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2 Girls, 2 Boys and a whole lot of noise.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve

'Twas the day before Christmas
and all through this home
Three creatures were stirring
Oh how they roamed.

The mother was baking
rolls and hams
For her friends
and their fams

The oldest child,
well, she was not so well
She didn't want to listen
Making her mom yell.

All the day
did this mom yell
at this defiant child
What the he**??!!

Mom called the dad
In tears she did plead.
"Make this child listen,
or I might do an unspeakable deed."

She casually listened
As Dad talked to this child.
He asked her to be kind
But her eyes became wild.

"No! I will not help you out!"
This difficult child said.
What was I to do
Other than send her to bed?

But oh, she would not go
So mom had to dig deeper
I have an idea.
I think this is a keeper.

"I will take away two of your gifts"
Mom said with a grin.
"You will have to earn them back."
Oh, you would have thought it a sin.

That child,
she cried and she cried.
You would have thought
that somebody died.

Then what to mom's wondering
eyes should appear,
A submissive child I beheld.
What a 'good' little dear.

"Perhaps blackmail isn't so bad,"
Mom did say.
"I think that child has lots to learn,
But I will save that for another day."

Then the clever mom
She did smile.
She did smile as she added
more chores to the pile.

This petite little punk
She took her lists
And, oh, that child did work
for those 2 little gifts.

This did not cure the disease
but mom knew for sure
this child needs a boot camp
She doesn't know what's waiting for her.

So ends moms day
Exhausted and tired
But tomorrow is Christmas
And those kids will be wired!

This was a long day
and I'm done with my rhyme.
But that child's story isn't over.
I'll save it for another time.


Saturday, December 22, 2012


I wanted to post about our Christmas preparations. Due to the extreme poverty right outside our protective fencing, there are people who have so little, not-to-mention, have nothing for Christmas. Because we oversee some families in that situation, Aspen and I thought about what each family could use or might like and went and purchased things for them. I have written about Lovely many times but here is a picture of she and her kids and a friend. We gave them a cooler so that if we buy food for her in the future that needs to be kept cool, we will have somewhere to put it. We gave each of her kids a gift as well...a soccer ball and a Frisbee for her 12 year old son, Elijah. A nail filing set and nail polish for her 10 year old daughter, Abigail. And a barbie and doll house for her 6 year old daughter, Arwen. We also gave Lovely a new skirt. They have no Christmas tree and I don't know if the kids have ever gotten a Christmas present before so they were so excited that they already opened them. Her family has some needs that we weren't aware of when we bought them gifts so next week Aspen and I are going to take them to the mall (they haven't been there before) and buy them the shoes and things that they need. I'm kind of excited about it.
Aspen and I getting gifts for our Visiting Teaching families:

Here is a picture of Lovely's family:
We also go and visit a lady named Rosie. This is her house. She wasn't home after the second time of trying to deliver this to her so we had to leave it. She has a "guard dog" that is more afraid of us, surprisingly, since Aspen and I are afraid of dogs. But we got her some rice and a picture block of the temple and some sewing things because she is a seamstress.
I can't imagine living in the conditions that they all live in. At least they have an establishment to come home to, I guess, but the road to get to their houses are filled with litter, dead animals, and children of all ages who just run loose because they have nowhere else to go. There was a 2 year old alone on the side of the road today as I went to pick up Lovely's family for the ward Christmas Party!
I know that this is a way of life for people but it is so hard coming from the experiences that being near civilization brings you.
And separately, here are some pictures of my kids seeing Santa today and at the cupcake walk. (They obviously won):

And that is all.

