Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Today was a great day! The kids got to say goodbye to Ian before they left for school. I ran to work for a few hours while John stayed home as Ian's "companion." We then loaded up the car to head for breakfast together before heading to the MTC.

We went to Cracker Barrel where there was another hugely extended family with their missionary (who was heading to the Philippines). After an amazingly delicious breakfast and a chance to be selfish and have him all to ourselves, we started the drive back to Provo. The only problem was that we had a lot of time to kill before his check-in time. We stopped by a local store, the Vacuum Vendor, to visit with one of our friends for a few minutes.

Having taken up some time, we continued our drive towards the MTC and decided to stop by the temple to take our last few pictures.

Being unable to stand it any more, we decided that it was close enough, even though it was 20 minutes before his official check-in time. Having driven past the MTC earlier, however, things were already in place for receiving the new missionaries, so we loaded back in the van for the inevitable parting.

Since H1N1, the procedure for welcoming new missionaries has changed. Although I have never been part of the former orientation process, I thought this was excellent and very moving. As you pull into the parking lot, elders with bright yellow vests start directing the incoming cars. Stopped and asked if we had a missionary with us (what are we going to say, um, "No, we're just out driving around and this looked like a fun place to stop"), we were then directed down the road that surrounds the MTC. The sidewalks were lined with hundreds of missionaries, eager to help and welcome the new ones.

We pulled in where directed and were greeted by several eager missionaries who helped with luggage, introduced themselves, and took Ian off to his new home.

What impressed me the most was that as we continued to follow the road that led around the MTC, there were even more missionaries, waving at us as we drove past. This was a true life Army of Helaman. It was so moving to see all of these young men, dedicating their lives to serve the Lord and share the gospel around the world. It was actually the only time I shed a tear the whole day.

Ian will be a great missionary and I sure hope he gets a chance to be the same welcoming face that greeted him today to another family, waving and smiling as he ushers another servant of the Lord into the fold.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

He's Officially Elder Asplund...

This evening, Ian was set apart as a full-time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, serving in the Argentina Cordoba mission. He enters the MTC tomorrow, with a curb drop off time of 12:45.

He is already struggling with his first companion (Griffin, who asked if he could do it) and patience. I think it's great training.

Friday, January 22, 2010

January 2010 Family Pictures

As I mentioned in an earlier post, our family gathered to take our last pictures before Ian left for Argentina. Below you will find the results, courtesy of my nephew, Ben Roden, who took time out of his Saturday to help us bring our silly notions to fruition.

A Fort Upgrade

It goes without saying that given some time, Griffin would find a better use for his fort. Not content with the fact that, at times, he would have to relinquish control of the TV in the kitchen to, well, ME, he set up the fort to be his own movie theater. That afternoon, he even invited a friend over, popped popcorn, and made their own snacks to eat while they enjoyed "Star Wars: Clone Wars." I'm sure if we hadn't had to take it down to prepare the room for Ian's open house, he would have somehow engineered rumble seats or surround sound coming out of the chairs.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Open Invitation to Ian's Open House

This is an open invitation to anyone who would like to attend Ian's mission open house. It will be held this Saturday from noon to 4, just at our house. My niece, Jessica, will be doing the food, so the snacks will be delicious!

His non-farewell talk will be Sunday at noon. If you would like to attend, call me and I'll give you the address.

Monday, January 18, 2010

How Did You Spend YOUR MLK Jr/Human Rights Day?

Since today the kids had the day off, we had to find some creative uses of our time. I, of course, had all sorts of things to offer such as cleaning and preparing the house for Ian's open house on Saturday. Unfortunately, none of the options were appealing to Griffin, so I had to come up with something else. He had wanted to go to his friend's house to play in his fort, but he wasn't able to play today. Disappointed, I decided to help Griffin build his own in our living room.

Several years ago, we purchased this little Cranium fort set. Not having all the pieces, though, made it difficult to build a stand-alone piece. Using our surroundings, we came up with this:

A little later, I found him sitting in it like this:

When I asked why he had the sides up, he said, "Because I can sit here and still see the TV in the kitchen."
Of course. I don't even know why I thought he'd give up his precious TV viewing just for a fort.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Maggie's Preference

Tonight was Maggie's first Preference (dance). For those who may be unfamiliar with what that is, it's a girls choice dance. Typically there's some sort of fun theme that goes along with it, but this year they decided to make it a formal dance. Mags asked her friend, Garrett (a member of the Ballroom Dance team). The day date was bowling and playing games, followed by dinner at Pirate Island and then off to the dance. She was just beautiful and had a fabulous time!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Family Pictures

