Monday, January 29, 2018

January 2018 a New Year and a trip to Big Bear

New Years Eve this year was spent playing games and counting down at Steve and Tahna's house. It's always fun to do game nights with family.

The next weekend we did a two day trip to Big Bear before everyone headed back to school and work.  There wasn't any snow at Big Bear except for where they had made it since it hadn't snowed yet that season. We still got some snow play in but we had to wait until the evening because it was so hot in the day it was mush and the tubes wouldn't go down fast enough. 

Luckily we went to one that had a moving sidewalk. 

Ashley was just starting to get the flu she was happy to not walk very much. 

Inside they had hot chocolate and this machine that would make cotton candy instantly for you 
(Dean liked that)

Earlier that evening we had enjoyed looking at some of the eclectic shops in town and eating dinner. Ashley found a friend just her size.

The next day we headed to Arrowhead where Joel and Virginia were staying to see their resort. 

We left Ashley to relax in the room with Dean (still not feeling good) and we went on a walk to the Lake and the nearby village. 

After exploring we picked up the kids and ate a quick lunch and then went on a boat ride which is the only way a non-resident can have access to the lake. 

We got to hear about the history of the lake and see lots of famous people's houses. 

Like this one that belongs to Max Factor. Notice the long stairway looking thing. That is the track for the funicula getting people and things from the house to the lake. There were a lot of houses that had them. 

Dean liked that he got to take a turn piloting the boat. 

It was a nice way to end our Christmas break and spend time with family. 

Jacob's Update

January 1, 2018

Hello Family!
     O boy O boy it is cold outside! The weather has been below freezing (the highs) for a while now, and it is humid too, so it goes right through you! Hopefully we'll get a couple more snowfalls before spring. It is insane though that Christmas AND New Years has already passed! It was great to talk to ya'll, and it's weird to think that there's only one more call. But enough of that, I will update you on how things are!
    1. Elder Flint and I are doing great! We had to be the bad guy a couple times this past week, but it's getting easier. Not because we like to reprove people, but we know they have much more potential. We have a big two day meeting this Thursday/Friday, and then we're training on the same material the next week. We used to have zone meetings every month, led by the zone leaders, but when we got the schedule change, those were done with. However, this will be the first zone meeting in a while, so we are excited to train these missionaries.
    2. The 4 Elder apartment is doing great! We found out that one of the Elders has really ticklish feet, so his companion is now always tickling him. The other day, he was tickling him for 10 minutes straight, and he ended up releasing his bowel waste in his pants. 
    3. We had a couple exchanges this week. One of them was with the assistants and we were able to learn a lot. The mission is still in a big learning stage because we are still getting a lot of new material, and the assistant still was still confused sometimes on using some of the new things, so it's nice to know that not knowing exactly how to use things is ok. 
    4. The work here has been going really great as well! We have this one miracle story investigator who we've been meeting with for a while. It's very humbling to be a part of these people's conversion. It's definitely one of the best parts of the mission, is seeing people make these decisions to come closer to God. 

As for this week, it wasn't crazy eventful, but this next week I will have a lot to say after this meeting. I love ya'll so much and I’ll be keeping you in my prayers, especially you mom!

