Dave & Kristin

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Doing Our Part To Save The Planet--And It Tastes Good!

Doing Our Part To Save The Planet--And It Tastes Good!

After being inspired by a "preparedness fair" at the church over the weekend, we got out our sun oven this afternoon and tried it out with a little loaf of bread. It worked like a charm. Outside temperature was under a hundred (a little) and we had no problem maintaining over 350 degrees. Had to rotate the box every 20 to 30 minutes to follow the sun, but that was kind of fun. After the little loaf we put a full size cinnamon loaf in and it tastes great as well. Sorry, no pictures of that one--it went too fast.

Bottomline: you can cook things--real things--with just the sun (and an insulated box, and some glass, and some reflective material). It probably helps if you live in Arizona, but not required.

Nate's Mission Call!

Nate's mission call arrived on Friday the 10th! It came to Mesa, he was in Provo so he "opened it" via Skype. Here are a couple of video's of it. The first is a screen capture. The second is from Joe's iPhone. Buon Appetito!

Nate Leads the Haka

Our stake sponsored an outstanding Aaronic Priesthood encampment last week. Nate, McKay and I got to go from our family and Joe, Daniel, Josh, and Andrew also went. Each ward was asked to provide a short entertainment. Our ward decided to learn a Maori Haka. Nate ended up being the leader, McKay is on the far left.

Takin' Jake to the MTC

Takin' Jake to the MTC

We had a great family trip taking Jake to the MTC last week. We captured a few pictures along the way. Though we missed some of the best parts: a session in the Salt Lake Temple, an open house tour of the new Draper Temple, and visiting all of our friends and family in Utah. It was a great time.

We haven't heard from Jake yet but are confident that all is well. If you would like to write to him his PO Box in the MTC is 217.

Looking at the pictures you would think all we ever do is eat out! That just happens to be the only time we think about breaking out the camera!

Here are all the pictures:

Pictures from the Mesa Temple!

Grandma & Grandpa were in town over the weekend for Jess's call opening, her endowments, and Jake's farewell. We didn't do too well with the camera but we did get these after a wonderful time in the temple. (Click on the picture to see a few more)

Mesa Temple

Jessica Open's Her Call!

At about 7am Arizona time on the 12th of February 2009 the following occurred:

Another Lonely Letter!

Another Lonely Letter!

Jessica's call arrived today right on schedule. Only problem is she's in Provo--not Mesa! So just like last time we are going to wait patiently for a whole week to learn what it says! Last chance to get your guesses in....

Jess & Marius on Front Page of Salt Lake Tribune 8/29

Jess & Marius on Front Page of Salt Lake Tribune 8/29

Jennifer Sanchez of the Salt Lake Tribune spent some time with Marius and the others while in Utah and wrote a very nice article that was published today. If you get a chance to pick up the Tribune it is on the front page! If you don't, you can read the article online here:



Congratulations, Dave!

So there I was, wandering around the BYU Bookstore, thinking about the candy counter, and what did I see? "Jee's Bones" right in front of me on the shelf! I was so proud to think, "I know the author!" so I just had to take a picture! I walked down the row and found "Journey of the Heart," so that got a picture, too. I'm embarrassed to say that I haven't finished "Journey" yet, but Reid and I are reading it together, so that's a little more difficult. Anyway, we both enjoy it so far, and I can't wait to see how everything ends up.

Congratulations on achieving a dream, Dave - what a great example to all of not giving up on something that is really important to you.

P.S. Will you sign my book for me? :)

click to see slideshow->

Final Book Cover

Final Book Cover

Here is the final version of the book cover for Journey of the Heart. For those of you who saw the first version, hopefully you will agree that this one is much better. It turns out that the Deseret Book buyers weren't too happy with the prior one either. So on Monday the publisher (after I told them what my extended family thought of the first one) found a picture of a new more appealing Jake. He's certainly not as appealing as the real Jake, but then few are. Anyway they pasted him in right on top of old grumpy boy and I think the result is much better. Let me know what you think. Books are supposed to be in the DB warehouses in the next few weeks and then 10 days after that in stores!

Roadtrip Video

The Priests in our ward went on an outing last Friday and Saturday. On the way home Jake had his video camera in the backseat. Between him and the 9 other Priests in the van (including Nate) this is what the they came up with.

It is even better when you realize that they did this while the van was hurdling down the winding road from Payson to Mesa at 70 to 80 mph. Thankfully all that was required of the driver was stopping and starting the music CD...

