Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Vanishing Computers

No, I haven't vanished.  I just can't post anything very easily because our computers are down.  All of them.  They're down and out, baby! 

By that I mean that they have been taken down and carried out to the garage.  That messy computer set up there?  It's Trent's.   Mine was squished awkwardly to the side.  We took everything out and we're redoing the room.  Fresh paint, new flooring, and then if all goes well, we'll only put half of our junk back in.  It should look great!

Oh yeah, and it has to be done and put back together in one week, before my first Mother-in-Law comes to visit.  I don't want to be scurrying around with a project when I could be visiting with her. 

Good luck to us (and so glad I have a great husband to work with!).

Monday, June 29, 2015

Mission Monday

Love getting these letters!

Well, all that I'm going to say about this week is that it was very trying. The whole week I was learning more and more about the Christlike attributes of Patience and Temperance. Wow, our week was crap, but I did a lot of learning. Funny how things work like that. But I definitely feel like I am a better person because of it, and I now have a lot more patience than I had last week.

In other news, I got to to play with the tigers and lions at a lion park near us. That was way fun and exciting! One of the lions was even named Mufasa, so I got a picture with him, even though he was a little bit angry when we got a little bit close. 

From Madagascar:

First off, happy Independence Day! Our 26th of June over here (Madagascar Independence Day) was pretty good, we had a half and hour long firework show the night before which we watched from the balcony on the church and then everyone was out and about drinking/being with family on the 26th itself. We had a grand total of... drumroll please... TWO times taught that day! So that was poop. Especially because lots of people said they'd be home for sure even though it was a holiday. So we walked around a lot and had two way good times! And then this week is America Day!!! Have a good one of those all y'all. I will wear my American Flag sunglasses just for you. And my America socks.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

We Eat Wheat

How do I get this to rotate?  It won't.  Sigh.

I taught a class about wheat last week.  It was for a preparedness fair where lots of people who know lots of good things were willing to share and help us know what to do in case of an emergency.
I don't think storing wheat is just for an emergency - but it will be sure useful if we don't have normal access to food.  We have wheat because it is good for us, and because it is a delicious, inexpensive way to feed lots of boys in a big family.

I was surprised when the nice lady sked me to run the booth.  I am not an expert, and I didn't think I would be able to tell people anything about wheat that hasn't already preached a million times.  She paused for a minute, smiled, and mildly asked, "But you use wheat, don't you?"  Yes.  Daily.
I guess that's good enough.

It was fun getting ready for the fair.  I did a lot of research, just so I would be armed with the facts.  I learned more about how amazingly nutritious wheat is.  Oh, it's so much good for you in a tiny bundle!  I was concerned about the current popularity of gluten-free, so I did a bunch of reasearch there, too.

I was surprised that the gluten-intolerant only comprise, at most (and depending who you listen to), 1-3% of the population.  Another half percent has a wheat allergy.  The rest of the gluten-free purchasers fall into an undefined gluten-sensitive category. 

Many people who, on experiencing vague symptoms of malaise, decide that they must be gluten-intolerant and go cold turkey on a gluten-free diet. After a short adjustment period, they start feeling much better, and conclude that it must be the gluten which is causing the problem.  But most of the wheat in our society is available in a highly processed form: doughnuts, cakes, pretzels, snacks and sweets.  Yes, if you cut those out of your diet, you will feel better.  It's not necessarily the wheat which is causing our health challenges, in spite of all the negative press.

I cooked up a wheat storm to have eating samples: sourdough bread, everyday bread, graham crackers, cooked wheat cereal, and wheat flakes (like Wheaties).  It was all yummy, and got gobbled up.

Sadly, the event was not well advertised, and was sparsely attended.  Even still, I was flabbergasted that our booth was the most popular one there!  I was constantly handing out samples, extolling the virtues of sourdough,  explaining how easy it was to make wheat flakes, or talking about good wheat nutrition.  I was quite hoarse by the end.

