Last weekend Kevin took Nate, Taylor and Morgan to Idaho and Yellowstone. Ashley and Randy came with us. We stayed at the Island Park cabin a night, took in dinner and the play, "Less Miserables" at the Macks Inn Playhouse, attended church and spent 2 beautiful days in Yellowstone, driving the south and the north loops. We saw the Grand Canyon and the lower and upper falls of the Yellowstone River, the Lake, and Hayden Valley on Saturday and Tower Falls and Mammoth Hot Springs on Sunday. This grand old park never gets boring and inspires every time you go. We also took a quick side trip to Quake Lake, on the 50 year anniversary of the great Yellowstone earthquake of '59. It was a great road trip. It was very nice to spend two evenings with Kevin's parents in quiet conversation while Ashley hosted the boys.
During the first two weeks of June for Nathan's graduation, Kevin, Michelle, Hailey, and Nathan embarked on a travel experience more satisfying than any other we have ever done . The art work, sculptures, and architecture of these two great countries defies description. Paris (3 days), Venice (3 days), Florence (3 days), and Rome (5 days) were all amazing and surpassed everything we had ever heard of them. We toured the Louvre, the Orsay, and Rodin Museums and took evening rides on the Seine along the Notre Dame Cathedral and Eiffel Tower in Paris. . We saw Michelangelo's, Verrocchio's, and Donatello's Davids in Florence and Bernini's David in Rome. They are all amazing. We visited St Mark's Basilica and Square in Venice, toured the amazing Doge Palace, and rode gondolas on the canals. The Florence Duomo Basilica, Baptistry, and Museum are amazing and we didn't want to leave the Uffizi gallery or the Pitti Palace. Florence is too wonderful to describe. The sculptures on Italy's public buildings not worthy of museum placement are better generally than anything we have ever seen in our country.
We never dreamed we could see so much of Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Rafael, Bernini, Donatello, Cortona, and other Renaissance masters or the incredible art and treasures of the Medici family. We saw ancient and modern Rome. The Coleseum, Pantheon, Trevi fountain, Spanish steps, Forum, etc. continue to amaze centuries later. The Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, and the four large Basilicas in Rome took our breaths away. The Borghese Gallery in Rome had "Apollo and Daphne" and scores of other masterpieces. It was an amazing and unforgettable trip. We can't wait to go back someday.
We haven't posted b/c we have been so incredibly busy. Among our highlights: we have had one wedding and two wedding receptions in our back yard; Kevin, Michelle, Hailey and Nathan traveled to France and Italy the first two weeks of June. This will be the subject of another post. While we were in Europe, Taylor went to So. Cal. for a fun orchestra tour, performing at grade schools and at Disneyland. He saw a Dodgers game and ate at Medieval Times.
Kevin and the 3 Sutterfield boys attended the Sowards reunion at Bear Lake, Laketown, Utah in mid June. It was great to see everyone from Paula's family and enjoy the wave runners, and Pickelville Playhouse's production of "Annie Get Your Gun." Lousie and Scott were the perfect hosts. In early July, Michelle went with two of her sisters and her friend to see Hailey and stay two nights at Zions Ponderosa, near the east entrance of Zions National Park. They wall climbed, 4 wheeled and paint balled and enjoyed the girls retreat. The next month we went to Idaho for a wonderful family reunion to celebrate the honor Kevin's folks had at being named grand marshals of the Fremont County Pioneer Days parade from July 23-25. We had a double trailer float with 60 of Kevin's parents' posterity riding behind the grand marshal car. What a great memory for all of us. During the July 4th weekend, we rented a nice condominium in Park City and played with Michelle's sister's, Stephanie, family. We saw an outdoor concert and great fireworks at The Canyons Resort on July 3, and enjoyed a full day of activities the next day at Park City Mountain Resort. The Alpine Slide and Coaster, wall climbing, miniature golf, etc. were great. We had five birthdays in 30 days with Morgan, Jaden and Kevin in July and Taylor and Nathan in early August. Kevin took the three Sutterfield boys to Island Park for a day and to Yellowstone for two days while Michelle hung out with her parents, and her two out of state sisters and their families last weekend. Nathan received his endowment during an incredible live session at the Manti temple in July, and he has continued his temple service in Vernal, Provo (where he was able to baptize Hailey, Taylor and Morgan), Timpanogos, Salt Lake (where he saw his cousin married), and Rexburg, Idaho. We also visited the Oquirrh Mountain temple open house in early August as a family. Kevin, Nathan and Morgan also went to Vernal in July to visit Paula's mom and brother and his wife. It was great to see them in their homes and to go to dinner and to the temple with them. What an amazing summer. We are attaching a few photos of the events.
