Monday, December 29, 2008


11 years ago Ned and Erin were married.  Today we have the eternal blessing of having 3 adorable girlios and 1 adorable tank of a boy make up our sweet Opfel family.   Celebrate, Celebrate--dance to the music you two.  We love you both TONS!


Ashly and Andrew are celebrating their anniversary today too.  I hear they are going to Ruth's Chris--not fair.  It has been ages since I've been there.  Seriously, have a great time celebrating your beginning of your sweet eternal family 4 years ago.  You've got a great start with those two adorable kiddies.  We look forward to at least 4 more in the future. :)  We love you both TONS.


Today is the day that Brooke and Matt got married.  Eight years later-their adorable kiddies, Porter, Lily and Jane make up their eternal family.  What a great reason to celebrate it up big time.  We are so glad you found each other, fell in love and got married.  Happy Anniversary. We love you both--TONS!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


                                             Dad making pumpkin pies--Isn't he the cutest?

                     We were so excited to find a bag of noodles in the freezer.  So you CA 
                      kids aren't the only ones that get to eat noodles on Christmas Eve.  I'm 
                     the lucky ducky too.

                                  A million angel sugar cookies for my angel missionaries tomorrow.
                                  I'll have to get up early to get them all frosted before we head to
                                  our Christmas Day Spectacular.                                                                                                                             

                                     MeMa singing Christmas Carols on the street with some of the Elders.

Elder Whitney's Mom made these personalized stockings for us.  She even mailed us a couple of books and a miniature nativity too.  I thought that was very sweet of her.  I sure hope Santa fills them with good stuff.  I wish I could wake up in the morning and see all of you darling kiddies and kids of mine.  That would be the best present ever.  I hope your Christmas Eve is full of the Spirit of Christ and that you feel of His love.  I'll be sending all my love and lots of hugs and kisses your way.  Just when I think I couldn't ever miss you any more---I do.  Merry Christmas!


                                          Ice skating in front of the GUM on Red Square

                                    St. Basil's on Red Square.  My favorite Russian building.

Lots of beautiful trees.  This one had the music staff and musical notes.  Since they can't run the fountains in the winter they replace the water with pretty lights.

The Blue Tree in front of Red Square.  It was snowing when we took most of  these picture.  Can you see the snowflakes?

The fountain in front of the Bolshoi Theater.  They have been doing a remodeling of the theater for 3 years.  I don't think it is going to be finished before we leave.  I bet it will be beautiful.

                    Our favorite Chinese Food Restaurant got all gussied up for Christmas too.

            The Green Tree--looking down the main street that runs into Red Square--Tverskaya.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


We went to the small Yugo-Zapanaya Branch's FHE last night.  They meet downstairs in our mission office and I like to call it my home branch because it is so convenient to walk downstairs for church.  I don't get to go there very often, but I have a special place in my heart for these people.  They ooze with love.  I feel needed there too because no one can play the piano so they always make over me when I play for them.  Which I did for their program last night.  This is Sister Lena decorating before people showed up.  She made these really cute stars out of newspaper.  You can see one on the clock.

Elder Aitken, Elder Craven and Elder Salinas were angels in the cute little play Sister Natasha wrote and directed.  

The audience.  Elder Mills (in the red) was a small boy in the play.  After the program we went upstairs for refreshments.  Elder Gunther gave me a chocolate chip pumpkin cookie mix from Lehi Utah Mills that his Mom sent him.  They were tasty cookies.  Problem was the mix made about 500 cookies.  I was really over those cookies when I put the last spoonful on the pan to bake.  The Russians raved over them.  They don't really have good Russian cookies.

This is Stella.  I can't remember what her Chinese name is.  She is from Taipei, Taiwan.  She lives close to us and goes to the Yugo-Zap branch. We finally got to meet her last night at FHE.  I had talked to her on the phone, but hadn't met her yet.  She knows Elder Britton Larson.  He helped teach her.  She has been a member for one year and is the only member in her family.  She is going to school here in Moscow and has been here since Sept.  She is so sweet.  I can't imagine how much courage it takes for someone like her to leave her family and come to Moscow all alone for school.  Why do the Asians have such pretty shiny hair?  

Friday, December 19, 2008


Our AP, Elder Despain had a birthday so I made up the Sprinkles cupcake mix that Ashly brought over and took them downstairs to share with the missionaries.  YUM!

Elder Terrill our other AP got some frosting on his chin, but didn't have a clue.  Remember crazy Dustin and the mayo on our snowboarding trip?  This reminded me of that.  

We spent the weekend in Belarus with these two--Elder Lundquist and Elder Williams

And these two--Elder Pollard and Elder Michaelis

And these two--Elder and Sister Capener.  This sweet couple have always been so good to us when we go to Minsk.  They make us a great meal and we always eat and run to make our flight back to Moscow.  We told them good-bye for the last time.  They go home in January.  We hope we have a couple to take their place.  We are going to miss them.  They served valiantly.  Such good good people.  Notice no missionary tags.  None of the missionaries are allowed to wear them in Belarus.

Monday, December 8, 2008


Today we had a Sr. Couple's Conference with the Moscow Mission.  We were a little out-
numbered.  We had one couple and the rest were assigned to their mission.  Our only other Sr. couple was out of town so they weren't able to come.  We had a great time together and loved hearing from our Area President, Elder Pieper.  Sister Cranney (the Moscow Mission President's wife) and I (of course my man came through for me like he always does.) did the food for lunch.  We had taco salad and apple crisp a la mode.  Yummy!  We are looking forward to getting two Sr. couples in Feb.  They are the unsung heroes of the missions---good, good people.

left side:  Elders Terrill, Mills, Despain.  rt. side:  Elder Harker and Dad (still as cute as ever)
E. Harker and E. Mills have been in the office for the past 6 months--time for them to move on.  We usually have the office elders up for dinner to show our appreciation for all they do beyond keeping their area going with tracting and contacting, etc.  Elder Harker requested hamburgers and shakes so we took advantage of one of our favorite spots--the Starlight diner and took them and our AP's there for a late lunch (before fasting) on Saturday.  They loved it.

It's only 4:00 p.m. and already dark outside.  Gotta love the dark Russian winters--did I mention freezing cold too?