As I'm typing this, I have hungry children and an empty breadbox.  Maybe I'd better get that strong husband of mine to haul me up another bucket of wheat.  I'll grind it and make bread for lunch.  Maybe some crackers, too.

Eat your wheat!  It's good for (most of) you!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Mission Monday

Where has the time gone?  Nine months until the first boy gets home, and only a year until the second.  This is going by so fast - and so slow at the same time.  Isn't that how it goes?

From South Africa:

So I studied the atonement and a ton of what is associated with it, and I have grown and learnt a lot this week. Basically long story short, I have a new view of the Savior and what He did for me. And then this week, that boiled over into teaching and it was so cool to see. So it goes something like this, we were in a lesson with a less active, and we were talking about the atonement. And suddenly he sits up and says something along the lines of, 'So when I miss the Sacrament, I miss the Atonement. And then I just leave Christ hanging on the Cross.' Wow! It hit me and it was totally amazing to see him take the atonement into his life. So yeah, that was basically how my week went.

From Madagascar:

But that leads us to our Malagasy Morsel of tetiarana. It means geneology and it's super important, because it's something that all of our wonderful members need to do to go to the temple and to help their ancestors recieve their ordinances too! It reminds me of a hymn that goes like: "Out in the desert they wander hungry and helpless and cold. Off to the rescue we hasten, bringing them back to the fold." There are still so many people out there that need to go home to our Heavenly Father with us! Don't forget how important family history is and don't get to lax about sharing the gospel with friends and family and everybody! We taught a lesson in Gospel Doctrine yesterday about missionary work and it is for everybody!!! If we really love those around us, we should at least give them the chance to start heading towards eternal life, and we owe it to them.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Getting Taller

Look at these tall boys!  I told my boys, eons ago it seems, that my main goals as a mother were pretty simple.  I want my boys to be good at loving.  I want them to follow truth.  I want them to avoid trouble.  And they need to be smarter than and taller than and independent of their mother. 
 That is my job.

It looks like they are working on their end of the bargain - the first three have passed me up handily, and the fourth is only a few inches away.  They are growing; I can tell because those long black marks on our measuring chart are getting higher and higher, and because they eat.

And eat.

And eat...

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Summer Melodies and the Pursuit of Harmony

I surreptitiously snapped this shot during family scriptures the other day.  I love having my family together in one room.  I'm always impressed that they come for family time without complaining.  Most of the time.  To be real, occasionally we'll be missing someone who chose not to be with us, but most of the time it's good and they all come.

This is the first summer we've been with my dad, living in our new, cozier (realtor-speak for smaller) digs.  As a mother, I know that the tighter my kids are packed in together, the quicker they will annoy each other.  So I've been curious - and a little nervous - about how this summer would play out.  Will our home-song be lovely, or filled with jangly emotions and cacophony?   So far, most of our interactions seem to be smooth.  The kids have regular disagreements, especially the twins.  They don't know how to deal with negative situations as well, and it appears that they are a little perturbed with all the older kids invading the turf they have quietly enjoyed while the other kids were off at school. 

This morning, I had to have a frank talk about the importance of respecting our family rules with one of our older boys.  He'd been slipping into a bad habit of ignoring the rules and needed some correction.  Bad behavior is harmful to the individual, to his relationship with the parents, and can be contagious to other family members.  I hate having these talks.  I was as forthright and unemotional as I could be... and it was not received well.  Not at all.  He turned on his heel and stormed off to his bedroom where he cranked up some loud music.  

The few times he came through the kitchen for the rest of the morning were filled with angry looks, stubborn silence, and a roar of disharmony swirling about behind him.  Gah.  I hate this part.  Playing the firm parent, the disciplinarian, is one of my least favorite parts of parenting.  I know they need to learn and be corrected, but I wish they could somehow figure it out for themselves, instead of me needing to dole out negative consequences.    They won't learn solo.  I know that.  Phooey.

