Family, Family Travel, History, Life with Boys

Ghost Town Exploring in Strevell, Idaho

We visited the ghost town of the Strevell, Idaho. It is located around thirty minutes outside of Snowville, Utah along Idaho’s 305 Highway.  Established in the early 1900’s, Strevell served as port of entry town for over seventy years. It had several gas stations, a hotel, and many restaurants. You can read more about the town here.

 

Old Hotel in Strevell, Idaho. It was moved many years ago to Malta, a town several miles away and is now a private residence.

Clyde Kempton's service station Strevell

We had to be careful as we explored the ruins of an old service station. Jason should consider a career in archaeology with the quick way he discovered old relics.

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Jason finds an old relic from Strevell. I wonder what it was used for?

 

 

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Ruins of an old service station in Strevell, Idaho

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Family, Family Travel, Life with Boys

Our Summer Trip, Day One:

We left our home at 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 19, 2018. We drove north through Ogden, Brigham City, and Tremonton. Just outside of Tremonton we took I-84 toward Boise, Idaho. We drove for an hour and then had a break in Snowville, Utah. It is a very small town. We stopped at the small post office so I could mail a card to my father.  Then we followed Grandpa on one of his “Grandpa” trails.  We left I-84 for a back highway and headed northwest to Malta, Idaho.

Aaron (our junior ornithologist) had his binoculars out checking all the power lines for birds of prey. We had driven only a few minutes when he spied a golden eagle. It was the first time that he had seen one “in the wild” and he was very excited.  I was excited too because I had only ever seen them at the zoo or the Ogden Nature Center.

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Family, Life with Boys, Motherhood, Writing Your Baby's Story

Week Three: Writing Your Baby’s Story

We’ve been busy the last few weeks with family in town and celebrating birthdays. I had fun adding more information to each of my “baby’s” stories. They certainly aren’t babies anymore! Our youngest just turned six years old. If you are starting when your baby is only a few weeks old, congratulations! My details are getting foggier the older I get. Here are the questions to add to your child’s story this week.

  1. Who drove the mother and the baby home?When did the mother and baby arrive home
  2. Where did the mother and baby live? Who did they live with?
  3. Describe the baby’s home and room.
  4. Did the baby sleep in their own room or share a room with the mother or someone else?
  5. What were the siblings’ and/or other family members’ reactions the baby’s arrival home?
  6. What visitors did the baby and mother have in the first few days home?
  7. Did anyone come or help the mother and the new baby? Who? How long did that person stay? What other help did the family receive?
  8. Did the mother and/or baby receive any special gifts?
  9. Describe the feelings the mother and father had during the first few days home.  Did they have any special impressions or thoughts?

A few of the highlights from my answers to these questions comes from that the last one. Describe the feelings the mother and father had during the first few days home. When we had our first beautiful baby boy, I was twenty-four.  We were students in college and working hard to make ends meet.  I remember when we first brought our baby home to our little apartment, I was so excited, but also very nervous. We had a lot of support. My mother came every day to help us out a little and my mother in law came for a few days as well. Our church family helped us with dinners and always checked on me.

It was hard the first time I was left alone with our son. I had taken care of children, even little babies, but not for hours at a time. I was trying to nurse him because all my birthing classes had stressed that “breast is best.” However, our sweet little guy would not latch on in a comfortable way and it hurt terribly every time I tried to feed him. I was frustrated and exhausted. However, I would not, could not supplement with formula. I was certain in my foggy postpartum mind that if I fed him from a bottle, he would die and I would forever hold the title of “worst mother in the world.”

I remember praying,”Please Heavenly Father, please help me, please bless him to be able to eat.” Well, I tried to do everything the lactation specialist had shown me and it wasn’t working. The baby was hungry and tired. My delivery was rough and I was still recovering. I was physically and mentally exhausted. I cried and cried, the baby cried. It was so overwhelming. I didn’t know what to do anymore when exactly at the moment by my sweet husband walked in the door. He had come home from work earlier than I expected. He looked at me and the baby and he took the sweet infant in his arms and snuggled him and sent me to bed. I remember saying the baby was upset because he was hungry, but I couldn’t get him to eat. My level-headed husband said, “We still have samples of formula from the hospital, right?”

He said, ‘formula’ but I am sure I heard  ‘arsenic.’  I glared at him. “We are not feeding our baby formula!”

He looked at me kindly and put his arm on my shoulder. “Karen, scientists created infant formula for this reason: so that their dads could help feed their babies. Our baby won’t die if he drinks formula. I promise you. He is going to be fine.”

I tried to protest, but I was so exhausted and somehow he got me to go lay down. I fell asleep almost immediately. I woke an hour or two later and came out to my husband watching television in the living room. Our baby’s belly was full and he was happily dosing in the crook of his father’s arms.

