Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Happy Birthday, Adam!

It was Adam's 14th birthday last week!   
Celebrations included:    
Crepe breakfast made by Glen
Lasagna made by me
Breadsticks made by AnnaLisa
Carrot cake made by Ellie

And he got his one and only request as his gift....

a cool drone.    

And a dollar from Tim. 

Random facts about Adam:  

1.  He's grown A LOT the last year and is looking like he might end up the tallest one in our family.
2. Math and science are his favorite subjects
3.  Writing is his least favorite
4.  He loves taking things apart 
5. Most people would be surprised to know that he's actually quite talkative
6. He is very good at strategy games
7.   He wears a size 11 shoe now
8.  He loves to figure out how things work
9.   He makes a deliciously mean panini
10. He loves birds and all things nature
11.  He forgets his toothbrush more often than not when we go on vacations.    
12.  He loves to ponder the "what ifs" in life.     
13.  He willingly does all his own laundry and actually gets annoyed if I try to do any for him without his permission
14. He is the cookie making expert in our family! 

We love you, Adam!   
Happy birthday! 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Five Things

With the new school year in full swing now, life has felt a little crazier than ever.    We always have a gazillion thing going on, but here are five things that have been taking up more of my time than usual.  

1.  Cami's Christmas package!     It was due to the mission home on November 7, so I sent it off on October 15th to give it plenty of time to get there.   It was a crazy shift of mindset for me  to buy Christmas presents this early and pulling it all together really has sucked up a lot of my "extra" time lately.   

2.   The weather has been exceedingly lovely lately, which means we are trying to spend every moment we can outside!   

3.   I recently learned that I will not be released from my calling anytime soon, so I have spent the last few weeks re-immersing myself back into  the swing of things.   I was a little emotional at first realizing that my time as YW president is not yet finished after four full years, but I've  had some pretty amazing experiences the last couple of weeks that have really confirmed to me that I am right where I'm supposed to be and that, apparently, we still have a work to do with the amazing young women in our ward.  

This food was for a family history night that we had at our house, where the youth found over 100 names to take to the temple.   

4.   I am finding that supporting TWO kids,  that are far away from home, is a little more time consuming than I expected.    I try to write them a letter and a couple of emails each week, which is basically the reason why I haven't been blogging much recently.    Writing to them has redirected the energy that I would normally give to blogging and put it into letter writing instead.    I miss these girls! 

5.  I'm trying really hard to exercise and eat better.  After my little bout with pancreatitis this summer, I decided that I really needed to acknowledge that I'm not as young as I used to be and I need to be a lot more careful.  I've been eating a fairly low-fat diet and trying to up my exercise threshold.  I had been doing well and feeling a lot better, but I've been struggling more with the eating lately.   I am committed to stay on top of it though, because pancreatitis (and the requisite fasting for four full days) was not something I'd like to repeat.    

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Woman of Virtue

Last night for YW, we had a Women Heroes activity.   We had a booklet and a picture of a woman from history for every YW value.   Groups of girls dressed in costumes and role played and explained why that women fit with that value.  

Here are the women we discussed:

Faith--Eliza R. Snow 
Divine Nature--Mary 
Individual Worth--Joan of Arc
Choice and Accountability--Eve
Good Works--Florence Nightingale
Virtue--Pick your own woman that embodies virtue 

At the end of the night, we asked someone to share what they'd written down for a woman of virtue.  Since no one immediately volunteered,  we randomly called on someone to share who she'd picked.    

Well, imagine my heart when she said that she'd picked Cami as her woman of virtue.   And then she proceeded to explain why she picked her.   (because of she treats others, how she's dedicated her life to God, because of the example she's set to her, etc.)  

It melted my heart and made me teary and happy at the same time!  

PS  I love my calling to work with these amazing young women.  


Sunday, September 25, 2016

In France!

On Monday, September 12, Cami and her MTC district left the Missionary Training Center bright and early and headed for the SLC airport. She got to call us from the airport, so we were anxiously awaiting her arrival there. We ended up surprised at how long it took her to get there though and learned that missionaries now take buses and trains (public transportation) to make their own way to the airport. A real life practice for the mission, I guess. Eventually she did get to call us and we got 20 blissful minutes to hear her voice again. We loved talking to her and hearing the joy in her voice. She bore her testimony to us in French and we grilled her with a gazillion questions.

She flew to Philadelphia (where we got to talk to her for a few more minutes), then to Paris, then on to Lyon. She arrived there in Lyon mid-morning (France time) on Tuesday. We tracked her flights online and knew she'd arrived, but were antsy to hear the details. Eventually we got an email from the mission secretary that the group of 24 missionaries (14 of which were Sisters) had arrived safely and that we'd hear more details in the next day or so.

Later we got another email that her first companion is Soeur K (from Arizona) and that her first area is in the Lyon area, not far from the mission home!

