On Thursday, September 28, we drove from our house in Airdrie to my parents' house in Raymond. This shaves off three hours from the trip, and makes a big difference. Plus, we were leaving our dog with them while we were on our trip. While we were spending our evening with them, my Dad showed me the growing inventory of wooden trinkets that he has been making for sale during his retirement.
On Friday, September 29, we had a long, long day of driving with four children. The kids were pretty well entertained with movies in the van, but the trip was gruelling with the baby, Katie. Especially because the entire state of Idaho seemed to be under highway construction, adding several hours to our trip. We got an early start but the unexpected delays took their toll. We arrived in Payson at Amanda's sister's house a little before 10:00 at night.
On Saturday, September 30, we took in the Saturday sessions of General Conference at Amanda's sister's house. Well, us adults did a pretty good job of taking in the sessions. With the kids, we just let them play with their cousins because they had just endured a gruelling day of travel and would have a limited amount of play time with their cousins because they are in school this time of year. In the evening, after the second session, we went over to my sister Jayna's house with her family. Also there were my brother Wayne and his family, and my brother Bryce who was in Utah for a mission reunion. We had a great visit.
In that particular session, there was only two apostles who spoke: David A. Bednar and Henry B. Eyring. This was a little disappointing to me; it seemed like the Saturday sessions were packed with apostles, but not Sunday morning. As it happened, we had the bizarre coincidence of sitting directly in front of an "old flame" of mine, the circumstances of which didn't end well. Eye contact and weak smiles were exchanged, but no words. For his part, Josh did a lot of squirming in his chair, laying sideways in his chair, etc., as it wasn't an intensely interesing event for him. But I think he did feel that the occasion was special. After the session, we met up with Sabrina T., who was a sister missionary that we grew very attached to up in Calgary. When we finally got home, we found out that Elder Robert D. Hales, who had not attended conference, had died right around the time that the session we attended had ended. We passed the rest of the day watching Conference at Amanda's sister's house, having a family meal, and playing games.
On Monday, October 2, in the morning we went to BYU campus to the printing press services, and I picked up my order of Darwinian Deceptions which I had co-written with other authors. This was my first published work, so it was a little bit of a milestone.
We also spent some time at BYU, letting the kids play at arcade racing games on campus, and going to the bookstore briefly. Abigail won a free BYU shirt and was pretty excited about that. At lunch we went and met up with my brother Wayne at his workplace and had lunch with him there. It was a cafeteria place at his office building which he had meal vouchers for. He also showed us his office where he does his work. (Josh had stayed home at Amanda's sister's house all day). After lunch with Wayne, we went back to the BYU bookstore. I picked up some discount books and Amanda got some nativity sets at the store. That evening the five of us made our way over to Wayne's family's house for dinner. After a little time, Amanda picked up Josh and two cousins he was spending time with, and brought them to Wayne's house. We had a nice visit and I picked up my shipments of books that I had sent to their house. I also left behind a signed copy of Darwinian Delusions. I wrote something like: "Wayne & Angel & Family: With all of my love I commend this book to you. May you always measure the teachings and theories of the world by the standard of the Holy Scriptures." I also left behind a copy of Thomas Sowell's Wealth, Poverty, and Politics, and Jim Cox's The Concise Guide to Economics for Angel to read.
On Tuesday, October 3, we woke up and drove unannounced to the home of the Stoddards, the family that created the Joseph Smith Foundation. I wanted to say hello, tell them I appreciated what they do, and get a few extra copies of Clark A. Peterson's Using the Book of Mormon to Combat Falsehoods in Organic Evolution, and give them a copy of Darwinian Deceptions. The mother answered the door and I asked, "Hi, is this the Joseph Smith Foundation?" She laughed and said "Yes." I then said, "I'm a fan, and a recent customer." I explained that I was there on vacation from Canada and was in the neighborhood, wanted to say hi, and pick up a few more copies of Peterson's book. They invited me in and I ended up having them meet my whole family and networking with them about our websites and my book. I mentioned about how I had ordered and watched their LDS Prophets and Evolution Documentary and complimented them on it. I suggested that I could provide a link to their products, and they could showcase our book. They were very nice and generous people, since I went away with about eight or ten copies of Peterson's book, as well as their DVDs that I didn't have, all for free.
