Dear Loved Ones,
Happy Birthday to Auntie M, Abby, and me today! This is the first year in a long time I haven’t celebrated with Auntie and Gram—I sure missed you guys (but Christmas will be great)! It was wonderful to celebrate with my girls in Salt Lake City over the weekend, though. I am totally exhausted but totally edified. What a wild week we have had!
Last week I wrote you from a hotel in Great Falls with Richard. We got to visit with my sis Sara and her family on Monday night (they just moved to Great Falls 2 months ago)—it was SO FUN to visit and get reacquainted with our far-away nieces and nephews. We got home Tuesday night just in time for homework, soccer practice, and dinner. Grandma made us a yummy casserole and we made a fire and it was cozy and wonderful to be home. Wednesday we unpacked and cleaned up and I had to run to Bozeman to pick up our conference tickets from our stake president, and take Heidi to get a gift between 5:30pm and 7pm. We made it back for YW/Scouts at 7:30pm. Rich had brought the little boys up with him for opening exercises and I was supposed to take them home with me to get to bed by 8pm but they were having too much fun with their friends, so I ended up staying until everyone was done at 8:30pm. We are still struggling to get everyone to bed on time and stay healthy this fall and winter—nobody is cooperating! ;) I think the last of them crashed at 10pm (which is so not cool when the recommended sleep for the little boys is 10-12 hours). Thursday was all about laundry and packing for ANOTHER trip—Girls’ Weekend in Salt Lake City for the Women’s Session of General Conference and my birthday. Heidi went to a big surprise party for her bff Kara Thursday night up in Clyde Park (the high school kids didn’t have school on Friday, so Thursday was a good party night). I was on the pick-up end of the carpool so I squished 9 kids in my van and drove the Party Bus home in the rain blasting car karaoke at 10:30pm. I got the last of them home around 11:15. I was tired but I seriously love those kids.
Friday morning we got the boys off to school, Daddy to work, and Ammon to Johnson’s around 10:30am and we girls drove down to SLC. We took our sweet time (joy in the journey, y’all) and got to our little rental house at 7pm. We unloaded then headed down the street to Trader Joe’s to stock up on snacks for the weekend. We got lots of yummy treats and then some salad and margaritas at Chili’s, which was next to TJ’s. All the big TVs were playing a football game and I noticed it was at UofA. I thought it was cool that we got to catch an Arizona game and cheered for them a few times. It took a few minutes for me to realize that UA was playing the Utes and I was sitting in a pub next to the UofU. I’m glad nobody beat me up, lol. I am also glad the Wildcats won, even though I care nothing about football. We were pretty delirious by the time we got home around 10pm, laughing, eating toasted fava beans & pepitas and frozen bananas, and watching “Stranger Things.” Jill and her girls came up to visit us after their Lehi Homecoming game. Luckily they were delirious, too, and we had a fun little visit. It was cool of them to drive up to see us.
Saturday morning, the girls and I slept in til about 8:30, aet TJs yogurt, and watched more ST. We got dressed and headed out to spend the day exploring downtown. Back at home, Richard was up early for another icy cold 8am soccer game with James, and then Niles. After games, they went to Billings to play at Cabela’s and Scheel’s and to swim at The Reef indoor waterpark. This was a belated birthday celebration for James, and he brought his friend Kinnick along. Rich sent me pix all day and they boys had a blast. The girls and I had fun in SLC. It was Women’s Conference AND ComiCon at the same time, so the crowds were endlessly entertaining. Heidi was dying because those peeps are her tribe and she wished she was in costume all day. She told us who all the characters were as they walked by us because she knows them all! Addie got to spend some of her hard-earned money at City Creek. We found a lovely Lauren formal that fit her perfectly and was marked down to an irresistible price. I also tried to steer her away from anthropologie—she has never been there—but she was sucked in by its siren song and bought a few things.