I realize then my prayer was answered. It wasn’t in the way I thought it would be, but it was an answer. My husband coming home when he did was a tender mercy.  I never thought I would go to feeding our baby formula, but after seeing how my husband could help me. Later I realized how much easier it was for me and the baby and we never went back.

If you are wondering if feeding our baby formula hurt him,  well he is in the eighth grade, 6’1″, sings, plays piano, and has great grades.

michael

 

 

Family, Family History, History, Writing Your Own Story

Week Two: Writing Your Personal History

I enjoyed answering the questions from last week. It was fun to try to remember about when I was a baby. I learned I don’t really remember much! However, here are some highlights of the answers to questions last week:

 

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Me, two months old

 

Where did you get your name from? My mother liked the names Catherine and Cordelia. Cordelia is my great grandmother’s middle name. My mom decided on Karen because it was a shorter form of Catherine. My name in Greek means “purity.” I am glad I wasn’t called Cordelia, even though I know Anne of Green Gables dreamed of being called that.

My mother liked to call me “Kare-Bear” after the popular cartoon on television when I was growing up in the 1980s. She said it was because I was always so sweet. The only people who call me “Kare-Bear” now are my older sister and my mother and two of my best friends growing up.

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I am excited to write more this week. Here are the questions:

5. What clothing did you wear as a baby? What did your parents tell you about your growing out of your shoes and other clothing? Buying new clothes?

6.  Tell about learning to walk, to talk, losing your first tooth, learning to count, say the alphabet, learn nursery rhymes and songs, favorite bedtime stories, times with your mother and father, brothers and sisters, discipline (getting spankings, time out etc), favorite foods, getting into trouble and learning, pets, games, toys, etc.

7. Tell about birthdays and parties, Christmas, Easter, Halloween, Valentine’s Day, costumes and gifts, parades, Santa Claus, Eater Bunny, picnics etc.

8.  Tell about who your friends were at this early age, times with your cousins, etc.

Good luck! I know these questions will keep me busy this week.

Family, Family History, History, Life with Boys, Motherhood

Bringing Family History to Life

I think it is important when you have kids to do things that can bring your family history to life for them. It can all be so confusing with the names and dates. I remember growing up my mother would start a story and I would not know who she was referring to. I could not see the connections like she could and our conversations went like this.

“Who are you talking about again?”

“Phebe, you know, your grandfather’s sister. She is Matthew and Libby’s grandmother.”

There were too many names and I never heard the story only trying to figure out the names.

I have learned when I teach a story to my boys about one of their ancestors I have to keep it simple. I show a photo if I have one and then tell the story in a minute or two.

If my teenager wants to know more when I have finished then I can give him the name of the ancestor where he can go on to Familysearch.org to look more about his ancestor for himself.

One of the ways I have tried to bring family history to life for my children is to visit places where there is a story in connection with our ancestors. My favorite place to take them is to the Bluff Fort Historic Site and Visitors Center in Bluff, Utah. I have great grandparents who were a part of the San Juan Mission who carved a road out of the Utah desert to Bluff. They were the only pioneer expedition to travel east!

Bluff Fort is a lot of fun because they have interactive displays in each of the replica cabins built around the fort. There are artifacts you can see and learn more about. There is a movie made specifically about the Hole-in-the-Rock Expedition and you can climb into a covered wagon. We got to see our ancestors’ names on the memorial they have in the middle of the fort, the Stevens Family. If you are interested in going to the Bluff Fort yourself it is open all year round and is completely free.  Their website is http://www.hirf.org.

Family, Life with Boys, Motherhood, Uncategorized

Trapper Keepers and American Girl Dolls

Back in the early nineties, my family moved from our log home to run a bed and breakfast across town.  I am the youngest of six children. I have an older sister, then four brothers. We moved while my third brother was on a two-year proselytizing mission for our church in Bolivia. The only two children left at home were myself and my brother who was two years older.

When we unpacked our belongings into our new rooms, my brother found a Beauty and the Beast Trapper Keeper in a box of his. It was not his and so he put it on my bed thinking it was mine. I saw it and knew it was not mine so I put it on his bed. This went on for days until finally I got upset and said,”Quick putting this thing in my room. It isn’t mine.”

“Well, it certainly isn’t mine!” he said.

We figured out it must have belonged to our brother who was on a mission. My brother put in a box in his closet and I thought it was the end of it until the next day when I got home from high school. My brother sat in the living room, not watching television, reading, or doing anything. He never just sat. I knew he was up to something. He nodded at me when I came in. Then he smiled. It was an eerie, mischievous sort of smile. “Aren’t you going to take your stuff up to your room?” he asked.

“No!” I yelled and ran to my room. “Where is it?” I searched my room for the offending Trapper Keeper. I looked in my pillowcases, in my dresser drawers, in my closet. He followed me and casually leaned against my door watching my erratic behavior. He had an amused look on his face.

“Where did you put it?” I asked ready to tear my hair out.

