December 01, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009 ~ Laughter & Tears

Hopefully I can get this little video of joy to upload... cross your fingers! :)

Eli's laughter and love helped us through a bit of our sorrow...
the sorrow of losing our own QUEEN of laughter!! :(

But this afternoon and evening we, together with almost the
entire Juarez/Siguenza/Lopez family, had the privilege of celebrating Giny's courageous life - in the very ways she had asked us to: Graveside Service, then good Guate food, music & memory sharing, fun stories told by her big brothers - filmed for Peter, Cristina, & Andrei - who were surrounded by love, both given and received.

PS: Elise was one of the few who couldn't come - she was in the process of giving birth for the first time! And thanks to text technology,
soon after we returned to Provo tonight, we saw a first photo of her healthy, beautiful boy, just moments after he was born...
So all in all, today has been a 'circle of life' kind of celebration.

October 05, 2009


We walked in from Haycock's and what did we see?
...SEAN at home, unexpectedly!

We all grabbed an armful, and what a treat!
Big bear hugs and laughs so sweet!

He had a careful plan,* and so it came to be -
...Sean's home tonight unexpectedly!

Of course, the BEST part of the entire surprise was that we no longer had to wait until the next day to enjoy having him back home!

* Plan orchestrated and executed by Sean, along with Olivia's complete cooperation and participation; including, but not limited to, tampered mail, PhotoShopped Flight Plans, and a trip to SL airport.

A special thanks to Ben for filming Olivia's tricks, the airport arrival, and our shocked/delighted reactions... Priceless!

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September 09, 2009

oh, nein!

I really wanted to post 9 photos just as soon as we took them... A memory moment worth documenting for sure, because at precisely 9:09 pm there were 9 of us in Rm 9, - having just enjoyed 9 little activities, 9 little treats, and 9 fun facts about #9 and / or 09/09/09 day!! Then as soon as I got home I spent a bit of time with my 9 year old before he gave me 9 goodnight kisses. And by 9:59 pm I was at the Post Office mailing a few notes I'd collected from a few parents that listed "9 Things I Like About You" - (for their daughters) and I wanted to be sure they were postmarked on 09/09/09!

Sadly, once I got home and tried to pull even 9 photos from the camera, I had 9 times more technical difficulties than usual ... (newer HC SD card, etc) - But it was finally worth the effort, as was the activity.


I won't list all 9 activities and facts, because i couldn't even remember them by 9 am the next morning, but here are a few:

We all grabbed "For The Strength of Youth" booklets and quickly found 9 letter words - 9 of them, to be exact! We tried to remember our 9th birthdays, and we listed 9 of our favorite things as well as 9 things we want to do before we die. Of course we also sang a song on a page ending in 09 - we even stood up every 9 beats while singing, just for fun.

Good times, good times... we all got totally into it. In fact, originally there were 4 out of our 5 Beehives there, (hey 4+5=9) 2 leaders, and 1 welcomed Mia Maid. But by 9 pm many others had stopped by for a treat and a laugh as they headed home. Magically, 2 ended up staying w/ us until our 9:09 pm goal - and then one of them said, "Hey there are 9 of us still here!" -- How cool is that?

-OK, so now- does anyone have any ideas for future lower-key Wednesday night activities? Please send them my way! The girls still need to plan Nov and Dec... or in other words, the last 9 weeks of 2009!

PS: BTW, at 10:09, right after the PO, for a split second, the KoKing and I thought we'd head to WalMart to buy this on its opening day of sales, but quickly decided, nein way! That deserves a day and a post of its own, don't you think?

August 24, 2009

As promised!

-- good things come to those who wait for me to have a moment to upload and post my photos:

drumroll please...

I opened my laptop, clicked around, and i kid you not, 10 minutes later...

Thank you google's picasa - Don't you just love user friendly, reliable free software? (some year i may even be ready for the big time... you know, photoshop on one of the MAC's around here).
PS: the silly pose with the hand on the chin is mimicking a girl in line right by us at the movies a couple of weeks ago - remind me to post one of KOKI in the same pose!

monday's mandarin missionary memo

"I want to ask you to pray for me this week as I meet with the Mandarin-speaking potential investigators. Pray specifically that I'll be able to communicate clearly the doctrines, that the Spirit will testify, and that we will understand their concerns and be able to help them resolve them.

