Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tom's Visa Is Here!

I just about passed out last night when I got home and Dave told me there was a message saying Tom's visa was here and they were going to mail it to us.  What?!  A little over a month ago, we did some visa stuff on line and Dave took it to the church travel department to try to expedite it as much as possible.  Before this, we had heard story after story about boys who ended up going to the Prove MTC and even to another state side mission because they had to wait for thier visas to come.  The person that Dave talked to said she could all but guarantee that he would be going to the Provo MTC for eight weeks because they had just received about one hundred visas and they told them not to expect any more for three to four months.  At first we were a little disappointed, but then kind of liked the idea of having him not being so far away at first. We even bought him a coat!  Well, that all changed yesterday with the realization that his visa will come on Thursday, which means he can get on a plane on December 13th and head for Sau Paulo, Brazil!  It is getting way too close and way too real.  I am dreading that day for us, but I am still really excited for Tom.  He is nervous, but who wouldn't be?  We are still trying to wrap up loose ends and make sure he is ready to go.  He has one more vaccination to get that he couldn't get a couple of weeks ago because we messed up and let them give him a chicken pox booster.  We hope he can get the yellow fever shot on the Friday before he leaves or even the day he leaves.  He will take his Portuguese final at SLCC the day before he leaves.  I think having him go to the MTC in Brazil will help speed up the language learning process, which isn't a bad thing and he'll get to see Sau Paulo and check out the area on his P-days. 
I just keep telling myself how fast time flies and how fast a year goes by so before we know it, he will be home.  His friend Justin, who seems like he just left, has been gone for six months, which is a quarter of his mission done already!  This makes me feel optimistic!  More to come in the next couple of weeks.....

Friday, November 25, 2011

Missionary and Family Photos

We recently killed two birds with one stone.... got Tom's missionary pictures taken and also had a bunch of family photos taken.  We went to Barrus Photography, which I would highly recommend!  They did a great job and made it relatively painless.  I wanted to get some of us outside with the fall leaves.  First of all, I waited a little too long - most of the leaves were on the ground.  Then, the weather did not cooperate at all - rain, snow, wind were forcasted for that day.  When we got there, Tom had his pictures taken first.  Then, when he was changed, the photographer ran outside and came in and said there was a break in the snow and if we hurried, he might be able to get some outside shots.  I was so happy we were able to go outside and I think they turned out really well.  We were all freezing and it actually started to snow a little at the end, but you would never know by looking at the pictures. 

I am a family photo fanatic - nothing makes me happier than pictures of my kids!  I have them all over my house - on almost every wall, every surface, in my basement, my bedroom, the family room, the living room, you name it!  I have formal pictures and informal of all stages in our lives.  I am worried that I am going to run out of wall space and will just have to get a bigger house!  What on earth will I do once they have their own families?  Anyway, fun times and I am so happy with how they all turned out!

Awesome Disneyland Vacation

So, this was our last big family fling before Tom leaves in December.  We went to Disneyland for four days, and spent three full days in Disneyland and California Adventure.  We had a blast, but got totally worn out!  The last time we were in Disneyland, David was too small to go on a lot of the rides.  This made me feel bad that we had deprived him of going to Disneyland for so long!  We had so much fun, though and it made us all want to go again, soon!  Favorite rides were definitely California Screamin' and Tower of Terror.  California Screamin' kept breaking down and so it was difficult to get on, but well worth it!  We had to go on all of the little kids rides in Fantasy Land for Emilee and the lines were as bad as the grown up rides!  I loved Indiana Jones and we made it on that a couple of times.  Disneyland was crazy, insane crowded, but we had beautiful weather.  Pirates was closed for updates, which deeply disappointed all of us, but that's the price you pay for going in the off-season.  We stayed in a nice Marriott Suites that had two double beds in a bedroom and a sofa bed in a living area.  Before we got there, everyone fought over who would have to sleep on the sofa bed.  But, after the first night of Dave snoring, everyone fought over the sofa bed! 

These kinds of trips create the most amazing and long lasting memories!  I really wish we had more time (and money) to do a lot more of them.  We have been blessed as a family to have had the means to do these trips almost every year and they have been worth every cent!  The fun times and family closeness they have created will be cherished for a lifetime.  I can't wait unitl Tom gets home so we can do some more family trips (of course, by then, David may be off on a mission.... ). 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Brazilian Party!

Last Saturday, we had a Brazilian Party at our house! Our neighbor, Travis, went on his mission to Brazil, as well as a number of our other neighbors. His idea was to get everyone together and have Brazilian food so Tom could see what he's in for. It was a lot of fun and the food was fabulous! We all got to try things we had never had before. Tom got to hear stories about Brazil and everyone's experiences in Brazil. He got to look at Travis' scrap book from his mission. We are very grateful for having such wonderful friends and neighbors and can't thank them enough for doing this for Tom!

Tom and Dave Go To The Temple

Wow! It's been a really long time since I have posted anything to this blog. We have been working on getting Tom ready.... shopping, doctor's visits, new glasses, shots, the list goes on and on! I am thankful that we have had the time to do it and haven't been rushed. At the same time, I feel bad for Tom that he has such a long time in limbo... just waiting and waiting. We have tried to do some fun things as a family, like going to Disneyland in October, which was a blast! Tom has been learning Portuguese at SLCC and he is still working at The Old Meeting House. He still has a lot of spare time on his hands! His friends have been out on missions for months and he will be the last one to leave.

Tom and Dave went to the Temple for Tom's first time about a week ago. I think it was a special experience for him and Dave. Our dear friends, the Watkins, and Tom's Bishop, Burt Wonnacott went with them. Our wonderful neighbor, Eddie Peterson, took them through the Temple because he was working that night. Afterwards, Tom, Dave and the Watkins went out to eat at Litza's Pizza. I am really proud of Tom and excited for him, too. We are getting down to the wire.... only about three weeks before he leaves. I am dreading it and excited for him to get going at the same time