Sunday, January 27, 2013

Letters and Pictures From Matt

Thanks for all of the picture, Just working here, trying to fufill the will of the Lord. It's hard sometimes, but it's nothing that the Lord can't handle. I love you all and I hope that everything is going well,

Hey Dad, well yeah I guess it is food for thought. You could think of it like this: When we are helping other people on the Lord's errand then we are intitled to his help, or the Holy Ghoast, so, if you want to feel that more in your life, all you have to do is put yourself in a situation were you require that help, and then, if you ask for it, and prepare for it, it will come. It has to come, the Lord has promised that it will.
That's really sad about the power thing but really nice of you to fix it. Man, I hope that every thing turns out ok with the cabinets, it will be interesting walking into a different home then I left, but I look forward to it. :)

Thankyou mom for the letters, I really liked the story with miriam. Are you finally happy with the house or do you still want it different? haha. I'm going to send you a picture of how the houses are here, I sent one to jon but let's see, This is actually 2 houses, they have, 1 bathroom, 2 bedrooms and 1 kitchen/livingroom area, familys of 6 end up living in houses like this. How the heck do I play a role in your life? I'm in mexico haha. :)

About Matt’s Madlibs, he said, “Haha, I like it very much, it is a near perfect retelling of my life, haha, the only problem is that I didn't try in Highschool either haha. Thank you all! It made me laugh a lot and I love you all, Just think.... Next year... I'll still be here. haha. :)”

The last one that I sent was of a sling-shot my companion made for me, you'll notice that it doesn't have the stick thingy,, that's becuase you use your hand instead! These are some pancakes that I made for myself haha.

Thomas, Maybe I'll be like that when I get back haha. :) Do you still sleep with like 20 blankets? That's cool about the bunk bed! Man, How is stuff going? How is school? What's up?

Katrina: Birthdays in Mexico are basically the same. We are going to eat cake in the house of some members and then we are going to clean the house. It's funny how stuff like that gets exciting... haha. I feel like a teenager. :P

Miriam, Yes it's the big two ooooh.... things are going just peachy. That's exciting about marshall, I do remember him being a funny kid. Thanks for that vote of confidence in my competence (with the clock thing) I did enjoy the pictures, they were really cool. I heard that Katrina and Thomas made you brownies with salt instead of sugar in them to ''Make up'' for eating all of your icecream and that you didn't think it was funny. Well, I guess that they learned their lesson when jonny got home with Icecream for you and no one else. :)

Blog Note:  Matt also sent a video of himself slipping in his "slippy shoes."  No, not his face.  No, he didn't say anything.  Just 15 seconds of his shoes slipping on the kitchen floor.  Ha ha.  I couldn't get it to save, so you'll just have to imagine it.

Monday, January 21, 2013


It is our tradition on birthdays to do birthday Madlibs, and here's one for Matt.  First, the real story:

Matt's first "whale sighting"

Once upon a time, there was a boy named Matthew.  He started out as a chubby little teddy bear with blonde hair, the only blonde baby his mommy ever had.  As he grew, his mommy realized that he was also the most mischievous baby she’d ever had.  It was not that he was naughty, he was just curious.  He got into everything he could find, and it was a good thing that he was so cute so that his mommy could never get mad at him.

In school, Matthew learned math quickly, but had a hard time sounding out words.  Eventually he learned to read without sounding out and read everything he could find.  At home, Matthew liked to create and build, but never seemed to have the resources to do what he wanted to.  Still, he did what he could and that was impressive.

Matthew was a very friendly boy, and everyone loved him.  Kids his age enjoyed being around him, and even adults told his parents how much they admired him.  This made his parents very proud.  After he graduated from High School, Matt went to college where he did not excel.  His heart was not into it.  On the month he turned 19, he came back home.  He was kind of in limbo land as he waited his mission call.  As he waited, he worked at a very dull job filling very dull boxes with very dull things.  He realized how important college was.

Finally the big day came and Matthew got his mission call in the mail.  He gathered the family together and opened the letter excitedly.  Where would he go?  To Japan like his dad?  To Europe like Katrina wanted him to?  Then he read the call.  Mexico Culiacan Mission!!!!  Everyone was happy, except his niece, Lily.  His mommy, who was on Skype at Lily’s house, screamed with excitement and made poor little Lily cry.  Everyone else knew that Mexico was the perfect place for Matt.

Baptizing Angel

So Matt became an Elder, and it turned out that Mexico was indeed the perfect place for him.  Speaking Spanish came easy, and he seemed to adjust to life there very quickly.  Now he is working hard to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to the people of La Paz.  He is good and he is happy and today he is 20 years old.  Happy Birthday, Elder!