Thanks! :¬)

August 20, 2009

our first day at school ~ we're eager little learners...

INSERT the Priceless pictures of my PHS & Dixon Dot's and my Timp Wakko right here...
but not right now, silly... it's a school night, and it's past my bedtime.

Yakko: School!
Dot : School!
Wakko: School!
YW+D : Schoo-oo-oo-oo-ool!

YW+D : Our first day at school
We're eager little learners
So fill our brains with lots of facts
Our first day at school.

Yakko: Teach!
Dot : Teach!
Wakko: Teach!
YW+D :
We're ready for our lessons
So teach us Math, Geometry
Don't forget Geography
English Lit. and Chemistry
And please throw in the A-B-C's.
Oh, teacher, teach us nooooow!

August 17, 2009

as usual, i'm just a wee bit busy these days...

but it's past time to copy and paste some wee bits from Calvin:
-- first, his comments on the above pictures:

"This is my English badge. I got this on Friday. I’ve been using my Chinese one since ... ever, but no one here can read it. We don’t meet a lot of Chinese people in this part of London. We do meet a lot of Nigerians, though. Yoruba tribe, mostly.
Some of the coinage; values are 1 penny, 2 pence, 10p, 5p, 20p, 50p, £1.oo. They also have a £2.oo coin, but I didn't have one at the time. Also, yes, the 10 and 5 are out of order". - (sent Aug 3 & 10)

from today --

"On London:

Lots of heat waves mean it feels kinda like home.
Lots of water is required.
Busses are awesome.
People are cooler.
Yoruba tribe is one of Nigeria's biggest. They say *hello* like *Ba-wa-nee*.
Awesome folks, them.
We meet in an old office building.
The mission is now fun. :¬)

Have a nice day!

Love you all.

2 weeks ago (Aug 3rd) Maya asked him to tell her a story and here was his reply:

"Did I ever tell you about my first P-Day out here? I got here on a Thursday, so I had 3 days (Fri., Sat., Sun.) before P-Day. That day, we decided to go buy a basketball and play ("we" is Elder Komulainen and I, as well as Elder Call and Elder Toyn, who live in the same flat). We did. At the end of that, there were some boys--maybe Ashton's age? --who wanted to play football (that's original, not American). We asked if we could play with them a little. They were cool with it, so we picked teams. A minute or so into playing, one of the little kids kicked the ball, and it hit me right in the face. I got the bloodiest nose I've ever had. If I can, I'll try to send you a video Elder Komulainen took of the aftermath. It was a good day. :¬)"

YES, i know - i'm WAY overdue for typing in great stuff from Sean's wonderful letters onto his blog... He'll be home in 7 weeks!!! I better get on it SOON...

July 23, 2009

Calvin continues...

For a few weeks in a row he emailed on Mondays between 4 and 5 am our time. (7 hours later London time).
We didn't get one last Monday - darn it! But our family life of Missionary mail experiences/issues the past 34 months (and 21 more to go) has taught us not to worry; that their routines change almost as much as ours! Then later that day we found a short, fun letter from him in our mailbox!

But late this evening I noticed a reply from him in my inbox that he'd sent early this morning...

How are things? Hopefully well.

Sad story: The other day, a couple young girls (maybe 13 or 14) asked us if we had any cigarettes. Everyone starts things younger here, in spite of laws. Lot's of single mothers and things, too.

Less sad: The other day, I made something almost like Arroz con Leche. [Rice Pudding] Elder Call (another elder in the flat) had cooked some rice, but wasn't going to eat it all. I took some, put some milk on it (or, more milk, technically, as he was eating it with milk), put cinnamon and sugar and stirred it up. Arroz con leche obviously is more than that, but it tasted similar. Which brings me to my question: Will you send me the recipe (electronically, or physically) for your Arroz con Leche?

