Janae sends out a periodic family update. Some of you have asked how my family is doing. Rather than me tell you, I'll let her tell you.
And no, don't ask me about black socks. Actually, you may be finding about black socks in a few more days.
First, let me tell everyone that we doing well. We're keeping busy and trying to keep up with the demands of everyday life.
Yesterday I had Service Experts come to service our furnace and get it ready for the winter. Well, the furnace has got to be replaced. I guess after 28 years it's finally had enough. There are cracks in the heat exchangers, it spews forth a roll of fire when it comes on (which is actually pretty cool to see, but not very safe), the gas valve needs replacing, the blower is shorting out, and probably some others things that I've left out. So I've spent the last 24 hours calling around, getting quotes, checking the internet for information, agonizing over what to do, etc. Not exactly what I had on my "To Do" list for today, but I certainly know a lot about furnaces. More than I ever thought I'd know. Life is never boring or dull, is it. I haven't made a decision yet, but will have to today because it's getting cold and I don't want to be without a furnace for very long. My parents brought over their floor heaters for us. They don't want their grandchildren sick. Neither do I. I writing this while I let my head unwind so I can make a decision.
Well, on a happier note (although, if you ask Seth, he doesn't think this is a happier note), Seth turned 18 yesterday. Seth isn't happy about it because he thinks he is old. We went out for lunch on Friday to celebrate. Mom and Dad came with us. That was really nice. We went on Friday because Seth's friends were kidnaping him on Monday. We had family over on Sunday evening for cake and ice cream. Seth even frosted his own cakes. I asked all of them to help with the dishes so I could frost the cakes. Seth said he would frost the cakes and then I could help with the dishes. What a nice son. The friends came on kidnaped him at noon yesterday. Seth wasn't surprised, he knew they would do something. They were going to go to the corn maze, but it didn't open until later and it was cold and wet, so they went bowling instead. Then they took him for ice cream. A couple of the friends came home with him and they worked on a puzzle and talked. He had another friend bring over a gift. She gave him some funny key chains and some other funny items. He had a couple other friends call, so he wasn't forgotten today. Luke and Braxton gave Seth a dragon knife that is really cool looking. Everyone else gave him money, since he couldn't think of anything he wanted. If you want to read more about Seth, Bob has posted an entry about him on his blog page. Although, he hasn't been able to upload the pictures yet, so you may want to wait a day or two to read it.
Seth went to Homecoming a couple of weeks ago. He had a great time. There were 7 couples in his group. He likes the boys' choice dances just for the fact that he gets to have a group of his friends. When the girls' ask he is in a group of her friends. His date wore a pink dress, so he was able to wear a pink shirt and his pink tie. He wore one of Bob's suits. It sure is nice that they are the same size as Bob. If my scanner were working I could attach the picture to this e-mail, but it's acting up right now.
Seth was inducted into the Orem Youth Council at the last City Council Meeting. This year he got four more of his friends to apply, so it will be even more fun for him since there are more of his friends on the council.
Braxton had a big French test the other day. The night before he spent a lot of time reviewing all his notes, practicing speaking, and having me help him with the conversations in his notebook. Then he came and announced, "I'm all finished studying for me test. All except for one thing." When I asked him what that one thing was he said, "Pray!" I love to hear words like that! The studying and praying worked because he got an "A" on his test. I, on the other hand, am going to fail French this term. I told you that Braxton is trying to teach me the French that he is learning and I just haven't put much time in to it. I'm still working on the alphabet and a few beginning words. He loves to tease me about that and we joke about how I'm failing French.
A couple of weeks ago I was awakened at 3:00 in the morning by Braxton calling my name. He wasn't calling like he was terrified, just a calm calling of, "Mom!" When I went to his room he said, "There are two of them. One for you and one for me." When I asked him what there were two of he said, "Will you get me a drink?" I went and got him a drink. He drank the entire cup, rolled over and fell back to sleep. In the morning he didn't remember any of it, not even drinking the cup of water. I guess I'll never know what there were two of, but I get one of them.
Braxton also came home the other day and told me about a t-shirt that a girl was wearing at school. I don't remember the exact numbers on the shirt, but this was basically what it said: Dumbledore dies on page 478. I just saved you four hours and $30. Braxton thought that was hilarious. He was also glad that he had already read the 6 th Harry Potter book so it wasn't spoiled for him. If any of you haven't read the book, sorry.
More news about Braxton. As you know (or don't know) Braxton loves yellow. His old jacket is getting too small. It's so small that it is tearing in places because of the strain on the seams. Well, he likes jackets that zip up the front and not ones that pull over the head. I haven't had success in finding a new jacket for him. One that he likes in a price range I'm willing to pay. Finally I found one on e-bay. It was a yellow and black fleece jacket and it was even brand new with the tags still attached. Braxton was standing next to me during the final minutes of bidding making me hit "Refresh the Page" to make certain we were still the highest bidder. It was a tense few minutes, but we won the jacket. Braxton was thrilled and jumped up and down. The first day he wore it to school, he left the house saying, "I think today I won't be putting my jacket in my locker. I think I'll be wearing it all day today." Glad he can find joy in little things.
