Saturday, April 30, 2016

Regionals

I woke up Stockton a little before 5:00 this morning.  Last night I noticed a text that said he had a mandatory warm-up at 6am.  We were hoping to skip the warmup.  They are important when you have never dived on the boards, but Stockton has.  I woke up Stockton last night and told him about it.  Stockton told me he woke up a little before I got him and wondered if it was a dream.  He hoped it was a dream.  Then he went back to sleep only to find out he really had to be there. Warmups went well, so it turned out fine.  There were not that many people there.  I helped cut bagels and fruit for the coaches.  I was downstairs.  It is pretty cool because they have these windows that you can see the divers entering the pool.  I wish I knew when Stockton was about to go so I could watch, but you have no idea who it is until they are under water.  It was fun though.
Stockton
This was the only picture I got from today.  Stockton had his 1-meter event.  He wasn't too happy with his performance, but he didn't get last.  That is great with the divers he was up against!  He is so glad it is over.  So am I.  

Mike and I were scheduled to do the paper scoring.  When we got there they told us only one of us could do it.  I think they had someone say they signed up to volunteer, so even though the positions were filled they booted one of us.  They said it would be better because we had a diver in the competition.  We laughed.  We did not want Stockton to make it to Area.  We have a family trip planned and that would through a giant wrench into our summer!  It was good that Mike didn't have to score.  His teeth started acting up.  He was in so much pain.  I hate, hate, hate, hate, hate his teeth.  It is sad to see him hurting so bad, and I am worried about the future.  He lives on advil.  I hope he isn't doing long term damage.

Stockton wanted to go to Pizza Pie Cafe after the competition.  It was pretty crowded.  There were a lot of people dressed up for their prom there.  Christopher and Lizzie were both going to prom tonight.  I think Stockton was just glad to be home!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Olives

Preston had his school 'fun run' today.  I took Jorja out to breakfast. She has late start on Friday, so we finally took advantage of it.  She had chocolate chip pancakes.  I ordered a chicken mushroom crepe.  I forgot to ask for no olives.  Olives are not my favorite.  I realized after the waiter left.  No big deal, I would just pick them off.  WRONG!  I have never seen so many olives at one time in my life!  My entire crepe was covered in them.  Not only were they on top, but they were inside as well.  I ate a lot of them, but picked out a lot.  The rest of the crepe was delicious.  When I was finished 1/2 of my plate was covered in olives.  I would have taken a picture, but I forgot my phone.  The waiter said, "You don't like olives?"  I answered, "A few are fine, but I don't want an entire can!"  It was still really good and I was not hungry the rest of the day.

Stockton had his three meter competition today.  He is in the 16-18 year old category now.  Some of those boys are big!  A lot of them have college scholarships to dive.  There were divers from California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Alaska and Hawaii.  Probably more, those are just the states I remember.  Stockton survived and didn't come in last.  It was a long meet.  They had eleven dives.  We started at 4:00 and ended around 7:00.  We were both very ready to come home.

Mike got back from Texas today!  Yay!  His flight came in around 4:00. My dad picked him up at the airport.  He brought Preston with him. We are all so glad to have Mike home!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Nigel

I headed down to Provo this morning to set up for the dive meet.  I ended up working there for about three hours.  I came home, ate lunch and headed back to BYU with Stockton.  There were so many people there!  It was crazy!  Stockton got registered for the meet and I asked his coach if I could just take him home.  He didn't want me to.  I should have done it anyway.  We stayed for two hours and Stockton only got about five dives in.  I hurried home, dropped him off and headed to the park to pick up Jorja.  Matt had taken her to her softball practice, thank goodness!
Stockton

Rachel's family got the heartbreaking news today that it was Nigel's body that was found.  I am so glad his body was found, it would have been even worse not knowing.  Rachel's brother Malcolm wrote about Nigel.  This is part of what he said.

Nigel was such a good big brother.  My heart swells each time I think about getting one more of his big bear hugs or to hear his contagious chuckle.  He was so stalwart in his faith in God despite trials that would've hardened the softest of hearts.  He abstained from drugs and alcohol his entire life, while it would've been so easy for him to slip into them.  While Nigel's last days were more tragic than anyone who knew and loved him could bare to imagine, they serve as an exclamation point to the trials and tribulations of his life, and the millions who suffer quietly with mental illness.

I feel that "mental illness" is a blanket term most of us use to identify those who appear or act different than the rest, but I feel even more that it is a vague expression we employ to avoid grappling with the many headed serpent that is the broken brain.  Afflictions of the mind come in all degrees and varieties but my brother was only fifteen years old when he was struck with a harrowing loss of something we take for granted every day: the ability to experience reality through a clear lens, and to engage in it with the full joy humans were intended to.

Nigel fought so hard for the last fifteen years, and wanted so badly to be seen as "normal", that he kept his battle as private as possible. Each year his condition worsened and every time he lost touch with his mind, we lost a little more of our poor Nigel.  In his final days he would've loved seeing all of you who searched so hard and prayed so hard for him.