A related question: Will you send me the green recipe box that I bought for my mission? And also the recipes for Spinach Pie, and whatever else was there? And also some Mrs. Dash? If not, that's cool. Thanks! :¬)

Our washer is cool, 'cause it's also a dryer. Not a very good dryer, but it dries (or, it tries.) <= [P0€trY] Papá: What kind of training were you doing in SLC? Have you used the iPod for audio books yet?
Mom: Busy as usual, it seems. How are the vending machines? Is Josie more diligent? When should I expect that questionnaire?
Josie: What's new? Remember when you said you'd write? I do. It was just after I rebuked you all because you never wrote. Wanna know what else? You haven't really written since. You have one week to write something cool, like your favorite scripture, or the party you organized, or the song you learned to play on the guitar. :¬) Mostly I'm joking.
Carmen: Are you still alive? I get emails from your email address, so I assume you are, but you don't tell me what you're doing. You should learn to make cake. Find a Good Eats about Cake on YouTube or something.
Maya: Hi. You should write in your journal. Mom sent me something you wrote about spring break, and it's very good. Just get a pen you like to use and use it. You'll love writing when you get into the habit. It's very fun, and it'll be your favorite if you start now. I promise. And I want to know what happened while I was gone. That's your job, okay? Good.
Ashton: You're a Bear, huh? In c-c-c-c-cub scouts! You did some cooking, init? (Here in England, a lot of people say, "I'nit?". It's short for "Isn't it?", and it means, "Huh?", like "You did some cooking, huh?") You should make Mom teach you how to make Arroz con Leche, too, and tell her to teach you Spinach Pie.

Hey, this thing about sometimes having P-day on Thursday happens every moves (so every 6 weeks); I should email on Thursday or Friday for those weeks (Friday because, if I'm transferred, I'll be moving on Thursday).

Thanks. Love. Bye.


July 20, 2009

Have i mentioned lately that i LOVE being in YW??

Young Women
Blessings of Camp

Camp graphic

When young women return home from participating in camp, they can have an improved understanding of their identity and of their relationship with Heavenly Father —an understanding similar to Moses’ after his experience on the mountaintop (see Moses 1:1 – 25)

This understanding will lead young women to:

  • Continue to seek the companionship of the Holy Ghost: “For his Spirit hath not altogether withdrawn from me.” (Moses 1:15)
  • Resist temptation and make righteous choices: “I can judge between thee [Satan] and God” (v.15)
  • Pray: “I will not cease to call upon God” (v. 18)
  • Be worthy of the direction and companionship of the Holy Ghost: “Being filled with the Holy Ghost” (v. 24).
  • Rely on the Savior’s strengthening power: “Thou shalt be made stronger” (v. 25).

July 06, 2009

more from Great Britain

Today (P-day) at 4:30 am Mtn time 11:30 am London time, Calvin wrote:

Okay, for the rest of my trip:
My companion, Elder Komulainen, came with the office elders to the airport. When I met up with them, Elder K snapped a photo. I'll try to get that from him. We got in the van, and went to the mission office, on the grounds of the London Temple. During the drive, I got somewhat startled once when the Elder in the passenger seat (the left front) turned around to talk to me. I was like, "eyes on the road, driver!", but he wasn't driving.
Oh, ~ The letter you got was from President Swinton, right? He left last week, so now we have President Shamo. He's cool, too. I'm glad you got those pictures, though. President Swinton is probably back in Salt Lake looking for clients, now. He's a lawyer.**
Anyway, the day I got there was something called a Temple Conference. They don't happen often, I'm told. It's similar to a Zone Conference, but at the temple. Just recently, the London Temple got a Visitor's Center (the only one in Europe, according to reports), so President Swinton taught us there. Then we did a session, and had lunch at the temple cafeteria (very good food) then President & Sister Swinton taught a good-bye-type lesson. The zone leaders told some "Pres' Dawg" stories about things President Swinton did, and afterwards we went home. I live very near the Thames river. Google my address sometime. Tell Josie to, with the kids, or Carmen or Maya, if Josie's out. Oh, and write a snail mail letter to me, too, if you can. Just one as a family.

To answer your other questions:
  • Elder Komulainen--to whom I am guessing Papá is referring by "Elder Alvar Aalto"--does not speak Chinese beyond "ni hao" ("hello"). Just Finish and English.
  • The area I'm in now ("Welling"; Google it, if you like) there are not a ton of Chinese-speakers. There are lots of people from Nigeria and other African countries. Also, Indian, Nepalese, and "Chav"-- (poor white type), very like the low-life white type in Utah ... it's sad. But it's okay. (I meant to send you a picture today of the Book of Mormon shelf we have with tons of languages but I forgot the cord to connect my camera, so I'll send those next week).
  • There are about 160 missionaries. About 7 Mandarin, as far as I've been told. I've only seen 4, (all at the Temple Conference). ~ There are at least 2 assigned spanish elders. There are elders from Finland, Spain, Denmark, Germany, the U.S., England, and I think I've met one from Poland. One just went home from Romania. There's another from there, too, I think. But as far as assignments go, I've only heard of English, Spanish, and Mandarin (which is pronounced /man-duh-REEN/ out here).

