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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

#1's First Area

So, #1's first assignment has been made to Masinloc. Now, you know it wouldn't be true to my nature if I didn't do a little bit of research, right? Well, here you go. This is where she is.....

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Sacrifices of an Oldest Child

I am grateful for migraine medication. I mean, truly, how would I have survived all these years without it? I would have missed out on SO many days with my kids.

Last night was the first night in years that I didn't medicate a migraine. I didn't medicate on purpose, and I have my reasons, but the experience has made me so grateful for what I've got by way of treatment.

I tracked #1 until about 8:45 last night. We'd had Family Home Evening, where we'd encouraged the kids in their summer scripture reading, and then skipped off to the pool for some swimming. I love that they love to go, but I was more grateful, last night, for the moment when they hopped out. I was SO ready to go home.

I came home and curled up on my bed. One of the kids brought me an ice pack, and I put it on the base of my skull. I had forgotten that you can actually feel, with your hand, where the headache is. I had a couple of the kids "feel" my headache. It's kind of impressive, actually.

The Warden called the kids to family prayer and scripture study, and I, feeling a twinge of guilt at the bad example I was setting by not being there, didn't go. I fell asleep, which was a very good thing to do under the circumstances.

When the Warden came to bed, he announced: "She arrived in Tokyo." I mumbled my approval and fell back asleep immediately, head still throbbing.

I woke three different times during the night; each time, wondering if she'd arrived yet. Then, I looked out the window and realized it was too dark to be 6 or 7, so I went back to sleep.

Just a bit ago now, at 5am, I finally opened the computer to look at the tracker. She had an hour and six minutes left.

I posted that fact on Facebook and had an almost immediate comment from a dear friend who served in the Manila Mission a number of years ago. I loved her response. For me, back in those days, the final destination was four hours prior to hers. I was able to get off in Tokyo and have a short flight to my mission in Sendai. My journey was over. I can't even imagine that extra time. I asked my friend what she was experiencing when she landed. Here's what she said:

"I remember feeling gross, sweaty sticky exhausted from the flight, getting off the plane was scary everything was moving so fast I couldn't understand one thing after feeling like I had a little bit of skill from 9 weeks in the MTC we had to stand in lines checking all our documents and waiting for luggage it was just so strange not knowing anything that was happening. I don't even remember who helped us ! Then AP's showed up and we drove to the mission home q will have quite the experience hopping in a jeepny!"

I can't even imagine this world where my daughter will serve. An experience of a lifetime!

You know, sometimes you step back and take a moment to look at your kids not as your kids but as human beings, and honestly, they never cease to amaze me. #1, by nature, is so like her dad--mellow and go-with-the-flow. They somehow instinctively know that there is a greater power in charge and because of that, there is little need to worry. At least, that's what I've finally deduced. It's not that either of them have verbalized that fact, it's just that that's how it seems. That is what I expect will carry her through many of the things she will see, feel, and experience.

The idea that #1 knew what kind of place she was going is somewhat miraculous to me. I mean, of course, she knew she was going to the Philippines, but how would she know what that really meant? I'm sure she didn't and many surprises lie ahead, but how simply she packed and left behind things she used on a daily basis here, surprised and impressed me. No contacts, no make up, simple clothing....She's there to get down and dirty and get to work loving the Filipino people. Somehow, she knows exactly what she's getting into. Wow! I didn't know that this what I was raising--a girl who can leave it all behind to serve the Lord and His children.

I'm so excited to see what comes next. From what I understand from others, there should be an email with a photo from the Mission office after she arrives. I'm not really expecting that until the middle of the night, but is there really any question of me stalking my inbox today?

The headache hangs like a halo around my head this morning....Threatening to return at any bad move on my part. Such is the nature of migraines, but today, I will medicate. It's going to be a good day.

She arrives in eight minutes.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Heading to Tokyo

I must admit there is a VERY strong feeing of helplessness settling in this morning.

It's one thing to send #1 to Utah for six weeks, but it's a whole different thing to send her halfway around the world.

In Utah, I could send a letter (via dearelder.com), and it would arrive in a day or less. Now, I can send a letter (again via dearelder.com), and it will arrive within a week. Emails are great, but she will get them on P-Day--one day a week, which I understand is Monday; it was one day a week in the MTC as well, but that day was Saturday there.

I do have a phone number for the mission home if I need to call her, but it had better be a dire need. So, I'm hoping for no dire needs for the next year and half.

Who knows how long it will take for packages to get to her? I've heard that if you want a package to get there successfully and undisturbed by others, you are to affix an image of the Virgin Mother. I also heard, just today, that you should wrap the entire package in tape to protect it from rodents.

Many have asked, and I don't think I've ever covered this here, but other than today, when she called from the airport, we will get to speak to her via phone (or in the future, Skype) twice while she's gone--Christmas and Mother's Day. We can write letters or emails to her any time we want to. But, as I said earlier, missionaries only check their email on their preparation day (P-Day).

