Mar 31, 2020

Guest Blog - Peace in Christ by Crafty

Yesterday was my P-Day and I had the sudden urge to do something creative, so I took some old dance footage from a school project last year and I made a video. The song "Peace in Christ" has always been special to me. Sometimes it seems like feeling at peace in this life is impossible, but I know that through the atonement of Jesus Christ we can truly feel at peace. I am so grateful for him and the peace I have because of him. I am also so grateful for the art of dance and it's liberating power. Through Jesus Christ and dance I feel free.

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” -John 14:26–27

"Let them praise his name in the dance" -Psalm 149:3

Mar 30, 2020

Guest Blogger: Reading Harry Potter to the Kids by the Dog Walker

My mom has asked me to write a blog post for her, probably because she was hoping for more followers to come read it much more, since I have autism and she tells me that a lot of you think that I have much more interesting stories of my life. And speaking of stories, that's what I've been doing ever since I've been self isolated on the quarantine of the coronavirus. I was feeling so worried about Puppy Lover because ever since her Mom talked about me having to stay at my parents' house for a couple of weeks, just because of the desperate spread of the coronavirus. She's been missing me so much and wishes that she would give me a hug and a kiss, just like a loving wife should always do. I even have been trying my best to be a good husband to her and she believes that I am a good husband no matter what's been going on.

Anyway, ever since this self isolation has started, I've been reading the first book of Harry Potter to Baby Doll and Curly, because they have to do some reading hours for school. And they really enjoyed the way that I've been reading to them. It kind of reminds me of the time that I used to read Harry Potter books to my Mom whenever I was required to some reading for school. Doing something like this had been a challenge for me when I was a kid, but it sure had been fun to learn how to read and ever since that time, I still love to read stories like this one. Ever since I've been in college, however, I always had to read a chapter from a textbook and those were the hardest to do, because I had to remember all the things I've been reading, especially out loud to my Mom, just so that she could help me understand what it is that I've been trying to learn from a specific chapter in a specific class.

Okay, I'm getting a little off topic here. Every now and then of everyday on the self isolation, Baby Doll and Curly would become very excited to hear more about what would happen in the next chapter of Harry Potter. There were the times that whenever I've read, people wouldn't be paying attention, but ever since I've been learning more on how to read, especially reading something in such an entertaining and dramatic way, they find interest in hearing more of me reading. Reading books like this makes me wish that I could be able to read to Puppy Lover. I even tried asking her if she would be interested if she heard me read a book to her, but she told me that Harry Potter is not her favorite thing, probably because she finds it weird and confusing. But I'm hoping there will be a book series that she would love to hear me read to her, I just need to find out what it is that she likes.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone|J. K. Rowling
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Besides, I still love to read books to people, because it helps me spend more quality time with the people who have an interest in hearing a story or two. And it makes me feel like I'm being a good and supportive person whenever I read.

Mar 27, 2020

Olympics Games at Home

Curly had been studying Greece at school and all the kids in his class were looking forward to having their own Olympic games. Now the COVID-19 virus has everyone at home and we are trying to home-school the kids. The thing is, Curly still has an assignment on his list to host the Olympic Games... and since he can't work with his friends, guess who gets to participate?

We probably should have done a little more to prepare, like lit a torch and stuff, but we didn't. As soon as the weather was decent (we had snow this morning!) Curly called us all outside to run the 20-yard dash. Now you all know that I have been wearing this big old boot for the past 5 weeks, but what you don't know is that early this afternoon, my doctor told me that I could switch to my old brace that I used prior to my surgery!!

Yay!! No more boot!
So I didn't run the 20-yard dash, but I did WALK it and my sweet Curly decided that anyone who had surgery in the last 3 months could have 1/2 their actual time. I still came in second to last, but I'm just happy to be moving.

Other events included the Javelin (with a pencil).

The shotput (a wiffle ball).

The discus (paper plates)

And my personal favorite (maybe because I usually win!), thumb wrestling!

Overall, I placed 4th, so I was edged out of a medal, but barely. And since we didn't even actually award medals, I guess I'm OK with it.

No more freezing between events... this is the Summer Olympics!
But next time we host our own Olympics, things are going to be a little different...

Mar 24, 2020

New Starts - Let's Go Band! - the encore

I know I shared with you about Crafty's unexpected return, but I couldn't resist sharing with you our newest band member.

We have also named it... Our Quarantine Band.

You know, Crafty hasn't been in the band since 9th grade (about 5 years now), so it is pretty amazing how quickly she picked the clarinet up and played it like a pro.