Eating Cake with Elder Sumano

Here is the Madlibs version of the story:

Once upon a wedding, there was a munchkin named Matthew.  He started out as a squirrel-y little freakish bear with chartreuse big toes, the only fruity old man his mommy ever had.  As he grew, his mommy realized that he was also the most mischievous Walt Disney she’d ever had.  It was not that he was stinky, he was just smelly.  He got into everything he could rip, and it was a good thing that he was so bored so that his mommy could never loathe him.

In the state mental hospital, Matthew learned sewing quickly, but had a hard time sounding out fat people.  Eventually he learned to vomit without sounding out and operated on everything he could find.  At the landfill, Matthew liked to slip and stress, but never seemed to have the scuba suits to do what he wanted to.  Still, he did what he could and that was barnacle-y.

Matthew was a very rich boy, and everyone tickled him.  Kids his age didn’t care for being around him, and even cannibals told his parents how much they admired him.  This made his parents very doing-y.  After he graduated from Plots R Us, Matt went to charm school where he did not excel.  His heart was not into it.  On the month he turned 102, he came back to the gas station.  He was kind of in dumpster land as he waited his jail call.  As he waited, he whined at a very tall job filling very frosty boxes with very rude things.  He realized how important pawn shops were.

Finally the big chicken came and Matthew got his fingernail call in the mail.  He gathered the robbers together and opened the letter slothfully.  Where would he create?  To Afganistan like his dad?  To Jupiter like Katrina wanted him to?  Then he read the call.  Kmart Southwest Mission!!!!  Everyone was afraid, except his second cousin, Lily.  His mommy, who was on Skype at Lily’s house, cleaned with excitement and made poor little Lily forget.  Everyone else knew that Mexico was the perfect son for Matt.

So Matt became an Elder, and it turned out that Mexico was indeed the meddlesome place for him.  Speaking Flemish came easy, and he seemed to adjust to diapers there very quickly.  Now he is working hard to spread the gospel to the people of Neverland.  He is annoying and he is juvenile and today he is 20 years thick.  Happy Girlfriend Day, Elder!

Jan 14--Dear Elder: Letters from the Whole Family

Dear Matthew,
             Hey Happy Birthday! I hope that you get a lot of missionary work done, unless you get a day off or something. Do you get days off? Anyways here are some pictures of snow and cold people for your companion.  At church today there was a returned missionary, remember Marshal Levi? Well he changed like a bunch and if really different, I didn’t even know him and I could see the difference. If you remember the farewell talk he gave he was quiet and unsure but today he was very confident and stuff  like that, anyways its super cold in the house and my room doesn’t have the bunkbed any more! Its awesome. Anywayseres good bye!

Dear Elder,
Happy Birthday you old man!  You’re freaking turning 20!  Ew.  Just kidding!  What are birthdays like in Mexico?  Are you going to do anything special?  How does it feel to be a… non-teenager?  I hope that your day goes well! 

Happy Birthday! It’s the big 2-0! How does it feel? Haha. How are things going? Marshall Levi came home today! What a funny kid. We’ll have to set up a big clock for you when you give your homecoming talk because missionaries tend to go WAY over time. He threw off the whole church schedule! Well I hope you enjoy the pictures! Have a great day

Dear Elder,
Hi!  Happy Birthday!!!  Are you having a good day?  I hope so!  I hope it is the best ever.  We went outside and took pictures for you yesterday.  I hope you liked them.  Tell your companion that we wish we were in Mexico right now.  We are soooo tired of the snow!  It has been cold, foggy and snowy for quite a long time now.  I’m so sorry that we don’t have any pictures from youth conference.  We are the lamest picture takers in the world!  We are so happy that you could baptize Angel.  Now that he’s entered in by the gate, he is on the road to happiness!  I know Heavenly Father is so happy with the work that you are doing. 

Today we are going to tear out all the green carpet.  Preston is here to help.  So far we haven’t done much today, but we did get to Skype with Lily and Cassandra.  Dad and I sang “Protocoligorically Correct” to her a few times because Slipper and the Rose is her favorite movie, and that is her favorite part of the movie.  I can’t say she loved it necessarily, but she’d sit frozen, listening to us sing.  There probably isn’t much difference between the old guys singing it on the movie and a coulple of old people singing it on Skype.

Cassandra!!  (She has asked that I don't post public pictures of Lily, so...sorry!)