We've decided that before Ian leaves, we should get another family picture taken. Maybe it's just me, but the stress involved in this simple activity is completely overwhelming. In Utah, you all coordinate. You take the picture somewhere in the mountains. I put it out on my Facebook status to get suggestions on what to where, and John's cousin, Peter, said the following:

It's Utah. I'm pretty sure you're required by state law to wear matching light-blue dress shirts and khakis when not wearing Sunday best. The setting is required to be the woods (or a park that looks like the woods) but that's hard in the middle of winter. So maybe Sundance with matching blue parkas would be an adequate compromise. :)

Feeling the pressure to have a fantastic, professional-looking family portrait, I've been looking through all sorts of blogs, photo pages, and web sites for the best colors, settings, etc. I've even made appointments for the girls and I to go get our makeup done at the MAC make-up counter at Nordstrom. (And I'm still worrying about what to do with my hair and will it cooperate!) First I started with wanting everyone in black and white, or black and red. Then, everyone had to have jeans on with boots, but I didn't care about the top. Now I just want people to wear clothes so they aren't naked, but should still be comfortable. And then we decided that after the "formal" picture, we'd change into Star Wars gear (except for Maggie who is a Star Trek fan) for another round of pictures. Today, John came up with a brilliant idea: why don't we do a series with all of us in our Eagles shirts? I married a genius. So on Saturday, our nephew, Ben, will take three sets of photos for us: who we are on the outside, who we are from August through January, and who we are in our fantasy. I guess between the three, somewhere the real "us" will come through.


Back in the summer as I took a turn about the local farmer's market, there was a booth for the Provo Covey Center for the Arts, advertising that the production, "Stomp" would be there in January. Tickets were going fast, but I was able to get the two seats in the very back corner of the balcony. Let me tell you: it was well worth it. Since Ian's leaving two weeks from today, I figured he was the best candidate for the second ticket. We both loved it from the very start to the very end. Offering two standing ovations, my mind was all a-flutter about how to incorporate this style of, um, expression, into my calling. Now, I don't know how the young women are going to do it, but somehow, somewhere (I'm thinking skit night at camp), the Lakeridge 8th ward YW will be stomping!

I know I've said this before (or maybe I've just thought it), but I love living here. The family and I have been able to see such great entertainment. I'm grateful that we're able to enjoy these performances, usually at a reasonable cost. (Okay, sometimes it costs a bit more for the bigger/better shows, but still, we go to lots of local theater which is the same cost as a night at the movies.) I may hate our January inversions, but I sure love all the "drama."

Friday, January 8, 2010

One Small Step for Man... GIANT leap for Griffin. If you look closely at his spelling homework, you will see the word "throw" written in cursive. I realize that this may be silly, but this is ENORMOUS progress for him. Just two years ago, he still wouldn't write and what he did write was hardly legible. By the end of last year, he had managed correct spacing in between words. This year, I can actually read his sentences.

He was so proud of what he had done, but made sure to tell me that he'd only do it once because it "took so much work" to do it. I wanted to make sure--in case his statement was fact--that this one occurrence was captured for all to see, for, unlike man walking on the moon, it may never happen again.

Woot to Griffin!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Lazy Days of Winter

For the second time in a week, I've had a day where I haven't had to do a single thing. Everything I did was something I wanted to do and wasn't under any obligation to do anything or be anywhere. We spent New Year's Eve with John's sister's family (the Rodens) and some of Ben's friends. At around 10, John went home to celebrate the New Year "east coast style" and the little ones and I went to my friend's house to watch a movie, eat more food, and play a game. Ian stayed with Ben and Maggie went to a multi-stake dance. With the night being a late (or early) one, we all slept in this morning until I got up at 9:30. (Everyone else was still asleep.) We've spent the day in pajamas, the kids watching the first season of "The Clone Wars" on DVD and John and I enjoying the Boston Bruins playing the Flyers in the Winter Classic as well as the Top 100s on VH1. I've caught up on laundry, broken down and packed up Christmas, finally prepared our Christmas cards, worked on my lesson for Sunday, cooked a few more junk food faves, visited with John's parents and sibs over some oyster stew (along with other things that I could eat without allergic reactions) and are now enjoying some of our favorite M*A*S*H episodes.

I sure wish there were more days like today. Oh wait...there's another one tomorrow! Happy new year!!!