We still don't know what her new assignment will be. She came back to us with only a carry-on, since the sister missionaries thought they were just meeting with another group for a couple of days. They had to leave so quickly, that Crafty felt terrible about leaving dishes and even food they were currently eating on the table. She never dreamed that would be the last time she would see her little apartment in the Philippines.

There were many miracles that helped them get home, but tomorrow I will post some of her words so you can hear directly from her. So pleased to have her sweet spirit and happy laugh home with us again.

Mar 23, 2020

She is Home... What Now?

Coming home from the airport

Greeting the family

Sharing stories
Crafty will be home for at least 2 weeks of self-isolation until we learn her new assignment. We are just grateful for what we have been given; she is home and she is safe.

Mar 21, 2020

New Starts - School and Play

Things are so different now, but that's not all bad. I don't know exactly how long it has been since I have been able to sit at the kitchen table with my family and play a board game. I have seen many of them happen, but generally I am doing dishes or cleaning up dinner. Not this time. We had a rousing game of Apples to Apples and I actually won!

We have had time to do a few crazy things as well. On Tuesday, Curly and Baby Doll pumped up our little swimming pool and filled it with hot water from the sink and cold water from the tap. I was worried they might freeze to death, but it was a beautiful day and quite warm for March.

Another thing that has been happening more around here is that the kids are spending more time in the kitchen learning to cook foods besides canned chili and Ramen. Night before last, Curly fried chicken strips in the fryer (something he had never done before!) while Scout and Baby Doll made a beautiful tray of sliced and peeled fruit and a fruit dip. Maybe we could get excited about cooking a little more at home. (As most of you know, cooking is my least favorite task... the harder you work at it, the more they complain.) 

My sweetie is also spending time fixing our broken basketball standard! This one has bothered the kids for quite a while, but they will be so happy when they can burn off some of their nervous energy on the court instead of getting all of their exercise on the trampoline.

But one of my most favorite things was being serenaded by my very own band!

Mar 18, 2020

What Really Matters in an Earthquake

We were shaken awake this morning as the bed bounced and rolled. I know it was only a 5.7, but it was definitely the biggest earthquake I can remember in this century. As I reached for my phone, trying to understand what was going on in my somewhat groggy state, my children started checking in on each other.

Bossy - 7:11 AM
I am fine. Please check in!

Twiz - 7:11 AM

The Frog - 7:11 AM 
All good here.

Drama Queen - 7:12 AM
Safe. That went as far as Tooele and Tremonten!!

Me - (finally got my glasses on) 7:12
Ok here

Sport - 7:12 AM

Beauty - 7:12 AM

Drama Queen - 7:12 AM
The Frog, you guys felt that earthquake just now too??

Me - 7:12 AM
How big?

The Frog - 7:12 AM
Yup, where was it?

Taco - 7:13 AM
It hit our house but everyone is fine.

The Frog - 7:13 AM
It lasted quite a while, made the ceiling fans rattle for about a minute (well at least that's how long after it woke me up).

Bossy - 7:14 AM
Shook the entire bank (Bossy is on the 5th floor) the building swayed quite a bit. Logan (the city) felt it too.

Dog Walker - 7:20 AM
Puppy Lover and I felt it. She thought it was just the washer and dryer or even the garage door. I tried to tell her that those couldn't make a whole house shake, but she didn't want to agree that it really was an earthquake. (I'm sure she was scared, just like the rest of us, Dog Walker.)

The Frog - 7:21 AM
5.7 in Magna

Me - 7:22 AM
That's big!

Scout - 7:24 AM
Grantsville felt it too

Dog Walker - 7:28 AM
How about we all pray?

Finally, a voice of reason in the crazier and crazier world we live in. Some things about our morning conversation as a family were absolutely amazing to me. First of all, within the first 2 minutes, all 6 families (except for Prima Donna) had checked in as well as additional family members from my own home. Second, the new SLACK channel The Frog set up for us has been perfect for keeping my family together.

And third, and the most important to me... when we are afraid, my family, my children were concerned and just needed to hear from each other. We all needed to remember that those we love were safe.

For the record, all day long our siblings have been checking with each other. My sweetie's brothers and sisters have a text chain similar to this one. Most of my siblings have called or texted me just to make sure we are well.

We have also heard from friends and ward members, just people who care about each other making sure all is well. There aren't a whole lot of things more important than that.

