Tuesday, April 25, 2017

springtime in the desert...dog walks and hikes and soaking it all in

Have I mentioned how much I adore the desert?
I need to write that right here, right now, so I can come back and remember how dear it is to me in July when we are all melting and gasping for breath in the heat.  

Ha!

But really, the desert is pretty glorious right now.  

All the palo verde trees are bursting with yellow blossoms and we are just winding down the orange blossoms, which penetrate the air with my most favorite scent in the whole wide world.

In the midst of it all, Dave and I are training to hike the Grand Canyon the day after school gets out.
I'm using "we" very liberally since mostly it's my friends and I hiking any morning we can coordinate, and one Saturday Dave and I went together.

And I loved it.

But I secretly don't want him to train too much because he can hike circles around me and I want to be able to kick his booty on that trail.

So I "let" him come with me a couple weeks ago and it was such a perfect date.


In honor of spring Lucy and I have decided it's perfect weather for walking to school...with Bo in tow.

I love when we get to the school and these two can hardly stand to separate from each other:
Bo howls and yelps as I lead her away and Lucy blows kisses as she goes through the gate, her cheeks wet from Bo's slathering of kisses before she leaves.  (Gross I know, but she eats up that puppy love.)

A few pics. from some of our hiking adventures:

We loved taking in that army of saguaro cacti spreading out below us.



Another day of dog walking...obviously before Bo's haircut when she could hardly see:



We love that pup but not so loving what she's doing to our yard:
Yikes!  Gotta figure out how to fix that grass.

The big girls have been working their tails off soaking up springtime at tennis twice a week, which I have no pictures of, but here's one of Grace, fresh from soaking up colors at the school color-run:
 And Claire's been racing her heart out at track:
 It's her first year...the first year anyone in this family has done track, and it's pretty fun.
More on that soon...last home track meet is today!

The book fair at school came and went.  In preparation these girls decided they needed to have a lemonade stand to earn money for it just like they did last year.
And boy howdy they raked it in.  I mean, who wouldn't want to stop for those cute faces?  They each earned enough for a few books and were pleased as punch about that little fact.

I just want to remember these little snippets of Spring right while we're in the middle of it.

Because school is out in a matter of WEEKS, and I'm still trying to figure out how Christmas is over!

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:

Some lunch with maybe his district?:
 ...and I think this is the whole zone:

...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:

IWAN.

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!
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