Friday, November 25, 2011

Felt like Fake Thanksgiving

We missed Courtney and Madisen
Tried to still enjoy the day and be THANKFUL
We managed to have some fun and laughs
Girls were mentioned 2,345 times
Made a Video so they didn't 100% miss the action

So grateful for family
that's what it's all about
our life and family is blessed

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I feel grumpy anyone out there?
Okay, I have seen a lot of really inspiring blog posts about what they're thankful for...shout out to our sweetest cousin Jennie her and love her blog! Beautiful Jennie.

Mine will have to be random...I should be asleep and I am NOT thankful that I have to get up and go to work tomorrow although I AM thankful that I have a job. I am not thankful that I have to wash my hair in the cold morning air but I AM thankful that it is chilly at all...yes, yes, thank you Arizona for cooling down. Isn't that how life goes? All your gripes if you think about it, have another "side", a better half...the good twin if you will. I am thankful for many things, but when the going gets tough...the tough gets going, so you better couple up those bad times, or those pesky little things in life with the good.

This Thanksgiving will be different for us, a "different" none of us are too thrilled about. Courtney and Maddi are away in China and Marcie is away in another Asian country, the Korea (inside joke). Thanksgiving is normally our hands-down favorite holiday and Asians are ruining it. Instead of dwelling on that...

I am thankful that:
The girls are learning and growing
The girls are seeing awesome sites and ancient stuff
The girls have been safe and protected by joke there
The girls are together
Skype works some of the time instead of not at all
Email and internet
We'll be with Nana and Papa
Marcie gets to shop hardcore & I know how to blend a raspberry sherbet drink alone
Mikki's long board arrived for sister-less amusement
at least...Two more thanksgivings with LLCOOLJ aka Big Daddy J
last but not least... Regan ended up NOT having to WORK!!!!

To steal a quote...
When I get sad, I stop being sad and
be AWESOME instead :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

China Dolls

I just don't know what to do...I have procrastinated blogging to such an extent that now I don't know if I should make several smaller posts or one big huge massive one. I think today I'll just post what I can until I get sick of it, tired or called away...whichever comes first :)

Many of you know, Courtney and Madisen went to Zhongshan, China for a wild adventure teaching English to young students, grade school age. Maddi had always wanted/planned on going and then recruited Courtney...who was reluctant at first. Boy, were we glad she decided to go because we are markedly more at ease knowing they're together...taking care of each other. They live in a small apartment with a squatter toilet (haha) and a 3rd girl named Bre. They have a small class of 6 students who were all renamed with Book of Mormon names...Jarom, Nephi, Moroni, Abish, Emma and Jennie (with 2 exceptions) They have purchased bikes and ride to school. They are practically celebrities in their town which is an hour & 1/2 out of the city with no tourist action. Many people have never seen white Americans and therefore, wherever they go...people stop and stare, point and laugh. Anything they do is of interest and apparently very amusing.

Rainey (Chinese interpreter), Bre, Courtney and Maddi

The girls left Aug. 25th and will return Dec. 19th. Fund raising is one way volunteers can participate in this program...since Maddi had always planned on going and Courtney had a pretty good job, only Maddi chose to fund raise and many of our dear family and friends donated to her fund raiser. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for helping her reach her goal and be able to have this most incredible experience full of excitement, learning, TRIALS and culture shock. All things we couldn't have taught here in America and many things that boys learn on their missions. A true appreciation and love of the good ol USA is one of the many things they've learned and gaining a confidence that there isn't anything in the USA they couldn't do. They also love toilet seats more than ever now :) Simple things are wildly missed and longed for by our little girlies.

Here are some tasty tidbits from their letters...they have such great stories to tell and I'll try to be better about posting them.

Hong Kong was so awesome. There was a window on the floor of our room at the hotel-which was the 21st floor! Every single time I walked by I had to stand and look through the window. It is mind-blowing how many buildings there are. It is seriously a sea of sky scrappers. It was so different from Alaska, but there was a similar feeling. I remember looking around while I was in Gustavus and just feeling over whelmed with the size and how the forest continued on for miles and miles. In Hong Kong I had the same feeling of being in this huge place that seems like it is never going end. ~Maddi

First day of school: The kids are so cute -- I already just love them. They are so stinking smart and funny. Kids are funny cause you can kind of guess what they are saying by their expressions and what they are doing. And they keep speaking to us in Chinese ! We just nod and smile and laugh and then they will run off and come back with something else to tell us. Today they kept wanting us to do animal sounds -- they would bring us a stuffed animal and would just laugh when we would do the noise. ~Courtney

The Chinese teachers are really nice and just keep trying to talk to us and I feel bad cause we just have absolutely no idea what they are saying. They were funny though when they found out me and Maddi were sisters – they were surprised and kept pointing to our hair and eyes and skin shaking their heads saying no no no – its different! It was pretty funny. ~Courtney