This is not a normal post about a lost loved one because Nigel's death was not normal.  I would not normally go into such detail about something so private but Nigel's story deserves to be told truthfully.

Nigel didn't deserve to be treated like a criminal, and so many of us are left behind on earth to wonder, how could someone like him be chased into the hills only to die of exposure and be left to decompose in the wilderness?

We've come a long way from the dark ages, executing and imprisoning people who are sick and suffering, but not far enough. My brother needed a hospital and professional attention but instead received a jail cell.  Even though multiple people within the Gem County Sheriffs department knew of Nigel's illness and had known him for years, and even though our family pleaded for help in transporting Nigel to a hospital, the policy of the Emmett Police Department and the Gem County Sheriffs department is to refuse all "Mental holds", or transport of mentally ill persons unless they pose a danger to themselves or others as determined by an officer or deputy.

They gave him a court date and released him on bail.

Nigel was free and his condition was only worsening.  The very next day, Sunday April 10, would be the last time I got to see my big brother.  The police were contacted again as Nigel succumbed to the aggression that is often associated with the throws of mania, and he was stopped on foot at the mouth of Little Gem Cycle Park.  As two Deputies attempted to hand cuff him, he fled into the baron hills that would lead him to his resting ground.

According to the coroner, Nigel most likely died of hypothermia. Although we may never know for sure what happened in his last hours, we know that there has never been a soul more ready for their creator's embrace than our Nigel.

While Nigel would want us to forgive those who could have prevented this, he would not want us to let this happen to anyone else.

Nigel would not want us to cry for him.  He is released from chains that most of us will never feel the weight of.  He is light, he is joyful, he is in good company, but I know he wants his death to have meaning.

To change how someone else like him is treated.

To face the homeless and prison epidemic fueled by our inaction to help those who only wish to be loved and treated with compassion.

So go out and love someone today.  Know someone with bipolar? Know someone with schizophrenia?  Know someone with depression? Know someone who can't step on the crack in the sidewalk?

TALK TO THEM!

Ask them questions!  The policy and budget of our nation can only be changed to help those suffering if we make our voices heard.  It's 2016 and we are late.  It's past the time we enter into a new enlightened era of awareness for our brothers and sisters burdened by mental grief.

I love you all so much and thank you so much to anyone who made a difference in my Nigel's life.  I know he is hard at work right now and he expects us to do the same.

Nigel, you've helped me grow so much, and I want so badly to be like you when I make it there.  Love you buddy.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Bruges with Cousins

I had lunch with my cousins at Bruges today.  I am loving this tradition. It is so nice to see them at least once a month!  I texted Jordyn and Heather Nigel's flyer because they are in Salt Lake everyday.  That way, if they saw him they could quickly look at their phone to confirm. Bruges is across the street from Liberty Park where a lot of homeless people are.  I looked and looked to try to see if I could see Nigel there. Long shot, I know.  Heather told me that she showed Nigel's flyer/text to several people at her work so they could keep a lookout as well.

I took Stockton to diving today.  I usually sit in the car for a few minutes while I wait for it to turn 4:00.  That way I won't get a parking ticket.  I called Rachel while I was waiting.  I had talked to Sharon this morning about a Parry family reunion.  I wanted to give Rachel details of what the current plan was.  I then asked if there was any update on Nigel.  Rachel told me that a body had been found this morning.  She really believes it is him.  She was broken up and sobbed, "I can't believe I'm saying this out loud.  I can't believe this is real life."  Oh man.  I feel so sorry for Rachel's family right now.  Rachel said that at least he doesn't hurt anymore.  He always wanted to serve a mission, get married and have a family.  All things that were impossible in this life. This life was so cruel to him and people were not very nice.  The body hasn't been positively identified, but Rachel said in her heart she knows it is him.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Airport with Eve

I met Rachel at the airport today.  She had a layover and we were able to spend an hour together.  Eve is such a smily baby.  Adorable!
Stephanie & Eve
Jorja's softball game was rained out today.  It was pouring buckets outside!  Maysen spent several hours volunteering today.  A days are nice like that.  She gets in a lot of hours.  Stockton, Jorja and Preston all went with me to sign up for swim and dive this summer.  We piled in the jeep, that is when I noticed there was no back seat.  At least we were just driving up the road.  We then went to our ward FHE that the Young Women put on.  Jorja didn't participate.  She hadn't been to any practice because of softball.  She thought she would be late to this activity because of softball as well.  Katlyn came, so Jorja liked that. The activity was great.  We had a spaghetti dinner and the Young Women did some cute performances.  Jorja was going to be in the synchronized swimming performance, that turned out really cute.  My stomach was hurting so bad, I wasn't very social.  It was nice to finally get home and to sleep.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Math

Wow!  What a day!  I did laundry for the beginning of the day.  Then my niece Melissa called and asked if I could watch her two little kids. Melissa has never asked me to watch them before.  Maysen came home with her graduation cap and gown in a box.  She said we needed to take it out right away. Stockton had just texted me to come and get him from school.  He took the state math test at BYU today and the bus got back to school late.  I ran to get Stockton.  Melissa was here when I got back.  I got Nova and Leo settled and had Stockton watch them while I finished the last few things I needed for scouts.  My scouts came.  Leo got fussy the last fifteen minutes, so I held him while I finished scouts. The scouts loved him!  He is a smily baby.  About five minutes after the scouts left, Lisa arrived.  She came to pick up her grand babies.  After a quick dinner Stockton and I spent the rest of the day finishing the diving badges.  This will be the largest dive meet ever held in Utah. Hope everything runs smoothly!  At least Stockton has now officially finished his service hour for National Honor Society.
I couldn't resist taking a picture of Preston.  Isn't he adorable?  Look how much he loves Shiver and Long.  Sorry Luigi.
Preston
Now for some of Stockton's questions on the state math test.  For hilariousness sake.

