Sunday, March 1, 2015

They’re Not LEAVING You, They’re LEADING You

IMG_6373 Mom & Dad had original said they were going to leave really early Sunday morning, but the plans changed b/c the roads were icy, so they said they would leave between 8 – 9 am!  YAY!!! We all spent the night there again. For breakfast we wanted to have our special Texas shaped waffles that Dad makes. But, he was too busy loading the car so the torch of making the waffles got passed to Nate. So bittersweet!

P1120606 Our “last supper breakfast” w/ Papa & Mimi for the next 18 months.

P1120609 Saying good bye was so much harder than I thought it would be! I cried and cried and cried (hence my red and puffy eyes in this pic). It started when I hugged Dad good bye, and the flood gates really opened when I hugged Mom good bye. She’s my best friend and I will miss her so much.

P1120617 And just like that … 2 huge parts of our hearts and lives drove off to embark on a grand 18 month adventure! I posted this pic on Facebook & here are some of my favorite comments:

“They’re not LEAVING you, they’re LEADING you.”

“Seeing this made my heart sink. So happy for them, but sad for us. Lisa Marie, your Dad has more ‘kids’ and family than you will ever know. I am a better person and so blessed to know your Dad as a mentor, friend, and work ‘Dad.’ Will miss him so!”

IMG_6374We came home, got cleaned up, and got ready for church. I dropped Autumn off at our friend’s so I could go to ward council meeting. Sometimes I wish I didn’t have so many meetings, but they are always so uplifting and I’m always glad I am there. I get to serve with some incredible people. I started crying as soon as we started singing the sacrament hymn today. The line, “I have loved thee as they friend, with a love that cannot end” really touched my heart. He’s there for me and knows how I feel with my parent’s leaving.

P1120621After church we went over to Mom & Dad’s, which I guess I will now refer to as Nate & Riannon’s. We had dinner together and then relaxed and watched TV. When Nick came over after church a spontaneous wrestling session broke out, and even Olivia was in on the action and was making us laugh so hard. It was a nice evening, and I’m thankful for technology so Mom & Dad could text us pics of sights they saw on their drive, and so we could talk on the phone.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Papa & Mimi Are Now Official Full Time Missionaries

P1120589 We had so much fun this morning watching the birds out on the bird feeder. At one point we had 4 red cardinals sitting on the fence. They are so pretty against the stark white snow. We also watched a squirrel dig into the snow, find a nut, and carry it up the tree to its nest. We had a nice and relaxing morning.

IMG_6368 Last night we were supposed to have youth conference, and then again this morning. But due to the bad roads, it was cancelled. It was rescheduled for today at 1:00. I got cleaned up and headed over to the church. I LOVED seeing the gym full of good youth doing service. They had some kids tie fleece blankets to donate to a hospital, another group decorated brown paper bags for the Salvation Army to use when they distribute 600 lunches at their Dallas location each day, and the last group wrote notes of love & encouragement to missionaries & military members serving from our stake.

It was a great youth conference, and the Spirit there was incredibly strong in all the workshops and talks. I have to be honest and say I went w/ a bad attitude b/c I wanted to be home w/ my parents before they leave tomorrow. But, I knew that I needed to be there. One of my young women who’s very stand offish came walking in late and she was obviously upset and crying. There just “happened” to be a seat next to me b/c the lady that had been sitting by me moved over randomly about 30 seconds before this girl walked in! The young woman came and sat down next to me and let me put my arm around her and she put her head on my shoulder and cried. I figured I’d let her be the first one to pull away and to my utter surprise, she stayed like that for an hour, even after her crying had stopped! My arm even fell asleep, but I was not going to move it. It was a great and tender mercy. I knew in those moments why I had felt like I needed to be at youth conference.

P1120596 I left youth conference at 6:00 when they started dinner & then a dance, and went to Mom & Dad’s. We had tacos for dinner so Dad could use some of the homemade ketchup (it’s like sweet chili) that he found in the back of his closet that Grandma Johnson made. It was so delicious and brought back so many memories of Grandma Johnson. Curt & Mary & Jake came over to say good bye to Mom & Dad. It’s so bittersweet!

P1120604At 9:00 President Jones came over to talk to Mom & Dad and then set them apart as missionaries. It was a very sweet & spiritual experience. When I was putting Autumn to bed she said that Mimi’s setting apart was peaceful and Papa’s was powerful. I thought that was a perfect description.IMG_6386After Pres. Jones left, we were talking about the setting aparts and Nate read this to us. He said they used to read it while he was on his mission. It’s very powerful.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Snow & Sledding

IMG_6352 I dropped Autumn off at school this morning, went to work, and then it started to snow. It wasn’t icy sleet either, it was actual snow flurries. It started to accumulate, so my boss let me leave at noon. I’m so glad he let me leave early, b/c the roads were SCARY! There was a 30 car pile up on the freeway in the town just north of us! I drove home white knuckled the home time. I stopped at home to get some clothes for Autumn & I, and then I went over to Mom & Dad’s. They were busy packing, but took time out to Facetime Lexie’s family. They were going to come up after Andrew got out of school, but the roads were too bad so they aren’t going to come. We’re sad and they’re sad, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. I never cease to be amazed by technology and how we can see each other hundreds of miles away on little devices that we hold in our hands!

