We went up with our friends Natalie and Jack to St. Johns for the 24th of July weekend. She grew up there and they invited us to head back with them for the Holiday.
Now, growing up, I honestly never made the connection that the 24th of July was a big mormon holiday. I never did. Looking back I remember doing things like miniature pioneer treks around the neighborhood when I was in primary at church, but I never associated things like that with the fact that we were celebrating the 24th of July and remembering our pioneer ancestors who bravely trod across the country to find a place to settle and practice freedom of religion.
It wasn't until I was serving as a missionary in Montana, where members in even small, small towns would gather to celebrate the holiday, that I realized the 24th is a big reason to celebrate! They would gather together and play stick ball, wrapping a softball in rabit skin and using an old tree branch for a bat. It was fun.
So, anyhow, we wanted to get out of Mesa (where, admittedly, they do celebrate the day - just not as much as in a small town) for the 24th. and go somewhere where they knew how to do the day right.
It was a week long celebration in St. Johns that the whole town got in on. There was a youth dance and a junior rodeo and all kinds of other things leading up to Saturday. We got there early Saturday and, missing the big community breakfast, made it in time for the Parade! They had a full on parade! I caught a couple pictures of the coolest float I have EVER seen.
Meet Abe Lincoln. He stood up! And then would sit down just in time to miss getting decapitated by the power lines. It was amazing!
After the parade we went back to the house for lunch and then headed out to the Rodeo! Did I mention I love rodeos? Cuz I do. Sometime I pretend to want to be a cowboy. Anyhow, it was a real rodeo and everything! And how do you know if it's a real rodeo? Simple... does it have real bull riding. And this one did.
It was awesome.
The celebrations continues with a big community dinner at the park in town and then a nice program in the highschool auditorium. Following which there was the adults only dance that lasted late into the night.
We stayed for church Sunday and drove back home. Another short trip, but packed full of fun activity.
We like to go to the Mackey family cabin. It's an old kind of cabin. I like to say it's like a "dad-and-granddad-built-it-with-their-bare-hands" kind of cabin. But it has a nice feel to it, and there are never too many bugs in the kitchen/bathroom when we show up. We've been trying to make a lot of little trips like this this summer since we're having that babeh soon and are not sure how often we'll be able to get away after he/she (probably 'he' though - we just don't know for sure yet) comes. We managed to take two pictures on this trip.
The first is random, but it's just a picture of the kind of stuff we do when we go to the cabin - eat cheese-its and play games. This is one of our recent favorite games. It's called Ticket To Ride. Ever played it? It's loads of fun. Give us a call sometime and we'll have a game night and play it. Really, do... it cost a lot and I want to get my money's worth out of it. Plus it's fun!
And here's Shirley cooking something in the kitchen. I think it was potstickers. She was craving them that day. :-)
I was looking through the camera and realized we had a few pictures I could share!
Shirley and I went to san Diego for the Fourth. It was kinda a last minute trip. Shirley didn't know she would have that monday off until the thursday before. So we booked a hotel last minute and headed out Saturday morning first thing! We hardly ever take pictures, but I'll share what we have.
We got there too early to check-in to our hotel, so we found a park in the south bay and hung out there for a bit.
Then we checked into the hotel and made ourselves at home there.
After going to church on Sunday (the 4th), we went and visited Balboa Park. We like this place. It's huge and there's so much to do there, and it's neat.
Balboa Park is also home to biggest outdoor organ in the world (not sure there are really that many outdoor organs anyway, but it's a nice thing for them to boast about). They do a cool organ concert every sunday.
After the park we made a stop by the Temple to see it. And they had it all scaffolded up! You can see the temple from the freeway, so it was weird to pull up and see it covered in scaffolding.
After the temple, we made our way to Mission Bay to get a spot to watch some fireworks. We went early to be able to find a place. It was SO cold. But it was cool because from the where we were, we could see 8 or 9 different fireworks shows that night, including the one SeaWorld did.
On Monday morning, we went and paid a visit to Old Town San Diego. I like it there. There's a lot of history and I like that sort of thing. We went to the Mormon Battalion LDS Visitors' Center while there, and they a had a very cool presentation for us. We did manage to get one picture the whole morning there:
When it was time to go, we realized one of us (ahem...) had locked the keys in the car. We have roadside assistance, so we just called our insurance and they sent a locksmith. He was literally there for 45 seconds at best. He pulled up, slid a little bar down the window, popped the lock and left.