We had planned to meet up with my Mom and Jill and their girls for dinner but there was a glitch and they were running late, so we went home and changed, fought for another parking spot (the garages were full by 4pm), and grabbed a quick dinner at the Nauvoo Café. At 5:17 we arrived at the conference center in the rain and waited in line until 5:45 to get seated. Jill didn’t have enough tickets for everyone, so she went to the tabernacle to watch with mom and we took Abby and Belle inside with us. It was WONDERFUL. It always feels amazing to be in a room with thousands of other people with whom you share a bond. I remember attending a regional conference in Raleigh on my mission (with Elder Maxwell presiding). I had been out in the sticks for months, working with my companion, far from other missionaries, in a small branch. I don’t remember what was said in that meeting, but the feeling will be with me forever. As thousands of saints stood to sing “Now Let Us Rejoice,” my worn-out spirit was buoyed up. I realized that I was truly not alone, and that the work we were doing was bigger than we could ever comprehend. I learned to not be weary in well-doing. I learned why we were commanded to meet together oft. That feeling of unity is most certainly a celestial feeling, “memories of how things should be” as Hugh Nibley said, and I love every opportunity I have to feel it, even for just a moment or an hour. In the conference center, I think my girls felt it, too. I got a lump in my throat hearing them sing enthusiastically, “True to the faith that our parents have cherished, true to the truth for which martyrs have perished, to God’s command, soul heart and hand, faithful and true we will ever stand.” YESSS! Of course, all of the talks seemed written for us. I was especially grateful for Sister Jones’ talk about Worth and President Uchtdorf’s “Sad-Glad-Mad” sisters. Self-respect/Individual Worth and Agency/Accountability (evenfor our attitudes) have been some major issues we have been praying about, so it’s nice to have such direct answers to prayers. I am so glad we went!!!
After conference, we had to walk right through Temple Square and City Creek to get to our car, so Heidi and I bought an amazing candy apple at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory (it was my gluten free birthday cake!) and Addie had to run back to anthro to get some Rose perfume that smelled too good to pass up 4 hours later. Even with the side trips, we were home safe before 8pm ready to eat treats and snuggle and celebrate together. It was a nice night; I am so grateful for the strong women in my life—especially my amazing daughters! We all got to sleep around 11 and slept in until 8am. We got dressed and cleaned up our little apartment, loaded the car, grabbed more breakfast at Trader Joe’s, and headed home around 10am. It was raining again. We had “car church” listening to some talks and devotionals on the radio, and our beloved “Churchtastic”playlist. It was a lovely drive and we made it home at 5:20—just in time to take quick showers and run to Eden Jones’ YW Recognition Night. It was a lovely evening with our ward family, perfect ending to a perfect birthday. I was showered with cards and kisses by my boys, then enjoyed hundreds of social media messages after they went to sleep…such a great day. I am so thankful for Rich’s hard work to provide these experiences for our family…so many great memories made this week!!!
We hope all is well with you. We love you so much. We are so excited to have another amazing, edifying weekend in 5 days. I hope my heart doesn’t burst!
All our love…
Jamie and Rich and Family
|Me and Sara at our hotel in Great Falls 9/19|
(MAA Insurance Conference)
|My favorite drink for the ride home from GF...mint limeade!|
|Sneak Peeks of Niles' Soccer Pictures on 9/21|
|Handsome little fella!|
|9/22-First Day of Fall=some fast-melting snow! |
Of course the boys had to build a snowman before school!
|Addie on our road trip to Utah 9/22|
|Addie and Heidi and virgin margaritas in SLC|
|You're never too old for some Plants vs. Zombies|
|Addie and Heidi with Grumpy Cat at Trader Joe's|
|Late night car hysterics in SLC 9/22|
|Ally Bug came to snuggle Addie. She missed conference cuz it was her homecoming dance.|
|Isabelle, Jill, and me 9/22|
|Pretty dress! 9/23|
|Breakfast at Tiffany's?|
|Beautiful Sisters 9/23|
Walking past ComiCon (and a TARDIS) to the conference center
|Temple in the rain 9/23|
|Waiting in line at the conference center 9/23|
|Heidi, Mum, and Addie ready for conference!|
|Selfies during the intermediate hymn|
|Heidi, Mum, and Addie|
heading home, edified 9/23
|Mom/Nana, Jill, and Me at post-conference dessert party|
|Jill and Abby the birthday girl, who is now 18!|
|Cousin Time- Heidi, Belle, and Addie 9/23|
|Back in Montana...the boys at The Reef water park in Billings 9/23|
|James and Kinnick with an Ammon photobomb|
|Ammon our water baby!|
|Niles on the water slides|
|Nles--so excited, as usual|
|James and Kinnick sliding|
|Gangstas eating pretzels|
|Ammon and Niles at Cabela's|
|Fun Plan of Salvation puzzle we bought at Deseret Book.|