Wednesday, July 31, 2013


The babies are here! We got home at 3 AM from the airport yawn! And immediately everyone ran out to greet them and give hugs. Today was kind of a lazy day. I did have to go open up a bank account for Grace so we drove to Waldorf. Then we went to lunch. Tatum took a five hour nap. Everyone else took shorter naps. We played with the dogs, played with the balls, made water balloons, and ate dinner. We have some fun plans coming up, but mostly I'm just glad they are here.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Looking back, looking forward

It's 7:30 AM. Only Grace and I are awake. I can look out my bedroom door and see the new first vision statue I bought for the family in Palmyra. Even though it's been several days that trip is still my first thought in the morning. We had such an amazing trip I can't even begin to say. The spirit I felt I will never forget. I went to Palmyra with a testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I knew that Joseph Smith was a prophet. And I knew that God the Father and his son Jesus Christ appeared to him in that sacred Grove. I also knew that there was a lot of work for me to do, and I'd be busy, and that I would be focused on making sure that everything went well for the youth. I was so happy that my family had gone last year and that at that time I had been able to enjoy the sights and see the things that were there and hear the talks and read the plaques. I honestly did not expect a strong personal confirmation or witness. Much to my surprise I think I had the strongest spiritual confirmation that this is God true church that I have ever had. And I had that beautiful sweet special sacred witness more than one time while we were there. In the temple I knew that families could be forever together. I knew that was God's house. In the sacred Grove I knew that the gospel was restored. And that that was, it is, holy ground. In the replica home again the Spirit, the witness, the testimony I received was undeniable. During our testimony meeting I heard so many similar accounts. I heard the youth talk of coming with great doubts, some of them, and for the first time in their lives feeling the burning witness of the Holy Ghost let them know that this is the true Church. They knew that God loves them. They had a stronger resolve to do what was right. There are no words adequate to share these feelings. However I am so so grateful. Now, we just need to take this knowledge, change our lives, serve the Lord, and endure to the end. Piece of cake:)

Today Dani and Tatum and Penny Jane are  coming to stay with us for two weeks!! Cannot wait!!

Poor Jenna had her wisdom teeth out on Friday. Her mouth hurts and her face is swollen. On the bright side wedding plans are coming together, I feel bad that she is so far away and left with much of the planning and doing on her own. Luckily Clayton will be back from Ohio soon and they can work together. Also luckily we will be in Utah for the week before the wedding and can help with all the last minute stuff. I am looking forward to being there with her, and to seeing my family.

Monday, July 29, 2013


Sunday was a good day. A lot of the youth were asked to bare their testimonies about youth conference. It was, again, very moving.
Then I took a nap:)
Today we had tons of errands. I don't know how being gone a couple of days adds up to so much to do when I get back.
Among the errands of the day we took Hannah to the orthodontist, got the oil changed in the car, went to the grocery store, did some laundry, and went to sweet frog!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Youth Conference

900 ish miles.
4 days
185 people fed 3 meals per day
1 dance
5 devotionals
750 baptisms
15 hours (minus lunch) spent in the temple
6 trips to Walmart
3 service projects
1 water fight
2 trips to the ER
I broken alternator
12 hours of sleep (total)
Many testimonies born
Countless laughs shared
Several sites visited
A few Youth herded back to bed in the middle of the night
Hundreds of hugs given
And now we are done and it was good. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Youth conference is here. After not much sleep last night and a 3:45 wake up call we started our drive up to Palmyra. These two great women crack me up! We had a Super fun drive. We talked about the  birth of the new baby prince of England, Prince George. I laughed so hard at Tara's stories I almost drove us off the road. The countryside is beautiful and we were happy to arrive at our destination early in the evening.
Tonight we had NY pizza and a dance. Now I am on the first shift of the night watch with Becky. Why this calling calls for such a sacrifice of sleep I do not know. 
The college we are staying at is right on one of the finger lakes. The water is so clear you can see the bottom and the rocks sparkled in the sunlight.  I'm looking forward to some great days here with some awesome youth and tremendous leaders. Happy times!

Monday, July 22, 2013


Today held: many friends to play with the children, much youth conf prep., some llama llama reading with my grand girls, yummy dessert for FHE, Shrek on TV and  a trip to the orthodontist.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Family worship

A favorite time of mine is Sunday church. Today we went up to Anacostia since I had a talk to give. It was a good Sunday.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Wholesome family recreation

Had a great morning out on the bay. The sailing was good! The
children sang and laughed! Rob caught a fish! Ziva didn't love it but she did okay. The only bad part was poor Bub got attacked by jellies- never fun.

Friday, July 19, 2013

River Concert Series

We met our friends at historic St Marys City for a wonderful night of Bach, Water music, Handel and other Baroque compositions. We had a picnic under the stars and visited with friends and listened.  The kids loved the science booth and each built several rockets, played with dry ice , watched a sound wave in a tube, and played with some robots. Nice night.

Thursday, July 18, 2013


Lots of beautiful butterflies and bees like our flowers!

