Dear Loved Ones,
This has been a totally wonderful week. I feel so blessed to be the wife and mom in this awesome family. On Monday (7/31) we had a regular day of chores, then swimming, and then we had a big taco dinner and family night with the California Melins and Grandpa and Grandma Melin. The tacos turned out delicious (TIP: the Albertson’s store brand of fresh salsa from the deli section is super yummy). We had asked the older kids to prepare to share their best memories and most testimony-building experiences from Trek and Scout/Girls Camp, and invited anyone else who wanted to, to share their feelings. The older kids shared some very special moments and some important things the Spirit wrote on their hearts. They all came home with a greater appreciation of the sacrifices that were made so they could have the lives they enjoy now (so refreshing coming from teenagers), gratitude for their families, and the knowledge that we can’t make it through life alone and we can always ask for help to find our way. The younger kids shared some things they know and love and are grateful for. Grandpa and Grandma shared some recent special experiences they have had serving in the temple. My heart was full, watching a room full of the third generation listen to and love their righteous grandparents. These are the kind of moments that help us define who we are going to be and instill the desire to live up to our names (Helaman 5:6-7!!!!!).
Tuesday and Wednesday we did a lot of errands and cleaning up around the house, which has been very neglected during all our summer fun, but we took breaks to go to the pool in the afternoon. Tuesday night we had a movie party with youth (including cousins) at our house. They played a few games and watched “Bedtime Stories” and then I drove most of them home at 10:30—in the “Party Bus.” Wednesday night was Scouts and YW, and I got to stay home with Niles and Ammon and snuggle and watch PBS like back in the good ol’ days before James was 8. Thursday we got to babysit Laney Mae (the 4 month old daughter of our neighbors/friends/ ward members, the Dixons) while her mom took a fly fishing class during the International Fly Fishing Federation convention. Later that night we went downtown for a bit and enjoyed live music on Main Street during “The Hoot.”
Friday was fun day! We finished laundry and tidying up and I took the kids to Cluck for lunch. Addie started training there this week, so we saw her working. The food was delicious! We took some to daddy, then we went and swam in the Yellowstone River for an hour. I took the boys down to the sand bar under I-90 (where the girls and their friends like to swim) and they had a blast playing in the sand. They got so dirty, I went to the do-it-yourself car wash and hosed them off while we also washed the van. At 3pm we went home and met up with Grandma Melin. Grandma came to sleep over at our house with the kids so Richard and I could go spend the night in Billings on a temple date. The kids had fun with Grandma and cousins and we had a great trip—Win-Win!
We got to Billlings just in time for the 5:30 session. We went over to get names from our ward but we couldn’t find the cards we were looking for, so we just grabbed some names from our stake. Turns out the names were prepared by the Bishop family, and three generations of Bishops were in our session that night because a grandson was being endowed before leaving on a mission to South Africa. It was so cool to bring some of their ancestors in to enjoy the special occasion ;) Afterward, we went to dinner at Texas Roadhouse and had a delicious steak dinner, then slept soundly at Grandpa and Grandma’s apartment. The next morning we went to the 8:30am session then went shopping a bit, ate a fantastic lunch at Café Rio, and headed home. We got home at 3:30pm and all was well! It was a fantastic weekend. I really believe that Café Rio’s mint limeade is the most refreshing drink ever made! I filled my 40oz bottle with it and enjoyed it all night. I also LOVED reconnecting with Rich—it had been too long!
Our fast meeting was sweet today, it has been a very nice Sunday. We just came home from a Returned Missionary fireside where Haylee Speas talked about her mission to Nicaragua Managua North and Colton Carter spoke about serving in the German-Alpine mission. It is fun to feel their missionary spirit and reflect on the great privilege of serving as full time missionaries. Our mission experiences in South Korea and North Carolina still bless our lives every day.
We hope all is well with you, our dear loved ones. Our thoughts were with the Mullins family today as they blessed their sweet baby Carter, and with our new mama niece Melanie on her birthday TODAY. We love you all and hope you have a great week!
Jamie, Rich, and Family