The week before Christmas

Holy Cow this week has been unbelievable! About 2 months ago I decided to volunteer to be the contact for the annual Cookie Drive they have on the Air Force Base for all the single airmen here. (Some are deployed to here and some are just young, single airmen who live in the dorms). We give them a dozen homemade cookies each to show that we care about them especially as they are so far from their families for Christmas.
The way you do this is you Advertise, Advertise, Advertise and then you beg your friends to make 100's of cookies.
So we set a date of December 18th for the drive but also provided a drop-off date of Monday night on the 17th. Then I had to figure out how many airmen we had to provide for....775 airmen. Then we were notified that we had Marines deployed to the Air Force Base as well and were asked if we were going to provide for them as well. After some research, we decided that we would give them all the leftover cookies but we couldn't provide individual sacks for all those Marines. They will be home for Christmas anyways.
Anyway...775 airmen (and some Navy and Army soldiers in those numbers). So the 17th came and we began receiving donations at 6pm. I wasn't expecting this to be a big night for donations. It was just a convenience thing for some people but by 8PM we had 360 dozen cookies! I had some amazing helpers to help me deal with this, of course. So we wrapped them all up tightly and went home.
The next morning at 5:45AM, we came back to start the real Cookie Drive day.
                                             We had many tables with cookies on them.
 These are the individual bags that we give the airmen. The kids at the school decorate them (and the homeschool group took a bunch). Some of them were so funny. They just add to the fun-ness of getting a dozen cookies.
                                       We bagged and packaged and bagged and packaged.
 Here are the leftover cookies. The tables were full of cookies. It was overwhelming to see the number of people who came to drop off cookies!
              After we had already bagged 800 dozen cookies, these 2 cars took all these cookies to the Marines.

Then the "First Shirts" (the people in charge of all the airmen in a squadron) came and picked up the cookies. These guys were there to pick up 250 dozen for the EAMXS group. They said their airmen were so excited to get them.

So in the end, I had 100 dozen leftover and we gave them out to anyone who would take them. We took them to the USO and the fire department too. It was very successful and I had some awesome volunteers who came to help and all my friends made cookies because I asked them to.
In the end, I spoke with Chaplain Boyd on base and told her about how successful it was. She was very impressed with our hard work and she thanked me for organizing it...so she "Coined me". (This is a military tradition to award someone when they do something great. They physically give you a coin that they designed through a handshake. The coins are beautiful. This is the 3rd coin I have earned. (At our last base my team and I raised $25,500 to give away in scholarships over a year as I served as President of the Officers' Spouses' Club. I got to hand each of the 15 scholarship winners their certificate at a ceremony and at the end the General "coined" me for my hard work. I also earned one for being a "key spouse" which is kind of like a Relief Society President over your squadron.) Some perspective...Jeremy has 6 coins and he actually works for the Air Force. I am pretty proud of my 3!
So as part of the drive this year we decided to make it a squadron competition in hopes of bringing in more cookies. In the end the Medical Group brought in 189.5 dozen. I had a trophy made and was able to present it to their commander. Here is the picture of that:
So that was the beginning of the week. I was still trying to catch up on Thursday after being consumed but then we had our squadron Christmas Party on Thursday night. That was a lot of fun.
Friday night was the CRG (the group that we are a part of) kids' party and Saturday I was in charge of coordinating the Ward Christmas Party. There are a lot of pictures taken of that but I don't have any. I have to say, though, that it was awesome. Everyone did their part and followed through with what they were assigned and we had a huge dance party at the end and it was fantastic.

Now I am looking forward to spending some time reading or playing with my kids. I am currently not signed up for anything crazy and I am going to enjoy the next 3 weeks! Merry Christmas to all and peace out!

Cody's Christmas Program

This is another post for Grandparents and Daddy. Preschoolers are awesome though.
                                                           "It's Christmas on Guam"
                                                               "Jingle Bell Rock"
                                                             "My Favorite Things"
                                                "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree"
                                                            "The Christmas Dance"
This one is my favorite. As you can tell, my kids aren't excited about performing in front of others but this becomes even more obvious when they are next to kids who are.
                                                    "Jingle Bells" I love this one too.
                                                           "Frosty the Snowman"

                                                           Preschoolers are the best!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Katy's Christmas Program

Here is the camera footage of Kaitlynn's Christmas Program. (This post is mostly for Daddy and Grandparents). She is in the front row but sometimes it is hard to see her.
This is a song that the kids did with these tubes. Can you guess what it is?
This one is called "Go in Peace". It might also be the only words to the song.
"Christmas on Guam"
'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a Gecko was stirring, not even a mouse!
All the Green Bags were hung by the Windows with care
Knowing for sure that St. Nicolas would be there.
We knew he would transfer from sleigh to carabou cart
As he traveled through snow
and through rain
With a stop at K-Mart
We were all so excited, we just couldn't sleep...til mom gave us chamomile tea
which got us snoozing like sheep
When suddenly we were awakened by such a commotion...
It sounded like it was coming straight from the Ocean!
We jumped out of our beds and looked out our windows,
Heard a crash on our roof
"Help! Help! Someone screamed
then a thump and a bump!
Ai Adai, what a scene!
It was a short, plumpy guy who was looking so grumpy:
Where are the chimneys on this island? Are there not any?
Then his companion, the carabao, politely snorted:
"Sir, we only have BBQ pits."
To which Santa retorted:
"Then I guess we'll just have to leave these outside their door"
He left a short note:
"When you build a chimney, let me know I'll bring more!"
He grabbed the foil-wrapped plate of red rice, BBQ, and kelaguen,
which was left on the porch by all of us children.
He looked quite contented as he left our place, with a smile and a wave and red rice on his face!
Wowee! Yum-Yum! Merry Christmas, Guam! I'll come back for more...
Just make me BBQ, I just might bring the whole KMART store!
Have a Yummy-Yummy Merry Christmas, Guam!
"We wish you a Merry Christmas!"
"Dreidel Spin"
"Feliz Navidad"
"Oh Kwanzaa"
"Merry, Merry, Joy, Joy"
And I have no idea what this one is.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Katy and Cody

