You've heard the phrase, "Make hay while the sun shines." Well, what do you do when the sun doesn't shine? Today we're having a small blizzard and so Lauren decided it was time to go cross-country skiing! You can see from the pictures how hard it was snowing. Looks like we'll have about 7" by the time it's over. With more coming on Sunday it's safe to say we'll be having a White Christmas!
Yes, That blur is Lauren...
I should also say that after more than an hour of skiing, the skis came off and she took the snowboard out! Now if only we had some hills in our yard.
Monday night about 6:00 p.m. the door bell rang. We went to see who was there and found this: There was a note attached that let us know that we were the 3rd Day of Christmas and that this was "Three English Toffees" from someone doing the Twelve Days of Christmas. It was fun. So if you're out there reading this and it was from you - you should know that you couldn't have picked a candy we love more! Thanks - and Merry Christmas!
As many of you already know the Northeast was hit with an ice storm which brought down tons of tree limbs onto power lines. Many were without power until Monday, and I hear some places still don't have power back. We were one of the few "lucky" ones. We were like an island of power surrounded by the great sea of black. We did have three or four really large branches fall down off our pine tree. One of them just missed our neighbor's truck. We also had a large oak branch fall onto the driveway which prevented us from getting out of the garage until it got cut up. But after a small mishap with a chain saw (no worries - no one got hurt, it just got pinned in a branch and we couldn't free it for awhile) and a Saturday morning of back breaking work (thanks Glen and Dave) we were OK. More than half of our ward was without power. And it was hard checking on people because many people now have internet phones that don't work without power. Cell phones did help a lot. On Saturday we had a Stake Choir rehearsal and driving there was like being in Narnia with the Ice Queen. It was incredibly beautiful. Fortunately most people had their power back on by Sunday night, but it was a cold time to be without power. It made me realize that we need to do more to be prepared for this type of thing, should it happen again. You can see how the ice caused the trees to bend, if not break. Glen took this shot Saturday night. The ice really was as beautiful as it was destructive.
For whatever reason this Fall seems to be flying past. As it was we got to Halloween day and we hadn't carved pumpkins yet. So Glen and I went and purchased pumpkins and Jared and Lauren carved them before heading off to Halloween parties leaving Glen and I home to watch Ghost Busters and answer the door. We consoled ourselves by eating the sugar cookies and raiding the candy. As you can see from the picture Jared decided to be creative and had his pumpkin spewing its guts all over the place. Oh, don't you all wish you had a teenage boy? Lauren's pumpkin was somewhat more traditional.
Lauren has been playing field hockey this year. She is on the Modified team. There is also a JV and a Varsity team. So far they have yet to win a game, but their last game was a tie 0-0, so they're improving. The most important thing is that she's having a blast running around every day after school. They practice M-F until around 5:00 p.m. Their season will end on October 24th. Hopefully by then they'll have at least one win under their belt!
The first day of school was on September 4th. There was no seminary so the kids went to school together on the bus (much to Jared's disappointment!). Here is a picture of Jared and Lauren together. Jared heading off to the first day as a Junior in High School at BH-BL. Lauren heading off to her first day of 7th grade at O'Rourke Middle Schoo.
I had some time while I was staying with Erin and Justin early in my trip so I went to see the Bensons. It was great to see them. Erin, Andrea, and LouJean in Erin & Justin's new apartment. We had to opportunity to go to the SLC temple with Lauren who went to do baptisms for the first time. Erin graduated with a BM degree in Secondary Instrumental Music Education and Justin graduated with a BS in Landscape Management. We were able to have a Brooksby get together at Aunt Marian and Uncle Mikes' house. Lauren was able to get a ride on Grandpa Worthen's Gold Wing motorcycle. Lauren and Uncle David at Lagoon. Jared (11), Matt (3), and Lauren (2) driving gokarts at the Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele.
Jared, Lauren, and I have been in Utah for nine days now. Glen will join us this evening. And then the real "fun" will begin. We pack and move Erin to Logan on Wednesday (Justin will be getting his Masters at USU), Commencement on Thursday, and College Convocations are Friday. Saturday all Brooksbys who are in town (Ray and Robin; Evan and his daughter Stacy; our family; and Eric's and Dave's families, who live here already) are getting together at Glen's Aunt Marian and Uncle Mike's house in Pleasant Grove. Lauren and Jared spent a couple of days with the Benedicts while I helped Erin pack. Jared also went to EFY at BYU. He said that it was the best EFY ever. We got a letter from Brett and it sounds like things are going well for him. We enjoy seeing family and letting the kids get re-acquainted with their cousins on both sides.
