Thursday, August 28, 2008

Why didn't anyone warn me???

I have to say....yesterday was one of the most difficult days in my life. I know that may seem extreme, but it is definitely true. Alex left home at 5:00 AM with Zack driving him to the Baton Rouge airport to catch a plane to Salt Lake. It didn't really hit me then. I tried to sleep a little because we had stayed up really late, but I just couldn't get settled. So, I got the other kids off to school and came home prepared to sleep for a while. Couldn't do it. I cried and cried and cried. For a large part of the day. I just couldn't shake this overwhelmingly sad feeling. I know he is in the best place he could be and I truly want him to be there and have a great time, but, dang-it, I'm sad. I am sad that I am not there with him, I am sad that my family will not all be together, I am sad that I am at this point where my family will all start to splinter, I am sad that I can't see him until Christmas, I am sad that I can't hug him and laugh at his jokes, I am scared that I might have missed teaching him something he really needs to know. I am going to miss that boy. All said, though, I don't want him to come home. The ultimate double edge sword.
So, enough about me. He is there. He got all settled in yesterday all by himself. He has met his roommates and his sweetmates. He called me several times along the trip. I tried to take the Newton's news is good news. While he doesn't seem to be having a raucous good time, yet, he seems very satisfied. He went to the Creamery twice already. I was just mildly irritating.....calling and asking tons of questions. He was a good son, though, and humored me. He promised pics today.
I am so much better today. I haven't even called him, yet. I teared up a little writing this, but all better. One thing is....I got some sleep last night. Exhaustion does exacerbate sadness for me...yeah, not a good combination. I am determined to go to the gym today and to clean my house in preparation for this storm looming. Today is looking up. I hope to get alot done and keep myself busy.
Will post pics later!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


What will I do? Lily has been wanting to give the best kisses lately. Big, fat, juicy, full lipped kisses. They are so sweet. She happily gives them and sometimes wants to give them at inconvenient times. I get a little impatient with her. Well, today I realized that anyone of those kisses could be the last I get from her or any of my kids. She will be six in Ocotber and will all of the sudden outgrow this wonderful phase. I can only cherish it while it lasts and then wait for grandkids. Sweet Lily!!

Monday, August 25, 2008

FHE Surprises

We were sitting in the Living Room about to start FHE tonight, when we heard a child's cry. This is not an uncommon occurance in our home, but everyone was in the room with us. Zack even did a quick head count to make sure. So, we dismissed it, but then heard it again. Alex went to the door to find the Jorgensen's all coming to our door with cookies, a card, and a super sweet song for us. I was so impressed that Faith gathered her sisters and brother and lead them ALL the way through Families Can Be Together Forever. Of course, we love this family so much and all were so touched and excited to see them. It was a wonderful surprise.
So, later, I asked Alex to bear his testimony at the end of our FHE. He was a little, or a lot, uncomfortable, but he said that he thought the Jorgensen kids had it right. Family can be together for ever through Heavenly Fathers plan. And he always wants to be with his family. Well, I lost it. I have been pretty much a rock up to this point. I am thankful that he has a testimony and was willing to share even a little portion of that with us. Thanks, Alex.

Lily has been all over Alex for the last week. Randomly hugging him and telling him that she will miss him and that she loves him. I have several pics of them like this, and I LOVE everyone. Super-Sweet.
Incidentally, I think we are going to make that a weekly event in our home. One person called on to bear their testimony. Good for us all to do and hear.
Thanks for the inspiration, Jorgensen's........and the great cookies!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Elder Tracy, for one more day!

We went to the airport tonight to welcome home Elder Ryan Tracy from his mission in Washington DC. He worked at Zack's for a couple of years before his mission and we used to tease him that they were his stores. I assured him that we tried to take care of them while he was gone. He is such a hard worker and I am looking so forward to hearing more details about his mission. We had to laugh because his parents were actually late to the airport. We found a camera and took pictures of him walking from the plane --since LC has no building at the airport since the hurricane-- and of him seeing his parents for the first time. It was pretty great. I asked my boys if they wanted lots of people there for them when they get home. They DO! I guess I understand that. We went to Sonic afterwards for treats. Ryan seemed a little unsure of things, but I'm sure he will do just fine adjusting.