A factor of 243,000,000 is chosen at random.  What is the probability that the factor is a multiple of 9?

How many different kinds of pieces can you cut from an 8X8 checkered board consisting of four 1X1 squares that are joined end to end?  Note: Two pieces are the same if one of the pieces can be rotated or translated in the plane to obtain the piece.

A very thin disk has an area (on one side) of 4pi.  A square window is cut into a wall.  What is the smallest area (the lower bound) the window can have  and still be large enough for the disk to fit through?

When buying a bike from Math Bikes company, there are three extra options to choose (a bell, a rear finder, and a basket), each of which you can choose to add to the bike or choose not to add it.  If Math Bikes has sold 300 bikes, what is the largest number of bikes that you can guarantee to have exactly the same extras as each other?

One of the following numbers is a square.  Which one is it?
a) 4,751,006,864,295,101
b) 3,669,517,136,205,224
c) 2,512,339,789,576,516
d) 1,898,732,825,398,318
e) 5,901,643,220,186,107

Anyways, none of those questions look like any I would want to figure out!  Glad I wasn't taking that test.

In Mike news, he texted me that Marce Croft died.  Mike works at the temple with him.  Mike doesn't know what happened, but the shift supervisor left him a voicemail.  Mike also did his first presentation at the Openstack summit.  He said it went well.  One down, one to go.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Meeting Eve

Rachel texted me early this morning and said she was in Utah and would love to stop by if it worked out.  Rachel and her parents were down here looking for Nigel.  He is missing.  They are so worried about him.  They think Nigel is in Utah right now.  Nigel has schizophrenia. He hasn't been taking his medication since October.  Rachel thinks right now he doesn't even know his name.  She said he is probably walking around barefoot talking to himself.  If he saw his own missing poster he probably wouldn't even realize it was him.  So sad.  If anyone sees him, please call 911 so they can bring him home.  I hope he is found soon.  We pray for him every night.  We pray that he is warm and safe until he is found.  What a nightmare for Rachel's family.
Nigel's poster
Anyways, on the plus side, we got to see Rachel for about an hour. Rachel came to our house at 2:00.  I texted my family to let them know she would be here.  We all got to see her for a bit.  Rachel stopped by Bubs and Ange's house after she left ours.  Rachel's brother lives near them, so it worked out well.
Rachel meeting Jeff.  Matt is there too.
 Stephanie Ann & Eve Parley Ann
 Stephanie & Eve
 Jorja
 Eve & Matt
 Anne, Sam, Eve, Matt
 Stockton, Anne, Rachel & Jeff, Maysen
 Anne, Rachel & Jeff, Maysen, Eve & Matt
I like this picture.  I texted it to Brett with the caption "Rachel doesn't know I gave Eve an oreo."  Haha!  That is what aunts are for!
Eve & Rachel
 Rachel, Stephanie & Eve
Back row: Cathy, Dad
Anne, Matt, Stephanie & Eve, Preston, Sam & Jeff
Maysen, Jorja, Stockton, Max
Mike missed all of the festivities.  I took him to the airport this morning.  He is in Texas now.  He is giving two presentations at the Openstack conference.  This is the same conference I tagged along with him to Paris.  There was no way I would be able to leave right now, so he went without me.  Which is good.  He went with Jeff.  Not the one Sam is holding, but one who works with him.  It will be a long week without him though.

Right as Matt and Sam were pulling away I saw Anne's blanket.  That is not a good thing.  I was too slow to catch them.  I called my dad and invited myself to dinner so I could return the blanket.  Jorja and Preston came with me.  I asked all the kids if they wanted to go.  They asked what we were having.  I said, "Probably some kind of meat." Maysen and Stockton decided to stay home.  I texted the picture of scones my dad had made.  Whoops!  They lost!  I did bring home one scone for each of them.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Create

Today was a crazy, busy day.  Maysen was gone most of the day volunteering.  Mike spent a lot of time working on his presentation he needs to give next week.  Stockton and I spent several hours working on making lanyards for the diving competition next week.  We weren't able to start until today because the schedule wasn't set yet.  They wanted to schedule on the back of the lanyards.  We needed to make 35 for the coaches, 1 for the meet director and 215 for the divers.  I was given laminating pouches, but not enough.  Mike went to the store to buy them, but the ones they had were too expensive.  We are just going to finish cutting them out on sheets.  Which will mean a lot more cutting for me.  I could hardly walk by the end of the day.  My back hurt so bad.  We got the coaches, meet director and 130 of the divers finished.  At least Stockton will be able to finish his service hours for National Honor Society with this.

