Thursday, July 20, 2017

Independence Day

Letter to Cami:  July 3, 2017


Hi sweetie!

Happy 4th of July! I know it won't be that exciting there in France, but hope you get a few minutes to think about it at least! Dad actually will have to work all day (and probably well into the evening), so it won't be that exciting here for us either. But at least we got to wear some patriotic clothes today. 😊

We are just recuperating from our camps this week. We are all still a bit worn out, but starting to feel normal again. I look forward to this coming week being the first real week of summer without a lot on our plates. Youth conference is coming up in a couple of weeks (your birthday weekend), but our main responsibilities for that will be that weekend and not a lot beforehand! The poor James's are youth conference directors and working to get Harrison on his mission on August 2 (to Quebec Canada). I remember how crazy last summer felt and I'm feeling sorry for them!

Speaking of missionaries, Avery B., Conner C., and Tim P. left on their missions in the last week or two. Miles goes in next soon. And Harrison in August. I think Jackson, Annika, and Anna are putting papers in this fall. Taylor C. has already had 3 baptisms in the 5 weeks he's been in the SLC mission! Very exciting!

So here's a little scoop on our lives:
Emma still likes her cozy little spot under the counter. Whenever we can't find her, that's usually where she is (or else down in the basement exercising). Her main goal of the summer is to get her drivers license! She's finished driver's ed and now needs to do that required 90 minute parent meeting.

We went shopping for a tshirt dress for you, but everything was too short. We went to 25+ stores at the Leesburg outlets and this was one of the longest ones we found. We are trying our online options now. If your missionary friends have a brand or store that they like, let me know. 

Adam was the senior patrol leader at scout camp this past week. We got many many compliments on what a good job he did. We are not surprised. After dinner today, Adam served himself up some of our fresh cherry cobbler and then brought it to me to take a picture of. I thought it looked kind of artsy!

It is my goal to fill Ellie's summer with as many positive interactions with friends as possible. *** will not come to our house anymore at all thanks to her behavior to Ellie at camp, her sweet friend ***** is moving, ****** and ****** are not very available for spontaneous get-togethers, and * and * will be gone almost the whole summer, so I'm not sure exactly who those friends will be, but I'm determined to make it happen. Ellie is still very exhausted and struggling to recover from camp. Extreme sleep deprivation is not her friend. Thanks to a certain someone, sleep was in very short supply in her tent. 

Dad is sunburned from Idaho and is now peeling. Emma is a little obsessed. It's his "close week" this week, so he'll be working very long hours, including on the 4th of July! πŸ˜’

I'm working on making my own cookbook to send to all the people getting married. It'll just be some of our family favorites compiled into one book--nothing fancy--but I am super excited about it! I also need to get moving on my psychology lesson plans for this fall. We are doing the coop a little more intensely his coming year and I want to get as much of a head start as possible.

Well, tell us about your new companion! How is life? Do you have an iPad yet? Do you like these pictorial emails? Do the pictures come through embedded or are they just attached at the bottom? Can't wait to hear all about it!

We love you!!! ❤️❤️❤️
Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

YW Camp Recap

Since blogging seems to be a bit beyond my skill level currently, I've decided to start publishing some of our letters to Cami, so that these days don't get forgotten.

Hi, Sweetie! How's life this week? We've had a week of camps with Adam as senior patrol leader at scout camp and us girls at YW camp! Emma was a YCL and Ellie was a first level!
We had 30 girls from our ward attend! Alyvia was supposed to come, but ended up with knee surgery a few days before camp and she sadly couldn't attend. Amelia sprained her ankle at camp and had to leave early , but even still we had the largest group in the whole stake!
The theme of camp was BOOT camp (Build Our Own Testimonies), so we decided to dress in themes for the week! Tuesday was camo day where we talked about enlisting and engaging in the work!
Wednesday was Rosie the Riveter day where we talked about becoming the women God wants us to be.
 We shared Sister Nadauld's quote:

"Women of God can never be like women of the world. The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity."

Thursday was patriotic day and the bishop talked about the role of women in the church.

Ellie had a great week overall, but had a "friend" who treated her poorly. This picture was taken after she told me about her "friend" who had yelled and screamed at her when Ellie didn't want to do the same activity as her. She called her selfish and mean...

Then instead of apologizing, sent her a mean note blaming her for everything and claiming that she had been the victim.

