11.28.2016

Pictures From Our Week

My Grandma


I've been thinking about a few of Grandma's traits or virtues that may not be mentioned otherwise:

1. Grandma was punctual always. Even unnervingly so. When I was in college I didn't have a car. I walked or rode my bike to work, except snow days, then Grandma drove me (often after she'd called to tell me she'd be picking me up).

I remember going to shovel snow at the MTC in the middle of the night and Grandma showing up in the car, fully dressed, not 5 minutes after hanging up (a time I had called her).

Once she drove me to my job in south Provo for several snowy days. Her car drove right up every time I walked out the door at the end of my shift.

2. Grandma was a great writer. Her punctuation and spelling were perfect (much better than mine), and the cards she wrote to my kids read exactly like a classic children's storybook.

3. Grandma had inherently good taste. Her decorating instincts were good. Her house was lovely, and she enjoyed looking her best. I remember friends in elementary school (at Grandparents Day) and up until my wedding reception telling me how cute my Grandma was. And she was.

One picture I wish I had, but don't, is the image of Grandma with her arm around her two sisters (Noreen and Alda) at Grandpa's burial. So sweet to see three sisters grown old and round, looking so much alike, and comforted in each other's presence.

Another picture I wish I had is one of Grandma laughing like a little girl. The most memorable one for me is the time I brought over a friend and Grandma took her on a tour of her newly remodeled house. I pointed something out to my friend (the purple beads Grandma had hung over her bathroom window) and my friend appropriately complimented them. Grandma turned to me with such a delightful laugh, so tickled and thrilled to have someone recognize something she'd worked hard on and thought was brilliant.

4. Grandma was quick and agile. In the temple you don't normally expect the 70-80 year old woman in the session to be the first one up and back down sitting, but Grandma was.

I also remember coming to visit with toddler Ruby, who could empty a house of its contents at lightning fast speed. She made a beeline for Grandma's kitchen cabinets, but Grandma lunged to a drawer and snapped rubber bands over the knobs, securing all her cabinet doors shut before Ruby could even open one. I was astonished.

I know Grandma has a Heavenly Father who loves her as His precious daughter. These words from the Book of Ruth come to mind:

"My daughter, shall I not seek rest for thee, that it may be well with thee?"
"The Lord recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust."
"Blessed be (s)he of the Lord, who hath not left off h(er) kindness to the living and to the dead."

There were times when I knew God was watching out for her because He guided me to help her in ways I could.

I know Grandma was incredibly lonely after Grandpa died. I believe the inspiration I received to start writing weekly emails was in response to my questions of how to help her when I lived so far away (and when I did visit, being so hindered by the needs of my young family). I'm happy that she loved them so much.

Below is a letter that presented itself to my mind one evening while I was in the shower. I had completely forgotten it was close to her birthday until I'd written the whole thing, then looked at the date. But Someone Else knew and knew that Grandma needed to be remembered, especially around her birthday.
Happy Birthday! 
I know it's a little early, but I've been thinking of you tonight, and wanted to let you know that you have been a fantastic grandma! I think you have fond memories of your own grandparents, and it was important to you to be a great grandparent too, and I want you to know that you succeeded! I have so many memories of you taking me places as a little kid, of foods that you made me, taking me on walks, looking at the stars, etc., etc. I loved that you told me stories of when you were little whenever I would sleep over, and it has helped me to remember to tell my kids stories about my past. 
If I think of every hard time in my life, I can remember you being there---one of the main people to support me: right before my mission, you went to the temple with me every week, and I would come home from class to find a soup or cookies waiting for me. On my mission, I could count on a letter from you EVERY week, which means SO much to a missionary. And when I first moved here, you gave me a couple of phone calls right when I needed it most. 
One thought that is very meaningful to me, is that I know that you didn't just love my Dad, and you didn't just love the grandkids in general, but I have always known that you have loved ME! Thank you, Grandma! I have an image of you jumping up to help me or get something for me the second I enter the room, and there are a lot of times in life, when that is exactly what a person needs. 
Thank you for being such a wonderful example of family history, temple work, service to others, and grandparenting. I hope that I can one day be half the Grandma you are! 
I love you, Grandma! I hope you have a great birthday week! 
Love, Chelsey

11.21.2016

Grandmas


We were able to make it down to see Grandma while she's feeling well. It was a good visit. I was a little nervous because I know how the kids can be in a small space, and even worse when there's been a time change recently, but they're either growing up or Konn had them wrapped around her finger with cookies and milk and other treasures.


I'm sure we tired Grandma out, but I don't think it was too bad. I know she was happy to see us and we were happy to see her.


Herbie and Moses had a super exciting pack meeting with a police officer. They made us proud by being the most excited to hold a gun and Ruby acting like she was a natural at sitting in the back of police cars.


Herbie's spelling bee strategy this year was to study the whole list the morning before the bee. He cried when he realized he'd forgotten to bring the list home. So he did some studying at recess. And I think he did just about as well as last year when we put much more effort into it.


