Thursday, November 18, 2010

Goodbye Cartagena

William was transferred this week. With only two more transfers left in his mission and the last one being his transfer to Texas, most likely Monteria will be is last area. I looked up the city on our map of Colombia and have to admit that I wasn't thrilled with what I saw. I haven't worried about William's safety while he has been in Colombia...he's been fortunate to serve mainly in the coastal areas where there are a fair amount of tourists. Monteria is a more interior region...Grant asked if William was near the "forest". It's no secret that the jungles of Colombia are the problem areas. He is equal distance from both the mission home in Barranquilla and Medellin (the once infamous drug capitol of Colombia). Nevertheless, I am certain that William will continue to be kept safe. He has spent much of the past several months with only Latins so serving with a gringo will be a change of pace for him. He mentioned to Christine that he was going to an area "where the sun always shines and it's HOT". Sounds like heaven to me :) We are counting the days until we see our Sweet William again...83 to be exact!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Big 2-1...

21 years ago today William joined our family. Although he came into the world with a few complications, he has been nothing but a pleasure. We are hoping that someone in Colombia is making the day a little bit special for him...not that he is focusing on himself today, but a "happy birthday" is always nice to hear. I deposited some $ into his account and told him to buy something he's been wanting...he thought he might buy a hammock or a Colombian sombrero! No big surprise...I did tell him to think about it first...really, how in the world is he going to transport a sombrero? I can just see him now getting off the plane wearing a huge sombrero...ugh...some things never change :) And about the hammock...we don't have a couple of big trees to tie the thing to...maybe re-think that too and just take your companion to lunch! I did "cave" and send him a box with a few know, it cost $56 to send $20 worth of crap...actually I did find a pair of shoes on sale, so the value was a little more, but you get the idea...I tucked some little bottles of Dr Pepper in the shoes...hopefully the DP didn't explode...he will be most excited about his beloved Dr Pepper :) Happy Birthday Elder Casper...see you in 3 1/2 months!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Marching on...

Like they say..."everything is bigger in Texas", especially when you are talking marching bands. This was Garrett's first marching competition this season and, as you can see, I had to take two pictures to get the entire band...we are "end zone to end zone". We were one of the last bands to perform but the spectators hung around to watch "us" march...the mere presence of the band, some 680 strong, is a sight to behold! "The best band in the land"...we were awarded a #1 ranking (the highest) #1 drum line and 4th overall....way to go kids!

The band is seated, awaiting the results from the judges...there is a band sitting above them a perspective on the size of our band.

Texas/OU Weekend

Grant and Dad had a great time at the Texas/Oklahoma "Red River Shoot-Out"! They arrived at the fair grounds early enough to ride some rides and eat a healthy lunch of Texas fried food! Kickoff was at 2:30 and the crowds were massive! It was perfect football weather. Reid, Grant's uncle from Austin, enjoyed the game with Bill and Grant. Although Texas choked at the end...the game was awesome. The fans stand for most of the game, and the bands give a great half time show. This is Texas football at it's finest. If you are a football fan, THIS is the game for you! Thanks, Grandpa McClintic, for sharing your coveted tickets...Bill and Grant had a blast!

Having fun on the rides at the State Fair of Texas before the big game!

Grant wants to be a football player!

Texas Proud!

Reid-Grant-Bill (Check out the fans...Texas "burnt orange" and OU red)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Blast from the Past

A short 29 years ago, Shauna Vander Meide (Swenson back then) and I were roommates at BYU...we lived in Stover Hall-Helaman Halls and had many great times together...we shared a love for Barry Manilow and a genuine appreciation for each other. We got along great and although Shauna was only at BYU for our freshman year, we have always tried to stay in touch, usually through yearly Christmas cards. She came to Dallas a couple of weeks ago with her husband, who had business here. (why else would anyone come to Dallas...I mean really?) Anyway, we sat in a comfy booth, sipping Diet Pepsi---wishing it were Diet Coke:(--and talked and talked. Picking up just where we had left off so many years ago...aren't friends a great thing? I am blessed.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


The back of the ship somewhere in the middle of the ocean...with the wind in our hair and not a care in the world :)

Outside our hotel with Biscayne Bay Miami Florida in the background.