At this point, #1's in the airport in San Francisco. That flight was delayed by about a half hour and the next flight (to Tokyo) is delayed by a half hour as well. The Tokyo layover was supposed to be two hours long. #1 is very much looking forward to that layover. She has planned all of her food purchases. I'm just now realizing that this is not the airport that she's expecting. When we took our trip, we landed in the Haneda Airport. She will be landing at Narita. No matter. The same food should be there.

We had a tradition when we were in Japan. Every night after we were done working, we stopped at a 7-11 and bought an ice cream that was called a "Jumbo." She LOVED them. That is one thing she plans to buy and eat for old time's sake. I hope with flight delays she has time to do these things. Japanese transportation is known for being on time.

The other food she plans to buy is a simple Meiji chocolate bar. She
has carried around a wrapper in a notebook since our trip.

I wonder if she'll go looking for a peapod keychain.....I hope, more than anything, that she can get some sleep on her flight. Jet lag was SUCH a TERRIBLE thing when I got there all those years ago. I couldn't even stay awake during a conversation. It's the only time in my life when I honestly couldn't stay awake no matter what I did. I hope she remembers how much I emphasized the need for sleep on our flight to Tokyo. We lucked out to have an extremely empty flight and a bank of seats all to ourselves to sleep on. I'm hoping for a similar circumstance for her this time. Regardless, I hope she'll take advantage of a few hours of sleep before she gets to Manila.

image: thetravelword.com
From what I understand, she will catch public transportation from Manila to Olongapo. So? Bus? That's my guess. She arrives in Manila at 9:55pm, so I'm curious about that ride. This really should be some adventure.

Oh, how I hope she rides on a bus like this! That would ROCK! That might just be worth being awake for.

They moved her flight back again, the delay was removed. She is taxiing out of San Francisco right now.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Many Hands

It feels like I've woken in heaven....

Yesterday was a soccer tournament for #5. On our way home, the Warden and I promised milkshakes to the kids once the house was clean.

I went out and did the grocery shopping and hoped that the house would be clean upon my return. Guess what....It wasn't, but the kids were having a fabulous time out in the sunshine, jumping on the trampoline in the backyard.

Evening came. The house still wasn't clean. #2 came to me and said, "Mom, you have to assign the kids jobs, or it'll never happen." Of course, what was I thinking?

I created a small list of jobs and called all the kids together. They sat on my bedroom floor, and I read the jobs off to them. I put one extra job--helping #7. Whoever helped #7 got extra milkshake (there was a brief hum of kids whispering among themselves and dibsing who got to work with the youngest and who couldn't handle it).

Kids were then randomly selected to choose the job they wanted, and I set them to work. #2 was given first option to work with #7, but since #3 already had kitchen duty and #7 had dishes, it just seemed to make sense to everyone that the two girls work together.

image: bakingbites.com
Within 15 minutes, the house was clean, and I was downstairs with the blender a-whirring. #3 got extra, and no one complained.

I'm so grateful for my clean house and my cleaners. What a wonderful way to start the day!

Hoping your day has started off beautifully as well,

#1's Weekly Email: Week #6 (Final from the MTC)

For the record, I do not have ADHD. We just joke around about it here because I tend to be easily distracted by seven children. I guess I should say, at least I haven't been diagnosed with ADHD. Who knows? By the time I'm done with this whole ride of kids at home, I may just be.

I, also, do not know Elder Fulivai, but maybe someday we'll meet. Funny!

She refers to two packages. The first is from a dear woman that I met on Facebook who has a son serving in the Olongapo Mission. She, out of the kindness of her heart, went out and purchased some items that the girls won't be able to find in the Philippines and took them to the MTC to be delivered to all six girls that are traveling together on Monday. SO NICE! She contacted me earlier in the week and asked me what I would put in the package if I were there. 

The second package was one I sent last Monday. It had some VERY vital things in it. I was SO sad to know that it hadn't arrived yet and was so relieved to know that it came today. She was able to email me back quickly to tell me that it had come. PHEW!

#1 speaks of packing lightly. She surprised me in a few ways when she got ready to go. She took no contacts with her and no make up. She could see no need for either. She packed very simply.

Here is her letter for the week:

Life is great. We have less than 48 hours left. Man I'm so excited and so terrified at the same time.

image: whatsthatbug.com
Last night for the last hour of class, our substitute, Sister Landrum, told us about her time there. She told us all these disgusting stories about bugs. My poor kasama is TERRIFIED of bugs and she almost started hyperventilating right there in her chair. I felt so bad for her.

And yes, I am definitely ready to "blow this popsicle stand." It's been great but I'm ready to teach REAL people and share the gospel with them. I'm also excited to actually become fluent in Tagalog. It's such a cool language. I've also realized, mother dearest, that I've received some of your ADHD tendencies. It's really hard for me to focus sometimes in class and I get super spazzy and start teasing the elders (doesn't help that they make it easy for me). Also I feel sorry for L. The Japanese speakers have to stay here for 9 weeks now... :P That would suck sooooooooo badly.