Our time in Lyon in May was very limited, so we didn't actually explore the area all that much, which is why we were a little taken aback by the picturesqueness of some of the photos she sent us after that first week. This one looked like she was standing in the midst of quaint painting.

And this view....WOW!

I wouldn't mind a summer cottage with a view like this! Actually I wouldn't mind a summer cottage just about anywhere, but here would be amazingly awesome. :)

Her first week adventures included getting to eat escargot (good thing she tried it this summer on our trip):

And getting stuck on an elevator with an "amie" they wanted to teach, but who was too big of a hurry (until the elevator got stuck).

It sounds like she's experienced some discouragement and frustration with learning to speak and understand French, but overall, she is handling it like a champ.   She is working and studying hard and is gaining some amazing insights along the way.   Click here if you want to read her weekly letters.

We're so proud of our Cami!


Saturday, September 24, 2016

Is this a round of Telestrations? Or the best doggone letter you've ever received?

Letter to Cami, dated 9/24/16:

Dear Soeur G.,

Well, you'll be happy to know that despite the subject line of this email, this email has absolutely nothing to do with us playing Telestrations.

First off, I just wanted to give you a very sincere and dire warning not to attempt to pop any wheelies while on your mission. This guy was going 65mph on 495 like this....with a semi truck right behind him. We all agreed that he was being rather STUPID and needs to learn the gospel ASAP. I should have rolled down my window and gotten his contact information to send to the missionaries, but, alas, I'm pretty sure I saw his brain slip out the back of his helmet when we passed him.

Where were we going on 495, you ask? Don't guess. I'll just tell you. We were on our way to FedEx Field in Maryland to watch BYU play WVU in foosball.

Ellie and I just went to look cute, eat junk food, and dance wildly whenever music came on...

But dad and the boys were actually there to cheer the Cougars on, which is why they're wearing white and we're wearing gray....

Actually, you know us both pretty well, and I'm pretty sure you won't be surprised to hear that I yelled way louder than dad ever did. And I've got the hoarse voice to prove it if he tries to disagree.

Dad did get this random lucky butterfly to land on him though. It actually landed on Ellie first, then dad, which means they're both cooler than me, but we already knew that, so, you know, just keep reading.

Alas, it did not prove to be as lucky a butterfly as it bragged to be and we lost in another super close game (32-35).

We did have fun being there with half the LDS population of the DC area and it was a waaaaaaaaaaaay better than last year's fiasco in Michigan. And you'll be very happy to know that we had to drive down **** ***** Drive (names hidden to protect the innocent) to get to FedEx Field. I thought you'd have enjoyed being there with us and maybe taken it as a sign that you need to name your first child "Momo" or something.

So, what do you think?

I started this letter with warning you not to pop a wheelies, suggested that the guy needed a referral to the missionaries, went to the subject of football, dancing wildly, yelling louder than dad, lucky butterflies, and ended with a suggestion for your firstborn child.

Wouldn't that have made for a good round of Telestrations?

"NOOOOOOOOOOO, NOT YET," your mother exclaims loudly!

You, Cami Rose, need to know that YOUR MOM STILL HAS HER MOVES!!!! Check out (ignoring how disproportionally humongous my leg looks in this picture) how I can totally still kick Spence smack in the face....if I wanted to.

And with that uplifting bit of information (haha, I UPLIFTED my leg in a kick, making this picture UPLIFTING), this awesome letter must now come to an end, for I worry about overwhelming you with so much random amazingness in one sitting.

Tu es belle - à l'intérieur et à l'extérieur! Votre maman est tout à fait sérieux tout le temps et ne penserait jamais à écrire une lettre à vous tandis que dans l'une de ses humeurs stupides.

I LOVE YOU! JE T'AIME! Câlins et bisous!

Votre mère très grave

Monday, September 19, 2016

A Hike and a No-Show

 On Saturday, Glen and I did our favorite hike along the towpath from Carderock to Great Falls and back.    It's about 7-miles and it was an exceptionally lovely day for hiking.   It was about 70º, cloudy, and completely not humid, which was quite unlike the drippy hot hike we took last week.    

The leaves are mostly still green....

 and  just barely, barely beginning to turn colors. 

I thought this great blue heron on the island was posing so perfectly, I couldn't help but take a picture.  I really wished I had my telephoto lens though.  

 These bright yellow wildflowers were everywhere and made me smile.   I sort of wished I'd thought to bring some home to AnnaLisa, so I could sing her "There is Sunshine in My Soul".    

Speaking of smiling, this gorgeous butterfly was right at the end of our hike and it made me smile almost as much as being done with our hike did.  :)  

The only bummer was that we came across a whole bunch of rescue vehicles along the trail.    We thought that it was a river rescue at first, since they had all the rafts and river equipment with them, but we actually ran into the rescuers and rescuee along the trail.   It was an older lady who was wet (but wasn't close to the river), her leg all wrapped up, but still walking with help.    Those rescuers sure take their job seriously!  

