Sunday, September 30, 2007

Fall in Seattle

We are trying to take advantage of the good weather before we lose our chance. We found a favorite park, that has toddler trains to play on only a few minutes from our new house. It's a good way to spend an afternoon.

Love the pageant stories from back East...if you know the dates for next year...I vote anyone who can, let's go back and see the sites and watch the new pageant! A family reunion! What a wonderful experience--we might even be able to get a backstage "look" since we've got such great connections.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Nauvoo in a Nutshell

Now that the kids are settled back into school and our normal routines have started again I finally have time to write about some of the experiences we had this summer while serving as Performing Service Missionaries in Nauvoo. While it meant that we would spend a good share of our summer in Nauvoo and miss scout camps, family reunions, weddings, soccer practices etc., it was definitely worth every minute and every penny.

Mom, Dad, Marcos, the kids and I all started out for Nauvoo June 26th, no matter how many times we make the trip the 7+ hours across Wyoming are the longest, most boring part of the trip. The bright side is it makes the remaining 13 hours easier because you as least have some scenery. We stopped in Liberty at the Jail then on to Far West and then we stopped by Adam -Ondi-ahman and claimed our spot for the Resurrection.

We usually rent a home in Nauvoo but this year we decided to rent a condo where a lot of the cast and crew were staying. Part of the Nauvoo experience in the past has been just surviving rehearsals in the heat. We warned other new cast members about the extreme heat and told them what items to bring with to be prepared for the humidity. We ended up looking like wimps because the weather was wonderful, we actually could have used jackets a couple of times, but of course I didn't bring any.

We made a lot of new friends,and met up with old ones. We were able to go with Nick to do baptism for the dead in the Nauvoo temple which was a wonderful experience. Satchell was able to star as Wallace once again, he, Nick and Demi made many great new friends. We found out that the clothing of the 1840's really suits Dad, but does not go well with my hips. Mom and Dad not only were able to act on stage and do a good job, but they weren't half bad at dancing either. Dad was asked to be in charge of the construction of the Nauvoo Temple that we build on stage, it's actually quite heavy and dangerous, but his construction skills really came in handy.

There was a lot more opposition this year then ever before, we had someone burn down one of the cabins by the wagon rides, another one started by the visitor center, and one in the quarry. As well as graffiti on the church vans. One night a truck load of Mormon haters drove past the condos yelling and throwing fireworks. Dad started helping with Security so we could protect the stage and the Grove over night. He and Marcos spent most of the night driving around on golf carts scaring off raccoons. Dad did such a good job they've asked him to come back next year to help again.

I think the biggest accomplishment this year was the amount of missionary work that was accomplished. I think that was the reason for the nice weather. In most of the pageant that are put on by the church you may get 200 referrals and consider it great. This year we were able to get more than 5000 non-member referrals. We recently heard from one of the sister missionaries who reported that 75% of the referrals are allowing the missionaries to come and share a message. She said normally only 10% would allow the missionaries to come. We had a lot of fun meeting people and sharing the gospel. The kids would have contest with their friends to see who could get the most each night. We've already had several baptism that have come from people who just happened across the Pageant.

I've probably gone on to long already, there is so much I could share about our experience this past summer but it would take chapters. We're glad that we had the experience once again, and that mom and dad were able to share it with us. We look forward to more in 2009 (the"NEW" Hill Cumora Pageant).

We've just started rehearsals for Savior of the World, Satchell (while technically still too young to be in the play) has taken over Nick's role as the Beggar. He's so excited for the chance even though he only has one short simple line. We've had him up at the conference center with us ever year since he was born so this is actually a big deal to him to have a speaking part. If anyone is interested tickets go on sale Oct. 30th but the sell out really quick. Our family will be performing on Tuesday and Saturday nights through November and December.

The other great news about Savior of the World is that it will be preformed in Spanish this Easter season. Marcos has helped with the translation and will help with the production. This is a great opportunity for all the Hispanics in the area to participate.