I just returned from my annual "girl's weekend" with my bestest college friend Jennie. We typically head for a few days to Hilton Head, SC. This year I had the bright idea that a little cruise to the Bahamas would be fun...and it was...but, we both agreed that cruises are for couples. We enjoyed the sun, water, food, conversation, entertainment, etc, but we really missed our husbands. We sailed on the Norwegian Sky and loved sitting on the balcony of our room to read or chat...our time away from the responsibilities of motherhood is always rejuvenating...we saw a couple of old ladies standing on the sidewalk as we were leaving the ship...Jennie said, "there we are in 30 years, still doing our girl's weekends" :) I like this tradition and hope it does last another 30 years... Can I just say that I love my life...I have a lot to be grateful for, and this little get-away was evidence of my blessed life...thanks to my supportive husband.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Cartagena Colombia

I haven't been very good about posting info on William. He is doing great! He was transferred about 7 weeks ago back to Cartagena. He loves that city! He is training a new missionary from Ecuador. He only has about 5 months left as a full-time missionary. The time really is flying by! Here is a recent letter from him:

hey there mom
first of all, im great!
what, youre with college friends? sounds like a ton o fun,
wow jess is getting married. to quote napoleon dynomite when his brother ran over the
tupperware "dang it".jk. hey tell them i said hola y que mas, y claro que si, felicitaciones a jessica. (translation...basically just congratulations to Jess :)
mom i am the one who feels older. im almost 21 :O
cartagena.....bacanisimo!!!! thats colombian talk for totally awesome. im sweating
everyday but im happy.well im glad that yall liked the pics, hardrock cafe is everywhere, and the food is so good, i felt at home i kid you not. of course that lunch almost made me broke but that was worth it. there is a gift shop there ill see what i can do about the t-shirts.
well the new pres is awesome, i think its because hes young and says that he wants to put trust in his missionaries more than anything... i smell cellphones :D
he even took the no coke or pepsi thing away.... so we're the way, could you send some DP this way?.....i want it, i am sure that this is my blessing for being patient and obedient to the mission rules. there is hope and there is DR PEPPER :P
me im just tired.... 3 days of a conference for the dls and trainers to learn how to
teach better and teach better guided by the spirit.WOW what a 3 days it was. we really are gonna turn the mission around and help even more people feel the spirit and lead them to covenants with their heavenly father and really be happy forever.
we were watching the training videos from a new dvd of preach my gospel and it wasnt in spanish cause its so new..... so elder backman, mortenson, call and miller all translated for the rest of us.... i got lucky and didnt have to do it, its kinda hard to translate the general authorities for their use of such big and complicated words :P
well i am so excited to just get out there and really push myself to really help the
people that im teaching more than i have been. well we're now teaching a family that are really excited about getting baptized and getting married and all that good stuff. its really cool cause my comp will get to have a baptism in his first transfer...4 of them...
the dad (Ruber)
the mom(LuzMeri)
and a son(Nafer)
the other is a young man that was a reference from a ward member... his aunt.
his name is Jaido and hes my age and has a great desire to be baptized. it is soooooo cool that we have these people and i know we will find a ton more.
well i love you guys and i always pray for yall
fotos porfavor
thanks mom for the shirt and pants those things got here fast
and the bubba gump shrimp shirt really got me quoting forest gump in his voice to the other gringo in the house :P tell my friends to write through my email i am not sure what to ask them cause i havent heard from any of them in forever.

Hopefully I'll figure out how to post a picture from his email...keeping my fingers crossed :)

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Nest is Emptying :(

Another 20+ hour drive to Utah...this time in the truck. We didn't feel like it was completely healthy to leave Christine in the middle of "Egypt" with no way out. Ephraim is kind of remote...can't get a cab or a bus or a shuttle service there. So, we sent our freshman daughter to college with a car...good thing she is responsible. The drive was actually fun, we even stopped along the way to buy some moccasins and turquoise and a Navajo dream catcher in New Mexico (I've always wanted to do that :) We took our good friend and traveling buddy Ellis along again. He was headed to Provo and BYU.

Can I just say that leaving a daughter at college is much different than leaving a son. This empty nest thing is truly for the birds...nice pun, huh? I used to think it was going to be great when the kids started leaving...I don't feel that way anymore. I'd just like them all home now...right now. But that isn't ever going to be the case...the up side is, William and Christine are doing great things...THAT I am grateful for. I just need to get a job, or a hobby or start catching up on all of our scrapbooks...I miss my kids---a lot. Other than rides, food and clean clothes...Garrett and Grant are pretty much that leaves me with way too much time on my hands. Hopefully I can get busy doing something productive before I drive everyone, including myself crazy!...transition is a blast!

