Saturday, August 30, 2014


One of the things Steven brought home from Angola was a stack of their local fabric, plus some ideas of what to turn it into. We did our best with the limited time before he left for school, and are quite pleased with the results.

First on the list were some shorts for himself and Michelle.
 Then Michelle wanted a skirt. (Here's the inspiration for the pattern.)
Next was a place mat (maybe later we'll make some more) and  pillowcase (not pictured) for Steven to take to BYU.
Finally we started a shirt for Steven. It still needs some sleeves and buttons, but we made progress!

Monday, August 25, 2014

And he made it!

We were excited to welcome Elder Whitaker home from his two-year mission in Angola. So excited, I guess, that it took a while to get the camera settings correct. But that's just indicative of the whirlwind of activities that we packed into his first 24 hours home.
At first I was concerned he would even make it back on time, because his flight from London was delayed for 1 1/2 hours, and he only had 2 1/2 hours to clear customs, reclaim his bags, and make his connecting flight. Well, we got our miracle, and he made it. (One of his suitcases didn't, but it was delivered the next day.)
The two years have passed the slowest for Michelle. She's super happy to have her big brother back. Brad and his family made the trip down from Atlanta to say hi as well.

We went straight from the airport to the stake president's home where he was released, and then it was time to bring him home.
The local wildlife was even waiting there to greet him!
It's interesting to see what each missionary deems the most important thing to share first as they unpack. When he left, the front of this tie was the same shade and color as the back!
The next morning was spent at the clubhouse, where ex-Elder Steven enjoyed working out on real exercise machines with Michelle, and the rest of us went swimming with Brooke.
She willingly went underwater for the first time!

What a gorgeous day! (And we had another little miracle where the approaching storm that was threatening to close the pool turned and allowed us to stay.)
When Dad got home it was time for a trip to the temple.
While there we were able to complete 55 family file sealing cards. What a wonderful experience!

We still love our gorgeous little temple, and would love to share it with you!
When asked which restaurant he was most interested in eating at, Steven's answer was Burger King. Since that's part of our typical after-the-temple routine, it was easy to fulfill that request. Although nothing like Angolan hamburgers, (which include things like crushed potato chips, shredded carrots, sliced ham and cheese and an egg!), the hamburger was just as delicious as he hoped!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Come home already!

Last Saturday as I was emptying the dishwasher, a glass slipped and dropped, which then broke. That's not the first time that's happened to me, and it won't be the last. And it really was no big deal.

An hour later I was using my hand mixer to make a pie filling for dessert that night when all of a sudden the beaters started clinking together and making a horrendous noise. The mixer was broken. (It still works with just one of the beaters inserted, however, so that's also not a very big deal and the pie was delicious.)
 When I said to the family, "Guess what just broke?" the answer was laughter. The mixer was just the latest in a long line of items that have broken this summer.

Here's the rest of the list in backwards order:

orbital sander
ironing board
cheese grater
garage door spring
air conditioner fan blades (downstairs unit)
van door handle
van door window
van cup holder
truck fuel door
16' extension ladder
electric griddle
air conditioner switch (upstairs unit)

That's what I can remember right now. They're just things and we can handle repairing or replacing them eventually, but it's still annoying.

Many years ago (when our children were all still at home) I remember visiting teaching someone who had a missionary out in the field and she was expressing her gratitude for the blessings that came to them at home because of it. She wasn't surprised when we commiserated together about her refrigerator breaking the week after he returned home.

So, when we started sending our sons on missions, I was expecting the same sort of blessing. Guess what? That wasn't one of our blessings! We've received plenty of other blessings, but having a missionary didn't mean nothing in our house broke. (Don't you like all those double negatives?)

So, we are thrilled that Elder Whitaker is on the plane on his way home. Hopefully we can survive the next few hours without anything else breaking!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Happy Anniversary to Us!

Today's our 32nd anniversary. It's been a while since I've posted anything on this blog, and since there really isn't anything else on the calendar, I thought that preserving something for our posterity might be a good use of my time. I learned that all of our wedding pictures (not nearly as many as were taken for Jeff's wedding!) hadn't been scanned, so that was a fun project that filled my morning. The plan is to share some of them over time, hopefully on the 20th of each month. Pictures are great, but one thing I've learned this year from doing family history is that stories are even better. I'm not much of a story teller, but I'll try.
Anyway, one thought I had as I realized that 32 years really is a long time, was to wonder how many of the gifts we received were still around.
Anyone know what that red ball thing is?
Hint: we actually discussed it while the siblings were debating Jeff's wedding present.
 I was surprised at how many actually were. 

They include:
  • ice cream dishes
  • cook books
  • serving platters of all sorts
  • glass candy dishes
  • silver bowls
  • a clay pot cooker
  • that orange plaid tablecloth (top row, right)
  • crystal and china
  • a couple of glass salad bowls (we received 7 sets!)
  • the Tupperware marinating set (usually used to store cookies in the freezer, not for marinating chicken)
  • potholders (if we still have wedding dish towels, they're in the rag box, maybe the potholders should be, too!)
  • bath towels (at least that yellow set)
  • stainless mixing bowls
  • popcorn popper
  • crock pot
Those are just the things that I noticed and took pictures of as I wandered around our house.
I think one of the wonderful things about wedding gifts (or any gift, really) is that as you use them you can remember the giver, but more importantly, you can remember the love and concern that those friends and family members have for you. And it doesn't stop once the wedding festivities are over. Every single Sunday, as I set the table for dinner, I remember that our china is a gift from parents (and other friends and family) who love us, who have set a great example for us, and who want us to have the happiness that comes from choosing the right. Whenever we use my grandmother's crystal, it's like she's right there in the room with us, even though she left this world 30 years ago. Cooking and cleaning aren't quite so onerous when they bring reminders of loved ones. I guess that's why I don't particularly like giving gift cards; I want those I care about to have a physical reminder of our love for them.

Of course, there are some things that haven't lasted 32 years, but we appreciated them while they did last, and I can still feel the love and friendship as I recall those objects. Even the replacement things help me remember the original. (For example, one year Weston gave me an iron for Mother's Day. That was three irons ago - I guess I'm hard on irons - yet, even still, I remember that Weston loves me every single time I iron a shirt.)

"Thing" gifts are nice, but the intagibles are even nicer. I can no longer fit into my wedding dress, and this very 80's red dress is long gone, but the love we felt on our wedding day has increased exponentially, and it's just going to keep growing!
The end of a very long day!

Here are links to a couple of previous "anniversary" blog posts:
#26 (poisoned berried story)
#27 (cake topper story)