Sorry I went on so long I guess it wasn't really a nutshell.

Kris Menendez

Friday, September 21, 2007

Which one was Jake?

Sorry, couldn't resist. By the way, Zach's not the only one having fun with music this summer. He plays bass in a nerd band, called "The Stay on Targets". Recognize the reference, Troy? (Hint, Star Wars, Episode IV). This is a picture of my new guitar, bought from a guy with too many tattoos and too many guitars. I only helped him on the guitar part. Anyway, I am trying to polish (find, cultivate, develop) my jazz and blues skillz. Just wish I had more time for it.

Since we got back from our desert vacation, I've been in rehab for a torn hamstring, and just finally this week got back to running and playing early morning basketball again. Kate's back to teaching, but most of her day is now working as a math coach with the other teachers, on a Microsoft grant that will last three years. She's not having to bring home anywhere near as much work, as she really only teaches two safety net math classes.

You know what Jake's up to, Luke & Lindsay are now both employed. Lindsay is working at T-Mobile, so they get cheap phones, huge piles of minutes, and ridiculously low rates. Luke starts next week working for Allegiant Airlines at the Bellingham Airport, and gets free flights on any carrier flying out of there. So do his parents, we've been told. More on that later.

Carrie, Shane, and Emma beat the mortgage meltdown, and got into their own condo last month, so we miss having them with us, but they're only 15 minutes away, so that's not bad. Tom & Jamie are still planning on getting married, probably next May, and Pete and Becca are doing well. He hates working for Sears now, and Becca got a better job at a local family run appliance store, so Pete's thinking about moving on, after, what, fifteen years of working at Sears?

Wish we could see more of you all, but we do what we can. Post more pictures!


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Braegger Update

Loved to see your "brush with greatness" there Jake. I never would have guessed that Gary lives in Utah. Is he LDS too, like Steve Martin and Lionel Ritchie?

Well, it's been quite awhile since we've posted. The biggest change around here is that Ian has been living with us since May. He ventured east in hope of finding a job after graduating from USU, and seems to have found one that suits him well. We'll let him share the details about it, if you haven't already heard about it from our parents. It's been fun having family close by for a change, I think it's been 13 years since we've lived near family. Although he'll still be in Denver, we'll miss seeing him every day when he moves into his own apartment.

What a summer we had; it went by way too fast. One of the highlights was the trip to Bear Lake for the family reunion. It brought back lots of memories and it was great to see everyone. I hope we can all make it out there again in 2 years for the next one.

We also went to Flathead Lake, Montana for a week. Troy has lots of family there and it was one of the most relaxing vacations we've had. It's one of our favorite places. The kids got a little spoiled swimming from dawn until dusk, riding the jet skis, and going on boat rides. I think Zach's favorite part was when he got to jump off a 30 ft cliff into the water and Michael's favorite was beating Troy 3 times in a row at shuffle board (I don't think Troy was letting him win, either). The only downside was all the smoke from the wildfires. We could barely see across the lake because of it, but it made for some gorgeous sunsets.

The last highlight of the summer was our trip to the State Fair where Ian and I took the boys to see Weird Al in concert. It was awesome, we had such a great time. Al puts on a fantastic show and it was perfect for Michael's first concert. While we were at the show, Troy and Sophie explored the fairgrounds. From the looks of her, Sophie had a lot of fun hanging out with Troy; she had a chocolate dipped ice cream in one hand, cotton candy in the other, and remnants of other goodies on her clothes. She was really happy about seeing all the farm animals, it was a Charlotte's Web kind of day for her.

Now we're all back in school and working. Troy's teaching 4 nights a week at the law school this semester, so we don't see him much. Zach is running cross country and Josh is on the track team, so we don't see them much either. Sophie started kindergarten and just loves it, and Michael is adjusting to life as a 4th grader (harder homework and more of it).

Happy Fall!
Troy & MaryAnne

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Gary Coleman

Here I am with Utah's finest celebrity. He lives in Santaquin believe it or not. I sold him two macs.