Yesterday I went to 6 hours of church.  We stake leaders attend every ward conference, and this year the stake presidency decided to double up on them as often as possible so that we would be done with all ward conferences by the beginning of March.  I think it’s a genius idea.  At the ward conferences, I am teaching 15 minutes of the lesson to the young women.  It went pretty good yesterday.  My lesson leaves ample room for the girls to talk about what they’ve learned and share their experiences, and I wasn’t sure if they’d participate much, but they did a great job.  I plan on improving my lesson to include Christ more.  The lesson is on becoming truly converted, and as President Geslison pointed out in his sacrament meeting talks to the wards, conversion is all about coming unto Christ.

Last night we played a couple of rounds of that one game where you write a sentence, draw a picture, write a sentence, draw a picture, etc.  It was lots of fun, but after two rounds, Dad had to leave, so we read scriptures and had prayer with him and then played another round after he left.  It was lots of fun.  After that, I was excited because it was only 7:00 and I thought I was going to be able to get to bed way early.  I got into my nightgown, and started brushing my teeth when the guy from Lowes came over and then Preston came over.  So much for making an early night of it! 

Saturday Dad spent much of the day at Lowe’s.  He was not happy.  Their computer wasn’t working and it messed up our cabinet order.  We were there for hours Friday, too, and have to go back in today.  Fun stuff.  We are getting some discounts because of it, though.  Saturday night the Yarringtons came over for a double date with me and Dad.  Dad and Bro Yarrington talked guns and then we had fun playing Dominion a couple of times.  It’s a pretty enjoyable game!  After that we went out for frozen yogurt.  The kids were so sweet; they watched the Yarrington’s kids for us.  It was a good evening.

I told you what we did Friday—Lowes.  Besides that, the week has consisted of Dad and me working, the kids going to school, etc.  Wednesday night the kids went to young men/young women.  They played a game based on “bachelor pad.”  It was Thomas’s idea which is funny because he hasn’t even seen the show.  We looked up it’s premise on the internet, and he planned challenges and everything.  He said that at first the activity didn’t go well because no one would listen to him, but then he got a microphone, and it turned out very well.  Good for him!  I’m so glad the leaders stood back and let him do it. 

Miriam has had a frustrating week because she kept getting ice cream and Katrina and Thomas kept eating it.  Last night, she and Katrina talked Thomas into baking them some brownies, and it looked like Miriam would finally get a treat, but, in a cruel attempt at a joke, Thomas used salt instead of sugar in the recipe.  I discovered his devilry as he was baking them when I tasted a bit of the batter.  Why I kept his diabolical plan a secret, I have no idea.  After a few minutes of trying the brownies, Katrina was chuckling about the joke, but Miriam went to bed and we probably wouldn’t have seen her the rest of the night if it wasn’t for Preston making a surprise appearance and cheering her up.  After he left, Jon came to further assistance by giving Miriam his ice cream and not letting Thomas have any of it.  Most family dramas center around food, you know.  Just kidding!

Well, Matt, that’s about it.  I wanted to send you a picture of Dad tearing up the carpet, but it’s 11:00 and he still hasn’t started!  It’s going to be one of those days!  I love you, Matt.  I am so glad that twenty years ago you were born into our family.  You play such an important role in my life and I am so proud of you!

Happy Birthday!

Dear Matt,
Thank you for your emails, I am glad that Angel got baptized!  What a great picture that was!  I liked what you said about being on the front line,  lots of food for thought.  I have been trying to be of more use lately, trying to reach out to people more.

I hope that you are having a wonderful day!  Yesterday I really enjoyed being in church, I had read a conference talk about what we think about during sacrament and I was looking forward to trying to be more focused on some things.  Also Elder Levi returned from his mission and talked yesterday, it was really wonderful to hear him, he mentioned, and I thought of you and also of my mission when he said this, but, he said that he realized just how important it was to follow all of the rules to get the blessings of Heavenly Father.  So yesterday was a good day.

 The rest of the week was not so smooth, I finally closed on Grandmas house, and it ended up being a pain, I had to call City Power to transfer the utilities to the new owner, but they decided to just shut off the power, so my poor renters were in my mom's basement with a new baby and no heat in 20 degree weather, so I had to do some quick calls but they weren't nice about it, they finally got it turned back on but now they want to charge me 75 bucks,  sigh,  Then when I went to pick up the check, I did it on my lunch hour but it took longer because their scanner was broken and I was three cities away, so I called my aide to cover for me being late but he said, that he had to go to a doctors appt.  Arrrrgh! 

