Monday, June 13, 2016

Mission Monday

I've saved Monday for missionaries for over two years now.  Here we are, at the end of these missions, and I'm not sure what to think about it.  I'll not miss staying up late on Sunday nights and writing letters to them.  But I will.  That was a constant time I could spend on loving my boys.  I look forward to a hug and getting to see a smiling face.  I am enjoying watching the constant growth toward responsible adulthood.

Here is Ben's next-to-last letter.  He has been working in the mission office for the past few weeks, helping with the administrative responsibilities of running a mission.  He has also been able to still work with some people in his area, as well as traveling to the different parts of the mission with the mission president.  He has loved it all, and I'm sure he will miss it dearly.

Wednesday was back in my area with my companions. I went with Elder Covey and we went looking for families. We found one. Then we taught our fantastic recent convert family that got baptized last week. They are doing great! They have their baptismal certificates framed in their living room and they were raving about the blessings of the Gift of the Holy Ghost. There's nothing like that.

On Thursday... we (went) to go pick President Foote up from the airport, he was coming back from Fort Dauphin and Toliara. So we drove him home and talked to him while we waited in traffic. For a very long time. I love President! He's the coolest guy in the world!

Sunday we went to church. I love church. Then we taught and tracted and found a new family. J. is from Fianarantsoa and is a retired soldier, then his wife, M.L. is from Toliara. They were so inviting and brought us into their house before we could even introduce ourselves. Then they felt terrible that they didn't have any food to give us. People are so GOOD.

Yes, people are so good.  What a beautiful lesson to learn.

Read the rest of his week here.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Colorful Blessings

It's nice to have good food.  Sometimes, I open my refrigerator and I suddenly morph into Mother Hubbard.  Even if there is lots of stuff in there, it often is food I cannot eat.  I feel like I'm dying of thirst in the middle of a waterfall, where there is plenty for everyone else, but not for me.  And it's easy to feel just a little shade of grumpy about it.  It's also easy to get an awful lot grumpy about it and melt into a poor-me pity party worthy of a toddler who didn't get an extra piece of candy.

In reality, we have plenty.  Of everything.  And getting the food I need to keep me from getting stomachaches, or feeling bloated, or having to spend the rest of the day in bed is as easy as going to the store and picking it up.  I don't have to special order anything.  I don't have to wait for it to grow.  I don't have to go great distances.  We are so blessed, really.  It's easy to forget that.

I went to the store and went bananas in the produce section.  I should get one cart for my produce and another one for everything else.  Getting enough fresh things to feed a large family takes up lot of real estate in the cart.  I like unpacking all the bags when I get home and seeing all the colorful fruits and vegetables lines up on the counter.  They look so delicious!

How lucky we are to have so much good food so easy to get!  I need to remember what a blessing that is.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Track and Field

Our lives are running along faster than I want them to.  Maybe I should tie on some good shoes and try to keep up?

My three big boys were in track this year. Sidenote: I amuse myself with how the family grows and how I refer to my kids. For years, the oldest the boys were "the big boys" and David and Eddie were "the little boys."  Then the newest little ones were "small fry."  Then we had "the missionaries" and David joined Chris in the "big kids" group while Eddie and Angel were the "elementary kids" in 6th grade and kindergarten, respectively. This past year, Eddie went up to the junior high and we again had "big boys" in high school and junior high,  while the "small fry" were all in elementary school. Next year, I guess Eddie and David will be our "big boys," and the older the will be our "college boys. "  Life keeps moving along, doesn't it?   'Scuse me for a moment whilst I dab at my eyes and sing "Sunrise,  Sunset."

Ahem.  Back to track. Chris is partial to the hurdles. David did the 100, 200, and 400 meter races, as well as the 400 relay and shot put. That boy had always had tons of energy!  I remember watching him run up the street, his little chubby legs blurring to keep up with his older brothers. Eddie tried out the long jump and high jump for his first year.