After our hike, we went to Adam's soccer game (which he lost) and then cleaned, cleaned, cleaned for a youth family history night at our house.   Our house now looks awesome and we have some great refreshments sitting around the house.      
Lemon drop cookies, watermelon, and chips

Alas...not a single person came.      

That's okay though.   I really was happy for a good excuse to get some heavy duty cleaning done and Adam, Ellie, and I together found 46 names to take to the temple, so it was definitely a productive day! 

Friday, September 16, 2016



Your kids don't dress to match and go downtown on Pokemon Go adventures together? 



Thursday, September 15, 2016

Setting Alarms in My Sleep

Our back-to-school schedule has started, which means that we're all a little sleepier than we've been in a while.   It seems like every time I sit down for more than 10 minutes, my head starts bobbing.    So usually I just try to avoid sitting that much.  That tactic hasn't been working that well lately though, since the last couple of weeks I've been plugging away at this 1000 page tome (Trumanfor book group.   

It's been a real struggle for me.    By me employing a myriad of anti-sleep techniques, that included reading and walking at the same time, frequent jumping jack breaks, eating constantly, and sitting on an exercise ball, I did make it to page 729.    That meant that at least I could participate reasonably intelligently at book group last night. 

I sat down to finish the book today, but immediately started nodding off.   Since I wasn't quite as motivated to stay awake anymore now that book group was over, I decided that I would just allow myself to nap for 20 minutes, then I'd get back to it.    

So I decided to set an alarm on my phone, to make sure I didn't accidentally sleep too long.    Instead I fell asleep with my thumb on the "add alarm" button.  

 I awoke to a text message 3 minutes later and found that I'd set 15 separate alarms  during my short little nap.     

I guess I'm sure as heck going to  be wide awake at 3:02pm tomorrow.  


Monday, September 5, 2016

Wizard of Oz

It's been a dream of Ellie's and Emma's to get involved in theater.   They participated with the Savior of the World production back in the spring, but since then they've been itching to do something else.  We've looked into community theaters, but haven't found one that was a good fit yet.   So, when friends of ours decided that they were going to do their own theater camp this summer, we were all over it.   Basically it was a week of super intense (6+ hours a day) of practices and two performances at the end of the week.    Ellie and Emma were thrilled to be able to participate and I was thrilled that the instruction quality was high and the time commitment very manageable!   

They performed Wizard of Oz.   Emma was Auntie Em and had a few lines and a solo.   Ellie played several small roles (a munchkin, an apple tree, an Ozzian, an optimistic voice).  It was a great experience for both of them and whetted their appetite for more.   I am very much not a performer whatsoever, so it was an eye opening experience for me to watch and I am grateful to have such talented friends and acquaintances that can help my children to have these kinds of experiences.   The quality of the performance was actually quite high and it was so fun to watch them get out of their comfort zones and SHINE!     

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Keeping Up

Random update in pictures:

I have no idea how to blog creatively anymore.  It takes a lot more out of my brain and heart than I expected to keep a missionary feeling connected.   I feel like all the energy I used to put into putting together a blogpost, now goes to sending letters and packages to Cami.   Not that I was actually blogging creatively before Cami left on her mission either, but now all hopes of it seem dashed.  

While she's in the MTC I've been writing "DearElders" to Cami just about every day, writing a real snail mail letter at least once a week,  and trying to get her a package per week.    Her companion gets packages nearly every day, which I totally can't keep up with, so I figure I can at least keep her mailbox full of letters.    Of course, all this will come to a screeching halt when she takes off for France on September 12.    The "DearElders" will be no more and the packages will definitely stop, except for special occasions, since international shipping rates are so high.    That's why I figure I should give it my full effort now, while I can.  After that we'll be left with emails, which she can only check once a week, and snail mail letters which will cost 2.5 times the amount to send.  

Well, so here's a random update on our lives in pictures.   Totally not interesting or exciting, but it's a glimpse of our lives right now.   Emma also leaves for England on Monday and school starts on Tuesday, so life is about to change once again!  

Monday night peach fest.
2 batches of peach jam + 1 batch of dehydrated peaches + 1 bag of frozen peach slices.

Random sunset on the way home one night (taken out the window of the moving car)

Face timing with Jack, Lincoln, and Ben!   

Saying goodbye to the Elders.  I brought them the same little packages I made for Cami's MTC district.

Ellie made strawberry lemonade from scratch (even squeezing the lemons)!

Emma had a little friend come over, so they could bake a healthy treat together.   Healthy meaning no grains and no sugar. 

Ellie and a friend make cupcakes together

A chicken and berry salad Emma made for dinner.
It was absolutely delicious!


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