Mar 17, 2020

New Starts - Planting Garden Starts

I'm sorry for being so negative yesterday. It has been rough on everyone and the last thing you want to hear is more whining from me. There are so many good things coming from staying home!

First of all, if you missed it, Princess announced that they are expecting #3 on 10/20/20. A new baby coming seems like the perfect tonic to improve life to me.

 I spent about 20 minutes erasing pretty much everything off my calendar and after a few seconds of incredible stress and sadness, it felt nice to see those clean white spaces with pretty much every day written on them. Even the few remaining doctors appointments will probably be cancelled.

We spent the day with the kids and Grandpa...all 7 of us who live here including Teach's babies and Dog Walker when he wasn't working. They are just so sweet, it is hard to remember that we are supposed to be so sad and upset when it is like we are really just all sluffing school together. Just for a minute though.

Gym Class for Scout with a little help from Twizlet.
Then the teachers started unloading on us and I swear, the kids have more to do than if they were just going to school! Even Baby Doll in her third grade class seems a bit weighed down. Curly was just here a few minutes ago frantically uploading some assignments that were due at midnight. I guess they will learn how to better handle deadlines.

Part of that was my fault since we spent our FHE building mini gardens with all kinds of vegetables and fruit. We have never started our gardens this way before. My sweetie prefers to visit the nursery and buy plants that are already up, so it will be interesting to see if we can pull it off. Even Grandpa made a small one!

I will try to keep you posted more often. I would love to hear how things are where you live. Has your area turned the corner yet or are you in the thick of COVIDs like we are? Please share. It's almost like our entire world has suddenly turned digital.

Mar 14, 2020

Corona Virus Cancels Everything

I'm sure I'm not the only one feeling totally out of control in our rather surreal world today.

On Thursday morning, Princess brought her two kids up and we spent a nice few hours visiting, going out to lunch, and enjoying regular world activities.

After that, nothing seemed normal. Bossy called to tell me that Sam's Club had all of the checkstands open with a dozen carts waiting in each line. There was no toilet paper, eggs, flour, bread, cheese... shelves were empty and still people poured into the store just hoping they might be able to find what they need.

Baby Doll and I went to Parent Teacher Conferences alone because my sweetie was in St. George with Curly for a baseball tournament. I couldn't go because Scout had a volleyball tournament, Baby Doll had a dance competition, and I had 600 boxes of cookies that still needed to be sold during 6 hours of cookie booths scheduled for Saturday.

Except one by one, all of those things were cancelled except the cookie booths. Ours were scheduled for the last day they were allowed to be held. My world was rapidly falling apart and there was absolutely nothing we could do. All County libraries are closed, Rec Centers and community buildings are closed, museums, even Disneyland, all closed.

Empty Shelves at the WalMart where Dog Walker works
Sport's Eagle Court of Honor was cancelled along with every other activity that ever went on in our church for at least the rest of the month. Sunday worship will now be held in homes of the faithful. Today even the temples were closed all over the world. Grandpa is home since his mission is on hold. March Madness basketball tournaments, the NBA, everything stops as the world as we know it grinds to a halt. Now I know that none of these things are truly important compared to people being sick and dying. They don't even matter when it comes to realizing how many people are currently living in fear. Everyone on TV says that they are just being preemptive, but in my heart of hearts, I know that right now the world is being run by fear. This Corona Virus can strike anyone and even though the majority of people recover; money, fame, power, none of these matter.

The final ax fell today when all public schools in the entire state of Utah were closed to students for the next two weeks. Schoolwork will be online and parents will be hunkering down with their families while they watch for the Corona Virus storm to pass us by.

Dear Heavenly Father, please watch over us all.

Mar 12, 2020

Blast from the Past: Sideyard Renovation, 2007

The Dog Walker has put this particular story into an open post for me several times now, so his passive aggressive insistence has paid off  I should have made him write it for me though because I'm not really sure what he wanted me to say. 

This probably came up because Sport just received notification that he has been approved as an Eagle Scout and this Sideyard Renovation was one of the things that the Dog Walker did for a merit badge. 

We had been in our home since 1994, but this sideyard was one of the few places that had hardly been touched and as you can see, the weeds ruled. I'm pretty sure this was for the Landscape Architecture badge and we didn't have to do anything quite this drastic, but since the Dog Walker wanted to and we were generally all in favor of free labor, we let him make his designs and then begin.

He started by removing weeds and just generally flattening the area. He also scrubbed down all the walls on both sides. It was hard, back-breaking work as you can see by the sweat running down his face, but as in pretty much everything he takes on, the Dog Walker was determined. Since I know you are all trying to do the math, the Dog Walker was born in 1993, so that would make him about 14.

