Sunday, August 31, 2014

With All Our Love

Dear Boys,

Another week is in the books – what would your book be called? We purchased a stud finder. It’s the boys’ most favorite toy this week! They all ask to have turns using it. I’ve put Cooper to work finding studs for the heavier items we’ve had to hang, and he loves to use his drill to finish the job. And I want you to know I did not need that tool to find your father ;-) Porter wants you to know when he puts the stud finder on himself, it lights up. Definitely stud material ;-)

Hunter, I want you to know I did try to go out and mow the remaining backyard. It’s pretty easy on the hill because it’s more rocky than grassy, but where the sprinklers are, the long grass was a killer. I happened to pick the same day that the empty lot was being mowed by the development association, and he kept turning off his mower to let me know I shouldn’t be doing that, or that I should use a tractor, or that I should let someone else finish…finally he offered to finish it for $20. Sold! It will be easier to use the mower now that it’s not a jungle back there!

Speaking of the yard, you know how much I love trees! It’s that New England gene. I love trees in the spring when they’re in bloom. I love them in the summer when they’re lush and green. I especially love them in the fall when their changing environment changes them. Knowing Texas can be scarce of trees, imagine my delight when I found out my new property has four! Four big, beautiful-in-a-Texas-kind-of-way Oak trees. Upon inspection of the only tree in the backyard, I saw that there was an old, big, ugly vine of some sort crawling up the tree, intertwined and twisted along the trunk and all along the limbs and smaller branches. I noticed that out on the farther most branches that there were parts of the tree that were beginning to perish because of the vine. I had Cooper use his machete and cut the vine at the large base close to the ground and planned to go back later and work on the tree. Here we are one week later and I stopped to look. I was slightly amazed to see that most of the vines had turned brown and the leaves dry and brittle. Having cut off the main base of the vine had cut off the source of the tree’s problem. Yeah! This led me to reflect on the strangleholds that might be slowly choking us. As a mother of six boys pornography is always a concern. Just as the vine stopped growing and began dying, so too can severing a connection to pornography. There will always be lingering consequences but putting on your work gloves and stripping away old vines will eventually get to the root of the problem. What of not paying a full tithe? Or not going to seminary? Or not reading scriptures? Just begin. Or stop, and the results will begin. There’s my motherly thought for the week. Ponder on some of those “vines” hanging around your tree, and deal with them now rather than later.

Want to smile? Cooper had three elective classes he had to sign up for, except he wasn’t with us when we registered him. Our choices were Spanish, Art, Robotics/Engineering, Athletics, and Band. And you had to rank your picks. We chose Athletics, Robotics and Band. He would have preferred art to athletics, but he wasn’t there, so sad, bad Dad. In athletics you have to play two sports for the school, out of the three seasons of football, basketball and track. If you’re not playing a sport, you spend the class doing conditioning. So every day this week he’s come home from school SO sore! He can barely walk. He gets off the bus looking like an old man, shuffling down the bus steps. If he sits down in the house, he does NOT want to get up for anything. We’re laughing at him behind his back, and say to each other, “This is good.” He enjoys his math teacher. The first day of school the teacher had problems for all the students to solve, and when you found your answer on one of the desks, that became your assigned seat. Apparently Cooper was the only one who was able to solve the problem and find a seat. He also said most of the boys’ names are Antonio ;-)

On the first day of school Porter didn’t have to go to school until 2 p.m. because they never got him into the system. On the second day of school he never came home. He was supposed to have taken the bus, as Tuesdays are Dad’s late night class. By 5:30 p.m. I was slightly worried. There is a family in our cul-de-sac who goes to the same church as us who was able to drive to the high school and find out he had stayed after school for basketball. Not having a phone or car is difficult. I grew up with neither, but can’t remember how I survived. Porter also has AP English, Physics, Chemistry, Spanish and Calculus, as well as a study period. In athletics he’s working on conditioning for basketball, and stays after school for an hour or two to play in “open gym” as well. The first day after school, the coach called out three or four names of boys that were new to the school that year. He asked them all for their name, and Porter answered with his first name only. The coach said, “I’m looking for the boy with an eastern European name.” Is it Schenewark? Apparently the coach had received an email from the front office telling him that a new boy on the basketball team was ranked first in his class academically. How exciting for Porter! All those hard classes last year at Fairland paid off when he transferred here. There are about 1300 students in three grades, so that’s a BIG deal!

