Thursday, January 31, 2008


Dad and I are leaving in the morning to fly to Voronezh for our zone conference in the South Zone.  It is going to be a very busy couple of days for Dad.  He will interview all the missionaries in that zone--plus several branch members on Friday.  Saturday will be our zone conference.  We will catch the 4:00 p.m. flight back to Moscow so that we can go to our building at 9:00 p.m. and watch the broadcast of President Hinckley's funeral.  Of course we will have our cell phones if you need to get in touch with us.  I always miss you more when I am away from the computer and phone.   ILYT  Hugs & Kisses

Sweet Lotoshino Branch

These are pictures we took at church last Sunday when we were visiting the Lotoshino Branch.  We rent this building that is a driving school/mechanics school.  A companionship of Elders that are serving in a nearby city, Tver, make the trip on the bus to Lotoshino every other Sunday.  The branch is primarily made up of two families.  The Garboos family is the strength of the branch.  Brother Garboos is the Branch President.  That is him standing in front of the car sign.  I'm sitting next to Sis. Garboos.  The other lady is the Garboos' daughter in law (her husband and the Garboos' only child is in the USA right now).  The youngest girl is the Garboos' one and only grandchild.  The older man in the back is raising his son Victor (next to him) and daughter Masha (in front row) by himself.  The missionaries are Elder Sorensen (AP), Elder Salinas (lives in TX 20 min. from Mexico border where he goes to visit family nearly every weekend when he was home.  Word is he makes great mexican food), and Elder Geels (UT).  Remember when I wrote you about the Lord's tender mercies in meeting up with a family and leading them to the building that we met in when Elder Bednar was here?  That was the Garboos family.  They are from the Ukraine and joined the church there.  I always wonder if Tracy Payne might know them.  I love to  visit this branch.  They are so loving and warm.  They always invite us to go over to their humble little apt. after meetings and have borcht.  We did that once, but we are usually always in a hurry to get back to Moscow for interviews, etc.  I wish you could meet these wonderful people.  They immediately work their way to the center of your heart.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Home Sweet Home

The Larks went from living in the adorable yellow house to being homeless for the past six weeks.  Well--today is a good news day for us because they have found an apartment and will move in on Friday.  Whoohoo!  They get to live in the two bedroom apartment on the ground floor of Trace's building.  They are going to love being close to Trace and being in the Murray Hill area.  Trace has been such a good sport and blessing.  What a great Uncle.  Congratulations Larkies.  We are happy for you. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Dad & Police

Sunday we drove to Lotoshino for our meetings.  Dad got pulled over by the big bad policeman and his  magic stick two different times on the way there.  The first time the policeman just looked at his papers and let him go.  The second time he had to "step into the office".  It didn't take him long--usually doesn't when you are making a voluntary contribution to their family fund.  That reminds me of a Russian joke our dear Elder Petrov shared with us.  
A little boy ran in to wake up his Policeman Dad who had overslept.  "Daddy, Daddy, wake up--the people have been driving for free for hours."  Yep--that pretty much says it all.

Monday, January 28, 2008

President Hinckley

Dad's cell phone rang at 6:00 a.m. today.  I always get nervous when it rings really early or really late.  I immediately think something is wrong with one of our missionaries.  It was President Gibbons from our area presidency.  He told Dad that President Hinckley had passed away.  Even though our beloved Prophet was 97 1/2 I still wasn't prepared.  Oh, how I will miss him.  Besides having all of the qualities that every Prophet has had, I will always remember and admire his sense of humor, wit and his optimism.  He is my example of being positive and I refer to his poem that was in the funeral program of his sweetheart, Marjorie, often--especially since I have been here in Moscow.  It's called  "Put Your Trust in God"
It isn't as bad as you sometimes think it is,
It all works out.  Don't worry.
I say that to myself every morning.
It will all work out.
Put your trust in God,
and move forward with faith
and confidence in the future.
The Lord will not forsake us.
He will not forsake us.
If we put our trust in Him,
if we will pray to Him,
if we will live worthy of His blessings,
He will hear our prayers.
I'm sure he has had many joyous reunions--especially with his Marjorie.   He is the only Prophet the Russians know.  They will have a hard time with his death.  He will be missed by all.

Saturday, January 26, 2008


So I get this phone call and it's 5:30 a.m. CA time.  I answer the phone and all I hear is someone crying on the other end.  My heart stops and I begin to think scary thoughts.  Finally, Brooke starts talking.  She is on her way to the emergency room with our sweet Bubbles, Jane.  She had been up all night with her because Jane got all croupy and couldn't breathe.  Poor baby.  I talked to her until she got to the hospital.  As I hung up, I told her I would be praying for them.  I did just that--prayed.  Of course I told her to call asap to let me know what was happening.  Time has past by slowly--but I just off the phone and Brooke said that they gave Jane a steroid shot, and a breathing treatment and she was sleeping under a humidifier type thing.  She was so much better, but they might do another breathing treatment.  The nurse got after Brooke.  She told her that she should have called 911.  Faith and prayers--what would our life be without them?  We are so blessed.  Remember Janie Girl in your prayers.  I knew Brooke was doing a lot better because she brought up how Dad could always tell it was Brooke calling back when she was a freshman at BYU because all he could hear was crying on the other end.  That was a rough time for our Boogins. 