3rd and 4th Week in Romania

Buna Ziua!
Wow there is so much to say and so much to be thankful for these last couple of weeks! First of all, I can't believe that I have been here for a month! Time definitely flies when you are having fun and working hard. It is kind of a bittersweet reality because I'm definitely excited to go home, and yet I have come to feel very comfortable here and I love the kids I work with. The girls from previous semesters told us that it would go by fast and I definitely believe them now. I don't even know where to start and last week Mckay told me that my email was too long, so I'll try and cut down a little. It might still be a novel, but it will be a smaller one.
So we got into the orphanage last week and at first we just went around all of the different rooms. There are a couple of different sections in the orphanage and each has a Disney name. There is Donald Duck, which is also called isolation. There is Mickey Mouse, which has two rooms. And there is Bambi, which also has two rooms, one for the boys and one for the girls. The first day we just spent a couple of minutes in each room getting a feel for the kids and the workers. It was so great that first day to see all of the kids and to know that we were actually finally going to be working there! The next couple of days we moved around quite a bit. There are a couple of apartments in Iasi that have 4-5 kids that live in them. They are kind of like a branch of the orphanage and sometimes these kids will come and visit the orphanage. We visited two of them last week and then on Thursday we were back in the orphanage. Thursday we told our facilitator where we would like to be working so that she could decide where to put each girl. It was so hard to choose a room that I liked the best and I wanted to be in the room that Heavenly Father wanted me in. Friday morning we found out what rooms we were to be in after we got to the orphanage. It was a tense exciting moment! I found out that I would be working in the room that I wanted to work in! My room is one of the Mickey Mouse rooms and there are quite a few kids (they have kept me busy!). It was kind of intimidating walking in the first day because I wasn't sure what I was going to do with them and I was worried that I wouldn't be able to fill the full three hours. But, so far so good. We just finished our first full week of working in the orphanage and I feel so close to the ones I work with. A couple of the children in my room are very smart, they just have handicapped bodies. This makes it easier to figure what they need and what they want, but at the same time it is harder because if I can't deliver or I don't understand what they are saying they get frustrated. It's hard to tell them no, and yet it has to be done sometimes. I hope they still know that I love them! There is a little girl that I princess Larissa. She is in a wheel chair but she can move around quite a bit when she is taken out and she is very talkative. She loves to mimic things I say and even knows popcorn popping in English. She's a character and keeps me busy. There is a little boy who's name is Alex and he is 9 yrs old. He has cerebral palsy, which is what I did a research paper on, so I have been spending time with him and trying to work with him. He can't speak, but he is very very smart, and is said to be the highest functioning child in the orphanage. To communicate he uses his eyes. It is the cutest thing to see him look at me and then look at my pocket and then look back up at me. I don't understand what he wants all the time but he'll do it again and again until I get it. There are a couple of toddler age kids in my room too. They are fun to play with because I don't always have to talk to them and I can just sit and play with them and I know that they like it. One day I was playing with Alex and Larissa on the mats because they had both gotten out of their wheelchairs. Alex was on top of me (he finds it hysterical to smash me) and Lari was on the side of me and then the little ones came and up and started tackling me too. I was struggling to breathe there were so many kids on top of me. It was so much fun though because all of the kids were laughing hysterically. They really got a kick out of it. Overall the orphanage is great and I really enjoying going every morning. So far I haven't had any problems with any of the workers, lets hope they continue to like me.
The hospital is just as great as the orphanage. It isn't as structured as the orphanage and we don't always work with the same children either. There are eight floors in the hospital that are allowed to work on. We go to each floor and ask the nurses if they have any children who don't have mothers. Usually they say yes and then we are allowed to go and play with them. We always bring diapers for the kids and anything else that we think they might like to play with. Some of them actually do have parents but they can't always be there and that's where we come in. The hospital rooms usually have 3 or 4 other babies in them with their moms and there are windows on both sides of the rooms that look into the rooms next to it. There is nothing private at all about the hospital and it is pretty primitive. The moms will sometimes talk to us and try and help us understand what the nurses or saying or what someone else is saying. They are really great and a lot of fun to get to know. Sometimes they will just stare at us and moms from other rooms will come in and stare at us too. It's a little awkward, but they're harmless so it's just funny. There isn't much ventilation in the hospital because they don't really believe in opening the windows so every time I go in I feel like I am breathing pure germs, it's not a very comforting thought so I try not to think about it, but I haven't gotten sick yet either so I'm very grateful and I will keep going until I do get sick. The language is coming along, but very slowly….haha people still sometimes laugh at us when we try and speak Romanian. The other day one of the girls was in a taxi telling the driver where she wanted to go. He said something to her and she had no idea what she was saying so she just repeated where she wanted to go again. This happened several times and she just kept saying where she wanted to go. Finally he pointed to the seatbelt and indicated that she needed to put it on. We were talking about this later that night and we compared it to a tourist in New York. The cab driver would say put on your seatbelt and the tourist would say Empire State building and would keep repeating it every time the cab driver said something. He would definitely think the guy was crazy. We are pretty sure that everyone here thinks we are weird and somewhat stupid because we always repeat the same thing. My favorite phrases in Romanian are Nu inteleg (I don't understand), nu stiu (I don't know), and nu vorbesc romaneste (I don't speak Romanian). They are probably asking me a super simple question like what is your name and I'm saying nu stiu, nu stiu….I can only imagine what is going through their heads. ☺
Each week on Sunday we have a group a meeting where we talk about our highs and lows of the week and plan for the next week. I love these meetings because we get to just sit and relax and get to know each other better. As I had time to think about what I was going to say as my high and low I realized that I didn't really have a low for the week. I kept trying to think of one, but nothing came to mind. I find that the longer I am here and the more attached I become to the kids the less time I have to think of myself and my problems. It's also easy to forget about my problems when I see so many around me that are struggling more than I am. I have always been told that when we lose our self in the work and serve others we don't think about ourselves, but I have never really had an experience of my own like this and I am so grateful for this realization. I have also found that the spirit comes more readily when I am working with these beautiful children. It always seems to be at my fingertips and there to guide me in working with the kids. It is a great feeling. At times when I encounter something heartbreaking the spirit is always there so that even though it is sad moment it is also a happy moment because the spirit is present. Does that make sense? Anyway, I am so grateful for the Lord and for his awareness of me and the children that I am working with. I couldn't do it without him! Please pray for these wonderful children and their little spirits!

Cu drag,

Pictures from Romania 2/1/08

Here are new pictures from Jess. She's now spending half the day in the hospital and half the day in the orphanage. Beautiful children...

Maddie on a Two Wheeler

Maddie has been wheeling around for several months now on her bike with training wheels. On Saturday we decided it was time to try it without the training wheels. She took right off and never looked back. At four and a half years old, only Jake did it younger... Feeling a little old as my last child pedals off without training wheels. Do you think she had enough coaches telling her what to do?

Brett Arrives in Phoenix!

Brett made it safely to Phoenix. In addition to all of us--that we know he was dying to see--Aisling surprised him. See if you can figure out who he was more excited to see...