Mike took me out to lunch today.  We went to Wallabys.  It was good.  I is an Australian barbecue place.  I ordered a meat plate and it came with two sides.  I ordered vegetables and taz eggs.  I asked her what taz eggs were.  The cashier had a cute Australian accent.  She said taz eggs were boiled eggs covered in meat.  I thought....interesting.  I'll get meat with a side of meat.  Anyways, what she really said was boiled eggs covered in BEETS!  They were bright red eggs with beets all around.  I finished them, but they sure weren't my favorite.  I kept thinking, "This is Lincoln's favorite food.  If he can eat them so can I."  The rest of the food was good though.  I talked Mike into taking me to a dessert place nearby.  It is called Create.  It was really good!  You pick a base food. Donut, pie, cookie, waffle cone, crepe, brownie......lots of choices. Then you fix it however you want.  Fillings, glaze, toppings....there were so many choices!  I ended up getting a waffle bowl with three scoops of gelato (lemon, caramel, mint) covered in marshmallows, oreo crumbs, hot fudge, and caramel.  It was so good!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Dentist

Maysen needed to take the car today.  Usually on Fridays she gets a ride with someone.  He wasn't going to be there today.  Once she came home from school she wanted to go volunteer.  She needs the hours and I wanted her to go.  Then I realized that Jorja was staying after school to take a quiz.  She missed the quiz when we went to New Mexico.  I ended up having Maysen drop me off at Mike's work, then I took Mike's car home.  I had just gotten home with Mike's jeep when Jorja texted me saying she was able to get the quiz done in class so she no longer needed to stay after.  Oh well.  Preston had short day, and I had a car for no reason . . . so I decided to take him to Bahama Bucks! He ordered a pina colada and loved it.  He has loved pina colada ever since our trip to Hawaii.  The one at the Polynesian Center made him a fan for life.  I ordered a root beer float flavor.  I didn't like it as much as the watermelon though.
Preston
I almost forgot!  Mike had a trip to the dentist this morning.  He needed to get a cavity filled and a crown on, I think.  Mike texted me that he threw up all over.  He had laughing gas.  He said it was weird because the nurse lady jumped back and he thinks the dentist started cleaning the floor.  He thought, "I didn't just throw up, did I? . . . . . Then why am I wet?"  It was so weird for him knowing that he threw up and not being able to do anything about it.  He was quite embarrassed. I tried to talk him into working from home, but he didn't want to.  I went and picked him up at work around 5:30.  His teeth were hurting him by that point.  He came home and slept for a long while.

Max came over today.  My dad had a Passover dinner he wanted to go to.  I made waffles.  My dad's recipe, but I don't have my dad's waffle iron.  Max passed on the waffles, but at least food was offered.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Not Much

Not much today except laundry and diving.  Maysen went and volunteered this morning at a vet place.  She was able to job shadow someone.  She came home pretty happy about it.  I'm glad she has found somewhere she enjoys and that she can get hours volunteering in.  Win-win.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Kneel to Honor Him

This is how Preston looked when I woke up Stockton.  Sweet little boy with a cute belly button.  He loves sleeping with blindfolds too.
Preston
Today was a hard day for me.  Something kind of bizarre happened with one of my kids.  They don't want me to write about it.  They did nothing wrong, it was just a weird situation.  Anyway, it made me really miss my mom.  I needed someone to talk to.  Mike was at work.  I let him know what was happening, but there was nothing much he could do.  I really wanted to talk to my mom.  Or Sharen.  I miss them both so incredibly much.  I laid down and tried to imagine what it would be like to talk with my mom about one of my kids.  I couldn't even imagine it. That's sad.  I have no idea what it would be like.  I tried and tried to get an idea of what it would feel like.  Nothing.  I have no idea.  I try not to get jealous of people who have moms that are alive, but it is really hard. I hope one day I find out the reason she needed to leave earth so soon, and I hope I think it was justified.  Today it just really stinks.

One reason I hate getting behind on my blog is I forget things. Thursday Maysen and I went to our Stake Women's Conference.  Maysen went out to eat with my friends first.  I love that they took her. I couldn't go because I was at diving, but I did make it to the conference.  Melanie Rasband spoke.  She was so good.  She used to live in this stake before her husband became an apostle.  Crazy!  Mike and I went to high school with her daughter.  Anyways, she said a lot of lovely things, but the one I remember most is when she was talking about the day her mom died.  Her mom's death was unexpected and it had been a long day.  When she finally crawled into bed she realized she had forgotten to say her prayers.  She decided just to say them while she was laying down.  That was when she heard her mother's voice in her mind say, "Kneel to honor Him.  He deserves to be honored."  I love that.  I have thought about that a lot over this last week.  I wish I would have had that clarity after my mom died.  I had the opposite reaction.  Praying hurt.  Really bad.  I wasn't good at it.  I had prayed so hard for my mom to live, and she didn't.  It was really hard when I started praying for her to die.  I did not want that to happen at all; but it did.  I never have been angry at Heavenly Father, but praying became incredibly hard for me.  It just hurt way too much. I would always pray during the day.  Constantly.  It was the kneeling down prayers at night that I couldn't do. I could almost physically feel a wall as I tried to shut everything out.  I wish I had my mother's voice in my mind saying, "Kneel to honor Him.  He deserves to be honored."  I know she believed that 100%.  I just wanted to run and hide.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Dogs

