Monday, April 22, 2013

A Decision Has Been Made!

 Photo by angshaef

It's Official! She's a Husky! 

Monday, April 15, 2013

New Week

We are on our way home. New York was fun, as always, (but we always have shopping fails!).

The most important part was of course our visit to Fordham. We had such a fun day! We started out walking into the WRONG room but a friendly student guide asked if he could help us. He proceeded to walk us to the wrong building (didnt know there was a special breakfast for scholarship students), BUT, as we walked and talked and peppered him with questions, found out he was a 3:2 student!! Yep, Courtney has angels looking out for her. She was able to get a student's perspective on the program.

We walked back to the building we started in but found the right place. Met other prospective students on our table.

After, we visited the different dorms and were able to ask lots more questions of the super friendly girls hanging out in their room letting us all check it out! We got tons of good information from them!!

We walked over to the church for sacrament meeting. No YSAs in that ward. Super friendly missionaries though--so excited when a family all in pants walked in! Perhaps a bit disappointed when they realized we were already Dunked, but excited to talk with fellow Utahns.

Dan has forbidden Courtney to walk herself to church there; however, if she goes to Fordham. He wants her to take the train to Manhattan for the singles ward. In his words (while talking to marty on the phone who had called to see if he really had to go to church when we weren't there and thought we hadn't gone), "Yes we did! And we had to walk through a REALLY dangerous neighborhood in the Bronx to get there!!"

We then had a motivating pump-up talk by the president of Fordham. SO nice to be on the "we want YOU" side of things instead of the "please let us come" side.

Finally we had an info session where we were able to ask all our questions about engineering and the 3:2 program to the 2 deans. And after we sat outside to regroup and discuss we thought of more questions, and sent Dan back in as our ambassador to ask them.

By then we could have stayed for a student question and answer, but Courtney felt like most of her questions were answered and we were all exhausted.

As we waited for the train back home, we reflected on all we learned. In Courtney's words, "I love New York and I like Fordham."

We are looking forward to Washington next weekend and to see how that feels!!

Courtney doing Physics homework on the plane. That girl is ALWAYS doing homework!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Admit Weekend

We are on a plane headed to New York to spend a couple of days visiting Fordham. When we arrive we'll check into our hotel (The Trump! Yay! Dan treating his girls extra special this weekend!!) then head over to the Lincoln Center campus just to explore.
We go to Newsies tonight (much to Dan's chagrin --he'll be surprised when he actually recognizes songs from the Broadway kids cd that played ALL THE TIME when Courtney was 3!!). Last time we were in NYC visiting Fordham Courtney and I were disappointed we thought about going to Newsies too late.
(I'd take a picture of Courtney sleeping in Dan's first class seat but think the pilot sitting next to her might have me removed from the plane!)
Eric Clapton is even playing in concert tonight. Dan is REALLY dying!
Tomorrow we head to campus for a "scholar breakfast" for kids awarded academic scholarships and then large group speakers, panels, fairs, tours and possibly squeeze in a peak at the Bronx Ward.
Dan goes home Sunday night and Courtney and I stay through Monday so we can see the campus on a school day.
Next week is University of Washington. Both of these schools are great options for Courtney and we will be thrilled for her whereever she chooses to go. It will be fun to compare and see where she ends up!

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Come Listen To a Prophet's Voice

Between General Conference sessions today we watched a documentary on the explosive growth of missionaries since the announcement 6 months ago that the age would be lowered. 
We had just watched 2 hours of conference, but everyone was glued to the TV for the next hour. (There were even a few clips of fellow Olympus students talking about their calls.)
A Mighty Band of Youth

Beautiful. Riveting. Contagious. Thrilling. Motivating. Inspiring. Energizing.

Courtney has not felt compelled to serve a mission. 
She's felt instead her mission will be away at college.  
Let Your Light So Shine.

Marty has felt the contagious Spirit as well. 
He was always going on his mission right after high school since he'll be 19. 
But he's excited that everyone else will now be going too.
Strength in Numbers.

Beautiful. Riveting. Contagious. Thrilling. Motivating. Inspiring. Energizing.

65,000 missionaries and 25,000 more by the end of the summer!
Spreading the joy and happiness of Christ's love and our 
Father in Heaven's Plan of Salvation to people throughout the world 
is an exciting wave to be a part of!

But then I had another thought I felt impressed to share with my children:
Satan is not going to just sit back and let this happen.
He is going to look for cracks in our spiritual armor.

But Conference had several themes that can help us :
We are not expected to be perfect. 
We do have to build strong foundations.
We have to be vigilant in doing the simple things that strengthen our testimonies 
and remind us that we are children of a Heavenly Father who loves us--
pray, read the scriptures, keep the commandments -- all of them.

It's been an inspiring two days.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

The Days are Long But the Years are Short

I loved this poem written by  
(I included the background he gave for writing the poem.) 
I have a soft spot for those acknowledging wisdom 
that's been learned from many long years of life.

These Things I Know
by Boyd K. Packer
In 1992, having served 9 years as assistant to the 12 and 22 years as a member of the quorum of the 12, I reached the age of 68. I felt impressed to start what I called an “Unfinished Composition.”  The first part of that work goes like this:

I had a thought the other night,
a thought profound and deep.
It came when I was too worn down
too tired to go to sleep.
I’d had a very busy day and pondered on my fate.
The thought was this: When I was young, I wasn’t 68.

I could walk without a limp, I had no shoulder pain.
I could read a line through twice and quote it back again.
I could work for endless hours and hardly stop to breathe.
The things that now I cannot do I mastered then with ease.