One of the two pizza joints in Ephraim...we ate here with William before he went into the MTC...we were walking down memory lane here :(

A cool old car sitting in someone's front yard...we are definitely NOT in Allen anymore:)

As seen in the Wal-Mart parking lot in Ephraim...the biggest dog ever!

We found William's picture on the wall at the Ephraim Institute of Religion of missionaries currently serving around the world...made us proud.

Christine lives about 5 minutes from this beautiful place...the Manti Temple.

It took no time at all to get Christine all set up in her room...she should be quite comfy there...she was a little surprised at the size and age (old) of her accomodations...she's been a little spoiled. Welcome to the real world Sweetheart :)

Christine has some darling roommates...they are all from Utah--big surprise!

Our good friend Chris Creek turned the big 5-0 while we were in town so we drove up to Salt Lake for a great party! It was a 60's theme, since he was born in 1960...we saw some old friends and had a blast! Happy Birthday Chris!

Another Homecoming...

Another one of our ward's missionaries came home a couple of weeks ago...Elder Paul Smout served in the Alaska Anchorage Mission...again we were able to be at the airport when he landed in Dallas! It was thrilling to watch him reunite with his family...especially with his mom:) The Smouts were the very first people we met when we moved to Allen. They lived in the apartment directly below us and were a great comfort to our family as we adjusted to our new city...We even built similar houses in the same neighborhood...we've been friends ever since. It has been comforting sharing this "first missionary son" experience with Jeff and Virg. Paul had a great mission and shared with us some of his experiences...Alaska was cold, beautiful, full of great people, dark all day sometimes and light all day sometimes...strange. He ate some strange things like walrus and seal and whale! Only the Native Alaskans are allowed to kill those animals. It is so fun to hear these recently returned missionaries talk about their missions...they light up when they talk about their experiences...less than 6 months and we will be welcoming William home:) (but who is counting?)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Happy Birthday Christine

It's hard to believe that 18 years ago we were living in LA, welcoming to the world our only little girl! What a blessing you were to us. You came into the world peacefully and loved by so haven't always been peaceful :), but you have always been loved! So here we are getting you ready to head off to college. We will miss you! Thanks for being such a good kid. I will miss my shopping buddy, my chauffeur, my computer helper, and seeing the truck parked-back end first-in the driveway. You are a blessing to our family. Thanks for being such a loving and supportive sister...your brothers are gonna miss you :( We can't wait to see the wonderful things life has in store for you. Good luck at Snow! We love YOU!

Our family tradition is to open gifts first thing in the are some sleepy heads before the unwrapping...Happy Birthday Christine (aka Rita :)

Christine isn't a big fan of cake...her preference is a cookie cake...we forgot to take a "before" here is an "after" one :)

Christine wanted to head to the Mesquite Rodeo for her birthday...we had dinner at Carrabbas beforehand and then headed down to the rodeo...nothing like a Texas rodeo.

Grant had to take a ride on the mechanical bull...yeehaw!

Dad and our "Birthday girl"

Jack Ingram was in concert after the rodeo...great fun!

Utah-Making Memories

Road trips are not generally things to look forward to...I'd almost always rather fly. But I must admit that this trip to Utah wasn't bad at all. Grant, Ellis(our dear friend) and I headed out, stocked with snacks, XM radio, movies and lots to talk about. We drove to Albuquerque the first day and then on to Provo the next. Grant and I wanted to be there to take Christine a happy birthday lunch! Ellis wanted to hang out with his best friend and try to secure work and know, the whole "I'm home from my mission, now what?, thing." Spending the week with Grant was great! I think he actually likes hanging out with me:) let's hope that lasts forever...I can dream, can't I? We covered a lot ground...and I didn't take pictures of everything...but here is a little bit of what our time in the Beehive state consisted of...

BYU's "Lavell Edwards Stadium" was a "must see" for Grant. He is a huge BYU Football fan...I have to admit that I haven't been to a cooler stadium...I love the mountains in the backdrop.

Grant couldn't wait to go to Utah's only amusement park, Lagoon! I am not a big amusement park fan, outside of Disney. So Grant needed a friend, someone to ride the rides we dragged our dear recently returned missionary friend to come along...he was such a trooper and did whatever Grant asked. It actually was a great day, especially since I didn't have to get sick on any roller coasters or crazy spinning rides :) Thanks Ellis!

