Superpaige's Pad

The Trials of a Busy Mom

Category: missionary work (page 1 of 2)

Wonderful Surprises

This week we had a chance to feed the missionaries in our area. Since we are in Utah and one set of missionaries is responsible for 2 stakes, they aren’t at church with us very often. And we don’t get the opportunity to feed them more than 2-3 times a year, so when it’s our week, we try to volunteer.

As we were getting food ready, the kids were all enlisted to help, since the missionaries only have an hour to eat, usually between 5 and 6 pm so they can get to their evening appointments. Kate, our exchange student from Russia, said, “How do we even know the missionaries, anyway?” So we explained how these missionaries don’t get to choose where they are sent, but they turn in their papers and then go where they are assigned.
“Maybe there’s a missionary from Russia!” she said.
I hated to dampen her enthusiasm, but I told her that there were probably not missionaries from Russia coming to Utah. There probably aren’t that many LDS members in Russia, and out of those members, therefore not a huge amount of missionaries, and why would they send a Russian missionary to UTAH, of all places?

So, we finished our meal prep, making waffles, scrambling eggs, and cooking bacon.

At 5:00, the Elders arrived. Right on time, what a surprise! We answered the door and welcomed them in. As they were taking off their coats, we asked, “Where are you from, Elders,” Elder Kentish is from Nashville, and Elder Fairbanks said, “I’m from Russia.”

NO WAY!! Kate’s face (all our faces, really) had the expression of total shock.
“You aren’t really, are you?” I said.
“Well, I was born in Russia,” he said, “I was adopted by an American family when I was 4.” But he could still speak Russian, and Kate was completely floored when he asked her how she was doing in Russian. As we asked more questions, we discovered that his parents had adopted 12 children, and he and two siblings were from the same orphanage in Russia. When we asked where in Russia he was from (Russia is such an amazingly huge country) he said Vladivostock. That could NOT possibly be true. Kate and I both let out little screams of shock. That’s where SHE is from! That’s not exactly her town, but that is the closest big city to where she lives. That’s also not exactly his town, but that is the city closest to where he is from that people might recognize. Kind of like saying that we are from Salt Lake City, even though we don’t live in Salt Lake City, but to people who are not from Utah, it’s close enough.

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What an amazing experience! We felt like we had an instant connection to this Elder. I even felt a little bit bad because we were asking him so many questions, so we had to ask equal questions of his companion.

I know this was not a coincidence. Our ward mission leader hosted these same Elders earlier in the week, and knew we had a Russian exchange student. He even mentioned it to these Elders, so they came knowing that much about our family. But for us, it was such a blessing. For Kate to meet someone from her part of the world, so far away from home, was amazing. She got to speak Russian and learn that the there are even Mormons in Russia.

The Lord knows us. He watches out for us, whether we are members of this church or not. He loves us.
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Endings and beginnings

It’s the last week of school for folks in these parts. It’s been full of LASTS. Concerts, parties, yearbooks, autographs and school.

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We don’t have anyone graduating this year, but our neighbors do. Can you tell what these balloons spell out?

My sister-in-law, Julene and I went to John’s class at school today to make balloon animals for part of their party.
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His teacher thanked us profusely, but I wonder if the balloon noise just added to the chaos. Oh, well. The kids liked them.

In addition to lasts, we’ve had new beginnings. Cole spend almost all day on Monday playing with (or maybe the better word is configuring) his new phone (my old phone). He’s also been working on his old laptop (the one that Megan’s been using for the past two years). But yesterday, he heard back from his former boss at his BYU job, who asked him to come in today and start working! Woo Hoo! Such a relief to have him have a JOB! Not only does he desperately need money, but he needs something to DO. It sounds like they will allow him to work up to 40 hours a week, which would be wonderful. Crossing my fingers that it will work out that way.

Megan has also been working at Wendy’s since she came back from school. Since she’s available and willing to work, they’ve put her on nights, which means she goes in at 5 and is done at about 1. Last pay period she even picked up someone’s shift so she got overtime. Overtime makes this girl super happy.
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When things get busy and we have more things going on, I hope it’s not too hard for her to trade shifts so that she can have the evening off to do things with us (family pictures coming up, for example).

Natalie has also applied at a couple (and I use that term liberally) places, but today when I nagged her about that it was time to find a job, she complained bitterly. Does she not understand that the nagging with stop when she finds a job? Silly girl. She acts like she’s too good to work fast food. Hmm. I guess she’ll just have to do more jobs around the house for me.

