Saturday, January 14, 2017

January 2017 New Year, Big Bear

For Christmas this year Ashley got a new bed. She wanted a bigger one, lower to the ground. 

 It was pretty much the only thing she got other than clothes but she was happy. Jeff kept saying "Why does the smallest one in the family need a big bed?" Ha ha

Unfortunately it didn't come until after the new year but finally we got it set up and put together. 

Jacob now has Ashley's old bed in his room. 

You'll love it Jacob ;)

Ashley and Cassidy and came with Jeff and I to Chad and Erin's wedding down by the beach. 

On the drive home Ashley and Cassidy wanted to try and find this dessert place called Dragon's Breath in the Irvine Spectrum Center. I guess they had a friend that had gone there earlier in the day and they wanted to try it out. 

After quite a hunt we finally found the place that sold it. We had to ask a lot of people and wander a number of places and it ended up being a kiosk in the middle of the place. I thought it was ice cream but basically it was colorful kix cereal balls in liquid Nitrogen that you dip in a milky sauce. It tasted like you were eating cereal. 

Not much of a dessert but it was more of a fun experience. 

(I saw another family throw their "dessert" away in disgust)

It was fun to see your breath when it wasn't cold outside but it will probably be a one time thing for us. 

Taylor having fun with Maddie.

So we planned a trip to Big Bear for the end of Christmas break but some of us needed water proof jackets for the cold, snow and rain. We have a lot of sweatshirt jackets because that's all you normally need so we had to go out shopping. 

I found one for Ashley and I ended up having to cut off more than the sleeve than I kept!

After all that she ended up wearing it once and then all last week when it rained here she didn't wear it at all. 

I am finding that its pretty common that I'll hem things for her and then she barely wears it or decides that she really doesn't like it. Sigh.

On our Big Bear trip we took Jolene with us. Her and Ashley were sick with colds but we loaded the van up with medicine, Kleenex's and Cough drops and were on our way. 

We were happy that there was snow in Big Bear but it wasn't fresh we started out at a snow tubing place where we knew the snow would be good. 

I had just as much fun as the kids (though I didn't climb up the stairs as much as they did)

Ashley wasn't feeling good so she was in the car with a headache, she was OK though because she knew we would only be there an hour and she had already been there a few times before. 

Jolene seemed to like it and we have a lot of videos of her squealing as she slid down the hill. 

After tubing we continued driving up the mountain. Beautiful view.

We got stuck in traffic and there was a rock slide that they were clearing so we took the time to turn off and enjoy the view. 

Visiting the visitor's center when we got to Big pick up a bunch of brochures... 

and be silly.

Stopping for lunch...Taylor asked "does this french fry look like it's flipping me off?"

Well now that you mention it...

We got a tip that there was an old ski run that is good for sledding. We found it and it was pretty icy and bumpy and much more overgrown than the last time that Jeff visited but we still had fun. 

Ashley tried out the snow scooter that Jeff got. I wasn't sure how it would work but Ashley ended up being pretty good on it. 

Fun sledding in the had to be careful not to run into bushes, rocks or other people. 

While we waited for an hour to be able to get a table at the restaurant we wandered the village and did some shopping. 

Taylor spent some time in a music shop playing their keyboard. I was getting a kick out of all the vintage old records there. 

Ashley found a hat she liked from south America and eventually our table was ready. 

We were outside on the heated porch. One side of me was warm and the other was cold. 

The next day we woke up to we went bowling for a couple of hours. 

I realized I am way out of practice when it comes to bowling and Taylor has gotten better since he has been going to college bowling night. He actually got a 165 which was his best game so far. The rest of us never broke 100. 

 The rain had stopped by now so we headed over to ride on the Alpine Slide. 

Riding up the ski lift after a 1/2 hour or so wait in line. 

Lots of fun. We had tickets for another ride but we thought we'd come back in the evening when the lines died down. We found out later that it closed earlier than we thought so we'll just have to go back another time. 

We drove over to the Discovery Center to check it out.

Before we left the kids decided to do a coloring page.

Before the sun set we found another good place for sledding. It was an open field that was for sale but there were tons of people sledding there. 

The snow was softer today (maybe because of the rain and it was warmer) it was perfect sledding weather. The funny thing was there was no parking signs everywhere and at one point right after we got there the police came and started giving tickets. You should have seen the hill clear out!