After he got rid of the leaves, he put down weed killer and spread black fabric. The final step was covering the entire area with bark. Then it was time to do the fun stuff.

He (with a little help from my sweetie) put together this playhouse (which still stands today), and then he put together this little birdbath and added some whimsical birds and fish.

He wanted an outdoor area for the kids to sit so he also built these little benches. Then he put down stepping stones so the kids would be able to run through with their bare feet.

The entire area was amazing! Now, last, but certainly not least, can you guess the names? Starting from the left, we have Sport, Crafty (a small table) then Scout and Prima Donna.

Thanks for the fun walk down memory lane, Dog Walker. I keep forgetting that our blog friends only knew us from 2011 and on, so they had no idea how amazing you were when you were 14.

Mar 10, 2020

Selling Cookies

Baby Doll has been out delivering cookies for the last couple of weeks and we still have about 700 packages in our living room to be sold at the cookie booths over the next few weeks (I used to have 200 cases with 12 boxes in each one!). I have plenty of booth times to move this many cookies on a regular year, but this year we are a little nervous.

Look at this little cutie!
Everyone is talking about Coronavirus and how awful it is. Even the Girl Scouts have sent around emails to tell us to prepare just in case our booth times are taken away from us and that would be devastating to nearly every troop in the country.

We run all of our activities with the money we make on cookie sales. In the 27 years I have been a troop leader, I have never charged my girls dues for anything. I want them to work hard and earn first so we can do fun and informative things all year long.

So please, if you see those little girls at the grocery stores all over Utah this week, buy a box of cookies from them. Their smiles will be so worth the $5 that little box will cost and if you don't want it, toss it in the bin for the Food Bank. I guarantee you will make someone else smile as well.

Hey, this is nothing to what it used to be!
And hopefully, somewhere around the end of March, I just might get the rest of my living room back.

Mar 7, 2020

Good Old Days

Friday was such a crazy day for us!! Baby Doll and Curly were out of school, so with my limited mobility, we tried to get as much done as we possibly could. First we went to the grocery store. It has been a while since I have been in a store, but the electric scooter helped us a lot. 

After that, Baby Doll and I got our hair cut. Curly stayed home and watched Twizlet and put away the groceries, but we took Twizzler with us. I'm so glad that he is such a good baby.

We finished up with just enough time to get home and finish getting ready for our girl scout meeting. Wait, I mean Baby Doll and Twiizzler went inside to help Scout while I ran off again to take Curly to the park for baseball practice. About half the things we bought at the store were for the meeting Scout had been planning. The girls were going to cook! They made delicious butterscotch cookies and smoothies. We finished up just before 5:30.

We had to get all Baby Doll's hair and makeup done, gather 3 costumes, tights, shoes, and all of those things required for the Performance Showcase, and get everyone in the car by 6:00. A  couple of people also stopped by for their cookies during that timeframe too.

We climbed into the car by 6:07 and drove straight to the park to pick up Curly from practice. Baby Doll was supposed to be at the school by 6:30, but we got there at 6:38. Thankfully, she wasn't in trouble, they were just happy to see her.

Baby Doll is on the right
The show started at 7:00. It was so fun to watch the performing teams and the production team! Baby Doll was in 3 different numbers, but I have to confess that when the oldest team members danced, I missed Crafty so badly that I got a bit sniffly for a couple of minutes.

Still on the right
Baby Doll did a great job!

This time she is on the left
After the performance was over, we drove to IHOP to enjoy a late supper. Sort of reminded me of the good ol' days when life was crazy nonstop all the time.

Mar 5, 2020

The Best Doctor Ever

Yesterday was my follow up visit for my foot. My doctor was awesome! He took the stitches out first and then he rewrapped it so we could go home. He was pleased with the way they looked and said I didn't have to see him again for 3 weeks.

As we headed out the door, I was feeling pretty optimistic. My sweetie got me home just as Twiz was dropping off Twizzler and Twizlet. Have I told you that Twizlet wants to be a doctor? She loves to evaluate the shape and color of the baby's poop, diagnose any bumps bruises or cuts, and she has been especially interested in my surgery.

"Did you get your stitches out, Mom?" She always calls me Mom, probably because pretty much everyone else does. I had barely had a chance to sit down.

"Can I see?" Of course I was expecting that exact question. I started unstrapping my boot. She helped.

She even took a picture for me. (I was not as excited about the way they looked as my doctor was... they still seem so swollen to me.)