We got the package from that adorable sister. It was like Christmas over here. We are all so grateful to her. And yes we all wrote her a thank you letter and signed it :) We're such good girls haha

No, I haven't gotten your package yet. I've been praying so hard all yesterday and today that it'll come today. If I leave before I get it then they will forward it to me but I won't need that blanket in the Philippines.... Oh man I just keep praying...

I'm so glad [#5] likes the shirt. Do you think it helped him?
image: byubookstore.com

And no the other kids aren't gonna get shirts anytime soon but I'll make sure to get them stuff in the Philippines.

Super quick question. Did you send me a new debit card? I haven't gotten one at all and I'm getting a tad bit antsy. I don't really want to go to the Philippines without a way to get money. That just sounds like a disaster waiting to happen.

Nice to know that [#6] is the next Harry Potter hahaha

so Yeah, now i'll tell you about this last week. Monday was our last day with one of our teachers. Sister Scott was flying to California to be with her family for her Birthday. We were all so sad that she had to leave us early. She seriously was an amazing teacher for us. We were definitely blessed with the teachers we got. We all know that they were meant to teach us. Oh! and my amazing kasama let me go play the piano for an hour and 15 minutes. Greatest day of my life. I played all of the songs that Sister S. and Sister P. had haha On Monday morning, Sister T. and I taught Joseph, our male investigator. It was the most amazing lesson ever. I invited him to be baptized and he said yes! Oh also, our female investigator is committed to be baptized too :) I forgot to tell you that last week. Seriously, I am constantly amazed that Heavenly Father is willing to take me, one of his flawed and unworthy daughters, and turn me into one of his servants and trust me with the rescuing of his children. I will never not be amazed I think.

Tuesday was our last devotional. It was good. I don't really remember much from it. I'm gonna have to go look up my notes...

image: lgadvisors.com
Wednesday was hosting and the teaching experience. Both were really fun. Sister T. and I got to teach a Japanese man named Junichi. He looked just like Mr. Miyagi! It was crazy. But it was also really funny cuz he kept calling us cute and then he said that his friend that we received the referral from told him that we were going to sing for him. Ha! In his dreams :) But it was seriously so fun and sobrang nakakatawa.

Thursday, Brother C. had us teach him as a class. We were stressing because we thought it was going to have to be all in Tagalog but it wasn't. He told us that he feels so insignificant sometimes and that he wants to give up certain things. We pretty much all went around the room and told him how much we loved him and what an influence he's been in our lives. It was so amazing. We made him cry hehe We also got the package from Sister Smith on this day too. Happy day for all of us.

Friday (yesterday) was in-field orientation. That's where you sit in a classroom from 8-6. A whole day. It was interesting because it felt just like EFY. How odd. But it was still fun. One of the teachers was from France and he had the most amazing accent ever. Also, all the sisters decided that they want to marry him hahaha

So this morning everyone's rushing to get packed and weigh their suitcases. At the beginning of being here I kind of wished that I'd brought more stuff but now that we're leaving I'm so glad that I don't have that much stuff. I'm pretty sure that both my suitcases will be less than 50 lbs but that's probably just cuz I'm sending home a lot of stuff to you guys. It's just nice to sit and relax while everyone around me freaks out hehe

Hey, can you possibly send me a bunch of those things that I don't have to the mission home in the Philippines? (you know... those things?) It would be really nice to have them....

Mahal kita! I think that's everything I wanted to tell you guys.

-Sister Hess

P.P.S. Elder Fulivai (he's sitting next to me and he's going to Baguio) says hi :)
P.P.P.S. He says he misses you
P.P.P.P.S I'll be calling the home phone on Monday morning. Not sure exactly what time but make sure that everyone's home, ok?

Kasama = companion
Sobrang = a lot; really
Nakakatawa = funny
Mahal kita = I love you
Salamat = thanks

Friday, July 26, 2013

Quite an Accomplishment

Okay, so do me a favor and try to overlook that my hands look super old. Also try to overlook the fact that, as a mother to seven, I should probably have way overworked nails. I feel that I must be doing my job wrong if I have nails like this. I'm taking these awesome vitamins that make my nails grow real fast, so that may have something to do with it.

You can't see them very well, but here's the story behind this photo....If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you've probably read this and this and this and this; therefore, you may already know the significance of this picture.

Since I was about 10, this has been a problem for me. Well, I'm happy to announce that my cuticles are fully healed. Probably since #1 left, they've been getting better and better. It's been, honestly, years since they've looked this good.

I had to share this here because the Warden, who used to tell me to "stop" on a regular basis said, "Nice." When I showed him. "Nice," that's it. Just "nice."

Clearly, he doesn't understand how significant this is to me. This is HUGE!!!

Would someone please rejoice with me?  Please.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

#1's Weekly Email: Week #5

It's so funny to see #1 in jeans, as you'll see in her first picture. It is only on their Preparation Day (P-day) that they can move away from the usual dresses and skirts and Elders from suits.

Needless to say, these girls are EXCITED. They are now the oldest missionaries heading to their mission in the MTC. It's funny to think that somewhere in the Olongapo Mission some sister will be called to be #1's first companion. I really wonder what she'll be like. It used to be, from what I understand, that the North American missionaries had to have native companions. I'm curious to see if that's still the case.

