Sunday, May 19, 2013

Jake's Graduations, State Swimming and Elizabeth Sings National Anthem at Rockies Game!

Hello Zuster!

I am sitting in the church waiting for Seminary Graduation. Jake is singing and speaking and Rachel is conducting - something she remembered as she was walking into the church.... Bro. Ellis told his same joke - that he should have had this graduation at 5:30am. :) Jake summarized his 4 years in seminary and was wonderful! You will have to ask him to give you a copy. He reminded us that Sis. Russell told them to go off and good luck as they spend a day in the great and spacious building. I bet you feel like that sometimes. Jake sang with Trent, Kawika and Bro. Cleverly - they are amazing - we will miss hearing them sing! 
Matt Shirley is the speaker tonight. Dad was recognized for being a seminary teacher. Bro. Shirley gave this advice: 1. Attend Institute 2. organize your day so that you read Book of Mormon daily - even 10 minutes 3. Find a way to do service everyday. - Funny because Jake's Legacy speaker also gave them 3 things to do.  What a week it has been! Jake graduated on Tuesday - at the 2:00 ceremony CU Boulder too. He has a lot of cords around his neck - it was a wonder that he could hold his head up. He sang too. The graduation ceremony wasn't to long and we were done before 4:00. We took pictures and went to Cheesecake Factory for dinner. I am sending you a few pictures of graduation. It is always a bittersweet day for me - I am so proud of you guys but I also am a little sad to see you go on the the next phase of life where you don't need Dad and I as much. Hopefully we taught you well and weren't to awful. We didn't lose anyone and you both made it to 18 alive so I think we can count it as a success!  Dad has been busy with a project at work - if it works it will be one of his largest sales ever. Please pray for him, he really needs this to be successful. Jake had several AP tests and had to go back to the high school even after graduation. Rachel had her big project and presentation in L2K. She built a rotating self-contained vertical garden. It was an amazingly difficult project, she spent much time on it - luckily it held together until they got it back stage where it fell apart - she must live right! Hoffman told her their presentation was tremendous!  On Friday, Dad and Jake drove to Grand Junction for state swimming, Rachel started her Water World Training and I got to take Elizabeth, Connor and Brock to the Rockies game. I tried to get Heather to go with one of the boys but she wanted them both to go...lucky me! She was so nice and made dinner in a backpack with an attached cooler on the bottom. We had to park a long way away and walk to the stadium to get Elizabeth there by 5:25. The backpack felt like it had bricks in it by the time I got there. Then, we went in and walked through the whole stadium to go down to the floor so that we could take pictures. The boys were wonderful. After the kids sang the national anthem - they were wonderful by the way, we had to walk back up and around the stadium again to pick up Elizabeth - still carrying the backpack remember.... Then up to the top of the stadium to our seats. Dinner was great but o my aching back! The game was fun and they even hit a grand slam! I've never seen that at a pro game before. The boys wanted to stay for the whole game so we stayed til the bitter end and then found our way to our car - we made it home about midnight.  Jake did well at state but didn't make the finals. It was a very fast year with many long established times broken. He and Dad drove back on Saturday - they went first to the Tanner's where Brady opened his mission call. He is going to Anaheim - Spanish speaking but will report to the Mexico MTC in July. Interesting! So Glen, Brady and Josh will be speaking spanish - I guess you will be stuck with Sean to speak to. :)  Thank you for singing to me in dutch - I thought about it all week and it was so touching! I can tell that your testimony has grown and you are working hard to be obedient and do what is right. I can also tell that this area is a little discouraging for you. Don't expect so much of yourself. You will be directed as to what you need to do.  Take Care, I love you, Mom

