Saturday, December 30, 2017

Distraction Is the Name of the Game

I don't know what most people do after dropping a missionary off, but we decided distraction would be our best option.  We took the family swimming while Elinor was at swim team practice.  And the good thing is, if you cry at the swimming pool, you just splash water on your face and nobody has to know!
Greta had the hugest smile on her face the entire time.  Bethany is so great at a swimming pool with little kids-- she is naturally so good and playful with little kids, but she is certified swim teacher to boot.
It was rather too crowded for my taste since it is the Christmas break, but still a good idea to have the kids release some of the stress of the house they have been absorbing over the last few days.
 When we got home it was time for Cannon's shearing.  Nutcracker had ended and we'd said goodbye to Clark.  Now it was time to say goodbye to Cannon's hair.
It think he looks pretty handsome. He's happy to have it short again.
Well before we knew when Clark would be leaving, we had scheduled tickets to go see Aida at Hale Center Theater.  None of us had ever seen it before and we all really enjoyed it.  But as you can imagine, I was a basket case.  I totally started to cry just as this picture was taken.  No rhyme, no reason-- just lots of highly charged emotions. 
In good news, after only three days now, the crying has diminished considerably, AND WE GOT EMAILS FROM HIM TODAY!!!! Oh happiness!  We didn't know when we'd hear from him, but we didn't expect it this soon.  It appears his P-Day (preparation day) will be Saturdays while he's in the MTC, so that is when he will be emailing home.  He sounded GREAT and is enjoying learning Spanish.  

Clark Enters the MTC December 28, 2017

Wednesday evening at 9:15 we went to the Stake Center for Clark to be set apart as a full-time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  It was so wonderful and peaceful and comforting.  Our stake president, President Neilson gave Clark a beautiful blessing and I felt such a strong spirit.  I felt excited for Clark and the work he will be doing-- inviting others to come unto Christ.  When we went home I loved having a missionary in the house.  Then Clark and I (mostly I) used up any leftover nervous energy obsessively packing his suitcases. 
 The day of, everyone was in good spirits as we got up, got ourselves ready an headed to brunch at Denny's in Orem. 
 Our next stop was the parking lot across the street from the MTC where we  attempted another infamous Fox family selfie.  
They never turn out particularly well, but we crack ourselves up.
Abe's brother, Phil works at the MTC and he came over to take a real picture of the family.  It was nice to have him there to take Clark in.
Clark is wearing the coat Abe wore on his mission.  Like father like son. 
Then it started to get real.  Real sad.
Peter wasn't being sad, just squirmy!
Because Clark was one of only 6 missionaries entering the MTC on this Thursday, we didn't drop him off a the parking garage, like usual, rather we just pulled up to the front door and could get out for proper goodbyes.  

The younger brothers had to be pried away from their brother whom they adore.

It was the strangest emotion of happiness and sadness at the same time.  I suppose that is what we call bittersweet, but so much more intense than I anticipated.  
The final family picture for a couple of years.  
As we drove home we all cried and we all shared why we loved Clark so much and how much he has shaped our family.  He was a leader-- creative, visionary, driven, determined.  He has an example and Abe and I could not be more grateful for him.  
As we cried and talked, Peter kept telling us, "Hey! Stop talking that way!  Just be happy!"  
Then he would call us each out individually, "Hey, Dad!  Just be happy!"
"Hey Befany! Just be happy!"  "Hey, Mom!  Just be happy!"
It was hard for a three year old to understand!

Getting Closer...

We loved going to the Salt Lake Temple a couple of days before Clark went into the MTC.  The impending separation was weighing heavily on my heart on Tuesday and the temple was the place to be to soothe and comfort my heart.
Andrea has been another mother to Clark for many years and we loved having her with us as well.  She has experience as a missionary mother and I appreciated her calming words.
We went on a final family outing to see some Christmas lights and get ice cream.  Greta isn't in this picture because she was sleeping in the car.
We are a rather unruly bunch-- rarely seen in public all together.  At least we amuse ourselves.
We enjoyed a visit from Matt and Misty's family on Wednesday.  The took Clark out to lunch and their girls stayed and played.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Christmas 2017

Miracle of miracles-- the children slept in!  We didn't head down to open presents until 8 AM.
The older kids are such good sports!  I will miss this picture next year.
Greta loved her horse.
The girls were excited to get hammocks.
Her first baby doll and stroller.  The youngest in the family has to have a baby toy since she won't have a baby sibling.
George got tools and a tool box and scrap wood for building.
Tinker Toys for Peter.  We have the classic wood ones and he loves them!  Now he has the new plastic ones as well. 

A watch for the mission and luggage.  And of course a set of Legos.
More season tickets to University of Utah gymnastics!
Matching fox slippers.
Clear gave this game set to Abe and it's gotten lots of use.
Greta and her babies found a happy perch on Clark's lap.
Bethany gave George pegs for his bike and he took Pete for a ride.
A new swimsuit for Elinor.
Clark gave Cannon a big Heroscape set so that Cannon can take his place at the monthly tournaments.  The most important part of Clark packing up for the mission was bequeathing Heroscape pieces for Cannon to use in his absence.
A new bow tie for Abe from Bethany-- although he does usually like to tie his own rather than pre-tied.  But since it was a gift...
Perhaps you're not familiar with this series of books.  My children find them hysterical.  I do too.
The only thing I really wanted was a fleece ski mask.  I have wanted one for 7 years of morning walking in the winter.  I asked every single member of the family for one when they asked what I wanted for Christmas.  Thankfully they communicated and I only got one.
The only thing Peter said he wanted for Christmas was a brand new ball.
Thanks to Bethany he got it.
The mission smart phone!  Clark is probably the only missionary who will upgrade his technology as a missionary!  He's been loyal to his little flip phone for many years.
A writing tablet Faith really wanted.
THE moment of the morning was when I opened Clark's gift to me.  A framed picture of the the day we went hiking back in September. 
Perhaps from my face you can see how much this meant to me.  It will be prominently displayed for the next two years.
 I completely adore this hat on Elinor-- the girl who loved Curious George!
We got our hands on a Wii U for Christmas and the kids have loved having Just Dance games to play again.
Greta got the quilt I mostly finished making last Christmas and finally finished this Christmas!  Go me!

Abe got this new hoodie for Christmas. 
He looked dashing cooking his British fried breakfast.
Yummy!  And very filling!
We sure will miss this guy!