Archie continues to be the pampered youngest brother. I was sitting next to him and Moses on the couch when I looked over to see Moses put his arm around Archie. Archie laid his head on Moses' shoulder and give him a big smile, which Moses rewarded with a kiss on his cheek.


On Saturday when I asked Penelope what the best thing of her day was, she immediately answered, "Oh, taking burrs off Archie." Archie had unknowingly walked through a giant patch of burrs and when he cried and wouldn't move any farther, Penelope dashed over and pulled them all off him, telling about a time the same thing had happened to her. I'm happy that the best thing of her day was helping him.


Since we started Moneypants, Linus has been carefully saving money towards a lego set. Last week he finally got to buy it. He was so excited, turned so disappointed, when we got home kind of late Saturday night and he only had time to snap a few together before it was time for scriptures and bed. He didn't even ask to play with them on Sunday, but on Monday morning he greeted me with, "I get to play with my legos today!"

Which he knew would not be in the morning (too many things to do to play). After school he raced home, threw open the door, and did not go for the lego set, but sat down and did his homework in lightning fast speed BEFORE putting his backpack away and FINALLY putting the set together. That kid definitely has a work before play ethic.


Ruby has added dusting to her Saturday chores, now that we've moved everything inside for the winter (although the weather has been great!), and she LOVES it. Something about taking each object down, wiping it off (handling it) and placing it back just so--I can tell she's giving it her best. It also reminds me that dusting used to be one of my favorite chores too. Not anymore, though :).


I forgot to mention last week that Mom came up for Grandparents Day. (I didn't have a picture to remind me.) She was only able to eat lunch with Ruby and Herbie, but it sure made their day.

Well, I think that's it. Hope your week was great!

11.14.2016

A Plastic Trophy!


Woo's looking for a little more excitement in his life. Or at least a change. He's looked at buying a new car, moving to a foreign country, buying Szechuan Chicken or Tikka Masala Lays, eating ice cream pretty much always and going out to eat.


We did the last one. Wing Wah on a time change week... what were thinking? Actually it wasn't too bad, but didn't scratch Woo's itch (nor did his fancy new phone that came in the mail).

He did get released as Elders Quorum President, so that's some change, at least. And he did win a plastic trophy (and $50) for his Innovation Week innovation at work. Our surveillance cameras now play music!! He put a little bit more effort into his presentation than normal, and I'm sure he was highly entertaining. One source claimed they saw someone choking, they were laughing so hard.

I did something I never thought I would ever do in my entire life. I went to a PTO meeting. I ended up getting more involved than I wanted and kind of wish I didn't have an assignment hanging over my head now, but I do. Shoot.

Here's Penelope with half her face numb after her trip to the dentist.


And Penelope and Archie playing around in Costco's food court while we get new tires. (Winter is coming!!)


And the kids did so well with their cardboard and paper fussball table, we let them buy a real(ish) one. Boy, do they love it!


Oh, Google Express offered a promotion with free delivery, so Woo signed us right up and bought a bunch of stuff from Costco. We didn't realize it'd be coming via UPS. Seems like kind of a waste, but we now know where to get a ton a boxes, if ever we need them (filled with a bunch more stuff...).


I had put zero thought and energy into the kids' parts for their Primary program today in church. So I had them memorize them this morning, which luckily they all did. Then we ran through the program a couple times for Family Home Evening (or Family Home Morning, in our case, with later church).


Ruby tries to be very serious for the Primary program. She would never crack a smile if Woo didn't pull faces at her. She furrows her brow while singing, but she has a nice voice and sings loud and clear. She carried the primary a few times when no one else knew the words (to the 3rd verse of Praise to the Man).


Herbie is also very serious. He furrows his brow even more than Ruby when he sings, but he also twitches his nose A LOT. It's very reminiscent of a rabbit. I think this might be a nervous habit for him.

Moses just sings sweetly. He got up and said his part (a shortened version of D&C 133:3) and ended with "D&C 1-3-3-3-3-3-3..."


Linus got mixed up a bit on his scripture (D&C 1:38) and had to have an adult prod him in the right direction. I thought he might give up on his second part and just have him feed him the words, but he didn't. He marched right up to the microphone and hurried and said it before anyone had the chance.


Penelope and Archie did some nice singing and face pulling.
Archie: Mom, what's going to happen on the last day? 
Me: What do you mean "last day?" Before Jesus comes again? Before the end of the world? 
Archie: I mean the last, last day. 
Me: Hmmm ... (figuring this might work for anything he's asking) You'll be resurrected. 
Archie (nodding and satisfied): Okay. 
Penelope: Archie! What does resurrection mean? Do you even know? 
Archie: Yes. 
Penelope: What? 
Archie: To fix. 
Penelope: No. 
Archie: Dead.
And then I unfortunately didn't hear if Penelope had a good definition.

Kids are still doing awesome with their chores. I have a picture of Moses vacuuming in his underwear, but decided against sending it. So, that's it. Hope your week was great! Glad to hear Grandma's moving around a bit.

11.07.2016

November


Last November was awesome for me, in large part, I feel because we fasted for me at the first of the month. So of course I wanted to do it again, but when I mentioned it to Woo, he thought we should fast for me in October, and now I'm glad we did because a much more important fast came up for November. Our thoughts and prayers are with you, Grandma (and Bruce)!