Yeah, have everyone write notes for the medicine box. Have them write them now, so they'll be done when you send the medicine. Mailing a lot of letters would be too expensive, of course, so send all you can in the packages.
I'm sure you've already thought of all that, though, so, whatever.

One min left. Love, ecmj

Oh, p.s. Tell Carmen and Maya to take the time to capitalize when they email the King of Convention, the Grammar Guru, the one and only me. :¬P Thanks. Bye.

** Sure-ease thought: Good thing he left Provo abruptly 2 weeks early ~ Because that put him there in time for the "Changing of the Guards" as far as mission presidents go, as well as that temple conf -which both would be good opening experiences for Calvin.

June 29, 2009

First word from LONDON!!

Dear family and friends:
Although Calvin's planned MTC departure date was July 6th or possibly later (based on recent visa delays and experiences of others) - He found out last Tuesday around dinner time, that he was "shipping out" the following morning first thing!! He was allowed a 10 min call to us at 9 pm Tues night. He sounded great - happy, excited, shocked, and a bit nervous about heading to England alone (he'd avoided ever flying before now) - but he sounded full of faith, to be sure... without which, he would've never left home last April.
So for me, (and it's ALL about ME) it was a very LONG 5 + days waiting for confirmation that he'd arrived in England - even with YW's camp to keep my mind off of him. But as usual with that boy, when nudged/compelled into doing something he's resisted and avoided (like an airplane) - once pushed into a pool, he swims to the edge, gets out, drys off, and that's that! (Often later, he doesn't even remember being resistant). ... Unmistakably - Koki's genes.


Mucho love and campfire smell to each of you,

(FYI ~ reminder for some of you that his London assignment includes learning and preaching in the Mandarin language - hence his mention of those he met that had served in Taiwan.)

From: Koki
To: Calvin
Date: Thu, 25 Jun 2009
Subject: That's my boy

(Koki -the anti-blogger, wrote 5 GREAT sentences to Calvin that I will not post until i have his consent :D - but he asked Calvin to tell him ALL the details; from the time he hung up with us until the time he woke up his first morning in England. And so, he did! When does THAT ever happen?)

Mon, Jun 29, 2009 5:15 AM (mtn time)

Re: "That's my boy" & "hello out there?"

All the details would be somewhat tough to include in this email. I don't have a lot of time. But here are some good ones: I was up 'til 11:30ish Tues night packing, with the help of two other elders in my district (Elders Gania and Johnson). Then we went to bed. We woke up at 5:30 am, and I got ready, and a few other elders in the zone woke up and said good bye (remind me to tell you more about that sometime), then the same 2 and I went to the bus. I was the only one heading to England. There were other missionaries going to Canada, (English and Korean), I believe. There may have even been some going to Korea. Then we all drove up to Salt Lake airport, and I checked in and whatever, and I went to Gate D2 (I think), and I met some people there, one of whom had gone to Taiwan on his mission. Then I got on a plane to Cincinnati, Ohio. It was not a big plane. Delta. B737. My camera was pretty much out of battery by that time, so I don't have any pictures. Bummer, but whatev'. As we took off, I realized we'd fly over the Mississippi river. I wrote some things down in my reporter's moleskine, like "planes look ricketier up close", which they do. It was fun though. Then I flew. After a while, we did fly over the Mississippi, and other rivers, too. Le'me say, the East may have no clue what mountains are, but they know how to make rivers. I had a 4 1/2 hour layover in Cincinnati, and I met another former Taiwan missionary (both were rather old, by the way; 70ish, by my guess). I also talked to a lady named Megan for a while about missions, and the Book of Mormon. It was cool. Then, we got on the plane to the airport in Gatwick, London, England. I watched the sun "set" ('cause we were flying north/north-eastish over Quebec and such) and saw that "Escape to Witch Mountain" was the movie, though I did not have headphones, nor permission to watch it. I had the dinner (which is actually not as bad as people say; also, I had a Fresca with it) and, after 2ish hours (after the movie had ended, I think), I fell asleep. When we were over England already, I woke up. We couldn't see it, because of clouds. The plane eventually landed, (not too late) and we got off. Then I stood in a huge line for people with not-EU passports. When it was my turn, they weren't sure if I was okay. But after not too long, they figured everything out. So I exchanged the money I had in my pockets ([dollar sign]52.oo) for Pounds (£25.something). Then I got my luggage. At the bagclaim or whateverit'scalled, a family greeted me and asked where I was going. They were members. After a short conversation, they handed me an American bill. I thanked them and then again thanked them, and then I continued on. After a little while, I looked at the bill. Le'me ask you something: Who gives a stranger [dollar]1oo.oo bill in London? Evidently, the answer is charitable LDS.
Then--after a brief walk--I met the missionaries who came to pick me up. I'll pick up from there next week (if you remind me).