Since we have two more drivers home and no more cars (nobody seems to want to drive the suburban), we’ve been looking for another car. We found one this week and I bought it yesterday.
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If you think that looks somewhat like a police car, you would be correct.
It’s a 2003 Crown Victoria, used by the forest service, not a patrol car, so it’s not quite as beat up as it could have been. It looks ok from the side, but if you look up top you’ll see much more paint damage.
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The kids don’t seem to mind, and the price was in our range, so we bought it. Plus, we know the guy who sold it to us, and I don’t think he would sell us a lemon on purpose. This car has a lot of power and will hopefully run for a long time.

And on a completely unrelated topic, since Natalie was home today, I asked her to use the rhubarb we had picked yesterday to make something. I made rhubarb muffins yesterday, so she decided she wanted to make a pie. Not bad looking for her first pie, right?

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So, happy summer. Enjoy the long days, the kids at home, the messes. I know I will.

He’s home!

Friday was THE day. I had so much to do in anticipation of our celebration weekend, but I didn’t really want to do it. But by Friday, there was no resting. At 1:00, I took Megan with me and we went to John’s school to decorate a few faces john face
for the school dance festival. John’s grade was doing the Haka, and so, eyeliners in hand, we helped to make them look a bit more scary.dance fest
It’s been such a rainy month, and it threatened to rain the whole time, but thankfully it did not. We enjoyed all the dances, but especially the cute life skills class doing the Makarana.

After the festival, we brought John home, and got a few things ready before we left for the airport.
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I hung my banner, which I just love. It wasn’t too hard to make, and I thought it was so cute. (I love how the cat posed right by the door in my picture).

We grabbed some balloons, and headed up to the airport. In reality, we should have left a bit earlier, since the traffic was kind of heavy, but we did fine.

We set a family goal to finish the Book of Mormon before Cole came home. As we were in Alma at the time we set that goal, we thought that was totally doable. Well, procrastinators that we are, as we got in the car to go get him, we still had the entire book of Moroni to read. But Moroni has a bunch of small chapters, so we thought we could do it. I started the audio on my phone and we listened the whole drive. Chapters 1-5 went quickly, but then we got to 7 which is long, and I began to worry that we might have to be reading in a corner of the airport. I know you can make Bruce Lindsay read faster, but I didn’t want to take the time to fiddle with the app and figure that out. As we were pulling into the parking garage, we were on chapter 10. So close! We finished the book AS WE were pulling into the parking spot. Not kidding.

We grabbed out sign and hurried in. We could have taken our time, but it was the only a couple of minutes before the scheduled arrival time. We stood around for about a half an hour.

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We stood with our sign, me talking to my parents and chit chatting a bit with the other missionaries’ families. All excited. Counting the minutes. The energy at the airport on when waiting for a missionary is electric! So many families. So much love.
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There were actually only 5 missionaries on this flight, but the waiting area was pretty full.
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Finally we spotted him!
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One mom to the right RAN ahead screaming to grab her son, but the rest of us were a bit more composed.
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I got to grab him and hug him. It felt so great. I think I exhaled some tension I didn’t know I had been carrying for the past two years. Just a tiny bit of worry that I had held on to while my boy was away. I don’t have a picture of me hugging him (I think my dad has that one), but we all got our hugs in.
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And we got a picture of us all at the airport.

Afterwards, we all went to crown burger for some dinner. Fancy? Not so much. Convenient? Yes. Fun? Of course. DSCN1217

Saturday we all went to the Stake President’s office at noon for a great talk and some wonderful advice, and then he had him take off his name tag. That’s a hard thing to give up the protection and honor of wearing that badge. He let me have one of them to keep on the fridge.
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We had to much work to do Saturday that it was busy, busy. We even took Cole to a wedding reception of a ward member that night, and he got lots of hugs from non family members.

Sunday was a wonderful day. He gave a great talk, Natalie played a wonderful piano solo, and the weather held. We were able to have our gathering outside, just as I had wanted.
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Even though it was cloudy and a bit cold when we started, we just went for it. I said to the group of at least 50 people (didn’t count), if it rains, we can go inside.
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But only a couple people went inside. After about 20 minutes, it warmed up, the sun came out, and it was wonderful! I loved having so many cousins, aunts and uncles, and my sisters and parents there. There was plenty of food, so many hugs, and we had a great time. The chickens, who had been locked up the whole day, were anxious to get out, and we did get a couple of them out to let the little kids pet them.