Halloween was a fun day. The most fun Halloween I've had in six years. I think because I was not tired and also because I was free from two sins that have plagued me my whole life and have affected my relationship with almost everyone I don't know well. This was the biggest blessing I saw from our fast for me--opening my eyes by giving them a name ("vanity of heart" and "seeking to excel") and then washing them completely away within a week. Luckily, this was not one of those things to be "overcome in patience," but came soon and completely. I knew it had been done while I was in the temple doing iniatories, and I knew it was through the grace and atonement of Jesus Christ. Anyway, sorry everyone for how I've behaved in the past :).

We went to the Halloween parade and helped with Penelope's class party, then trick-or-treating in the evening. But the aftermath to that was chaos, and too much candy none of us should be eating. Woo actually threw everything left away, then vowed we'd never go trick-or-treating again. Which is fine with me. (The whole thing reminded me a lot of Dad and how much he hated Halloween). Anyone know any good alternatives to trick-or-treating?

Woo and I voted this week. I don't know if it's supposed to be a secret, but we both voted for Evan McMullin. We did not vote for the same governor. Woo voted for someone who "needs" his vote. It was an act of charity, I guess.

And I had a few days of confusion and feeling lost. Now that the kids are doing all the housework, I have a new large chunk of time that I wasn't quite sure I was using wisely. But after some planning, praying, etc. I think I have it figured out.

Now on to the kids...


We have a Halloween house in our town that is legendary. You can hear the recorded howls and shrieks from a mile away and it's decorated to perfection, in a spooky, creepy way. And there are always people hiding or staring at you blankly to scare you when the moment is right.
Ruby (on our way there next): Their house isn't even scary. 
Woo: That's because you've always gone with little kids. They tone it down for the little kids. Go by yourself and see if it's scary. 
Ruby: Ok! Do you want to go with me, Moses?
They ran ahead, then walked, then stopped and hid in a nearby pavilion.
Woo (when we caught them): Go on! Go ahead! 
Ruby: Well, Moses was scared and didn't want to go anymore... 
Woo: Then go by yourself! 
Ruby: Nah...
(For the record, I wouldn't go to their doorstep alone either, and I like the people that live there.)


Herbie had a trade day in school and came home with this homemade foosball game. It's been the bane of my existence ever since. The kids love it to the extent of ignoring any and everything else, and there's always so much yelling and arguing and cheering. Woo loves it for the ingenuity some kid showed in building it, but we make the kids play with it outside.


I didn't write earlier that at Moses' Parent Teacher conference his teacher was very emotional and thanked him for always giving her his best work, listening attentively, being kind, happy and smiling and told him that she really appreciated those times when she could look up and see Moses looking at her with "that look" on his face. (I guess she has a rough class this year... ) Then I was able to share with her that in Moses' back to school blessing it said that as he read the Book of Mormon in the morning, he would go to school with a light and peace in his face that others would be able to see. She said, "That's it! Keep reading the Book of Mormon, Moses! I need that!"


Linus, as a careful worker with attention for detail, has nearly perfect handwriting. He is always getting papers back with "Beautiful work, Linus!" written across the top. He's recently started to label all his work with a perfect cursive "linus" (guess no one's taught him a capital L yet), and on Friday he came home with a pretty entertaining pen (I know, impossible to imagine) as a reward for neat handwriting.


Penelope marched in her first Halloween parade this year and she behaved exactly like you're "supposed" to behave in a parade (but so few kids actually do). She entered the gym, immediately faced the crowd and started smiling and waving, and she kept that up down one side and up the other.


You may remember Archie's list for Christmas last year: an Apple watch, a phone, a computer, etc. Well, his birthday request this year have gotten even bigger and more grandiose.
Archie: Mom, for my birthday I want a football field. A HUGE one! And a football team. With REAL players! 
Me: Okay... 
Archie: And I want a race car. A REAL one!
And that's the end.
Love,
Chelsey

Testimony Below:

In 2008 the church came out with a new nursery manual and we bought it, thinking it would help us with family home evenings for our then 3, 2 and 0 year old.

Steven taught the first lesson: I'm a Child of God. We were kind of surprised to find ourselves sitting in a really great family home evening. The kids were all listening and participating and we could feel the Holy Ghost.

The best part came at the end, when Steven bore his testimony that he knew he was a child of God and that each of the kids were children of God too. I think this might have been the first time either of us had ever bore testimony to our children (or at least we didn't do it very often) and Ruby reacted by laughing and jumping on her dad for a hug.

This and a few other experiences around the same time were a message to me of how important it is for me to not only teach, but to open my mouth and bear witness of what I know. Because when I do the Holy Ghost can testify that what I've said is true. And the Holy Ghost is the only one who ever really changes hearts or convinces anyone.

I know that Jesus Christ lives. I know he is direting this church through his servants, beginning with the prophet Joseph Smith. I know the Book of Mormon is a gift from our Heavenly Father to help us be happy, every day and over time. And I know that when I feel the Holy Ghost it is testifying to me if truth. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.