Quickly, here are some pictures. One of my "flat" building, another of my trainer (Elder Komulainen from Finland).

Speaking of where I live, here it is:

80 Longacre House
Pettacre Close

Finally, Mom, I read yours too and enjoyed it very much. I will give you details as to first impressions of England in the next email, I imagine. It's less time covered, but more experiences. It's fun.
Thanks, love, and see you.


From: Cherie
To: Calvin
Date: Sunday - 6/28/09 5:30 pm
Subject: Hello Out There?

Hi Calvin mijo,

I've been thinking about you and praying for you all week...
I got back from YW's camp late yesterday - and lived to tell about it :D ... but i still have NO idea if YOU survived flying and lived to tell about it! -

I must resign myself to the "No news is good news", I guess.
We are actually at Omar's right now. -- It was Jacob's day to speak in church!
Basically, everyone has left but us - Melinda & gang are coming back and we're making another meal later-(although we did enjoy filling chuchitos hours ago). We're "chilling" downstairs in the family room. Maya ran with Kristen to go feed her new puppies and get her train game (ticket to ride?) she's been wanting us to play since last Dec - Ashton is happily creating with a bucket of Lego, Papá is snoring on the couch as if HE went to camp, and several others are watching "Nanny McPhee"-(some for the first time). It just happened to start after a championship soccer game - and strangely we had just been reminded of it this morning in church when someone quoted a good line of the nanny's when she asks the children, "Are you willing to accept the consequences of your choices?" (Emma Thompson always rocks).

Mia Shalom was beautiful!! You'd be pleased to know that i took lots of close-up pictures of wildflowers on our long hike - their amazing detail is facinating to me. Oh, yeah - we were w/out a small camera again after you left, so i researched with Csmr Rprts and got a little Cannon, using up a $60 Best Buy in-store credit. (Hooray, i followed through!).

Camp was a huge success from my perspective, because much good took place - the YW showed love, felt love, and included whomever needed it at the moment. They pitched in, worked hard, and participated -- all w/out complaining!! Your 3 sisters were angels - really. Josie, Lizzie, Tori, & Renee did an amazing job of providing leadership, love, and example... and the adult leaders - both stake and ward, did a great job of setting up moments that encouraged the building of faith and testimony!!! (and FUN) Pres Bell was great with them all too. You'd have loved witnessing it all - miracles - many miracles.

I'll sign off - i've more to write but understand your limits on time.
I can't wait to hear about your adventures... and your first impressions of the UK!


PS -I want to send photos soon -Maya tells me she took a 17 min video of me -crazy dancing w/ YW, but I'm still denying its existence. We miss your fast AV skills... (We all wanted to view camp pics last night but not ONE of us had enough patience or energy to troubleshoot difficulties w/ the connection between the camera and TV) - I heard Papá tell a relative today that Sean will be home in 99 days - ... so maybe you'll get photos after that!

April 15, 2009

a day in the life...


#1 IT WORKED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THE MIG-17 IS FIXED.
#2 Now, Calvin's gone. & I'm sad. 6 MONTHS WITHOUT BROS. is torture.
#3 Papá has some little WW2 guys that I've made a setup with. 
     Come check it out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BYE!

April 14, 2009

here we go again... by the willows #4

We almost forgot the family snapshot yesterday - thanks for your patience, and photo skills karli -

The setting sun was criminal on the eyes, but wonderful for the soul!
The weather forecast shows SNOW for Wednesday - (tax day...and so long farewell, 'our feet are the same", adieu to Calvin day).