I feel the need to post a few things about my kids.
Cody is 4 and he is a little celebrity among all our friends' kids. Whenever they see him they yell his name and tell him hi. One of Cody's friends even tackled another of Cody's friends when he thought that Cody was being attacked by the friend. I think the reason for this is that Cody is so sweet. He is passive and kind to others, he will also play well with all types of kids. So it was no surprise when the other day I split a piece of gum in half and gave it to both my kids and Katy, of course, immediately threw a fit and said "his piece is bigger than mine!" To which Cody says, "Here. You can trade me." Maybe some moms would be proud of this but I was not. I thought, "I think I need to teach you what it means to be the little brother, Cody. When your older sister is a jerk, you punch her in the face and run and tell mom that she hurt you."
I know this because I had little brothers.
Not that I was a jerk...and I would never complain that I got the smaller piece because as the older sister you should already be aware that the short end of the stick is your lot in life.
No one has told Katy this.
So back to Cody. He happily trades with her. Later I ask him what he wants for Christmas. He thinks about it for a long time and finally says, "a motorcycle....for Daddy." And seriously, that is what he asked Santa for. He has asked for nothing else.
Tonight we had a friend invite us over for a Christmas party and they arranged for Santa to come and bring a present for each child. Cody received some matchbox cars that he liked a lot but later he said to me, "Santa didn't bring daddy a motorcycle." He is so sweet. Too bad that Santa will definitely not be delivering a motorcycle to this house on Christmas, no matter how sweet my little boy is.

So Katy has been asking for My Little Pony figures all through November and December...until we get up to Santa's lap last night when suddenly she asks for a remote control Barbie car.
Yes, I admit that I wanted to kill her. She did this to me last year...ask for something all November and 3 weeks into December and then asks for something completely different when she sees Santa. And the icing on the cake is that she had one of those cars and we agreed together that she didn't use it and we got rid of it. Katy might be learning the truth about Santa this year because there is no way that I can get a remote control barbie car here by next week and there are none in the 2 stores here. We are practicing gratitude as well so this might be a great time to learn about how to handle disappointment and still be grateful for what you have. I pretty much stink at this myself so I am glad I bought a video camera. This is going to be a Christmas to remember.

I need to complain about the mail service for a second here. We have a tiny post office on base where they decided to house all our mail rather than delivering it to our houses. Then they staff the post office with one person and are only open from 9-3. There is actually signs all over the post office that say "Please check your box 2-3 times a day if you are expecting packages." Who has that kind of time?
When you have a large package (and who doesn't this time of year?) you get a yellow note in your small PO Box. Those yellow notes are comparable to getting sick, you get one and your whole day is ruined. You have to take the yellow ticket to the one person working and pick up your package...but that means getting in the mile long line and waiting. And if you are lucky enough to be there between the hours of 11 and 1, you get to let all the military members in uniform go ahead of you even if they arrived after you. You also get to watch every person be humiliated by the postal workers as they tell you that your address on the box isn't correct or the item you are shipping has the wrong customs form, or watch people repackage their entire box while they are in line just to that it will qualify for the postal service judge and jury behind the counter. Now it is the holiday season and the lines are unreal so when I got up to the front I asked if I could volunteer there. They obviously need help and I could organize boxes and mail by their respective numbers. I could dress up like an elf and sort packages. It would be awesome. The lady told me that she asks the main post office for help everyday before she comes in to work and they always tell her no. She said that they can't accept volunteers either because they are unionized.
I just would like to know...when are we going to get to use logic in the USA again? Has that been outlawed? Am I off base here? I mean seriously. There is no other mail service to use especially on Guam so you have a monopoly that you have bankrupted and then you have people willing to volunteer but you can't because the union that bankrupted you won't allow it?