Sawyer and Miller are excited to be able to go to school together. Their classrooms are actually three doors away from each other so Miller gets a daily escort. He also has a bus buddy on the way home. Dad takes three boys to school on the way to work, and Porter is picked up for seminary by our neighbor. Did we tell you seminary begins at 7 a.m.? How outlandish is that? The dynamic duo have made friends with two brothers on the street, and spent at least two hours Friday evening playing outside together.

Dad loves his new job. He has co-workers who are very excited to have him on board, and in charge of their coaching education program. He was excited to see they made him a name plate for his office. The little things in life bring us such joy ;-) I took Breyer, packed lunches, and spent the day there Friday helping to get his office in functioning condition. We took out all the old furniture, with the help of student interns, went to a warehouse to find new furniture, and had the students deliver it in their truck. While he was in a meeting I unloaded all his books and binders. He’ll be able to purchase a new chair and a power strip, and he’ll be good to go! I’ll go back again later, and decorate with his diplomas and pictures.

Breyer and I spent the week unpacking boxes. Our whole kitchen was full of empties that went out to the trash on Friday. And no “tip” was necessary to have them all taken like last week! We’ve been told closing date is this Thursday. Prayers would be appreciated! Breyer spends the days playing with toys that have been boxed up. We turned her bed into a princess haven. She loves her pink curtain, fancy night light, and pink art. Lately, when she prays, the first thing she always says is, “Heavenly Father, we welcome you.” The boys love listening to her sweet prayers (me too!)

Monday for family home evening we went to the city splash park at the lake beach. Cute pictures are forthcoming! They all wanted to stay longer, but it was a school night! Tuesday is church night, and our neighbor picked up the older boys to play basketball.

Dad and I spent Friday night working on the house. We borrowed a ladder to hang the elk (done), and chose to also clean the vents in the high ceilings. We found out the size of air filters we would need, and vacuumed them off until we have replacements. We also stuffed steel wool into the weep holes all around the house. One of THOSE date nights ;-)

We’re still reading scriptures outside under the stars. It’s a glorious tradition. Nothing like lying on the warm concrete at the end of the day, with a gentle breeze, listening to Dad read. I thought about why we weren’t into the stars so much in West Virginia, and remembered how cloudy it was all the time. Tonight we pulled out the binoculars and laser pointer just for fun. Neither worked very well but we’re thinking. Hope your thinker is working better than ours ;-)

Love you lots!


P.S. I’ll be mailing you your individual shot records, can record those mission shots and TB results ;-)

P.P.S. I have a few pieces of laundry that you left behind that will be coming as well.

P.P.P.S. You MUST let me know this week when I can fly you home on the week before Thanksgiving: At the end of the week, or following Monday? Christmas, around Thursday the 18th to the 4th?

P.P.P.P.S. I hope to have a phone/internet Tuesday morning!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Garden Discoveries

Coming back to Brigham St. is like entering the Garden of Eden!

Sawyer picking yellow and green beans!

Miller's "weird" bug!

Breyer's princess flowers!

Breyer's bucket for black berries!

Cooper getting to drive a tractor!

Cooper cool enough to give rides ;-)

Hunter and Tanner helping to split wood - the only reason to have a gym membership!

Jarrod "communing"!

Lovely winter squash plants!

A 4" creepy crawly inside a split piece of wood!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Hiking the "Y"

Dear Boys,

Thank you so much for these photos! It was so nice to see a part of your adventures in color! Still no phone and no internet except at McDonalds at night. We're working on it! Dad's swamped, and will hopefully have time tomorrow to use his phone at work to get everything set up.

So glad you hiked the Y! It's spectacular!



P.S. I like your new nicknames - Maverick and Goose ;-)

BYU Bloggers : )

This is mischievieous. My name is Tanner, oldest of the the boys, and until recently, on a mission in the Brasilian hinterlands. This is mischevious because it's a secret (but happy) post on my mom's blog. Hope she doesn't mind the foray.

Here's Hunter and I in his preferred state of Kansas on our way to BYU. Kansas looks exactly like this everywhere!

We also passed some Wyoming buttes, such as this one. This looks serene but about five minutes later we hit the hailstorm of my life. Marble sized hail pelted our car going 70 mph. In 30 seconds we had a 3 inch layer of ice on the road, 0 visibility and fear in our hearts. No broken windshields, instead the storm broke as quickly as it had come.

We're now at home, Apt. #103, the Riv. Come on up, we'd love to have you!