Anyway, so now that we have money we went to finalize our kitchen cabinets, and to make that long story short, they had a glitch in their computer system and it ended up taking days and hours of our time, so... we still have to go into Lowes today AGAIN!  but on the interesting side, for a while I had a check for $180,000.00 for selling my moms house!!!!!  I guess I could have run off the a small island somewhere :) but mom would have been mad so I just split it up with my brothers and sister.

Today I am going to rip out the green carpet in the upstairs so they can finish painting and then I will see about getting the chirstmas lights down.   We had fun this morning skyping with Lily and Cassandra. Well,  I love you and can't wait to hear your email, we always read them at family night to all of the kids, I really hope that you have a wonderful day


Sunday, January 13, 2013

"Chatting" with Matt,

This last Monday, Matt was on his email when we were on ours and we got to do a little bit of email back and forth.  It was so great!  Brian hadn't had a chance to write him last week, so I let him do the email.  It was really fun to "chat" like that.  Sadly, because he spent his whole time talking to us, Matt wasn't able to write a full fledged email.  He is doing good, though and we are so proud of him!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Jan 7--Dear Elder

Dear Elder,
Hi!  How are you this week?  I’m glad to hear that you had a happy New Year painting someone’s house.  I’m sure they really appreciated it!  Thanks for your last letter, we really liked it.  I am so sorry, but the rest of the family didn’t write to you this week.  Our Sunday meeting schedule changed and it kind of messed us up.  So anyway, you’ll have to just settle for a letter from me this week. 

Let’s see…looking back at your last letter, you wanted to know what was in the Daddy Survival Kit I made for Emerson.  The kit was in an Altoids tin and came with an instruction kit which said the following:

The cover said something like: Pocket Daddy Survival Kit, Made especially for Emerson.  The title page said:  “Guaranteed Authentic Gift From the Heart.  No money was spent in the making of this kit (that’s why it’s so lame).” 

The instructions said the following: 

Smarties--In Case of Boredom:  Grasp one Smartie in fist.  Present both fists.  Have child lift one finger at a time until child finds and eats candy. Repeat.  In Case of Injury:  Use as a decoy from the pain.  In Case of Hunger:  Surrender all candy to child immediately to prevent screams.

Quarter--In Case of Bored Child:  Make quarter disappear and then pull it out of child's ear.  In Case of Hungry Child:  rush to the nearest candy machine and insert.  Administer machine contents immediately.  In Case of Bored Daddy:  Spin on table repeatedly.

Chapstick--In Case of Boredom:  Apply chapstick to child's lips and hope that for some reason they find it endlessly fascinating.  In Case of Injury:  Apply to own lips and give the child "medicine kisses."  In Case of Diaper Rash:  Use as emergency ointment.  **Legal disclaimer** Do not use on lips afterwards.

Postits--In Case of Boredom:  Draw progressive pictures on the edge of each sheet and entertain child with the flip book you made.  OR use with enclosed mini pen  to draw pictures for the child or to  let the child draw on the paper themselsves. OR let child stick notes on the wall, the furniture,  your face. . . wherever .

Balloon --In Case of Boredom:  Use balloon to make one of the following, Instant Ball:  Inflate and tie.  Weird Loud Noise Maker:  Inflate and then pull neck of balloon to make it scream louder than your child.  Rocket:  Inflate and tie.  Pull on tied end and release to launch.

Pins--In Case of Damaged Clothing:  Use as an instant sewing kit.  In Case of the Wiggles: Pin wiggly child by the pants and shirt to couch or any other soft surface. 

Ear Plugs--When all else fails: Smoosh into each ear canal for instant peace and tranquility.
So there you go, Matt.  Yes, everything was new and unused.  I said I didn’t purchase anything to make the kit, but notice I didn’t say anything about begging, borrowing, and stealing. 

Send you the comics that Thomas made about me… well, I’d scan them, but they are in pencil so I don’t think that would work out so well.  Here are what they said:

#1  A bald stick figure is sitting at the computer.  “Mom, you like to make blogs.  You also love Lilly more than me.”

 Next frame:  A random person is talking to Mom.  Person--“Hey, what have you been doing today?” 
Mom—“I just sold my son to buy a plane ticket to go see my granddaughter.”

#2  “Mom, you are great because even when you do get sick, no one ever knows.” 
Mom—“Ooh…my head hurts so bad.”

Thomas—“Hey mom!  Will ya do something for me that would really hurt bad if you had a headache?” 
Mom (with a smile)—“Sure!”

  #3 “Mom, you have short, curly hair.  Just telling you so you know.” 

There is a picture of the bald person that is supposed to be mom with an arrow pointing to her head and the words, “Obviously short curly hair.”