Stockton had a long day today.  He had to go early to fill out stuff for his AP tests.  Then he had to stay late to take an AP World History practice test.  His teacher has five out of school tests, they need to go to two of them.  Stockton wasn't able to go to the first one because he had a take home calculus test that day.  He went to the one on Saturday.  I noticed there was a test today after Stockton had left for school.  I texted him and asked if he would want to take this one.  I was surprised he said yes.  Usually Stockton needs to know the plan ahead of time and doesn't like things spur of the moment.  He did say that this would get him out of Young Mens tonight.  They were going skeet shooting. (I think, it was some kind of shooting.)  They were leaving at five and were going to be gone several hours.  Stockton thought if it was going to take several hours he might as well spend the several hours taking this required test.  Anyways, we are really lucky he took the test today. There were supposed to be two tests after this one.  One Stockton could not go to because he has a regional diving competition.  It is at BYU and can't be missed.  Stockton's teacher cancelled the other test, so the one on the diving competition is the only one left.  I am so glad Stockton was able to get this done so we don't have a problem on our hands.  Anyways, I picked Stockton up around 6:30.  We went to Bahama Bucks.  I saw this store yesterday when Preston and I were getting him shoes.  I tried to get him to come with me, but he didn't want to.  I know Christen loves this store.  Probably because it is super fun and Blake can eat things here!  It was so delicious!  Stockton got an orange cream smoothing thing and I got a no-sugar watermelon snow cone.  Preston loved mine when he got home.  He said, "I would have wanted to go if I knew it was going to be so good!"
Stockton
Preston and I had pack meeting tonight.  Mike took Jorja to her softball game.  I was sorry to miss that.  (Her team forfeited.  Most of the girls were at a band concert.  Some of the green team played on Jorja's team. Jorja caught the entire game.)  My wolfs had the flag ceremony and had to preform a skit.  They came up with the skit themselves.  They did a 'Captain Literally' skit.  Brady (dressed as a scout) helped Luke (dressed as an old man) cross the street.  Luke said thanks, but he didn't need to cross the street.  Brady says he is literally the worst scout ever.  Eli came dressed as Captain Literally, said his line and then helped Brady beat up the old man.  Brady was so excited to be a villain.  I am really glad to have that skit over with.  I was not looking forward to it at all.  The mom's were great and had costumes for their kids, I just hate being in charge of things like that.  It is done.  Yay!

Ashley is the best Cub Master ever.  She had some dogs come from a volunteer organization.  They talked about how they use the dogs to help others.  Preston loved the white dog.  He said it looked like Shiver and even had a curly tail.
Preston and Blondie
Preston took my phone and then took a few selfies of him and the dog. I look ridiculous in the background, but I love how happy Preston was about this.
Preston & Blondie
 Preston and Coco
Preston wanted all his stuffed animals on him at bedtime tonight.  I told him he needed to promise me he wouldn't die.  I didn't want to have 'death by stuffed animal suffocation' in his obituary.  He laughed and laughed and told me he would be fine.
Preston.  He's in there.
 So happy.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Choices

Laundry day!  That is what I did today.  I didn't have scouts today which made this Monday pretty relaxing.  We had Family Home Evening today.  We watched President Monson's talk again.  We talked about how he was getting old and running out of strength.  He only had four minutes to speak to us, what do you think was the most important thing he wanted to say?  First he announced temples.  He then talked about choices and agency.  It was basically the Plan of Salvation.  He talked about faith and repentance.  Choose Christ. Make your faith strong.  Choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong.  I love that.  What a great talk.

I also showed them a short video I found on the internet.  I can't remember where I found it or who published it, but they were on the University of Washington campus.  They were interviewing people asking about their opinions about who can use bathrooms.  The interviewer was a white 5'9" male.  He asked several people what they would say if he told them he was female.  Most of them said they were great with it.  He asked them, "What if I told you I was Chinese?"  Some were confused, but ended up being okay with it.  Next question, "What if I told you I was 7 years old?"  Again, they refused to tell him there was no way he was 7.  He asked if they would be okay with him being in a first grade classroom.  They were.  He asked, "What if I told you I was 6'5"?"  They said that was fine.  He was able to get people to say he was a 6'5" seven year old Chinese woman.  Wow.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Taxes

Mike finished our taxes today.  Yes, I know it is Sunday and yes, I know we are procrastinators.  A few days ago Mike thought we owed a few thousand dollars.  This kind of stressed him out.  Today he finally found the button where he could imput information about our health insurance.  Now we don't owe anything.  What a relief!