We found a great dinosaur museum in Lehi, UT at Thanksgiving Point. Back in the day, Grant would have spent hours there...we were done in a couple and that included an hour long IMAX movie...we had a good time and Grant didn't even mind looking around the shops nearby :)

We are fans of the Travel Channel's "Man vs Food"...several episodes ago Adam Richmond visited Crown Burgers in Salt Lake...Grant was on a quest to go to the same Crown Burger restaurant...we went to the West Valley location. Nope Adam hadn't been there. So we stopped by the North Temple location late one night. Nope not here either...apparently it was the south Salt Lake location...we had run out of time. While we were at the North Temple location, the nice lady behind the counter took pity on Grant and gave him a Crown Burgers hat! So nice of her...and it made his night! (Loved their fries and fry sauce!)

Bill flew in for the theatre performance...we took advantage of the cool Utah morning weather and "hiked the Y"...Grant was NOT thrilled, but survived and assured us he doesn't need to do that again!

The main purpose for our trip to Utah was to see Garrett and Christine in their final performance at BYU's Theatre Camp. It is a 2 week process filled with auditions, rehearsals, workshops, guest speakers and FUN! This was Christine's 3rd time at Theatre Camp and Garrett's first. They had a blast and didn't miss home for even one minute! We were glad that Papa and Grandma Casper drove up from St. George to watch them perform and that Uncle Jared and Aunt Julie, who live in Orem, came also. They performed the play "Children of Eden". The lead parts are shared to give more of the kids an opportunity to "shine". Christine was Eve in one scene and nailed her solo! We were so proud! Garrett, who has never acted at all, played the part of Abel in one scene. He had several lines and even sang! We were not only proud, but amazed! Great job kids!

A much overdue BYU roommate reunion! After 26 years we decided to reunite and renew our friendships. Words can't convey the awesome time we spent together. We stayed in a townhouse in Midway and slept in the same bedroom...5 beds made for the perfect sleepover! We talked and LAUGHED and cried and shared and ATE and reminisced...we even tried to find some long-lost friends on Facebook :) We drove to Provo and walked on campus, remembering the 5th floor of the library and how it was used more for sleeping and socializing than studying :) We encouraged "the one" roommate who hasn't graduated yet, to "finish what she started." We hoofed it up to the Harmon Building and got all of the information for her to do that. King Henry looked mostly the same...we couldn't believe that we lived in "that dark corner"...but we did and we loved it! Our being together was a testament to the fact that we care about eachother and support one another...let's hope that we can get together again, sooner rather than later.

This is my dear Great-Aunt Naomi. We visited for a couple of hours and enjoyed YUMMY Cafe Rio salads. It is always enjoyable sharing stories but I mostly enjoyed hearing her great wisdom. She is a strong family is full of them :)

I never get tired of seeing this beautiful temple. This day was made even more beautiful because of these two who were sealed here today...congrats Jessica and James!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Our Brother's Keepers

Are we our brother's keepers? What is our responsibility towards those around us? Do we turn the other way and hope someone else will offer help when it is needed? Do we look for opportunities to make a difference in someones life? Do we ever think about making someones experience a little more pleasant in this life? Are we too overwhelmed with our own responsibilities and problems to look around and help a friend or a stranger? The world would certainly be a better place if we all took a little more responsibility for those who pass our way.

I was just with some dear friends who are great examples of this. There are numerous people wandering around who have been encouraged and uplifted by this sweet family. What a blessing they are to all who know them. Sometimes perhaps we think we have little or nothing to offer...laughter, TIME, advice, encouragement, wisdom, friendship and love are all free and can be life-changing when shared. I certainly hope that I can have a positive affect on someone. I am grateful for the many people who have made time for me in their busy are all an inspiration. Muchas Gracias!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Allen Celebration

The Saturday before the 4th of July each year, the city of Allen has a huge celebration, complete with food, bounce houses, games, music and fireworks...the most amazing fireworks ever! A lot of years we are out of town during the event, but this year we were here. We arrived early with our blankets, chairs, snacks, drinks, football and a "shade house" I bought at Kroger which we never could figure out :)...we are the Clampetts! :) We were prepared for heat. This is Texas and it is June after all. But to our surprise we had a nice breeze and before we knew it, the sun was setting. I was excited to hear The Commodores--minus Lionel Richie, of course. But the sound system was terrible and most of what we heard was bass drum and bass guitar. Plus, they played WAY too long. But, the wait was worth the always is. It was a great way to spend a Texas summer night. We loved being with our long-time friends, Allan and Jana Wright and their kids too. Good times...