Thursday, June 25, 2009


It doesn't seem that long ago that Andrew and I were getting some sugar from Lily.  She is a sweet girl--that is for sure.

She is an absolute horse lover.  Getting her picture taken with PaPa in front of the horse fountain made her so happy.

She loves to bust some major dance moves no matter where she is.  She is a great little dancer and oh, so cute.

Posing is only one of Lily's talents--even when she is riding--you guessed it--a horse on the carousel.  This girl has personality +

Happy Birthday to you Lily.  We are so glad you were born into our family.  I hope you have saved up some good hugs & kisses for us.  Thanks for your prayers.  You are so sweet to remember us that we will have a safe plane ride home.  We hope your day is way way fun.  We love you tons.  We  miss you like crazy.
Hugs & Kisses
MeMa and PaPa

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


We made our last visit to Kazakhstan last week.  We spent 3 days there and had a great time.  On P-Day we took the missionaries into the desert where we hiked the Kazak's version of the Grand Canyon.  Dad and I kept commenting to each other that it felt so much like we were in AZ.  

This is the prettiest sky I've seen in 3 years.  The sky also reminded us of AZ.  This rock looked like a wrecked spaceship or something.

The Nomads in the desert live in Yurta's.  At the bottom of the canyon next to the river a nice family let us enter their private yurta for a group photo.

Outside the yurta.  Elder Harker, Elder Brandenburg, Sister Smith, Sister Zhumazhanova, Elder Kruglyak, and Elder Baxter.  What a fun bunch of people and outstanding missionaries.

On the way back to Almaty we stopped at the biggest rip off Golden Eagle Musuem ever.  Dad had read about it on the internet and was hot on going there.  I guess getting this photo with the eagle was worth the tenge (money) it cost.

This decayed mountain goat was part of the museum exhibit.  It was pretty scary.

Our very last zone conference ever.  We met the Shaws this trip.  They are the senior couple that live in Astana all by themselves.  The only other member in the city is a Mongolian sister.  They are from Rexburg, ID and are good good people.  Sunday was an emotional day for me.  I spoke in church and afterwards I had to tell the branch members and my missionaries goodbye.  (sob, sob, sob)
Friday we went to the huge bazaar in Almaty.  It was a hot day.  I wonder if wearing a huge cabbage leaf will work for Dad and I in the AZ heat?  It might be worth a try.

We took the cable car up to the top of this hill and stood in the area where Elder Nelson stood when he dedicated the country of Kazakhstan to the preaching of the Gospel.  This is the view of Almaty from that spot.  It was wonderful to see mountains again.

There was a zoo park up there too and we were lucky enough to see this beautiful peacock strut around for awhile.  

There were also several of these "clover hearts" on the grounds.  I heart hearts--but you already know that.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


We had a 2 night slumber party with 4 Sisters when they came into Moscow for their visa trip.  Sister Bell and Sister Hansen couldn't get over the food in our pantry.  Aren't they beautiful?

We flew to Nizhny Novgorod for a City Conference with one of our Area 70's, Elder Manzhos.  I got a picture of our missionaries in front of the church building there.  Elders:  Russell, Nutt,
Armstrong, Trasdaahl, Malanin, Smith, Yeremeyev, Sister & Elder McClelland

We got to be there for Iliya's baptism.  He is such a cute--happy teenager.  Elder Smith and Elder Traasdahl taught him.  His Mom is already a strong member.  

While we were in line to check in at the airport here in Moscow before we flew to Nizhni--I got a phone call from Elder Terrill who is now living the life of a civilian again.  He had great news--he had just proposed to his girlfriend who waited for him while he was serving here. He got home on May 30th.  They are getting married in the Boise Temple on August 22nd.  I love good news like that and I thought it was so sweet and thoughtful of him to call and share with me. He's going to be a great husband and father.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


We picked up our last group of missionaries.   This is the first time we have had Americans come to MWM since they quit calling them about a year ago because of all the visa problems.  The USA double passports were an answer to our prayers.  Elders:  Minokov, Putnum, Borodin, Smith, Prestwich, Nutt, Russell & Cannon (AP's).  Sisters:  Corbett, Ionina, and Zhumazhanova.

We told 10 missionaries good-bye on the 30th of May.  Wowzers--this was a toughy for Sister Collins.  What an outstanding group--every single one of them.  Elders:  Williams, McKay, Michaelis, Ellsworth, Aitken, Cannon, Terrill, Russell (AP), Pollard, Despain, & Rosenhan (AP).  Sister Jenson was well looked after on her flight home.  All of them except Elder Williams (he lives in the Denver area) flew into the SLC airport.  I can only imagine the joy that was bursting out of that place when their families were reunited with them.

June 1st was a monumental day for us.  We had our last zone conference with all of our missionaries except for the 6 serving in Kazakhstan.  THEN--we had a special missionary meeting with the Moscow mission AND President Uchtdorf AND Elder Andersen and their sweet wives.  I had asked ahead if we could get a group photo with the Apostles, but I was denied so this is of all of us at zone conference that morning.  The missionary meeting was remarkable.  What an unforgettable experience to be taught by Apostles.  I was so proud of our missionaries.  They were spiritually prepared and so reverent.  After that meeting there was a meeting with the Saints.  It, too, was wonderful.  I'm sure the Apostles' visit was evidence that the Lord loves His Russians and the affects will be manifested in the lives of all us who were blessed to hear them teach.

To finish off an unbelievable week----we had visitors.  Warren & Sandy Bradshaw (a Sr. missionary couple we met when they served in Budapest) and Lisa Wegkamp and her married daughter, Laura Cook (they lived in Budapest 4 of the years we were there.  They were there with the FBI) came to see us.  They had been visiting Budapest and stopped by for 4 days before they went to St. Petersburg.  We had a great time.  It was so good to be with them again.  That week zipped by.

Sunday, May 31, 2009


Today is Ned's birthday.  Erin is at girls' camp so for his birthday Ned gets to get all the kids ready and be at church at 8:00 a.m.  This will probably be a birthday he never forgets.  Izzy and Briley are suppose to give him the great birthday gift of helping the best they can.  I know they can do it--I hope they do.  Happy Birthday Ned.  We love you and hope you know that.   We are  so grateful you are in our family.  Best Birthday wishes! 

Friday, May 29, 2009


 Heavenly Father loves our family---one of the reasons I know this is because 35 years ago He sent our Amy to us.  What a joy my Sweetcheeks is to all of us.  She is a great example of righteousness and serving others.  She has a ton of self control and determination--that girl can run and workout like crazy.  She is hilarious and fun to be around.  She has a talent for making people laugh and for saying bold things without offending people.  Happy Birthday!  I hope you feel loved on your special day and that it is full of fun!  We love you TONS!
Hugs & Kisses

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


                        This year's cake will require a few more candles, but he is still as cute as ever!

He's been my best and most patient computer instructor ever.  Always so kind to me even when he knows he is working with a computer illiterate.

            How cute is this picture of Andrew dancing with Bennett? (aka his Daddy's clone)

Happy Birthday Andrew--27 on the 27th- -this is a great year for you.  We hope you have the best birthday yet.  We've celebrated your birthday today in big style--we welcomed 9 new missionaries this morning.  We love you son-in-law-Lark!!!   Ashly knew what she was doing when she convinced you to marry her.  Our family is better because you are in it--and a lot more fun.   Have a wonderful day.