The rest of the day was spent hanging out with the kids and planning our summer vacation.  We are cutting out a few things, but the fact that we don't owe thousands of dollars is making this much easier to plan.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Sons of Utah Pioneers

Maysen received a $750 scholarship from the Sons of Utah Pioneers. She wrote an essay and applied at the beginning of the school year. She was interviewed by John H. Morgan, Jr.  He is almost 93 years old and interviewed everyone.  Wow.  They gave about 275 scholarships. In order to receive the scholarship, Maysen had to attend an all day thing. They had keynote speakers and then two breakout classes in the morning, and then a program in the evening.  Maysen signed me up to attend with her in the morning, then both Mike and I for the evening.  I was not looking forward to this at all.  I was so wrong.  I absolutely loved everything about it.  It was well run.  The speakers were great. They fed us breakfast, lunch and dinner.  The breakout classes we attended were fantastic.  You could really feel the love this group has for the youth and how much they want them to succeed. I loved the things that were taught.  Always keep learning.  Never graduate.  Die learning.  Keep growing.  Notice opportunities.  Meet people.  Most opportunities will come out of problems.  Interpersonal skills have plummeted since email and text.  Interpersonal communication is the vegetables of life.  Eat your vegetables!  You need these skills.  Look and ask.  Look and ask.  Look and ask.  Instinct is great for survival. Intuition is great for success.  The most important key of leadership is making people right.  Anyways, it was just an awesome day.  There was a girl there named Jorjee.  I had not seen that name before.  Jorja says there is a girl at her school named Jorjiana.

Today was super crazy with me being gone most of the day.  Mike was gone all morning as well.  He was at the county delegate meeting.  He seemed to find it really interesting and said Matt was pretty mad about how his group ran things.  I followed Mike home from a few streets away.  I don't think he noticed me until our driveway.

Stockton had a practice AP World History test.  Mike dropped him off on the way to his delegate meeting and my dad picked him up.  He was going to need to wait for awhile because my dad was planning on taking Max to see Patrice, but Patrice ended up canceling.

Jorja had a softball clinic to go to.  Luckily her coach was willing to come and pick up Jorja.  We had absolutely no other way to get her there.  Jorja had some friends come over in the few hours we were home.  We dropped them off at Katlyn's house on the way to the scholarship dinner and picked up Jorja on the way home.  Such a long, busy, productive day.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Dallin

I ran into Dallin's mom at the elementary school today.  Dallin is Jorja's good friend.  They go to different schools now and hardly see each other.  I talked to her for awhile.  It made me so sad.  Dallin doesn't have any friends.  He tells his mom that someone has to be the lowest on the pecking order and it is him.  I asked about Jazzie.  Jazzie and Dallin have been great friends even before Jorja moved here.  She said that Dallin and Jazzie are good out of school friends, but not in school friends. Dallin told her that he stays away from Jazzie at school because he didn't want other people to pick on her.  Wow.  That makes me so sad and also proud of Dallin at the same time.  He is such a great kid.  I hope things pick up for him.  It is mostly the Chinese kids that are mean to him.  I told her that Jorja doesn't really even hang out with the Chinese kids now.  Most of her friends aren't in the program.  Jorja was put in classes where she knew no one.  It ended up being one of the greatest blessings.  Cassie (Dallin's mom) said she is going to hope for that next year and is going to let Dallin  know about Jorja's experience. I hope it helps him and I hope 8th grade is much better for him.  Poor guy.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Chinese Competition

Today was a crazy day!  There was a language fair at BYU.  Jorja's class went.  I volunteered to be a chaperone.  My email said to meet at the middle school and follow the buses down or meet at LOT 20 in the Marriott Center at BYU.  Jorja apparently is embarrassed by me now and didn't want me to come.  Mostly she said I would make her nervous.  Too late, I had already signed up.  I decided to meet them at LOT 20.  I was there right on time.  There were so many buses!  So many people!  After awhile I saw a bus that had our school district name on it dropping people off at the curb.  I ran to catch up.  I couldn't see Jorja, but it looked like it was a bus full of middle schoolers.  I followed them.  I soon realized it wasn't Jorja's class, but I wasn't sure what to do.  I followed a lady speaking Chinese, but they got lost.  They were looking for the Tanner building.  I left and found it myself.  There were signs about the Chinese fair outside.  I went up to the sign in desk and asked if they knew what schools had already checked in.  They weren't writing them down, but told me Jorja's school had arrived.  I looked everywhere for her.  It was hard because the place was crawling with kids.  I finally sent Mr. Chen an email from my phone telling him I was at the Tanner Building but couldn't find them.  I didn't know if he would see it, but I wasn't sure what to do.  I didn't have his phone number to ask.  Soon after I got a text that said, "Hello mother we are in the Jesse Knight Building"  Whoops.  No wonder I couldn't find them.  That building was across the street.  That is where the competitions were being held.  The things in the Tanner Building were more just for fun.  When I got there, Jorja was already competing in the character bee, so I didn't get to watch.  She was happy about that.  I helped a few students get to where they needed to go until the different competitions were over.  Then I just followed Jorja and Natalie around while they explored the activities in the Tanner Building.  It was fun for them to run into their Chinese elementary school friends.  Half of the elementary went to a different middle school.  We heard Jazzie was there, but Jorja never saw her.  I left after lunch and before the awards were handed out.  There were five 7th grade immersion classes competing against each other.  Jorja's school won 1st place!  They were pretty excited about that.
Jorja & Mr. Chen
 Natalie, Jorja, Mr. Chen, Ella, Carley
 Jorja's class
Mr. Chen is going to be teaching at a different school next year.  His wife has now finished and they both have jobs as the Chinese immersion teachers at Butler Middle School.  That will be nice for him to be able to work with his wife.  Jorja has had Mr. Chen for three years.  It will be good to have a change.  She has really liked him, but I think they are ready for something different.  Hopefully she likes the next Chinese teacher.  I heard they will be getting two new ones.

