Jan 31, 2014

Another Tooth Story

I've been blessed most of my life to have pretty good teeth. My sweetie has always struggled to the point that many of his have been crowned, but I still only have three crowns in my mouth...ooops, make that two. One of them is in my purse.

So I had this crown put on originally about 25 years ago when we were living in Provo. It was my first experience with major dentistry and I was pretty terrified. It took three visits instead of two after the dentist finally discovered that I had four canals instead of the normal three and the reason I was thrashing in the chair was because I was not actually numb!

Fast forward to about five years ago. I started having pain in this tooth. My dentist thought it was impossible since I had already had a root canal so he sent me to a specialist. Silly me, I had no idea that root canals weren't permanent! The Endodontist drilled it all out and refilled it with a much better material. After about a month the pain settled down and I had the new crown put on.

At the risk of being gross and disgusting...
Fast forward again to today. I'd been having a little trouble. I felt like the crown had shifted a bit so I was mostly chewing on the other side. I knew I should have made an appointment, it just seemed like so much trouble and since I've been nursing a new cold, I decided it could wait for another week.

I picked up Grandpa from the airport this afternoon. He was returning from three weeks in New Zealand with my oldest brother's family. After we got him unloaded and settled a bit, I made myself a couple of pieces of toast since the only lunch I had were the samples at Sam's Club. With the very first bite, it felt different. That's when I realized I'd better pull everything out of my mouth because that crown was no longer attached! Thankfully, I didn't swallow it!

I quickly called my dentist, but they aren't going to be back in the office until Monday, so I guess I can wait. Not that I have much choice. I just wish I could keep my tongue from exploring that strange new bump. Maybe I can buy my own Superglue...

Jan 30, 2014

This is Story Time?

My little ones dance on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Tuesdays are hard because Curly does Tap with Baby Doll and then he has his Ballet class. It ends at 12:15 and then he has to swallow a sandwich in the car because school starts at 12:35.

Wednesdays are easier. They both dance from 10:00 - 10:45, then we drive the short distance to the library so they can enjoy Story Time before we run Curly to school.

So today was the first Story Time since early December. The kids have missed it! They love it when anyone will read to them and this librarian does a good job. She reads them stories and sings silly songs. She has them get off the floor and dance around and she pulls a puppet out of the box every week to introduce the letter of the alphabet they are studying that particular day.

After more stories and more singing, she gives each child a hand-stamp and lets them do a science experiment on the way out the door. Sometimes it's pretty simple, like stay for a few minutes and sort something into colors. Other times it's more complicated like build a mini-volcano and get it to explode.(Curly loved that one!)

But of all the fun things she has provided for them, I think they liked today the best! She pulled out a colorful parachute that was about 10 - 12 feet across and had the kids stand all around the edges. She showed them how to work together to make it go up and down and then once they got in a rhythm, she started throwing colorful balls on top to see if they could keep them bouncing but not flying off.

Of course the kids had other ideas. They wanted to launch them as high as possible! She asked all the moms to catch the stray balls and throw them back on the parachute. It was pretty exciting! And remember, all this was going on in the LIBRARY!
Baby Doll in her blue dance costume by Curly in black.

When we were finally finished and all the balls were gathered and the parachute folded and replaced in its box, the librarian presented each child with one of the colorful 4-inch balls. It was a great activity!

They can hardly wait to see what she will do next week...

Jan 29, 2014


When Teach was here and not off on her mission in Texas, and I was having a serious case of writer's block, she would pull out a bunch of random pictures and have me just spill a few memories. So I'm going to try that without her and see how it works out. The danger behind this project is getting lost for a couple of hours in pics, so I'm going to limit myself to three. Let's see how I do.

One of the first major out of state trips we ever took was to San Francisco. This pic was taken at Ghiradelli Square. We had just gotten a sample of their delicious chocolate when my sweetie snapped this one. Can you guess who is who? OK, I will tell you. Starting on the left is Drama Queen, then Dog Walker, Prima Donna, little tiny Crafty, and Princess. I'm thinking summer of 2004, but I could be off by a year.

Any guesses on who this cute little one is? If I tell you that pic was taken in 2006 does that help? You got it! It's Scout. She had the most beautiful auburn hair when she was little. But after about 6 months it was all gone and when it came back in it was mostly blond.