A few hours later, all three of my big boys left for youth conference.  The dark cloud left with them (after being passed on to three more people).  Harmony is restored. Sometimes I wish mothering was easier, but 'tisn't.  Still worth it.

Hope he feels a little better when he come back!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Mission Monday

I love Monday mornings.  I really do.  I wake up slowly (because I am not a hop-out-of-bed-at-first-light kind of person, because Trent kindly takes care of that job for me), pry my eyelids open, and reach for my tablet.  Then I get to lay in bed and read precious letters from my boys.  No, I got that backwards.  Letters from my precious boys.  Love the letters, but I love the boys more.  This morning I got a new surprise - a connection with the mother of Ben's new companion.  Now I can let more stories and pictures from this new area he's in.  And it's gorgeous.

Fort Dauphin, Madagascar.  From Elder Pinson's blog.  

Anyone want to go in on buying a summer home here?  Man, I think I could live here forever.  What an amazing world the Lord made for us!

From South Africa:

On Wednesday, we had to say goodbye to Elder Si'ufanua. He got the call that he was headed out to go to George. Which call means that there are only going to be two of us here in Paarl now.

I do have to say, that after six weeks of teaching with three missionaries, it is kinda hard to transition back to two. So now it is just back to the two of us here, Elder Castro and I. It is weird to just have one companion now, but that is what is in stock for us now.

And from Madagascar:

Well. Fort Dauphin is cool.  Yeah.

It has like all of my favorite things in one: a beach, nice mountains, jungly stuff, a crazy sweet language, and super awesome people!  Yes, the beach looks good. It especially looks very good when I look out my window in the morning and it's right there.

Any way, have a good week all of you, wherever you're at, and don't forget that Jesus died for you and your family so you can be with them throughout the eternities. It doesn't hurt to be a little more grateful than we usually are.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

A Party in My Front Room

After a brief book pause for the end of school hubbub and the beginning of summer crazies, I've started reading again.  I'm happy when I have a book - when no one is bothering me.  So, nearly never!  But I can snatch a few minutes at night while Trent unwinds with a movie.

I've been reading my house book, "Love It or Leave It."  No, that's wrong somehow.  It's "Love the House You Have," and I've been loving it - the book and the house I have.  One suggestion she had was to schedule a party, invite people over, and let that deadline be a good incentive to get your house looking nice.  I'm more of an introvert than the author, and I don't really want to throw a party.  I'd rather just stay at home with my family. We are having company in a few weeks, so I guess there is my incentive. 

And I can invite you over, too!  Here is my living room last night.  I'll work on quieting and prettying the room today, and hopefully I'll get a nicer picture posted tonight.  See you then!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

My Best Intentions

(Sigh)  Still trying to get organized for the summer. 

I made a little chart of the days, and then we listed out fun types of things we would like to be doing.  We put them on the chart and rearranged them until they looked good.  Finally!  A plan!

But I forgot to glue them down and over the course of the day, our tidy schedule got... less tidy.  So this is what our days have been looking like: good intentions all tangled up into "whatever."

Today, we find the glue.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Work? No Can Do

The boys have been messing around with our computers today.  I'm glad they are learning how computers work, and I am really glad the cleaned all the dustbunnies out of there.  But could ya put it back together for me, boys?  Please?

Monday, June 8, 2015

Mission Monday

It's transfer time again!  Every 6 weeks, the missions shuffle the missionaries around, greet brand-new missionaries, and say farewell to those going home.  The past 6 weeks have gone by so fast I can hardly believe it - one boy is going to a new place, but the other is staying.  So glad they are happy!

From South Africa:

(This week was) Awesome because we got a bunch of work done and we saw miracles this week.

On Sunday, we had two baptisms that we had started teaching from the beginning. The only downside of that is that the water was WAY cold, but it was really amazing. And it was really cool to see them when they came up out of the water.

Also, our open house and ward party was really awesome. We had a great turnout at it and it was way amazing! So both of those were really amazing!

