Monday, April 24, 2017

Missionary Monday

The biggest problem with only getting to email your son once a week while he's on the other side of the planet, sixteen hours ahead, is that when he happens to have a bad day when he writes one week, worry rolls around in your heart all week.  You pray your guts out for him and you think of every possible solution and you find yourself worrying about silly things like how the pants fit him he had to buy in Taiwan since his others were worn right through (he's 6'7", not sure how many pants that length are available in Taiwan...).  You wonder how he managed to fix his bike that broke the 247th time, and how he's adjusting to life in a tiny little rural town with a new companion.

And then you have a note pop in your email inbox like this the next p-day:

Hey fam fam!! i AM ON!! Just want to first off apologize about last week I was in a terrible mood! This week was dandy!! (As Elder Wadsworth would say) I will have more deets in a sec

And suddenly all is right in the world again.  The sun is shining and the birds are chirping and your heart feels like it could sing right along with them.

Yes, I'm a little dramatic, but I want to remember how it feels in the trenches of this missionary mother stuff.

Max has been incredibly positive this whole mission.  The grumpy days have been so minimal sometimes we wonder how in the world one kid can be so dang happy, so I think it's great to get the nitty gritty stuff once in a while.  But at times like those I must admit that I'd give just about anything to be able to give that boy a giant hug.

He finished training his Taiwanese companion (more about that back HERE).  
They had some great adventures together and ate some new and exciting things too:
That food is just stuff you don't see much here in the desert!

A little of the landscape:

...and that smile...

He was in that area for nearly six months, and he had the great opportunity to teach so many people about Jesus Christ and learned so much from all of them.  

And he has now moved to a tiny little rural town working with a tiny little branch (smaller congregation).  Here's a little of what we got from him his first week there:

April 10, 2017

Hello family!  Well the next little while is going to be a lot different.  It is transfer day and I am moving from Gangshan which will be super tough ....I am going to a place called taibao, I have heard it is the most rural part of the mission. haha my companion is an Elder Wadsworth who also just finished being trained! You can look up the area on google maps, it is on the outskirts of a city called Chiayi. I am really excited! 

[a little later after a few hours of travel we got to hear from him again...and these are his answers to my peppering of questions]:

I am here!

So the district here has 6 elders and i am super pumped. Taibao just has us two elders and the other elders are in another ward in the next district over. there are 4 elders in that ward. So for DTM every week we go to the other elders chapel which is a 30 minute bus ride haha. I am the district leader and we are in a 2 man. the branch is small with about 20 members. Elder Wadsworth seems like a really cool guy! He is from Idaho and does rodeos and stuff. I think we will get along good! 

Here's a pic of how his bike looked after so dang many problems:

 (This is how it's supposed to look:)

And here's his new branch:
 ...with him fully submerged right there in the middle.

Man I love that boy of mine.

And we're all counting down the days until Mother's Day when we get to TALK TO HIM!

Cannot wait.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Bo's first haircut

We are becoming, slowly but surely, dog people.

I mean, I'm sitting here writing a blog post about her first haircut for crying out loud, and wondering how this happened!

Would have never thought in my wildest dreams we'd have a wild dog that we'd be falling in love with.

Some days.  Not all, but more than not these days:)

Anyway, Miss Bo Jangles was in need of a haircut.  

Really, we couldn't figure out how she could even see through all that shag, but we kinda liked it, and we had seen her in the tub before...not the cutest thing without her fluffy hair I have to say!

But yeah, it was time.

Grace and I went to pick her up and laughed pretty hard when she popped up after waiting patiently for us looking like this:

They had turned her into a little cowgirl with her little bandana and it was so funny to actually see her eyes as she wagged her whole body in glee to see us.
It was National Sibling Day so these "siblings" were a pretty great pile of joy with their freshly groomed puppy to celebrate that night (according to them, Bo is their sister).
Good thing we have a puppy to fill up a teeny fraction of the "missing" of those other great siblings we sure miss over here!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

daddy/daughter love

A couple weekends ago as the sky was turning dark Lucy remembered it was the "Under the Sea Daddy/Daughter Dance."  She didn't think there was any chance she'd be lucky enough to get to go to that thing, but Dave swooped in and told her she better get dressed up because he was taking her on that date.

The way her eyes sparkled at that news was the best thing ever, and she got dressed speedy quick and played some Little Mermaid songs as she practiced through some pretty awesome dance moves.

There was pure delight in both their eyes when they came home to tell me about it.

Good dads rock the world.

I wonder how soon these kids will come to the raw realization that they get the best of the best.

Love that guy forever.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

baby love

The day after I returned from the farm and my mother and sisters (over HERE), we got a special delivery:

My sweetest little 4-month-old nephew Thomas came to stay with us for a few days while his parents were in New York for some work things.

We fell head-over-heels in love with that baby boy.
Sure, we see him quite often.  But it's always with a mass of other cousins and activity whirling around.  This time we got him all to ourselves, and we were pretty excited about that.