Monday, August 25, 2014

With All Our Love

Top Ten Reasons Why Leaving Ohio is Hard:

1. Mrs. Flynn – Such a great kindergartner teacher! Sawyer still gets post cards from her five years later!

2. Mrs. Wheeler – She taught and worked with Sawyer so that he could speak and be understood. We needed to be in Proctorville and have her intervention and then friendship

3. Proctorville schools – The boys excelled there because of the terrific teachers and administrators, and the kids all became such good friends with the boys

4. Coaches for baseball, basketball, soccer – So many men volunteered their time away from their families to work with my boys, and made sports such a fun and positive experience!

5. Dragon spirit – It was great to have one mascot for the entire area. Everyone cheers everyone on!

6. Generous residents and friends – Their willingness to share with us their clothes, shoes, futons, chairs, time, love, roller blades, bikes, etc.!

7. It’s not HOT! There are four seasons, and beautiful green trees and grass

8. Neighbors and friends – We had the best ever, and our hearts are broken having to leave

9. Leaving Marshall – The “We Are Marshall” spirit is indomitable, and the community bound together by their unique circumstances.

10. Breyer – This is where she was born!

Dear Tanner and Hunter,

Here we are again, another Sunday letter! It’s a great tradition! We’re hoping your travels to Fort Collins today worked out well. I know your Uncle Zach is excited you’re coming. And just think, tomorrow you’ll be in the Rocky Mountains. BYU has such a great location! Utah is just beautiful. Tanner, you’ll have to fill us in on all of Hunter’s awe-struck moments.

I’ve been thinking of some of the events of the past few weeks. Moving from Ohio, with a vacation in New England in the middle, to Texas in and of itself will be exciting, but throw in some of the events of the past few weeks and it’s nothing but momentous.

Top Ten Not So Favorite Moving Moments:

1. Returning to Ohio and finding out the mechanic decided not to work on your VW

2. Adding another $500 to the rental truck agreement to tow the VW on a dolly

3. Finding out that towing a car maximizes the moving truck speed, on an uphill grade, to 39 MPH

4. Taking three days instead of two to get to Texas

5. Not having time to see family along the way

6. Arriving in Texas to find out your house is not in move-in condition, including the surprise in the toilet

7. Finding someone to take the mountain of trash you spent two days collecting

8. Breaking the tow dolly getting it off the truck

9. Finding out your VW you spent money on to fix and tow, cannot be fixed

10. Finding out the refrigerator fits in the fridge spot, but not around the counters or through the doors to get to the fridge spot

Top Ten Favorite Moving Moments:

1. Having help that ensured everything fit in one moving truck

2. Not knowing that Hunter was going to drive the van the entire three days

3. Finding out the dolly repairman wants to buy your broken car for $100

4. Finding out the VW repairman wants to buy your broken car for $300

5. Being invited to a great BBQ when there was no food in the house

6. Having family come and help you put all the beds together

7. Having family and new church friends lift your fridge over the counter to fit into the fridge spot

8. Finding the trash man will take your mountain of trash for a small courtesy tip and a little bit of help

9. Paying less than half of the negotiated lease because the house was not in move-in condition

10. Finding out that your husband did a really good job picking out a house, and then watching the kids go through their new house for the first time

We could not have done anything as well or if not at all without the help we received from both of you. We’re grateful you’re both such hard workers, through less than desirable circumstances, who didn’t stop until they were told to stop.

We’re grateful you could attend the BBQ with us, and missed you today in church. We actually couldn’t find the church initially, and arrived a little late. There were about 160 people in attendance. The Bishop told us that two wards had recently been combined, as attendance was dropping, but recently there have been a LOT of move-ins. Just this month alone, three professors have been hired by Tarleton. Usually new move-ins are there to work at the nuclear power plant. Your father has really enjoyed the Bishop. Their surfing, California, Long Beach/Downey connections are fun. They both played football as well, and love scouting. We met with him for thirty minutes or so today. Your siblings did well in their classes. Porter is enjoying the 2:1 ratio of girls to boys. Cooper is one of two teachers, Porter is one of two priests, and Sawyer will make a trio of deacons. There is work to be done! There are 42 eligible for seminary, and only 20 registered.

We wish you well in moving into your new apartment. May your living conditions be wonderful, your roommates even better, and your adventures together spectacular. We look forward to receiving a few notes and pictures along the way, and will let you know when our phone is connected. Until then, be careful, choose wisely, and remember who you are.



P.S. Don't forget your job appointment Wednesday at 1:30 p.m., room 2103, north entrance MC
P.P.S. Hunter, you left your three colored suit coats, do you want to pick them up in November?

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Forever Family!



The boys are off to BYU!...

With a little help from our North Carolina via West Virginia friends!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Arrival Surprises!

(And one in the bathroom we won't share!)

Monday, August 18, 2014