We have red hair in the family. I've probably told you this before, but my sweetie's great-grandma had long red hair. It was so long it actually reached to the floor, but she kept it all wrapped up on her head. One of my sweetie's brothers has red hair and when the Gym Rat's beard grew in for the first time, we were all totally shocked that even with his brownish blond hair, his beard is totally red!

This is one of my all time favorite pictures. I'm not even sure why I took it, but my sweetie and Sport were eating cereal and Sport was trying really hard to be just like his dad. I have a half dozen shots of the two of them, in various poses.

I think I like it because it reminds me that our kids try to mimic our behavior even in the simplest of things so it is important that we always remember to try to be good role models for them.

That was fun! How did I do? Did you learn anything new about me? It sure reminded me just how much I miss Teach.

Jan 28, 2014


Crafty in the middle in black.
I know I've told you before about the PTA Reflections program, where the kids made drawings and movies and sculptures and all that good artwork. So tonight the winners were announced at the Region level of competition. We had kids win on all levels to this point, school, council, and now Region.

Crafty had the most chances, she was up for four possible awards, in Dance, Music, Film Production, and Literature. Princess and Prima Donna were also up for Dance, and Sport and Curly were up for Film Production. Bossy also brought Burrito who was up for Photography, in my opinion, the very hardest category!

Crafty and Prima Donna
We sat in the auditorium for 20 minutes listening to some of the amazing musical pieces these kids had written. By the time we were ready for the awards, I was feeling totally intimidated. Not Curly, he was sitting next to me bouncing up and down waiting for his turn to go up and get a medal. It never crossed his mind that they might not call his name.

Our first category was Dance and the second name called was Princess! She would have been so excited, but she wasn't even with us. She felt like her dance class was more important. Go figure! Crafty and Prima Donna were both called up for Honorable Mentions.

The next category was Film Production and sure enough, Curly was the first one called. He practically ran up to get his medallion! Sport and Crafty were disappointed when they didn't win anything, but there wasn't much time to be sad before they moved on to the Literature category. Crafty snagged another Honorable Mention there.

Curly in his green jacket.
But it was the last one for her. She didn't get anything in Music and honestly, after hearing those kids play, neither one of us were surprised. We waited anxiously for Photography. Burrito was sitting behind me and he was just so excited to go up on the stage! He was SOO disappointed when his name wasn't called!

The hardest part of Reflections is watching the kids lose. And they do. Every year. With the hundreds of entries my kids have done, we have only had a handful of wins at state and most of them were 2nd place.

So we shall see. We only have two left in the running, Princess in Dance, and my little Curly in Film Production. I'll keep you posted...

Jan 27, 2014

What Happened to January??

Fun random pic of Kiy's newest princess doll, she has Elsa too.
Can you believe it is already January 27?

I was trying to figure out where the time has gone, but then I remembered that I spent two weeks being extremely sick. Then we sold a week's worth of Girl Scout Cookies. And don't forget the Dog Walker's Missionary Farewell! So many people have told me what a great job he did and I totally agree with them.:)

He is reading to me from his FHS 1500 textbook and I'm struggling to stay awake. Not that he is boring, I'm just tired! We had the kids back over for dinner. My sweetie made Mexican food, including his first try at Chile Rellanos. They turned out awesome (although his food always turns out great, no matter what he is cooking).

We only had two kids in the nursery today. That calling is just too easy!

Baby Doll sat with her own class today and Curly didn't even have to sit with her. They put the Dog Walker's plaque in the display case, right next to the one for Teach. Drama Queen took a picture and was supposed to forward it to me but I guess she forgot.

Got it now!
I wanted to put up an amazing post today, but instead I think I will head off to bed. Now that my birthday is over, I'm guessing my sweetie will get back on his early morning schedule so I will be on my own to get the kids off to school. The Dog Walker has finished reading and is off to his own devices. Besides me, he and Prima Donna are the only two still awake.

We really need to get on a better schedule.

Maybe in February...
I just need to blink and it will be here.

Jan 26, 2014

My Birthday Party

Princess in stripes, me lining up the team.
I had an amazing birthday! It started early, about 6:45 when I checked on Princess to make sure she was getting ready for work. We had to be up early anyway since Curly had an 8:00 basketball game. Unfortunately, I had to let my sweetie take him while the Dog Walker and I headed for the fire station to pick up our Bountiful Basket. Princess had planned to pick it up but then she got this extra shift at work and didn't want to say no.

