Sunday, February 22, 2015

Youth Conference 2015

This year Jeff and I were asked to be youth conference parents. Its been a few years since we've done it and we were happy to do it. It was a fun, spiritual and exhausting 3 days!

We were split into missionary districts this year and the themes was missionaries.

We were Italy. Here we are making our Italian flag and coming up with our cheer.  Someone threw a piece of pizza on our table since they thought it would be a good decoration for the boys are tracing it on our flag.

Our cheer was "Viva Italia" we kept it simple ;)

In our family we had Eliza Kent, Hannah Meza, Michael Pettit, Brayden Bagley, Christopher Ibarra, Addie Naegle, Jocelyn Ruilova, Haliegh Anderson, and Reed Contreras.

They are were all wonderful youth and we felt blessed to have them in our family!!

It was also fun to be there with Jacob while he was enjoying his family. He made me laugh more than once!

The first activity after a fireside was skating at Roller City 2001.

Jacob attempted the limbo game...

On his last turn he ended up jumping over the bar.

All the spectators...

At the end of the night Addie ended up twisting her ankle pretty bad :(

She went home that night and was doctored up by her dad who also happens to be a podiatrist! She was back the next day to join our family on crutches and a soft cast and a good attitude despite being crippled!

The next morning getting up at 6:00 was rough. We didn't get to bed until 1:30 or 2:00 the night before. I felt like I had a nap rather than a nights sleep. Our first activity was cross fit. 

We were learning that if you wanted to be a missionary you have to wax strong physically. 

It helped us wake up and get going...

But in the end we were worn out!

So the next activity was going as a family back to our home neighborhoods to do a service scavenger hunt. We trimmed some bushes...

and pulled weeds

for a very grateful homeowner. She even took pictures to brag to her husband that we came over.

At the next house we picked fruit...

and cleaned out a fountain.

The last house they pulled weeks and cleaned up a yard. The trash can was full but it didn't make much of a dent in what needed to be done. 

After sitting for a few minutes to eat lunch we ran by the car wash for their final acts of service.

Back at the church waiting for rotations to start. Some of us wouldn't have minded a nap. 

At the rotations we learned about ironing, sewing on a button, talking to people and fixing bikes. 

Jeff showing how to replace an inter tube. 

Next a game of Simon says..(I sat this one out)

Our last rotation was a cooking class with some yummy samples. After a good dinner we made mormon ads. We had about 1/2 hour to plan, film, edit and upload our videos. Crazy insane. We came up with something a little silly and enjoyed everyone else's. Some of them were really funny, had a twist or were creative. I was impressed that everyone got them done and had them ready so quick. 

We then had a great fireside from Elder Packard.

At the dance they had a chocolate fountain, some liked the dancing inside, some like the ping pong table outside, and some were just hanging out in the foyer (like me) I was ready for bed.

The last 10 minutes of the dance we skipped out and went to Dairy Queen on the way home. 

Once we got there we realized we left one of our kids at the dance (we both thought he was in each other's car!)  Jeff went back to get him and brought him back right before placed closed!

After the dance we had a devotional where we had a spiritual thought, Jeff shared some of his Italy mission stories and we played a couple of games. We got to bed at midnight and were a little more prepared for the next day with a bit more sleep.

The morning started off at the Riverside national cemetery.   

We heard a speaker, Brother Plocher, tell us about his father who was shot down over Germany, put in a prison camp and considered a hero. His story was incredible and his pictures helped us picture it. It was a great way to feel connected to the service we were going to be doing. 

We were taking pictures of the graves for the billiongraves website. Its a website dedicated to documenting the grave stones at cemeteries and connecting them with information that can help geneologists.

A lot of the graves were covered in grass so Jeff ran home to grab some brooms to clean them. (Jacob's  group had to clean off duck poop so ours wasn't so bad)

Afterwards we went to the church and ate lunch then ran to the Stake Center and tried indexing some of the pictures we uploaded. We uploaded 1200 pictures...we indexed 7. 

So a project for another day ;)

After more classes, activities and dinner we had a testimony meeting. It was great to hear the testimonies of the youth. Almost all of our "kids" got up. Jacob gave a great one too! 

Jeff and I had a great time and enjoyed experiencing it with a great group of youth!!

Some of the spiritual things I learned during the week...

*  If you have the desire you are called to the work. If your heart is open and you are willing the Lord can use you for good.

* What you learned and do earlier in your life can end up helping you in ways you can never imagine later in your life. So keep learning, growing and being open to the opportunities that come to you.

* Looking sharp...wear a smile, people can see the Holy Ghost radiate in your eyes. Distractions are detractions.