Jeff ran and moved our car before we got a ticket, and then the crowds thinned out. 

Our last night there and we had the best food at a local place called Teddy Bears. 

The upside was the food was good. 

The downside was it was cash only and there was an hour wait again. 

But it gave us time to check out more is Taylor trying on the Santa Crochet hat. 

The next morning we went to church and then packed up to come home. 

The drive down took 2 1/2 didn't help that all these people were parked on the side of the road illegally to play in the patchy snow. The road was blocked and narrow with all the cars. 

The bad thing was that people left trash everywhere! Broken sleds, food wrappers, cans, bottles and all kinds of junk everywhere, even if there was a trash nearby. Sad!! 

Saying goodbye to Big Bear and back to the reality of school and work...

I realized that this picture looks like one of those optical illusions....I have one giant hairy arm. Thanks Taylor.

And news from Jacob...

January 2nd 2017

Hello Family!

Happy New Year!, I do have the same companion! This was a huge transfer though, it was the biggest and strangest one with this president, that’s at least what the other missionaries said, but i trust president that its right. As For us in Salisbury, the people here are great! Almost everyone who accepts lessons with us, accepts the baptismal invitation, which is great! But they’re very wishy washy in the south, Its Crazy! Like a miracle will happen, they’ll say, "you came at the perfect time!" and they’ll think it was so amazing that we came as soon as they needed us, but a few lessons later they change their mind, so the lesson in this, miracles don’t make conversion. 

Also! I got to drive for the first time last week! It was kind of scary, since it’s been so long, but it’s easy here compared to Cali. And I got to drive today, and I get to drive far tomorrow! We have to drive an hour away, drop off my companion for MLC with the zone leaders, then I pick up two other guys whose companions are also going to mlc, then driving them all day! It’ll be so much fun! I haven’t seen Greggy since Christmas, but hopefully we'll be together soon!

There have been some rough times lately, but now it’s more of other people canceling, or stuff i cant control, which is better than before. Cuz its hard for me to get discouraged, especially if its not something I’m doing. So I’ve been trying to help my comp through the rough time with the investigators.

I will say though, that I have made some resolutions, and lets just say, I’m gonna be buff by the end of this year! I love ya'll so much!!

-Elder Beaulieu 

Here is a picture of Jacob at an appointment singing with his companion. 

Here is an excerpt from the letter from the Ward Mission President's wife who told us about that night. 

"Also, tonight we had dinner with the elders at a part-member families home.  The wife is a member and the husband is not.  They were one of the families that we went caroling to right before Christmas and this is the first time that they have had the elders over for dinner.  They also invited my husband and I over since we have become friends with the wife. The husband told me tonight how much it meant to him that we came and sang to them that night.  I think that might have been the first step to opening his heart.  Tonight, the elders sang the song Hallelujah while the wife played the guitar and I got a couple of pictures of them doing that.  It was a really nice evening and we along with the elders are going to be praying that Lewis Brendle might be receptive to letting the elders teach him about the gospel.


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

December and Christmas

Christmas is here and after hosting Thanksgiving we had to recover for a few days before we pulled out the decorations.

Jeff wasn't a huge fan of our Christmas tree so we were walking through Sears during black Friday and found one we liked at Sears. We bought it and bought the decorations that were similar to the ones on the display. 

He was laughing at me for setting up the old one in our family room with all the kids old pictures and ornaments. 

Christmas isn't the same with a family member missing. There are times that I miss him and this is one of them. 

I was looking as his plaque in the hallway at church...

His plaque and Greg's plaques are right next to each other and they are both out in the mission together. 

They were able to see each other at their Mission zone Christmas Party (I will include it at the end) and I was glad that they were able to remind each other some of home during the Christmas season. 

Some of our Christmas celebrations...

Ashley at a reenactment of the last supper in seminary (the real reason for Christmas)

I am so grateful for a seminary teacher that goes above and beyond for her students and shows her love for them all the time. 

Jeff and I enjoyed a Christmas concert with Steve and Tahna, Mom and Dale. We always try and do some sort of Christmas performance together during Christmas and Steve picked a good one this year. We look forward to going back next year!

Taylor and I had an experience where we got to help at a Hud housing project for elderly and disabled adults at their holiday breakfast. 

Taylor provided the music and I donated some items and helped set up and put on the breakfast. 

Everyone was super nice, and the residents were appreciative. 
I was so happy we did it. 

It was our favorite service project during the Christmas season!

