairly “pioneery” so it all worked out. Nancy also made a pioneer dress for Emily that looked great.

The trek took place somewhere out on the plains of Wyoming and Utah at a church property where they ranch cattle, sheep, and youth groups. We got there, loaded up our handcarts and set off on the hike to the first campground.

Preparing the handcarts

Preparing the handcarts

At the beginning the kids were excited to pull the handcart and we moved along at a brisk pace – everyone all bunched up together along a grassy plain. After a few hours, we left the beautiful grassy plain and hit a dusty trail. Then the excitement of the handcart wore off and the chore of watching out for cow pies and leg-breaking gopher holes became the order of the day.

Along the trail - day 1

Along the trail – day 1

Water break along the trail - day 1

Water break along the trail – day 1

Water was supplied for the whole group by a big water trailer called “the buffalo” that was towed by a truck ahead of the group to the next break or campsite. Each handcart also carried water on the cart. The buffalo water was warm and highly chlorinated though so it tasted and smelled pretty bad. Our Pa had filled up the the cooler with a huge block of ice that kept the water cold and diluted the chlorine for the first few days so I was eternally grateful for it. By day 3 the ice was gone though so we were stuck with warm chlorine buffalo water.

Along the trail - day 1

Along the trail – day 1

Pioneer girls along the trail - day 1

Pioneer girls along the trail – day 1

Spread out along the trail - day 1

Spread out along the trail – day 1

For the most part we followed along a dusty dirt road that crossed over streams via culverts but on the first day we came to a little ditch that had water that we got to cross. It was fun to watch everyone try and figure out the best way to get the carts across the ditch.

Crossing the stream - day 1

Crossing the stream – day 1

There were two strategies – go fast through the ditch with momentum so you could get up the other side easier or go slow through the ditch to minimize splashing. We took the fast approach with our cart and it worked out well. Some guys carried the girls across the stream on their backs, some people took of their shoes and socks and waded across and some people just trudged through it and got their boots wet.

Crossing the stream - day 1

Crossing the stream – day 1

I suppose for the true pioneers the fun of crossing streams with handcarts soon wore off; especially once the weather got cold. Still, for us it was a fun little experience and everyone had a good time splashing around in the water.

For some must push and some must pull - day 1

For some must push and some must pull – day 1

Most of the handcart groups slept under their cart the first night. They tilted the cart up in the air and then hung a tarp from the cart to make a big type of tent – it looked like a nomad tent. The big brothers didn’t sleep with the youth or the mas and pas – we had our own tents. In some cases, the kids didn’t even bother with hanging tarps on the handcarts but just slept right out in the open on a tarp laid on the ground.

Emily preparing to sleep under the stars - day 1

Emily preparing to sleep under the stars – day 1

We weren’t allowed to have open fires for cooking but we did have “cooking platforms” which were foiled covered boards that we could put coals on and cook with a dutch oven. I’m never so hungry as I am when out camping. I’m not sure why but for some reason food always tastes great when you’re on a campout.

Cooking dinner - day 1

Cooking dinner – day 1

The next evening turned out to be freezing cold with strong winds and rain that turned to sleet. They broke out some big propane heaters, set up tents for everyone (they had brought the tents along just in case it was too cold to sleep under the stars), and basically everyone just focused on keeping warm and trying to get a little sleep as the winds blew during the night.

Warming by the fire - day 2

Warming by the fire – day 2

A cold night - day 2

A cold night – day 2

Day three turned out to be hot and dusty. Each morning various handcart groups had to do chores like cleaning out the porta-potties, making sure the camp was clean, helping load and unload the food trucks, etc. The porta-potties were all on a big trailer that was pulled ahead to the next break site and campsite each day, along with a big refrigerated truck that had the food for the trip, and the aforementioned buffalo. Before we could set out on the trail each morning we had to make sure that the potty truck and the other support vehicles had passed on ahead of us.

Waiting for the potty trucks - day 3

Waiting for the potty trucks – day 3

Rocking the cool pioneer shirt - day 3

Rocking the cool pioneer shirt – day 3

Day three was the day for the women’s pull. I guess the theory is that some pioneer women had to pull their handcarts all by themselves, or with their kids, because their husbands had died or were otherwise unavailable. The women’s pull was supposed to give the women a taste of what it would be like to have to cross the plains by themselves. All the men lined up along the hill and watched as the women huffed and puffed and pushed and pulled the handcarts up the hill. It was hard enough pulling them up hills with all the men and boys helping out so it certainly was a difficult task for the women to pull them up by themselves.

Women's pull - day 3

Waiting for the women to come up the hill – day 3

Women's pull - day 3

Women’s pull – day 3

As we watched the women pull the carts up the hill, the first instinct was to want to jump in and help them but we weren’t allowed to. We had to just watch in silence as they struggled up the hill. It certainly gave me an appreciation for how hard the pioneer women worked to cross the plains.

Taking a break - day 3

Taking a break after the women’s pull – day 3

My handcart family - day 3

My handcart family – day 3

Spaced out on the trail - day 3

Spaced out on the trail – day 3

Day four was a short trip in the morning from the campsite to the end of the trail where we unloaded the carts and loaded everyone into busses for the trip home. It was a fun trek and I’m glad I went. I got to know some of the youth in the stake and although camping and handcart pulling isn’t my favorite thing I was able to gain an appreciation for the work and sacrifice of the early pioneers. Both Anne and Caroline will be old enough to go in 2015 when the next trek is scheduled so perhaps I’ll get another opportunity to go again. I’ll be fine as long as there isn’t a “men’s pull” up that same steep hill.