I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day with family.

We are so happy to have him home, but I’m a tiny bit sad to have the missionary experience over. I know it sounds strange, but I really did enjoy having a missionary out. I hope I’ll get the experience again in a few years.

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My missionary Christmas disaster story

When I was a missionary in Germany for my first Christmas, I had only been in the country about a month, and I was trying to be the best missionary I could be. I decided that calling home on Christmas might make me too homesick, so I wrote to my parents and told them my decision to not call home for Christmas. Selfish, stupid girl.

That Christmas was the worst Christmas of my life. Not only was I far from home for the first time ever, but my companion and I were living in a small trailer parked at a member’s home. There had been such a large influx of missionaries all at once that they had trouble finding enough apartments, so this was the best they could do for a time.
(I’m glad I found this picture. In my memories, it was a silver trailer. Funny.)

It was cold and damp. We had to go inside the members’ house to use the bathroom and kitchen. We would cook our little rice and sauce and maybe corn and eat there in the kitchen when the family wasn’t using the kitchen, and then go back to the cold trailer. We tried to stay out of the way of the family.

Here I am in my area, trying to get warm by the “fire”. You can see my “dresser” or my blue suitcase in the background. We tried to make light of our situation. We were both new in the area, so neither of us knew anyone. My sweet companion, Sister Thunell, was great. When our situation looked bleak, she would say, “Things will be SO much better when we get an apartment and have a real area. It’s not always like this, I promise.”


(All six of the missionaries at the church)

I was excited to be in Germany for Christmas, so I tried to keep a good attitude.


On Christmas eve, which is the big holiday in Germany, we didn’t have any appointments. No one from the ward had invited us over for dinner, and the host family didn’t invite us to join them. We tracted and street contacted for as long as we could on Christmas eve, but when all the shops closed and the people went home, there was not much more we could do. We went to the bus stop to go home. Oh, busses don’t run on the regular schedule on Christmas eve. When we finally got home, we were tired and dejected. We went inside the house and cooked our little packaged meal, it was probably rice and Maagi sauce, and my companion asked if she could use the phone to call her family. I sat by as she talked to her family and tried not to cry. The family had all gathered in the living room and they did not invite us to join them. We walked by and said Merry Christmas to them and tried to stay out of their way.

They were not trying to be hurtful, but they did not want us there. They had offered to let the missionaries stay in their trailer, but had assumed that it would only be for a few weeks. They wanted their married daughter and son to be able to stay in the trailer for Christmas, and were therefore not pleased that we were still there. I was very sorry that I had told my parents I would not call. And I didn’t think I could just call them without having it arranged and having not bought a phone card or anything. Oh, I was so stupid.

Never once did I think how much that phone call meant to my mom. I was only thinking of myself at the time, trying to be a good missionary. And since our communication took about 10-12 days for a letter to get home, they didn’t have the time to dispute my decision. How stupid I was. Yes, I survived without that phone call home, but at what cost? My family didn’t get to hear from me, and I didn’t get the boost of calling and hearing that they loved me. Instead, I went back to that silly trailer and cried. As the mother of a missionary, I now realize how important that phone call is. We want to make sure our child is happy and healthy and being treated right for Christmas.

Back to the story in Germany, that night we had to call in to our District leader and check in, as we did each evening. I guess he asked how our Christmas Eve was and my companion told him it was pretty bleak. The next day, on Christmas day, I think we might have had a lunch appointment. When we saw the Elders they told us that they had had two appointments the night before and two for Christmas day. They were so stuffed and full, they could barely move. We felt very sorry for ourselves. I guess everyone in the ward had assumed we would be spending the holidays with the family where we were staying, and so they hadn’t bothered to invite us. Since we were new and didn’t know very many members, we didn’t invite ourselves anywhere.


(Christmas pageant at the church. I honestly do not remember this, but I have a picture, so I must have been there.)

In our letters to the president that week we probably both sounded pitiful. Christmas for us had not been a joyous experience. We celebrated our Saviour’s birth in private, with scripture reading and prayer. But a few days later, we got a call from the mission president. He said, “Sisters, pack your things. You’ll be staying with us in the mission home until we can get this sorted out.” We felt like we were being sent to the principal’s office. We had no idea what was going on, why we were being pulled out of the trailer. We did not know that the family had called the president in anger and asked why the sister missionaries were still there. No wonder we weren’t invited in to the family celebration. They wanted that space for their family.