-Elder Beaulieu

January 8, 2018

   It's finally up into the 40's! Right now it's 44 and it feels so nice outside. North Carolina has gotten a huge cold spell for a little while now. Yesterday it got down to 5 degrees, plus Windchill plus humidity, so it felt like -10, so that was fun! No snow though :( But we should get icy rain today, where it rains, and the rain freezes. It is very nice to get some diverse weather. 
      So let me just tell you about my week. So Thursday we headed off to the big 2-day meeting in Charlotte. Brother Donaldson was there, from the missionary department, and he is a great man! The first thing he told us was that there was no longer going to be a new Preach My Gospel. Apparently the missionary department had the whole thing made and everything, and they brought it to the 12 and they said it was unnecessary, so we still have the original one! Which is super nice, because I’m still figuring that one out. 
      A lot of the training that we got was game changing, but I won’t bore you with all the details. One thing we're going to be pushing is Family History, bringing the spirit of Elijah into people’s homes. We also heard a statistic that they were keeping track of some investigators, and out of all of them who read the Book of Mormon with a member everyday for about 15 minutes, 100% were baptized. So if the missionaries ask you to do that, I would recommend it. 
      We learned a lot of doctrine and spiritual stuff, but i bet you want to hear the fun things. So After that meeting, we were sent off to spend the day with another companionship, making it a trio. I, of course, was with the two tallest missionaries. We were given one assignment, which was the hardest thing ive done, it was to observe. So many times missionaries are eager to talk and teach, and share all the doctrine, that they miss the things that really matter. To help us with that, we spent the whole night observing, and it was so hard not to say anything when the missionaries were missing so much. 
      At the end of the night, we got all back together in our little carpool, there was 2 other people we had to pick up, and we headed to another zone leaders apartment down in Charlotte. We didn't end up getting there until about 11:30, and it turned out, there heater wasn’t working. There was 8 of us in that apartment with no heater and half of us sleeping on the ground. Luckily, I was with one of the assistants and he brought tons of extra blankets, so i slept with 5 and was fine. I even got to wrestle one of the assistants that night, but he won, only because he weighs 45 lbs more than me. Sadly, we didn't up getting to bed until about 12:30 that night with all the craziness going on. The bad part, was at the meeting the next day, I was totally out of it. I was very lost in what was going on. I still learned a lot though. 

Overall, very eventful week, and the flu is spreading across the mission too! Hopefully, I wont get sick. Love you family! 

-Elder Beaulieu

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

December 2017

This month Ashley got to meet Grace VanderWaal with her cousins!

Ashley got to sit on Santa's lap at the LPA Christmas party (against her wishes)

Jeff played with the kids. 

And Ashley made a new friend. Jeff showed a few families Ashley's extensions on the car too. 

Ashley's Science project has been looming over our heads. I finally got her to start on it. 

She is investigating the best way to decontaminate water. 

She collected a bunch of untreated water in Sycamore Canyon. I'll tell you I know why they tell you to boil your water before you drink it when it's untreated! The next best thing was to use iodine tablets. 

This is how much bacteria grew on the untreated water...

and the water that was boiled!

We decided to put lights up on the house this year!

Ashley at her mutual Christmas Party. 

They had to make the best Christmas tree...guess which one is Ashley.

After working hard for and seeing limited success I got a payday. 

I was invited to a lunch where the Family Service Association was honoring  The Moreno Valley and Riverside Stake for all the service the missionaries gave last year. 

It was a great luncheon/luau and it was nice to be part of it. 

It was even nicer for the elders to see how their service has influenced and helped the community. 

One day Ashley and her friends decided that they wanted to make Gingerbread men. 

So they did. 

Ashley got "invited" to make these snowman dolls for a Young Women Value project and teach the other girls how to make them so they could pass them out when they caroled for Christmas. 

The payoff was delivering them. Charlie seemed to like it as well as the dozen or so other people they brought them to. 

The Bagley's hosted a Christmas Party /White Elephant gift exchange. The food was awesome and the games and the gift exchange was lots of fun. 

We got a bag of chips and a fish...."fish and chips"

Some were funny and some were practical but all of it was fun.

The weekend before Christmas we went up to Camarillo to celebrate Paisley's birthday and do our Hovey family Christmas gift exchange. 

We sang to Paisley and watched her eat her cupcake with blueberry whip cream frosting. 

For our outing that day we went to a local teaching zoo at a college. 

It wasn't too expensive and we even paid some more money to get a behind the scenes tour of the animals. 

The boys favorite part was the snow they brought in. 

Jeff's favorite part was teasing the lion....I wouldn't want to have him get out of his cage to meet us. 

Ashley and Taylor

We went to dinner and then came back to the house to open gifts. 
Our white elephant gift exchange might be our new tradition. Taylor got vintage mickey 

And I got a roll with Joel t-shirt and picture of Joel. (Ashley was excited about it). We had real gifts too. 