  Next Frame:  Another picture of the bald person that is Mom with another arrow pointing to the head and the words, “This is my mom before, with longer hair.”

#4  “Mom, you are great because you think of others before yourself.” 

Bald, stick-Mom holding a box:  “I can buy these shoes!” 

Next frame:  “…for my daughter.”

So, there you go.  He drew the cartoons on a square piece of paper, made it into a pinwheel, wrapped the pinwheel, and gave it to me in a humungo box that weighed nothing.  It was such a fun present!

Well, Katrina got call-backs for the school spring play, “The Crucible.”  I asked her if she thinks she’ll get the part and she said, “Well, I’m a sophomore.”  Which I think means that Mr. Moss is more likely to choose a senior or a junior.  She finds out tomorrow.

Thomas has been practicing for the play.  He was pretty disgusted that they made him sing on the first day of practice.  Miriam is trying to teach him to sing in a way that doesn’t strain his voice so much, but he can’t figure out how to sing the way she tells him to. 

Dad returned the tablet he got for Christmas.  He said he is trying to get less connected.  He has been reloading bullets a lot these days, and sometimes has Thomas help him.  He is selling some of his surplus gun stuff because the price of everything has shot up due to the possibility of new gun control laws being passed.  He is gearing up to work on the house so that we can paint and floor the upstairs and get new kitchen cabinets.  He has to tear out the old cabinets and the old pantry. 

Miriam’s application to the U of U has been accepted, and she is so excited!  I really don’t know how she’ll be able to afford to go there, but she hopes she can.  She and the other kids are gearing up to go to youth conference this weekend.

I just got done Skyping with Cassandra and Lily.  They’ve been sick, but seem to be feeling a bit better.  Lily just sat on her mommy’s lap and visited with me.  That shows you that she is under the weather, ha ha.  I get to go up to Texas again in February because Jessica is getting married.  I have met her fiance and he is a really great guy.  Celeste is getting married in Mesa in March and I am going to her wedding, too.  It’s such an exciting time!  Dad is so sweet to let me go like this.  I wanted him to come with me, but he says that someone needs to stay with the kids.

Besides me being gone for all those days, I’ll be gone this Friday night for youth conference.  Poor Dad will be all alone for more than 24 hours, and Friday is a holiday, too.  He hasn’t complained at all, but I know how hard it is on him.  It’s hard on me, too!

Yesterday we were watching home movies, Matt, and it was so nice to see your face and hear your voice!  You are such a wonderful young man.  I wish I could just go back into those movies and give you a big hug.  Yesterday was also our first day on the 1:00 schedule and then I was in meetings till 7:00.  It’s a hard schedule because even though we are all home together in the mornings, it’s not the same.  We didn’t even get to eat dinner together as a family.

Saturday, though, we were together most of the day.  First we went to Lowes to pick out cabinets, tile, and carpet.  At the front of the store in a weird place, I saw some wallpaper with swirly leaves that I loved.  I thought I’d just check the price to see how much wallpaper is running, and I found out it was usually $21 a roll, on sale for $1.34.  I bought all of it, ha ha.  I’ve been looking at decorating styles and trends, and this will be perfect.  I plan to only paper the big wall that goes across the kitchen and living room.  We will match the colors of the paint to the wall paper.  Beige for the walls, cream for the trim, and lighter beige for the ceiling.  So exciting!

Next we went to the laundry and the kids and Dad worked and earned money while I slept.  We went to CafĂ© Rio that night because Dad wanted to take Jon out to thank him for taking care of the house and mail when we were gone.  He also wanted to take Miriam out for her gift from the heart.  We had Katrina and Thomas earn money at the laundry so that they could come, too.  Preston also came and we had a really fun time eating and visiting. Last week I went to a training to do assessment testing in schools.  Actually, I'm already treained because it is the same thing I've been doing for a year and a half, but now I am trained to use an iPad instead of paper and pencil.  Dad's teacher's aide was sick this week so I also subbed a day with him.  That is all good because I need to sub twice a week to make ends meet.  We spend so much on food these days!

Well, that's about all I can remember about what we've done this week; the rest is a blur.  I hope you are having a wonderful day.  Matt, I am glad that you follow the rules, and I don't think that makes you a Pharisee.  God's laws keep us safe and teach us how to be like Him.  Your mission rules keep you safe and close to God as well.  I am very proud of you.  It is good to read about all the people that you are teaching, and I pray that all goes well with them.