Last year on Easter Sunday we posed for one quick shot in this same spot. It was the day Olivia spoke in church after returning from the DR. (i'll try to find and post that one too).

The 2 semi-blurry group shots at the bottom of this blog were taken on the Sundays Olivia & Sean each spoke in church before leaving home to serve. (she in Sep '06 and he exactly 1 year later) These yearly patterns have been totally coincidental.

We knew back in 06 that we could NOT miss the chance for a family picture before O left, and we knew that Sunday would be our chance. We asked O's friend, E, to take several photos of us while we huddled.
What we did not know is how very long it would be before we can ALL be together again in a photo! 9/06 to 4/11 ... potentially over 4 and a half years!

Little did we know as we gathered the kids from around the house and yard 2.5 years ago and briefly paused and smiled for the camera, that our then common COMPLETE circle of loud togetherness would become uncommon from that moment on.

Wow, Ashton was only 6 when Olivia left but will turn 11 right after Calvin returns - Carmen was still in Primary in that first pic but will be well past the driving and dating age by the time we're all home for a dinner and a quick photo again.

Huh? Crazy!

... No wonder parents feel total joy when / if they are finally able to be in a temple with ALL of their children at once.
Our Heavenly parents certainly must long for us ALL to come back home!

~ OK, so Calvin, mijo it's your turn to leave - your chance to help others know of a sure and safe way back home. You'll be reminding them of what they knew before they were born. Most importantly, you'll help them remember their Savior / older brother, who made our heavenly homecoming a possibility.

It makes no sense that a loving Father in heaven would only want or allow a small percentage of His children to benefit from the efforts, sacrifice, light, and example of His son. I'm sure He's anxious for us to spread the word to ALL.

And also Calvin, logic and reason tell me that since you've chosen to leave home and give up your own precious time and hard earned money, it only makes sense to do it well mijo! (You know, like, with all your heart, might, mind, & strength type thing). You must decide to continually OFFER your help to many people and make this time of separation worth it - i know you'll find great ways to share your clear truths.

... Yes, choose to offer / invite many many... not because of numbers on some report your tired Sr comp says the new zone leader is harping on because he wants to impress the mission pres, or "beat" another rival zone, but because everyone deserves the chance to accept or reject your glad message.

Yes, it will be hard when many you meet won't really care to know what you know, - But that's why it's critical to be constantly offering and talking to as many as you can. Many people don't even realize that feeling complete, forgiven, and connected to Deity is a reality - or that it's possible to be certain of the exact way home - complete with how to unlatch any gate, as well as be reunited with loved ones! Instead they've learned to wander around in good neighborhoods until they eventually find a nice house (or religion) that works for them.

Oh, and remember that those reports/statistics also have pure and practical purposes:
- they will help you stay focused.
- the "return and report" principle is of God and promotes growth.
- reports allow leaders to plan and organize their efforts in fulfilling steward ships.

... Thank you Calvin for continually forgiving me.

and thank you for hurrying to earth so soon after Sean - that was genius of you.

yup. you're good at genius.

you are also wise and funny - honest and intense.

you are without guile and anti pretentious.

you are ready to "forget yourself and get to work"

(For cry baby me, the next 6+ months while both Sean & Calvin are gone will be tough - without
being able to hug them, nor lose my cool with either of them, nor have their tech support!
Mom's just can't turn off their kid concern. But I'm glad and grateful they have this time to serve. I want them home - but i know their current choices are worth their sacrifice and mine. ;)

And yet, It must be by 'divine design' that i have Ashton, and now Benjamin! -
They both provide great hugs!
Ben seems tech support capable and
I'll bet Ashton can help me loose my cool every once in awhile so i can keep up my skills ;)

That's all for now.
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April 06, 2009

PS conference weekend is the BEST

it's great.

