Sunday, July 31, 2011

vingt huit

eat your heart out, twenty-eight.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

count chocula

you know, i'm beginning to wonder if the 
wheelers spend enough time eating ice cream.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

a sweet treat

i'm really not one to complain about the summer weather around here too much. i mean, i will to be social and all (because when pacific northwesterners get together, a lot of what we do is commiserate about the weather). but to be clear: the rest of this country is BROILING right now, and i do not care -- AT ALL -- to broil. it messes heavily with my precarious comfort level, not to mention my delicate porcelain complexion. 

so clouds, that's fine, a little rain, i can totally deal; as long as it's not 95 degrees with the humidity index we get around here, i'm doing all right. 

besides, i gots me some ice cream, graham crackers, chocolate, and sprinkles -- i can make my own summer.

highly recommend these sweet treats; they are totally kid friendly. cookie ice cream sandwiches tend to get a bit too hard for little toddler teeth (and mine, for that matter) to dig in to. the graham crackers were just perfect. plus, who can go wrong with sprinkles?


It seems that many of you enjoyed the pioneer photos of Emily, myself, and our temporary family of 9 teenagers. I answered a lot of questions this week about our awesome pioneer trek and figured it would be worth posting the most common of these on the blog.

Where were your horses and oxen?
Between 1847 and and 1869, roughly 70,000 Mormon settlers crossed the plains to settle in the West. The majority of these pioneers traveled by covered wagon pulled by oxen or horses. Some of these faithful members, especially those emigrating from Europe, couldn't afford to travel west by wagon and instead went by handcart. Ultimately, ten handcart companies made the trek west.

Eight of the ten handcart companies had uneventful journeys. Two companies, however, started late in the year and met early blizzards. They faced extreme hardship and experienced mortality rates of nearly 25%. Complete disaster was averted by rescue parties sent by Brigham Young from the Salt Lake valley.

Why a migration?
In the early days of the Mormon church, members had a strong desire to live together in the same communities. As the population of these communities swelled, their non-Mormon neighbors typically grew suspicious of their political and economic clout. Thus, early Mormon history is a series of migration, town building, and persecution, followed by more migration.

In the early 1840s, the main body of the Mormon church had settled in Illinois and had established the city of Nauvoo,  the largest city in the state. Unfortunately, the pattern of growth followed by persecution repeated itself and the church founder, Joseph Smith was murdered in June of that year. Following these events, Joseph Smith's successor, Brigham Young was inspired to take the beleaguered people west to the Great Basin of the United States.

Why a reenactment? 
Every member of the LDS Church owes a debt of gratitude to those early church members who made tremendous sacrifices to come west. Some are direct ancestors of these remarkable pioneers (Emily and I both have progenitors who lived in Nauvoo and trekked West). Others had their faith kindled by missionaries who were pioneers themselves or were descendants of those pioneers. In all cases, each church member has benefited by the legacy of faith left behind by these hearty souls.

Trek was a small reenactment of experiences of those handcart companies. Groups of 9 or 10 teenagers were paired with a Ma and Pa to form a family. Six or seven families formed a company. We were on the trail with a total of 3 companies (more than 200 people!). The goals were relatively straightforward:

1. Strengthen the faith of the participants
2. Pay tribute to our pioneer heritage
3. Gain confidence in our ability to to hard things
4. Have fun with people who share similar values

And watching nearly 200 youth square dance to Katy Perry's "Firework" was quite an impressive sight -- one we're glad we did not miss.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Sunday, July 17, 2011

go bring them in

“Though we have rightly applauded our ancestors for their spiritual achievements (and do not and must not discount them now), those of us who prevail today will have done no small thing. The special spirits who have been reserved to live in this time of challenges and who overcome will one day be praised for their stamina by those who pulled handcarts."

Elder Neal A. Maxwell, Not Withstanding My Weakness

(click on photos to enlarge)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Monday, July 11, 2011

afton's ice cream social

invites and favor tags here.

pettiskirt tutorial here.

thanks to all our tutti-frutti friends and family who made afton's birthday so sweet!

afton, year deux

happy birthday, afton baby!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

singing those campfire songs

the wheeler family's first overnight camping excursion this past weekend at alta lake can be counted a success! in the middle of her second daddy's-perfect-campfire-marshmallow-s'more, summer declared, "mom, i love camping!"  (but of course kids love camping: they get to run around getting dirty outside all day and don't have to do any of the work. what's not to love?)

the end.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

day three nauvoo: the city of joseph

 outside the beautifully restored nauvoo temple.

on the right is a picture of bryan, during his visit to nauvoo ten years ago.
and on the left is a picture of all the pretty little ladies he's picked up since then.

 kenny, via the cubs, actively pursuing summer's 
baseball affections outside the nauvoo brick yard.

left to right: opa d, summer, kenny, emmelie, mere mere, afton, and emily

i love the city of nauvoo. i love being where the Saints have been, in a place they turned from disease infested swampland to, at one time, the largest, most thriving city in illinois. i love walking along the trail to the mississippi river where these same Saints lined up with oxen and carriages to leave their homes and journey west. i love being a part of that faith-filled legacy, and i love sharing it with my children.

day two nauvoo: pioneer pasttimes

the little laundresses.

 i'm going to have to go ahead and say i totally rock at stilts.
a small victory, indeed.

 not sure who's having more fun here: summer or unky ken?

afton trying on her "prairie diamond" at the blacksmith shop.
be forewarned, boys, she likes her baubles shiny.