Sunday, September 18, 2011

Maeser, Laser, and Crazier

Weeks aren’t as exciting as they were in Jerusalem, but they seem to be as busy. The big news of the week is that after lots of deliberating, praying, etc., Tashara decided to go to Maeser Preparatory Academy. I am so very proud of her. She really didn’t want to go to begin with. But she agreed to give it an open-minded try, doing that alone when her brother refused to do the same thing. I think she had to be a bit brave to do that. And she was so open minded about it that she found she loved it. But she loved so many things about the other school too, and misses it and her friends there. This was a tough and brave decision, but I think this will be so good for her, and I think for the whole family too, since we will plan on the other kids going also, and since Tashara is in there they will get sibling preference and should get to go also.

I am so impressed with this school. The students get the door for each other, they all seem so kind, and really want to learn. They work hard, and the teachers really seem to care, and it is going so very well. Tashara is in a journalism class, and this last week, as she tries to make up for starting school late, she had two feature articles to write. She decided to do one on Richard Cowan, a religion teacher who has taught at BYU longer than anyone else, and who is blind. She interviewed him, a colleague and two former students (the latter three happen to be me, Julianne, and her uncle David). She did a great job, with such poise, and did a great article. Then she did an article on our friend and neighbor Steve Sherwood, and his Harley. He has a Harley with Book of Mormon scenes painted all over it. She interviewed him, took pictures, and again did a great job. I was so proud of her. She has had a ton of homework as she tries to get caught up, and she is in school longer than everyone else, but she is doing great and not complaining. She is so great!

Steve Sherwood and the bike (both the above picture and the below pictures)

Other things this week include buying and installing a new dishwasher, returning our bed that was too soft and getting a new one, getting a new garage door opener and making it work, getting a new computer-chip key for our car and battery and getting all that working, and doing a ton of cleaning up, some final unpacking and organizing. After buying a new lawn mower last week – one that is light enough the kids can use it – and after trying it once to make sure it was usable for the kids, this week I had Kaleb, Tashara and Alexia all mow part of the lawn. It took longer to teach them and help them do it than it would have for me to mow it myself. But at least they are learning. It is good for them, and I have hopes that one day it won’t take more time.

Alexia mowing the lawn for her first time ever (the others did it two years ago, but needed some reminding)

BJ didn’t help because he fell while going downhill on his scooter at night and hitting a rock. He has serious road rash on his back, shoulders, and elbows. He was pretty tough about it, but it kept us up late one night getting him cleaned up. We also got some more things hung up around the house, Tashara and BJ’s room cleaned out (they were our storage rooms) and organized, and the garage fairly organized. Things are starting to come together, but we have a ways to go also. We are still shopping all around for a bedroom set so that we can have a bed frame and dressers.

BJ wouldn't let me take a picture of his road rash, so Kaleb said I could just take a picture of him. He's a good sport, so in he goes!

We ended up buying a Utah Pass of all Passes, which gets us into a lot of cool things for free. So, for FHE we went and played laser tag at the old Liberty Land, which is now Trafalga Lehi. The first time there were three teams, and our family was one. We had a lot of fun playing together, and we won. Somehow I did not take first place, which doesn’t often happen. The next game was just BJ, Tashara, Alexia, Kaleb and me. So Tashara and I played against the other three. We beat them and I was first place. That was a relief. We are going to have a lot of fun going to these places.

Sabrina and Jacob enjoying a new bean bag we got at a garage sale as we try to get our downstairs ready for kids to play in (we have no furniture there right now)

I also already had a cool opportunity at Maeser. Parents have to do 40 hours of service during the year. We learned this after agreeing to go, but that’s okay. An opportunity arose quickly. Tashara’s class was doing archaeology, and she mentioned that I do that. So he teacher emailed on Wednesday night to see if I could come do something for the class. I was able to go in Friday morning and teach two different classes on archaeology. It was actually a lot of fun. I like to get involved in the school that way. Very fun. And I am all the more impressed with the students and teachers after getting to know them a little better.

Work is good but tough. Already we are involved in too many tough decisions. There are some really hard things that must be evaluated that really affect people’s lives. That part I don’t like all that much. But I love helping Camille Fronk, our dept. chair, and I love doing what I can to help teachers and influence the department’s and college’s direction for good. I also am starting to get the ball rolling for the dig. We will have to see where that goes. I think we can do great things, but I really don’t know what Egypt will be like in February when we are hoping to go. By then they should have had elections. That could (if it happens) make things better or worse. We will apply to excavate, but we will have to see if it happens. But I am excited for all the wonderful opportunities that are before us in regards to the excavation.

I love teaching my class. I love the students. I love the material. We covered the creation, and it is such an important topic. I think things went well (who knows, maybe the students don’t think so). Afterwards I visited with students for a long time, and finally made it home. I sure love my students. On Saturday, Janelle Knight came by and helped do hair cutting and visited with us. It was great. I look forward to doing things like that with more of our students. We WILL NOT talk about Saturday night and the game. I would like to, but each time I talk try to I fumble over all my words and loose them. I considered going to Mike Gilbert, my U fan neighbor, the next morning and giving him a football and telling him that if he tried to give it back to me I would certainly keep giving it right back to him, and that I was determined to not hold on to that ball. But I couldn’t hold on to the ball long enough to get it to his house. Ah well.

I should have just jumped on the trampoline with Jacob instead of watching the game with BJ and Kaleb. This is where we put Jacob while we mow the lawn, so he can't get in trouble. We have been doing it since he was old enough to crawl. This is the best playpen ever.

The wonderful thing is that we keep having so many wonderful opportunities to teach the Gospel to our children. Teaching about Jesus Christ and talking about the Gospel is so much fun and so exciting. I love doing it, and while we always have a long way to go, I feel like our little family is always coming closer to Christ.

New Section: I have decided that at the end of each blog I will post one of my favorite pictures from our time in Jerusalem with an explanation as to why we loved that place. For this week:

This is a great view of the Sea of Galilee from Mt. Arbel. I love this view because when the Savior came from Nazareth to the Sea of Galilee he probably walked along the base of this cliff and the side we are looking at. Straight down from us is Magdala, where Mary Magdalene was from, and where a fish drying factory was, which may be a place Peter and his friends took their fish when they had caught so many the nets were about to break. They could then have enough fish to feed their families for a while as they set out with the Savior. It is also a great view of the lake the Savior loved so much. How wonderful to sit and think of Jesus Christ, our Savior, as he walked along these same places. Sublime.

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