I try to not harbor ill feelings toward that family. They tried to offer up a space for the missionaries, but it didn’t work for them. I don’t think they were trying to make us feel unwanted. But, no, we don’t send Christmas cards or keep in touch or anything.

For the next three weeks, the two of us lived in the president’s home. We still traveled to our area to try to do missionary work, but at the end of the day we would take the train back to Duessldorf to stay with the president and his family. Even though it was a bit awkward, we felt welcome there. We even were allowed to use the kitchen and bake.

Even when I nearly burned down the house, and at the very least, nearly burned my suitcase by setting it to close to the heater at night,

we still felt loved. We forged a special friendship with our mission president and his family, and got to experience living in the mission home, which not very many missionaries get to do.

In January, they found us an apartment in Essen. A nice apartment, by missionary standards. It had previously housed a missionary couple, above a member’s house.
I finally felt like my mission had begun. We had our own kitchen and bathroom! What a blessing! (The president did tell us that we had nearly been transferred OUT of the mission, that they really wanted sisters in a neighboring mission, and if they hadn’t found us an apartment, that might have been our fate. I hope he was kidding.)

I was only there about three weeks before being transferred.

That Christmas was one of those “builds character” experiences for me. When I had my second Christmas in Germany, it was SO much more fun, with member appointments and presents AND a phone call home. I’m glad I got to experience it both ways.

As I get to skype with my son this Christmas, I feel so lucky. So blessed to know that he is taken care of, that his ward gave all the missionaries a big box of food and presents. I know that he is working hard on his mission and that I get to call him and tell him how much I love him.

Merry Christmas to all of you missionary families out there.

Opening Night

We have finally arrived at Opening Night for Fiddler on the Roof.

I am so lucky that I get to play Fruma Sarah in this show. It really is the best part, even if I’m only in one scene of the whole show (I do get to play a village woman as well, in half of the shows). I LOVE this part.
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I mean, who wouldn’t want to play a dead first wife who only exists in Tevye’s mind? There are no rules and I can be as over the top as I want. I have come to love my double cast buddy, Celeste. I think she looks creepier than I do, but I just couldn’t do the contacts.
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There have been major obstacles and challenges with this show. The logistics of staging a play in a new location have been enormous. The theater is an old theater, but it’s been unused for years, so it has to be refurbished for us to use it. Painted on the wall by the stage, it says Saturday’s Warrior 1999,and My turn on Earth I heard from a friend that they filmed the My turn on Earth production at this stage. With new carpet, new lights, new sound equipment, there have been boxes everywhere, and things weren’t ready for us.

Our set designer, set construction team, music director, and stage managers are all new. The sets have had huge set backs and haven’t been ready, most of them, until last night. When we should have been rehearsing, they were assembling set pieces on the stage. Set pieces that don’t really fit in the wings, and the stage crew hasn’t learned when and where they go.

In addition, we’ve suffered injuries and other afflictions. Our assistant director sliced her hand open on a work day and had to get stitches. One of our stage managers has kidney stones. Two nights ago our other stage manager dropped a 40 pound block of dry ice on her foot while getting it out of the car and broke her toe. Our costume director wasn’t there for our final dress rehearsals (and won’t be there for the next week) because her brother died suddenly, and she needs to go and be with her family.

There is no greenroom and hardly any backstage area, so the cast sets up chairs outside.
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There’s supposed to be a big tent for us to congregate around and under, but the wind often comes up quickly and threatens to whip our tent away, so we’ve just had the tent frames up for a couple of nights.

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Last night was our last dress rehearsal. Amid sudden rain, everyone pulled their chairs back into the theater and we congregated mostly in the back foyer or in the theater.

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Among these challenges, our Tevye has been amazing! He wrote today,
Tonight is opening night of Fiddler On The Roof. We have witnessed miracles in how fast things have come together. There have been significant challenges for this production. It is as if someone doesn’t want this musical to happen. That tells me it really needs to happen.

I have really loved performing as Tevye. I do hope you will take the time an come see it – not because I am in it, but because the message of this production is profound. The message of tolerance and love is needed today more than ever. Hold your families close.