Since Paisley fell asleep early the night before we had her open her presents that next morning. 

We had to help her a bit to open them but then she liked them. 

We went to church with the family for sacrament meeting which was also a Christmas program and then drove into LA to visit Jeff's mom who was in the ICU. Cheri had been with her the last 3 days and she was glad that some family had come to visit with her. 

Jeff's mom has had quite the time recovering from her hip replacement surgery. We all took turns being with her at the hospital. The morning after we got back from Angela and Roberts I drove out to LA to be with Sharon. I spent the night and stayed with her the next day until the evening too. I helped where I could and just visited with her. While I was there she was told that her hip had popped out of socket and they were going to have to do surgery again. Not a fun thing to hear!

The family has really stepped up to help her this month. 

The morning after I got back I had to come up with an elf costume for Ashley's mascot suit for the Winter show that night. I got my sewing and craft skills flowing and figured it out with what I had around the house. 

Ashley said it was better than the outfit she had to wear last year so thats a good thing. 

Jeff came with me to watch her 3 performances that night. They did great. 

Ashley at her cheer Holiday Breakfast with the other mascots.

Christmas Day finally arrived! 

Since we were going to call Jacob so early in the morning and Taylor wanted to have Taylor Rose there she came for Christmas Eve and spent the night for Christmas Day celebrations. We had Joel and Virginia over for dinner and games and then the kids opened their traditional Christmas Eve jammies.  

The next morning we got up at 7 to start opening gifts before it was time to call Jacob. 

We had some gifts for Taylor Rose too. 

We didn't finish in time before it was time to call Jacob. It was a great Christmas present to talk to him. He's mellowed and seems to have matured in the last year. We are proud of him and the growth we've seen and the effort he's put into his mission. 

Later in the afternoon we had the family come over for our big family Christmas. We were sad to be missing Sarah, Perry and Jeff's mom but they were all helping with her since she was still in the hospital recovering from her hip replacement surgery. 

We all took turns sitting with her or visiting her as she's had a much more complicated and longer recovery than anyone anticipated. 

We moved to the front room to open all the presents from the family gift exchange

Games were a big hit and Taylor even got his girlfriend to play signs (not everyone likes being on the spot for that game, ha ha) she was a good sport. 

I had to add some pictures from Angela and Robert's trip to see our parents and Michelle and Reese. Wish we could've been there with them. I'm glad they got to go for a visit. 

Paisley adorable in her vintage snowsuit and the hat I gave her for Christmas. 

Grandparents and the Zook kids!

Two days after Christmas I had an attack of pain. I had something similar when I was back visiting my parents. This time is seemed worse and it got to the point that everything was going black like I was going to faint and I had to lay on the ground and call Jeff and tell him to come home and take me to the hospital. Once I got loaded up on enough pain medicine to get there they did tests and more tests and determined that I have endometriosis and chocolate cysts (they are filled with blood). Most likely a cyst burst both times causing the intense pain. They seemed like they were more worried that it was more than just that and I realized that they were suspecting it might be cancer. 

The next day I went to my OBGYN had more bloodwork done and an MRI. Long story short they are scheduling a hysterectomy in the next month or so and there is a chance it's ovarian cancer (about 20%) but they really won't know until they go in and see. 

Life has had to be put on hold and my student teaching was cancelled. Graduation and everything is being postponed until next year (I was 4 months away!)  It's been an emotional roller coaster but I'm happy we have a plan of action and I'm learning patience and how to ask for help when I need it. 

I was so glad that while all this was happening multiple friends were in town visiting. 

We got to go to a giant dinner with 60 or so people at Spaghetti Factory there to see the Stubbs family that was visiting from Texas. It was great to see all the friends that have moved away. 

Cindy Pendelton was in town and she came over for an impromptu visit with Penny Smith on the day of my multiple doctor's appointments and then scheduled lunch the next day with Sharla. It was just what I needed!

Then Sunday it was great to go to Rachel Hales homecoming and see more friends. 

I've been humbled by people that have offered support and prayers for me and I've definitely felt their effects and am grateful for them.