So at 8:05, we were the first ones there for the 8:15 appt. We spent a few minutes helping out, stacking and breaking down boxes and adding the last few things to the baskets. We were pretty excited to each get an extra five-lb bag of potatoes for helping! Once we were loaded up, the Dog Walker dropped me for the second half of Curly's game. He did a great job!

Back at the house again, Drama Queen offered to run me over to Dunford to pick up donuts for everyone for breakfast. It was fun visiting for a few minutes each way. Then I embroidered a blanket for Scout's little friend for her birthday party this morning. Prima Donna and Crafty headed out at 10:00 for a service project at the Community Center.

Just before noon we picked up Scout from the birthday party and and drove the short distance to her basketball game. It was a rough team. The first half was awful! Our team only scored one basket and the kids were pretty discouraged. But I told them I didn't care if we lost, I just wanted them to make two baskets in the 2nd half to celebrate my birthday. They took this challenge seriously and managed to score 6 baskets! I was so proud of them! I think the other team was a little stunned...

Best. Carrot. Cake. Ever!
After the game the Drama Queen took us all out to lunch at In and Out Burger. Yum! I love their fries! We had one more game for the day. Sport played at 4:00. It was a good game and they won by about 6 points. When we got back to the house, my sweetie announced that the router had gone out and we would not be able to use the internet if I didn't run to Staples and pick up a new one. We couldn't have that! The Dog Walker had homework to do and I promised to update you guys, so it was back on the road.

Bossy and Drama Queen
When we finally got back to the house, my little Sis and her family and the kids were arriving and it was time for dinner. My sweetie made flat iron steaks, penne with alfredo sauce, roasted vegetables and homemade rolls. (I know, but I told myself this morning that I was going to eat whatever I wanted today and worry about it on Monday.) It was delicious! Especially the rolls. :)

I opened gifts and we ate Princess's amazing carrot cake. Honestly, I don't know if I've ever had one that was better! We talked and visited and enjoyed each other. One of my favorite gifts was a cassette tape from Teach. She recorded a bunch of silly stuff and then just things from a random day. It was so good to hear her voice! Although she seems to have acquired a Texas accent...

Me and Little Sis
It was a wonderful birthday! Thanks for all of your happy wishes.

Jan 25, 2014

Much Excitement!

Franco gets a new yard to play in!
A few very exciting things happened around here today. Princess tried her hand at her very first carrot cake! She put so many nuts in it (my personal favorite part!) that she couldn't get all the batter in the cake pans.

That turned out well because then she was able to make up a dozen or so cupcakes. They were SOO good! Seriously, I think I ate 5 over the course of the day...ok, maybe it was only 4.
But honestly, I didn't feel that bad about it because if you are counting, the cake was made for me. Today (now that it's after midnight) is my 49th birthday.

Funny, most days I don't feel that old. Unless I'm helping out at the elementary school. I used to be one of the young moms, but now it's not surprising to hear someone refer to me as a grandma. In fact, last time I was working in Curly's kindergarten classroom one of the little boys looked at me and exclaimed, "Hey! You look just like my grandma!" :(

The proud homeowner.
The other exciting thing that happened today which way tops my birthday, was that the Gym Rat closed on his very first home! We are so excited for him! It's not a huge house, but it is just right for him to be able to afford the payment on his own if need be and comfortably with a roommate. It's close to the bank where he works as a Sr. Lender and it has a big back yard for Franco to chase around.

He's still going to have to buy a fridge and he'll need a washer and dryer, but all the other appliances are new and the house has been "flipped" or completely remodeled. When he gets all moved in I will show you more pics, but right now he is waiting rather impatiently until Monday to get the keys.

Happy Birthday to me! I'll put up some pics of our party tomorrow. Right now I have the whole day to look forward to. And a whole huge carrot cake with MY NAME on it!!

Jan 24, 2014

Letters from Teach in Texas

Teach has been so busy! Did I tell you she actually has her release date now?

I talked to President. 
He emailed the Mission office. 
August 21st I'll be on an airplane. 
It's right.

