Hi! How are you? I’m glad you got a lot of letters from the mission last week. Does that mean letters from home sent to the mission home and then delivered to you, or does it mean letters from your Mission President? Good either way, right? I hope you do get letters from home, though. Have people been writing to you? As far as calling or Skyping goes, I think we will try 3 way Skyping with Jon. Dad is really concerned that Skype won’t be really reliable and that it may end up not working. If that happens, can we do calling as a contingency plan? Sunday is fast Sunday, and I want to ask the family to fast that Skype will work! Like I said in the family letter, don’t worry about spending money on things you need, that’s why it’s there. I’m hoping that since you couldn’t think of anything to request for Christmas, that you are able to find most things you need. Is that true?
We had a really nice weekend. Yesterday, Sunday, we had a nice sacrament meeting. Brother Hannett spoke about his dad who was an amazing man. You’d think that listening to someone talk about someone you don’t know for twenty minutes would be boring, but it was very inspiring. Sunday School and Relief Society were wonderful, too. We got to get a couple of ornaments off the giving tree, and we are looking forward to buying gifts for unnamed needy kids in the ward. Also, since I visiting teach Jennifer Hannett, and Dad and Thomas home teach the Hannett family, we plan to do 12 days of Christmas for them. That should be really fun!
Grandma is having a hard time right now. I hoped that when the time came, she’d just sleep longer and longer and then at some point never wake up, but that’s not how it’s going. Passing away is becoming a miserable struggle for her. Much of Sunday was spent with Grandma singing to her and keeping her company. Last night, Becky came over to be with her, and we used that time to have family home evening. Dad gave a lesson on making long-term career goals. The kids all wrote in their journals about where they want to be in 15 years.
Saturday we also spent a lot of time with Grandma. Dad wrote to you about putting up Christmas lights. He really got into it Saturday, and the house is very sparkly. We bought lighted candy canes at Costco and got to see Jon in the process. We also saw him on Sunday when he dropped by for a second after church. He and Thomas are working very hard on Thomas’s comic blog. The kids helped a bit with the lights and also just had a bit of lazy time. Saturday night we all went to Walmart just to get some of us out of the house. Later, Dad and I went to Taco Bell and then watched a show at home. The kids ate pizza, sat with Grandma, and played video games. Paul came over late to see Grandma. He hasn’t been here for over a month, maybe two, so he was pretty taken aback by her condition. I know Grandma was happy he was here to visit.
The Stoddards were in town over Thanksgiving and spent it with James’s parents. On Friday we had them over along with Rick and his family and Elizabeth and hers. It was a really fun day. The weather was good and some of the dads and kids went over to the school to play. The older girls went shopping, and we moms and Mercy went down town ourselves and checked out the thrift and consignment stores. Dad spent a lot of time with Grandma and also put lights up that day as well. That night we went to Festival of Lights with Elizabeth and her family and had lots of fun. Their boys rode in our car and Katrina rode in their car, just to mix it up a bit.
We thought only Don and Renee would be with us on Thanksgiving, but they called and asked if Brett and his family could come, too. They were going to spend the day with Emily’s parents, but they were sick, so we had them over, too. It was really fun to have kids over on Thanksgiving. Grandma spent most of the day sleeping, but I don’t think she’s slept at all since then, poor lady. The kids and I did most of the Thanksgiving preparations and we had fun cooking and making a turkey-shaped dinner roll for each person. They were really cute! We also got to Skype with Emerson, Cassandra, and Lily on Thanksgiving morning. It was nice to have Dad and Emerson on since they are often at work when we Skype. They are doing good and had Thanksgiving with a family in the ward. We are doing “gifts from the heart” with them this year.
On Wednesday we went target shooting as a family. I shot one of Dad’s pistols about three times and was done. I really don’t like the noise and the jolt of shooting. It’s too bad because I really like hitting targets. I told Dad that from now on whenever we go shooting, he needs to bring the little squirrel gun along for me. Everyone else had fun, though, and so did I really because I enjoyed being with the fam. The rest of the day was spent cleaning up and relaxing. Katrina went to a friend’s that night, and Dad and I brought Café Rio home for the rest of us.
Tuesday, Katrina was feeling sick and only went to her cast party for a while, poor girl. Thomas was disgusted to have to go to a choir practice on the evening before Thanksgiving break. That night, Dad and I went out on a date and the kids stayed home, ate brownies, and watched Brave. On Monday, family home evening didn’t work out real well, I can’t remember why. That’s just the way it goes sometimes!
Well, that was our week. I have been one chapter ahead of the family in the Book of Mormon so that I can look for questions to ask, insights to share, and actions to encourage when we read it as a family. I also am learning about the Christ-like attribute of patience in Preach My Gospel. I finished reading Joseph Smith’s journal while I exercise and am now reading the institute church history manual. I’ve read it before, and it’s really interesting reading. I’m considering reading it to the family on the way to Texas and back. That may start a mutiny though, so we’ll see. I love you, Matt. I hope your week is a good one. I’ve been praying for your success with Manuel and with reactivating members. Let us know how it all is going!
Here's a picture of the family. Can you believe that we didn't take any pictures of the whole weekend? I planned to and then forgot. I could kick myself! This is us after church on Sunday. Garred took it, so if it is a bit fuzzy blame him, ha ha!