Little Children and God's Love

I copied this from my study blog:

"I was so happy yesterday at church reflecting on God's love for us.  The five rows in front of us were full of children and youth from our little street consisting of about 12 houses on either side.  Not including my kids, I counted 25 children in those five families!  The kids directly in front of us were especially cute, and we had seen them the night before at Cafe Rio.  They live quite a ways down the street from us and their mother has been attending church for a relatively short amount of time so I hadn't really had a chance to chat with her till last night.  When we got to a good spot in line, and were able to talk, she told me her kid's names and ages, five, three, and one, and I was telling her how cute they were, the three year old little boy walked up to me with his arms stretched out for me to hold him which I happily did, and then the five year old, who was about the size of the three year old did the same thing, and I scooped her up too.  They were so cute and so full of love, and it was fun to just hold and talk to them.  Then Miriam turned around and I asked the little girl if she would like Miriam to hold her.  As Miriam held and showed off the little girl to the rest of the family, the little boy and I talked and visited.  He pointed to words on the menu and as he pointed, I'd say the word and he'd repeat it.  We talked about how the tortilla cooker goes round and round, and admired the little quesadilla they made for him.  Anyway, needless to say, it was so fun, and as I sat behind all those children and youth in church I thought about this priceless manifestation of God's love for us.  I just sat there full of joy as I pondered on their innocence and love and on the love God must have for us, allowing us to care for them."

This experience makes me even happier to be a grandma and that I got to see our little Lily at Christmas and get to see her again next month!  

Friday, January 4, 2013

Jan 1--Matt's Last Letter

Hey, sorry, we went to the beach yesterday and so I couldn't write. Right now we are using our hour of lunch to write you all, don't worry about us not getting to eat, we already have plans to take home food.
Mom, well I do have some new goals and they are to develop charity for everyone, start exercising faith and to truly repent from past mistakes. We'll have to see how that works. Thank you for the nice long letter, I really enjoy it, it gives me a good look at what has been happening with the family. What was in this pocket daddy kit that you gave to Emerson? Send me the comics that Thomas made about you! I wanna see them!

Katrina, thank you for that informative letter thingy you wrote me, I know now that your life is full of fun adventures haha. Joking joking... yeah, we will have to play a little when I get back. don't play too much, ok? get out into the sun or your brains are gunna turn into slush. :)

Miriam, I agree, she is a lovely little tyke. Well, I think that she lives closer to me than she does to you guys... we'll have to see. I hope you do well in your final semester as a nonadult. How are you? I am doing well, what did Santa give your for Christmas? Wait... don't surprise me... clothes right? :) I hope that you got all that you wanted.

Thomas, wow, I could never quite learn my lines, so good for you! how is everything going with the family? are you still writing comics or did you give it up? tell me the down low on everyone? well, let's see if you answer my questions this week.... haha love you bud.

Dad, well I did tell you that tablets are for rich people exactly for that reason, they can't do what a computer can and they are expensive, or they were when I left. Really, you aren't taking a technological step backwards, rather you are taking an intellectual step forward. Well, I'm glad that you say that I'm in the ''missionary spirit.'' Shouldn't we all be? I'm trying to apply what you said about looking at the good and not the bad. The way I look at it is with out the Lord, we are all condemned to spiritual death, it doesn't really matter if someone is a little more ''condemned'' than we are, we aren't really in a place to judge them. As for the reunion, that sounds cool. l'd be up for it. as long as we can get out in the water and stuff, I'm realizing now that it's not really where you are that makes it fun, it's what you do. hahaha. Track your goals, or else you will forget about them.

Well, we spent the New Year painting a house. It was very fun and I liked it. We also got to talk to a guy that was a little bit tipsy about the Book of Mormon. We went to the beach, really there wasn't much there to do for missionaries.... so we left but we got back too late to finish all of the things we needed to do. This week we actually found a lot of people, so I'm very excited about that. If nothing goes wrong, we are going to baptize a boy named Angel (you say it like: aanghell, sorry but that's how you say it) His mom is a member of the church, his older brother is too.

So I’m finding out more and more that according to other missionaries I'm very ''strict'' they call that being a fariseo (I forgot how to say that in English farasee?) but it doesn't really matter to me because I know that I am just following the Lord's rules. (Moses 1:39,D+C11:20 read them both and put an ''and'' in between them) and I know that the Lord will bless me if I do all that he says. I love you all and I hope that you are doing well, I am looking forward for a year of fun and challenges! There are many mountains to clime, and if we are prepared, there are many lessons to be learned.

We are teaching a few people, we had to leave a few, but that's ok. Right now we are teaching: Raquel, Marisela, Paola, Roxana, Carmen and her kids, Marcos, and Oscar but I might be forgetting someone. I love you all!