This has been a huge ordeal for her. As a sister missionary, she has to choose if she wants to go home a transfer before or a transfer after, so September 20 would be her 18-month mark, but she has to choose either August 20 or October 20. So after much prayer and fasting as well as a conference with her mission president, she chose August 20. 

Graduate school starts on August 25. :)
More pics of the Dog Walker
She was SOO excited to hear about the Dog Walker's call! When I told her I had pics of him looking just like a missionary, she said:

Oh man!!! Can you attach a picture of him to the email right now??? 
Which of course I did, and her response was:
awwwwww (: (: He looks like a missionary!!!!! (: (: That's so amazing! 
Then I just had to share this story with her:
So I want to tell you a cute one on Curly. Princess ordered a princess doll from JCP.com. It was backordered so she has been anxiously awaiting its arrival. So when the email came in that it had shipped, I told Curly, "Go tell Princess her Elsa doll has shipped!" He ran downstairs calling, "Princess! Your Elsa doll is on a boat!" :)

She said:
Noah is the funniest kid ever. Man, I miss that little guy. 

The she told me a story. Hers was much more spiritual than mine...
Oh, another cool story. The other day I was on an exchange with Sister Edwards and we were walking down the street and we saw a lady who was ... pretty worse for wear. She had every possible problem going wrong in her life at that point. We shared with her a simplified version of the apostasy and there was a moment when she said, "Oh, that just clicked, that finally makes sense. It was like a lightbulb just went off." And I said to her, "Rachel, do you know what that is? That's the Holy Spirit that you just felt. It is telling you these things are true." Now, Mom. You have to understand. Here in the South EVERYONE is always talking about how they are feeling the Holy Spirit so it was a really big deal when Rachel said, "really?? I've never felt the Holy Spirit before. Or maybe I just never knew what it was." She started to cry and 10 minutes later when we were leaving she was so grateful for that moment in recognizing the Spirit. (: We probably will never see her again because she's homeless and phoneless- but we made a difference. (: 
My last request was that she email me the 500-word essay I need to put with her application for grad school and this is what I got:

I just never really realized how focused I was until I tried to write an essay that is just not mission- related. It's really hard to not just... break out into testimony. 
She really is a good missionary. :)


Jan 23, 2014


Helping with Laundry
You know, I've noticed a few things while I was down and out with pneumonia for the last couple of weeks.

First of all, my antibiotics are gone and I feel like I should be totally recovered. But it's not quite that easy. My cough is nearly gone and so is the gurgling in my lungs, but the fatigue just lingers on. I've tried to get back to regular activities like chasing the kids all over, going to Curves, selling Girl Scout cookies, and playing basketball, but I'm just TIRED! I really need that part to change.

Taking care of Baby Doll
Second, I got a little spoiled while I was under the weather. The Dog Walker and my sweetie did the laundry and my sweetie made sure we had meals cooked over the weekends that would stretch into the week so I didn't have to worry much. Yesterday one of the kids opened the fridge and with a look of total shock, exclaimed, "The leftovers are all gone!!"

Yeah. I need to go to the store tomorrow.

Third, while my body was not working, neither was my brain for the most part. Anything I could muster up was spent helping the Dog Walker with homework. (Thank goodness the little ones were off track!) So today I spent about six hours trying to sort through the huge pile of paperwork and bills that had accumulated on my desk and it's still not done!

And last, I just want to thank my friends who covered for me, Lori for helping out with Sport's basketball practice, Becky for teaching my lessons in Nursery, my doc for the antibiotics, my awesome kids who just took care of things and themselves, but mostly my sweetie. He has had all sorts of craziness at work and he usually goes in early, but for the last couple of weeks, he has hung around until all the kids are gone to school so I can get the rest my body has so desperately needed.

That's only one of the many reasons I've kept him around for the last 31 years.

Thank you, Sweetie, I love you!
Let's try for at least 31 more. :)

Jan 22, 2014

Do You Want to Build a Snowman?

I know it seems like I talk about scouts all the time, but today was our Pack Meeting and I have to show you the fun project we made!

My girls just LOVE the Frozen movie! They go around singing the songs from it all the time. So when I wanted the Cub Scouts to make little snowmen treats, I cheated a little and borrowed their song... a LOT! I put pics of Olaf the Snowman on our reminder fliers and I used the song title as a teaser in pretty much all of the announcements.

