Caleb spent four days at Ensign Ranch, attending Camp Helaman--a missionary prep-type camp for young men 16 and older. It was a great experience. He was filthy and starving when we picked him up on our way to Yakima, where we would spend that night. We enjoyed a nice meal with my family before going to their production of "The Little Mermaid." Such a fun show!
By the time the show was over, the kids were hungry again and Miner's is the perfect place for a milkshake, fourth meal or both. Crazy that my children had never been there, right? Well now they have and they loved it.
After church the next day, we drove to Helena. Most of the family was there, preparing to head to Idaho for our family reunion.
Monday was the Fourth of July and we did a fun photo scavenger hunt that day. We drew names for teams (making sure the native Helenans were split up--they were the drivers for each team) and then raced around town getting pictures. We had a list of photos we had to take in the allotted time and at least one member of the team had to be in each photo. Unfortunately, I don't have pictures from all of the teams, but here are a few favorites from that fun activity:
On the trolley
A red spoon
I got a picture with a stranger wearing a patriotic shirt. I had to flag her down in her car, but she was so nice about taking a picture with me:
This stranger was also very nice to let Henry use his shirt as an example of something from another country:
My team at the water tower.
We left early the next morning for Idaho. Our family reunion was being held in Ashton, which is just 30 minutes or so from Rexburg. Caleb had never been to BYU-I, so we decided it would be great to take him to campus and let him get a peek at where he'd soon be going to school. I also couldn't wait to see all the changes that have taken place since I went to Ricks over 20 years ago.
On our way, we stopped in Sheridan to visit Grandma's grave. We found the only place to buy some flowers in tiny Sheridan and placed them at her headstone.
Jon had fond childhood memories of a candy shop in Virginia City. It's still there and now the fond memories have been passed to his children.
The only bathrooms available were in the town's community center, which also had an old-timey gymnasium. Caleb even found a basketball lying around with which to make a half-court shot:
We had a BYU-I campus tour scheduled in the early afternoon, but thought we were arriving in Rexburg in time for a late lunch beforehand. As soon as we got to the food court, however, we learned that it was shutting down for devotional. With nowhere else to really go, we decided to just attend the devotional. I was so glad we did. The BYU-I center is amazing! It's just a slightly smaller version of the Conference Center in SLC. The speaker, a facilities manager on campus, gave a really great message about being a low maintenance, high output member of the church--relating us, as members of the church, to light bulbs and the technological advances that have created light bulbs to be better quality and more efficient. We are to be "light-emitting disciples," he said.
Then it was time for our very long, thorough tour. The two students that served as our guides did a great job. BYU-I is a special place and you feel "the spirit of Ricks" all over campus.
"Having begun my service as president of [BYU-Idaho] in July 1997, I quickly recognized the uniqueness of this great institution. I have a strong desire to preserve and enhance the 'spirit of Ricks.' " David A. Bednar
Campus looks so very different from when I attended here, but I did find one familiar-looking logo:
We next visited the apartment complex where Caleb was planning to live this fall. I was worried as soon as we drove through the parking lot, but it only got worse once we walked through one of the apartments. I actually left with a terrible pit in my stomach. Small, dingy and not at all what we'd seen from their website. "The carpet looked like a cat," was Alyssa's observation. It didn't feel right and I knew I couldn't send Caleb off to live there, even though he was trying to have a good attitude about it. We'd been seeing a shuttle around campus from a complex called, "The Ivy" and I just needed to look to see if there were any other options. We were able to take a quick tour and immediately knew we needed to make a change. We had to pay a fee to cancel the other contract, and I felt a little snobbish doing so, but knowing Caleb would have a very nice place to live put us both at ease.
The Ivy Apartments
Being in Rexburg helped Caleb feel more at ease, but also raised some anxieties of what was to come. For now, though, it was time to put that all aside and enjoy our family reunion.