FHE Olympics

After being so inspired by Michael Phelps and the Olympic in Bejing, we decided to have the Zachary Family Olympics for the second time ever. Sarah Beth led Emma and Lily in making medals for us on Sunday afternoon. They were really cute and I thought pretty inventive, using things we had around the house. Zack was out of town and Taylor was working for the beginning, but we had so much fun. We had a lesson about being and acting like Daughters and Sons of God. We all have that inside of us, and because of that, we have potential to be like Him. I am thankful for that knowledge and hope that we were able to teach the kids about their Divine Heritage. Then, after the running with the torch, let the games begin.

Team Flying Eagles--Sarah, Whitney, Gwen, and Brad

Team 2--Evan, Mary Catherine, Sarah Beth, and Lynetta

Team 3--Katie, Emma, Lily, and Alex

Team 4--Taylor, who took GOLD in the bubble gum blowing event!

Everyone went home with medals. We had the hula hoop pass, the paper airplane toss, the Lifesaver pass, and the bubble gum blowing events. Thanks to our friends for having fun with us.

2008-2009 School Year!!

Ok, I finally was able to add pictures to my blog. I have started a post about 5 times only to not get the pics up.
So, this is the first day of school around here. Strange site. Alex has been working all summer and getting up by himself a little before 7:00. Honestly, no one in the house even knew when he left everyday. For some reason, I guess because Zack and I were actually up earlier, we felt the need to remind him of the time and say, "Alex, don't you think you need to get up?" I guess we think we are so needed but can lay in bed and not think about it. Nevertheless, no school for this man, today.

But, not for THIS . Lily started Kindergarten today. She was up early and absolutely thrilled for the new start. She has Mrs. Young, who is really young. I think she is the youngest teacher we have ever had. Younger than me for the first time ever! She told me that school was LONG and FUN. She brought her lunch, her new backpack, and Sarah Beth's blanket for nap time. She keeps telling Emma that she can do things by herself....Emma wants to check on her and bring her to the bus. Was mama a little sad? Maybe a little, but it has been 18 years home with children and I am going to be ok. Not sure how I will fill my day, but I'm sure I will manage. Don't you love her pink shoes?

And this is in third grade. She is telling everyone that she has the best teacher in the school. Not only is she right about that, but Mrs. Bowen is the best teacher in the parish as far as I am concerned. She is kind, teaches things that the kids are excited to learn, and still she pushes them to do their best and achieve more than they thought they could. Emma is going to do great with her. I am so happy that they will be working together.

I guess that Sarah Beth is too cool for the traditional first day of school picture! She is now in the 7th grade. She is happy to be going back to school. She is much happier with a schedule and loves to get things organized. I hope we can keep her excited about it. She is not too happy that she has PE with the sixth grade this year, but I'm sure she will handle it. She was up and running around pretty early, too.

After being at Maplewood for 13 years, we ONLY have 9 more to go. They will be so happy to say goodbye to me in another DECADE. WOW!

These are my current Sulphur Tors. Mary Catherine started the 9th grade, and Taylor is a junior. Mary Catherine is very happy about leaving Maplewood, finally, and loves the 9th grade school. She says everyday that school is fun. I am so glad she is having fun. Taylor is driving them both to school and I think is happy to have MC there with him. They are really good friends. I know he will miss Alex, though. He loves driving the truck and says that Everybody notices it. How cool is that? Taylor's schedule is really tought this year. He has 2 AP classes and an Advanced class in addition to Chemistry. Junior year is tough, but he is determined to do well. What great kids.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Just found this picture today. I think that is hilarious. We have been loving the Olympics, too. Why is swimming so exciting only every 4 years? I never hear anything about it during other times....would like to, though. We all find ourselves riveted around the tv waiting and expecting GOLD every time.

Just a side note.....I am hoping and expecting that these Olympic games will bring more freedom to the Chinese people. I have found myself thinking that Alex could go on a mission there. Wouldn't THAT be something? President Bush talked extensively about religious freedom while he was there. Kind of exciting to think about.

Even More!

This is a small cottage in the middle of St. James Park. In the second picture you can see Buckingham Palace between the trees.

The extent of our preparation for rain. Isn't she cute? We can NOT get the hair wet. I thought it looked like a bonnett.

