Friday, November 8, 2013

We Thank Thee oh God for a Prophet

Our family was excited for the Century of Honor program, but Lydia was especially looking forward to it.  Having never been to a general conference or an event (that she remembers) in the conference center, Lydia anxiously awaited this night.  She was so excited, and kept saying she just couldn't wait to see President Monson in person.  We told her it was going to be really neat to see him, but it wasn't like we were going to be able to talk to him.  She was still so excited and mentioned many times the week before that she was just so excited, she could hardly wait.

Lydia in our first seats at the conference center.  She was so excited you would of thought she was in Disneyland

Every choir member received 2 tickets to the event, which worked out perfectly for the 4 of us in our family that were not in choir.  Landon and Mason were seated on the far left side of the choir so we were hoping that our tickets would be on the right side of the audience so we would have a good view of our boys. We were excited when we picked up our tickets that we would be in the bottom section 2 (which is on the right side looking up to the left:).  They seemed like perfect seats especially since the podium was placed directly in front of section 2.  This would be the first event in the conference center where we would not have to watch the big screen to see the speakers, or the show.

The day of the performance the boys had to be there at 3pm.  Which gave the 4 of us time to kill in Salt Lake.  As it seems like decisions about our house are always lingering over us, it was a perfect opportunity to go and make a final decision about the stone for our house.  Poor Lydia and Jacob are our tag alongs to all these places and lets just say they are not very exciting stores for kids.  At least this place had popcorn and a puppy:)

Thank goodness for phones

After hemming and hawing over our final selection.  We decided it was best to get some dinner at the Lion house, we can't resist those Lion House rolls.  Upon entering the Lion house we ran into a well dress man that we recognized as a speaker in the recent General Conference.  He waved and said hello to us and Zeke quickly recognized him as being the general authority that related his experience of being a football player.  (a comparable that is unforgettable when you are a football fan like Zeke:)  It was Elder Gifford Nielsen. 

When we finished our meal we made the short walk over to the conference center and found our seats in our section towards the bottom.  I thought they were great seats and was quite comfortable, but Lydia wanted to get as close as she could.  I did not think there were enough seats for all four of us any closer, but in the section next to us there were many empty seats.  So after testing out the seats and making sure we could still see the boys we moved down to the second row on the very far right.  We had the row all to ourselves. 

About the time we were moving seats we noticed Elder Russell M. Nelson walk in from the corner of the stage.  I pointed him out to both Lydia and Jacob and said lets walk down the isle and see if we can say "hi" to him.  Both of them were rather timid so I walked down in front and asked the usher if we could say hi to him.  He said "no you can't get close to them".  About then, Elder Nelson was passing by and I yelled out his name.  He turned around and walked towards us reaching out his hands to greet us.  He thanked us for saying hello and asked where we were from.  At that moment I didn't quite know what to say.  Where am I from?   I still feel like I am from Washington,  am going to live in Mapleton but currently living in Spanish Fork.  So what do I say?   I said Mapleton, but we recently moved from Washington.  He said "Wonderful! and again thanked us for saying Hello"  He moved on to find his seat and I exclaimed to Lydia and Jacob "You just shook the hand of an apostle!" 

Pres. Monson entering, Eyring, and Uchtdorf behind. 
After that several other apostles, general authorities and people we recognized walked through the same door.  Wanting to respect them and the wishes of the users and security we just sat in our seats and waved when they looked our way.  My kids have watched the leaders of the church walk out of general conference on TV several times, so they (especially Lydia) was able to recognized many of them including President Monson's daughter, Uchtdorf's wife, the general RS president, and several of the apostles etc. 

About 5 minutes before 7pm security appeared to be getting in their places, and we could tell President Monson would becoming out shortly.  Sure enough seconds later the man we know as the Prophet who we completely respect, love, honor, obey, sustain, pray for and are very grateful for entered the room.  The audience rose as he was escorted by a security guard to his seat along with President Uchtdorf and President Eyring.  I told Lydia if he looked over at us she could wave hi to him.  As he walked by he looked over our way and Lydia waved and he smiled and waved back.  It was a sweet moment and Lydia beamed! 

Seeing the first presidency made me so happy, but I also began to shake.  Out of respect and not wanting to look like the paparazzi, I did not want to use my big camera and instead only used my iphone for pictures.  The combination of shaking hands and a touch screen phone camera do not produce very good pictures.  But these pictures will be some of the most cherished and worst pictures I have ever taken.