He laughed and looked at the ceiling.I looked and he had taped the Trapper Keeper to the ceiling above my bed.

“I wanted you to have a good dreams,” he said.

I immediately stood on my bed and tore the offending item from my ceiling.

The next day, I put it in the cupboard under his television where he kept his video games so his friends would see it as they got the games out.

The next day, he taped it to my shower.

The Trapper Keeper would never disappear. The game went on for the rest of the year until my brother graduated and moved away. I put in my closet and laughed when I saw it.

It felt weird to be the only kid at home with my parents that fall. When the spring came around my brother decided to go out and serve a mission for our church as well and was sent to England. The following Christmas, I got the Trapper Keeper out, wrote him a bunch of letters, filled it with candy and mailed it to him. It was the best!

Our family talked to him on Christmas and he had not received my package yet. Then a few weeks later, I got a letter saying he had received my package, but he wasn’t very happy about it. I believe he threw it away in a bin in Manchester, England. trapper-keeper

It is a funny thing to remember. Then similarly, a few years after my husband and I had our first son, we were expecting another baby and we bought some curtains from Pottery Barn Kids.  My husband got on a mailing list somehow and they sent him an American Girl doll catalog. We laughed about it and I would call him at work to tell him it had come in the mail so it would have something to look forward to when he returned home.

As our boys have grown, we still get the American Girl Catalog. My husband started putting it in our oldest’s sons room and then I would help him come up with a place to hide it in my husband’s things. Then our two younger boys have got involved and they hide in each other’s bedrooms. We moved three years ago and made sure that we changed our address so they would continue to come, however, we put the catalog in our oldest’s sons’ name.  We wanted him to feel special. With so much technology these days, who doesn’t like getting special items in the mail?

We continue to get them to this day and find funny places to hide them.  The best hiding spot was when I put it in a part of my son’s backpack he doesn’t use very often and he carried it back and forth to junior high for a week. Good times! It is the little, silly things we do that our kids remember. Just as I always think of my brother whe I see Beauty and the Beast, I know in the future, I will never see an American Girl catalog without thinking of the funny times we had with our boys when they were young.

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Family, History

Stepping back to 1860s: Holden, Utah

For many years, I have wanted to explore Holden, Utah a small town located just north of Fillmore, Utah along Interstate I-15. There just has never seemed to me any time, until now. I was always curious, but I recently learned Holden was the place where my great-great grandparents Joshua and Lizzie Stevens (Walter Joshua Stevens and Elizabeth Kenney Stevens) met and fell in love one hundred and fifty years ago.  Now, I had to go.

My family and I drove into the quiet town in the morning after it had snowed although it was early spring. The fields were green and still damp from the melted snow. The sun was out and the lone mountain peak to the west glowed in the morning sun.

Holden is a quiet farming town with around 250 residents. Quaint homes line the small main street with a modern town hall sandwiched in between.  It was neat to explore the streets, but I was on a mission.

Ages ago, I came across old photos of some of the homes in Holden at the Church History Library in Salt Lake City. These photos belonged to Joshua’s younger sister, Abigail Stevens who was married to Brigham Young Jr. These photos were taken of homes belonging to the Stevens family:. the father, William Stevens, Walter Stevens, Sr., Edward Stevens and David Riley Stevens.   I wondered if the homes would still be standing as they were built in the last 1850s, early 1860s.

I wandered around town trying to locate these homes or the lot on which they once stood. I found one and was so excited and then I saw a man standing outside the home across the street and I talked to him.

He said his name was Edward Thomas and that he didn’t know much about the homes, but his brother, Frank who lived in the home would. I knocked on the door and was pleasantly surprised to that Frank was an artist and he knew exactly what homes I was looking for.

Frank is currently working on a painting picturing Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum as they ride away from Nauvoo to go to Carthage Jail.  Mr. Thomas is also a former army colonel and served in Vietnam and Desert Storm.

His website is  wildgoosecreekstudio.com/…/artist-s-biography. Here are some photos of the paintings in his home.

He helped me locate the Stevens’ homes and I will forever be grateful.

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Walter Stevens, Sr. home, photo undated
Walter Stevens, Sr. home today

This is the home where Joshua Stevens grew up. They’ve added a porch and some of the landscaping has changed, but who thought a home built in the late 1850s would still be in such great shape? Especially with the bricks coming from local brick-kiln way back then.

Walter Stevens, Sr. home another view today
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David Riley Stevens home
David Riley Stevens’ home today
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Front view of David Riley Steven’s home
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Edward Stevens home
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Edward Stevens’ home
Edward Stevens home today

 

Edward Steven’s home today

 

This home is the William Stevens home. Walter, Sr., Edward, and David Riley Stevens’ father.


 

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William Stevens’ children.  Back row: David Riley Stevens, Edward Stevens, William Stevens, Jr., front row: Albert Stevens, Rachel Stevens, and Walter Stevens, Sr.