It worked well because I don't think the boys had a clue what we were planning to do! With hardly any snow on the ground, we couldn't build a REAL snowman...

So we made these.

It took a little prior preparation on my part, but it ran smoothly at the meeting. First the boys wrapped a Hershey's bar like a gift except that the bottom end was left open so they could retrieve the candy bar without destroying their snowman.

Then they drew and colored a little snowman face with markers. I pre-made all the little scarves out of felt. They were about half an inch wide and the length of the long side of a piece of felt (about 12 inches). I snipped each end a couple of times so they looked like fringe. I could have had the kids do that but I didn't want to bring that many pairs of scissors or deal with that much wasted felt.

I went to the dollar store and bought a couple of packages of pipe cleaners and a couple of packages of pom poms. I had no idea you could get such things at the dollar store! Each snowman needed half a pipe cleaner and two pom poms. I cut the pipe cleaners beforehand as well and stuffed everything into Ziploc bags.

Setup was quick and easy. We covered three tables with white butcher paper and then put supplies on each one. We used white unlined paper, markers, tape for wrapping the bars, scarves, pipe cleaners, and pom poms. We also put out low-temp glue guns for gluing the "ear muffs" in place.

The kids loved this fun and easy project! Kids as young as two were able to participate. Total cost was less than $1 per person.

Do you have any fun craft ideas that might work for a Pack Meeting? Leave me a link. I would love to see what you have been doing!

(Besides, after 3 years, I'm running out of ideas!)

Jan 21, 2014

The MLK Holiday

We always try to spend a little time reminding the kids that we celebrate this holiday as a means of ending discrimination in our world. On Saturday we watched a movie about the first African American to win the Heisman trophy. It was awesome with lots of real footage from the 60s, so we had that covered.

I have to confess when my sweetie said he would be home early this afternoon so we could go play and have some fun together, I didn't believe him. He typically works way too many hours and we rarely see him before 7 or 8 in the evening. Some years he has taken MLK Day off so he could spend it with us, but not this year. He has a new project and things are a little crazy.

So imagine my surprise when he walked through the door at 3:45 hollering, "Let's go play!!" The kids scrambled and we were in the van and ready to go in 20 minutes. He was anxious to use the cards we invested in right before the end of the year.

Did I tell you about our Pass of All Passes? In Utah they have these passes that you can buy and they are good for about 20 venues around town including the Seven Peaks Fun Parks and Waterparks. The kids were pretty excited when he presented them as a gift for the New Year.

We haven't had a chance to use them yet so we took the vouchers to the Fun Center in Lehi to turn them into cards. My sweetie was thinking it might be a little slow in the middle of the afternoon. Ha!

It was ridiculously busy! And we had to wait forever to get our cards. But finally we got in and we headed for miniature golf. The kids had so much fun. It was a black light place and I tried to take you a pic but it was just too dark.

After we finished golfing, we finally convinced the kids to get on this ride called the Frog Hopper. It just went up and down, but it took me a while to convince them it would be fun. Then we couldn't get them off of it!! We finally took them to the food court and bought some fries and sandwiches. It was pretty expensive, but our cards also came with food vouchers! We paid $14.99 each for them and they came with $15 worth of food. Now tell me that's not a good deal...plus we got all these awesome games and venues for free.

After dinner everyone but me and Baby Doll went to play laser tag. The two of us played another round of golf. Then the family joined us and we played one more round. After half a dozen more rides on the Frog Hopper, we finally convinced them it was time to leave. My off-trackers are going back to school tomorrow and we needed to get them to bed at a reasonable hour.

And something else I wanted to tell you. Yesterday was the 3-year birthday of my blog! I can't believe I've been writing this long! Happy Birthday, Twelve Makes a Dozen... Happy Birthday to you!...and many more....

Jan 19, 2014

Guest Blogger: Missionary Talk by the Dog Walker

I’m so excited to give this talk about my mission, because I am looking forward to serving Heavenly Father and the special needs students at a seminary in Taylorsville and at another one in Riverton. Since most of you know that I’m autistic, and I’ve been writing to my sister, Teach, while she is on her mission, I’ve been worrying a lot about having to try to teach the Church to people at other places. I wasn’t excited about getting a front door slammed at me, or having people yell angry things at me like sometimes they do to her. Everyone near me has been telling me that a full time mission wouldn’t suit me, even the people downtown who do all the testing. They said it would be best to serve a mission near home, a church service mission.