I now get photos from Sister T. and Sister P., so that's super great! I love that they so willingly share. #1 did, however, take her own photos this week. She was lacking a card reader. There you go, parents who are preparing to send missionaries off in the future, don't forget a card reader that they can hook into the computers there at the MTC and upload their photos. I ordered her one and had it shipped to her, and now life is hunky dory.

Okay, so I put the most important things in bold lettering so you can cruise through this email if you don't have time to peruse its intricacies. The foreign words are in italics and are translated at the very bottom of the post.

 Here you go....


Kumusta mga Pamilya ko!

How are you guys? Life here is just plain awesome. Wanna know why?! I got my travel plans!

We're flying from Salt Lake to San Fran to TOKYO! :D We get to spend TWO hours in TOKYO! I'M SO EXCITED! I'm going back to Japan :) Seriously I'm overjoyed. I'm gonna go eat a bunch of jumbos and a bunch of their chocolate bars and yup. That's how it's gonna be.

So on Tuesday, all the girls in my district played the funniest prank on my kasama. It was PERPEKTO. Sister W. pulled her shirt halfway over her own head and had her super long hair hanging out of the bottom and it looked like she had a beard. She makes the funniest faces ever. So while my kasama was in the shower, she went and sat on her bed and got under the covers. She was sitting on Sister T's pillow and was hiding behind the closet door. We turned off all the lights and sat by the door at the desk with the desk light on. Sister T finally showed up and put her clothes away and then turned to her bed. She kind of looked at the head of her bed for a second and then Sister W. chuckled and Sister T. jumped back a foot and then screamed. It was the Funniest Thing I have seen in such a long time.  Oh man I'm still laughing about it and it was days ago.

The other night we wanted to talk so Sister P., Sister S., Sister T., and I went out behind the MTC and talked and stargazed. It was awesome. We almost felt normal again for a second.

We're learning so much. We've kind of started reviewing things since we only have 9 days left here. It's crazy to think that we've already been here for a month. It totally flew by.

Every day we either have gym time where we go work our butt off or we go play piano.

Oh, I'll be buying a calling card and I'm gonna call you guys in when we're at the Salt Lake airport so be sure to be home on the 29th in the morning. At like 9-ish. Our flight leaves around 11:15.

I'll be sending home stuff I don't want to take to the Philippines with me this next week, ok? So if you get a package from me, that's what it is.

Our whole district gets to host the newbies this next Wednesday and Sister P. and Sister S. and Sister T. and I were chosen to be part of this teaching experience that they do ever Wednesday night for the newbies. They put all the newbies in different rooms but in huge groups and they have an "investigator" in there (they're really just converts that have interesting stories) and then a companionship comes in and starts the discussion with the "investigators" and then the newbies take over. It's gonna be awesome. And all the companionships that are chosen are recommended by their teachers. So that means that our teachers like us a lot and think that we'd be good examples for the new missionaries. No pressure or anything. Oh and another thing. We get to do it in English... pero we've only ever taught in Tagalog so we don't know how to do it in English! hahaha we'll see what happens. It's gonna be so fun.

Earlier this week some of the sisters and I got priesthood blessings from our elders. i'm so grateful that we're surrounded by the priesthood here. it's awesome. And that all these elders are worthy to hold it is pretty incredible too.

Ummm I think that's it. I'm definitely gonna write #5 this week and I might send him a t-shirt too (don't tell him that). When the email home to you said that "[T.] pointed [#4] out" or whatever it said, I was about to go all crazy white girl on T. hahaha good thing I didn't. Um you don't need to send cookies. I've got enough food over here... But if you could send me a jar of nutella and a box of cheezits I would love that. I think that's everything.

I love you guys and I miss you and I hope everything's going good at home.

Mahal kita!
-Sister Hess

p.s. I'll send you pictures of everything. Including our classroom, the drinking fountain in our building, and the bathroom.

Top left to bottom right (in #1's own words):

  • Classroom: This is the room that I've been stuck in everyday for the last MONTH.
  • Mga dink: One of our zone leaders favorite words is Dink. he calls us dinks all the time...
  • Desks: These are mine and Sister T.'s desks.
  • Birthday!: It was Sister P.'s birthday this last week. and behind the banner is the first vision and our purpose in Tagalog.

  • Air con: This is the air conditioning unit in our classroom. Every single day, I stand on my chair and close the vent cuz it's so freaking cold and my chair's right next to it....
  • View: This is the view from our window. the sunsets are absolutely amazing here every single night.
  • Hallway: This is the hallway right outside of our bathroom.
  • Stairwell: This is the stairwell right outside of our hallway. We study here all the time, and it was out this window that Sister P and I saw President Monson :)

  • Drinking fountain!: This is our drinking fountain :)
  • Bathroom: This is the bathroom in our building :) You said you wanted pictures of everything...
  • Computer: This is the computer and tv that we use everyday in class.
  • Computer lab: This is the computer lab where we do TALL (our language computer program. I absolutely hate it)

Tagalog-English Translation
Kumusta mga Pamilya ko: Hello, my family
Kasama: companion
Perpekto: perfect (probably didn't need to translate this one, huh?)
Mahal kita: I love you

Okay, I HAVE to share one more thing with you.....Today, among the photos #1 sent was this:

The caption read something like this:

"Our building is named after this cutie. His name is Heber C. Kimball, and this is his picture. Hehe"

Oh, my dear girl! This is the one leader of the early Church that you are, from what I understand, related to. "Hehe" is right.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Cram One More Thing In

I thought I might add one other thing into this new writing tradition....dinner.