Lauren turned twelve on July 24th. She got kidnappped and taken to breakfast in her PJs by some friends, she played with her presents, got her ears pierced, got her hair cut, and went to SPAC to see the NYC Ballet. What a birthday. The next day she had a friends birthday party. They played twister on a giant twister board, decorated little cakes, ate ice cream pie, opened presents, and played Apples to Apples.
Then on Sunday Grandma B., and her Aunt, Uncle, and cousins came over to celebrate with Lauren's favorite dinner - scrambled eggs, sausage, blueberry muffins, hash browns, and OJ. Her Aunt brought a cake that was decorated with half for Lauren and half for Rob, as it was his birthday that day. They each blew out half of the candles.
The ward had a 4th of July pancake breakfast outside today. It was fun. There was also a hot air balloon there taking people up about 30 feet. That was fun. Lauren and Glen rode their bikes over. I had food to take and Jared can't ride his bike right now so I drove us over. After that we went and saw Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull at the Scotia Cinema. It was just what you expected, which made it fun. After that we went home and grilled ribs and potatoes on the BBQ. It was yummy. Then we went to the Empire State Plaza to see the fireworks. We've never actually been to the plaza for fireworks before. Once long ago we watched them from across the river, but that's not the same. Brian Adams was the act before the fireworks. I really only recognized one song and it was really LOUD! The fireworks were the best we've seen in NY. Usually we go to Clifton Park or Scotia for fireworks. They do about half of what the Empire State Plaza does. It was a lot of fun, and we managed to be at the front of the crowd leaving so getting to the car and getting home weren't too bad. It was a fun, relaxing 4th of July.
Yesterday at 5:45 a.m. Jared and I left for Ellis Hospital-McClellan Campus to have arthroscopic surgery done on his wrist. He had some torn cartilage that had been causing problems for about 9 months now. First it's wait to see if it fixes itself. No - then call primary care physician. Wait weeks for appointment. Told to try 3 Advil 3 times a day for a month (stomach eaten away). Doesn't fix problem. Sent for imaging. Inconclusive. Sent to orthopedist, suggests physical therapy. Two months of that, no better. Back to orthopedist, sent for imagine where they inject dye into site. Yes, something is wrong. Will surgery fix it? Do we want to try to wait it out? Decide to do surgery because it's not getting better on its own. At this point it's almost tennis season. Ask orthopedist if it matters at this point if he has surgery after tennis. He says "No". After tennis it's the end of school and he needs right hand to write for finals. Decide to schedule surgery right after school ends. Get an appointment on July 3rd, changes to July 1st, and finally settles on July 2nd (unfortunately we were supposed to meet a good family friend getting home from a mission on the 2nd - Oh well, what can we do). Who would ever have thought that something that happened last August would finally get fixed the next July. He'd supposed to be in the bandage until July 9th, then probably in a splint. And then we hope it's truly fixed!
Last night for FHE we had Helen and Suzanne & kids over for a BBQ. Afterwards we got ready to to freeze homemade strawberry ice cream. But...just when the freezer started turning our power went out. What a delima - do we wait and see if it comes back on soon, or do we go to Suzanne's house to freeze it? After a call to the power company and an estimate of four hours before we'd have power we headed to Suzanne's. It was done about 8:45p.m. So we had our FHE lesson while we ate the ice cream. We haven't made homemade ice cream in years. It was delicious!
Ice Cream from Helen Brooksby
5 c. blended strawberries or peaches juice of 1 lemon 3 c. sugar 4 separated eggs pinch of salt 1 qt. 2% milk or whole milk 1/2 pt. heavy cream 2 tsp. vanilla 2 drops red food coloring (if needed)
Blend 5 c. berries, 2 c. sugar, and lemon juice and set aside. Beat egg shites and salt until stiff. Add 1/2 c. sugar. Beat until it looks like meringue. Beat egg yolks with 1/2 c. sugar until llight yellow. Put fruit in. Fold in yolks. Fold in meringue. Add milk, cream, and coloring. Freeze.
We've spent most of the weekend going to graduation parties. Jared's been to some; Lauren and I have been to some; Glen and I; and Glen, Lauren, and I have been to some. I don't think Jared came to any of the ones the rest of the family went to. I guess he's getting old enough to know kids that are graduating this year and wanted to go to their parties. We also attended a piano/flute recital which was great. Erin called and told us that she and Justin have signed a contract on an apartment in Logan. They're excited, it's a fourplex and theirs is a basement apartment, but it's only half way underground - so there are still windows, etc. Cousin Jennifer went with them to Logan to visit one of her friends. They're driving her back to SLC today. Some really exciting news is that Glen and I are getting bedroom funiture. After 23 years of marriage to finally have furniture is really exciting!
