About 2 months ago Dan and I came to an agreement. He cooks and I clean. It has turned out to be a beautiful thing. Prior to this arrangement, it felt like Dan and I were always arguing about division of household chores. I wanted him to help clean the house every week and he saw no need to clean that often (once a month worked for him). He wanted me to cook a well balanced meal at night and I was fine with cereal or grilled cheese sandwiches. Finally after almost 3 years of these types of quarrels, we decided to divide and conquer. Now, Dan OWNS the meals (including grocery shopping) and I do a fabulous job keeping our house lookin nice.
I usually take care of my own breakfast but lunches and dinners are his responsibility. While I was working he would even pack my lunch for me. What a champ.
At night when Dan gets home from work, he gets crackin at dinner and I am free to sit on the couch if I so please (without any guilt). Then, after dinner, I take care of cleaning the kitchen and he gets to sit guilt-free. He makes incredible meals too. He is a much better cook and cares a lot more about it than me. Same thing goes for the cleaning. I'm much better at it and care a lot more than him.
It is no longer even a question. I don't ask him to help clean and he doesn't ask me to help cook. We both couldn't be more happy about it.
The end result...We are clean and well fed without an argument. Does it get any better?
We hiked 6 miles the first day. It was definitely not an easy hike. Those kids had to really work hard. They blazed their own trail most of the way through sage brush and these nasty little sticker weeds. There were many hills and no shade whatsoever. Thankfully it was only about 85 degrees. Another youth group that came a couple weeks earlier were battling 100 degree weather.
We arrived at our campsite at about 6:30pm, set up camp, and ate the best dutch oven meal (all meals were provided by the cooking staff).
The medical team and Priesthood was busy that night. Many kids suffered from dehydration regardless of the many reminders to drink lots of water. I think there were 7 different I.V.'s used. It's a good thing they were prepared for the worst.
The next morning we got up and went at it again. The second day was full of lots of walking and several stops along the way for what they called "vignettes" or mini plays used to help illustrate some of the experiences the pioneers had along their trek. These included the Mormon Battalion (when the men were asked to serve in the US army), the women's pull while the men were away at war, burying our babies (dolls of course), pioneer stories, Indian encounters, and specific trials our families faced along the trail. Near the end, we all stopped and the pony express delivered each of the youth a letter written by their parents.
At around 4:30pm we arrived in "Zion", which for us was a beautiful grassy area lined with trees. We pulled into the camp grounds and everyone sprawled out on the grass to recover. It's amazing how grateful you can be for something as simple as soft grass.
The rest of the evening was full of good food, games, and dancing. The kids looked like they were having a great time. All the adults just sat back and enjoyed the scene. That is, of course, when they weren't on the bull ride!
A little fun and games
Dan grabbing the bull by it's horns!!
All along the way there were MANY opportunities to talk about the pioneers experiences and draw analogies to the trials the youth face today. Each evening and morning we had a family devotional and prayer as well as many mini devotionals as we walked. I couldn't believe how many lessons were to be had throughout the trek. The kids were amazing. They were so receptive and even drew many analogies on their own. They definitely felt the spirit of the pioneers and the importance of their sacrifice.
The next morning (Saturday) we ate, then packed up, and moved out. We got home at around 6:30pm. Dan & I fell asleep at about 8:30pm and didn't wake up until about 10 then next morning. Enough said.
Gotta love sleeping on a hard ground in bags!!
It was incredible to be a part of something so amazing. The church never does anything half hearted. Thousands of volunteer hours worth of planning, preparation, and implementation went into this youth conference. On Sunday night the stake held a testimony meeting for all the youth involved and their parents. One of the leaders stood up and asked all of the adults involved in any way to stand up. There were probably close to 200 adults standing. The leader then told the youth "Don't ever think you aren't loved because each of these adults volunteered countless hours to make this experience possible. They did it for you, because they love you."
The youth then had the opportunity to get up and bare testimony of the lessons they learned and how this experience strengthened their testimony of Jesus Christ. The spirit was so strong.
I'm so grateful to be able to work with the youth in this church. They are strong, valient, and capable kids. I pray they can resist all the evil that Satan is bombarding them with daily. It's a full on battle. I am confident that as they are provided with opportunities to feel the spirit and feel the love of their Heavenly Father, they will commit themselves to following the Lords path and they will win that battle.
"The Latter-day Saints need to remember that those who live now are being called upon to work out our salvation in a special time of intense and immense challenges. The last portion of the dispensation of the fullness of times is during which great tribulation and temptation will occur. The elect will almost be deceived and unrighteous people will be living much as they were in the days of Noah. Therefore, though we have rightly applauded our ancestors for their spiritual achievement and we don't 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 the dispensation of the fullness of times will one day be praised for their stamina by those who pulled handcarts." - Elder Neal A. Maxwell
Before showing pictures of the final product, I have to show pictures of the process. Dan was highly involved in the building of our first home. Not only was he the one coordinating the subs but he did a TON of the work on his own. He worked SO hard for several months. I'm so grateful for his perseverance. Good Job Babe!!! Here's a summary of all his work...
He installed our wood floors.
He painted the interior and after attempting the exterior, he called in the professionals.
He installed all of our finish work (that includes base boards, trim around doors and windows, etc.) What a HUGE job!! And look at that cute smile!!
Dan was so exhausted mentally and physically from the whole process that I decided to suprise him and call in the troops (ward friends, home teachers, family) to help move us in while he was on a campout with the scouts. He thought he was going to have to do it when he got home but instead he came home to a house full of our things. I've never seen him so happy.
The next week I had a Monday holiday followed by 2 snow days, perfect timing. By Wednesday night of that week everything we owned had a place. We really didn't have much stuff so the trick since then has been trying to fill some of the blank walls and spaces. We still have a long way to go but it's starting to feel like a home now. Here's what we have so far...
The great room. This is the most decorated room of the house since it is our main living area. We love being in here. Right now I'm on the couch to the right and Dan is asleep on the couch to the left. Oh so comfy.
The front entry. I love the trim work Dan did around the front door. One of my favorites of the house.
This picture is taken from the great room looking into the kitchen. The table is on loan from Dan's parents since we don't have one yet. Well, we have a table but when we moved from Salt Lake the chairs wouldn't fit in the trailer, so we left them. We were actually glad to have an excuse to get rid of them!
Let's go upstairs! To the right is a loft area, a nice space with nothing in it so I didn't include a picture. sorry!
Next we have the laundry room. I love that it's upstairs by the bedrooms and I LOVE the folding table!!
We'll just skip the other bedrooms (which are also empty) and head into the master bedroom. Hard to see but you get the idea.
The master bathroom. Nice tile job Dan!!
That concludes the Ruden family house tour. Thank you for stopping by! Come again soon!
That night we went out to eat at the Brew Pub. We then came home, sat on the couches, and talked. After about an hour, Dad and Dan were asleep and my Mom and I continued until about 1am. I love talking to my mom. We talk about real things. Conversations with her are always enlightening.
Sunday morning Dan made us breakfast and we sat and talked some more. My mom took a nap leaving time to talk with my Dad. We had a great conversation with him. We then went to church, came home, Dan made us dinner, we went on a walk through Rotary Park (beautiful nature preserve close to home), then came home and played a card game called Screwy Lewy. Now that's a fun game!