Hello Dearest Son,
It's my favorite time of the week, when I can sit for a few minutes and reflect on you, your service, and the blessings you provide our family. Not that I don't think of you everyday, all day long, but that I can in some way provide you with an email that uplifts, informs, and sustains you until next week. It's a wonderful process, picking and choosing tidbits of life to share with you, and an even greater gift when your letter arrives Monday mornings.
1. Do you want me to mail the box on my counter, or wait until transfers? 2. Did you get Janel's box? 3. Did you get our Christmas card? 4. Did you get our box? Asking all these questions about your mail makes me remember your comment at Christmas, when you said that the mission secretary had told you that you get the most mail in the mission. Yeah! The Israelsens loved the letter they got from you last week. She didn't have it with her, but she said her kids thought it was hysterical. Their favorite part was when you told them how loud and obnoxious the parrots are, and that their squawking is in Portuguese. I guess I never thought about that before, but thinking of parrots mimicking what they hear, I guess they would mimic in Portuguese!
Your letter was received last week, and read today in church. Thank you for thinking of the ward. You'll have to work on your handwriting. Eric had a hard time, under pressure, deciphering on the spot. But your message was very clear. What are we doing to do to help others receive the message of the gospel?
This week is one for the record books. Sawyer was invited to be on the 3rd grade all-star basketball team. The fact that he's still thinking about his decision is a good thing. Porter got to play a couple of quarters in the home j.v. game, and racked up the rebounds. Breyer is still running to get to nursery. Must be a girl thing, as not one of my boys EVER did anything but have his feet dragged.
Miller finished his basketball season playing the ENTIRE game! He has sat two quarters every week, but for some reason his value was finally noticed.
Cooper spotted a contest in the Lego magazine, and made a killer car to enter. It's not even mid-January and Hunter's spent half his week at the driving range. Dad's tenure portfolio is finished.
He's worked long hours this week putting together proof of every requirement necessary to achieve the rank of excellent in his pursuit of promotion and tenure to assistant professor. It will be give to his department chair, then the dean of the college, then the tenure committee, then the provost and university president. So his large binder has a bit of a journey to make. I think one of his notable accomplishments includes providing for his large family of 8, and choosing to spend time with us rather than fill up his binder with more work.
Tuesday for cub scouts we had one of the boy's grandfather bring his tools to show the boys what they do, saws to cut wood, hammers to hammer nails, and TWO demo sink pips to teach them how to check the trap for clogs and tighten the pipes for leaks. It was a winner activity. I think the fathers all learned something new, and the boys were kept very busy. Perfect!
Wednesday Dad had determined that he would do the scout activity, so your brothers could have a productive evening at mutual. I spent the morning calling meat markets, fish stores, and grocery stores trying to find a whole fish so he could show the boys how to fillet the fish. We also gathered fishing poles so they could do a casting game in the gym. But when he went to pick up the fish, the butcher had already taken the guts out, and the head off, so he was a little dejected. We'll try again next week. So he and Cooper cooked it up tonight in a little cornmeal, and enjoyed a little trout together.
Friday evening Dad and I went on a date. Sawyer, Miller and Cooper were at basketball practice, Porter on the bus to his game, and Hunter watched Breyer. We got some burgers at Outback, with the gift card we received at Christmas. We met up with the boys right when they finished practice, and took everybody over to Immogene's house. She wanted us to come back and watch Jeopardy with her, so we've made it our new Friday evening tradition. When we arrived, she had hot cocoa in cups, plates of cookies, and bowls of ice cream. It was a good thing we arrived on time! The boys were very polite, ate with manners, and watched Jeopardy. For a few minutes. Sugar started coarsing through Miller and Breyer, and the running began. We literally had to run out of there, with the agreement that next week we'd try popcorn. She's crazy for wanting us all over there, but it's good for both of us to be together. She misses her husband, and he loved Jeopardy.
Saturday we had to clean the church again. This time we had Dad, so I could hide even longer in the family history center ;-) We've had a nice tradition going now, two weeks, where we bribe them with doughnuts on the way home from cleaning. Last week we were treated like royalty at our only doughnut place, Pirate Doughnuts. She gave each boy their own bag instead of the box that holds the whole dozen. When one boy picked holes, and asked how many he'd get, she doubled what she had told him. Their dozen is 13, so Hunter got an apple fritter as the 13th doughnut, which did not qualify in the right place range. All-in-all, every boy left with a smile on their face, their bellies full, and the desire to clean the church again. Yes! So yesterday we introduced Dad to the doughnut lady, and she did us right again. She doubled the hole quota, gave them their own bags, gave Hunter the fritter, and made Dad smile. We'll be back.
Saturday was also the yearly Optimist pancake fundraiser breakfast at Applebees. We posted it on our Facebook accounts, and had twenty people come because of that. Sawyer had pre-sold eight. I don't think too many more people came after that. But. Optimists are always a good crowd to hang out with, especially at 8 in the morning, and the boys did enjoy their all-you-can-eat breakfast. And yes, this was before the doughnut run ;-)
I was signing up on the missionary meal calendar today, and one elder was peeking at the schedule. He saw how full it was and said, "It's going to be such a great week!" All boys love to eat, not just my own ;-)
One of the highlights of our week was today in meeting Eduardo. He's on an exchange from his university in Brazil to Marshall for one semester, with five other piano concert majors. Three went to Moorehead University, and three came to Marshall. He is a sweet, return missionary, who speaks English very well because of his video games before his mission. He spent a crazy afternoon here being drilled by everybody, playing Legos, playing games, and showing and taking pictures. It was a wonderful way to spend Sunday, learning more about where you are and what it's really like. Hopefully he'll come back!
We love you. We always say that at the end, and sometimes at the beginning but it is true. We miss you and your ability to make us smile and laugh, your accents, your singing, your ability to EAT, we miss you. But we wouldn't have you any other place doing any other thing. You're exactly where you should be, and we know it. So, drink lots of water, wear your sunburn, answer my questions before you forget, be.careful. Love, Mom and Dad
P.S. In seminary we read about the stoning of Stephen this week. What an amazing man, equivalent to one of the presidency of the seventy today. We aren't asked to make that kind of sacrifice today, but we do need to remember men like him who gave all that they had for the Savior. What a great example.