Sunday, February 23, 2014

Welcome Home Elder Joshua!

He's HOME!

We put Elder Hamster because it's a family inside joke...

We got to the airport an hour early, because I didn't want a repeat of Bruce's parents not being there at the airport when he got off of his mission, so I made sure we got there on time.  Oh my word it is so fun to look at that picture above and see Joshua in it!!  SO FUN!!

Tori drove out with us.  She and Jesse planned it so that Tori would drive our car home and we could all get in the van and drive home together.  How thoughtful is that!

Rachelle and Greg and their children all came out to the airport - even that late at night!

Jesse made it from Provo 5 MINUTES before he got off the plane.  She prayed that the plane would be delayed and indeed it was!

When we finally saw him through the doors walking towards us, well, it's hard to describe in words how happy we were!

 Laren and Caralee came to the airport just in time as well!  So nice of them to come!

 This is a picture Caralee wanted to show Jancen... and his roomates...
After we left the Airport, a visit to Taco Bell was in order!
This is one boy that is very happy to see his Dad (and vice-versa)!

When we got home, Joshua came home and listened to Libby, Mary and Jesse play the piano.
 He handed out souveniers also, which included machetes and a HUGE hammock!
 He had 75 ties!
After the end of a long night, this is where these two ended up.
Isn't that where the child in all of us wants to be?

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Two Missionary Sons

Well, we have come to the end of our year with two missionary sons out at once!

Joshua, serving in El Salvador San Salvador East Mission for four more days.
Joseph, serving in Argentina Mendoza Mission for one more year.
What a WONDERFUL blessing it has been this year to have two faithful sons serving missions at the same time!  It is hard to describe in words what it feels like, but it will suffice to say that it has filled me with joy.  I believe everyone in the family could say that.  It will be a hard habit to change for everyone in our family in our prayers when we say, "Please bless Joshua and Joseph on their missions..."

I have written this blog faithfully almost every week this past year so that they would know what was going on with our family, and also Jesse at BYU, and it has been very fun to have this "family history" recorded.   

A big shout-out to my brother Chris, who told me this week that he reads this blog on a regular basis, and has for years.  My Mom does too, and so does my sister-in-law Kendra.  Thanks guys!

I have loved getting Joshua and Joseph's letters every week.  Some Mondays I would spend all day on the computer, between getting the blog ready, waiting for that email subject that read, "I'm on!", reading their letters and e-mail chatting back and forth with them.

But two will now go to one!  Thankfully we will still have Joseph out serving and enjoying his letters and the blessings that come from his service.  And speaking of that service, JOSEPH passed his one year mark on the mission this week!  He went in to the MTC on Feb 13th!
A month ago, Joseph had the privilege of baptizing Adela, whom the Sister missionaries had taught.  This is what he said about her, "I had the privilege of Interviewing her and baptizing her. She´s been through so much, she basically spent the whole interview and baptism crying for relief and joy. To see her face and her reaction after she came up out of the water, I have a testimony that the Atonement is REAL. And I mean it. It is so real."  Isn't that beautiful?  I was so touched by that - her relief and joy!  (This is a good example of why I love to have missionary sons and read their letters!)

And Joshua gets home in 4 DAYS!!!  This is one of my favorite missionary pictures of this Elder in El Salvador!  He has been a great missionary!  I know he has worked diligently and loved the people, loved his companions, and loved the Lord.  Pero ya se acabó el tiempo.  Adios El Salvador!  He will return with honor!

By the way, when you read this Josh, and start to shed a tear or two, Peter prayed for you today that you would not miss El Salvador too much.  I was touched by his thoughtful prayer!

I was sitting in Church today look at the stand and thought, in one week from now, I will be sitting in this same spot, on this same bench, looking at my son sitting on the stand.  AAAAHHHH!!  I'm so excited to see him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Peter had his last two basketball games this week.  In the first game, he drove to the basket, got fouled and then stepped up to the line and made both of his free throws.  Good job, Peter!

He starts soccer practice this Thursday!  (That's his REAL sport!)

On Monday night, Mary, Peter and I went to the Young Single Adults FHE and were the DJ's for their Valentine's Dance.  Mary and Peter rocked the house! 
They did a Viennese Waltz, the Cha-Cha, and swing dancing.  (Oh, and I might have danced a little too).
Mary and Caleb did their old swing dance and wowed the crowd!  She said that they could both do the lifts a lot better than before.  She does one where he lifts her straight up into a hand stand - it looks awesome!  I'm sorry I don't have a picture of that!
I also got a chance to talk with this lovely young lady!  Joseph, Emma says and that she misses you SO much!

 We had the 5th of 8 Foot Zone classes this week on the current session.  We had so much - laughing and working together and helping each other.  It was a really memorable class for me.  I'm grateful for Sheri, Tanya, Karen, LeAnn and Dania (although we missed Dania this week because she was sick).