Okay, now I can get on with my story...so I went to the post office today and I actually had some mail (they haven't been able to get mail out over the last few days because there is only one person and they are attending to "the line.")
My mail today was actually quite special...there was a letter from Jeremy's sister and her family and it had a big #1 on it. Inside it said that they are doing the 12 days of Christmas for us...very creatively. She and her family are mailing a letter to us for all 12 days.
If I could just see through these happy tears... I feel so special by their outpouring of love and forethought into this task. This is the first year that Jeremy will not be with us and we are so far from family that it kind of makes me "seasick" to think about it but someone who hasn't seen us for many months is taking the time to make us feel special. I just hope they know the gratitude I feel for their efforts.
Also in my mailbox was a letter from a friend who told me about some difficult situation that they are dealing with at our last base and how the Lord reminded her to be grateful for the things that she does have. I also got some Christmas cards which made me happy because this year my Christmas Card tree is very empty. So despite the extreme disdain for the post office it was quite generous to me today. Especially when I went back for my second daily visit and had some packages that my mom sent.

I have a "Katy Christmas program" to post but I will have to get to it when I get my life back after Tuesday. I volunteered to coordinate a cookie drive for all the airmen here living in the dorms without their families during the holidays. We advertise all over base and hope that we get people to contribute enough cookies to deliver a dozen cookies to each of the 800 airmen here who are alone. (yes, that is 800 dozen cookies and thanks to Jen Nekl, who calculated for me that we need 9600 cookies.) I have over 1000 cookies in my freezer right now so if there are just 9 other people out there who have 1000 cookies too then we've got this! However, the chances of that are likely slim. So I am hoping that 145 people will bring at least 5 dozen. Any leftover cookies go to the 750 Marines that are living here in tents for some sort of training.

I also signed up for a fitness challenge 10 weeks ago and it ends in 2 weeks. At the beginning of this week I was 15 hours (of working out) away from my goal. I am proud to say that I am now only 8 hours away from my goal. So basically all I have been doing is baking cookies and working out. I guess those two things can work hand in hand but I am certain that there is a better life out there...it is just going to occur after Tuesday.

I am sure you are all wondering why you read this today. Who wants to hear about some spoiled girl gripe about these things? Well, I don't know but I guess it is too late for you to go back. :)

Monday, December 10, 2012


Some moms and I were talking about our children's shoes the other day (and where the best place to put them is) and it occurred to me that I spend a significant amount of my day talking about the kids' dumb shoes. If I spent half as much time talking about science or math my kids would be so smart. Here is an average week's worth of shoe quotes:
Where are your shoes?
I don't know where your other shoe is.
Put your shoes on.
Take your shoes off.
Your shoes are dirty.
Pick up your shoes.
Those shoes don't match.
Why are your shoes all over the floor?
I just tripped on your shoes!
Those aren't the right kind of shoes for what we are doing.
Why did you take your shoes off?
Please learn to tie your shoes so I don't have to do this.
Can you try to untie your shoes?
What did you do to these shoes?
Your shoes stink.
Don't get your shoes wet.
Put your shoes in the basket.
Church shoes go in your room, not the basket.
I'm sorry your shoes broke.
Why do you need new shoes already?
Don't get your new shoes dirty.
Your shoes have mud on them.
Where did you last see your shoes?
Why are you wearing my shoes?
Put my shoes back where you got them.
I don't know where those shoes are.
Pick up all your shoes.
Get those shoes out of your mouth.
Fine. Don't wear any shoes. I don't care.
And my mom's favorite excuse..."I can't take you anywhere. I just took my shoes off."

Why are these 2 small plastic/cloth items taking up so much of my brain space? I am considering not even mentioning their shoes for a week. Will the house fall apart?
Both those pictures were taken right now while I sit in this chair. My kids are asleep in their beds. What the heck?
 Please feel free to post your own shoe annoyances or any quotes you say that I have forgotten.
And that ends my rant about shoes.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Guam radio

If you ever need a trip back to the 90's you should come to Guam. I have heard Ace of Base, Kacee and JoJo, and other songs as if I was back in high school. Bone Thugs in Harmony came to the Island last weekend and they had people parking along the main road in Guam for miles down the street. Maybe that is what the local radio stations can afford. I don't know. On the other hand, they have this hilarious radio DJ named Malafunction. This is a skit...or poigniant reflection of the Guam attitude...and it is funny. Had to share. (This should be the GuamGov one.)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Mom of the year today