Monday, May 6, 2013

April 22-27

Dear Sister Israelsen (sweetheart!),
Today is Cinco de Mayo and there is a big celebration in downtown Denver. It always makes me wonder if we are in Mexico. But of course we also celebrate St. Patricks day (Irish), Columbus day (Spain) etc... I guess one day we will have an offical Cinco de Mayo day. Just another holiday for people to go a little crazy.
This week is Jake's last week of high school and he is sooooooooooooo done. He only has to go on Monday and Tuesday and then he wants to start working right away with the Dischners, digging in window wells. I think they will give him more hours than Northglenn and they will pay him more. He hasnt even heard back from Northglenn yet. They are too worried about him taking 10 days off to go to China, so I dont think they will even offer him a job. The same for Rachel (bummer), but she got a job at waterworld as a lifeguard and she starts with training this week. She really didnt want to work there again but Northglenn is just not coming through.
Rachel did her one act play this weekend on Friday and Saturday. It was a good play but it was long. They had 2 one acts, the first one went for about 30 min. and then Rachels went for about 1 1/2 hours (arrrrrrrhhhgggggg) She had a couple of small parts in the play but she had fun and then they had a cast party on Saturday until 1am. When I went to get her there were still a lot of cars around the house, I asked her how many people were still at the party and she told me that she was one of the first ones to go. I had a hard enought time staying awake until 1, those poor parents that came later. See, Im getting old, I cant even stay up until one without griping about it. 
This is the last week for seminary also and the kids, as well as the teachers are ready to be done. I will miss it over the summer but I will not miss getting up at 5am every morning. 
Elizabeth had her science fair this week. Mom is just glad that she can get rid of the rotten apples in the jars hanging around the kitchen. She did so well, she is really getting better at doing her homework. I think she is really improving at doing school work. I think there are still times that other kids tease her, but she seems to deal with it pretty well.
On Wednesday, Mom and I went to a school board meeting. WHAT a disappointment. The school board has created so many bad feelings between teachers and the school board that it was hard to listen to them as they talked about how much money that they have in reserves, which they are not willing to give to the teachers. Right now the teachers are working without a contract. It may come to them going on strike! we will see.
Well, How are you doing? Hows the new companion and area? A new area means that there are no investigators, so how are you doing with that. Are there any members of the church in your area? Do you have to travel far for church? and are there any other missionaries in your district that are close by?
I Love you!! Do all you can and the Lord will bless you. Look for the little things that bring happiness and you will see how much the Lord is blessing you. 

Hello Zuster! 

 How are you? How are you feeling? I noticed that you took some money out of your account. Are things ok? We had a crazy week - I think I say that every week. Dad went to Bozeman and then to Ohio - he left Sunday and got back late Friday night. We waited for him to get home because we hadn't had dinner together for so long. It was nice to have everyone home together for one night. 

On Monday, we had a snow storm again and Rachel, Elizabeth and I got our hair cut. On Tuesday it was Capstone presentations and judging at Legacy. They assigned Jake to me so I asked someone to trade me for one presentation because I could tell that Jake was surprised to have me in there. The presentations were either well prepared or they were terrible, there wasn't any middle ground but I think it is a nice way to have kids leave the system with some feedback about their presentation skills before entering the workforce etc. 

Elizabeth is finishing up her science fair project - can't wait to have that done and the moldy apples out of our house! :) We will send you a picture of them! On Wednesday, I went downtown to Metro and co-taught a class with preservice teachers and graduate students.

Thursday was take you child to work day and Elizabeth begged to go with me so she helped me all day. She was actually excited to be in the room and was good help. After school, we even had our championship for Battle of the Books and she kept score. 

This week we had two Holocaust survivors come to Hulstrom to speak to the kids. They were both children, one in Poland and one in Germany. He was in Auchwitz and she was hidden by a family in the attic of a barn. It was haunting to listen to their stories. I spent much of Friday night telling the family their stories. It is so sad that we can treat each other like that and that they were able to get so many to go along with it. He ended by talking about what the world had learned after the Holocaust - not much. He talked about DarFur and Iran's Achkmindinijad - said he made Hilter look like a Boy Scout. 

Saturday was the Prom. 6 couples met at our house with their parents to take pictures. Their parents came over and of course the limo was late - AUGHHHHH! I think they had fun and the Prom was at Infinity Park. I will send you pictures in another email since I can't figure out how to attach them in the iPad. We got to have dinner with the parents. It was a nice night. 

We are on our way right now to go to the Lundgren's for dinner. YUM! We will miss you! 

Love you!