Um, yeah. We've got a bit of mama bear protectiveness going on here. ....  πŸ˜₯

I'm glad I was there with her to see this go down and to give her a hug and talk her through it! Other than that it was a great week with GORGEOUS weather and I was happy to be there!

And here's one last picture to make you laugh. This is what I looked like when we got our camp T-shirts on patriotic day. Pretty much I looked awesome!

Well, I love you and hope you've had a wonderful week! Can't wait to hear all about it!

Love you!!!!!
Mom ❤️

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Between Alaska and Camp

 Letter to Cami:   June 25, 2017


Hi, Cami!

How has your week been? Are you back up and running with a new ipad yet? Hopefully you've been able to see the photos and videos we've shared over the last couple of weeks. If not, let me know what the last thing you got was and we will try to re-upload whatever you didn't receive.

So, we can't wait to hear about this upcoming transfer. We assume that you'll likely stay there since Soeur Wadsworth is going home and you're a STL, but who knows? Let me know if you think I should send all of your letters to the mission home this week just to be safe. I already mentioned this in my previous email, but please also let me know where you'd like me to send your next package to and if there's anything specific you'd like me to include in it. I can wait to send it until you hear officially where you'll be.

Dad's at the cabin in Idaho this weekend. It's been a little sad not to have him home on his birthday, but I think he's really enjoying the time he's been able to spend with his siblings. He comes home tomorrow.

Adam heads to scout camp bright and early tomorrow morning. Emma goes up to YW camp tomorrow afternoon and Ellie and I head up on Tuesday! It should be a fun week full of camping. I'm happy at least that the weather forecast doesn't look too horrible for my 5th YW camp in a row!

It was fun to officially meet Madeleine M. on Thursday.
 I felt bad because the only day she was available was the day our AC was getting replaced, which meant we were stuck at home in a stiflingly hot house, but she was a good sport and came anyway. She is beautiful and very prim and proper and we loved her British/French accent. She is doing much better health-wise and actually attended Julliard part-time this past semester. Apparently she still has to undergo regular treatment for her AML and travels back-and-forth quite a bit for that, but it was great to see her healthy enough for a visit! Spencer seemed to really enjoy meeting her too, and I enjoyed seeing Spence act "grown up" in her presence.

Here's your weekly update on everyone:

Dad--got home from Alaska, got sick with a bad cold (which made it hard for him to breathe), worked his tail off for two days, then took off for Idaho. We've seen very little of him this past week and will see even less of him this upcoming week. :( Hopefully it'll be a bit quieter after camps are over.

Me--I got all excited to start cooking again when we got home from vacation, but unfortunately the only thing cooking was us! Our AC broke while we were on vacation and it was 85° in here when we got home. It was a loooooooong couple of roasty toasty days, in which I forbade anyone from turning on the oven or stove. We've had a few homecooked meals since it was fixed on Thursday night, but I daresay our kitchen is feeling somewhat neglected currently.

Spence--I think he really enjoyed Alaska. He's been playing a lot of video games since he's been home and seemed to really enjoy Madeleine's visit on Thursday. He needs a purpose.

Emma--She loved Alaska and missed cooking even more than I did. When I finally gave the green light for using the stove/oven again, she went on a cooking super spree. She not only planned the menu for the next few days, but she also went to the grocery store and did all the shopping herself, and she's been making every item of food herself (until tonight, when I finally got to make something).

Adam--He's always been pretty mature for his age, but recently he's been extra mature. He still loves to make sure everyone is following the rules, including being the main enforcer of Ellie's medicine intake, but he also is calm and likes to make sure things are running smoothly. He doesn't complain when we ask him to help out and I've gotten several compliments lately on how mature/helpful he is. He's also quite the calm social presence as well. He's not girl-crazy, but loves to go to every dance and ask girls to dance for every slow song. He's also good at recruiting his friends to come and ask girls too.

Ellie--As usual, she's growing up fast. You will be surprised at how grown up she is when you get home. She talks about fashion and boys and music, and all other sorts of teen-agey type of things to talk about. She's also still a little obsessed with her dystopian novel du jour, which means we hear all about Divergent too! She wears high heels to church (now that her feet are SIZE 9!!!!!!) and loves to curl her hair.  

We love you and hope you're having a wonderful week! I was happy to hear that G. was happy with his MCAT score! Hope they're having a great trip to Italy!



Here are another couple of random photos:

This one was taken on a Saturday morning hike with AnnaLisa from Carderock to Great Falls and back (about 7 miles).    
This was at a little swimming hole we went to with friends....