We have had 4 days without school. My kids did not sleep in on any of those days.
It is Monday here. Guess who is still in bed at 7:25 (school starts at 7:40)? Both my kids. My logic for letting them sleep so long - Katy had a bad night because her stomach has been hurting. (She doesn't act sick but it sounds like it intermittently is causing her pain.) So I am thinking, we will just have pop tarts for breakfast and have a mad dash to get to school.
Cody gets up and gets ready and eats his pop tart. (mom of the year 1)Katy, well, let me digress here for a minute. As a mom, you think "I can get them ready in 10 minutes. Dressed, shoes, pop tart, hot lunch today, out the door. Totally do-able." What us moms forget is that these angelic children have wills of their own.
I forgot to anticipate the attitude and refusal I would get from Katy on pretty much everything I asked her to do. I even tried to dress her myself. You know, they can sure produce impressive maneuvers when they really don't want you to do something. So Katy says her stomach is still hurting, she isn't moving and says she wants to stay home from school. My rule is that if you stay home from school you get no TV privileges and have to lay in your bed all day. Surprisingly she agreed to that. Then I became suspicious.
I took Cody to school late and forgot the juice drinks that I was supposed to take for snack. (Mom of the year 2)
I took Katy to the school nurse who had a line of sick kids at 7:45 in the morning - must have been an awesome Thanksgiving weekend for everyone else too. She looked at Katy and said that her stomach is distended. (I am not even sure that is the right word, nor do I know what that means.) She pushed on her lower abdomen and said to keep an eye on it. It is either constipation or could be appendix related. She has no fever and she didn't seem like she was in much pain so I just said I would keep her home and give her some laxatives.
So that was our morning. Cody had a birthday party to go to after school. We headed to that and both kids played there. Cody wanted to go on the zip line thing they had, so I lift him up and Katy decides to push him. Once it hits the end it ricochets backwards. Because Katy is pushing him, Cody hits that end too quickly and he drops off of it onto an uneven ground with a bar in the middle. I admit that I wanted to be mad at Katy and I may have even swore...quietly. (mom of the year 3) That is going to leave a mark. I think the wind got knocked out of him, too. After that, the kids got balloons to take with them and we left the party.

The kids are hungry so we go to lunch at a sub sandwich place. Cody starts to act tired and lays on my lap. He ends up hitting his face pretty hard on the table when I tried to make him stand up as we were leaving. (mom of the year 4)
I need a new taillight so I stop at the Napa Auto Parts store here and get one. As we are getting back in the car both kids take their time getting into their doors and the balloons fly out. Tears were shed, people. They also tried to blame me for not grabbing them. (Have you ever tried to grab a balloon that has just been set free?) (moty5)
After I got my calm mommy sense back I suggested that we go to the slushy place. Grandma Rachel (our former neighbor) sent us some money to go get a treat and the kids love this place. Here are our happy faces at the slushy place.
I also want to take a minute and point out something. Guam has an issue with it's budget. They don't have one, not that that is uncommon these days. There is a lot of corruption and little oversight and as we were standing outside a government vehicle pulled up in the background. There were three people in it. On the side of the car is written "Government of Guam For Official Use Only". I am certain that only official business was transacted at the Slushy shop today.

We shipped off our Christmas cards and then came home. I pulled out our not-so-awesome leftovers from last night/Thanksgiving (It is a mashed potato casserole with the leftover potatoes, ham, peas and corn. We had the potatoes and ham on Thanksgiving originally and the casserole last night as well.) With this in mind, I knew I would have to change my approach. Picnic in the living room! They thought that was awesome...until they took a bite of the casserole again. I think 3rd time was not a charm tonight. I had to spoon feed them and they drank a lot of water but the casserole was not wasted! (It is gone now.)(also, moty6) I feel kind of bad because if Jeremy were here he wouldn't have stood for that and we probably would have ordered pizza. However, I am over my "dining out" budget this month, so maybe cereal.
The whole point of this journal entry is to remind myself that some days I get to be a supermom. Today was not one of those days.

On the other hand, I did get almost all of the Christmas packages done. Here is what is going to the post office tomorrow: I had a lot of fun shopping for my family and I hope you all like your presents.

Whew! Now I can work on Jeremy's presents. And then someday I might be able to read my books again or have some fun, maybe.