Buckingham That was impressive. We were able to go to the state rooms of the palace. Queen Elizabeth is actually not here during August and September so more of the palace is open to the public. There is just so much history in London and this is part of it. We learned that Queen Elizabeth's parents did not leave the palace during WWII. They stayed the whole time as did the princesses and after bombing raids they would go out and visit areas of the city. This made the very beloved by the people of England. We went into the ball room where they serve state dinners for visiting authorities from other countries. There have only been about 100 of these since Queen Elizabeth was crowned. President Bush has been the only American president to attend one of these dinners with her. It was amazing to see how they arrange the tables. They actually measure the table for placement of the silverware, glasses, plates, napkins, etc. It all must be exact. Love Buckingham Palace.

On our way next to see Arsenal...the "football" game. THIS was Alex's MOST important activity. We had a good time. I'll post about that later

More of England

Windsor Castle.....we went on a bus tour out to several different places in the country. On the way there we drove through little villages.....So picturesque, the things post cards are made of. There were homes with thatched roofs and little English lanes that they are so known for. Windsor was interesting. I had an idea that it would be out in the countryside far away from towns or other people. But, it is really bordered by the town. There is an open-air mall right across the street and lots of little shops and homes right there. I was super surprised by this. My favorite thing here was a dollhouse built for one of the princesses. It is amazing with electicity, plumbing, and even a garage. There is real china, silver pieces, and beautiful furnishings. I have always been a sucker for a dollhouse.

Changing of the guard at Windsor.

When we left Windsor we stopped at this little inn for fish and chips. It was really good. This little inn was cozy with a huge fireplace along one wall. It was not lit of course, but I could just imagine being there in the winter and how great it would feel. It was raining while we were there. We also ate yummy dessert. Mama and Alex had an apple crumble with a custard sauce. I had sticky pudding with custard sauce. So great. I know I said you don't go to London for the food......but, I have to say, it was wonderful. Stand by my assessment overall, though.

From there we went through the beautiful countryside to Stonehendge. We were interested, but it is nothing more than rocks in the ground. It IS amazing that these ancient people were able to bring these stones miles and miles to this spot and that they worked for generations (like 20 generations) on building it. I think of the people of the BofM and how that many generations changed so drastically and it is a miracle that people felt so passionately about doing something for that exteded period of time. Very interesting.

Beautiful, beautiful Oxford. Oh, Oxford is a beautiful town and university. It is the location of the church that was used to film the Harry Potter great hall scenes. We didn't stay here long, but long enough to see some amazingly old and intricate buildings.

Back in London, the next day at Regent's Park, we went to see A Mid-Summer Night's Dream by Shakespeare in an Open-Air Theater. The theater was wonderful. The stage was pretty small with a half wall on stone along the back. The play is done with just 6 actors playing 3 roles each. It was so funny and done very my oh so experienced eye!! Right.....but, it was great. We loved it and the park where it is located. Ranked as one of our favorite things we did.

The next day on to Westminster Abbey. Paid twenty dollars to just go inside this church!! Alex opted to sit outside at the park next door and read his book in the park. One thing on his list of must-dos. So, Mama and I paid a fortune and went in. There is a chapel inside called the Ladies Chapel with a ceiling carved from stone. It looks like lace. It is just amazing the detail in places like this..I marvel at the time and attention commited to this. Although it is beautiful and is also a little freaky. There are monuments filling the Abbey to the brim dedicated to kings, queens, lords, soliers, knights, poets, musicians....everybody except Christ. Just was interesting.

The Millineum Pedestrian Bridge across the Thames River. Opened for just a few hours a few years ago and had to close for several years becase is swayed too much when people walked across.

Oh, did we LOVE this play....we went to Shakespeare's Globe Theater to see The Merry Wives of Windsor. I cannont say how much we LOVED this experience. The play was hilarious, the music was fun, the theater is interesting. It was MY favorite play. It makes me want to not pass up opportunities to see productions when they are here or close to here. I just loved it. Good stuff......

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

More of London

This is the entrance to Kensington Palace.

This is the actual "Palace". Yeah, that is what we thought, too. Grand entrance for not too much. We were very excited to go to this palace because this is where Princess Diana lived. We were pretty disappointed. Alex said it looked like a factory....and I agree. It got better inside, but still. The saving grace was this wonderful little building on the grounds called the Orangery. It was originally built to be a greenhouse for the palace. It is a white building with really tall ceilings and lots of tall doors. They opened all the doors and have tables inside and out. The tables were set with tiny orange trees. We had the afternoon tea, without the tea!! The "tea" included cucumber sandwiches, scones, clotted cream, jam, and a wonderful dessert, meringue. This meringue is unlike any I had ever seen. It was a very large dollop with and baked till hardened, but the inside was still a little softer, but tough. On the top they added clotted cream and raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries with the juice. This would become our favorite food in London. Yeah...don't go to England for the food. Not so great. But, this was.