* Elder Packard - "I won't preach to you. You are here on your break when you could be doing other things. You are good!"  Have patience, never give up, be directed by the Lord and open your mind to the Lord's impressions. 

* True doctrine understood changes behavior. 

* What is an apple? What you think an apple is might be different to other people. Respect and love people in all their differences. Get to know them for them, and love them.  

Monday, February 16, 2015

New Beginnings, Happy 20th and Monster Jam

So this is what happens when Ashley and her friend Kate borrow my phone...I get lots of pictures

Some of nature

the dog...

Our yard, each other, the phone is full of them.

I suppose this has become our cat. It would come and meow and want attention, one day Ashley gave it some dog food and now we have a cat. 

Ashley's friend's party at the park. 

I think an afterschool party at the park is actually a good idea, no housecleaning involved!

Jeff celebrated 20 years at New York Life recently!

To celebrate his office put on a nice luncheon. His mom and brother came...

Brian drove up from Orange County to be there...

The office staff and Daren Gunnell.

People told stories about Jeff, told him nice things.

I heard stories that I hadn't heard before and some that I had heard from someone else's perspective. It was a great luncheon.

People were so nice we joked that it was like attending your own funeral.  You deserve it Jeff :)

At the end of January we held our New Beginnings night. 

We did a nautical theme to go with the new mutual theme.

Decorating the room was almost as much fun as the program...

Had a lot of help from my presidency. We loved the fruit table along with the pineapple palm tree.

The nautical licorice knots were a complete Pinterest fail.

The night was a success...

and the girls seemed to have fun...

Especially some of the girls that will be coming up this year. They can't wait!

We gave out these necklaces that night and I've seen some of the girls wearing them...

this is what it said on the back. 

We were invited to a superbowl party this year. Great food and a fun time talking to friends (I only watch a little of the actual game :)   Jeff making new friends. He's the best babysitter.

I was reading a magazine and found a quote that I loved. My new motto...

"Creative clutter is better than tidy idleness" 

This is my back counter and luckily Jeff turns a blind eye to my projects. 

Some of the results of the clutter. We made a dress for Ashley that she's been dreaming up for a long time. We bought the material and she told me what she wanted but I didn't have a pattern. So I kind of went off a pj shirt pattern and had to cut it way down for size and made the skirt and made it work. She was happy with it and it looks like it was made just for her (which it was, ha ha).

I also made some valentine hair things...

I posted the picture on facebook and actually sold a few, ha ha.

So Jacob has been planning to ask Nicole to Mormal for awhile. He already pre-asked her so he knew she would say yes. She's in his seminary class and was thinking of grand schemes to ask her including fireworks, boys dressed in suits and multiple locations...we told him to keep it simple. 

So what we came up with was a giant cookie in a box with a scripture reference...Jacob 2:28 (which is the date of the dance)

He doctored up the scriptures...

added balloons...

and had Jeff put on Taylor's pizza delivery shirt and delivered it to their seminary class. 

She was happy and her friends took a video of it. 

I'm sure they'll have a great time :)

This was our volleyball mutual night. Jeff did it a couple of weeks before and the boys were super competitive...

the girls not so much. They pretty much played jumble ball and just hit it back and forth without points or playing by the rules. 

They didn't seem to mind though and it was still fun.

The next night I went to watch Jacob mascot the basketball game at King. 

It was fun watching him and fun watching the game.

I'm glad I went because it ended up being the last home game so he's done for the year. 

After the game some of the kids had fun chasing the "little wolf" he had to escape so he could change and go home.

For 3 days I played Kindergarten teacher for a friend. This is her class. We sent her a get well picture and I had 3 very busy, tiring but fun days. 

She has been teaching for a long time so she has lots of resources and fun things for centers and is how I remember my Kindergarten class being. 

The last day we got to watch the school production of the Wizard of Oz. They did a wonderful job with great costumes and props and even great singing. 

One of the students sitting next to me said 
"I like this! It's like watching TV...but it's up close....and it's real!"

That weekend we met Angela and Robert in Anaheim to watch the Monster Jam.

None of the kids wanted to come so it was just us. 

Ian's favorite car was this one. It looked like a dog and had a wagging tail and a tongue that came in and out. 

Our seats were up high and we still had to have ear plugs the whole time. 

I had never been before. It was a fun night and a great way to hang out with my sister and her family.

Finally I'm ending with a flashback picture that Mary Ann showed me of Taylor way back when he was in the road show as a munchkin complete with red tights, big lollypop and spiky hair. Ha ha.