As a side note, my 23 year old brother is very sick and they aren't sure what is wrong with him. He is over 6 feet tall and has dropped to 137 pounds, his heart is racing at over 123 bpm, and who sleeps all the time. He was doing body building not too long ago and was quite healthy so this is quite a dramatic change. He will hopefully get the results from an MRI tomorrow. Potential tumor on the Pituitary gland is the current diagnosis. I did get to speak to him on Sunday, though, so tonight all our prayers and thoughts are going to him. Love you, Nate.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

October and November activities

This week was Parent Teacher Conferences for both my kids. While I was waiting for Katy's conference I noticed her picture on the wall. It was very cute and I had to take a picture of  it to show her dad...especially because she wrote that he is in the Army. I guess we need a Family Home Evening on the different branches of the military and the rivalries between the branches. :)
 Yesterday was Jeremy's birthday so we made him a cake. The kids had fun decorating it, obviously. The kids only got to talk to him for a minute but they wished him Happy Birthday. Since it was "date night" (a babysitting co-op where we all take turns watching the 17 kids between the 5 of us), the other 3 couples and I ate the cake and sang to Jeremy when he called. I'm not sure he loved that but we thought it was great. The kids got some cake too. Happy Birthday, Jer!

Going back a little to Halloween:

He insisted on a moon face. Everything had to be moons.

Katy LOVES art so she had to color all over it before we carved it. (I can't tell you how many papers I find that have doodles all over them.)

We carved these 2 days before Halloween and sprayed them with Bleach water so that they wouldn't get moldy right away. They lasted through Halloween and the morning after they had mold on them.
Thank you to the Douglas family and to Ms. Brittany for helping us experience this tradition. I never found pumpkins this year.

Katy was Jessie, Cody was Spiderman. They had a great time with all our friends a we Trick or Treated on a warm October evening.

Our decorated house
And of course, I have to add a Guammy thing:
We went to American Grocery, which is off the military base. This gallon of milk is $7.79. It made me grateful that we don't run cars on milk and that I get to shop on the base where milk is 4.20 a gallon. :)

This makes me a little humbled...these are coconuts. I delivered medicine to Lovely when she was sick. I kept telling her to get some water and take the Tylenol now. She finally said that her husband would bring home bottled water after work (they have no running water). I gave her what I had in my water bottle in the car but she said that she could go machette a coconut for "water". I took this picture because this is Lovely's water supply...talk about living off the land.
Aspen and I also visited a lady named Rosie. Rosie lives in a cinderblock home and I will post a picture next time I visit her. She just got back from the Phillipines. Her mother just died and they sold their truck so that they could pay for her ticket to go there. When we arrived at her house she was crying and said that they had had to cremate her mother because they couldn't afford to bury her. She was also upset because she has a handicapped sister that she had to leave behind because she couldn't afford her ticket to come live with her now that their mom is dead. She wasn't sure what to do. I felt impressed the night before our visit to come and visit her and while we got to bear our testimonies to her and tell her that the Lord loves her, we got to hear her testimony as she bore it to us.
She said she knew that these trials were just something that the Lord wanted her to learn from. She had to quit her job because she felt the people were dishonest and something didn't feel right there. She said that she has a job where she can work on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and earn $15 a day. She wants to come to church on Sunday so she will try and see if she can change someone for a different day. There is no Bishops Storehouse here, although it would be heavily utilized if there was, but we offered the services that the church provides here. She told us that she didn't want to be a burden on the church and that she knows that the Lord will help her. Aspen and I were very uplifted with this stong spirit that we get to visit teach.
I am trying to reconcile to the fact that I have so much and they have so little. It is strange because we are all equally happy. I am happy to give them whatever they ask for but I don't think that they would be comfortable with all the things that I have, just as I would not be comfortable living in their conditions. Perhaps it is selfish of me because I am the one who has all the "stuff" but I feel like when the Lord says "Unto whom much is given, much is required," (D&C 82:3) he is talking to Aspen and I. I wonder if we were chosen to have the "stuff" because it can be a great trial to overcome gluttony and selfishness. I also wonder if we were sent here to Guam because He knew that we would try to do the things that He needed us to do. I truly feel like our family has been sent here to "serve a mission".
I also want to thank everyone who reads about our experiences and especially those who take the tme to comment or send me a personal message in any forum. It was hard to come here and at first it felt painful when no one contacted us for a while to see how everything went with this great uprooting for us. It is always hard when you go through something tramatic and you want to feel sorry for yourself. Fortunately those feelings subsided and the Lord provided good people that are missing their families as much as I miss mine so we spend a lot of time together. I am grateful to the Lord for sending us friends, for placing us in loving families that care for us even from great distances, and for helping our family grow in amazing ways.
I will end this sappy post with some Kaitlynn-isms that have come to my mind recently but are from a while ago:
Me: "Kaitlynn, I need you to help clean this up."
Kaitlynn: "I can't. My bum is itchy."
Cody was doing something naughty and I had told him more than twice to stop. (He was 2). I said to Cody: "Cody, stop playing with that. This is your last warning!"
Kaitlynn: "Yeah, Cody, this is your last morning!"