IMG_6354 There was about an hour while Dad was gone saying good bye to friends, Nate was at the police academy (they let them leave early b/c of the bad weather), and Riannon, Olivia, and Autumn were still at daycare. So, Mom & I took advantage of the quiet and got ourselves a bowl of this new ice cream (YUMMY) and sat on the couch and talked. I am going to miss her more than I even realize. She’s my best friend!

IMG_6357 Once everyone got home, we used a copycat recipe to make Olive Garden’s zuppa toscana soup. It was DELICIOUS and hit the spot, especially on such a cold and snowy day.

P1120549 Liz, Liberty & Jacob came over so we could sled down the hill in the back. We tried making a snowman like we did a few years ago, but the snow wouldn’t hold together. We had a BLAST sliding down the hill. This little yellow pool floatie worked the best and we used it more than the actual sled.

P1120541 We even tried these pool loungers. They worked if you held the front of them up, but as you can see Liz & Jacob wiped out!

P1120551 This was Olivia’s first time sledding and as you can see, she was NOT a big fan of it.

P1120565 Jacob on the other hand would go running down the hill, face plant into the snow, jump back up, laugh, and do it all over again!

P1120574 Good snow, good fun, good friends!

P1120582Icicles anyone??? Autumn & I spent the night at Mom & Dad’s b/c we wanted to spend more time w/ them and the roads were bad. I’m ready for spring!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Best Buds

IMG_6333 Today the weather was cold, but there wasn’t any freezing rain or snow to make driving wretched. Mom had me stop & get Papa John’s for dinner b/c her and Dad are still really jet lagged & she wasn’t up to cooking dinner. Britt was here saying good bye to Dad, so I had to get a pic of these best friends together. We were laughing while looking back at the pics b/c Jon is photo bombing them due to our family picture being on the wall behind them. LOL! I’m thankful that Dad & Britt are such close friends. They are good for each other!

IMG_6342 Autumn & I stayed a little bit later than usual tonight since it’s our last full evening w/ Papa & Mimi. We came home and I got her to bed, and then I started a fire in our gas fireplace just to make sure it still works b/c we never use it. I have to admit it was pretty to just sit and look at while I relaxed on the couch.

IMG_6346At about 9:00 I had a hankerin’ for some Texas sheet cake, and you “can’t deny a hankerin’” so I made some. I used to make this almost every week on my mission! This wasn’t my best tasting batch ever, even though I followed the recipe exactly. Oh, well … it hit the spot and now I’ll have a bunch to take in to work tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Welcome Home, Papa & Mimi!

texas closed The schools were trying to decide if they should be open today or not, b/c the forecast was showing freezing rain & snow starting at about 10:00 am. Our school district had regular start times, so Autumn & I got up and got ready. That was hard after having a 4 day long weekend thanks to being off Monday & Tuesday. I saw this on Facebook & it made me laugh. I know people in other parts of the country think us Texans are huge wimps, but it’s not SNOW. It’s ICE, which is a completely different thing to try and drive on. Anyways, we did get freezing rain & snow this morning. But then the sun came out around 1:00 and the temperature got above freezing.

IMG_6331I’m so glad we had good weather in the afternoon, b/c Mom & Dad got home from Germany today. Autumn & I couldn’t wait to go over to their house after work/school to see them. They even brought us some YUMMY German chocolate to enjoy. It was SO NICE to hang out w/ them tonight and not have to go to Young Women’s, b/c we have youth conference this weekend for YW. We’re glad they’re home safe & sound.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Star Wars Success

IMG_6316 I got up this morning and got some stuff done for work. It’s been SO NICE to work from home … too bad I can’t do this every day. Anyways, Autumn got up and we both got showered and cleaned up for the day b/c we were gross and stinky. We had breakfast and started watching Star Wars episodes 4-6. This is the most important/famous part of all 6 episodes I think. My favorite one is Episode 6 w/ the Ewoks and Jabba the Hut and that tender moment that Luke & Darth Vader share. We did it … we watched all 6 movies. I guess the force was with us! Lol.

IMG_6321 I made roast, potatoes, carrots & gravy for dinner. After we ate, we left to run some errands. We dropped off this “dating kit” to on of the Young Women who just turned 16. It has just a few cute things in it.