Pres. Uchtdorf

Elder Ballard
Elder Holland and Elder Christofferson

Elder Oaks

After the amazing program was over, we had told Lydia and Jacob that they might get to wave to the 
Prophet again.  President Monson was sitting in the front row of the third section.  We were in section 1.  As he got up he greeted everyone along section 2 and it was taking some time.  There was only a few people in section one so when he came to our section he pointed to Jacob and came right up to him.  

He asked him if he was a future cub scout, in which Jacob replied "YES!"
Then he gave Jacob a high five.  

He also shook Jacob's hand, and I snapped as many pictures as I could with very shaky hands. 
Oh, how our family loves this man! 

President Monson also asked Jacob if he was going to be a missionary.  Jacob responded "YES" and said after his favorite primary song "I am a missionary now".  It was very sweet.

Then he turned to Lydia and shook her hand too, along with Zeke and mine. 

We told him we loved him and how grateful we were for him.  
There is no one living on the earth that we would rather meet more!  It was a surreal experience and one we will never forget! 

In the row behind us was a small family.  They had gone to the end of their row to greet the prophet too. When their little boy approached Pres. Monson, his parents were trying to get a picture.  President Monson said let's let your parents get a picture and he undid the rope that was between the crowd and himself.  He then motioned for Jacob to come over.  He put his arm around him and gave him a squeeze and posed for a picture, and said 
"Here I have too future scouts and missionaries."

We all agree Jacob hit the jack pot with meeting Pres. Monson.  A high-five, hand shake and a hug!  

After this I was pretty much a mess.  I remember when I was about Lydia's age meeting the Prophet: President Benson.  We could not shake his hand, but we did get to wave to him and say hello.  I remember my mom crying and it being such an amazing experience to be it the presence of a living Prophet.  It was a moment that our family cherished forever and I now two of my children we getting the same experience.

After President Monson moved along, here came President Henry B. Eyring.  He greeted us too and was so kind and full of light.  As Lydia and Jacob shook his hands I was attempting to take a picture.  He said, "let's have your mom get a picture of all of us together."  He posed with Lydia and Jacob and I pushed the camera button on my phone several times.  President Eyring even said:  "Am I doing alright Mom? "  In which Zeke replied "you are doing great!"  Feeling a little rushed I said I think I got it.  Only to find out later that none of the times I pushed the button with my shaking fingers resulted in a picture:( 

Next came Elder Uchtdorf.  He was full of smiles and happy as always and he reached out to shake our hands. As I attempted to take a picture, his security guard asked me not to take any pictures.  So out of respect I slipped my phone in my back pocket for the remainder of the night.

Then Elder Nelson came along.  He remembered us from our visit before the performance.  He said  "Well hello again, wasn't that wonderful!" 

We had thought we had seen all the apostles come in before the program, but we had not noticed Elder Hales and Elder Cook.  All of the sudden they were both right in front of us.  
We greeted them and they both said "Good to see you".  Elder Hales was very frail and needed help walking out of the conference center.  But despite his frailties he was so happy and cheerful.  Both Zeke and I felt a special love and admiration for this man at that moment.  

Then Elder Holland came next.  He greeted Jacob first and commented on how he really liked his ruby shirt.  It almost seemed funny to be greeting an apostle in street clothes, let alone have him make a comment about it.  Then like many of the other apostles we shook their hands thanked them for his service and dedication and told him we loved him.  

The funnest moment of this experience was: since we had just greeted Elder Hales and were somewhat surprised to see him,  Zeke was still thinking about seeing Elder Hales 
that he called Elder Holland.. ...Elder Hales.  
I looked at him a little shocked and Elder Holland just smiled.  
I think it will be something that Zeke never lives down:)

Then we were greeted by Elder Oaks and Elder Ballard.  

At the end we were greeted by Elder Christofferson.  He was very sweet and when he greeted Lydia he asked if I was her sister.  (My favorite apostle now ;)

After everyone had gone, we stood there in a little bit of disbelief of what we had just experience. These were men with a special witness of Jesus Christ.  They were men we listened to during general conference, we strive to follow their counsel and teaching.  We love and sustain them!

Then I thought.... oh how I wish Landon and Mason would have been there with us.

When we met up with the boys after, Mason was excited to tell me that he had seen Elder Christofferson in person waiting for the elevator back stage.  I asked him if he shook his hand and he said, "I kind of forgot I had a hand".  As we shared our experience with them they were a little bummed about not being there with us, but in the end they were happy for our family and grateful for the experience they had being in such a wonderful production.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Century of Honor

This year marks the 100 year association between the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and the Boy Scouts of America. The celebration's theme was a reflection of the Church and Scouting and how the values and principles have remained constant during the last 100 years of partnership.  The church put on a wonderful celebration, and really told the story of scouting and what a blessing it is to the lives of young men through out the country.  

