Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Remarkable People

On Sunday we had company.  Among our guests were three truly awesome people.  First off, our cousin, Chandler, is in town paging on Capitol Hill and has stayed with us the past couple of weekends.  We knew him back in the day when he was just a little tyke and he would come and visit us with his parents.
  My, oh my, how he's grown up. He is a rising senior in HS but upon meeting him, you would think he's a return missionary. Go here to see his incredible eagle project.  

An outstanding missionary who has only been in our ward for a few weeks also dined with us.  His name is Elder Liew and he came all the way from Malaysia to share the restored gospel of Jesus Christ here in the DC South Mission.  Click here to see his glam life as a missionary as profiled by the Washington Post.  He played the piano in Sacrament meeting on Sunday.  We were blown away--it was so incredible.  When I asked him how he learned how to play so well he told me that he took lessons for (only!) two months.  His  family didn't own a piano so he would go to piano stores and practice until he would be kicked out.  His English is also impressive (not to mention the other four languages he speaks).  Wow.  After serving his two years here, he makes the 37 hour trek back to Malaysia tomorrow.  I am so glad I had the opportunity to meet him!  

Our friend, Mike and his family, also came to dinner.  This is him and his baby girl from 11 years ago.  
He is one of the most brilliant people I have ever met.  I am pretty sure he has the US Constitution memorized.  I was not the least bit surprised when he was elected as a US Senator from Utah.  Well, maybe a little surprised--I thought he'd be a Congressman first.  He was just born to do it.

The cool thing about these three guys is their unassuming natures.  With all of their impressive accomplishments, they could have a lot to boast about, yet they are among the most humble people I've ever met.  Truly remarkable.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Time Flies When You're Having Fun

Last Tuesday, Tom's cute fiancee, Leslie, came for an accounting seminar in Tyson's Corner.  As soon as she arrived at her hotel I went and picked her up so she could spend some time with us.  

Checking out baby pictures of Tom.  Forget bath pictures, he would be most embarrassed by the ones with him decked out in Redskins outfits. We also played a few rounds of Buzzword.  Very fun game.  We look forward to her next accounting visit in July:)

On Friday, Mikey graduated from JamesMadison High School.
 BYU bound graduates:  Jason, Matt, Mikey and Nick.
 Mikey wearing his SGA cords.  MK came to help pass out programs before watching Mikey walk.
 We sat with the Moffitts and Bournes on the highest row where we could spread out and lean against the wall. 
 Pretty Girls!
 Wow, our 6th one!!  Way to go Mikey:)

 Sakura with the Moffitts.  Coincidentally the Bournes were also there:)
They look ridiculously young to have a HS graduate!
 Baby Dean's first visit to a Japanese steak house.  He came out a bit traumatized because of all the flames/racket!
 Walrus tusks.  No kid can resist.
Soooo much food not to mention fun:)  Later that night Mikey went to his all night grad party and had a blast.
As if that wasn't enough partying we decided (kind of at the last minute) to have an end of the school year  party.  There were 27 kids in all (Mikey, Nick, Garrett, Graham, Brandon, MK, Jesse, Karly, Hadley, Meagen, 2 Matts, Jason, Ryan, Spencer, Cami, ASHLEY, Katy, Janessa, Andrew, James, John, Chandler, Leslea, Michelle, Bethany and Yesenia) and I so wish we had taken pictures!  They played poker, roasted marshmallows for s'mores, burned their homework, sat in the hot tub, played frisbee at Vienna Baptist, and thoroughly reveled in the freedom of being done with school.
 On Sunday Grandpa came over!!!  It was so fun to have him here on Father's Day.  How's this for a great four generations photo? 
 G-Pa looks a lot better than he actually feels, but hopefully he'll soon be back to mall walking with G-Ma.

 Three happy mommas + MK and Dean.
 Aunt Jessica loves her little nephew:)
 Such a cute family!  
 Sneak peek of dresses that will be worn on August 10th.
 A very happy Grandpa Nielson.
Baby Dean with his 3rd cousin, Chandler Nielson.  He came to stay with us for the weekend.  He's in town from Henderson, Nevada, paging three weeks for Senator Reid.  AWESOME kid!!

A Walk to Remember

MK had a blast walking to the Temple with her friends.  They got up at the crack of dawn on June 9th and under the supervision of their YW leaders, walked the 22 miles in just under 8 hours which included several breaks.  MK was by far the most enthusiastic of the bunch, brimming with enough energy to turn cartwheels at the finish line.  The inspiration for the walk came from a the talk by President Uchtdorf entitled "Lift Where You Stand" from the October 2008 session of General Conference.  The following excerpt is about the direct ancestor of MK's friend, Ashley:  

The Example of John Rowe Moyle

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of John Rowe Moyle. John was a convert to the Church who left his home in England and traveled to the Salt Lake Valley as part of a handcart company. He built a home for his family in a small town a valley away from Salt Lake City. John was an accomplished stonecutter and, because of this skill, was asked to work on the Salt Lake Temple.
Every Monday John left home at two o’clock in the morning and walked six hours in order to be at his post on time. On Friday he would leave his work at five o’clock in the evening and walk almost until midnight before arriving home. He did this year after year.
One day, while he was doing his chores at home, a cow kicked him in the leg, causing a compound fracture. With limited medical resources, the only option was to amputate the broken leg. So John’s family and friends strapped him onto a door and, with a bucksaw, cut off his leg a few inches from the knee.
In spite of the crude surgery, the leg started to heal. Once John could sit up in bed, he began carving a wooden leg with an ingenious joint that served as an ankle to an artificial foot. Walking on this device was extremely painful, but John did not give up, building up his endurance until he could make the 22-mile (35-km) journey to the Salt Lake Temple each week, where he continued his work.
His hands carved the words “Holiness to the Lord” that stand today as a golden marker to all who visit the Salt Lake Temple. 5
John did not do this for the praise of man. Neither did he shirk his duty, even though he had every reason to do so. He knew what the Lord expected him to do.
Ashley & MK

The Bishop gave each of the girls a medal with the words:  I Can Do Hard Things. What a great bunch of girls!