  • A box of “Goober” candy, b/c I don’t want them to date any goobers.
  • A flashlight for their key chain for lots of purposes.
  • Life savers & gum so they have good breath on their dates.
  • Chapstick because chapped lips are no good.
  • A mani/pedi kit to make sure their hands are soft and “holdable.”

IMG_6322 Autumn & I decided to stop at McDonald’s for dinner b/c we had a coupon. I have never seen that place so empty! There was only one other customer in there, and she was working on her laptop. Autumn had the whole entire kid’s area to herself. I think she liked Star Wars, b/c she had me do her hair like this so she could look like Princess Leia.

We got gas on the way home b/c we were down to 1/4 tank, did math homework, read a little bit, and then it was bedtime. The weather report said we’re supposed to get 2-4 inches of snow overnight!!! Maybe school will be cancelled again for a third day.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Ice, Ice Baby

IMG_6301 I’m really glad we decided to spend the night at Mom & Dad’s house last night, b/c this is what the weather map looked like this morning. It’s pretty colors, but it means that we had a “winter mix” of freezing rain & sleet. I was able to work from home since Mom & Dad have the internet. I went back to sleep, and woke up at 8:30.

IMG_6303 I know that a lot of people laugh at us Texans and think that we’re lame b/c everything shuts down over a little bad weather. But, as Autumn found out … this is NOT snow. It’s a small skiff of snow on top of a thick layer of ice! It’s almost impossible to drive on, and the news this morning was full of people who tried and were in accidents.

IMG_6308 We spent the day doing this huge M&M puzzle, and it was double sided which made it more difficult. We watched Knight’s Tale, had some yummy soup for lunch, and tried to stay warm since the high today was below freezing!

IMG_6315Autumn has never seen the Star Wars movies, so we started with Episode 1 and got through Episode 3 before bed time. We also got notice that school is cancelled tomorrow since the roads are still icy. So, we’ll get through episodes 4-6. May the force be with us! LOL.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Ich Liebe Dich

IMG_6304 Technology just blows my mind! Dad was able to text me these pictures he took on his cell phone. Mom made tacos for the Patzolds, and they ate it but weren’t huge fans. It’s so good to see Oma & Opa.

IMG_6305 Also, Melitta & Patrick. I’m so jealous they’re in Germany and wish that I could have gone w/ them. We have so many great memories from when we were stationed there over 20 years ago. I can’t wait to see all the pictures that they took when they get home.

IMG_6306They went for a walk around the village & went and visited Helmut’s grave site.

Here at home things were pretty normal. Autumn & I came home from spending the night at Mom & Dad’s, got ready for church, and I went visiting teaching at 11:00. Then we went to church, came home, scarfed down some dinner, and at 5:00 I had my Young Women’s presidency meeting at our house. I just LOVE the ladies that I get to serve with. Then our home teacher came at 6:30. It rained all day today and the weather dropped below freezing tonight, so Autumn & I went over to Mom & Dad’s house to spend the night in case the roads ice over.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Women’s Meeting & Authentic Philippino Food

IMG_6287 This morning Autumn & I got up, got cleaned up, and went over to Mom & Dad’s. Nate watched Olivia & Autumn while Riannon & I went to our Stake Relief Society meeting. It was about how to “Follow the Son.” It was very well done, and was very spiritually uplifting. After the meeting they had a brunch for us, and it was really nice. It was great to look around the cultural hall and see so many great women gathered together. I find such strength from them.

IMG_6291 Autumn & I came home and loaded up the car and took a bunch of boxes to the local charity donation place. Then we stopped at the $1 Store to get a few birthday balloons & gifts for some young women that are moving up to Laurels this week. Autumn was so good while we shopped that I gave her a quarter so she could get a gumball on our way out. She LOVES getting gumballs from these machines, and was so happy that I said yes today.

P1120529We came home, organized our rooms, put clothes away, and then left to go to a party. The lady in the middle (Erlinda) had a birthday earlier this month and her sweet girls threw her a birthday party tonight. They are Philippino & they had such delicious AUTHENTIC food that they had made. Erlinda is SO CUTE with Autumn & they have always had a special bond. We’re so thankful for her and that we were invited to the party along with a bunch of other neighbors & friends & people from church.

We went over to Mom & Dad’s house to watch Olivia while Nate & Riannon went out on a date. Olivia was such a cutie tonight and her personality is starting to show more, which is so fun.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Bonding With My Baby

IMG_6279 Tonight Autumn & I went to dinner at Taco Cabana & shared a taco salad bowl. I love getting to spend so much one-on-one time with her. I love hearing about her day, the things that are important to her, etc. We HAD to stop and get groceries b/c we are out of A LOT of staple items since I haven’t had the chance to go to the store in the past few weeks.

