It is 1:21 a.m. and I am beat after a yummy, warm, and exhausting day in the city. We attended the Taste of Chicago after taking the train into the city. Great food and a lot of fun. Here are some photos from the day.
Planking on a country road in Iowa. Yes, this was what we lived for today as we traveled through what seemed to be millions of miles of corn fields. It was so gorgeous.
A nice man in a beat up red car pulled up as we were getting out of the car and asked, "Do you need help or are you just peeing?"
I replied, "Neither. Thanks though. We are just, um, enjoying the quiet."
Tonight we are in Chicago visiting for a few days with one of my closest friends and her wonderful family. Life is so so good.
cat tails in Iowa
Oh, we stayed in the nicest hotel in Lincoln last night. Very soft beds and pillows and an amazing breakfast spread. The kids swam and we sat on the side watching and laughing at their antics as they tried to do multiple back somersaults in the water. Seriously, it was funny stuff.
We always love Iowa. It is green and loaded with gentle hills. If there is such thing as a welcoming state, it is Iowa. Nice people. Nice scenery. I snapped the top shot just over the border when we pulled over on a lonely off ramp to change drivers. These cat tails were waving in the wind and guiding us in.
Geo and "Squeezy" eating Mexican in Ankeny, Iowa
A great dinner and visit with Erin (http://togetherforgood.wordpress.com) and her family. See yesterday's post for a link to her blog. I am posting from my iPad on the road, and coding for a link is not too easy here. They were smart and cute and almost exactly like I thought they would be. I am so thankful for blogging and the many friends I have made across the country. Really, it amazes me.
Tomorrow on to Chicago for three days with one of my dearest friends.
I drove 400 miles today. We switch drivers about every hundred, but I put my last two-hundred in in one clump because Geo and #3 were having a backgammon tutoring session in the back seat, and #4 was out like a light in the front seat next to me.
Though only under a foot tall, there was corn as far as the eye could see on both sides of the freeway. A nice green change after Wyoming, which seems to struggle just to feed the bazillion cattle.
We have enjoyed the evening lightning shows. It bolts to the ground and flashes across the wide sky, with not even a hint of thunder. We called it heat lightning, when I grew up.
I-80, Nebraska mile marker 338, is where the mass murder of fire flies took place tonight. Let the record show that I did not intentionally run into them, but we did get a kick out of the green glow streaks on the windshield.
Tomorrow we have a short driving day of only 200 miles. We are excited to be taking my blog friend Erin, of Together For Good, and her family to dinner outside of Des Moines, Iowa. I haven't met Erin in real life, but have respected her writing and her faith since I started reading her blog a couple of years ago.
My guys enjoying a well-earned dinner in North Platte, Nebraska.
Wyoming wind farm. Photo taken by FG Burton
Today we jumped the gun a bit and started our road trip a day early. Having done these a lot, we packed up the car at 3 pm with the idea of at least shaving off a couple hundred miles.
After a short stop at #1's apartment in order to say goodbye to the newlyweds, we were off. A quick pull through for some food and then forward, with the plan to reach Rawlins, Wyoming. Mission accomplished.
#3 has been given the job of trip historian, tweeting our journey as we go. He is @kinglearb if you choose to follow. :). #4 is our financial guy. His job is to enter each expenditure into the ledger. He knows the budgeted categories and will keep track of how we are doing. Hotels, gas, fun money. His deal.
We will go to 9 am sacrament mtg here in Rawlins, and then off to Lincoln, Nebraska.
After poking around in some Seal songs, I chose to cover this one.
Kazzy's voice has been silenced by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act(see the details here). Sorry you can't listen to her sing directly. But send her a message and she'll try to work something out.
They have sent sons to Viet Nam. They have seen the world change in unimaginable ways. They have lost spouses and now welcome great-grandchildren to family parties that spill out into the backyards. Nothing over 2600 square feet around here.
For the past few summers a woman in her sixties has stopped by to see this house. This is where she grew up and she has been having feelings of nostalgia. No wonder. It is a magical place in many ways.
My big locust tree in the front and cottonwood in the back like to tell stories. When the wind blows out of the canyon they whisper to each other over the roof, almost touching branch to branch.
The dog barks as he hears the puffing of the balloons as they almost pass over our house, the passengers close enough to wave to us little people below.
I grab my iPhone and run outside, already dressed early for my impending workout. My husband is fast on my heels in his orange plaid flannel pj pants. We start snapping photos as we borrow neighbors' front yards to get the best angles.
My main intent is to send a photo to my missionary in Mexico as a little slice of home.
These things matter.
These little traditions that are reminders of family time.
When we crawl out of bed to watch balls of color cast shadows on our roofs.
Springville Art Ball, May 2011
Sometimes it is fun to get all dressed up.
Maybe a yummy dinner.
Walk around and look at great art.
Dance to music played by a live band.
See friends you have made over the past 17 years living in the same neighborhood.
Wear feathers in your hair (oH yEs, I DiD).
taken using instagram tilt shift on my iphone4
To tune myself.
Block out the fuzz and the distractions.
Subtract some of the me that sometimes gets in the way.
Stick to the point.
Be clear and concise.
Focus. Focus. Focus.
Do you ever wander? Emotionally? Literally? Spiritually? I am on a constant quest to find the balance between being fine tuned and being flexible. Between discipline and fluidity.
between saying and doing
view out the den window
Sitting here in the quiet den I reflect on silence.
I need more of it.
I silently type on my iPad. There is no music playing. No TV on. No kids in the house.
Just me with my quiet. Why don't I allow more of this? Why have I still not learned my lesson about meditating and pondering (of all things...)?
I am not one to run and hide from my own thoughts. I have not avoided silence intentionally. It sneaks away, like an unappreciated guest. I vow to invite it back more often.
We took the in-laws on a drive today after a nice afternoon of enchiladas and spice cake and birthday wishes. It was a glorious day, and the warm sun jumped into the car, almost like a fifth passenger, as we drove past fields of baby sheep and freshly hoed rows.
My father-in-law is a farmer at heart, loving the open spaces and split-rail fences that surround new Victorian homes with detached garages and freshly mowed acres. We sat in the back seat together reminiscing about his own childhood in Salt Lake City, back when you sent your young son across State Street on his bike to fill a bucket of milk from a neighboring family farm.
A long willow branch with a string and lead attached as his first fishing pole that he used up at the top of Mill Creek Canyon.
Flooding their land when it was their turn for irrigation water.
Getting out of the way of oncoming cattle as he, with his young little boy body, opened the gate to let the cows come to the barn for eating and for milking.
This is what these days are made for.
Sometimes she runs up to me and says, Can you give me a cookie? And then I have to, yes have to, give her one.
She holds my hand and likes to look through my purse. She asks a lot of questions, like, Is Jesus coming back today?
Today she stood on the bank as her mom swam her leg of a triathlon. She was a little water fairy.