It's fun to watch them run,  but it's hard to sit through hours and hours of a track meet, trying to entertain my small fry while waiting for the few minutes or even seconds of the event I wanted to see.  I go to a few meets, but not all of them. I didn't get any pictures of Eddie or Chris, but these photos came from David running in our regional finals. I love his intense concentration.  This boy has focus!

But no, I won't be running.  I don't have it in me to do physical things that energetic or require endurance.  Jay did.  He liked to go running every now and then, or do something to just push his body to its absolute limits.  It felt great to him.  For me, if I'm running, you'd best come see what's wrong, because there must be a bear or something chasing me.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

On the Computer

We're not always on the computer, but when we want to be, we can sure load them up. We have three desktop computers in the office, plus a few tablets and phones. 

I have a laptop that doesn't live in the office because I like to sit on my squishy soft couch. And the office floor is to cold. But I digress.

It was fun to walk by the office and see all my at-home boys piled in there, playing games with each other. The room is sometimes quiet, then erupts in cheers or exclamations or groans. I'm glad they play together!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Happy Mother's Day!

This was the best part of my Mother's Day,  by far - being together with my kids.  I really don't need roses or special dinners (although I like them very much - don't get me wrong!  Keep those coming!).  But what I long for most is to have my family together and just basking in the air they breathe.  Makes me happy.

The missionary call didn't happen until late in the evening (which was early in the morning in Madagascar!), so the little ones were only able to visit for a few minutes before they needed to head off to bed. Trent was coming down with a fever, so he turned in earlier as well. 

It was fun to just sit around and visit with all these boys. I love sitting back and listening to them tell stories and joke with each other. One at a time they all got tired and left, so I got a few minutes of one-on-one with my boy.

He'll be home soon, and we're looking forward to it. He has been missed around here!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Happy Birthday Times Two

These two characters are six years old. Wow. They have been talking about their birthday for a long time now. The measure of having a good friend in their kindergarten class is whether you invite them to your birthday party. And when you don't like a former friend, they are no longer invited. Such kindergarten drama! And due to their spring birthdays, we have heard all about the intended guest list for a long, long time.

When my oldest boys were little, I told them they could have a birthday party every other year, on the even numbers.  So a sixth birthday is a friend party.  Darn. I wasn't feeling healthy enough to really throw a party, but I felt like I had to... that sounds more negative than I mean it to. I didn't mind throwing them a party, but this year I would have preferred to skip it.  Fortunately, we know how to throw an even lower-than-low-key party.

We invited a small herd of children and we blew bubbles and drew with sidewalk chalk and played with balloons - outside. We went inside, did presents, ate chocolate cake, and we're done!  The two sanity-savers for me were having it outside and specifying the end time on the invitations. I can handle anything for an hour.

We all had a good time, and the twins loved it.

Happy birthday, Freddie! I love how you climb in bed with me to snuggle in the mornings. Your willingness to keep trying will be good for you through your whole life.

Happy birthday. Georgie!  Your curiosity and quick mind will always help you learn things. I love that you are brave and willing to try new things - even beans. 

I really can't believe they are six.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Senior Prom

What girl wouldn't be pleased to go to prom with this good-looking boy?  Maybe I'm biased, but sheesh!  Don't you see how awesome he is?  (It's part of my job to be an embarrassing mother.  It comes naturally.)  I'm just every now and then amazed at how he has grown.  Just yesterday he was a chubby little toddler, but in the next breath he will be an adult.  Don't breathe.

He waited until the last minute to get his tie and make his corsage, but I wasn't worried about it because he has done this before.  There are the pictures he sent me:

He calls the ribbons and filler on the corsage "garbage," but I think he has a better handle on fluff and frills than most boys his age.  Heck, than most men!  I'm pretty pleased that my boys have learned this little craft - it has been fun to do with them, and has saved them quite a bit of money!

Continue not breathing...