Asked the children to clean

Faith in God stuff on ottoman, archery gear on table (soccer ball under table), legos on decorative tub, tea party on window sill, baseball gloves on kit on stairs, books stacked in every room, snorkel and sunscreen by doors..... Etc.

Yep, we're good:)


Oh what do you do in the summer time? We are at the part of the summer where we are being lazy. Of course there are chores to do. No one really wants to do them but we are doing our best. It's pretty hot outside which makes even walking the dogs a sweaty chore. Grace likes to do crafts. She's been doing some painting and some crocheting. We've been reading books out loud together. Ethan has been working on merit badges, playing video games, and throwing the baseball in the backyard. Hannah dresses up and walks around the house in silly costumes. We watch too much TV. Rob goes fishing most every day. I still have a list of productive things I want to accomplish this summer. Some are  getting done, some are not.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Weekend wrap, or chocolate waffles

Saturday we got the kids back. It's good to all be home together. Sunday was a very nice day. We went to church. We ate zucchini stuffed with hamburger and cornbread stuffing. In the evening our friends came over and we made chocolate waffles with ice cream, and played games.
Youth conference is coming together. Many many many hours have been spent trying to make sure that every detail is right, and that the youth will have a wonderful, testimony building, memorable experience. I'm excited to go and I just hope and pray that it will turn out the way we planned.... Or even better that the Lord will step in and make it the way he plans. I am so grateful for the knowledge that I have that the Lord knows each of us, is aware of us, and wants what's best for us. It makes me happy to know that when I serve in my calling or in my family that I am serving his children.
It provides a nice balance. When I watch the news there are so many tragedies, so many atrocities, so many scary things and it can become overwhelming except for the knowledge that we have that our Heavenly Father is in charge. And that the Savior is going to come and end all of that, and that He will reign personally upon the earth. I wish that day was now.
Until that day I guess I will continue to be sad when I hear of things that are awful, and I will continue to find joy in the things that are nice, and I will try to endure faithfully. 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

They're home!!

Today we drove to West Virginia to pick up the chili dishes! We met Nana and Abba halfway. They had an awesome time but we are happy that they are home!!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Vaca at Nanas

These two have been gone a long time. They are having fun. I miss them.


Tonight I had a youth conference planning meeting. When I got home at 11:15 PM I found dad and Grace cleaning fish. They had caught 12 or so. Since I did not have time to eat dinner I fried them up and they were the most delicious fish ever.
Today we also played with the gerbils that we are babysitting, went to Target, went visiting teaching, and did some laundry.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

more lazy days

Our summer, at least this week, has been a lazy one.  This morning Lu spent some time painting some ceramic horses.
 We made some bread and cleaned the car and walked the dogs and did some laundry. 
We spent the afternoon at the pool with friends.  It was a great afternoon swimming and getting a sunburn.
Tonight Lu went to Activity Days.  Last night Pumpkin Penny went to a baseball game, Uncle Ryan texted me this picture, so cute!!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


 46 days until the wedding.  Crazy!  Things are coming along, plans are being finalized.  Exciting!!
Meanwhile summer fun continues.  Today Arden came over, the girls bathed the dog, played with AG dolls and had a lemonade stand where they made some money!

Ethan and Hannah are still in Ohio.  It is very strange having them gone.  It's been too long. 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Traveling home

We are in Albany for the night. Upstate NY is beautiful I want to go up there with all the kids and spend a week! It's so gorgeous!

On our drive we face timed Penny! I could eat her up! 

We had a great visit. I was very sad to say goodbye. 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Montreal Day 3

Every day that we have been here Grandma has had a little surprise ready for Grace.  Today's surprise was a bottle of foamy soap.  She enjoyed showering with it this morning.
Our big activity for the day was to go to Cabane de Sucre, the sugar shack.  It was really cute.  They have a maple farm and harvest sap to make syrup with.  They do tours and serve a traditional Quebecois meal.  It was very interesting to learn about how they get the syrup and the food was plentiful and tasty.  There were two tour buses there as well as a couple of other families. It was a lot of fun getting to know some of the other guests.  One family that we talked to quite a lot was real friendly.  The dad is Irish, the mom Catalone and they live in Switzerland where the children attend an international school.    They had live music at the dinner and it was very good.  At one point he sang a German ballad and invited all the Germans in the room to sing the chorus, which they did with enthusiasm.  Grace got to participate in a multi- national spoon band :)
The big bottles on the table are maple syrup. Yum-yum!
On the way home we stopped at a very fun farmers market.  I wanted to get some syrup for our doggie sitters and we bought some delightful fruits and walked around looking at all the flowers and food.  So fun!

Later in the afternoon we left Grandma and Grace (G2) to play phase 10 and we walked the streets, looked at the shops, people watched, and bought pastries.
Me and Papa with the important job of picking dessert!
Cute fountain in a park around the corner from Mom and Dad's apartment.  I felt like I should be singing "how will she know you love her??"