Regarding their situation at a new school that has never had an English program...something they weren't expecting when they went...being outside the city and away from the group:
I was talking to Courtney and I just got this feeling that I should stay. I think that is why I was so mad when they said I was going to get switched. I just got this high, thinking to my self... I can do this! Yes, this is going to be hard and I might complain about it in the near future but I am not a quitter! I have and will continue to do hard things in my life and get through them.
The next day went a lot better. I just knew what to expect and I made the decision to work through this. I loved that first day of teaching. Just being there with the kids and seeing them smile and respond I knew... this is why I am here. I was so happy! It was the first time I had really felt like my self in along time. I just wanted to talk and laugh and just talk and talk about how cute the kids were. Then we were walking around with Rainy and she is so cute. I just kept getting this feeling of knowing I was supposed to stay. I really think Heavenly Father wanted me to be there and go through whatever is to come. ~Madisen

There are people everywhere and there is honking all through night. Everyone just drives around honking. It's pretty funny. Another crazy thing is everyone not in a taxi is on a bike or a scooter and they have like 3 or 4 people on the scooters and little babies! Its so crazy it's funny. ~Courtney

Our. Chinese. Kids. Are. Crazy! I looove them though. Every day me, maddi, and bre laugh so hard we are crying. I had forgotten how funny and entertaining little kids are. You are totally right though -- they are exhausting. Children are bipolar -- they are happy and laughing one second and then you turn around and they are crying on the floor. I feel like I am always thinking, " What the heck happened?!"

Little guy not wanting to be touched is "Nephi"
They named their favorite, cutest lil guy "Jarom" He loves Spiderman! Meet Chinese Jarom..

Mom -- don't ever come to China cause I have no idea what you would eat. I don't even ask what they give us cause I am scared at what they will say. The girls at the other school said that one day the were given rat meant -- gross.

Dragonfruit at a market they eventually found

Today we went and got our hair washed at one of the salons. It was seriously so amazing. They rubbed our head for about 20 minutes and then they rubbed our arms, legs, and back. They cleaned out our ears with these weird q-tips that felt like it touched my brain. It kind of hurt but I think I can hear better now. We all took pictures with the guys who styled our hair. When Bre asked her guy for a picture-he fixed HIS hair, hair sprayed it, and then grabbed his trophy from the shelf before posing for about 5 pictures. They all had freaky long finger nails so they could grab your hair. ~Maddi

Whenever the kids talk in English, we give them tokens and at the end they get to buy stuff with their tokens. Nephi has been trying to get this sword for about 2 weeks now. He won't save them though! I had this pile of tokens sitting by me and he came over and was acting like he just came by to look at my stuff. Then he started taking the tokens and putting them in his bag when he thought I wasn't looking. That Nephi isn't living up to his namesake. He is actually super smart and adorable! He has been one of my favorites since day one. ~Maddi

Trying to be good, waiting in line to shop in the store with their tokens

Everyone is so nice to us here -- they get so excited to see us and help us its always fun to go and buy from their little shops. We are the laughing stock of the city though. Everything we do is very funny to them. Every time we go to throw away the trash , a little crowd gathers to watch us throw it in and then they laugh. Now we just laugh back. It is pretty funny cause we stick out so much and probably do look so lost no matter what we do.

This little paragraph scared me and made me so happy and grateful all at the same time...Heavenly Father really is watching over them:
Maddi saved my life yesterday. This car was on the wrong side of the road and was speeding but i had stepped out to look the other way to see if we could cross and maddi pulled me back just in time. the van was inches from my face and it made my hair blow and my heart was racing for the rest of the day. it was super scary. the funny thing is maddi didn't ever remember pulling me back. weiird. thanks for the prayers :)

I asked Maddi for details after reading this, she says she just remembers going to touch her arm AFTERWARDS to see if she was okay

Okay, it happened. My not-very-great computer desk is hurting my wrists so there you have it, time to stop blogging. I will post letters they send more often & pictures soon. This long post is dedicated to GRANDPA...I know he won't be put off by the sheer length of it and push through it's entirety!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Northern Exposure

Madisen made it safely to Gustavus, Alaska. This Alaskan adventure definitely started on the airplane with seat changes, very long lay overs and overnight in the Juneau airport without a blanket :(

From Juneau, she took a small plane to the small town of Gustavus and sat right by the pilot. She says it was breathtaking scenery and she feels like she's in a movie.