2011 Spring Recital

The kids had their 2011 Spring Recital at a local music store. The action on the recital hall piano was much stiffer than the kids are used to so they had a hard time with it even though this recital they were probably better prepared than most. They didn’t want me to post these videos because of all the mistakes they made in the recital but I figured it’s fun to look back and see how they progress in ability over the years. It also shows you that you need to prepare for the type of piano that you’ll be playing on – practice makes perfect.

First up is Miss Caroline. She is playing Rage Over a Lost Penny by Beethoven and Sea Mist by Bastien. I remember playing Sea Mist at a recital when I was a kid taking piano lesson. It brings back the memories and stirs my emotions to hear Caroline play it. “Is this the little girl I carried, sunrise, sunset, all of that stuff…”

Emily was next. She played the 2nd movement (Adagio Cantabile) from Beethoven’s Sonata number 8 (Sonata Pathétique) and the Dances with Wolves Medley by John Barry, arranged by Lori Line.

Anne played Chopin’s Polonaise in A Major followed by Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No.1, Op.2 No.1, 1st Movement (Allegro)

Emily’s Birthday 2010


The birthday girl

By the time you’re 15, birthday’s in our house are a pretty low-key affair. You get a cake and a present or two but no party other than your family singing happy birthday. On the bright side, when you turn 15 you can now go out and get your learner’s permit. Emily hasn’t got learner’s permit yet but her mom did take her to get study pamphlet so hopefully she’ll have her learners permit soon.

2009 Winter Recitals

December was recital time. Emily, Anne, and Caroline’s recital was at the piano teacher’s house. Sam’s recital was at the West Jordan Library.

Emily played Petite Russian Rhapsody by John Thompson and I Dreamed A Dream from Les Miserables by Claude-Michel Schönberg:

Anne played the Raindrop Prelude by Chopin and the Minute Waltz by Chopin:

Caroline played Hogwarts Hymn by Patrick Doyle and Can You Feel The Love Tonight by Elton John:

Samuel played Chocolate Cake by Bastien:

Emily’s Birthday

Emily turned 14 this month. It’s interesting how you approach birthday parties as you get older. Where Emily used to want presents like Barbie dolls, she now wants presents like gift cards and money and cellphones. Gift cards are in the realm of possibilities but cellphones are not. I know, I know – I’m a mean Dad and behind the times and everyone her age has a cell phone now. Well, all those things may be true but I simply don’t see any reason for a 14 year old to have a cell phone and engage in incessant insipid texting.

14 years old

14 years old

Emily is beyond the age of getting “friend” parties so she got a small family party. Although being 14 is an awkward age, it’s still always fun to blow out candles and open presents. At least it is until you hit age 40. At that age, it’s not quite so fun to blow out candles.

Happy Birthday Emily!

Happy Birthday Emily!

An Excellent Young Woman

Tonight was Young Womens in Excellence award night. The theme was “A Night at the Oscars” and included dinner, a movie starring the young women, and a red carpet that they walked down to receive their awards. When I got there they were having technical difficulties with the laptop that was supposed to play the movie (it was a Mac). Fortunately, I happened to have my trusty old Dell laptop with me so I whipped it out it and it worked flawlessly.

The cutest Young Woman in the world (right) with the cutest YW mom in the world (left)

Emily won an award for her “individual worth” project which was playing in a piano recital. Other Young Women won awards for pictures they took or crafts they did or service projects they helped out on. Our ward’s YW leadership does a really great job with all the Young Women and Emily really enjoys going.

Contgratulations Emily – we’re proud of you!

Spring Recital

Last week we went to the girls spring piano recital. Grandpa Kent and Grandma Connie were in town and able to come and the kids were excited to have them there. Texas was up first. She played Colors of the Wind by Menken and Stuck on C by Vandall


I generally like what their teacher does with the exception of recitals. The teacher let’s them play pieces in their recital that they haven’t fully learned. I really wish the teacher would require them to memorize their pieces and not let them play pieces that they haven’t fully prepared. I also wish the teacher would teach them to bow afterwards.

Next was Emily. She played Witch’s Dance by Hill and Song For a Princess by Miller.


I think Emily has improved significantly since the last recital. Because she’s not fond of counting, she typically does better on the types of flowing songs where a rigid rhythm isn’t as important. She’s also learning to play hymns and plays for the Young Women organization in church occasionally. I have no dreams of my kids making it to Carnegie Hall. In fact, I’ve always thought that if my kids learn well enough to play hymns in church, the lessons will have been worth it. It looks like Emily is well on her way to achieving that standard. Now I just have to figure out how to get her to memorize her songs.

Anne followed Emily and played Fur Elise by Beethoven and Dorothy by Smith.


Anne probably enjoys playing the most out of the kids and I think it shows in her progress. She does a good job of memorizing her songs. She also delights in the fact that her pieces are becoming more difficult for me to simply sight read without mistakes. Although not a child prodigy, I think she did a pretty decent job for a 10 year old.

After the recital Grandpa Kent and Grandma Connie were gracious in enduring the chatter of our excited kids as they took us out for an ice cream celebration. It was a great way to top off a fun evening.