When you think of Fiddler on the Roof, do you think, “Oh, yeah, we did that play in high school. Fun!” like I did? Or do you think, “That old thing? Why are they doing a show about Russian Jews in 1905?” Maybe. But Fiddler on the roof is about keeping your family and your beliefs, even when among strong opposition. The story centers on Tevye, the father of five daughters, and his attempts to maintain his family and Jewish religious traditions while outside influences encroach upon their lives. He must cope both with the strong-willed actions of his three older daughters—each one’s choice of husband moves further away from the customs of his faith—and with the edict of the Tsar that evicts the Jews from their village. Does this relate to our lives today? Absolutely it does.

We need to have tolerance and acceptance for others, but at the same time, we can not let go of our own values. In a devotional address delivered on September 11, 2011, Dallin H. Oaks said, “Our tolerance and respect for others and their beliefs does not cause us to abandon our commitment to the truths we understand and the covenants we have made. That is a third absolute truth. We are cast as combatants in the war between truth and error. There is no middle ground. We must stand up for truth, even while we practice tolerance and respect for beliefs and ideas different from our own and for the people who hold them.”

While I always discourage people from coming to a show on opening night, I do hope we have an audience tonight (and every night). I hope we can properly convey the importance of family and religion and hope that we can touch some hearts with this show.

Missionary Week


It’s missionary week for the seminary students at Timberline Middle School. What a great experience for these kids.

They have try to live by missionary standards, which include
-no radio
-tv,
-no gossip
-positive attitude
-arms length away from boys (for the girls)
-no texting boys
-a curfew
-up by 6:30
-personal prayer every day
-scripture study every day
-write to a missionary
-walk or bike to school or church one day
-fix your own food two meals a day
-family scripture study and family prayer
-wear a missionary haircut (no scruffy or long hair for the boys)
-post something positive, or something from LDS.org online every day

There are a bunch more requirements that I can’t remember off the top of my head, but she’s doing pretty well keeping them so far. I was hoping they were doing the same thing at the High school so that Megan would also have to be nice, no fighting or contention, etc. But no such luck.

The radio thing is hard for me, because I am ALWAYS listening to the radio. There is always a contest coming up, you know. But, for her, I’ve turned off the radio when she’s around. (I did turn on the radio right when she left for school, to tell the truth).

The kids didn’t watch any silly tv on Sunday, either. I told them if they wanted to watch something, they could watch our old living scriptures videos, which they scoffed at (although later they were discussing which of those living scripture videos were their favorite), but they chose Prince of Egypt.


Which is technically not a living scriptures video, but it IS a scripture story, and it has a couple of wonderful songs in it, so I don’t mind so much. It’s good for the kids to watch something other than silly disney shows on netflix.

Today she had to dress like a missionary, which meant wearing a skirt and dressing nice to go to school. She looked for a name tag she could wear, and tried to find one of my old ones, but she didn’t find one before school. It wouldn’t be sister Erickson, either, it would be Sister Coleman, but I guess she didn’t care.

What a good thing for our young people to have to live by a higher standard and experience a little bit of what it is to be a missionary, even if it’s just for one week.

Thank you 2013

What a year it’s been for us!

2013 was the year we finished our basement. It’s so lovely to have that space finished, now.
. I love how it turned out, and look forward to when we can do the tile in the bathroom. No, it’s not totally done, but it’s mostly there, and we love it.

2013 was the year we took Larissa to Disneyland, and she got to go to California for the first time ever. What a fun family vacation that was, and how blessed we were that ALL the kids got to go.
In February we found out where Cole would be serving his mission, in West Virginia.
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In March, my little chime choir got to play at the spring ring, and it was a big boost to my program. After that performance, the parents really got behind my effort to purchase my own set of chimes, and the kickstarter fundraiser was a success. We got enough pledges to buy a 3 octave set of chimes. We also took family pictures and proceeded to get Cole ready for his mission.

Spring was a time of many birthdays. Cole turned 19, Larissa turned 16, and Megan turned 17. We hosted our share of parties. We didn’t go anywhere exciting for Spring break, but we still had some fun around here.
Natalie sang in a special choir for the YW broadcast and we all went to the conference center to hear her sing.

May was a BIG month for us. Cole went through the temple, and got ready for his mission. He entered the MTC on May 22, and it was heartwrenching, yet happy and exciting to take him to the MTC.

They also started work on the development that is going in behind our house, took out the trees, and started cleaning things up back there.

It was busy with the end of the school year and all the parties, awards, concerts, etc.

