Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Philmont, Days 4 & 5

Another highlight of the FHE program on Monday night was the Family Banner Parade, where we walked across the stage with our banner.  Ellie was our spokesperson and was very excited to talk in the microphone to the whole crowd.  We were in the very last group to go, and she practiced the whole time we were waiting (We're the Spencers, from Lehi, Utah).  As we were standing in line and just about to go on stage, Greg told her to add "All Hands on Deck!"  It kind of threw her, and she needed some prompting when her turn to talk came, but she was darling and got a big cheer from the crowd.

I forgot to hang our banner on our tent, like a lot of other families, so that 30 second glimpse was the only display time our banner got all week.  It was kind of a lot of work (and ruined a onesie of Cece's and a pair of my pajamas with paint) for that, but it is a fun keepsake now.

I had tried a few times on Monday to do laundry, and the machines were always busy.  I finally got smart and put the laundry in at 5:30 a.m. on Tuesday when I got up to shower.  I had my pick of the machines!  I used the stroller to transport all of the laundry and it was quite a sight.  Good thing it was so early...

We had our family picture taken before breakfast.  It was overcast the whole time we were in line, and the sun came out right as it was our turn.  Lucky us, to be able to look right in the sun!

Flag ceremony every morning was a treat at Philmont.  So wonderful to teach our girls about respect for the flag and our country, and to be able to watch the competent young Scouts raise the flags.  I am grateful that Ellie already knew the Pledge of Allegiance from preschool, and that she proudly joined in.

On Tuesday, we only had classes in the morning, and then the rest of the day was Family Time.  We made our first of many trips to the Craft Center together, and started making leather bracelets for the girls.  We put their initials, and then they got to pick some leather stamps.  Ellie picked a turtle, a unicorn, moon and hearts for her bracelet.  Lynnie picked a dolphin, a rainbow, moon, and stars.  We picked a zebra, a flower, stars and hearts for Cece's bracelet.  Ellie was very excited to hammer her bracelet and Cece's, as well.  

We had signed up for a tour of the Villa Philmonte at 3:30.  This was a bad time for our tired preschoolers, but it gave us an opportunity to practice being adaptable.  The tour was fascinating, and we learned a lot about Waite Phillips and his family (the man who donated all of the land and his house to the Boy Scouts).  Mr Phillips started working for his older brothers' oil business when he was a teenager (they are the founders of Phillips 66).  After 8 years, he broke off from them and started his own oil and gas company.  He became very successful because his company did all aspects of the industry, from collection to production to distribution.

I love this snippet from scouting.org:

In 1914 Waite realized that he knew enough about oil to start his own company so he left the employment of his brothers and started the Waite Phillips Company. He was very competitive in how he designed his company. He drilled for oil like many others but he also had his own refineries, tank cars on the rails, and gas stations. This vertical integration of “everything oil” caught the eye of an investment firm on Wall Street in 1925. After negotiations, Waite Phillips sold his oil company to that firm for $25 million.
Waite and Genevieve Phillips were now extremely wealthy. They realized they had far more money than their family would ever need. Beginning that year, 1925, and every year thereafter, they gave away half of everything that they earned.
Mr Phillips was famous also for pithy epigrams.  The one we heard most at Philmont was "The only things we keep permanently are those we give away."
The Villa Philmonte was the family's summer home, and almost 90% of the furnishings, art, and rugs are original to the house.  Ellie said multiple times, "I could live here" or "I wish I lived here."  Cece slept for the whole tour as I carried her, and Greg alternated between carrying Lynnie and dragging the big girls along.  They got a little tired by the end...
In the courtyard was a cool mountain lion fountain, original to the house.  It used to recirculate water into a swimming pool.  I asked a nice lady from the tour to take our picture, and she missed the lion fountain.  Oh, well.
Lynnie was restored to her natural exuberance after drinking some milk in Cece's stroller.

The trees around the Villa are humongous!  I wanted to take a picture showing the scale.

Ellie wanted to be the photographer next.  She told us how to pose, and how to place our hands.  She was very thorough and very deliberate.

I love this picture from the activity that night.  Greg and I were getting the girls some cobbler while we were all listening to the band play music, and Pres Keck volunteered for keeping-Cece-happy duty.  It was pretty sweet to watch him wheel her all around.  As long as she was moving, she was content.


On Monday afternoon, I had painted this bowl during the ceramics class.  I instantly had buyer's remorse, because the shade I had wanted for the inside was unavailable, and I wasn't totally happy with what I picked.  Plus, I worried about my uneven painting lines.  To my delight, when the bowl was loaded into the kiln it got knocked on the edge, and got a chip.  The Craft Center offered to replace it with something of equal value (they were out of this bowl).  I excitedly picked out 2 smaller bowls, and then bought 3 more.  So it turned into a win-win for everyone.


I spent most of my class time in the Craft Center, and I was excited to spy the crafts my girls had made with their Small Fry class.  Ellie kindly took pictures of their projects for me.