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Random week

This is a random blog today. I have random stuff to post with little coherency. Sorry.
This is Jeremy and I right before he left. We went to San Luis Beach with our friends, Aspen and Russ, Lindsy and Rick, and Cindy and Will, and we played in the water. No, we are not those people who look amazing when they swim in water. We look like drowned rats...well, I do. Jeremy looks like a pearl...a very white pearl when he swims. Someone commented that she can tell he hasn't been on Guam long because he was so white. hahaha. Made me laugh. Jeremy, not so much.
These are my kids and our friend's kids. David, the Dad, watched all the kids while we went to the Relief Society Broadcast a bit ago. I just got this picture. Thanks David!
Look at that beautiful blue water. We were going on a hike and you come down a hill and the Ocean just says, "Hello."
I took the kids on a "Boonie Stomp" (Guam's term for a hike). Actually, Guam's term for everything. Boonie dogs are dogs that roam the island with no owner. My kids call kids that are playing on the side of the road, "boonie kids". (I'm not sure if that is appropriate.) Anyway, this is called Priest Pools. We went on a short walk to get here but we got to this point and found that you are about 5 feet up from the surface of the water. The only way to get down is a steep path with sharpish rocks. We looked over the side for a while and I thought, "Should I just throw my kids in? I really don't want them to slide down on the rocks.?" But no, although throwing them in would have been easier, we shimmied down the rocks. The pools were clear enough to see that they were lined with algae. After much coercion, my kids did get in. It was a freshwater pool, which is hard to find on Guam. They had life jackets so they were fine but it is weird to take life jackets when you usually just float in the salt water.  We didn't stay long and eventually went here:

I don't remember what these are called but they have water from the ocean  flowing into them from the waves. It was a fun day.

As a side note, Lovely, my visiting teachee, called me this week and asked me to bring her some medicine. She said she was sick and needed help. I took her some tylenol, etc. but found that she was all out of bottled water. (She has no running water.) When I asked how she was going to take the medicine (which she had never taken before) she said she was going to cut open a coconut and drink the water inside. Talk about living off the land. I didn't find this acceptable but I only had 24 oz of water in my car. I gave it to her but wow. The homeless people in America got nothin' on Lovely.

Funny Kaitlynn Story: She woke up the other night at midnight and yelled something out. Then she got up and turned on her light in her bedroom. I told her to come lay with me and she yelled, "No!"
So in the morning she gets up and yells, "Why did Cody turn on my light?!?"
So that sets off her whole morning and she is mad about everything. She is grumbling at Cody about something and then suddenly, out of left field, yells at me, "And when are we going to use my Easy Bake Oven?!?"
I am still laughing about that crazy kid.


Friday, October 19, 2012

Guam experiences

The other day I decided to do the craziest thing I could think of. I stopped at a hot dog stand on the side of the road. I love hot dogs.
I met Tony, the owner. He is a retired maintenance guy from the local hospital. He decided that the honey-do list wasn't enough for him so he set up the stand.
Also there was a police officer named Franklin. They were both very kind to Cody and I and we sat and visited for a bit while a storm blew over. We learned that Franklin usually lets people go when he pulls them over. He tells them to slow down. However, if he catches you speeding later, then you are in trouble. Franklin also invited me and all my friends to his annual party in February. He serves everyone who comes the typical Chamorrran feast - roast pig, red rice and chicken, Chamorran potato salad, custard pie, and all the other awesome stuff they eat here. It is on my calendar, seriously. This is very typical of all Chamorrans. They post their parties on the side of the road with cardboard (like garage sale signs) and then anyone is welcome to come.
Also that day, I went to a store equivalent to Home Depot and found this:
Is this not the coolest display of duct tape ever? I have never seen so many varieties. Hello Kitty, Army, Air Force, skeletons, colors, etc. I stood there for a long time looking at all these things wondering what I could do with all that duct tape. I only bought the white one to tape Cody's juice boxes to make them look like ghosts. I was so excited about that until I saw that I could have been more creative. Now I feel lame.

