Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Home from China

Great Wall!  Elizabeth just fell so she is sad.

Jet Lagged Smile

Terracotta Warriors in Xiong!

Jake at the Great Wall coming out of a guard annex.

Hi Zuster!

I have spent the past 3 hours trying to create a Smilebox about China that I could send you and haven't been able to get it to work.  You will have to settle for more pictures.  We are all exhausted and not on schedule yet!  We are getting up in the middle of the night and trying to nap in the day.  We finally tried to bite the bullet today and your Dad fell asleep in church.  Hopefully we will be able to make our early wake-up calls for tomorrow!  Jake goes back to work, Rachel has an inservice, I am driving to Copper Mountain for TIE and Dad has to go into work.  Elizabeth will be home alone for the morning.  Here we go, back to the craziness!  

It was so nice of you to send Dad a card.  It came yesterday and I hid it and gave it to him this morning.  He was so glad to see it!  He had just made the comment that he was missing you.  We were so lucky to get such a great Dad in our family.  
Yangshou Mountains are so beautiful!

Now that China is over, I am going to concentrate on planning the Europe trip - of course after TIE, Primary Music and Public Affairs of course!  Why am I not thin?  

I am sending a Travel Smith dress and hoping that Lands End makes more skirts - they are having a big sale right now and only have size 2 and 4 available.  I will keep checking.  It looks like (from my phone app) that you guys haven't been very warm yet.  We are in the 80's but there have already been terrible fires over here.  Almost 500 homes burned down in CO Springs.  We flew into Denver and it looked like we were flying into Beijing.  So scary and sad for those families!  

Take Care!  Your blog now has more than 4,000 hits!  Crazy!  

Giant Panda Exhibit at Beijing

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Letters From China

Dear Sister Israelsen,

Wow! where to start?  It was so fun to get your letter while we were in China. We really didnt expect to have very much access to the internet while we were there, but we were lucky several times to have access. So that is why you were able to get Mom's email. We were able to do some missionary work of our own on this trip. We talked to every one about you and what you are doing on a mission and then we were able to talk about the gospel. I think everyone in the family had some time to talk to someone. We spent one night with the family reading your email. I speak for the whole family when I say that we love getting your letters. You are such a good example for the whole family. Thank you.

Thank you for the Fathers day card. You have a way of making me feel like a million bucks! It got here on time by the way.

I like the way that your district is helping each other out. Hopefully you will all be able to get new investigators.

Well, China was amazing! we started in Beijing and saw the Great Wall, Tienaman Square and the Forbiddin City (by the way the hike to the great wall was a rough one, we got a work out). We even went one morning by ourselves to the local market and bought a few breakfast items. Some items a little interesting and then a few that were amazing. One morning we went to a local temple/park and there were a bunch of old people exercising. A little odd but fun to watch what they do in their old age. Then we got on a plane to go to Xi'an where we saw the teracotta warriors (unbelivable), and another city wall that surrounded an acient city about 800 to 1000 years ago. We rented bikes and rode around the wall which was about 9 miles. This city was extra interesting because nobody obeys the traffic laws and pedestrians better watch out. Our guides had to help us cross the street several times. 

We then got on a plane again and went to Youngsho, this place was amazing!! they had little mountains, thousands of them, that jutted out of the ground about 600 to 1000 feet. It was in the rainforest and cool as heck. I think mom will send some pictures. The one problem that we had was it rained most of the time and we had to cancel a couple of events that we had planned. However, we went to the town and bartered with the locals and  bought several trinkets. Jake had a lot of fun doing this and he was good at it.
Our last stop was Shang Hi, what an amazing city (huge!!). They have about 24 million people in that city. To compare, New York has about 12 million. More than half of Shang Hi has been built in the last 20 years. It growing so fast. fast growth brings different problems though, they have thick smog most of the time. And they have really old, decrepid parts of the city and very new, up scale parts. There is a huge contrast between rich and poor there.

We finally made it home and I am still suffering from jet lag. I have not been able to get on a good schedule yet. I still keep waking up at 3:30 in the morning and I cant fall back to sleep

Enough about us. How are you? 2 companions is a little odd. I did it for about 1 month once on my mission. It was fun but sometimes 2 is company and 3 is a crowd. So I hope it works out for you.

