Saturday, July 29, 2017

Alaska: Part 3 (Ice Cream, Bear Spray, Hike, Ziplining, and the Temple)

 This post will be a random assortment of happenings while we were in Alaska!  

If you haven't noticed by now, we have a thing for ice cream when we are on vacation.   We actually eat very little ice cream at home, but when we're on vacation, it is our mission to find the best ice cream around.  No Coldstone or DQ for us...we want the little specialty shops!  I can't remember where exactly we were in this picture and why exactly Emma looks like she's lying down in the background, but here is some real deal Alaskan ice cream.   Actually I think this was sorbet, because I was trying to be "good".  

This can of bear spray accompanied us on all of our hikes in Alaska.  We got the  lowdown from locals that we needed to be super cautious about not surprising bears, so we also used "bear bells", which basically were just super annoying large jingle bells that we rung as we hiked. Thankfully the bear bells seemed to do their job and the bear spray never had to be used!  

Our favorite hike in Alaska  was also one of the toughest ones we've ever been on.  

It was Mount Marathon (near Seward).

We hiked through snow and ice...


and eventually had to traverse this up this "billy goat trail" which was steeper and longer than it looks...

and even at the top of the billy goat trail we still had a ways to go to the summit.    Some of my peeps were not happy about this. 

But the view at the top was amazing....

and the satisfaction of doing it was worth every step (to me at least). 

Here are a few more pictures for your enjoyment...

Another day we went on a zip lining adventure....  

Our family loves physical activities like this and we thoroughly enjoyed the experience! 

Aren't we cute? 

And last but not least, we stopped by the Anchorage temple on our way out of town!

Stay tuned.  I think I have one more Alaska blogpost left before I will be satisfied that it is documented properly!  

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! 😒

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. ....  😥

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....

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