In June, Larissa prepared to leave us. Her Mom came over from Germany, and the two of them got to do some traveling through the west before they flew back to Germany.

It was hard for her to pack up all her stuff from the whole year, and it was harder to say goodbye. We all had such a wonderful experience with her here, it was difficult to see her go.
New chickens joined the family, and Cole left the MTC for his mission.
Since it was summer, that meant rehearsals started, as Natalie did one play and I did another one.

July was a blur of rehearsals, trek, exchange students from China, parties and barbeques, and family reunions. Natalie was in Peter Pan! We worked on our garden, the weather was hot, and the chickens grew up. It ended with saying goodbye to a dear friend who passed away, and the Scarlet Pimpernel opened.

August was wonderful. A whole month of Pimpernel.

Somewhere in there we finished summer and school started. Megan did a HUGE project with floppy disks
, and we ate a LOT of peaches. Oh, the peach harvest was so wonderful! We put up 50 quarts of our own peaches, and could have done many more, had we the time and energy. It’s ok to share some of the harvest, too.
Ryan was so supportive and helpful, I don’t know if I could have done that show without him. It was really a special experience for me. I met so many new and wonderful people, and it changed my attitude about a lot of things.

September my chimes choir started up again, and it was wonderful to not have to be trying to get a grant. I could just concentrate on teaching. The art projects started to take over much of the table and counter space. I just love this fish.

We had a small party for John’s birthday, followed immediately by a BIG cast party for the Scarlet Pimpernel. Even though the weather did not cooperate, things worked out, as they always do.

Ryan’s niece got married–the first of the kids’ cousins to get married, and we are so proud of her.
I also got to spend a weekend with Ryan in Denver. He was working, me not so much. Loved it!

In October, we enjoyed the beautiful fall. Not too hot, and not too cold. The Adventures of Merlin opened, and I learned that doing a show that performs EVERY. SINGLE. WEEKDAY. is really quite hard.
But what a great experience it was.
Halloween was great, the kids had fun with their costumes and candy, and we hosted a big costume party.

November really kicks off the Christmas concert season around here, and so it was good that all plays were over by November 1st. The Bells on Temple Square concert was SO much fun. Thanksgiving was a smallish affair, with only 16 of us at Ryan’s sister Julene’s house. We missed Cole, but were glad that he had plenty of warm Kentucky hospitality.

December was a whirlwind of snow, concerts, presents, and family.

Meeting John Rhys-Davis was a highlight of the concert week, and it was a wonderful experience.
I love all the Christmas decorating, wrapping, gift giving, baking…I love everything about Christmas! It’s sad to let it go and say goodbye to December, but I must say it was really a GREAT year.

I am SO thankful for the HUGE blessings and MANY opportunities I had to expand my vision and friendships this year. I can only imagine what wonders 2014 has in store for us.

Super Sunday

Last Sunday was Cole’s “farewell” talk in church. It was a super meeting, with a confirmation of a wonderful young lady who is currently living in our ward. Her baptism was the day before, and it was a wonderful experience. There was also a fabulous talk by a sister in our ward who was just released from her mission in Salt Lake at the family history library. Her husband died while on their mission, but she was still so amazingly excited about missionary work. Cole also spoke. He did such a GREAT job with his talk, and didn’t get all sappy or make me cry. He spoke on the Atonement and his take on avoiding sin. Some things I remember from his talk are (and believe me, I was kind of emotional and don’t remember all that much), but he talked about harrowing, as in Alma 39:7 And now, my son, I would to God that ye had not been guilty of so great a crime. I would not dwell upon your crimes, to harrow up your soul, if it were not for your good.

Definition of HARROW– a cultivating implement set with spikes, spring teeth, or disks and used primarily for pulverizing and smoothing the soil, so when you sin, the guilt from that sin is like something raking across your middle.

He also said that if you enter into a minefield, you will explode. So stay far away from the mines of temptation.

After the meeting, we were greeted by pouring rain.
Really?
It was sunny when we left, and we had set up 4 tables outside, even putting tablecloths on them, so they would be all ready for our crowd.

Well, we just had to get cozy inside.


Here’s Cole with a bunch of his friends. One of these friends had his farewell talk at 9:00 that same day. So these boys went to two sacrament meetings to hear each other speak.


Lots of people, and this was just the family and friends who came over right after sacrament meeting. Luckily, we were set up in the basement, too, so we could spread out a bit.