She helped me put the wraps back on and then she offered to brush my hair and get me a snack.

I told you I had the best doctor ever.

Mar 4, 2020

Mission Letter from Crafty in the Philippines

Crafty is so busy these days, but i wanted to share a bit of her letter with you. I'm having trouble with her pictures, so stop back later today and we will see if I can manage to move them with my computer rather than my phone.


Hello beautiful people! I love you all so much! I am going to keep this short and just share a quick story about the gift of tongues. 

The Gift of Tongues 

The other day we were teaching a first lesson to two brothers with a member worker. Sister V said the opening prayer. While she was praying, I prayed silently and fervently in my head that the people we were teaching would be blessed with the spirit and the gift of tongues. At one point during the lesson I asked a question but they didn’t answer right away. Sister V asked if they understood the question. To which one of them said, “Yes I did. Are you half?” (meaning half Filippino). To which of course I respond that I wasn’t and that I was from America. “Pure American?” he asked. To which I said yes.  He said “Wait! How do you know Tagalog?” 

* Side note: Also I honestly don’t remember if this part of the conversation was in English or Tagalog. I think Tagalog but I’m honestly not sure haha

 I responded that I had just started learning Tagalog and I had only been here two months. With a look of complete shock on his face, he said, “Who’s your teacher?!” To which Sister V pointed to the sky and responded “God.” The spirit was so strong through the rest of the lesson. I am so glad that God is blessing me and the people I teach with the gift of tongues. 

Some other highlights: 

We had a service project with the elders in our district pulling weeds for a member in their ward. I got to practice my Flippino squat and I am actually quite good at it now. It was a lot of fun and I think I made a tricycle driver’s day. He drove past and saw me squatting and pulling weeds and he slowed down and started laughing his head off. 

I got offered balut. I’ve tried it before but I didn’t particularly enjoy the experience so I politely declined. Luckily though, they just gave me a regular hard boiled egg. 

Brother and Sister C came to church on Sunday and want to get baptized! I am so excited for them. They are making so many amazing changes in their lives. 

I tried some new fruit! Filippino fruit is so delicious!

I am actually getting quite tan! (I mean for me. I’m still relatively pale haha)

I stole this scripture from Sister A (one of my MTC companions). Sister A, if you’re reading this sorry but it’s just so good haha. 

It’s a scripture about missionaries and it’s exactly how I feel. 

“And the Lord provided for them that they should hunger not, neither should they thirst; yea, and he also gave them strength, that they should suffer no manner of afflictions, save it were swallowed up in the joy of Christ.”

I love you all and I am praying for you. Keep on being awesome. 

Here’s a funny Filippino recipe you can try:

It’s a street food called “Hot Sweet Cheesy Corn” (I didn’t make it up, that’s what they call it haha)


Can of regular corn

Sweet and condensed milk

Cheese powder (I don’t know exactly what kind they use but you could try Mac and Cheese powder I guess)


Warm up the corn and pour it into a cup

Pour on warm sweet and condensed milk (about 2-3 tablespoons per serving) and cheese powder (not too much, just like a teaspoon or two per serving). And then stir it. It should basically look like runnier mac and cheese but with corn. 

Imagine yourself walking down the street in the heat of the Philippines

Eat it with a little spoon

I love you all! If you make the recipe please send me a picture and tell me what you think. See you in 2021!

-Sister Crafty (Your hot, sweet, and cheesy missionary )

Mar 2, 2020

A Mermaid Birthday Party

As you all know, Twizlet turned 3 last week and on Saturday, we all joined her at the aquatics center for a fun Mermaid Birthday Party!

They rented the party room and Teach and Twiz had it all set up with little seashell pics and fantastic cupcakes made by Baby Doll and Scout and a beautiful and amazing cake made by Drama Queen. They served chips and Jimmy John's sandwiches and after opening gifts, nearly everyone (not me!) took a nice long swim and play in the water.

Twizlet was dressed so cute and Drama Queen had through to bring along the "mermaid" wig that totally matched her outfit. I got the chance to wear it first along with one of Crafty's tiaras and then when we were seated, I passed it along to her.

She was so excited!!

The pool was fun too. My sweetie and I sat and watched as everyone got in the pool except The Frog and Polliwog (what's up with that!) and The Beast and Little Squire. Both men mumbled something about the little ones not really wanting to swim, but I know better...

It was a fantastic idea that turned into an even better party. Happy happy birthday, sweet Mermaid Twizlet.