Another Zone Conference

We did another zone conference yesterday.  I thought I would share a few more pictures of my marvelous missionaries with you.  I wish you could know each one of them.  You would love them dearly too.  The first picture is of Elder Sorensen (AP) and Elder Lundquist (he is from Sandy, UT and it was his 20th birthday yesterday.  Doesn't he look about 17?  His parents sent him birthday money to go eat at Bennihanas--I'm trying to get an invitation from him).  The next picture is of  all of my sisters in the zone.  (Sister Zonova, Russian, she gave me a bookmark she made for me at zone conference--so sweet, Sister Aidarbekava from Khazakstan, she works in the office, Sister Nikitina, Lithuania serving in Minsk, Sister Dransfield, Poway, CA serving in Minsk, Sister Odinokava Russian, plays the piano beautifully, and Sister Wood, Anchorage, Alaska, serving in Minsk) the last picture is of Elder Spring (from Laie, Hawaii--he goes home in Feb. Don't tell Sister Wood and Sister Dransfield that I got them in the background stuffing their faces with pizza)

Random Act of Kindness

It snowed the whole 6 hours we were in zone conference.  I waited around for Dad this  time because he only had to do one missionary interview at the church.   He did the other 7 back at the mission office because those missionaries had a late overnight train.  I thought Dad was going to have to clean all of the snow off the car before we could leave, but bless this sweet little Russian man's heart it was ready to go as soon as we got outside.  Meet Sergei---he was our driver when we first arrived.  He was on loan to us until we could find another driver.  We immediately fell in love with him.  He is so kind and so gentle and so polite and so faithful.  We wanted to keep him, but were told no on that one.  See why we love him so much?  I had to scold him for not having a coat on.  He just laughed and said in his broken English--,"Spring is coming".  Talk about a positive attitude while he is clearing off the snow.  Isn't he cute?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Serving in Moscow as opposed to serving in other Russian cities is certainly a blessing.  One of those blessings is a store called Metro.  This store carries peanut butter and boxes of M&M's.  It is a warehouse store like Costco.  We always provide a jar of peanut butter, a jar of jam, and lots of bread at our zone conferences.  After they eat their pizza, the missionaries love to slather tons of pb on bread and gobble it down as you can see from the pictures.  The first picture of missionaries, from left to right--Elder Sorensen (our AP from Orem--he goes home in Feb.), Elder Lamb (our other AP from Roosevelt, UT), Elder Madsen, and Elder Ellsworth,(both from UT too).  The 2nd picture, Elder Sinyakov (Russian--obviously Americans aren't the only ones that love pb&j), and Elder Pollard, (he is from Oregon and he and his comp have had an eventful last two weeks--they were arrested twice, a guy pulled a gun on them and forced them to leave the apartment building and followed them down the street with the gun pointed at them, and his comp got hit over the head with a chain from someone who didn't like them doing door to door contacting.  You have to be tough to make it here in the Westside.

M&M's for Marvelous Missionaries

I give each of my MARVELOUS MISSIONARIES (of course they all qualify) a bag of M&M's at every zone conference.  They have big smiles on their faces when they see me coming towards them with my box of candy.  These are just 3 of my marvelous missionaries--Elder Gillis (as in Dobie--no that's not his name.  He is from Houston, has been here two weeks, and had been sick with the barfs big time on Sunday and Monday poor guy) Sister Arnett (she is from Gilbert and is a first cousin to Megan Price Hess and Maicy is in her brother's class at Neeley) and Sister Weidmann (she is from Bern, Switzerland.  Her father is the stake president there--she and Sister Arnett are comps).  My missionaries are the best--I love them so much. 

Lovey Lily

Today is a big day for my Lovey Lily girl.  She is going to her first dance class.  She has been dreaming about this day for a very long time and when she actually bought her ballet and tap shoes she was so excited.  See Lily----dreams do come true!  I hope you have a divine dancing day.  Tell your Mommy to send me a picture.  I love you tons.  oxoxoxoxo


So Hailey got ninth place out of forty competitors in the Gilbert District Spelling Bee.  Isn't that wonderful? If she had gotten eighth place she would have gotten a trophy and would  continue on to the State Spelling Bee.  Oh, so close.  Great job!   She was competing against all the Jr. High age kids too.  She went out on the word asthma.  How cute is the "Hailey Fan Club Members" that showed up and supported our Princess?  You are so blessed Hailey to not only be so smart, and so cute--but to have such nice friends.  I am so proud of you.  ILYT oxoxoxo  
Now it's Zone Conference time today.  I always have to do a spiritual teaching  for my missionaries.  I sure do hope I am blessed with the Holy Ghost so that it will be what the Lord wants my missionaries to learn.  Now you need to wish me luck!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Good Luck Princess

Hailey--The Princess who wears glasses and who is the Neeley Spelling Bee Champ--goes to the District Spelling Bee competition today.  Good luck Hailey.  I am so proud of you and I know you will do your very best.  You are such a smarty pants.  I love you oxoxoxo

Monday, January 21, 2008

They Came

December 29th, 2007---the day that Ashly and Bennett arrived---a wonderful day in the life of MeMa and PaPa for sure!  Who would have ever thought that three weeks could go by so fast?
Thanks Ashly and Bennett for the visit.  We loved every single minute of it.   PERFECTO!

