Friday, July 16, 2010

Youth Conference, Conclusion

We visited Carthage Jail, where Joseph Smith Jr. was killed. This is one of the great sacred spaces of our religion.

The window where he fell when he died.
A senior missionary tells the story.
So many beautiful young people listen, intent and quiet.

Afterwards we lightened up the mood a bit by playing charades. This photo has won particular acclaim on Facebook of late:
Oh my gosh aren't they unbelievably adorable? I have the hottest man in town for my mate, WHOOEEE! I picked him for his good looks AND charm, girls!
Here's a classic of Cody Sims and Ethan:
And, to be fair, one of myself. I believe this was the Zombie Birthday Party, which Hannah and I carried off with particular flair.

Nauvoo was hot, as always, and unbelievably wonderful, as always. A place where smiles and song greet you at every door. A place where everyone loves and lives life to the fullest.

Youth conference proved a real challenge for our family, but the opportunity for consecration has made my spiritual cup run over with blessings. I learned to really love those kids, and my testimony of the gospel of Christ has grown more deeper and more real. My scripture study has felt more meaningful, and my vision of how I want my children to be raised more clear. What a joy!

Farewell, Nauvoo, sanctified place where so many sacred moments have shaped my life!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Youth Conference Cont'd

Here is our darling little family in Nauvoo:
Courtney, Emma, Andrew, Hannah, Logan, Ethan, Adam, Tyler, Kara, and Maria. And of course our little Zoe Ann. We sure learned to love those kids.

Here are a few shots from the Family Living Center, where we learned about traditional pioneer crafts. The girls learn about candle making:
I really want to make a rug like this. Isn't it beautiful? And made on a wagon wheel!
The boys learning something manly. Rope making, maybe?
Bro. Edwards, it turns out, knows all about pottery. Who knew?
Girls learning about carding and weaving cloth:
Ah, HERE is the rope making. OK I have no idea what that last boy one was. Barrels?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Face Full of Froth
A gift for Zoe Ann from her Auntie Annie

What is this fluffy stuff?
that is soft to the touch?

I stick my finger in it
To feel what it's like.
It tastes like sunshine,
and it is soo light.

My taste buds tingle,
they polka, they dance!
Can I have some more
of this goodness perchance?

What is the name
of the delicious delight?
It's colored, and frothy
and is of angel's light!

This is called frosting?
I want some more!
Quick! check the cabinets,
the fridge and the drawers!

No more frosting?
Is that what you said?
That's not possible,
Or I will be dead!

I put my hands to my face
to wipe away my tears,
Instead I feel my
froth covered ears.

Leftovers of frosting!
I can at last eat some more!
Nothing like birthday cake
Right off the floor!

Birthday Party

We had a perfectly lovely little party for Zoe last night. Jed and I made a heart strawberry cake with cream cheese frosting and fresh strawberries (Zoe's favorite) piled high on top.

We invited Grandma and Grandpa over, ate Zoe's favorite sausage tacos, her favorite watermelon, salad with beans (her favorite) and fresh cherry tomatoes from the garden.

We blew up five balloons, with a pink one for Zoe and a big green one for Jed. He loved having all the cameras out.

Jed wanted to make Zoe his own gift, so he decorated a little pink crown for the birthday girl.

She got a few darling little gifts from her grandparents and a big bag of blocks from Mommy and Daddy.

Everything was just right for our Perfect Little Princess.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

One Blessed Year

Today ends our first blessed year with Zoe Ann Stanfill. Exactly 1 year and 27 minutes ago at this moment, she arrived screaming into the world, eyes fastened shut, determined to keep in her memories of heaven as long as she could. When those eyes opened, we found inside the most joyful, happy little spirit the Heavens could offer. Zoe wakes up with a smile on her face every single day. With a grin and a giggle, she bounces around like a ray of sunshine determined to bring light to every facet of our home. Even outside the house, her little pigtail and toothy grin win the hearts of all who meet her. Her happiness wins our unending love. Her determination wins our respect. And her gentle spirit makes us all want to be better people. We love you, Zoe Ann! Thank you for coming to our family.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Youth Conference

Our quiet summer hasn't turned out quite so quiet as we'd thought. Rather, it's been a blur of travels and small moments stolen at home before running off again. The activity we admittedly dreaded the most was youth conference -- four days off work, four days away from our Jed, four days with Zoe far from home, four days with a passel of teenagers and separate rooms. Sounded exhausting.

But we promised to go. So we packed Jed off to Grandma's house. I'd never been away from my baby boy for more than a night before and the separation was traumatic. For me, at least. I bawled, he was fine. And then we were off to this place:

Look familiar? Good ol' Nauvoo, the happiest place on earth. I drove Zoe in my own mobile while Michael rode on:

The Bus. With these guys:
Aren't they darling?
Within ten minutes of arrival, a tornado touched down a few minutes north. So what DO you do with a hundred something teenagers next to a bus with a tornado warning, a severe thunderstorm warning, and a flood warning? This:
Stuff them in the basement. Really less of a basement and more of a maze of maintenance tunnels beneath a hotel. We hopped over sump pumps and scooted beneath pipes, til finally finding our settling place in a quiet stack of boards and folding chairs. Fortunately after twenty minutes we were free to go up and see the carnage. Just kidding, no carnage, just a lot of water. No time to go back to the hotel room, we were off and running. More updates later on Youth Conference in Nauvoo.