The missionaries were also there helping and I lined them all up to take a picture and made them give me their families contact info so I could send the picture to them. 

One Elder looked at me funny and I said "You might not think it's a big deal but trust me you're families will appreciate it" He then looked sheepish and said his mom has been asking him for more pictures.


I know because I'm always begging Jacob for some pictures. 

Ashley did a performance at the Winter Cheer show this year. 

It was a lot of fun to watch them perform and see all the other students do a great job in their performances. Great job guys!

For mutual one night I helped the young women make and deliver tomato cage Christmas trees. It was a new thing I did this year. Instead of getting out someones decorations and putting them up we brought a little tree to them along with cookies. Everyone we visited liked it and it was a great night. 

One night we decided to go down to the Mission Inn to see the lights. I think it's been a couple of years since we've gone. 

Of course we got the donuts we always like to get and enjoyed the lights together. 

Jeff and I and Steve and Tahna got to go to a David Archuleta and Nathan Pecheco Christmas concert a few days before Christmas. 

It was a last minute thing but ended up being a great night that we really enjoyed. 

We had seats way in the back but someone moved to sit with friends and offered us their good seats right before it was starting. 


They both did an amazing job!!

I got to bring stuff to donate and help with the cheer and pom Christmas party/breakfast at the school. It's fun that Ashley has good friends in there with her. 

All the mascots minus one.

Kate and Ashlyn

In one of the classes that I substitute for regularly there is a requirement for volunteer hours. 

Knowing that the deadline for the semester was coming up soon I shared some of the project ideas on justserve with the class. I brought a few supplies in and some instructions for the cards for hospitalized kids and the students ended up making over 100 cards for it!

Christmas Eve we had the Oleson's over for dinner, games and a last minute cousin white elephant gift exchange. Dinner was good, the games were fun and the the white elephant exchange was so funny. 

The winner was Taylor with ultra creepy vintage Santa Baby. It was so creepy all we could do was laugh. I'm going to have to step up my white elephant game and we'll have to do it again. So hilarious.

We also exchanged real gifts. Thanks Joel and Virginia!

After everyone left and we prepared for Christmas morning...Jacob's flat, empty stocking was that evidence that wasn't here. 

We are excited to be able to talk to him on Christmas Day.

Christmas morning came and we didn't open presents until about 9. 

The joys of having older kids 

As soon as we opened them we all got ready for church and raced down to the building. 

Church was only for an hour and it was full of musical numbers and shorter talks. I like it!

We came home and packed up to head up to Palmdale for Christmas with Jeff's family at Kenny's house. 

We looked at the traffic on our route and realized that our drive would be over 2 hours and we were late!

While we were driving Jacob's facetime call came through. It took him a little bit to settle down because he kept bringing the phone to people in the house to introduce us to them. Once he sat down we got to talk to him. 

Once we got to Kenny's house the rest of the family got to talk to Jacob. 

He talked about his future plans which I said he could worry about when he gets back. 

He told us he got a tricycle from someone at a white elephant party and was riding around a neighborhood with it while tracting. Oh my Jacob. He still has his personality. 

He tried to talk one-on-one with Taylor but kept getting interrupted. I kept moving from room to room to talk with Jacob and be able to hear him and eventually went into the backyard before it was time to go. 

I look forward to talking with him in May. He's doing great so far and we are so proud of him. 

Meanwhile back at the party. 

Kenny was nice enough to open up his house for all of us. 

Wall to wall family

I'm sure their house seemed quieter once we all left. 

Thanks Kenny for hosting. 

Instead of driving all the way back home and then back out to Camarillo the next morning to see my side of the family we decided last minute to just go straight out to Angelas. The traffic was bad on our drive out and we thought it made more sense to go there since we were already 1/2 way there. 

Luckily Angela and Robert were OK with us coming. 

Ashley was in heaven because she got to hold Paisley. 

Angela had her a week before Christmas. What a cutie!

We had fun hanging out with Angela and Robert and Joel and Virginia and left the next afternoon. 

Love those little toes.

Well look forward to seeing her at her baby blessing next month!

