Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Dear Steven

We wrote our oldest nephew Steven a letter last night for FHE. Steven is serving an LDS mission in the great nation of Brazil (a personal favorite of ours). I decided to include the letter as a blog entry, because it's a pretty good summation of our life currently. I like letter writing. We should bring it back.

Dearest Elder B., 
Greetings from your Las Vegas family. We are writing you for Family Home Evening, which just shows that the Lord knows how to make our good intentions  (writing our favorite nephew) a reality (by setting aside a specific time in which to CTR).
We are writing this together, of course, but I will be serving as abridger of this record. Sort of like Mormon, except not really at all. Let's just say, I'll glean out the most important stuff and sometimes add a little narration, i.e. "and thus we see."

The Small Plates of Uncle Double B:
Work is going well for my main squeeze. He is pretty awesome at what he does, even though he won't brag -- I will for him. He is happy that things are cooling down here on the surface of the sun (Sidenote: remember how you just really wanted to go somewhere where it wasn't hot? Funny how that worked out.). Your loving Uncle Double B is wondering how the language is coming and how the beans and rice are treating you? He makes sure we pray for you each and every night (sort of like your own personal prayer police), and they are heartfelt, I assure you. 

The Words of KJ: 
So -- uh -- um -- hi. (KJ is not sure of what to say. That opening is a direct quote.) Things have been going pretty good for KJ, conference was pretty fun for him to listen to (and he did pretty great at listening, I have to say). He has joined Chamber Orchestra with his viola, and we are looking forward to him supporting us in our old age with his magnificent talent. He has a concert coming up on the 10th. That should be stimulating, and I will probably get a little misty-eyed, because that is what happens with Moms. It's weird. Uncle BB hasn't cried at an orchestra concert yet. KJ is really excited for Halloween. He is wondering if there is Halloween in Brazil? Or do only savages live there (my question)?

The Large Plates of Olivia:
Hi, Elder B, from Olivia. Things at school have been "Complicated." They are in groups doing a miniature golf course for a festival they are doing. She is excited for Halloween (I'm teaching my children well). She is going to be a baby that wears a tiara. Please don't copy her costume. Every day at recess she plays tether ball with her best friend Hadley. She and Hadley are pretty much opposites, but somehow, it works. "I mean, I'm this girl that's into dresses and nightgowns and beauty sleep. And Hadley is more of the basketball player. So... we're pretty much from different worlds." This is an excellent example of how the gospel can bring us together. Feel free to use this heartwarming instance in any of your discussions with investigators. "It all works out in the end." -- Olivia. Personally, I testify that it does. "That's all." 

The Large Plates of Katelyn:
Katelyn is rocking first grade. She thinks it is super great to be in first grade. "I mean, I think preschool was way better, because, you know. There was nothing to learn about that. So my nice teacher is Mrs. McComb." Mrs. McComb let me know the other day that she was super excited because Katelyn actually raised her hand and made a COMMENT in class. TWO TIMES. I am always surprised by this, that Katelyn is so shy in social settings, because at home she rules with an iron fist. "I am ready to be in second grade already. I mean, like, in Kindergarten I was ready. And in first grade I'm getting better and better. It's a real privilege. I think that second grade is for ME."
I really don't feel like there is anything I could possibly add to that.

The Miniature Plates of Benson:
Benson has entered the phase that scientists everywhere refer to as "The Terrible Two's." They are terrible, Elder Burdette, I can not lie. Somewhere deep in there is still the native happy temperament of the boy I gave life to. He is happy, unless he is FURIOUS. And he is furious most of the time. I think we're changing his name to "The HULK." It'll be fine. We'll move past this. I've done it before. And maybe you could study psychiatry when you get home, because I'm going to need some therapy at the end of all this. Benson is learning a lot of words. We are most proud that he learned "Oh, Crap" (or "oh, ca-wap," more accurately) from one of the students in my CTR 7 class, and he uses it frequently -- always in the right context. Obviously my child is a genius. That's how I've decided to interpret recent events.

So that's us. I'm good because my children and husband are good, and that makes Marie's everywhere very happy. 
We've missed you, the last couple of weeks especially. Grandpa's funeral was so nice -- I am so thankful he was able to come to your farewell, that is really awesome. He will be missed and is so loved by all of us. The thing I will miss very most about Grandpa is that he was my friend. From the minute Uncle Double B and I got married, he welcomed me into the family and over the years we built a really beautiful friendship. I know that I haven't lost that, he is just my friend in a different place. We have all felt such peace -- peace that only the gospel can bring. And although we have been very sad, we have been just as filled with gratitude to Heavenly Father, that He answered our prayers, and took care of Grandpa.

My days are full of small, crazy children and household chores. It's a pretty wild existence, what can I say.

We love you, Steven Benjamin, and lo, we hope you are doing super awesome in your adopted continent and country. Your mom forwards me your letters and so I get to follow along. And thus we see, that you are obviously the best and you have big fans in the state of Nevada. Love you and type to you soon.

Your Favorite Aunt in the History of All Time (and everybody else that lives in the same house as me),

Marie. And BB. Also KJ. Don't forget Olivia. Then Katelyn. And last but not least, the Hulk.

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