I have been so impressed by your progress in the gospel. I can tell that your testimony has grown. I love reading about your experiences. Your mission is a little more like mine, in that it is hard to get investigators and when you do you really cherish them. Keep praying and working hard and the Lord will bless you.

I love you, may the Lord bless you and keep you safe!

Love DAd!!

Nehou, We are running ourselves ragged and I am hoping that this email will get to you. It feels like we do a weeks worth of activities every day. It has been a very fun trip, we just wish you were with us. Tonight we are in Xion after spending three days in Bejing. We have seen the Terracotta Warriors, climbed the Great Wall, seen the Cube and Bird's Nest, entered the Forbidden City and Tieananmen Square. We have eaten Peking Duck, lots of different Chinese dishes served family style on large tables with centers that turn. We had a delicious lunch near the Great Wall with smoked trout and lovely stir fried vegetables. Today we had a dumpling lunch with 15 different kinds of dumplings and then mongolian hotpots for dinner - too much food today! We rode bikes on the old City Wall in Xion and got foot massages tonight. We haven't had much sleep and everyone is a little grumpy at this point. We have to get up at 4:00am to catch a flight to Guiyong in the rain forest part of China.  We have had a few hiccups. We had a 6 hour flight delay yesterday due to lightning and thunderstorm in Bejing. This put us into Xion very late but we did fine!  Jake is having a great time bargaining with the locals and seems to have more souveniers than anyone at this point. I am going to attache a few pictures and go to bed for 4 hours. We will tell you more when we are better rested!  Love you from China! Mom Sent from my iPad


June 2, 2013

Dear sister Israelsen,

Sorry I did not write last week, everything flew by so quickly and before I knew it I was traveling for work again.

This week I went to Hormel to install our new system for them to evaluate. I went with 3 engineers from our office and it took the whole week to install and get the system to work right. Wow! that was hectic. Meanwhile Mom was here trying to get everyone ready for the China trip, our family and all the other people from the school that are going. I am getting very excited but it takes a lot of work to get everyone where they need to be.

Rachel started work at Water World this past week and I think she is enjoying it a lot more than last year when she was a garbage picker upper. In fact, its a little funny because the life guards kind of think they are on the top of the totem pole. Which they kind of are. Plus, Rachel went to Eliches this week with some of her friends after they sent her home from work because it was kind of an overcast day and they didnt need all the life guards. Boy is she lucky. Tonight, she is packing for the trip and her room is not clean! Shock!! We told her it had to be clean before she left, she may be sitting home by herself. I'm not confident that her room will be done by the morning.

Elizabeth is in full summer mode. She likes to stay up late and sleep in when she can. She is signed up for swimming 3 days a week and then we are going to sign her up for Mathnazium again when we get back. I think that everyone will have to work through the summer with not time off when we get back, so Elizabeth and I will probably go to the Reunion by ourselves this year. We'll see how that goes when we get back also.

So everyone in the ward has had their graduation party now. Good! one more thing to check off the list. I guess Kawika barely graduated from High school and I dont think he is planning on going on a mission. He could still surprise us but the rest of the guys are going (Josh, Trent, Jake, Brady,  and maybe Garron will go on a service mission). Thats a lot of people. We went from all of those guys in the Priest quorum to just Curtis Murphy. They all became Elders over the past couple of week. 

I dont know if we told you but Jake was ordained to an Elder just 2 weeks ago. It came up so suddenly. I had the pleasure to ordain him, with the Stake President there. He has also decided to get is Patriarchal blessing. Not sure when he is going to do it but he got his recommend. Its all going by so fast. In fact, I think if he wants to go on his mission in April/May timeframe he will have to put his papers in sometime in january or February! Thats just around the corner!! We will pick you up and send him off in about a month or 2. Cripes!!!!!!! 

The Priesthood asked me again about doing your plaque. What is your favorite scripture that you would like on the plaque? your choice or I will put the one that is on your home page. 