Tonight, we had teriyaki chicken:
image: lilluna.com
1 C. water
1 C. sugar
1 C. soy sauce
some garlic
chicken pieces

Throw them in the crockpot on low for 6 hours or high for 3 hours and serve over rice.

Okay, now for the good and bads of the day:

image: vvicrew.com
Someday, I'm going to learn, but I'm fearing that it may be too late. I guess what I'm saying is that I might now be considered an "old dog." New tricks are just not my thing. I continually try to do "one more thing" throughout my day, and with this comes a chaos. I'm always in a rush. I think I'm finally deciding that that's just who I am. That's how I roll.

image: waltworks.blogspot.com
My brother was in town last week. As we talked, it became apparent that I may be sharing too much here, in his opinion. Well, he's going to love my first bad....Talk about TMI. I figure there might just be a mom or two out there who might just commiserate with me and my life. They might nod and smile along with what I write as they read. I hope this is the case, anyway.

We were raised in a very hush, hush household. There were too many taboo topics to number. Someday, maybe I'll make a little list for you.

So, consider yourself warned....TMI ahead.


  • Not on the floor?!
I went to a public place today--a museum, actually. I needed to speak with the curator and spent quite a bit of time talking to her. I had a little entourage of four with me. I had told the kids before we walked in that they were not to touch anything and this was an adult place, so in order to go in, they needed to act like little grown ups. They did a good job.

image: clarkhoward.com
After a few minutes of me speaking to the curator, #7 came up to me and told me that she needed to go to the bathroom. Being relatively new to using public facilities, #7 does what each of my children did at this stage in life--ask to go to the bathroom anywhere and everywhere. I guess you could say she's becoming a connoisseur of public restrooms. She could probably tell you where the best place to go in the entire Beaverton area, if you know what I mean.

Anyway, this museum was no different. The little girls room was calling her.

I had the kids dressed in swimming suits as there is a park with a fountain close by. I thought that if they could do a good job on this errand, they could be rewarded with some fun time in the water.

The kids kept wanting to go into a back room. They knew they shouldn't, so they stood at the entrance and looked in. The restroom was in the back of this area, but clearly written on the door were the words "Not a public restroom."

#7 kept coming up and pleading with me. I finally said, "Well, then, we'll just get in the car and go home. Her response was immediately, "Oh, never mind. I don't need to go bathroom."

Within moments there was a new water feature in the museum. Ugh! EMBARRASSING!

I went and got some carpet cleaner and took it to the museum. 

  • Trying to cram more things into small spaces.
image: olympia.com
I went to pick #5 up at the church today from Cub Scout day camp. There was a blood drive going on. 

As I pulled into the parking lot and saw the signs, I remembered that I had missed the last one, so I thought it might be a good thing to do this time. I pondered my schedule for the rest of the afternoon and evening and found that the only time I had available was during that next hour. I could do this. I was sure I could.

I need to add that while I waited, my cell phone died. 

#5 got into the car and the plan was created. At this point, I had six children in my care--three ten-year-old boys and three younger children.

There is an elementary school across the street from the church. I decided that I'd take the kids to the playground and let them play. I would run across the street on foot and do my thing. They would then have the car at their disposal if they needed it. I left it unlocked but took the keys with me.

I borrowed every phone I could, knowing that the Warden would be heading home and would pass the school, to reach him to have him stop by the school and watch over the kids for a few minutes. I heard nothing from him.

image: nydailynews.com
Never have I wanted to bleed faster. I knew once I was hooked up, there would be no escape. The pressure was on. Thankfully, I got in there, got it done, and everything was fine, but my stress level was HUGE.

There's more to this story than I'm sharing, but that would make but another bad thing, and I've limited myself to two, so there. Let's just say that I was supposed to be home by 5pm in order for a mom to come pick up her boys, but I didn't get home until 5:13. I had missed her, and I was sure she had stressed about where I was and where her boys were.

When I finally spoke with her, she had been late, so she thought it was her fault because I had to have #5 to soccer practice by 5:30. Ah well. It all worked out, but it doesn't change that fact that maybe everything would have been solved if I hadn't decided to give blood.


  • Parks.
image: juliashinkle.com
I have been a mom to two for these past three days. #1 is obviously not around. #s 2 and 3 have been a EFY (an LDS youth conference kind of thing). #4 has been at scout camp (surviving, literally). #5 has been spending his days at Cub Scout day camp. That leaves #s 6 and 7 in my care. To be honest, it's been pretty sweet! It's been fun to focus on just the two of them. We went to the movies, just us three, yesterday and bought a big ol' $8 popcorn and had it refilled just before we went home. Sa-WEET!