Some of Jacob's letter for December

December 6th 2016

Hello Mom/ Family!
Thats so cool that the ward mission leader said good things about me! He's a really nice guy and im excited to get to spend Christmas with him and his family! And thank you for sending the brownie recipe! I just got the stuff today to make it, and im going to impress my district with my amazing cooking skills. There's so much to tell ya'll so ill just split it up to make it easier for me

Diet: I have gained a couple pounds, but today when we went shopping i bought a bunch of healthy food! Hopefully all my clothes will still fit by the end of the mission lol. Its not really the personal eating, but the members dinners are usually not the healthiest.

Members: They are so nice! And im pretty sure they really like me! Ive got a few comments from the youth saying that im cooler than other missionaries so that was touching. Its really nice too, because even though its a small ward, we get fed at least 4 days of the week, most of the time more. And southern cooking is so good! It has so much more flavor, but it is not too healthy. You know how in europe there was almost no handicap people, how it was a rare thing? Its the opposite here, there are so many overweight people but their so nice!

Random People: So ive been though to be someone else many times so far. People always ask me if i went to their high school, and a few thought i was on TV, and they would not take no for an answer :P. Their usually really nice, not too rude when knocking doors or anything, but a lot of them really like saying hi to me, so it makes for good missionary opportunities! We met a random guy at like 8:57, who listened to us, he was kinda crazy, and he tried to give me money, so i can have you guys send me some special beer from cali to give to him, and it was funny because he really liked me, but not my companion. And the next day, we had a drunk guy invite us in, which we went in because his wife is a potential investigator. And he really liked me, but not my companion, but he kept putting his arm around me and hugging me, and now my jacket smells like booze.

Investigators:  So the two that ive baptized, or was there, was David and Cynthia. Then we have two more that are on date. One on Christmas eve, we thought he was a transgender at first, but now were pretty sure hes not. Then a convicted felon on the 14th of January. But its so cool how willing these people are to change their lives. We've had some other solid investigators, but its hard when they dont ever want to make set appointments, so you can never catch them home. But i really hope i dont get transferred so i can see these people get baptized!

Companion: My new companion is great! Hes a hard worker, and thats all i wanted in a companion! But hes super fun and we get along great. Our personalities are pretty opposite in a way, like im more blue and white (motivated by people and peace) and hes more red and yellow (power and fun). If that doesnt make to much sense, thats ok, but ive really found as long as were working hard, all day, then anything else about the companion doesnt annoy me. It was just, my last companion was a cool guy, but he slept all day, we worked about 2-3 hours a day when we have like 10, and nothing came from it. But as we are doing all that we are supposed to, weve seen great results, and weve been blessed in so many ways! I dont want to sound negative, but i could not stand another transfer with my last companion so im so glad to have gotten this one!

After Mission: I know i probably shouldnt be thinking about this so soon, and i dont want you to think im not focused on the work, but i just wanted to tell you some opportunities that came up. So far, i have a couple ideas, one missionary ive gotten real close to, his mom loves me just from the emails and pictures. And weve planned that i could maybe go up to Utah with him and live there, and then go to college together at Utah State. He already asked his parents and they said yes, so its nothing definate, but i just wanted to warn you now. Cuz im planning on probably getting out of Cali soon after the mish, nothing against you guys! I just dont want to fall back into old habits, and ill be ready to get my life going! Again, nothing for sure, i just wanted ya'll to know what i was thinking so if i leave home a little after my mission you wont be too surprised.

The Spiritual side of things: Ive really seen myself grow a lot spiritually in this last transfer, and ive seen different articles and different missionaries have told me how to be a missionary that has the mission really affect you. Not just be a good experience, but completely change who you are. Thats my biggest thing, is i want to learn and change and grow, and i know its gonna be hard, but im ready! Ive learned the best way to do that is not just doing what im supposed to because im told. Doing that will still be able to change others, but not so much myself. Its only by giving your heart and mind to the work as well that youll see the real change occur. Thats why i try and stay optimistic all the time and by doing that ive found real joy in doing this work!

I love you all so much! And today was amazing! We had district activity at the lake again, and this family has like 500 acres of land! And we rode on 4 wheelers through it and it was awesome! The pictures were us on this old 30 foot platform that was rocking back and forth while we were up there. The one dabbing is my companion, that one was for you lil sis. And i was kinda hanging off of it. You would probably not have approved of that if you were there ma lol. And it was a lot higher than it looks! 

December 12, 2016

Hello Family! 