IMG_6281 We came home, put the groceries away, and then Autumn picked a movie for us to watch together. She picked Spirit: The Stallion of Cimarron. She must have wanted to get in touch w/ her American Indian half. It was a cute movie.

IMG_6283This is my idea of a fun Friday night … working on Project Life (I printed off 98 pictures to get caught up for 2015) while watching Pride & Prejudice.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Deep Thoughts & Flat Stanley

IMG_6260 Tonight when I was reading 1 Nephi Chapter 8 I couldn’t help but notice how many times it says that Lehi "looked" or "beheld" or "cast his eyes round about." Do we "see" the good in each other and in the world? Are we aware of the evils in the world so we can teach our children to choose the right? Just some good food for thought!

IMG_6271Autumn sent her Flat Stanley from school to her Dad & he sent back this picture of Flat Stanley w/ the pretty Utah mountains in the background.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Modesty & Mulan

P1120525 Today was one of my “leave work early Wednesdays” b/c Autumn had Activity Days. For their activity tonight they cut out images of people dressed modestly & made collages. They talked about what it means to be modest in dress, speech, and action. While Autumn was busy doing that, I found an unoccupied classroom in the church and sat & blogged and edited pics while I waited for her to finish.

Also, Mom & Dad left for Germany today. They wanted to go visit our sweet German neighbors that we used to live next to when we were stationed there. They knew if they didn’t do it now, then they might not get the chance after their mission. I’m so jealous & told them to eat some extra brochen (German rolls) & schnitzel for me.

P1120526 We dropped Jessica off, came home, had some dinner, and then turned around and went back to the church (same room even) for Young Women’s. We were combined tonight and watched Mulan and talked about individual worth. We also tried to find gospel related things in there, and it was pretty funny. We said we were watching it b/c Donny Osmond does the singing voice of Shang in “Be A Man.” LOL! We noticed prayer, family history, courage, faith, modesty, discipline, strength, etc. Here are some of my favorite quotes:

“So when I look in the mirror I’d see someone worthwhile.” ~ Mulan

“I’ll have to face my father (in heaven) sooner or later.” ~ Mulan

“The greatest gift and honor is having you for a daughter.” ~Mulan’s Dad (Fa Zhou)

“The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all.” ~The Emperor of China

“No matter how the wind howls, the mountain cannot bow to it.” ~Emperor of China

“A single grain of rice can tip the scale. One man (or woman) may be the difference between victory and defeat.” ~The Emperor of China

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

A New Restaurant & Old Memories

IMG_6236 For dinner tonight we tried this new restaurant. It was OK, but not something I would go out of my way to buy. The thing we liked the best was their Caribbean corn soufflé. Nate picked it up after work, and they forgot to give him half the order, so we called the restaurant. The manager was so nice & offered to drive it out to us since they had messed up. Nate was so impressed that they offered to do that, that he said he would go back & get the missing items.

IMG_6241 After dinner we just sat around and visited and enjoyed spending time together. Autumn was snuggled up w/ Papa on the floor and Olivia did NOT like sharing Papa. She walked over to Autumn, pointed her finger in Autumn’s face, and gave her a stern talking to in baby gibberish. We were all cracking up!

IMG_6233 Mom & Dad had gone through more of their stuff, and Dad found this note that Grandma Johnson had written him back in 1968! How cool is that? I love seeing her handwriting, and wish I knew more of the story behind why she wrote this note. That’s why I’m so glad that I do Project Life, and that I come from a long line of “memory keepers.”

IMG_6250Mom & Dad found 2 boxes full of my stuff at the top of their closet, which means those boxes have been there for 17 years! There were some fun things in there that brought back a lot of memories. Mom also gave me a packet of pictures of mine that she found,. This is my high school graduation picture from 1997 and I had to laugh, b/c I’m now sporting the same bangs again. LOL!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Last FHE With Mom & Dad

IMG_6224Autumn didn’t have school today b/c it was President’s Day, so she got to go to daycare all day. We went over to Mom & Dad’s for dinner and had turkey bone soup, which was so good and hit the spot since it was cold today. Then, we had our LAST Family Home Evening with Mom & Dad. SNIFF SNIFF! We talked about the sacrament & how we renew our covenants every time we take the sacrament. These beautiful flowers that Riannon got for Valentine’s Day were in full bloom and were so fragrant.

IMG_6228 Mom & Dad have been cleaning out their closets & drawers, and Mom found some of hair pieces she used to wear. Autumn wanted to try them on, so she has long blonde hair, and this crazy one that is meant to make a messy bun when you fold it in. We decided it kind of looks like a Who from Whoville hair. This is Autumn’s “I’m so fancy & posh” face. LOL!