I got home from BYU in time to get Stockton and take him back to BYU for diving.  I spent most of the time getting trained on what I need to do for the diving competition coming up at the end of April.  BYU is hosting Regionals and it is quite a big deal.  I am in charge of making signs and lanyards for the coaches/divers.  I can't start on them until the deadline for signups has past though.  I'm hoping Stockton can help me put them together.  That way he can get service hours for NHS.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Elder Payton

My very, very, very, very good friend from Georgia is named Teresa.  I miss her so much.  She has a boy Maysen's age.  His name is Payton. They were both born in 1997, so they were always in the same primary class.  Maysen met him when he was 4.  Anyways, Payton is now on a mission.  He is serving in the Salt Lake City North Mission (I think). Whatever it is, it is just miles from our house.  I think our house is officially in the Salt Lake City South Mission.  I have been telling Mike for months that we should call up the mission president and see if we could take Payton out to lunch.  I have no idea what the rules are about this.  A few months ago Mike and I went to see Melissa's baby Leo blessed.  The kids went to church without us.  (They all had something they couldn't miss.  For example, Maysen was teaching her Sunday school class that day.)  Payton's mission president spoke in sacrament that day!  I couldn't believe it!  I felt like I missed my chance to find out if we could take Payton to lunch!  Well, a few weeks ago Mike went to the bank to open up a checking account for Maysen.  While he was there he saw Payton's mission president!  Mike started talking to him and asked him if he knew Elder Myers.  He did.  Mike told him we lived next to Payton in Georgia and asked if we could take him to lunch.  His mission president said, "You live close enough, that will be fine."  Yay!!! I have been so excited!!!  We met Payton and his companion at Hires Big H.
Elder Farnsworth & Elder Myers
Mike wanted to take him to Braza Grill, but that is out of his area right now.  Payton told us that his trainer was Brazilian, so he has been to Braza Grill about 50 times already.  Missionaries eat free there.  How cool is that?  When kids eat free the restaurant is hoping to make money on their parents. With missionaries eating free, there is no hope with that.  Just doing it out of the goodness of their heart.  Mike says we need to support that restaurant more often.
Stephanie, Elder Payton :), Mike
Payton's birthday was on Saturday.  We were originally supposed to meet last week.  Teresa wanted me to bring him balloons.  Payton had to reschedule, so I brought him a late birthday present instead. I got him a pound of assorted See's chocolates and a 1/2 pound of truffles.  I also got his companion a 1/2 pound of assorted chocolates because I'm sure he has a birthday sometime too.
I went to diving later today.  I was looking through my phone for some information I needed.  I came across this picture I had randomly texted to myself a few months back.  I have no idea why I did that. This snow is from the snow machine Maysen made with Mike.  Wow.  That was a long time ago.
Payton & Maysen
I texted Josh's mom why we were at diving.  I asked her when Josh was going to come back.  It has been three months now.  She said in the summer with Mike.  I asked if he was ever going to come back to BYU. She said she didn't think so.  That made me sad.  Stockton loves diving with Josh.  It is such a struggle to get to BYU twice a week.  Carpooling made my life so much easier!  Stockton picked BYU 100% because Josh wanted to go there.  We were trying to convince him to go to the U.  It would be closer and Gage and Gavin were going there.  Plus Stockton could ride trax if he needed to.  I have really liked BYU though.  I feel like Stockton has improved a lot.  I just with Josh was with us for the ride.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

J.J.

Jorja had her first softball game of the season.  She was a little nervous because she just started playing last spring.  Now that she is 13 she is in the older age division.  A few months ago she kept saying, "I wish my birthday was in January!"  Not many girls signed up to play.  They only have enough for three teams.  They decided to only have the games on Tuesday, which is a little disappointing because that is Jorja's Young Women's night.  Oh well, it won't last forever.  One team will always have a double header.  Jorja's was the first team to do that.  Jorja is on the purple team.  They are the Stingers.  Like Jellyfish stingers.  They played the green team first.  That team was good. Most of the players seemed double the size of Jorja's team.  The second team was the grey team, they were about the same experience level as Jorja's.  The main problem with Jorja's team was no one wanted to be a pitcher.  You kind of need one of those in softball.  It was also team pictures today.  What a long day!
Jorja
Here are three random plays.  Jorja was able to play catcher the entire game for both games.  I'm pretty sure her legs are going to be sore tomorrow!  Also Jorja told her coaches to call her J.J.  It's kind of weird to hear people cheering for J.J.  Whatever.  It's a good nickname, just weird.  I'm sure we'll get used to it.
video
video
video
The coach has this cool little board so the girls know where to go.  J.J. looks weird written out.  I can't bring myself to write it without the periods, because it looks even weirder that way.
Jorja was pretty happy to have an entire day of softball.  I wish she had started earlier.  Who knew she would love it so much?