The Small Fry Center was a great building, full of toys and fun things to do.  The girls loved the bathroom with the little potties and the low sink.  I loved the adult to child ratio  Cece always had one designated helper per class, and it seemed like the big girls had one helper for every 2-3 kids. Ellie loved doing activities and playing with her friends.   Lynnie always complained when we dropped her off, and then had fun and complained when we picked her up.  Cece was a little cranky at the beginning of the week, and then the amazing Tara figured her out and helped her be happy for the rest of the week.

On Wednesday when I got there to pick them up, Cece was asleep in this helper's arms.  Tara told me he was one of the extra helpers that got pulled in that day (LDS week has more children than normal, so the Small Fry center utilized rotating personnel from other stations).  He had never held a baby before, but he was a natural with Cece.  She snuggled in and fell right asleep!

In the afternoon class, they lay down on mats and watch a show.  Lynnie fell asleep and stayed that way the whole afternoon.  Too many late nights had caught up with her!  It was so funny to see her sound asleep while all of the children ran around her.

We headed back to the Craft Center to work more on the girls' bracelets and to start on a belt for Greg.  It was staining time!

Lynnie stayed asleep in the stroller and ended up taking an almost 4 hour nap.

Here are the girls' bracelets, after the stain and before the shiny protective layer.  Ellie stained them all herself.



Then it was time to go get ready for the Children's Parade and Western Night.  The girls were very excited to wear their costumes!

Lynnie was more interested in eating her Scooby snack than in smiling for the camera.



Right after the parade, I grabbed our chance to ask Sister Wixom if we could take a picture with her.  She was very gracious, through my rush to get my camera on, to Lynnie freaking out a little, to Ellie getting hit by this boy's costume.

Here's the winner!

After the parade, where we had been sprinkled on, it started raining in earnest.  We waited it out under the pavilion by the classroom buildings, and traded our costumes for our cowgirl hats.

Lynnie was not interested in taking a picture with Ellie.

She was, however, interested in taking pictures with Puppy. She even shared her hat.



. : lollipop in the rain : .

. : puddle jumping : .


Sweet Lynlee.  We spent a lot of time waiting for her to catch up.  She likes to go in her own time.




After a bbq dinner, we took some pictures in our western wear.  Clearly, I spent all of my costuming efforts on the girls' cute outfits.  Their pink cowgirl hats even light up.

That's the cutest cowgirl I've ever seen!

There were giant moths hanging out in the terrace where we liked to eat our meals.  President Bunnell touched one, and Ellie was excited to try to touch it as well.


After dinner we headed back to the Greensward for the games.  Ellie took over the camera and got some great pictures.


The line for cotton candy was long but time passed quickly as we chatted with the Bunnells.  And the cotton candy was a big hit!


After cotton candy and getting some leather branded, we went back to the Craft Center to put some more coats on Greg's belt.  It was a windy night!


There was a gorgeous sunset, but I didn't get my settings quite right to capture it.  I love Lynnie's smile, and I like that you can see our tent city.  Even though Philmont is fairly large, everything is laid out well and nothing is very far away from each other.

This good helper played with Cece and they entertained each other for quite a while.


The big girls had made necklaces the day before, but one of the rings on Ellie's had come loose.  We brought it back to get it tightened up.  She is so independent and had to tell the Craft Center lady all about it, all by herself.

I love this picture, because it shows the sisterly love.  And how sometimes, even with a lot of love, it's not that comfortable!

I had a profound experience earlier in the day.  I had a hard time getting Lynnie to stay in Small Fry because she was so tired.  I was a little late getting to the meeting with Sister Beck and Sister Wixom.  We had those meetings in the Assembly Hall, and it was generally a little warm.  Because I was slipping in late, I took the opportunity to sit by the back door so I would be able to feel the breeze.  Tracy and Melissa caught my eye and beckoned to the seat they had saved, but I elected to stay put.  I ended up being really glad about that a few minutes later.

Perhaps my biggest struggle is that it is hard for me to feel loved, to truly believe people when they say they love me.  It is even hard for me to feel of Heavenly Father's love.  Sister Beck shared a very personal and sacred experience with us.  She prefaced it by saying that she didn't want to share it because it was so personal and sacred, but she had been awakened at 4:30 that morning with the prompting to share it.  I truly believe she was sharing for me.  She shared of a time when she knew that Heavenly Father was aware of her personally, of her needs and desires, and He made it perfectly clear to her how much He loved and cared for her.  It was touching and beautiful, and I was a mess.  I was grateful to be able to slip out and head to the bathroom so I could get my emotions under control.

The entire Philmont experience was wonderful, full of new experiences, opportunities to learn, and time to bond with friends and family.  These precious moments were the highlight of the week for me.  Truly a tender mercy to be reminded of Heavenly Father's love for me, and His love for all of His children.

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