From Madagascar:

Malagasy Morsel is variana. And it means distracted, and I am super variana right now because I keep just thinking about Fort Dauphin (on the very south of Madagascar and there are some crazy dialects spoken there. You are also very far away from any other missionaries... And there's a beach! And beautiful mountains! And a lot of awesome missionaries have been down there so the work is just screaming along! I'm super pumped!).

I am way bummed to be leaving Ankorondrano now though. Menja and Fitiavana are just about to get married, soiree des quartes are just about to get going, and Bakar and Fidy were just called as ward missionaries, and there are just so many people that I love, dang it! It's all good though. When I get back to Tana I'll have to visit them all, but for now, I'm just way pumped to be going on an airplane soon to Fort Dauphin.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

It's Suuuuuuummmmer Tiiiiiiimmmme!

Yeah, it's officially summer.  Graduation is over, field day is done, grades are posted, the parking lot is empty, and the office is shuttered.  As if it knew about this, the sun has come out and heated the earth.  We've had such a nice spring, with cool temperatures and cloudy skies and lots more rain than normal, but suddenly we've been thrust into summer with its baking-oven temperatures and unrelenting sunshine.  I'm not complaining too much, because this is where we usually are.  It's just the quick change from one to the other that makes me lose my balance a bit.  So now it's hot, and the tomatoes will grow and the watermelon seeds will sprout.  Summer is good, too.

We started off the summer on an exciting foot by an impromptu stay at a ski resort.  The mountain air was cool and refreshing, the beautiful trails beckoned, and it was good to have an itty bitty change of scenery.  Even though we spent all the time watching the kids get sunburned in the pool or cleaning up.  All good.

Today, Eddie got right up and did his chores, even without the help of my handy dandy chore charts - because I hadn't gotten around to printing them off yet.  Or maybe I did but I put them in the safe place where I lose important papers.  David was running a fever (from the sunburn), Chris was spending the night with his cousins, and Angel and the twins were a touch grumpy (from the sunburns).  Remind me to throw out the expired sunscreen and buy a fresh bottle.

And so we got the house mostly tidied up, two gardens watered, another garden weeded (they each have their own garden to tend this summer), and helped my dad on a project he's been wanting to do.  We had lunch, and now... now... now we're bored.  Now we're tired.  Now we have no more energy to do anything more.  (Maybe from the sunburns).  The kids are watching odd youtube videos and I'm reading the news.

Maybe we'll start being really productive tomorrow.  For now, I think I'll go switch the youtube channel to Studio C and we'll laugh together.  And then we'll make a blanket fort on the couch so we don't get sucked into the hot lava floor.  Summer is good.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Mission Monday

Man, I love these boys.  I can manage to get up and going on Monday mornings because I get to read their letters.  Things must be pretty busy on the Cape, because his letters are getting shorter and shorter.  Maybe I need to send him an outline and he can just check off the boxes that pertain to that week.  That would make it easier for him!

From South Africa:

Well, this week has been kinda dreary. The clouds have started to come, and the rain is here. Some days it comes down in buckets, some, just a drizzle. Everybody is starting to prep for winter. It is that time of the year.

In the news, we have two investigators that are getting baptized this Sunday! They had their interviews this past week and passed! On top of that, we are having a Chapel Open House and ward party on Saturday. Hopefully it goes well and everybody comes. Even if they don't, we are still going to have a party.

And from Madagascar:

And then we had a BAPTISM!!! It was great. I baptized. The water was very cold. It was also green, but the cold was the worst part. D. stepped down into the water and almost stepped out so I dragged him down in, then baptized him. And as soon as he came rushing out of the water he was rushing up the steps to his towel and warm clothes... Haha it was also a very spiritual experience too though!

Then church was interesting. The confirmation went really well. He was glowing all day long. But then, because our new stake center was being dedicated in Andranomena, not very many active members came to church, but because it was Malagasy Mother's day, lots of less active females came (they hand out treats to all of the mothers...) Then we had combined block because it was a fifth sunday and we had a lesson about birth control of course! So, yeah. It was just a great day.