About Me

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

Monday, August 5, 2013

Longest Post Ever

So I have been chastised by my Aunt Natalie for not keeping up on this thing. You all probably think that I am lost in some honeymoon phase after Jeremy came home....well, that would be nice but completely inaccurate. You see, not even 2 weeks after Jeremy got home, we get called into the Bishops office, as expected, so that Jeremy can get a calling (assignment for church). I had no problem with this. The problem came when we were all sitting there and the Bishop says to me, Sis. Miller, we would like to call you to be Relief Society President. What the...? I thought we were here for him! Oh we are, we have asked him to be 2nd counselor in Young Men's. And my sweet honeymooning partner sat there and chuckled to himself. The honeymoon was definitely over.

So what have I been doing...you probably can imagine...maybe? Everywhere in the world has crazy problems but I felt particularly picked on when 2 days after I get called, a family moves in that needs significant amounts of help. This is on top of the Young Women who are still very attached to me and the other "normal" needy families. And then summer began so things felt like they were spiraling out of control as good friends left the island and Jeremy went to Scout Camp and then we had a typhoon drill where we had to close our typhoon shutters and sit in complete darkness for a few days (while Jeremy was at Scout Camp). I don't do typhoon shutters for 3 reasons. 1. There are geckos all over them. 2. I am 5 feet (& 1 inch) tall and have weak arms, making it difficult to close massive pieces of metal. 3. There are geckos all over them. So I waited until my neighbors offered to close them and open them and we sat in a depressed and unproductive state for a few days. It was not pretty.
Anyway, back to this family that moved in to our boundaries. 5 kids, 2 parents, no job, no home, no food. We started by supplying them a tent to live in on some property in a very poor area. I am not going to give you the details but seriously, it was bad. They brought all their things from when they lived in a real home so imagine a simple family with beds, decorations, couches, bookshelves, a TV and DVD player, bikes, a freezer and fridge moving into a tent...on Guam...in the rain and humidity. They lived there for 2 months while they figured out what to do. Once it became too difficult to live like this, they agreed to find another place to live. Since they have no money, they looked for something abandoned and off the grid. I took them to this place that they found and just about died. How could I move 4 beautiful teenage girls, and a 7 year old boy to this place? It was a burned out shell of a 2 room building that had no floor, no water, no electricity, and was completely hidden from civilization. (And infested with mosquitos). The only improvement from where they were before was that it had a roof. No doors or windows but a roof.
So I got into my car and called the bishop and tried not to cry. I told him that I could not let them move to this place. I asked if there was anything that could be done from our church (which has an incredible welfare program) to help this family. I offered to help find a house for them to live in if the church would pay for 6 months or so in hopes that the wife could get a job and they could get on their feet. It would also provide some stability for their kids, who had been shuffled around from one place to another. Our amazing Bishop agreed. Then I was worried that I shouldn't have intervened...the father had already made arrangements to get this "house" (Basically, he told his cop friend that he would be living there and asked him not to report him.) and now it was on my shoulders to find a house for a family of 7 that wouldn't be too expensive for the church and that they could move into, like, the next day. I didn't sleep well that night and worried about what to do. Getting a house if you are in the military is very different than a local person renting a home. I didn't really know what to do but with prayer and help from the Lord, a crazy swap of houses from another ward member enabled this family to get into a house the next day at a reasonable price.  This family will continue to struggle for a while. The mother is very diligent in coming to church and loves the Gospel but the job market is tough. The father is sick, needs surgery, and will be out of commission for a while once that takes place.
This was a little stressful for me. This all occurred on the weekend before my trip to Boise, but we got it done.
Also during that same week, my young woman had a hearing in front of a judge to discuss the fact that she was out of school. The legal process was very interesting to me. They summoned her parents to court because she was absent more than 100 days this last year. Because of this, the Truancy officer was able to request a second hearing specifically for guardianship. The judge granted this and scheduled the hearing for Aug 5th (before I got back). We were disappointed but long story short, miraculously, the date got changed to later in August when I could be there. During this time, I am learning more about the situation there. Her acting parents have a daughter of their own and they are showing serious favoritism towards her over my Young Woman. They were raised together and have lived together their entire lives so this surprised me. I am also wondering what the guardianship judge is going to say about her missing 4 years of school. Her parents could go to jail for that. Jeremy and I would gladly take guardianship of her if it comes down to it so I really would like to be at this court date. We will see what happens. At the hearing, though, the judge specifically told me to help her get her grades up even though her mom was sitting right there. How are you supposed to help tutor a girl who doesn't live with you?

So right before we left I had my 2 favorite young women over for about 10 days. One of them is my "Young Woman" mentioned above and the other is her bff. We had a lot of fun and both girls were super helpful as I dealt with the other issues I was dealing with. These are my 2 goof balls.
We went a dolphin watching excursion a few days before we left. We went swimming in the water after we saw the dolphins.