If I could now turn back the years--if that were mine to choose--
I would not barter age for youth, I’d have too much to lose.
I’m quite content to move ahead to yield my youth, however grand.
The thing I’d lose if I went back is what I understand.

--10 years later I decided to add a few more lines to that poem.

Ten years have fallen to who knows where.
And with it much of pain.
A metal hip erased my limp. I walk quite straight again.
Another plate in my neck(?) holds fast
A wonderful creation. It backed my polio away.
I’ve joined the stiffnecked generation.
The signs of aging can be seen, those things will not get better.
The only thing that grows in strength in me is my forgetter.
You ask, “Do I remember you?”
Of course, you’re much the same.
But don’t go getting all upset if I can’t recall your name.

I would agree I’ve learned some things I did not want to know.
But each has brought those precious truths that make the Spirit grow.
Of all the blessings that have come, the best thing in my life
is the companionship and comfort I get from my dear wife.
Our children all have married well with families of their own.
With children and grandchildren, how soon they all have grown.

I have not changed my mind one bit about regaining youth.
We are meant to age for with it comes the knowledge of the truth.

You ask what will the future bring--just what will be my fate?
I’ll go along and not complain. Ask when I’m 88.

--And last year I added these lines:

And now you see I’m 88, the years have flown so fast.
I walked, I limped, I held a cane, and now I ride at last.
I take a nap now and again, but Priesthood Power remains.
For all the physical things I lack, there are great spiritual gains.

I’ve traveled the world a million miles and another million too.
With the help of satellites, my journeys are not through.

I now can say with all certainty that I know and love the Lord.
I can testify with them of old as I preach his Holy Word.
I know what he felt in Gethsemane is too much to comprehend.
I known he did it all for us--we have no greater friend.
I know that he will come anew with power and glory.
I know I will see him again at the end of my life story.
I’ll kneel before his wounded feet,
I’ll feel his spirit glow.
My whispering, quivering voice will say, “Oh Lord, My God, I know.”

Between sessions I dropped Nick off at a friend's house and ran to the garden store to replace a dead plant (the only one I own that gives NO leeway for forgetting to water. Once it's dry it's done for.)
As I drove past Olympus High, I snapped a photo of these guys snapping photos and remembering the "Old Olympus" before it gets torn down next week. A lot of people have been visiting to walk down memory lane. So many memories in high school. 

Courtney and friends snuck after school--while teachers were in a faculty meeting--and roller bladed down the halls. So proud!! (A couple of teachers saw them donning their blades and happily "looked the other way!" LOVE High School teachers!!)

After I got home I took a jog, albeit grudgingly -- started out "having to" more than "wanting to." But at the bottom of the hill I could smell blooming trees! Aaahh, love that smell! The apricot and magnolia blooms seem to last only a week -- so glad I didn't miss it.
Marty and Carter under the apricot tree.

Taught Nick to do a back flip on Thursday. He told me I was the best back flip teacher!

Friday, April 05, 2013

Spring Break

I had Spring Break #1 a few weeks ago when Nicholas' school had spring break. We went to Hawaii where Dan spoke at a conference but was only busy for a short time the first couple of days. We left Courtney and Marty home with cousin Ryan supervising. (They love him -- Awesome!) We took Chris out of school because by the 3rd child you realize missing a week of school isn't the end of the world -- especially if you think it's really important they have some time with you.)

Nicholas, Christopher and I swam and played. I read and they watched some TV. I also got them to read a little each day too. (So much easier without the older sibs -- don't ask me why. Courtney is always reading something for school on our trips and Marty reads really fast so he'll usually have a good book and read right through it.  Hmmm...)

We took a helicopter ride. We kayaked and snorkeled and even saw turtles. We saw lots of whales. We tried to kayak a second day to get closer to the whales, but they didn't show that morning. In fact, the water was so still it was like being on a lake. Amazing.

From the helicopter!

Spring Break #2 was this week when everyone else was out of school. We didn't make plans because we thought if Marty made the baseball team we'd better be here for practices and games. Also thought we might take Courtney on college visits.  

Courtney ended up going to St. George with friends. And then to Lake Powell. Marty made the team and had some practices and games but also spent a lot of time with big groups of friends rock climbing, going to movies, skateboarding, hanging out in the yard (they broke out the patio furniture and got the firepit going one night when the girls came over...), golfing and only some video games.

Christopher spent a lot of time on the trampoline, skiing, scootering back and forth to a friends house, playing in the yard, some video games, getting to go with friends to the movies one day, ropes course another and bowling another.
Setting up the new batting cage.
Nicholas was in school. But he came home and had easy homework because his teacher was sick so he got to play with friends much later than usual on a school night. (7:00...Oooohh!)

I got organized. I cleaned my desk. I paid bills. I cleaned drawers. I got some projects done. I hosted a birthday lunch for the ladies in Relief Society having a birthday in March and April. I made dinner for a friend with a new baby.  I made plans for our Europe trip. I stalked the college websites looking for the finite details of each one. I drove kids all over. I biked. I jogged. Yesterday night I even watched TV. It felt like summer -- without the chores and the practicing. (Even though we were still here, I decided we were technically on vacation.) But by today I wanted to BE somewhere ELSE. So I went shopping. I didn't exercise. I didn't even SHOWER! I just put on an outfit, bid the boys farewell--told them they should eat something and to call me if they went anywhere (easier with Nicholas in school) -- and headed to the outlets. Lovely.