Well today is P-day and well I'm both excited and still exhausted, as you might expect. I think I may still be 4 hours behind instead of the 7 I was behind by. Today we are mailing from the library because that is the closest place where we can use computers. It's about a half mile away. The library its self is very, very old, as you might have guessed. The city I'm in is Birmingham and it is one of the largest cities I have ever lived in. It is not the size of New York City at all, but it is still a sight to see. The homes are all really old and you have both the posh and the really poor. There are all sorts of people here. We have the largest population of Pakistanis in the world outside of Pakistan. Then there are the Polish people, there are loads of Polish here and most of them still don't speak English very well so it is hard when you go tracting to tract into them and share a message with them. Then we have Hungarians, Romanians and all sorts of Muslim people and there are even a few African Jamaicans and then you have the other original English people. As you might be able to tell there is a lot of diversity! It's a big melting pot because there is a little bit of everything. Oh, and the people here in England love Americans! They think it is so cool to meet Americans and they think you know all the famous people like 50 cent and other people like that, so basically they idolize you. Then the icing on th cake is I said I'm from New York and their eyes just widen and they think oh, New York City. They have no concept of an upper state even being there, all they can think of is the city. It's kinda cool. I try and explain it to them but they just cannot get it. Well the food here is good. I already have a dinner appointment (D.A.) where we had chicken tika marsala, or however you say that. It was my First D.A. since being here. I still have yet to have fish and chips, but the members here are very quick to offer you squash, sweets and biscuits. Ok, ok - I know your wondering what's with the Squash. It's a sort of juice they have here that is better than any other juice I have ever had in my life. It's very concentrated so you pour in 1/10 of this concentrated juice and then 9/10 water, or aqua as they say here. A lot of things over here contain aqua not water....go figure. Anyway the language is different. The Brummies have a very thick accent and sometimes it is hard to understand them. Often I just have to look at my companion and ask him what they just said. My companion has been out for 18 months and has spent half of his mission in Wales. He is very good. We still have to look at the map seeing as how he was only in the area 2 weeks previous to me being here. But we manage to find our way around this big city. He is from Indiana and is a really hard worker! By the way, I don't think that I will be spending any money on a bike right now because one of the members said he will give me a bike for free, which is very nice of him! Well I have to go soon because we have to get back. I have a Safari Park adventure to go to with some of the members right now!!! I'm excited! It's in Dudley. By the way, on Sunday we confirmed a recent baptism. We also have a baptism set for the 4th of July. We just committed her to a baptismal date yesterday after we finished teaching her!!! We hope to have 2 more next week! Things are going very well here. I love England even though I'm very tired all the time. I think I'll make it!!! Glad to hear your all doing well there. I love you and miss you. Love, Elder Brett Brooksby
Last night we got to talk to Brett. He called from the airport. He could only talk for a half-hour, but it was nice to be able to ask some of our questions and FINALLY get some answers. He's not really good at answering questions. We found out that he had received his greenie package, and he's received a couple of snail mail letters. He has received all of the Dear Elder letters and all of our e-mails. He was going to sit by Sister Moffatt on the flight from SLC to Paris. Hopefully that will be a good thing. I can hardly wait to hear how things are going and how he likes England.
I just spoke to the person in charge of Brett's travel. He said that Brett will be leaving at 5:00 p.m. tomorrow on a non-stop flight from SLC to Paris, France. From there he will fly to Birmingham. He also said that Brett will be traveling with the mission president's wife. She had been in Utah attending either a marriage or funeral, he couldn't remember which one. So Brett will be picked up in Birmingham by the mission president when he comes to pick-up his wife. Hopefully we'll get to talk to him from the airport before he leaves.
We got an e-mail from Brett today saying that he got his visa. He's going to Provo to sign it, and said that he'd be leaving before the end of the week. We're so happy that it's finally come and that he will actually be able to go to England after all.
Jared's in the middle of taking Regents exams. He didn't have any today, but does Wednesday, Thursday, and next Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Then he's done. Lauren's exams begin this Thursday, which means that is when the half-days of school also begin.
Glen is stuck in Washington D.C. at the moment and really hoping that his 9:40 p.m. flight will get him home tonight. With all the bad weather in the Northeast flights have been a mess. I'll cross my fingers!