P.S. we survived 2012, just wait, they are going to say that this is the year when the world is going to end.
P.P.S I tried to send pictures but, this computer is being dumb.

Jan 1--Dear Elder

Dear Matt,

How are you?  It was so nice to Skype you on Christmas!  Here is a run-down of our past week.  On the Friday and Saturday before Christmas, we drove for many hours to get to Cassandra and Emerson’s house to spend Christmas with them and little Lily.  The drive was long, but we had fun talking, joking, and reading together.  When we got to their house, Lily was asleep, but we enjoyed visiting with Cassandra and Emerson.  Their house is so nice, and they had it all done up for Christmas.  We loved getting the grand tour.  They really picked out a lovely place to live, and they are doing a wonderful job making their house a home.  We must have been noisy because Lily woke up and we got to see her!  She is such a fun baby.  The kids played and played with her.  Her absolute favorite thing to do was to lay in a blanket and have the kids hold the edges and swing her back and forth.  It made her laugh and laugh.

The next day we went to Cassandra’s ward and then we had a delicious meal afterwards.  Cassandra made us the most wonderful food while we were there!  I think my favorite was the turkey cooked in her crockpot.  We spent most of that Sunday just talking to Cassandra and Emerson and playing with Lily—just getting reacquainted. 

On Christmas Eve we went to “The Egg and I” to eat breakfast.  I think I already told you how delicious that was!  We also did some shopping.  Christmas eve night we did gifts from the heart which was really fun.  Jon joined us via Skype, and everyone enjoyed giving their gifts.  Lily’s gift to Dad was the promise of new pictures and videos to come that no one has seen yet.  Dad’s gift to Miriam was a promise to take her out to dinner, Miriam’s gift to Cassandra was a big notebook filled with Cassandra’s writings, drawings, awards, and photos from her childhood.  Cassandra’s gift to Jon was a promise to Skype him five times soon.  Jon’s gift to Katrina was a trip to the nickel arcade.  Katrina’s gift to Lily was a flower fairy abc book.  Emerson’s gift to Thomas was at trip to the game store to play board games.  My gift to Emerson was a pocket daddy survival kit, and Thomas’s gift to me was some cartoons he made about me being a mom.  They were pretty funny. 

Christmas at Cassandra and Emerson’s was so wonderful!  We got to watch Lily open her gifts which was so fun!  The gifts were few and well thought out and she loved them!  We played games visited more, and made dinner.  The highlight of the day was Skyping with you, Matt!  It was so good to see your face, hear your voice, and  wish you a Merry Christmas.  The time went way too fast, though.  Thanks for talking to us about the media we watch and having high standards.  It was a message I know we will all take to heart.  It was hard to say goodbye after 50 minutes, but I hope you had a nice time Skyping Jon.  While we were Skyping with you, the missionaries were over for dinner.  We didn’t plan on doing both at the same time, but it worked out okay because Emerson was very sweet and visited with the missionaries and fed them while we talked to you.  The missionaries understood, though, since they planned to visit with their own families right after dinner. 

The rest of the time went very quickly.  We shopped and visited and played more games and watched a movie.  I seem to remember eating lots and lots of ice cream, ha ha.  We left for home on Friday morning after Christmas and after staying over at the half-way point and visiting the canyon, we got home Saturday night.  

On Sunday we had some wonderful talks and lessons at church and I also had a meeting.  The highlight of Sunday was making New Year’s resolutions together as a family.  Some of my resolutions are to exercise daily, not eat sugar, and read the teachings of the prophets.  Do you have any resolutions, Matt? 

Today is New Year’s Eve and Dad and I have to chaperone at the regional New Year’s dance for the youth.  Dad is so looking forward to that.  JUST KIDDING!  He is so good to support me in my calling this way.  Also today, Dad and I are going to see Les Mis.  Yay!  I hope I can stay awake.  I’ve been having sleep issues lately and then when I can sleep, I do other things instead.

Well, Matt.  I hope you have a good New Year.  We have been praying for you guys, and  I know Heavenly Father will help you.  Have a wonderful week!

Dec 24--Dear Elder

Dear Elder,

Ho ho ho, Meeeery Christmasssss!  How are you, young man?  Santa tells us
that you’ve been naughty and have opened your Christmas package early.
Now what are you going to do?   Well, we will make sure you get some
pictures to look at, anyway, ha ha.  Are you having a nice Christmas Eve?
What are your plans?  I hope you can get out and Christmas carol or
something.  Remember to serve others.  They’ll never care about what you
know until they know that you care.  How are things going, by the way?
Like Dad said, we fasted for you and Elder Ruiz.  What is he like?  Tell
him “hi” and “Merry Christmas” for us.