Speaking of Ballroom Dance, Peter and Libby started the class with Mary this week!  She is on a different team of older kids, and Peter and Libby joined the younger team!  I'm so excited for them to do this.  We thought they would have to wait until next year, but it turned out that the directors let them come on in the middle of the year.  That was smart, because Peter and Libby have learned a lot of skills from Mary already!

On Thursday night, we had over 30 people here for a class on Grounding.
 We watched a movie on the big screen, with popcorn and everything, and then made grounding pads to take home.  We had a ton of fun!

Valentine's Day was pretty mellow.  We're not a big Valentine's day family, but I did write a letter to Bruce, Mary, Peter and Libby and gave them a present.  That was fun to do!  I asked Jesse what I could do for her for Valentine's, and she refused any gift, that is until I mentioned a book on Amazon.  Then it was a done deal!  Sorry Joshua and Joseph that I forgot to wish you a Happy Valentine's day in your letter last week!  Jesse tried to wear all black on Valentine's Day (in protest - against who knows what), but she couldn't do it.  She had it on, and then she said that the energy of it was so bad that she couldn't follow through with it.  Well good, she does have some sense in her!

Libby danced beautifully in a lyrical dance competition on Saturday morning.  They had white flowing costumes and literally looked like angels on the stage.  This was in contrast to a string of disturbing choreography, costumes and music right before them.  It was interesting how the whole feeling in the room changed the minute their music started.  They danced to "I Can Only Imagine" by MercyMe.

Peter had his Honor Choir Concert this week too.
Mixed Choir
The choir kids from our middle school
 When we asked him at dinner what it was like to sing with that choir, he exclaimed, "It was incredible!  There was nobody that stunk."  :)

Mary had a Tip-off dance Saturday night and she looked beautiful!
She went with Nicholas, and three other couples.  They came to our house for dinner, and we served up orange chicken and fried rice.  Fun group of kids!  When everyone was gathering, Mary was playing the piano and singing with Josh, Jake and Nicholas.  I'm so glad I got a good audio recording of it!

After dinner, the four couples went upstairs and Mary taught them how to waltz.  I will always remember her twirling around in her yellow dress doing the samba!

Today, we had to say good-bye to two of our favorite Elders!  That's always hard! 
We sure love this Elder and hope we can keep in touch in the future!  He is a bright Spanish speaking Elder from Tijuana, Mexico.

And this Elder has been great too!  I talked this Elder into not drinking soda anymore, and he did it!  He said that he started sleeping well for the first time in a long time.  Yeah!

Well, I need to go and fix dinner for our family.  Have a good week everyone.  I know I WILL!!!  :)))

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Mastering our Influence

Mary and I got to got down to Master Your Influence with Kirk Duncan from this week.  We had a great time!
Dad was supposed to come with us, but he was not able to come because of work issues.  That was a bummer, but good in a way too, because he was able to take care of Peter and Libby instead of us having to rely on the goodness of friends.
The Wasatch Front was beautiful with the blue skies and snow-covered mountains.

One night we had the pleasure of going out to eat with Shawn & Janel, Camille, Lauren and Katie.  Jesse met up with us too!  So fun to be with them!  We got the first notice that Brianna and John are engaged!  YEAH!!  So happy for them!

Mary really soaked the class up - although you wouldn't be able to tell it from this picture!  Ha ha!  This is a classic SnapChat-like picture that she sends to Nicholas non-stop.  Mary really "gets it", which cannot be said for all 16 year olds.  All through the classes, any insight that I had, I knew I could share it with her, and she shared a lot of interesting things with me that I never would have thought of.  Now this is what I'm talking about!  As a mother - that is such a pay day!

The theme of the class was, "For things to get better, I must get better.  If things are going to change, I must change."  It focused on how to access the subconscious in order to make lasting changes.  One of the ways you know what is going on in your subconscious is by what your body language says, so we studied a lot about that.  Kirk Duncan gave us a lot of practical tools to change for the better!

One night we went to dinner at the Garden Restaurant at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building with Shauna, who was gracious enough to let us stay at her home.  Wow - that is such a treat!  I started to cry when I saw the beautiful view of the Temple from that location.
Mary also told me that she wanted to come to the Young Living Convention in June with me.  Wahoo!!  That made me so happy.  She said, "Am I now your favorite child?"  "Yes!", was my reply!  Ha ha.  J/K all you other five - but she did make me so happy to hear that she wanted to come.  We really did have a great time this weekend.  We were on the same page the whole time - let's go here and here and do this and that.  It was a lot of fun and a really great "connecting time" for us.
The last night we were there, Mary met up with some friends from Mountain Home, and they said they were going to a place serving Salvadorean Food.  "We are SO going there!", I told Mary, so we tagged along to eat some pupusas.  My friend Paula, who went down with us for the trip, was a good sport to come along with us.  It was very much a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant, but man the food was good! 
Anyone in Salt Lake, go check out Fernando's Café Guanaco and order the pupusa with shrimp.  It will definitely be a destination for our family every time we go to Salt Lake now!
The owner, José Leonel, was so delightful.  He is a member of our Church, and it turns out that he is from San Miguel, the city where Josh is at right now!  He served as Obispo (Bishop) of the Barrio Roosevelt for 9 years, and his mother still lives in that ward.  How cool is that?  I especially loved the purple button up shirt with the blue El Salvador soccer jersey underneath.  Classic!  It was also really fun to meet some new friends from Mountain Home and Saratoga Springs that were at the Roots Tech Conference.  Thanks for lettings us know about this great spot in SLC!