Our older boys Landon and Mason have been involved in scouting since they turned 8 years old.  They have learned and experience so much from their involvement in scouting and this past summer right before we moved they were awarded their Eagle Scout award.  We had a very busy spring completing two eagle projects in our family.  Landon worked hard with many volunteers landscaping the courtyard of his middle school.  Mason held a book drive for a homeless resource center and was able to collect over 1500 books to donate.  Both of them did the majority of this work and we were so proud of the work and effort they put forth to accomplish these big tasks.  

A few weeks after settling in to Utah, Zeke had read on the church news website that they were accepting applications for participation in an Eagle Scout choir that would perform during a celebration broadcast the church was putting on at the end of October.  The requirements were you needed to be an Eagle Scout, have singing experience, and live within 100 mile radius of SLC. This opportunity seemed to fit Landon and Mason.  Both love scouting and have been involved in school choirs and performances.  They submitted the application and were accepted a few days before the first practice.  There were 8 practices over the course of 6 weeks, so our family or either just Zeke or I would make the drive to SLC weekly.  Sometimes we would stop over at Grandma and Grandpa Evans, sometimes we would do some shopping for things for the house, attend a session at the SLC temple, or just sit in the conference center and watch the practice.   This was a busy time for our family but very awarding none the less! 
Many of the practices went late on school nights, and adding an hour drive to that was a big sacrifice for these 9th grade boys!  But sitting where the tabernacle choir sits, singing for the Prophet, celebrating scouting and being part of something wonderful was all worth it.

To watch the entire broadcast it can be view here:

The 90 minute program started off with two Boy Scouts rappelling from the rafters down the stage carrying the American and Boy Scout Flags.  Trumpeters, located throughout the Conference Center, sounded the call to attention. A choir of adorable Cub Scouts ran on to the stage and sang the national anthem and a Scout led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance.  
An impressive color guard.  
Primary President Rosemary M. Wixon
YM General President David L. Beck
Trumpet Opening

Landon and Mason sang 5 songs during the broadcast.  They are found below.
3rd row from the top two over from the outside.
They sang their hearts out.  
A fun song that was added after rehearsal started was "Mom you earned your Eagle".  This was a tribute to the moms of scouts.  I loved it! 

The performance was top notch.  Very touching and entertaining.  

Even a kayak came from above, close to Landon and Mason

President Thomas S. Monson was in attendance and received recognition for his lifetime support and exemplary leadership of scouting.  It was also announced that the new Leadership Excellence Complex  being constructed in West Virginia will be named after Thomas S. Monson.   A well deserving man!

Another surprise of the night was the tabernacle choir.  They joined the program and treated us with 3 American Classics.  

For the finale the all scouts in the program walked onto the stage singing 
"On my Honor", it was powerful and gave me goose bumps to see men and boys sing a song about serving their fellowmen,  upholding the laws of this great land, and fulfill their scared duty to God.  

Our family truly enjoyed this experience and we were so glad Landon and Mason were able to be part of something so great!

Stay tune for an experience our family will never forget that happened right after the performance.........

Thursday, October 17, 2013


September flew by and now it's half way through October and I never made a post.  So here is a super long post to sum up one busy month. 

Jacob is loving 1st grade.  He comes home with the cutest cheers and songs.  We love that he always wants to share them with us.   Here is his September cheer that we heard daily. 

September started out with new adventures for many.  Kaitlyn our niece started collage at BYU.  We took advantage of the one day (move in day) to let the boys go and see her new dorm room (after that no boys are allowed in her bedroom).   She has the cutest dorm room.  It brought back a flood of memories for Zeke and I of when we went away to collage 20 years ago!!  Can't believe this fun, smart, pretty freshman is starting collage, but we are excited to have her only a short drive away.

Labor Day at Bear Lake!
The Findlay's invited us to spend the weekend up at Bear Lake.  They have a fabulous piece of land with a trailer on it.  Since we were feeling like our lives had just started to settle down from moving all our stuff, we opted out of digging all our camping gear out of the storage unit and instead just woke up early on Monday and drove to Bear Lake.   My kids had a blast!  They love spending time with their cousins and they also love hanging out at a beach.   

Jacob loved riding this four-wheeler just his size.
We finished off the night at Old Ephrim Pizza Parlor where we ordered the largest pizza ("Old Ephrim") we had ever seen.  It was so big that even with 3 teenagers and 7 regular eaters you would think we would have finished all of it but to our disappointment we couldn't.