Friday, July 14, 2017

Alaska: Part 5

Letter to Cami: June 18, 2017


Hi, Sweetie!

How's your week been? We can't wait to hear all about it! We are having a great time here in Alaska, but are starting to be ready to head home (on Monday evening).

Here are a few more random pictures for you, since I'm not sure if you can see the shared photos yet.

We've seen several moose while we've been here! No bears thank goodness though!

Some salmon swimming upstream at Russian Falls:

We are going to do an FHE lesson on life lessons we can learn from salmons.

At Russian Falls!

Lovely Homer, Alaska!
Some of the best food we've had on our whole trip was at this restaurant in Homer, Alaska!
We took a little hike down to the beach today near Homer. Gorgeous!

Dad and the boys caught some halibut today

and then cooked it up for dinner.
We miss you and love you! Hope you're having an amazing week!

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Alaska: part 4

Letter to Cami:  June 19, 2017


Hi, Sweetie!

Good morning!!! It's crazy that I'm writing this on Sunday night and you're already up for the day on Monday, since it's a 10-hour time difference from France to Alaska! And it's even weirder that it's 10:30pm here and still bright as day outside here. So, How was life this week? Are you back up and running with an iPad again? I haven't been sharing too many photos this week, because I've been unsure as to whether you can receive them or not.

We are winding down on our trip to Alaska and we leave Monday evening. We've taken a hike almost every day, seen lots of gorgeous scenery, and tonight finally saw a bear in the wild!!!! 🐻

It was across the river from us catching fish (while we were fishing on the other side), so we got to enjoy the view with zero chances of danger. In other words, it was absolutely perfect and I think it capped off an already cool vacation!
Today we went to church in Soldotna and had an interesting experience.
The bishopric member who was conducting and one of the speakers just seemed totally depressed. They spoke emotionlessly and completely without smiling. It was actually very sad. Then the husband of the one speaker got up and talked about how having joy is about choosing the right. I wanted to smack him. His wife was clearly depressed and if she is doing something wrong to cause the depression, being called out on it over the pulpit is completely inappropriate. And if she is depressed for whatever other reason, then being told that all she has to do is "be better" is shallow and stupid. Anyway, it did make me think that although Alaska is amazing to visit, I imagine living here is hard.

Speaking of hard, we went on another cool hike today. It wasn't near as hard as PooPoo point or Mount Marathon, but it was challenging enough to make Spence and Ellie complain. The view at the top was stunning!

We've had a wonderful time in general here in Alaska. Yesterday was a bit of a dud with dad getting a speeding ticket and super seasick on his fishing charter, which cut the day way short, but it ended up being an okay day in the end.

Here's a little update on everyone:

Dad-other than the speeding ticket and extreme seasickness, he's been having a a great time on this trip. He caught a bunch of halibut (on the boat when he got sick), but otherwise hasn't caught anything, so that's a bit of a disappointment.

 The halibut is good though!  
Me-I've loved it here, but am ready to go home now. I love traveling in general, but start feeling a bit disjointed when I'm not busy. I'm ready to cook dinner again, do some work on the house, and get ready for YW camp! I also need to whip myself back into gear with eating healthier and running. We did lots of hiking, but I missed my running days (usually 2 days a week).
Spence-I think he's really enjoyed this trip overall. He hasn't loved all of our hiking, but he's tolerated it reasonably well. I really, really, really hope that he'll go home and get a job and start getting ready to go back to school.
Emma-Emma has seemed to enjoy the trip too. She's always the first to bed and first to wake up, out front on all the hikes, and has still been sticking with her super healthy eating.
Adam-Alaska is right up Adam's alley. He loves the outdoors, loves hiking, loves fishing, etc. I think that out of all you kids, he thoroughly enjoys it the most. I envision him being a big outdoorsy guy when he's grown up. He also has been teasing Ellie too much and collecting his keychains.

Ellie- Alaska is absolutely NOT up Ellie's alley. All this hiking and outdoors time seems to annoy her and we've had to do more than a bit of dragging and cajoling her on some of our hikes. Spencer's complaining doesn't help matters with her, but seems to give her license to complain more. Her appetite has been ravenous lately and I imagine that she's due for a big growth spurt soon. She's currently reading Divergent and talks about it all the time. Literally.

Well, we love you and can't wait to hear all about your week!
Mom ❤️

Sent from my iPhone

Friday, July 7, 2017

Alaska: Part 1

Letter to Cami:  June 13, 2017

Hi Cam!
We made it to #50!!!!! 