Mallory called me while I was at the ball field.  She is pretty disappointed that Cassie is having a boy.  She told me she was afraid he wouldn't like her.  I told her I was pretty disappointed when I found out her dad was a boy too.  I'm sure she will love him as soon as she sees him.  The unknown is always a bit scary.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Back

But I don't want to go back to real life.  Everyone is back in school again.  Eight more weeks until we are done.  Yay!  Although, eight more weeks until Maysen graduates high school.  I don't think I will be ready for that.

I had scouts today.  We only had two boys because Luke is in Hawaii. We worked on things Luke had already passed off.  Four scouts is much easier than two.  I talked to the primary yesterday.  Once fall comes I will only have one scout.  It will be just Brady until he turns 9. Then I will have no scouts for a few months.  Doesn't seem fair to Brady.  I just want them to be aware so they can decide what to do and be ready to go when it does happen.  Poor little guy is completely surrounded by girls in primary.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Non-Dairy

Mike and Maysen made tacos for family dinner tonight.  It was great. Matt and Sam came over early, but my kids ended up being too stressed to play with them.  Stockton was up until late in the night finishing calculus homework.  I can't get upset with him about that though, with his wisdom teeth he just couldn't get it done.  I didn't want him trying to learn things while he was on heavy medication. Jorja has some Chinese spelling bee next week.  I knew something Chinese related was coming up, but I had no idea she had a giant packet of Chinese characters to study.  Most of my focus has been on the two older kids, things have slipped through the cracks with the two younger ones.  I'll need to get better.

It was fun having everyone over.  I talked to Bubs and Ange a lot about the New York tour I went on with my dad last year.  It looks like they will be able to do it with him in June.  I am so excited everything worked out!  I am going to watch their kids while they are gone.  I think this will be really good for both of them.

We had ice cream for dessert.  I was so excited!  I got Anne some Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Fudge Brownie NON-DAIRY ice cream.  I took a small taste.  It was so rich.  I doubt I would be able to finish a bowl. Anne loved it.  I wish I had a picture.  She had chocolate all over her face.
Mike & Christen, here are the ingredients.  I don't see eggs on there. Maybe Blake could have it?  I don't know if there are hidden eggs in one of those words or if he is allergic to something else in there.  Is he allergic to almonds?  You'll have to let me know if he can have something like this.  I am thankful everyday that dealing with allergies is not my trial in life.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Not Much

Not too much to report today.  Maysen was scheduled to spend most of the day at University of Utah for a new student thing.  We canceled that because of her decision yesterday.  She spent some of the day volunteering with dogs instead.  I was supposed to see my friend Janet. They were in Idaho because her son, Chaz, just graduated from BYUI. She cancelled because they decided to stay an extra day in Idaho. Makes sense because two of their boys and two of their grandchildren are there.  Jorja had a softball practice.  I took her to Kohl's afterwords to pick up a toaster I had ordered.  Of course she talked me into buying her clothes.  I should know better than to take Jorja into a clothes store.  She loves to shop.  Everyday I'm reminded how different Maysen and Jorja are.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Utah State is the Winner

Maysen made a decision.  She has picked Utah State to go to college. She said the most important things to her was graduating quickly and without debt.  She would receive almost double AP credits from Utah State then she would from BYU.  BYU has gotten pretty stingy on those. She also received a Presidential Scholarship from Utah State, which pays four years tuition and fees.  That will be really nice.  We have always told the kids they are responsible to pay their own way for college.  Maysen took care of that.  We are going to help her out on housing and food this year.  Kind of want to have her get her feet under her and figure out college life before she adds a job on top of that. Actually that is what Mr. Thomas, one of Maysen's teachers, told me was the best advice he ever received.  I don't know if we will be able to do this for everyone, but because Maysen took care of the tuition it made it possible.  Thanks Maysen!
Maysen
 Accepting her scholarship
 Scholarship letter
Matt called me and asked if I would like to go to a Jazz game today.  Of course the answer was yes.  My dad had six tickets because of a basketball camp Max had attended.  I rode up with Matt, Sam, Anne and Jeff and took Trax back with my dad and Max.  The game was fun except the ending.  Jazz blew a good lead and ended up losing the game in overtime.
Anne, Max, Dad
I had a hard time falling asleep tonight.  I was so wide awake when I got home.  Mike was exhausted after being on call all week.  Especially because he was up a lot last night fixing something.  It was close to midnight before I fell asleep.  A lot of days I'm out by 9:30.