    The Bishop asked me to talk about service and why it’s important. There has always been a lot of service in our world. Parents serve their children by providing a home and food for them. Children serve their parents by being obedient, doing their chores and helping at home. Our greatest example of service is Jesus Christ. His whole life and mission was about service. And with his example, he wanted to teach us to love and serve each other. In Matthew 25:34-36 in the New Testament we read “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: naked and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison and ye came unto me.” He wanted us to know that if we are serving others, we are serving Him and Heavenly Father.

We should all want to serve, even if it is something that we think we don't want to do like pulling weeds for a neighbor or babysitting someone's grumpy 1-year-old. Do you know what’s making you think and say that you don’t want to serve others? It’s Satan that wants you to think that serving others is not worth your time and hard work. But Jesus teaches us to serve and love everyone whether they are members of the church or not. I would like to tell a story that talks about what true service really is when people were doing it after a natural disaster that occurred in Austin, Texas, last fall. (I like stories about Texas because that is where Sister Teach is serving.)

A torrential rainstorm that brought 6 to 10 inches of rain stalled over a watershed in southeast Austin prone to flash flooding on October 31. As a result, nearby Onion Creek rose 11 feet in 15 minutes and crested at a record 41 feet, leaving more than 600 homes flooded.
While no members of the Church or Church buildings experienced flooding, members in the area quickly went to work to help those impacted by what is being called the “Halloween Flood.”
One volunteer, Kevin Christensen of the Austin Texas Stake, showed up at the Dove Springs Recreation Center to lend a hand. He used his Spanish-speaking skills to translate for flood victims trying to communicate their needs to relief workers.

According to Brother Stewart Dickson, “Our response to this natural disaster is centered on our belief in Jesus Christ and in His teachings. Jesus Christ taught that we all have a responsibility to our neighbor. He taught the parable of the Good Samaritan. Simply stated, we follow Jesus Christ by reaching out to those in need.” That means that we should always try to be more like Jesus by serving those in need, not just people who are poor, homeless, sick, or injured, but everyone around us, even our families and friends.
There are so many choices for Church Service missionaries and lots of people have asked me why I chose to do a service mission at a special needs seminary instead of somewhere else. The reason is that I’ve been taking a bunch of Special Education classes at Salt Lake Community College that remind me of all those things I’ve been experiencing in my life while being autistic. Whenever I’m reading a textbook that says the differences between being people with disabilities and people without disabilities, I remember that Jesus loved all of us. He served all of us. He died for all of us even if we are not perfect. And none of us are perfect.

For each of the special education classes, I had to do a service project by volunteering at schools that have students with special needs and different disabilities. For one class I went to a special high school called South Valley School. It had a bunch of friends that I recognized from my educational life in elementary all the way through high school. Those people were the friends I remember from my cluster class. I was able to serve them by teaching them at a Home Service Center how to do housework, like setting up a meal and even cleaning it up after. It was fun to help my old friends learn how to do things and it reminded me how grateful I am that I can do things by myself.

In a different special education class I took I learned about every child’s special needs and struggles on different things. I was able to do another service for kids with special needs. This time I went to South Jordan Elementary, the school I went to when I was a child where I did cluster classes. I enjoyed serving those special needs kids in their cluster classes. I helped the kids learn how to read and how to share their wonderful talents. I’m sure they all have a very good future planned.

    Right when I was doing my service at those schools for my assignments at SLCC, it helped me decide the future that would best suit me once I accomplish other things, like doing my mission, and graduating from college. My future career would be a Special Ed teacher maybe at South Jordan Elementary, as long as I get the degree and know how I can teach kids who are different that they can be whatever they want to be. Jesus and Heavenly Father love them and they care about their hopes and dreams. They love all of us, even those with special needs. I’m sure that being a Special Ed teacher will be part of Heavenly Father and Jesus’ plan of service for me. I am excited to get to know about their special talents and struggles that they may have and need help with. I am so grateful for everyone around me who has been serving me and teaching me how to have a good and happy life.

    I just want to bear my testimony. I wish Sister Teach were here. she would be in tears of happiness to know that I am being set apart for my mission just like she is a missionary. I want you to know that everything about this gospel is true! I’m so glad that some members of my family have been baptized and joined the church, like my brother-in-law, Gamer, and my niece, Fajita, and my sister, Scout. They are so happy to know that they are part of the only true church.