Anyway, today ended that. I have the little girl I keep every Thursday and her older brother. It's been great because they play so well with #s 6 and 7.

image: kuik
We went from park to park to park today. Including the fountain and elementary school playground I mentioned above. All in all, I think we must have gone to five different parks today.

  • Spiritual highs.
I LOVE picking my kids up from EFY. I think I told you this a couple days ago. The first day was wonderful, Tuesday and Wednesdays were okay, but tonight was a total spiritual high. 

The kids dress up one day during EFY. The kids looked so sharp when they left this morning.

#2 went home with some friends to play games afterward, so it was just me and #3 for the ride home. She went through all of her notes and shared everything she'd learned and what it meant to her. I feel honored to be entrusted with such experiences and feelings.

  • Milkshakes.
image: twirlit.com
I make a KILLER peanut butter chocolate milkshake. I made them for the third time this week tonight. I really have done well to cut back on my white sugar intake, but this one just can't be avoided...yet. I have cut out the white flour--the stomach pains just aren't worth it.

Tomorrow, #1 gets her travel plans. She'll depart from the MTC within the next two weeks and will be on her way to the very rainy Philippines. We'll read about all of this in her email on Saturday.

Also tomorrow, I'm off to Cub Scout day camp to hang out with my good buddy Tonya.

Once all of this week's activities are over, next week will be surprisingly mellow, but you know I probably won't allow it to be that way. It's the old dog in me.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Gotta Hold onto the Streak

I knew it was going to be out late last night and that I wouldn't want to write when I got home before I went to bed, so I jotted a little list of my bads and goods while I waited for #s 2 and 3 to get done with EFY.

One of my goods happened after the list was written, so here they are--the goods and bads of July 16th, 2013:


  • The Oregon Association of American Mothers, Inc. parting with the National Association of American Mothers, Inc. (Please note that what follows is all personal opinion).
I have been a member of this group for the past three-ish years. I believe this is a wonderful, worthwhile organization to be involved in. I will continue to be part of my state group, but I have learned that most of my hang ups about this association have been rooted in the deteriorating national organization. It's been very interesting to watch, as an innocent by-stander, and see an organization switch gears from the things it was originally based on.

It has become clear that the greatest motive for this group is not necessarily to do the right thing for its clientele but to do what the majority wants it to do. They want to be popular. I'm sorry, but the traditional role of mothers will never hold a majority in our society or be very popular; therefore, somebody's got to part ways. In this case, Oregon was the first to step up and walk away. And so one wonders, who will champion the cause of the traditional mother? Not this group anymore, it seems. Sad. So, Oregon will carry itself and continue to stand up for the role of mothers.

The saddest part of this is that it divides us from others who are in other state associations. That has been a wonderful reassurance--to know that there are other mothers in other states who are working toward the same ends.

  • Not getting #1's package sent. 
I woke up early to get kids off to various activities. By the time I was getting kids to EFY, I could feel a headache starting in. By the time I got home to the medicine (I really haven't had many in so long that I don't carry the medicine with me on a regular basis), the headache was full blown.

I pretty much got nothing done. No cookies, no music picked out, nothing in a box. I made the realization later that if I sent it today, it would have to be shipped and wait out the weekend. I don't want the cookies to have to wait that long, so the plan now is to ship one box with the non-perishable items and send the cookies on Monday (unless someone in Provo wants to make them and deliver them. That'd be amazing!).

  • I got the blanket made.
This is a long story. Whenever someone we know and love has a baby, we make them a blanket. #1 mentioned, in one of her letters, that her MTC teacher's wife had just had their first baby. We decided to make him a blanket and send it to #1 and her MTC bubs so they could gift it to him. It just needs to get into that package and make it there before they leave the MTC. It turns out, and I didn't know this until #1 said it in last Saturday's email, that this will be the last class he will teach at the MTC. Teachers there are given a three year job. His tenure is ending.

  • The Oregon Association of American Mothers, Inc. parting with the National Association of American Mothers, Inc.
This is both good and bad. I know this was a very hard thing for our organization to do. Back on June 12th, a letter was sent to the National organization with the hope that it would open communication and that they would work to resolve some of our concerns. Nothing of the sort happened. From what I saw, the replies were rather contentious in nature. This made me sad, but it made me happy to know that we were making the right decision.

I, to be honest, was shocked at some of the language chosen for those letters. I almost wondered if they'd been read through before they'd been sent.

I am proud of the women I've served with. They are now on new ground--their own ground and they can do with the organization as they please. Way to go, ladies! Way to stand up for what you believe in.

  • A Girls' Night Out
I have a VERY dear friend who, from time to time, will call me up randomly and ask if I can run away that evening. Yesterday was that day. YAY! We went and got appetizers at Applebee's and sat and talked over all of the major events in our lives. I absolutely treasure my friendship with this woman. I don't know what I'd do without her. We laughed and cried and finally returned to our homes around 1:00am. 