Congratulations to Jami and Josh Braun on the birth of their daughter Kallan Jean. She was born at 3:19 a.m. on July 14. She weighed 6 pounds 9 ounces and is 19 inches long. She and Oliver Sadler (Andrew and Wendy's baby) share the same birthdate a year apart. So - Happy Birthday to Oliver too!
Today Brett went to the Salt Lake City South mission to serve while he's waiting for his visa. We only have the mission home address because we haven't heard from Brett yet. That address is: 8060 South 615 East,Sandy, Utah 84070.
Jared's Eagle Project is just about done. All he needs to do is hang the built and painted bat houses at Indian Meadows, write it up, and then he should be an Eagle Scout! Saturday was Seminary graduation, so we enjoied ourselves this morning when we got to sleep in one whole extra hour. Exams begin at the end of this week for Jared. I'm just about out of days when the kids are at school for the whole day. Jared also has his tennis banquet tomorrow night.
Lauren begins her exams mid-week next week. At that point she only has half-days of school left. She had her final band and choral concert last week. School is really winding down. On to review packets. Oh the joy!
Glen is in Suffolk, VA today through Thursday night. Reviews and stuff.
I'm keeping it all together - although not so well. I coughed (I've had a cold) and threw my back out again. Ouch!
We got an e-mail from Brett saying that he wasn't able to do his biometric imaging on Tuesday because his passport hadn't been returned. After talked to the Church Travel people I believe that they tried to do it yesterday. All the rest of Brett's district leave on Tuesday. At that point I'm not sure what will happen to Brett. Keep him in your prayers.
Also, Jared is doing his Eagle Scout Project this Saturday. He is building bat houses to put in a park by us. We hope it goes well and that that they're able to get them put up. It will be nice to have that out of the way. Although that means that Jared will start asking to get his drivers license. That will be fun! He also had a vocal solo in a concert last week and did a fantastic job on it.
Lauren had has final concert of the year. She was part of a small group descant that sounded great.
We got a letter that Brett had written on May 18th. He said that he is busier than he's ever been, and that he barely gets enough sleep to have the energy to do all he needs to. His companion is Elder Touli. He is originally from Samoa, but he grew up in LA. He really likes him. His district has three sets of Elders and two sets of sisters. All of the Elders are going to Seattle, WA. One Sister is going to Catania, Italy and two of the other Sisters are going to Melbourne, Australia. He really likes his teachers Sister Billings and Brother Petersen. Brett told Jared to really study the Book of Mormon and Preach My Gospel so that he'll be ready when it's his turn to go on a mission.
We finally got an e-mail from Brett. Aparently his P-day is Wednesday and since that is when he entered last week today is the first time he's had to let us know how things are going. It sounds like it is keeping him busy, and that he loves it. He is getting to sing in the MTC choir, which is something he'd looked forward to. He likes his District. He didn't mention anything about his companion. I'll have to ask again who he is and where he's from. It's just good to hear from him.
Brett has been set apart as a missionary today. The Stake President did it after seminary this morning. We brought Lauren and Jared just hung around after seminary was over. Then we took Jared and Lauren to school. Right now we're just killing time until he has to leave for the airport at 11:30 a.m. I can't believe that I have a missionary son!
It looks like Brett will now be going to the Provo MTC for his 3 weeks of missionary training. He'll then fly either to the UK (if they've gotten his visa) or to the Dublin Ireland mission to await his visa. If they can't ever get his visa he'll serve in the Dublin mission for the whole time. Talk about my head spinning. The good news is he still leaves (although he now leaves on Tuesday instead of Thursday) on time and isn't delayed.
Brett just got an e-mail saying that his visa appeal has been denied. We are now wondering what will happen. Will he be delayed? Will he go to the Provo MTC? Will his mission change? As you can imagine, it's very discouraging. We are hoping to hear from Brett Morrison at the Church Office Building. He is over the UK visas and we're hoping that he can help us out. Brett is supposed to leave a week from today. He is really upset, and who wouldn't be. Friday night he's speaking at the Aaronic Priesthood campout about going on a mission and he is speaking in Sacrament meeting on Sunday, which will be a challenge if he doesn't know when or where he's really going.
I can't believe how many little details there still are to do. I thought we'd done most everything, but as I read through the mission papers I keep finding little things that we haven't done. Today it's things like getting a new watch band. We still have to transfer money into Brett's account, pick-up his trench coat from the dry cleaners, get more pairs of garments, check in medical insurance coverage. And those are just the things we're remembering right now. I just realized that yesterday was transfers in the Birmingham Mission. The next transfer will be Brett's. Wow!