So I had a crazy day today. It started before 7AM. The kids didn't have school today so we were supposed to be sleeping in. However, I got a call from Lovely. She doesn't understand that Aspen fields all calls before 8AM. :) So Lovely asked if I would take her to the store. She was very apologetic for calling and needing help. I insisted that it was fine so I got myself up and after a while we made it to Lovely's. She got in the car and headed to the store.

(side note: there is a problem, island wide, with dogs. It is very common to have dogs in the roads and running loose everywhere. They try hard to control the dog population but it is difficult because there are just so many loose dogs. I add this note because Lovely has about 6 dogs that hang out outside her "house" and every time I go there I sit in the car and wait for her to come out so I don't have to deal with the dogs. If I have to get out, I say a prayer that the dogs won't touch me.)

On the way to the store Lovely tells me that it is her daughter's birthday and she said that she never gets to have cake. Her daughter really wanted a cake this year so Lovely asked me to take her to the store so that she could buy a cake mix. She has an oven but it would blow the circuit to run it so she was going to ask her neighbors if they could turn off all their power so she could run this oven - which would probably heat up her house to an unbearable level. I tell her that if I had known I would have just made a cake. Instead, I said that we would go to Wenchell's (a donut place) and see if they have cakes and maybe we could just buy one. Sure enough, they had a cake so I bought that and a few other items that they had for sale. I asked her if she had sufficient food for her birthday dinner and she said she needed a couple things. Next door to Wenchell's is a small store. It is called White Market. How much do you want to bet that we were the only white people in there? Well, you would win that bet.
 As we were leaving the Market there was some commotion. I, being naive, didn't know what was going on but Lovely told me that the girl running out of the store had just stolen something. So sad, really. These people are so poor and the prices in that store were so high. a dozen eggs were $5.99. A ten pound bag of rice was $30. There are few places for the local people to shop, especially those without cars.

I just don't understand the disparity and why I am so blessed with good finances and an education while others go without. I have wondered if it is because when the USA liberated Guam from Japanese control, they offered the people welfare rather than education on how to cultivate the land. What that leads to is laziness and a curse, almost, because the people do not understand the value of work and the satisfaction it brings. On the road to Lovely's house the streets are lined with trash that people just throw there. This is where their kids play, (yes, in the streets) and yet they don't take care of their small pieces of land. I'm sure I sound very political but I can see that while welfare is meant to be a good program, it isn't managed properly and people do not want to improve their situations when it is easier to be handed money for not doing anything. It makes me sad for them and for us.
I took Lovely home after that and she was in tears because she was so grateful that she had a great dinner for the night and a cake for her daughter's birthday.
Her other daughter was home because she had a cough. Lovely was concerned that they could send her home from school if she got worse and she had no way to pick her up from school, or really a reliable phone in the event they called. I am so grateful for the things that Jeremy and I have, I am not even sure "grateful" is the right word. How is it that the $40 I spent today means so much to her and hurt so little to me? I am perplexed.

My friend, Lindsy, and I took my kids to Underwater World. It is a small aquarium on the island that we have a season pass to. It has big tropical fish and all kinds of underwater life located inside a hotel. I took this picture as I thought, "I wonder why I haven't taken my kids picture here before."

Oh, maybe it is because there is a piece of paper that says "no personal photos please" right in the middle of the shark mouth. Yes, I didn't remember that and I didn't see it until I took this picture. The guy walked over and smiled slightly at me. I apologized and I think he rolled his eyes as he turned his back. I felt awesome.

After that, Lindsy and I decided to go to the Godiva Chocolate Store located just a few tiles over from the aquarium.
Godiva Store: before
And after:
Um...we devoured those 6 golden bars of delicious chocolate. (We did share each bar with the 5 children we had with us, except for the raspberry chocolate one. That was a "mommy's only" bar.

Friday night is date night and Lindsy and I were each other's date (Lindsy's husband is gone for 6 weeks) with Aspen and Russ at Chili's where we ate 3 plates of chips and salsa before dinner, dinner, and then shared a brownie Sundae at Cold Stone afterwards. Tomorrow's schedule: 3 hour workout.