Then today we watched a video of the Temple Dedication in El Salvador.  I cried all the way through it.  I thought of how happy Josh will be to come home, and how painful for him it will be to miss the country, the food, the people he has come to love so much!  Ahh - it is so bittersweet to come home from a mission!

We traveled safely home this morning (thanks to Paula driving when I got tired), and found all well at home with Dad, Libby and Peter.  Jesse came to Idaho for the weekend to go to the Imagine Dragons concert, which she said was amazing.  We must have passed her on the road, because she had already left when we got home (bummer!).

Funny story:  Jesse's roommate Talia slept in Libby's old room on the single bed.  Bruce came in early in the morning and said, "C'mon it's time to get up and milk."  He totally thought it was Jesse.  Talia, half asleep, said, "Oh, I'm kind of tired...".  Bruce was about to pounce on her and tease her into coming when it occurred to him that Jesse wouldn't be half so nice as that, and he stopped himself just in time and said, "Wait... who are you?"  Ha ha ha ha!  Oh my, talk about being traumatized by your roommate's Dad!!  Bruce said they had a good laugh about it later.

Peter went snowboarding again yesterday and had a fun day.  He gets to miss school on Thursday for a special tournament of the snowboard/ski team for the middle school.  He's looking forward to that!  Mary and I laughed right out loud at our class when Kirk told us that the body language meaning of sucking your thumb is that you have to pacify yourself by sucking your thumb  because you are not capable of getting up and doing something.  Well, if that doesn't fit Peter perfectly, I don't know who it would!  That was spot on!  He certainly loves to "go and do."

When I got home, Libby played an arrangement of the Simplified Hymn, "There is Sunshine in My Soul Today" for me.  It was beautiful.  I said, "What book did you play that from?"  She gave me the "duh Mom" look, and said,"It's my assignment from Jeff this week to arrange a hymn."  OK - she did it herself!  She worked on another today too.  LOVE IT!!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

From Sepia Tones to Full Color

I took Mom and Dad to the Airport early in the week.  They are off to Arizona!
Mom got tired of the inversion and there were empty seats on the plane, so off they went!  They will get to see Risa, hopefully, their newest granddaughter!

On Wednesday, Peter has his first basketball game!  He is playing on the Middle School "C" team. 
The highlight of the game was the 3 pointer that Peter made from the right side!  It was awesome!  He was grinning so much that even when they came back from the half, he was still grinning from ear to ear!

On Thursday, we FINALLY saw this beautiful golden orb in the BLUE sky!
Someone on Facebook said that it had been 27 days since we've seen the sun.  I'm not sure that's the exact number, but it was pretty close.  It had been weeks and weeks.  When the sun came out, it felt like the landscape had gone from sepia tones to color.
 The sky is so lovely when it is blue and the clouds are white instead of grey!

Mary performed on Saturday with her Ballroom Dance Team!
They also did other numbers to Boogie With Me and Rockin' Robin.  Mary did a great job!  Her Young Women's Leader Lori came to watch her perform, which was so thoughtful.

We were at a "Kids Expo" for the performance, and one of the booths was called the "Reptile Handlers".  Here's what resulted from that!

It was creepy!

Peter was up snowboarding all day, or he might have been in those pictures too.  He got a PR of 19 seconds on his race!

Today, a lady came up to me at Church from the neighboring ward and said her name was such and such, and she was from Mendoza, Argentina!  I immediately through my arms around her and hugged her.  How fun is that!
If all argentinos are like her, I can see why Joseph is loving it so much!  She is from the city of Mendoza, proper.  The missionaries knocked on the door of their home when she was 7 years old.  She married an American elder who was serving a mission at the same time she serving a mission.

Well, in a few hours we're going to go hear about the boundaries in 6 of the wards of our stake!  Not us though - our ward is the only one that is staying the same.  I'm happy for that.

We had a wonderful meeting in Relief Society about families.  It gave me renewed motivation about what I can do as a mother to keep our family strong and bonded.  I keep thinking about Elder Quentin L. Cook saying in the this last General Conference, "How we preserve time for family is one of the most significant issues we face in most cultures."  I know that it is a very significant issue in our family.  We have to carve out the time and preserve it from many intruding influences.

I think of this more right now as we are down to less than 3 weeks from when Josh will come home, and we'll have more of our family together than we've had in awhile!  Can't wait!!