Here are some photos of the lodge accomodations and the surrounding beauty. As you can imagine, this lodge was closed all winter. This means to her dismay, all she's done since she's been there is help get the place cleaned up and ready for guests. Major cleaning, painting and even gardening. She is struggling a little bit because this isn't a normal job where you just "clock in" for a shift and she is the only non-family member...she sometimes feels underfoot and misses her own family awwww!! Her friend Ashley has been promising her this is definitely the worst part and chaotic, once it's ready to go and opened up...more time to explore beautiful Alaska. Maddi is looking forward to this while trying to remain positive and enjoy herself! Last I heard, she was starching and ironing napkins forever which she actually didn't mind since there was no rush or urgency.

Isn't that absolutely BEAUTIFUL??? and not the nasty HOT ARIZONA DESERT!!!

Madisen is the type who needs to go on her runs...she values the time alone and it is such a wonderful outlet as all avid runners know. Well, not there apparently and honestly, I'm a bit nervous about her going running because of this guy or his buddies...

This lodge is set back 1/2 mile off the main road IN THE FOREST. The road through the forest is spooky and they don't want them to go running alone...bear sitings. So, she drives the artic cat through the forest road, parks the cat and runs on the main road. On her first run, she ran by a huskie farm and the dogs all howled at her. She says everyone waves...the townspeople don't recognize her so they slow down to see who she is then wave. Yesterday she saw a big dog that looked like a wolf - SCARY - and also feels a bit uneasy as she runs by this sign:

Now I AM SCARED & really hope she doesn't have to figure out what to do if she encounters a moose. Yikes! Another interesting thing she sees on her runs are old abandoned cars and trucks, covered in moss etc. Guess they can't really haul them out or just don't do it.

Church is in a trailer...with members phoning in from surrounding areas and islands. Today they bore testimonies on the phone, a baby blessing by phone and even their sunday school and relief society-comments and all-by phone. She said it's actually pretty wouldn't be able to say to a member there that they need to magnify their callings and not just "phone it in". woohooo I'm hilarious!

This concludes Maddi's Alaskan adventures thus far. More to come and we're all praying she takes pictures...she does not take after her mother!! She LOVES to get emails...we can't call or text her. She calls once a week on their landline using a calling card. Reminds me of the 80's and Regan says it's good for her not being SO connected with every single person. Whatever! Email her...she will love you!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Courtney ROCKS!!

Just a lil bit 'o Courtney for ya...she went with Maddi to EAC this last semester and do you know what she went and did??? GOT STRAIGHT A's!!! Woohoo Sis, boy are we proud of you! She also was discovered via Facebook by fellow dancers...when asked if she could sub at a local studio she of course jumped at the chance. As soon as she meets the director and teaches for one evening...she wanted to adopt Courtney and will the studio to her. I, for one, am not surprised! She ended up landing herself a job teaching dance the rest of the semester. Way to go kiddo, they were lucky to have her and will miss her greatly. Now, neither Courtney nor Maddi have got the photography bug so I stole these shots from their roommate Lexie. They all lived in a big, old house and had a blast! These girls were awesome, people don't usually get this lucky and I am so proud of my big girls living together, supporting each other and making memories. (and relieved they were together when they got robbed!!) Another major accomplishment is she got Maddi to like eggs!! She cooks them a special, certain way and egg-hater Maddi loves Courtney-style eggs. HA! We love you Courtney and are proud of your accomplishments in school this semester! YOU ROCK first, best and harder.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


I haven't blogged in awhile and I am certainly not going to start now. Maybe when pigs fly?? Oh, Mikki is doing great in track so far...she's a springy, cute little hurdler.
The end.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


MARCIE CAME!!!! That's it. That's the best part. We're thankful for Marcie and that she came all the way from Portland for Thanksgiving and it's a good thing, because we don't know how to do Thanksgiving now without her.

Okay wow, that last sentence is one hot run-on grammatical mess. See how I get when I think about Marcie??? We all love that girl!! PS... we didn't take very good pics...we just hung out and laughed!



Thursday, December 16, 2010

Maddi is Boss

Maddi got straight A's this semester!! WOOHOO!! So, she failed calculus last semester. Tried to drop it, professor said no, stick it out...downhill from there. Do-Over this semester and she gets a 96%!! (different teacher helps plus major major studying). She had to overcome her hesitation to camp out at the math lab and shake that feeling that she was annoying the tutors who are being paid to tutor. Sociology...she said she could have done better but wow, all that time studying calculus cuts into other classes so she ends up with an 89%. How disappointing. So she emails and talks to the teacher, he does account for attendance etc. and WA-LA...bumped to an A!!!

Here's some fun in ThatchNasty as they lovingly refer to their school town...

2. Tubing w/roommates, hometown of Lindsay
3. Halloween, Maddi is a sailor...Steph well, hot Mama?
4. This is how they play tennis
5. Monster drinks for studying...duh, made her sick
6. Jumping somewhere random in town
7. 3 Pretty Girls downtown Thatcher
8. ...and they brought along a guitar ;)