We had made an insane amount of rhubarb pie on Saturday. Well, 6 pies. I guess that’s not an insane amount. It just felt like that when we had all of the kids picking, washing and chopping it.

There was actually plenty of food, so that when the ward members started to come over, we just got out something else. I bought too many rolls, but oh, well.

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Here’s Cole with my mom. Love them!

Once the crowds left, my parents wanted to play a game, so we played… What was that game called again? King’s something? Anyway, it was fun to play with them.

It was a beautiful day. I can’t believe it was only one week ago!

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Temple Time

Saturday we were finally able to go to the Temple with Cole. I had hoped we could go earlier in the spring, but he just couldn’t fit things into his schedule until he was out of school. Saturday night was the best time, so we met at the temple. We were all a bit nervous and excited, especially Cole.

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Ryan and Cole went to the temple at 5:30 (Don’t they both look sharp in their NEW SUITS?) and the rest of us met in the chapel at 6:30 for the 7:00 session.

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My sister, Amy, was going to bring her kids over at 6:00, but at 6:15, I couldn’t wait any longer, so I left, and told the kids she would probably show up with her kids to be babysat, but I wasn’t going to wait.

Being in the temple with my parents, my family, Ryan’s parents and siblings and Cole was wonderful. I thought I would cry the whole time, but I didn’t. I was just very happy that we have a son who is worthy to go through the temple, and who is willing to the serve the Lord and the people of West Virginia. Happy.

We had originally thought we would go out to dinner after the session, but then we thought twice about that. How about frozen yogurt instead?

So, after the temple, we went back home and got the kids, who deserved a break after babysitting (Megan told me the kids were pretty wild and crazy), and went over to our local frozen yogurt shop, Orange Leaf. 1023 It’s one of those serve yourself places, and while I always make sure my own kids don’t load up on too much yogurt and toppings (try not to be greedy, right?) I cannot control how others load up those huge yogurt cups. Ryan insisted we pay for everyone, and I was a little shocked at the price of yogurt for that many people.

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But, we had a nice time socializing with the family and friends who had come to share this special evening with us.
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So proud of my son and excited for the next two years.

It’s official

On Wednesday, we were waiting for a mission call.
Of course, we were also driving to California.

We left at about 6 am with four of the kids, and started our drive. Megan and Cole stayed home to get in a couple more days of classes, as it’s not easy to miss class when you are in High School or College. When Megan got home from school at around 2:30, she had strict instructions to go check the mail, and then text me if there was a nice big envelope for Cole. We were eating lunch at the train McDonald’s in Barstow at the time. She sent a text, and said there was nothing in the mail for Cole. WHAT? Then I texted another missionary mom in the ward who had also been told that he was “assigned” and should get his call on Wed. They didn’t get THE letter, either. In fact, her son said that he only knew one Elder who had been expecting his call who had actually gotten THE envelope that day. Ugh. Well, nothing we can do about it.

The next morning, before we headed off to Disneyland, Megan called from home and said that the mail delivery lady (who is in our stake) called from the post office to let us know the call was there. Hooray! They delivered it to the house, and Megan picked it up that afternoon. Cole and Megan headed to the airport that night, and flew to California to join us. Now, after a full day at Disneyland, Ryan headed to the airport at about 9:30 to pick them up. They all got back at around 11:30 California time (which felt like 12:30 to us Utahns) and woke us up so he could open his call.

We took some pictures, but they are not uploaded yet, so you’ll just have to imagine us all sleepy eyed and in our pajamas and Cole opening his call.

Elder Cole Spencer Erickson, you have been called to labor in the West Virginia, Charlotte mission.

West Virginia?

Really?

Honestly, we were expecting something a bit more exotic, foreign, or far away. Although I hear that West Virginia will be pretty foreign to a white boy from Utah. Cole didn’t express much surprise or excitement or anything, but that’s Cole. We all told him Congratulations, gave him big hugs, and then went back to bed.

The next day, while hurrying off to Disney’s California Adventure for our early morning entry (which came WAY too early, I tell you), I asked him what he thought of the call. “It feels right,” he said, “If I had a choice, I was secretly hoping for Japan, but this will be good.” Oh, how I love that boy! He understands, even better than his mother does, that WHERE you serve isn’t the important thing, it’s HOW you serve.

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He reports to the MTC on May 22, which is pretty close to his availability date of May 1st. It’s just a short 13 weeks from today!

So follow us on our adventure as we prepare our son to serve!

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