Next, we went on to Harrod's the department store. We had to see this place. It was extremely grand. The building was beautiful, but unbelievably expensive. Shoes that would have cost us, because of the exchange rate, $13,000. I almost got some...yeah. They had this whole area I guess similar to a deli or food court. Not like any I had ever seen. Every type of exotic food you couldn't think of. I had never even heard of most things. There were many groups walking around. Arabic women with the full black robes and headdresses, but underneath they were dressed to the nines. Fine shoes, jewelry, make up, purses. I had never seen women like this. And then there were groups of Arabic men, also dressed inexpensive clothes and with fine watches and necklaces. They were all extremely wealthy looking. They kind of went around in packs like this. Interesting.
Another thing that happened in Harrod's.....when we were looking around the men's shoe department and gawking over the price of shoes, a man approached me with only socks on his feet and told me that he came into the store with no shoes on and then he would try some on and walk out with them on. He said he did it all the time. I couldn't imagine that, but went ahead and watched him the rest of the time. He did find a pair and went to try them on, but then he went to pay for them. To tell you the truth, we were a little disappointed. I thought he was serious. I wanted to watch. Bad, I know, but would have made an even more interesting story!!

Then we went off to see the musical, Wicked. Alex loved it. He was completely enthralled with it. GranJan and I.....not so much. It was a little hot in the theater, and I guess we were a little jet lagged. We kept falling asleep during the performance. We had a little difficulty understanding the actors....they were English. When they spoke quickly it was hard for us. But, the second half of the performance was better. And the story was really good. Once again, Alex loved it. He ranks it as one of the best things we did!! So that made it worth it. GranJan treated us to Thanks, to the tune of $300. That exchange rate is nasty!

The World Travelors

It always occurs to me when we pull up to our house from a long trip that we can be all over the world and we still kind of hone in on the one place in the world that we really belong.....HOME. We got home last night from being gone for 10 days to England. It was a wonderful experience. I feel like I learned so much about history, art, and enjoying time with my Alex. We had a great time and laughed and laughed. Let me just say that Alex is converted. He loves ALL things English. It was so fun to watch him see things, people watch, and run through the streets of London. Here are a few pictures from our trip.

This is a platform at a train stop. We rode the train ALOT, until we figured out how to navigate the buses which were easier for GranJan to use. We couldn't help but think of Harry Potter and Platform 9 and 3/4. All the train and tube stops are called platforms. I love it.

Of course, we saw the changing of the guard. It was not so majestic as I had envisioned. They don't march with exact precision as our soldiers do. I kept thinking that this really pales in comparison to the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Washington. But, it really was fun. They have a band that plays while they march into place. The guide told us that they do not play patriotic music during the change. They sometimes play rock songs or just silly songs. Interesting tidbit.

This is Buckingham Palace, where of course the Changing of the Guard ends up. It is beautiful. We were lucky enough to be there when the Queen opened the palace up to the public to view. We went in to the state rooms. Let me just say....unbelievable.

Then are the phone booths. I'm not sure why they still have them. We never saw anyone in one. But, they are definitely a national treasure. They are everywhere and I don't see how they could get rid of them, even thought they are almost entirely unnecessary. (don't know how to turn it the right way...sorry)

This is a "bobby". He was outside Clarence House, where Prince Charles and Camilla live. There were a couple of guards out there who were prancing up and down the sidewalk from their station. I guess some of the spectators got in the way of the guard's march and the bobby told these older ladies to move. Apparently they did not move fast enough for the bobby. He rode his horse over to where they were and pushed them over with his horse. He then yelled at them to listen when he tells them to move. It was the funniest event of our trip. He was very serious, to which our guide said that the bobbies take their jobs a little too seriously.

This was our walking tour guide. Alex was convinced that GranJan had a crush on him. He was very interesting and talked to us alot about kings and queens and building and how things were done in England in the past. Great stuff!

More Later...Too much to do now!!