I've always loved it!  I don't even mind if the wather is bad. no church clothes. no rush. comfy cosy on the couch. journals, bingos, warm croisants dipped in Pero. even grumpy koki wanting to fast forward the motab claiming their style takes away from the good spirit for him.  (fast forward becomes an option once we've occasionally tivo rewound to see a relative singing or hear a good quote again)

and by the way, i posted the cheesecake recipe on the ord blog

April 05, 2009

the culmination of the march madness birthdays

'O' made it home from NYC safe and sound with souveniers.

i miraculously woke early early on tuesday the 31st. so early that i was able to fix an elaborate feast for his breakfast, wake all 5 offspring, and sing together to him at 6:15 before jo left for her earlymornseminary. once in a marriage impressive.
'K' usually opts not to eat before leaving each morning at 7:15 - but he LOVED his embelished eggs, sauces, steak, black beans, sauted onions, guacamole, etc etc - but loved the break from his usual chore of waking very deep sleepers even more! After work we decided to not eat out until Friday when o & b could join us. He & I still enjoyed a drive that evening to look at potential rentals for sale near campus, and a stop at office max as well. (it doesn't take much to please us while spending a moment of uninterrupted time together.)
i took the day off friday to join him for his usual free and busy friday. 
He waited patiently for his requested 'deluxe baked cheesecake'... a 2-day perfection that simply can not be rushed! I'll post a link to the illustrated recipe soon. we enjoyed it today between sessions.
i even got my wish of giving baskets today instead of next Sunday morn - too many more important things next weekend.  hooray for my bunny helpers.
enjoy the photos, because there's no more time to type... #7 is waiting for me to play egg charades!
(thanks for the gentle nudge to post, maya)

photos uploaded in reverse order, oh well.

(thanks j & car)

March 25, 2009

isn't she lovely...

..."i can't believe what God has done, through us He's given life to one, 
and isn't she lovely ~ made from love"...
Happy 24 Olivia ~ from all of us!
Enjoy your day, and get home safe tonight!

March 15, 2009



What's not to LOVE about this girl??

Guatemala was heaven for Josie! Having her home has been heaven for us!

While she was there she was showered with love by everyone - but especially by Megan & Elise and their husbands and inlaws, and by Noelia & Chino, and a bit by an otherwise engaged grandfather, but especially by Sarah ~ Megan & Julio's precious 1 year old that you can see if you click above on the photo of Josie -I hear that Melinda & Chino plan to move to San Marcos as soon as their 'babies', Lee & Logan (17 yr olds) are on their own -  I think grandparenthood is pretty much their newfound purpose for living!

What's not to LOVE about this country?

Josie arrived home safely Thursday evening after having left Guatemala City on a 6 am flight.  She bravely went through customs in Houston, then went on to LA for another couple of hours in the airport before her final flight home.  She's a pro traveler now, there'll be no stopping her.  Actually she's anxious for us all to return to Guate for a visit SOON.  
Her plans for summer are filling up fast, even without any travel plans (other than a bus to girl's camp, or a bus to perform in a parade). She's also submitting her registration for SOAR.  She wrote her autobiographical essay while she was in Guate, and included what the time down there has meant to her - I'll tell her to post it to her blog.  I can't believe it's been 2 years already since Karli wrote hers, and went... and 3 years for Calvin, 4 for Sean, and 7 for Olivia.  Time keeps on slipping slipping slipping into the future.

PS: One month and counting for Calvin and Mandarin heaven.  

March 11, 2009

girls will be girls

on January 23rd jessica, maya, brenda, kaydee, korynn, marci, erica, cherie, kaylee, and carissa had a fabulous girls night out filled with hair-do's, karaoke, fashion show, and more...
a total 'pink aisle' to the max eveningPosted by Picasa

March 05, 2009

happy half year

i like this one, and i love these two

we don't have enough pictures of this wonderful part of their august 5 day. i know we rookie juárez's were wrapped in the moment and even forgot to turn on our camera for sean! (shameful) - but i think friends and other family took several, i just don't remember seeing or storing them.  ... yup, we shoulda had amazing ashley there too, huh?
i'm grateful all over again today and every day for the Knudsen's - for their love, wisdom, generosity, humor, sincerity, hospitality, culinary passions, faith, example, acceptance, 
and especially for their BENJAMIN CLARK!



follow up: i saw this good advice a couple of weeks ago and emailed it to my Inbeteener, but I need to remember it too, especially that 4th line!

DANCE - like nobody's watching
LOVE --- like you've never been hurt
SING --- like nobody's listening
LIVE ---- like it's heaven on earth
-simple enough, huh? i just never would've guessed Mark Twain said it, i don't know, it sounds so "if by chance we meet, it's beautiful" '70's to me! (or maybe a '90's country western song?)

March 02, 2009

¡Hooray for MARCH!

March's arrival feels like a huge milestone for me!