Here's a little glimpse: 

A bald eagle!

A beautiful bee!

The best Alaska sign we found in Anchorage...
It was a nice bear.  :)

Stay tuned.... 

We love you! 
Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, July 6, 2017

The Goolds Take on Seattle

We woke up the first morning of our trip  to several missed phone calls from France.  When we called the number back, Cami answered and informed us that her wallet and ipad had been stolen.   We had to cancel her debit card and our shared credit card immediately.   The thief had attempted to use our credit card numerous times, but thankfully only one transaction went through and we were not held liable for it.   It was an inconvenient way to start our vacation, but we LOVED hearing Cami's voice for a few minutes while we worked out the details of what needed to be done.    

This is a letter to Cami sent on June 12, 2017 about the Seattle portion of our trip!   

Hi, Cami!!!
So, did you find out anything else was stolen?  😬 Hopefully not!!!!  What a jerk-wad-idiot-face that took it in the first place.  Have the details been taken care of?  Have you been able to replace your driver's license yet?    I'm hoping that all your pictures are out there in the cloud somewhere and not lost forever.  We still have all the ones you've shared with us at least and I'm guessing that the ones you've shared with G. are also safe, but who knows about the rest?  So, do you have a new iPad yet?  Will they send us a bill?  Or should we buy you one and get it sent to you?  Let us know!!!  We will send you  the new credit cards as soon as we get home from vacation.

Also, Adam has some advice for you.  He thinks you should never take off your bag while you're playing sports ever again.  In fact, he thinks you should sleep with it and take it into the shower with you too. 

As you know, We are officially on vacation now!
 We spent Saturday in downtown Seattle.   We loved the Pike Place Market and Gum Alley!    

 We even made our own contribution to the gum wall!  
 We also enjoyed walking around town and seeing some of the iconic Seattle sites!
We also found some great food at Pike Place Market:
 We also loved these bathroom signs.

Today we went on a really cool and somewhat strenuous hike up to Poo Poo Point.
 We picked it because of the name, but it actually was a very cool hike with an awesome view at the top!

Then we went to church, visited the Seattle temple, saw a temple bunny, and had fun reenacting the statues! 

After the temple, we drove and ferried over to the Olympic peninsula.  We are staying in a cute little town called Port Townsend.    Port Townsend is adorable and we found the best breakfast of our lives at this little restaurant.

Yum-o!!!!   That cinnamon swirl french toast was out-of-this-world! 

 We also found good fudge, good ice cream, and a good thai place. 

{The following part in italics is not a part of the original letter.  I'm adding it, just so I can have all of our time in Seattle in one post.} 

On Monday we walked from Chetzemoka Park to Fort Worden Historical State Park along the beach....

 It was an absolutely lovely walk and we saw bald eagles, found seashells....

saw gorgeous wildflowers...
It was a great way to finish up our time in Port Townsend...
 After that, we headed back up to Seattle and met my Aunt Sandy at a mall right next door to the University of Washington.  We ate dinner at Blue-C Sushi, 

which was a new experience for us....
 It was great to catch up with my Aunt Sandy, whom I had not seen in many years...
 and then we found another statue that was crying out for them to reenact....
 We were fascinated by this brick and mortar Amazon bookstore, since we had no idea they existed...
And thus ended our time in Seattle and we drove straight to the airport....

 {The original letter resumes here}

We head up to Alaska on Monday evening, where Spence will meet us. 

We will be sure to share lots of pictures and send you a few postcards too!    πŸ’•

Spence finally got a haircut.  It was so shaggy he had rats' nests (no joke). 

Emma officially finished seminary this week! Also, she is wearing a pink tie dye t-shirt and black shorts to bed. πŸ‘πŸ»

Adam is officially our best hiking buddy.  He seems to like hiking better than any other kid and is always the first to volunteer for a walk or a hike. 🚢🏻

Ellie is GROWING.  Besides her size 9 feet, she's outgrowing her clothes left and right.  She hasn't really hit her growth spurt yet, but she's filling out a bit and I imagine that the growth spurt is coming soon.

I'm still not eating chocolate. I've more than made up for the lack of chocolate with other junk, but, yay me.

Dad wants to know if you need him to beat anyone up  (like a thieving credit card stealer???)

Alright, I love you!  Je t'aime! 

Love you!!!!!!!!!!!!

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