I also know that Joseph Smith and the other prophets were real prophets and so is President Monson. I also know that Jesus and Heavenly Father exist, that they love us and they want us to love and serve each other. I know that missionary work is so important and we can all be missionaries to people around us so that they can learn the truth and be baptized.

I know that this may be a farewell talk, but I’m pretty sure that I’ll still be around, and some of you may ask me some questions about how my mission is going. I hope you do ask me some questions because I’m so excited to be a missionary! Thank you so much for coming today to support me and my family. We love you all. You are a great ward. We can already see so much service and love here. You are all doing such a good job trying to be more like our Savior, Jesus Christ. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Jan 18, 2014

The Dog Walker's Mission Call

Lots of people seem a bit confused about the Dog Walker's mission call and pending service so I wanted to give you more information so everyone would understand how his mission is different from Teach's mission.

Teach put in her papers in December of last year and received her call mid January. She was given until March 20 to prepare to leave her family for 18 months to serve in Ft Worth, TX, which she is loving, BTW. We can only talk to her on Mothers' Day and Christmas even though she has a phone. She can't listen to music that is not church-related or classical, she can't watch movies or TV unless they are approved by her mission president and she can't leave her mission area without permission. Regular missions are strict, but it is all based on obedience and if she wanted to, she could climb on a plane and come home at any time. She spends her time knocking on doors with her companion and they teach and preach our doctrine to anyone who will listen. She is a missionary 24/7 and she only has one day a week to do laundry, send me an email, write letters, do her shopping, and all the normal stuff that anyone would have to do.

His name tag came in the mail today!
Now let's talk about the Dog Walker's mission. He turned in his papers a week ago Monday and it took a little over a week for his call to be issued. He is speaking in church immediately and being set apart on Sunday as a church service missionary working with the special needs seminaries and institutes. He begins his mission on Tuesday at the Hartvigson Seminary. His mission will only last 8 hours/week for now. He will work at the seminaries for 4 hours on Tuesdays and 4 hours on Thursdays. That will allow him to still keep up on his school schedule. He is taking 19 credit hours this semester so he will be a busy guy!

He can still keep his job walking dogs. He can watch wholesome movies with the family and listen to music. He can keep his phone and call or text whenever he wants. He can use the computer. He can do mundane tasks like laundry any day. He only needs to wear his missionary badge at church or when he is working in the seminaries. His mission will last for one year and he can increase his hours as his school load eases up in the spring, and he plans to do that. He will live at home with us and participate in regular family activities and holidays.

He does have to write a letter to his mission president once a week telling about his mission and his mission president is actually our stake president. It is the perfect mission for him. Last year we had some testing done in the church offices and they told us that it is very rare for someone on the autism spectrum to be sent away from home for a mission. We were happy with that because the Dog Walker was not feeling like he was ready to leave home yet anyway although we are hopeful that the day will eventually come when he does feel ready.

How did I do? Did I answer everyone's questions? It is a bit confusing, but either way he is a missionary just like Teach. They are just serving in different areas with a bit different rules. The blessings for
service are the same and he is oh so excited to begin!

Jan 17, 2014

Guest Blog: Finding my Family by Fajita

You all know that Bossy and Gamer added a sweet daughter to their family back in the summer. What you don't know (because I didn't know!) is just how all that went down. But today Bossy sent me an email asking if I would help her proofread Fajita's paper for her English class. When all was finished and submitted, Fajita agreed to let me share the paper with you. Sorry the blog names sound a little strange in it.

You might want to find a tissue or two before you get started...

My hands were clammy, smearing the ink and making the numbers blur.  It didn’t matter; I had stared at the paper, turning it over and over in my hands.  I had the number memorized. Eight-o-One I mumbled. Eight-o-One.  I repeated this like a chant willing up the courage to dial the number. What would I say?  What would I do?  All afternoon I had been watching Sponge Bob reruns trying to work up the courage.  My guardian had enough, “Get over it and call him already!  I need my phone.” 

The phone ringing seemed to be far away.  I tried to remember everything I had read in the court papers.  The voicemail picked up.  I took a deep breath, praying for courage.  I exhaled, the words rushing out as I left a message.  “Hi.  This is your daughter, Fajita. Call me back.”  I hung up the phone like it was a fireball and tossed it back to my impatient guardian.

