Monday, June 25, 2012

The Triple M and Happy Independence Day

As mentioned in the last post, Friday's mail brought an important envelope. I figured we'd have to wait until Saturday for Steven to open it, but he surprised us and arrived home Friday night. So, after showering (it's typical Steven-behavior that he wouldn't want to be sandy and grimy), and as part of family scriptures and prayer, he shared with the rest of us that he's been called to serve in the Mozambique Maputo Mission. He reports to the Provo MTC on August 22nd to learn the Portuguese language. Needless to say, he's pretty excited, and we're excited for him.
About the only thing we knew about Mozambique was that it was in Africa. We have a lot to learn! I wasn't even sure WHERE in Africa it was, but now I can tell you it's on the east coast, just north of South Africa, and across the channel from Madagascar. There are about 25 million people in the country, with an average life expectancy of 52 years and a literacy rate of 48%. I think Steven better be prepared for some culture shock! One of the first things Steven noticed was that the Mozambican Independence Day is today - June 25th. (They were under Portuguese rule until 1975.) The other Portuguese colony in Africa, Angola, is also part of this mission. I wonder how many other missions have sections on opposite sides of the continent?

Here are a few sites where we got our information if you want to research it yourself:

Good Old Wikipedia
CIA World Factbook
US Department of State
Nations Online - lots of links
Lonely Planet Guide
Photos
Church News - Mozambique Maputo Mission created in January 2005
Church News - new mission president
Mission.net - alumni site

Finally, Elizabeth has a family friend (or a friend of a friend) who set up a blog sharing their mission experiences in Angola - Mission Blog.  Isn't the internet amazing??  We'll be sure to keep you posted as preparations continue!

P.S.  I just discovered that the newest link on the side of lds.org is an interview with Elder Holland on the church in Africa - Unto All the World: Emerging with Faith in Africa.  I love little miracles and tender mercies like that.

The Week in Review

I was going to say it was a pretty normal week, but I guess it really wasn't.  Let's just say that our "normal" usually includes some exciting things.  Here are just a few pictures for those of you who might be interested.

Steven and Michelle are practicing their cooking skills.  In addition to chicken nuggets and fries - "from scratch" - Michelle learned how to make Cuban sandwiches and blueberry muffins.
Oven -baked chicken nuggets and fries turned out to be fairly easy, and delicious too.  (Although we did decide that we prefer plain salted fries over this barbecued version.)
Wednesday afternoon Steven and Jeff drove to St. Cloud to help out with Camp Moroni, a six-stake mini Scout/YM camp.  You can read more about it here on Jeff's blog.
Staff for the water hole
While they were gone the following greatly anticipated envelope from Salt Lake arrived in the mail, so it was kind of nice surprise that they decided to come home early.
Saturday Wayne completed the next layer of shelves in the pantry.  Only one more to go!
And he also used his Father's Day Home Depot card to get the materials to make a new tool - something to help him make straighter cuts with a circular saw.

Other notable events this past week included:

  • Taking Michelle visiting teaching as a companion and not a tag-along
  • A mid-week date to the county library with Wayne
  • The first of the school clothes shopping
  • Stake YSA beach barbecue 
  • Jeff baptizing his co-worker 

I wonder what will happen this week!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Today was a Typical Saturday

Work comes first on Saturdays.  Now the third shelf in the pantry is completed.  Two more to go, and they're going to be shorter because of the sloped ceiling.  However, it will all even out, because I'm sure attaching them will be a bit more complicated as well.
And play comes second.  The next park on the city list was Fairview Park, which was accessed between two houses.  How would you like to have your own private park, complete with a basketball court, playground and ducks?  Just another day in paradise!
We returned home to discover that the mailman had brought a fun surprise.  Thanks Elizabeth!
Not pictured:  dinner with friends and preparing dough for Father's Day cinnamon rolls.  Hope you're all enjoying a nice relaxing Father's Day!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

How you celebrate turning 19

You open presents (which are really just cards) while eating cinnamon biscuits for breakfast.  It needs to be an early start so other family members can get going on their day.
You get special birthday surprises from your sister and her friend.
You pick up Dad from work and go out to lunch together - 
where the owner surprises you with a birthday dessert, so you try tiramisu for the very first time.
Italian for lunch was fine, but you really wanted pizza for dinner, so you get it.
You take advantage of having the YSA FHE at your house and have an impromptu birthday celebration, complete with 19 candles in the shape of a triforce (or something) on the ice cream cake.
You gather around the smart phones and play games while nibbling on chips.
You talk with your brothers on the phone.
And that's about it!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Happy Birthday to You!!!

Alright, I think we're done with birthdays for at least a few weeks!  But I've never taken the time to scan in Steven's birthday pictures, so it seemed like the perfect project for this morning.  Apparently, we've had several breakfast birthday celebrations over the years, and that included today.  Michelle left for Girls Camp before 8 AM.  So, if he looks like he just woke up in some of these pictures, that's because he did!
one year old
two years old
three years old
(For birthdays #4, 8, 12, and 16 go here.)
five years old
six years old
 (Unfortunately, I'm missing his 7th, 13th, and 14th birthday pictures.  I wonder how that happened!)
nine years old
ten years old
eleven years old
fifteen years old
seventeen years old
eighteen years old
We'll add today's pictures in another post, and we're sorry none of them will have a fireplace background. Hopefully that won't ruin your day.  Happy Birthday, Steven!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Happy Birthday to You!

Someone special gets to celebrate her first birthday today.  Have fun with your balloons and chocolate pie!  We love you!!
And here's happy David enjoying his first birthday many, many years ago.  Maybe it's a good thing his wasn't chocolate!  Thank you for bringing so much joy and happiness into our lives.  We love you too!!

(And, of course we love your fabulous wife as well.  We just don't have any pictures of her first birthday on our hard drive!)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Happy Birthday to You!

There's another birthday in our family today, and someone's turning two!  He's getting so, so big!  Happy Birthday to You, dear WOW the 5th!!  Enjoy your party tonight.  We wish we could be there!

Here's the first 2nd birthday we celebrated.  The grandparents thought he was old enough to start learning his alphabet, we tried Boston Cream Pie for the birthday cake, and the late spring birthday was the perfect excuse to get a little pool for the back patio.
Two year olds are fun.  Have a great year!!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Last of the Celebrating

There was Mutual the evening of Graduation Day, so Michelle had to wait a bit for her graduation dinner.   I think it was worth the wait; you'll have to ask her what she thinks.  She chose Jetty's Restaurant and we all enjoyed delicious fish dinners last Friday.  (The poor boys had to eat leftovers at home, but I think they survived.)  It was a cloudy, rainy day, so the view wasn't as great as we had hoped it would be, but it was still a delightful evening.  Congratulations once again!
Saturday was seminary graduation, and that was a great evening as well.  In this stake it starts with the seminary students getting together for scripture mastery games.  Then the families are invited to join them for dinner.  Finally, the actual graduation is held in the chapel.  Michelle was asked to sing a solo and she did a marvelous job with "Valiant Faith."  There were only 8-10 seniors, so they were all asked to share their testimony of seminary as well.  I liked that.  And I like seminary.  What a wonderful, testimony-building opportunity, and we're so grateful all of our children kept that family tradition alive.
Michelle and her accompanist Ashleigh
It's just great to have some big brothers home for the summer!  Can't you tell we're having a lot of fun?
Celebrating with Caroline at Cold Stone after seminary graduation
We expect many more great things from you Sweet Princess, and we're confident you'll live up to our expectations.  Congratulations!!