I am better because I know her. I am grateful for friends like this. I often feel that they are somehow hand-chosen for me. I have, in most of the chapters of my life, had a confidante. I don't think this is by chance.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A Rockin' Day

Two bads, three goods, folks....Away we go!

  • Had to do a timed three-mile walk today, so while #5 was having soccer practice, I went out with my little Nike+ thingy in my shoe and went for it on the track. As I would walk around the track and would get to the far side, each time, I would pass this extremely awkward couple that had draped themselves across lanes 7 and 8. They were in a rather intimate position there, so I tried not to look but pretended that the soccer field was so very interesting.
As I would pass, they would laugh. I didn't think much of it until #6 ran toward me on the track to hug me. As he did so, I said, "Are you coming to walk with me?" Within moments, as if there were a parrot behind me, a woman's voice (the one draped over lane 7) was mimicking me. Hmm....Interesting. I continued to walk. Whatev. Just strange. Haven't experienced anything like that since maybe....middle school?
  • Cub Scout day camp rocked, but port-a-potties didn't. They were actually very nice port-a-potties, as those kinds of things go, but still....If I can avoid using the facilities in times like these, I will. Well, it couldn't be avoided all day long...unfortunately.

  • I'm going to see if I can explain this as briefly as possible but still have it make sense. When things started out with our day camp registration, we had quite a few boys going. Because of this, four of our boys were going to be combined with another smaller den of boys--a group our boys didn't know. 
As of yesterday, boys were dropping out, so we ended up with only needing to have one group. But, because we were leaving this other group in the lurch as far as leaders were concerned, we promised them we'd provide an additional leader for them for today, as was originally promised, so that they could find an additional leader for each of the other days this week. Does that make sense?
Well, today, I was that leader for the other group. It was the SWEETEST group of boys. There were four of them. Because there were only four, there were open spots on the archery range, so we, the two adults, were invited to join in. I had never shot a bow and arrow before. It was SO fun! I actually got two bull's eyes. Yeehaw!

It was fun to go to day camp and get to be one of the guys. Our last station was the bottle rockets. Thought I'd share just what the bottle rocket station entailed with a short video of #5 (Thanks, Jon!):

Our little group followed my own ward's group (with #5 in it) all day. I met up with them just as they were moving on to the next station.

As I said before, water rockets was our last station before going home. We got in there and started filling the bottles halfway, putting them on, and pumping the air into the bottles. The rockets would fly into the sky and droplets of water would fall on you.

Well, I was hot. I was tired. And those little droplets of water just weren't cutting it, so I turned to the boys and said, "I want to get wet." Well, that was all the invitation those boys needed. We spent the next 20 or 30 minutes dousing each other with water. We were running and laughing and having a BLAST! Just when I thought it was over and I'd start to dry, another boy would come along surreptitiously and pour water on me.

Seriously, I've volunteered at day camp for at least a day almost every year since #2 went (he's now 17), and this was by far my favorite memory. We even ambushed one of the staffers that just kept hanging out in the area.

When all was said and done, I stood there and the boys gathered 'round, big, huge smiles on their faces, water dripping from everything--hair, eyelashes, earlobes, and they asked, "Are you coming tomorrow?"

That made me so happy. I felt so loved and wanted.

Seriously, what a great day! I LOVED being one of the guys.
  • We went to dinner as a family. I found a gift certificate for $15 for a local restaurant on restaurant.com and paid $2.40 for it. Our good friends walked in as we were eating and were seated in the table right behind us. FUN! Love you, Megan!
  • Went to pick #2 and #3 up from EFY. I LOVE this experience! These kids are so enthusiastic and happy when they come home. It's fabulous. They told us about all the new friends they made and how they went about doing it. I budget money specifically for this experience for my kids all year long so that they can go and participate. Every year, I decide that it was definitely worth it and the following summer will include the same activity.

Okay, so in other news, #4 took off for scout camp at 5:15 this morning. From what I understand, he signed up for a basketry class and a horseback riding class. He is also going to have a survival experience one night (at least, I think it was only going to be for one night).

He woke me at 4am so that we could run and get him some last minute snacks to have for today. I jumped out of bed, and we hit the road. Should be a fun week for him.

Since he's gone, and I'm missing him tonight, I have to share one thing that #4 does that makes me giggle inside (Sorry, this was the only clip I could find that had the part I wanted. It doesn't even happen until 2:36 into the video--the very tail end. If you want to skip ahead, please do, but this scene is all so classic, so you may not want to. The winking part? AWESOME!)....

Whenever one of us says "I love you" to the other, we always follow it up with that last little thing Ferris does, the "I love you too. Mi mi mi mi" thing. Today, one of the kids said "I love you" to me. Of course, I said, "I love you too." But, "Mi mi mi mi," popped right into my head, and I instantly missed #4.

Tomorrow will be a day spent at home getting a package ready to send off to #1--getting a blanket and cookies made. I have some work to do and an interesting post to write for the Oregon Association of American Mothers, Inc. I'm looking forward to spending time with #s 6 and 7--just the three of us. I promised them chocolate peanut butter milkshakes at some point during the day.