This week has been absolutely amazing! We have been working so hard and we’ve seen so much success! I was kinda discouraged cuz u thought we didn’t do as good as I wanted, but we did amazing! Like we found like 5 investigators this week! The black people here love short people! It’s so much fun! It’s so hard to put everything that happened down, but ever since i got a new companion so much has happened! Investigator wise, we found people in ways that we were lead exactly to. Its pretty crazy how perfect it is when finding some of these people that are ready! I kind of have to keep this short since P-day is almost over, and we had a zone activity (which ill send you pictures of next week). 
 First off, something special that happened this week, was we went on exchanges with the zone leaders. I was with this short guy, not like dwarf short but still short, and he is really smart! We had a packed day of all set appointments, and we found someone who was really ready to hear the gospel. He also is really into deep doctrine. So I have a challenge for Taylor, I want you to explain to me what Revelations 12 and 13 mean, and it’s really deep so it might take a lot of studying. It was really confusing at first but he explained every verse and i was all like waaaaaa. And then he said that wasn’t even that deep so there’s still so much I’m learning! This gospel is so great because I am always learning! 

 I know this is short but i promise I’ll write a longer one next week! 

December 19, 2016

Hello Family!

I have not yet received the package yet, but I’m looking forward to it! I can’t believe it's Christmas already! It feels like just a couple weeks ago i was in the MTC! I might not talk as much in this email, since ill talk to yall on Sunday. But there is still a lot to say just not enough time to say it! Ill just say, this has been the best 3 months! Not exactly the most fun or exciting, but I’ve definitely grown so much since i came on the mish. Ive learned so much in the scriptures that i never knew before. We just got done reading the book of Mormon as a mission, and i think that’s the first time i really read it, like not just skimming through it, and there’s some deep stuff in it! So I will give yall a challenge, and ill do it with you. I want to read it again, since i feel like theres so much stuff i missed, but i want yall to read it too. Starting at new years, i want each of you personally to read the book of Mormon and finish it by Easter. It would take reading 5 pages a day, so it wouldn’t be that hard. But i really want yall to really take this seriously, just cuz  know my testimony has grown a lot since i read it, and i know it can strengthen yours. Another idea! At family home evening, since your all reading personally, then you can have discussions on what you read or something, just so everyone can stay on top of it! I look forward to hearing from yall soon! Merry Christmas!
-Elder Beaulieu

P.S. Ma, i heard you made a new friend with someone in the ward! Did she send you our Santa pictures? We just had that idea at dinner there so idk how we came up with those costumes so fast

December 23rd 2016

Here is an email I received from Wanda Stevens. She is the Ward Mission leader’s wife and hosted the elders at her house on Christmas day.

Hi Christine!!  Just wanted to send you a picture from last night.  This is the elders with all my kids.  When we got back to the house last night, I had several homemade goodies set out on the table for everyone.  Elder Grieve went immediately to the brownies I had made and excitedly asked me if they were "blondies".  I said that they were coconut pecan brownies.  I wish so much you could have seen the look on Elder Beaulieu's face!!  Just complete surprise and shock that I had made his favorite brownie but he just thought it was an amazing coincidence!!  I had to tell him that I got the recipe from you!!  Apparently, he tried to make them himself the other day and burned them!  Lol.  So both him and Elder Grieve were so excited to get non burned coconut pecan brownies!!!!  I sent them home with an entire plate of them and I'll bet they are already gone!!!  Haha.

December 26th 2016

Hello family again! 

It was so great talking to ya'll yesterday! I hope Christmas went well, and I’m glad to see all is well at home! Not much has changed since yesterday, so I don’t really know what to write since I’ve kept you caught up so far, so this may be a shorter email. One thing i was going to start doing was keeping a blog, and I wanted to send like group emails, and have ma put them on the blog. Because if we do a blog it has to be about spiritual stuff, not just how the week was, but you can keep one of my compiled group emails, which I’ll start doing again next week! I love yall so much and if there’s anything I can do to help, even though I’m out here, just ask! Have a great week!

-Elder Beaulieu

An excerpt from Greg Montandon’s email….which told about their zone Christmas party and included pictures!

December 26th 2016

“Wednesday we had the zone Christmas party and I got to see JACOB it was soooo cool when i saw him i dropped my stuff and ran and hugged him and we pretty much ditched our companions and went on an exchange for the entire day I missed the guy it was really fun catching up and the party was really cool and i gave a short powerful statement in front of like 200 people and then Jacob did a piano solo and killed it!! it was so nice! we represented riverside and we killed it ahaha”

Elder Montandon