Wow: May is busy when you have a quiver full of children who are school age. Dallin graduated from Snow College with honors. Taylor was inducted into the National Honor Society and had a solo in the choir performance. Morgan played percussion in the band concert, and he had a solo in the 8th grade choir. Jaden and Morgan both sang in the Jr High year end choir performance to our delight. Like Nate, Taylor and Dallin had great dates to the Art Ball. We had so much fun as a family (and had parent bragging rights) with our children this spring. Hailey was very busy and less than a week after her semester ended she went to Zions Ponderosa, a destination resort just east of Zions National Park, for a paid summer internship as an event coordinator. Alas, we don't have pictures of her because she left so fast, but we will post several when we post our Italy trip we took the first two weeks of June. Enjoy the pictures and videos. Morgan is in the hat. (I took some better videos but they are on my video camera.)
Nathan had an amazing last 30 days. He graduated from Seminary where he served on the seminary council and gave one of the two student speeches at graduation. He graduated from high school with high honors and received academic scholarships to Snow College and BYU-Idaho. His picture was in the local paper several times for his many accomplishments and the year book had dozens of his activities. He had a great senior year. He took a beautiful girl to the Art Ball with Taylor and his date. He received his mission call to Rochester NY--Spanish speaking. We opened his call in our back yard with dozens of friends, family and neighbors. It was exciting and emotional. He went on a senior trip with Hailey, his mom, and his dad to Paris for 3 days, Venice for 3 days, Florence for 3 days, and Rome for 5 days. It was amazing. Finally, he was sustained to receive the Melchizedek priesthood on Fathers Day during our stake conference. Our hearts are full as we think of the blessing he has been to our family. We are attaching a few pictures of these events, except the European trip which will be posted later.
Michelle has always loved lighthouses for their beauty and the messages they bring of warnings, danger, light, hope, service, and stewardship to name a few. When we went to Michigan, we saw several which had been restored located on the banks of the second largest Great Lake, Huron. We are posting a few pictures of them and also of other beautiful areas of Michigan. We hope you enjoy them in some small way as we enjoyed them.
What a crazy two months. We had an amazing spring break in April to southern Utah. We drove a thousand miles and saw Hovenweep Nat'l Monument, Four Corners Geographical Site, Valley of the Gods, Monument Valley, and Natural Bridges Nat'l Monument. While it snowed in Springville, we enjoyed mild weather with some wind and unbelievable scenery in some of nature's most incredible places. We drove to the headwaters of Lake Powell, where the mighty Colorado and the ugly Dirty Devil Rivers meet at the overlook of Hite marina. We stayed one night in Bluff at a wonderful bed and breakfast, and woke up after the second night to a flat tire in Hanksville after hitting a jack rabbit the night before. We drove home through Capitol Reef National Park and then on to Ephraim where we saw Dallin's last performance with the LDSingers. It was a great trip. Nathan and Taylor went to Preference dance with two cute girls in March and Nathan went to the Junior prom in April with another beautiful girl. Morgan and Jaden went to two merit badge pow wows in consecutive months, one at BYU and one in our stake. Last week, Kevin took Michelle with him to Michigan where he had a deposition in Ann Arbor. Naturally, he elected to go early and drive 800 miles to see a state he was unfamiliar with. We drove up the Lake Huron Coast from Detroit, went to the Mackinaw Bridge over the straight between Huron and Lake Michigan and took the ferry to Mackinac Island, an amazing small island that outlawed motor vehicles 80 years ago. Everyone rides bikes or horses there. We rode the ferry there, took a carriage ride and toured the Grand Hotel, one of the world's finest hotels. We saw dozens of lighthouses and drove back to Detroit. After spending one afternoon seeing GM's headquarters and the river front of the Detroit River, we finished our trip in Dearborn visiting the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village. The last two are amazing. The Museum is as large as any Smithsonian and has 100 years of cars, planes, trains, farming equipment, and an area devoted to Liberty. We saw the Rosa Park bus, JFK's limo where he was assassinated, the rocking chair where Pres Lincoln sat the night he was assassinated and dozens of other amazing artifacts. The village had homes of famous Americans and reconstructed working pioneer shops such as a printing press, saw mill, grist mill, pottery plant, glass blowing plant, and other delights. We even got to ride in a 1914 Ford Model T, touring model. It was a blast and an education. Kudos to Henry Ford who wanted his posterity to understand life in the 1800s and early 1900s in America. Dallin graduated with honors from Snow College and Hailey is off for the summer to Zions Ponderosa, a destination dude ranch, etc near the eastern border of Zions National Park. Nathan should get his mission call this next week. We are enjoying our lives and hoping our good fortune continues.