I guess I have a lot to say about Braxton today. His honors classes have been on a couple more field trips. They hiked from the mouth of Provo Canyon up three miles to Bridal Veil Falls. I went on this field trip with them and it was a lot of fun. At Bridal Veil Falls they climbed around, we took pictures, etc. Then a member of the Grow family that owns the falls and surrounding land came and talked to them about the history of the falls and plans for putting the tram back in. It was interesting. Then they ate their lunches at the falls. The students are divided into platoons of four students each. Braxton's platoon decided to do a group lunch. One boy brought the dessert, one boy the sodas, one boy brought a Korean Dish and Braxton was in charge of the sandwiches. Braxton made Italian Panini Pizza Sandwiches. Their next field trip was to Geneva Steele. They were given a tour of what's left of the steel plant and told about plans for the future. The Desert News had a reporter there and so did one of the TV stations. Braxton was interviewed by the Desert News reporter, but as of yet we haven't heard whether anything was put in the paper. There was a big article in the Herald, but Braxton's picture of comments weren't in there. Although, it really doesn't matter. Braxton thought it was so cool to have been asked questions by a reporter. The reason they went to Geneva Steel is their honor's class is going to be writing a history of the steel plant as part of their honors work this year. Their honors group is called "The PUSH Team". The PUSH stands for Preserving Utah's ? History. I can't remember what the S stands for. So their field trips are all based around historical events and places in Utah. It is a really great program for these students that want more of a challenge and want to learn more than they would in a regular history and English class.
Well, I guess since I've been talking so much about Braxton I might as well continue. In Braxton's TLC class they had a unit on finances. Braxton came home all excited about it. (He gets excited about learning things – except for learning the piano, he's never been excited about that unfortunately.) Well, Braxton started telling me what we needed to do for our family finances. He was telling me about making two payments a month for your mortgage instead of one. He talked about have savings automatically withdrawn from you pay check. He mentioned a few other items. He was so excited about the things that I told him we were already doing. I think it surprised him a little that I knew about these things and I was doing them. I loved having him so excited about finances.
We went to the rec center last week. The first time we've been since school started. First we hit the weight room. Then we went down to the track. In all the years of going to the rec center I haven't been able to get Braxton to run. He always walks on the track. Today, he took off running and ran the entire time. Since he has to run in PE this year, he's found that he can run and actually enjoys it. I've never pushed him to run because he has allergies and asthma, but now he is pushing himself. YEA! At the first of the summer he "ran" his mile in 25 minutes. Now he is doing his mile in 11 minutes. Now he needs to call the merit badge counselor and get his physical fitness merit badge signed off.
I can't leave out Luke's adventures of the past few weeks. Luke had a big history test two weeks ago. The night before I started quizzing him about the information in the chapters. He was able to answer all but two of my questions. I teased him again about memorizing the textbook. It's amazing that he knows so much, since he didn't actually read any of the chapters all the way through. He read bits and pieces to find the information for his study guide. He does have a great teacher that makes learning fun, so he learns a lot from the teacher. Well, he received a perfect score on the test. I guess memorizing the textbook really pays off. Now if he could get a perfect score on his Physics test. I think his physics class is going to kill both of us off this semester.
Luke has been working on getting his Eagle Project approved. It is hard to get a hold of people. As soon as it's approved, he will be sending out an e-mail letting people know how they can help in donating items for the children of Afghanistan. Hopefully by this weekend.
Luke and Seth helped me winterize the swamp cooler last Friday. We all climbed on the roof to do it. While we were up there I thought it would be a great learning experience to tell them how terrified I was of climbing on and off the ladder. Once I was on the roof I was okay, but the last step from the ladder to the roof and the step from the roof to the ladder scares me. I was trying to point out how I was overcoming a fear of mine to do this today. Don't you think that was a great teaching moment? Well, guess what the boys learned from my little story. As I went to climb down the ladder, they started shaking it. Such love they showed their mother. They assured me that they thought that would really help me overcome my fear.
I don't want to leave out Thor. I can tell he is getting older. He wants to be inside a lot more. He sits at the door with his sad eyes trying to guilt you in to letting him in and letting him go in the front yard with you and taking him for a walk. I'd let him in more often, but he is shedding so much that he leaves such a mess in the house. Thor gets fed every other day. He gets a scoop of food and five milk bone dog biscuit. Lately he has been burying his milk bone dog biscuit. He obviously digs them up later because I see him eating them. At first I thought he was really eating the dog biscuits quickly, but caught him in the act of burying them one day and learned the truth. Maybe he was burying them hoping I'd think they were eaten and I would give him more. It was his way of building up his food storage.
Star (the cat) has been staying inside the house more now that the weather is getting colder. He is sleeping on my bed right now. He is sleeping on Bob's side. He seems to prefer Bob's side. He knows that Bob doesn't like cats, so it's his way of showing Bob that he's in charge and to bug Bob. Star use to always sleep in Bob's chair at the dinner table, but he never sleeps there now that Bob isn't here. I guess he really didn't like the chair, he just like to bother Bob. He did sleep there the three days that Bob was home to visit, but hasn't been in the chair since then. You can't tell me that pets aren't smart.
I trimmed one of the trees in our front yard last week. When I went to put the garbage cans out I realized that the branches were so low that you had to duck under them when walking on the sidewalk. I figured if I had to duck that they were really too low. So I trimmed them back so people could walk on the sidewalk without taking their head off. If the tree dies, then I'll know that I did it wrong.
If you're in the neighborhood, come by and see the tombstones and Halloween decorations. The boys got them out and Seth put them up while I was at the Stake Baptisms at the first of the month.
Take Care and Happy Halloween! Janae
P.S. If you e-mail Bob or send him a letter make sure you ask him how his black sock is doing!