I tried to pay attention to the images as they blurred on the TV.  Sponge Bob was saying something to Patrick, but it didn’t matter.  My mind was racing, wondering when they would call me back.  Thirteen years old and I had never even talked to my dad.  What would he be like?  Would he be friendly?  Would he want me?  The phone rang.  I tried to focus on the TV.  Squidward was annexing his lawn to keep Sponge Bob off.  I tried to pretend like I wasn’t listening as my guardian answered.  My heart skipped a beat, was it my dad?  I ached inside as he walked outside to talk in private.  What if my dad didn’t ever call? 

My guardian was outside forever. Another episode started but my mind couldn’t focus on the TV. Suddenly the door opened and I snapped from my brooding as a cell phone came flying at my head. “Phone’s for you,” he mumbled just before it smacked me.  I scrambled to catch it, my softball skills coming in handy.  I glanced at the caller-ID.  Eight-o-one.  My heart was pounding so hard I could hear the blood rushing in my ears like a waterfall.  I took a deep breath.

“Hello?”  My voice sounded funny.  I waited, glancing at the clock.  I inhaled ready to speak again.
“Hello Fajita. This is Bossy, Gamer's err, your dad’s wife.”

Her voice sounded just as scared as mine.  I wasn’t expecting her to call.  She was explaining that I had called her cell phone and my dad was still at work.  She started firing off questions like a machine gun.  What size clothes did I wear? What was my favorite color? What did I like to do? Soon she had asked me so many questions I forgot my nervousness.  I started asking about my dad.  She told me about my little brothers.  Suddenly the phone started bleating in my ear.  Oh no! My battery was dying.  As if sensing my call was coming to an end, my guardian called for me to start cooking dinner.  “It has been nice talking to you, Bossy.  My phone is dying, can you have my dad call when he gets home?”  Her response was interrupted as the phone beeped one final dying cry and powered down.  I looked at the phone. “Thanks a lot, stupid phone.”  I put it on the charger and went to cook dinner.

I went to bed disappointed, not hearing from my dad.  Had she heard me?  Didn’t he want to talk to me?  I slept in late after tossing and turning all night.  My dreams had seemed so real last night, haunting me and stopping me from sleeping.  Now I couldn’t remember anything.  Funny how dreams work like that.  I moped about the house doing my chores, watching TV, being restless.  My guardian had enough. “Get out of this apartment.  Go play with your friends!”  I was banished outside.  I sulked on our steps until my friend, Ja’myra rode by on her bike.  After some coaxing I joined her.  We raced up and down the street.  I confided in her about my dad and my brothers.  She listened and wondered, “Are you going to live with them?  Move away?  To Utah?”  The way she said Utah made me smile.  She clearly hadn’t been practicing like I had.  It sounded like a foreign country not another state. 

“I don’t know…”  My mind started to wander, thinking about new little brothers and parents.  Did I want to move? 

“Helloooooo.  Earth to Fajita.”  Ja’myra was waving her hand in front of my eyes.  I had stopped riding and was standing in the street, blocking traffic.  “C’mon,” she said, “I think you need a drink.”  We went back to the apartment.  My guardian was on the porch looking for me, phone in his hand.

“Fajita, your dad is on the phone.”

“Hi Gamer.”  It felt like time stopped.  I was standing, my mind wondering a million questions all at once.  Wondering what he sounded like. What did he look like?  What did he smell like?

“Hi mija.”  Mija. Daughter.  He called me daughter.  His voice was soft, kind, and a little nervous.  A warm feeling spread throughout my body.  I knew this was my dad and I knew he loved me.  The walls crumbled and I began to pour my soul out to my long-lost father.  He listened and laughed and we shared stories together.  We talked.  Sometime during our conversation I started calling him “Dad.”  It was him that had to stop our conversation.

“Mija, my phone is dying.  I need to go plug it in.  Can I call you tomorrow?”
“Of course, Dad.  I love you.”

“I love you, t--- ”  He stopped half way and I knew his phone was dead.  I glanced down to confirm the call ended and saw the timer on the cell phone, “call time 255:35” flashed and faded away.  I smiled and I knew everything would work out.