Lucy's friends doted on him:

 The Young Women couldn't get enough of him:
 Here he is joining in our "facemask night"...we were all trying to make our skin as baby-soft as his :)
Note how proud Lucy is there in the middle first of all because she got to come to mutual with us (Dave was out of town), but one of those awesome girls painted her fingernails.

Yeah, she felt pretty dang special that night!

Claire was glowing that she got to feed him and help so much.
Lu, on the other hand, was pretty mesmerized by her book:)

Dave and I took him on a little date with us...
He sure looks pleased as punch about that, don't you think?

And Bo?  Well, she was a little jealous.

There were plenty of times during that little baby-stint where I daydreamed about making an even trade...this sweet baby's parents could just pick up Bo and let us keep that sweet little piece of Heaven around here.  Even after a huge diaper-blow-out and fussiness trying to juggle bedtimes and trying to mix baby bottles while jugging homework and dinner.

One night in particular is vivid in my memory as I tip-toed in Claire's freshly destroyed new shoes (compliments of Bo) because they were the only thing I could find to wear to throw away a messy diaper in the outside trash.  It was a perfect equilibrium evening with a soft breeze and I felt alive because I was in the midst of what life is made out of.

And I was full-on in it.

I forgot how different life is with a baby!  So much more calculated and slow, and for a few days it felt like I got nothing done aside from perfecting my swaddling techniques and trying to make enough faces at little Thomas to make him give me his huge baby grin.  I was late to everything, because I'm a late person anyway, but life is extra slow strapping a carseat in and making sure you have bottles and diapers and a burp cloth (he's a super spitter just like I'm used to).  But it felt nice to dust off those mother-memory-muscles rocking the carseat with my foot while trying to teach art masterpiece and lugging a baby to the grocery store.

My favorite pics:


The last night Thomas was with us, Dave, Lu and I sat playing cards.  Thomas was bouncing on my lap and Bo was wrapping herself around our feet and I decided I was pretty attached to that Bo Jangles of ours.

Maybe I would let Thomas's parents take him after all.  Ha!
But we sure loved having a baby around for a few days!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Easter 2017

The Easter Bunny pulled through with the string once again.

This time Bo got her own string too...
...which resulted in much glee from the girls...Bo being one of them.  She was so excited about that yarn she could hardly stand it and kept getting tangled up in everyone else's until we had to just hold her.  Ha!

Everyone was pretty excited to find those baskets.

This is the best pic. we got of Bo Jangles with hers:
 ...she was much too excited to go play with her stuffed animal lamb chop and dental bone.

We don't have church until noon so we got to spend the morning finishing up our Holy Week scriptures and talking through each of these symbols:

We also watched the videos I posted yesterday back HERE.  Oh man I adore those.

Followed by eggs Benedict...which was pretty dang exciting because Grace and I got the Hollandaise sauce perfect for the first time ever without my mom's help:
(See how Dave had our little breakfast sandwich maker ready just in case we had a sauce fail...he's a prepared guy but luckily we didn't need it and we were pretty happy about Easter brunch.)
We even had happy helpers to clean up before we headed out to church.

 ...and took some speedy quick pics on our way out the door.
(Claire's hair was inspired by Elle's hair in her Easter video she made way back when.  We were missing her watching her old videos this week.  They are HERE and the Easter one is HERE, Elle make more of those!)
We got Bo Jangled decked out for just a minute.  You can tell by these faces just how they both felt about that:

 Ha ha.

"Get that thing off!"

"There, much better."

We enjoy that puppy...most of the time.

This was Lucy's pondering-paper during the sacrament:
How I love her heart.

Church was followed by our traditional gathering and dinner at my sis-in-law's house.

 (Dave was directing the veggie portions up there :)

Love all those people.

Egg hunt ready:

Lucy wasn't messing around on that I tell you.

One egg was here:
...and another was in the exhaust pipe of this car.  It was the "money egg" which got stuffed even further up in there when one of the cousins tried to grab it.
...which was fixed by Papa turning the car on and it popped out.

 Check out the glee on the faces of these grandkids on the right in the front row.

Love those cousins with all my heart.

We missed Max and Elle pretty fiercely through all the hoopla.  So much so that I got teary a few times.  How did they change from this so quickly??

We got to talk to Elle Belle over FaceTime and got these pics of her with her roommates.  

They celebrated by listening to one of these great girls give an awesome Easter talk in church (Elle recorded it and sent it to us), and colored their own Easter eggs last night.

And here's all we got from Max, in some Internet cafe with his brand new companion off in a tiny little rural town in Taiwan that he moved to last week.
Those smiles make me happy.

So grateful for such a sacred day to celebrate the glory and divine beauty of the resurrection.  

And that I can be with all these people I love forever.
In Young Women yesterday we got to share our favorite scriptures.

That's tough to pick, but I shared Mosiah 5:12 where the people who want to follow Christ are taking upon them His name.  I love how it says, "I would that ye should remember to retain the name [of Christ] written always in your hearts...that ye [will] hear and know the voice by which ye shall be called."

How I hope that I can remember, not only on Easter, that I want that name written upon my heart at all times and that I will strive to live my life in such a way that I can know His voice and follow it.  

So grateful for His life, and that because of Him, we can be saved.  

Happy Easter!
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