As I've already mentioned to some who may read this, December's weather is charming here in the Inter Mountain West - but in my opinion, that's basically where the charm of winter ENDS. And the relentless overcast freeze of Jan and Feb seems to be a bigger struggle for me each year!

I've come home from work these past few weeks feeling worn out and old! I've just wanted to curl up in my comfy covers and sleep until the bulbs bloom! 
But somehow even getting enough sleep has been a challenge, yet my never-ending to do list just gets longer...

Dad called last night and mentioned in passing that i had looked tired when he'd seen me earlier in the day. Yup, i felt tired too.

But fortunately, good people and good things FILL my life!


~ I enjoyed being able to hear Tyler bless his sweet baby Mya yesterday. I loved hearing him bless her with the ability to know her worth and who she is as she grows up! (total paraphrase)
But it also relates to something else I've been thinking about lately...

~ I've now been a parent to six different fifth/sixth graders - I know that parenting experts focus on the importance of the first 5-6 years of life, and I agree - those are critical.

But I think preteenagehood (or "inbeteen", as Deb would say) is equally as critical!

Each of my six has had to endure the challenge of seeing many of their longtime classmates begin to change in 5th and 6th grade: Change their pastime's, their looks, fashions, vocabulary, attitudes, moods, level of self-confidence, (or lack there of), etc.

Soooo many kids at this age sadly get caught up in worrying too much about looking and sounding like they think others think they should look or sound. It becomes hard for many to just be "themselves" - most struggle in knowing who that even is. 
Which of course, then makes Jr High even more interesting...

Unless the inbeteener is one of the precious few who are grounded - and i don't mean in the "withholding privileges" sense of the word.  (i'm so punny) I mean those who have been blessed or encouraged or are trying to cultivate a strong sense of who they are.

My current 6th grader and I have had a lot of good talks lately...

Talks about feeling amused and compassionate instead of annoyed and mad/sad. 
Talks about faith. Talks about how we can know who we are!

And we're celebrating simple things... like cute $3 clearance sweater tops... yummy foods... fun wii fit turns... good blogs and photo albums... lime green rubber bands on braces... 
and the fact that in 6 more months 7th grade begins - complete with more wandering fish in a bigger pond.  And like the other 5 before her, I imagine she'll find interesting friends with whom she has more in common... friends that are right now having to adjust to the same types of changes in their own pool of 6th graders.

No wonder those amazing Finlayson's chose 5th grade as the year to have each of their 6(?) intelligent, well-adjusted children in turn be away from their wonderful Woodside Elem school. Those wise parents spent precious time with each child at that critical age. What an ideal way to help them secure solid roots prior to the potentially stormy winds of 7-11th grades! 
During that year, their child would spend 3 days a week studying and creating with mom and the other 2 going into 'the City' with Dad to a med school class he taught, then out exploring museums, gardens, aquariums, etc together. 
Even if my circumstances are far from their ideal, there is still MUCH I can do... even in simple ways - a few minutes here, and other bits there.

just that.

-oh wait, the last thing: 
#7 told me the juárez blog had to be red... maybe he's just going to have to start his own after all!

February 22, 2009


Hang on, are you still with me? i almost forgot. I'm trying, does that count? Oh, get this, i've been meaning to tell you. What? Yes, I can help, i'm almost done. You should hear the boy pray!("please bless the chance thou hast provided us"). No, let's read first! I wanted an even dozen. Yep, she'd always say, "here comes trouble". Guys, how did you know THAT? OK really i can do this. Wait a sec. It's here somewhere. It's a CLASSIC. I JUST had it. Who's at the door? No fair, you beat my high score. Keep singing, that's a great song. Did any of you see my wallet? Thanks, you're my new favorite! Help me finish this then we can play. Tell them i'll need to call them right back. You're STILL my sunshine, my zoobaleezoo. Did it record? Love you Koki, sit here in the sala, no- next to me, help me figure this out, k? Where's the pistola? Just come with us! Did a letter come today? Will you walk on my back a minute? Be excellent to each other. I apologize, really. Nope, staff mtg today but tomorrow i can. It's all good. OK, i'm listening now, go ahead.

February 14, 2009

I actually followed through


...testing testing - "one, two, three, four, five, - yuck"

(as stanley williams used to say, over AV systems in MP ward bldg)

WOW! wonder of wonders miracle of miracles...

and did you see the url? get it? huh?


more to come - but don't hold me to it.