I love reading your letters! Its the highlight of my week. I am so proud of how your are doing! It is hard when you open a new area and start from scratch! I hope you are able to teach more now that you are getting familiar with the area. It sounds like things are moving along. Even being able to help the less active is important. So keep up the good work.

I LOVe YOU!!!!


Dear Megan,

We are madly trying to finish packing so this will be short - sorry!  Rachel just got off of work at Water World and she is much farther behind than she led me to believe.  We may never go to sleep - well at this point she is on her own as she has had all week.  She may be pulling an all nighter. 

Dad was gone this week trying to make sure that his Hormel sensor project worked.  He had a terrible first day but after that the tide turned and the project has proven successful since.  Here is hoping that they continue to get good results and he can sell this!  

I went to Boulder to exchange money for yuan twice and finally was able to get some.  The exchange rate is 5.3 and Mao's gigantic picture is on every bill - it looks like play money.  

I lost my wallet this week and went into a panic.  I was at Kohl's trying to pick up a few things for the girls and when I left, I saw that I didn't have my glasses so I took the stuff out of my purse to see if they were at the bottom of my purse.  I back tracked but was late to pick up Elizabeth from swim team so left the store on Colorado and ran to get her.  I was going to dinner with Christina and Tara to celebrate making it through one more year and had to call them about the being late.  I called Kohl's and they didn't have it so I said a prayer and drove over there to see if I could find it.  As soon as I walked into the store, there it was on the display where I had stopped to look through my purse for my glasses.  I was so thankful!  I had money and all my credit cards, driver's license etc. in preparation for our trip and didn't know what we would do if it had been stolen.  I was soooooo lucky.  We were 30 minutes late to dinner but all's well that ends well.

Conner is going to come over and water the flowers and garden - yes in the middle of all the chaos you Dad put in two raised beds.  I picked up some plants that are well on their way since we are late in the growing season and we planted them yesterday - crazy!  We will see if anything grows.  How much should I pay Conner?  What did your pay per day translate into?

Dad got home late Friday night after Michael Thornton had been here for about 4 hours.  We had a fried chicken dinner and talked to him until late.  He got up and went downtown Denver to take another test after the magic test taking breakfast of eggs and blueberries.  He left after his all day test and flew back to UT.  He had pictures of his cute new baby boy Clark who is 4 weeks old.  I think it must be hard for Mandy to have him in the family so close to Marshall.  

Well, when we get back, I will check on your classes, send you some skirts and start planning for our trip to the Netherlands!  

We won't have much access to wifi so I'm not sure if we will be able to write to you this week but we will try.  I checked out a few videos from the library to educate us a little more and we are excited but also worried about the long flight ahead of us tomorrow.  We will have adventures to tell you the next time we are able to!

Take Care!  We love you!

May 26, 2013

Hello Zuster!

How are you? We think of you often and hope that all is well with your health and with your new assignments. We are amazed by your diligence and know that the President must have complete faith in you to give you these assignments. 

We flew through the last week of school - finals for Rachel in every class and she aced them all! Elizabeth had commencement on Friday from 5th grade and Jake worked everyday - window wells or landscaping. Dad and I were frantically trying to inventory the library, go to awards ceremonies and Dad worked everyday to try to get his sensors working for the smokehouse order. Please pray for him as he flies out tomorrow morning to go install it - they say they are giving them one chance and that is it. We were also trying to get the house and yard ready for Jake's graduation party. We decided to have burgers, dogs and have Dad cook them. It all worked out, 
Luke's family brought the decorations and drinks and we did the rest of the dinner. Many people from the ward came and supported Jake and then his friends hung around until midnight. It was a nice evening and I am getting a little more relaxed with having people at our house but I'm still wound a little tight. It all worked out.  Rachel started at Water World yesterday with opening day - she is lifeguarding and complains a lot but is secretly liking it I think. Jake really likes the window well job and is learning a lot.  I have one more day of school and then will work like crazy to get ready for China - one crazy thing after another! It will be good to sit for 15 hours on a plane I think. Well, maybe not. Well, I am going to end this email as the missionaries are coming over for dinner and I need to fix dinner - we are having leftovers from the party. I will email pictures later. Love you, Mom Sent from my iPad