Yep. Today was a good day. If I could spend everyday being a kid, man, I'd do it in a heartbeat, so glad I have the kids so I have the excuse. I just need to let my hair down more often. Who knows, maybe there'll be a water fight here tomorrow. I don't think I quite got my fill. Except, next time, I won't be wearing jeans and Converse.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Goods and Bads for July 14, 2013

Okay, as if my mom asked me, here are my bads and goods for today:


  • Not writing stuff on my calendar. I was doing so good at this, but lately, I've been lousy at it. I knew there was an open house to say good-bye to a wonderful family from our ward, but did I bother to write down the time? NO! We got there, but it was only because #6, who has the mother of this family as his Primary teacher, kept telling us we HAD to go. I finally got smart enough to check with someone (Thanks, Paige) about the time, and sure enough, it had started quite awhile before then.
  • Walking into the open house. Just awkward. I feel this way much of the time. I had intended to make some brownies to take, but I had fallen asleep this afternoon (something I rarely, if ever, do. So, yes, we were those people. You know, the ones that show up empty handed. Considering how little time was left when we arrived, I figured maybe it was better anyway. Sure enough, there was a lot of food there.
  • Having friends over this evening to play games. It forced us to straighten our house up a bit, and I also got the brownies made before they came over. It's been so long since we've done anything like this. After we do, I always wonder why we don't do it more often. Such was the case this evening. The conversation was fun, and I even caught myself laughing a few times at the great stories that were shared. Thanks, Kim and Sean. We HAVE to do this again sometime.
  • Learning that I may not be needed at day camp tomorrow and that I will get to go on Friday and work with my good friend.
  • Once I got warmed up, being at the open house was great. We really have such wonderful people in our ward. I love being around them. Sad to say good-bye to this great family, but glad for the chance to get to. Thank you, Caitlin and Ryan for opening your house. John and Stephanie, we're really going to miss you and your sweet children. Glad that we have blogs and Facebook to keep us connected, so we can watch the kids grow up. Thank you for all you added to our ward.

We also went to choir practice today, and I taught sharing time about family prayer, family scripture study, and Family Home Evening and how these things strengthen families. I challenged the kids to do these things for the next two weeks and gave them a chart on which to keep track. .If they bring it back at the end of the two weeks, they will receive a prize.

Crazy week ahead with EFY for #s 2 and 3, scout camp for #4, and day camp for #5. The Warden's taking the day off tomorrow to be with #s 6 and 7, but if I find I'm not needed, I'll come home after dropping the boys off and the Warden can head back to work. That's what I'm praying for tonight.

Most of us wrote to #1 today as well. That always feels good. I've got a package I've got to get off to her early this week. I have a couple of things to make before I can send it off, though.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Two Bads, Three Goods

image: mastermewmedia.com
In an attempt to get my children to open up more and to become more involved in my children's lives, I often ask them to share two bad things and three good things that happened during their day. I make sure that the good things outnumber the bad and that we end on the good, so we can leave the conversation with the positive experiences freshest on their minds.

The other day, I thought that maybe, on those days when I really don't have anything too exciting to write about or I don't think I have the energy that I feel I need to write (which seems to be the case more often than I'd like to admit lately), that I should just share my two bads and three goods with you.

So, here are today's bads and goods.

image: imageafter.com
  • One of my children is making my life a real struggle. It's actually been going on for quite some time. I am attempting to find the answer to this problem. The thing that I'm learning is that it's up to me. I can do nothing to change this child, but I can alter my actions and responses. That is all, and then hope that the patterns of interaction, on both our parts, will change for the better. We have a downward spiral going on--the bad leads to worse--and I know that it's up to me to be the one that's strong enough to fight the tide and reverse the spiral. This problem now is how?
  • One of my children has a HUGE problem with obedience right now. With the other child's on-going issues, this, I'm finding, must be handled at the same time. TRICKY!

  • I went to help at a friend's wedding reception this evening. Everything was so beautifully done. I loved that #3 was there working beside me. It was great to be in the company of the wonderful women who were doing all of this work. With the problems going on, as listed in my first "bad" bullet-point, I'm finding that I don't have the energy or desire to be with anyone, so it's been awhile since I've allowed myself to be in this kind of situation. It was very refreshing.
  • Went shopping with #4 to get things he needed for scout camp this coming week. I also purchased some things for Portland-to-Coast.
  • image: amazon.com
  • Took #7 to a toy research study. She watched some things on a computer screen and had to answer some questions. When all was said and done, they sent her home with a big Polly Pocket set. It was so fun to spend time just with her. She suddenly seems so grown up to me.

I'm sorry, but I HAVE to add a fourth good thing. The BEST thing about Saturdays.

We received an email from #1. I posted it here already, but she'll be moving on to the Philippines in two weeks. Very exciting! 

From what I just read this evening, they're starting to send missionaries called to the Philippines (at least some of them) to the MTC in the Philippines. I think that's great, but I have been happy to have #1 in the U.S. for just this little bit longer.

There you have it, the bads and the goods for today. Not too thrilling, but let's face it, that's life.

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