Later that morning, we drove to Lehi where the headquarters of the Libertas Institute is. There we were received warmly, having introduced ourselves as fans of the Tuttle Twins, and got to meet Connor Boyack, the author of the series. He gave the kids a sneak peek of the upcoming Tuttle Twins book, based on Atlas Shrugged, and signed a copy of his book Passion-Driven Education that I bought while we were there, and also sold me a bunch of their giveaway booklets, at my request.
Afterward, we went and ate a Chuck-a-Rama in Lehi and went to the outlet mall for Amanda to shop. Then we came back to her sister's place and later in the evening watched her kids play flag football.
On Wednesday, October 4, we went around to gravesites of our direct ancestors in Payson, Springville, and Provo.
Here is a picture of us in Payson cemetery visiting the grave of George Washington Hancock, an ancestor on my side who was in the Mormon Battalion. Buried next to him is his second wife and some of their children.
Also in Payson cemetery was Grandpa and Grandma Joseph and Sarah (Reed) Curtis. They were buried here with their young son Edward.
In Springville we found the grave of Amanda's ancestor Tamma (Durfee) Miner. She had a large and beautiful memorial with many things written on it.
Later that evening, we went to my sister Jayna's house to eat dinner with her family and Wayne's family.
On Thursday, October 5, we went to Santaquin to visit another gravesite of a direct ancestor. There was no directory at this cemetery, and so we found it by sheer luck. Afterwards we went with Amanda's sister Kim's family to the "Puppy Barn" in Lehi, and the kids had fun petting dogs. Then we took the kids to Seven Flags in Lehi, played lots of arcade games, mini golf, and laser tag. After that we went to the BYU hockey game where our nephew Brandon was the goalie for BYU. While at the game we met Travis Blackwelder and his wife. Travis was a recipient of Brandon's brother Taylor's organs. BYU won in a shoot-out.
On Friday, October 6, I went alone to Confetti Books in Spanish Fork and spent a long time searching for books to buy, as I like to do when I'm in town. Amanda spent the time with her sister. When I had exhausted the available time I had there, I came home to watch the littler kids so Amanda could go for a girl's afternoon and get pedicures. While they were gone, I had to pick the older kids up from the Ninjago movie. Later on, we went to a Ward Fundraiser meal that was going on for Kim's Ward, whre the kids played games and had their faces painted. Here is a picture of little McKay with a dragon thing on his face:
Afterwards we walked around the Payson temple, which was nextdoor, with the kids. It is such a beautiful temple, and is particularly stunning at night with flood lights aimed on it.
On Saturday, October 7, we went to Lehi, Utah to a Fall Festival/Pumpkin Patch to meet up with my cousin Preston and his family. We had a great, although brief, visit. Unfortunately, we also had a scare when McKay went missing in that huge place for about half an hour. We searched frantically, and I finally found him back at the little village where he had started out playing. By the time we found him we needed to leave. But I left Preston with a signed copy of Darwinian Deceptions and Peterson's book with Preston before we left in a rush. We then went to Chuck-a-Rama in Lehi to meet the other authors of Darwinian Deceptions for lunch. Unfortunately, the only other author who was able to make it for lunch was David Barker, but we had a great visit and I was able to get a signed copy of his book. He also gave me three other copies to sell on consignment for him in Canada.
Kim, Amanda's sister, and her family, were also with us for lunch. After lunch, we went on a gorgeous drive up a mountain in Provo. The Fall foliage was beautiful and there were many look-out points where we stopped to look around and take pictures. We also hiked up to a grotto with a little waterfall.
When we got back, Amanda went out with Kim to a concert while I tended the kids with Dan. I gave Dan his family's copy of Darwinian Deceptions.
On Sunday, October 8, we woke up early and started the long trek home. Things started out well, but five miles from the Idaho border we got a sudden FLAT TIRE! And, in searching, we found no tire iron among the tools of the van. Therefore, we had to flag people down until we could get someone with the proper-sized tire iron. And people don't easily stop, I've found.
Once we got on the spare, we limped our way into Pocotello, ID and had to get a brand new tire. In all, we lost about four hours of travel time and had to spend the night in Helena, MT, after eating dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings in Butte.
On Monday, October 9, Canadian Thanksgiving, we woke up on a cold morning and drove our way up to the Canadian Border. We eventually made it back to my Mom and Dad's house around noon. While we were there, my mother had my Aunt Rita come over and share an experience where she felt our ancestors channelling through her to give a message to their posterity. The message was four-fold:
- Read the Book of Mormon everyday and ponder it.
- Pray sincerely to God.
- Love your family and show your love.
- Remember the love that Heavenly Father has for you.