They Left

Bennett was so happy this morning.  He was crawling all over the luggage and he even managed to climb from the luggage onto the top of the coffee table.  He thought he was so cool.  When he figured out that he was going to the airport to leave MeMa and PaPa he became very sad--thus, the sad, teary eyed face.  It's a good thing Ashly prayed that I wouldn't be too sad after they left today.  I thanked her and told her that I really needed those prayers.  How can I be sad when I have all of those wonderful memories to think about.  Actually, the quiet apartment makes me feel sad, but I have zone conference to get ready for------so the mission life goes on.

Too Weird

This is what I had to face when I got back to the apartment. Empty bed, empty crib, empty baby food jars and empty highchair  See that little wooden thing on the bathtub?  That is what Bennett loved to carry around the apartment.  I could hear that thing clunk against the wood floor as he crawled all over.  Notice the bathroom door is open.  It was always closed while Bennett was here because his favorite thing to do was to get the toilet brush and put it in the toilet.  The quietness is just too weird.  I miss them already! 

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Ashly's Last Project for MeMa

Life has been divine having Ashly and Bennett here for the last 3 weeks.  Knowing that today was the last day for Ashly to help me, I was quite proud of myself for remembering that I had never gotten my vinyl lettering up that I have had sitting in my pantry for months and months.  It wasn't an easy project, but she stuck with it and got it up for me.  Doesn't it look good above my family group pictures?  I love the quote.  I am so proud of the way we all "stand steadfastly together" no matter what life brings.  I'm the lucky ducky and you all know why.  But in case you have forgotten---it's because I have been blessed with the best kids and kiddies in the world.  I miss you and and love you tons!  Thanks Ashly for everything.  She was so sweet all day today, but now she is being mean--she is in the other room packing to leave me tomorrow!  boohoo!!!

Larks Last Sunday

The last 4 Sundays in a row now, the Larks and I have had the blessing of walking downstairs and into the mission office to attend meetings at our Yugo-Zapanaya Branch.  Dad, bless his heart, has been on the road driving to 4 different branches the past 4 weeks.  He is so sweet to let me stay and go to church here.  I've become quite attached to this sweet LITTLE branch.  We have two sets of Elders that go there and one of them, Elder Terrill, is the only one that can play the piano. He can only play 5 songs so he loves it when I come because I play the piano.  We got everyone together after church for a picture today.  Everyone loves Bennett, but the women were  very concerned because he wasn't bundled up to the max to walk the two steps that are necessary before entering the stairway for our apartment.  Next week it's back to business for me.  I don't know where I will be, but it will be a drive to an outlying branch with Dad and the AP's again.    

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Demon is Down (and out)

There was a voice mail on our phone when we got back to the apartment.  It was from Dustin.  He said he had some news.  Dad immediately called him and found out that during his workout yesterday, Dustin broke a rib and tore some cartilage.  Bummer!  He is in excruciating pain.   I don't know what is causing the most pain--his ribs?  or the fact that he will no longer be the main event with Matt Hughes cornering him next Saturday.  I know one person that can truly empathize with him right now---your Dad.  He knows all about the pain broken ribs cause.  You girls might appreciate this quote from Dad, "it is more painful than having a baby".   Like he knows right?  Gotta love the man!  Dustin I hope you heal quickly!   

Last Saturday in Moscow

Today we went to the outdoor market, Izmailovski.  It was so cold, but Bennett is a nut.  He likes the cold.  Don't you think he should stay here at least until the winter is over?  I do.  We stopped at our favorite Chinese restaurant downtown Moscow for dinner.  YUM!  Bennett loved the chopsticks as you can see.  I can't believe how fast 4 Saturdays have zoomed by.  It's quite sad.

Friday, January 18, 2008

The Miracle Worker

I am loving having Ashly here.  She has done so much to help me develop my hidden abilities.  I am now posting this post my very own self, my family scrapbook is updated (not by me), and she created my photo wall that I have been talking about doing forever.  Don't you love it?  She has also helped me figure out how to apply my new MAC and Bare Esentuals make-up and to do my hair a different way (see pic below)!  See why I call her the miracle worker?  I can't even think about her and Bennett leaving.  I'm going to die!

Tea Time

Today my visiting teachers came for their monthly visit.  Sister Safronova and Sister Vasilachi came, had herbal tea (Russians love their tea), and then they gave a great, uplifting message.  They are great missionaries.

Seven is Heaven

Our cute little love bug, Briley, is seven years old today. What a joy! We love you Briley and hope you have a wonderful birthday.