Anyway, I feel like this is boring stuff so lets get on to pictures and all the craziness of our vacation to Boise.
We arrived July 17th and hit the ground running. First stop, the temple. Love it! We don't have a temple on Guam and I hadn't been there in over a year. Then we had my cousin, Melenna, arrive with her kids so we played for a few days...
Chuck E. Cheese's. Despicable Me 2, the pool, etc.
We also had another birthday party for Kaitlynn...

Although now Katy has decided that she doesn't like Hello Kitty anymore because she doesn't have a mouth. This kid is crazy. Jeremy made these. I bake. He makes stuff look pretty.
Oh and Cody (Who wants to be called Code) graduated from Preschool.
So back to our trip to Boise. We played with the cousins...

And got these cool-looking ice cream cones in Eagle, Idaho.
Then we sent the kids with Grandma and Grandpa to the cabin in Island Park while Jeremy and I stayed in Boise to attend a baby shower and sealing in the temple for Jeremy's brother, Steve and his wife, Krissy. (They are the ones having the baby too.) All of Jeremy's 7 siblings were there and 23/26 grandkids were there for family pictures after the temple sealing.
I don't have any pictures of that but there were some taken that day so I will add them later.

Right after the temple sealing and family pictures, Jer and I headed to our family's cabin in Island Park, Idaho to attend my grandfather's 80th birthday party.

My Grandparents

Beautiful Island Park, Idaho

The whole clan (almost).
We were the last ones to arrive there and all of my dad's 5 siblings were there as well as their kids and their kids. 15/17 grandkids and all 8 great grandkids. There are family pictures of that too but again, I don't have those at this time.
But I do have this picture. It's my cousin's son and my son. They are 6 days apart.
One night, the 30 year old grandkids slipped away for a couples date and we went to West Yellowstone and walked around. Then at twilight we went to the river and found 3 moose! We had a really fun night with the 3 couples as we had our own campfire too. It was great. No pictures but lots of funny stories.

2 of my cousins, Joni and Melenna. We have kids that are the same ages and support each other even from far distances.
Uh...these things aren't really meant for 2 people.
Uncle Mikee with Jake and Cody
We stayed a few days there while Jeremy rode his motorcycle, taught Katy to ride a Honda 50 motorcycle, and floated the river in the kayak's my grandpa built.
We're so cool.
You see, we have some great photographers in our family so I didn't take any pictures.
All the girls in my family.
My mom and dad with Kaitlynn and Cody.
On the way back from Island Park, we stopped at my Grandparent's house to drop off his dirt bike and we got to see the cows. Unfortunately, they will not be our dinner this year as it is impossible to ship meat to the middle of the ocean.

I have to say that it was amazing to walk on real grass. There are places in the world where you don't really have grass - especially not soft, rich, green grass that grows in beautiful parts of the world. We have some sort of mossy, light green stuff that covers our yard but it's not grass. 
Later that night, we stopped in Twin Falls, ID and spent the night with Jeremy's sister and her family. The next day we went to the Snake River and played.

Contrast that with Guam:

Paddleboarding is a pretty cool activity where-ever you are.
So we had a great time with Jenny and her fam and we headed back to Boise. The next day, we decided to go meet up with my Aunt Colleen and Uncle Randy in Stanley, Idaho. We borrowed a tent and some sleeping bags and headed up for a cold day of swimming, camping, playing in the boat, and motorcycle riding. We had delicious food, including dinner in the rain and hail as well as milkshakes from Elk Mountain Lodge.
As if we hadn't run around enough, we tried to meet up with beloved friends who have kept in contact with us through our adventures. We certainly didn't see all of them but a lot were hugged and visited in the process. 
As if that wasn't enough, Cody's birthday was coming up on us and we had to celebrate before Jeremy went home. Birthday Cake, Cinnamon Rolls....

And a new Xbox game makes one happy boy.
Jeremy headed home at 5am today and we are just short hours away from our own adventure across the Pacific. Boise to Denver, (Which is totally in the wrong direction) Denver to Tokyo, Tokyo to our small island of Guam.

I will add that we get lots of questions about life on a tropical island. I try not to be a pessimist but it is not all it's cracked up to be as I read that my duplex mate has roaches, (which probably means that I do too) my car has sand in it that will never go away, it is almost always hot and humid, and there are geckos. But the church is there and Heavenly Father has sent me some of the most amazing people to share our 3 years with. We are continually adding to our list of friends and there is always someone willing to play with us. If it weren't for the people who live there, I could not have survived during Jeremy's absence. I could not be involved in all the stuff I like to do and I would be underfed and miserable. So even though all my friends are a sweaty mess when we walk outside, I couldn't live without their strengths, personalities, food, and company.
And with all that, I am actually getting excited to go to my 35 mile long island.

The real "us".