It is early Christmas Eve here, and we haven’t left the hotel yet to join
Emerson, Cassandra, and Lily for breakfast at “The Egg and I.”  Everyone
told you how long and frightful the drive was, and I quite agree.  We
probably lost an hour because of bad navigating.  I guess they’ll have to
fire me, ha ha.  Yesterday we went to church with Emerson and Cassandra.
Emerson led the choir in singing Christmas Hymns, and the primary children
sang.  Emerson plays the organ in church.  It sounded wonderful.  I got to
go to Relief Society with Cassandra where we heard a wonderful lesson on
being a good Christian based on Elder Hale’s talk in the last General
Conference.  We had such a nice day at the house yesterday.  Cassandra
cooked us delicious meals, and Lily was so fun to play with.  I don’t
think the kids realized how much fun they would have with Lily.  It was
really nice to see.   At night we watched home movies of when you guys
were little.

Jonathan called last night.  He has today and tomorrow off which would
usually be a nice thing for Christmas, but I’m actually unhappy that he’s
not working because he will be alone anyway.  He picked up his presents last night and he’d
better not open then till tomorrow or someone’s in trouble, ha ha.
Tonight we plan to have a nice Christmas Eve dinner, and then tomorrow, we
will give each other gifts from the heart.  Santa’s gift to us this year
was our trip here, so gifts from the heart will be our gift giving
this Christmas.   BTW, last week was very nice.  We went to another of
Thomas and Katrina’s choir performances and we also heard Miriam sing with
her choir at Temple Square.  What a wonderful way to celebrate Christ’s

Matt, we got you a Skype account.  I am concerned
that if you can’t get on the internet, how are you going to download
Skype?  I hope it all works out.   We can’t wait to Skype with you!!!  Can you
give us a phone number in case Skype doesn’t work for some reason.  See
you tomorrow.  On Skype.  Yay!


Dec 17--Matt's Last Letter

Thomas, remember how I asked you to write more buddy? DO ITTTT!!!!!! haha,
but thank you for writing a letter about getting sabastian as a part in the
play, it'll be awesome! I know how bad migranes suck, and I'm sorry you got
one, Maybe it had to do with you being in call backs all day. Well, Tell me
about your Web comics and how it is going in the play and stuff! Love you!
Katrina: The cord that it is missing is the power cord, you could probably
type in ''Game Cube power cord'' into amazon and it would show up in the
search. I do dream in spanish and I do think in spanish a lot. Who is this
Character sitting next to you in the picture that mom sent?!?! Do I have to
come back there to Utah to kick some little kid's bum?!? haha, joking

Mom, you are going to have to make a skype account for me, because I'm not
allowed to get on to other sites only church sites. If you can't I will try
to have a member do it here. Have dad or jon or thomas help you if
you get swamped over your head.

Dad, Well, I hope that all goes well with the house. It is strange not
having Grandma here, but we will have her later. Don't worry about speaking
spanish, you know japanese, and that's like 20 times cooler, you can watch
animes without sub titles! I'm afraid that this letter won't be very
exciting, it was transfers today and so things are a little crazy and I'm
having a hard time focusing in right now, so I'm basically just writing
what ever comes to my mind and trying not to write in spanish. haha. Love
you too Dad!

Miriam, That sounds interesting, I have never heard of that (the hotel
thingy.) What Earth quake? well I guess that answers your question, there
is or was no earthquake here, and we haven't heard anything about it,
although we did learn about the shooting that happend in a school, we also
heard that Presedent Monson got to speak a few words about it. we did get
to go by the beach today, and it really is beautiful there. I'm sure that
you would love it, the water was a little bit brown because rain had run
down the streets into the sea and it carried a lot of dirt and stuff, but
it is peaceful.

hey, sorry for the shabby letter this week, I didn't sleep that much and my
mind is wandering a little bit because we have to plan a lot of things. I'm
getting a new companion, his name is Elder Ruiz, he has been here just a
little bit over a year in thie mission. That's all I know about him because
I haven't even seen him yet, he gets here at about 5:30.

I'm asking every single one of you to pray for me
and my companion Elder Ruiz, that we can have clear minds, focused in the
Lord and his work, that we can have the grit/audacity/courage to open our
mouths and preach the gosple to all people here. We aren't having a ''Hard time'' in the
mission, it's just that we have to turn more to the Lord than we ever had to actually help these
people. Sorry, for not sending pictures, I do have some to send though, I'll have to do it next