Kong Kone Eating Contest
There is a temptation not to far from our home.  It's call the Kong Kone.  At the local Macey's grocery store they sell super large yummy ice cream cones for just pennies. The ice cream is thick and creamy and they even have an option to get it dipped in chocolate or the flavor of the day (ie butterscotch, bubble gum, blueberry etc).  When we read in the store ad that they were going to hold a kong kone eating contest we were all over the opportunity to win a kong kone every week for a year.  Landon and Mason were up helping their cousin Cameron with his Eagle project so rest of us  decided this would be a fun Saturday afternoon activity.  
First there was the eating contest for kids under 7.  Jacob joined in the fun.  He tried his best but there were other kids that had a greater craving for ice cream.  

After was followed by Lydia's age group.  She was more excited to have some free ice cream and said early on that she wasn't in it to win it, but she had fun none the less.

After was the teenagers and adults.  We all thought Dad would win it for sure.   He loves ice cream and this eating contest was right up his ally.   He had a plan about how to eat it fast, but in the end the large amount of cold ice cream in his chest and cold headache prevented him from finishing.   It was a fun afternoon and it's probably better that we did not win the weekly ice cream cones. 

Visit from Josh
We sure enjoyed our visit with my brother Josh.  He came to speak to the faculty at BYU for a few days and we got to spend the evenings with him.  He was able to come to one of Lydia and Jacob's soccer games and hang out at our house.  Then the next night Melissa and her boys came up so they could see him too.  The adults went out to eat and Josh took us to one of his favorites collage day eateries.  The funny thing about this restaurant was that it had shrunk since he had been there.  There were only 2 tables in the restaurant.  One for us and the other was full of collage students.  

First Lost Tooth
It was a big deal for Jacob to loose his first tooth.  He has been waiting since he was 4 to loose a tooth so it was very exciting for him.  We were glad the tooth fairy remember to come on the first night, as it often takes her several nights to get to us.  

Dad Camping Trip
Lydia loves to camp and she was feeling a little slighted that we never got the opportunity to camp during the summer.  With several camp grounds up the canyon, only minutes from where we are building our home, Zeke thought the kids would enjoy an overnighter in the woods before it gets to cold.  Landon and Mason have had plenty of camping experiences with scouts that they opted out of this camping trip and Lydia and Jacob went up the beautiful Whiting canyon in Mapleton and found a great camping spot.  Zeke found the bare essentials in the storage unit to make the experience bearable.   Zeke bought all the yummy treats that make camping fun, they went on hikes, jump roped, threw ballse, etc.  These three had a great time together.  In fact, they had such a good time that they spent the majority of Saturday up there and with out cell service Mom began to worry and thought they may have been eaten by a bear so she went looking for them only to find out they had just left.  


Due to some internal issues with our builder nothing happened on our house in August.  After everything was ironed out, September was a very productive month.  We love to drive by and see the daily progress.  We started the month with a big hole in the ground and by the end of the month the house was framed except for the roof.  

Filling the big hole with the beginnings of a home!  

Future basement... the neighbor boys who are in our primary class tell us that when it was just the foundation it was a great place to play spies!  

Starting to look like a house. 

Afternoons at the park
After picking up Jacob and Lydia each day from school we have about 45 minutes before we needed to go and get Landon and Mason from cross country, and since driving to our rental house is out of the way,  we would spend that time at this great park that is close to the elementary school.  
The 3 of us sure enjoyed this simple pleasure each day. 

USU Homecoming Weekend
We love Utah State University, Logan, Aggies Ice Cream, Aggie Football, and family so we were excited to be part of USU's homecoming this year.  My parents came down for a visit during that time and it was fun being able to spend that time with them too.  

We started out the homecoming celebration running in the 5K.  Both Zeke and I ran, along with Landon and Mason and my parents.  It was a blast running around campus.  

Here is a picture of us before the race. 

A picture after the race.  We didn't know this was a category but our family won for having the most members of a family run.  The prize was an awesome USU blanket, 2 sport bottles, a pennant, and lots of great gift certificates and coupons.  We scored big time with this prize! 

Below are some pictures of some of us when we were almost to the finish line.  
Mason, Landon, Zeke, and Stephanie
Zeke killed it!  Earning 1st place for adult male.  He has had a goal to run a 5K under 20 minutes and he did it with two seconds to spare!     Way to go Zeke! 

It was also fun to run with some of my extended family too.

After the race we went straight to the parade, where we showed our Aggie spirit and our post 5K oder:)  

One of the best things about going up to USU's homecoming is getting to see my wonderful Grandparents.  We stayed at their house and had a nice visit with them over the weekend.  We are so blessed to have both of them around.  

We also loved spending time with my parents.  It was so much fun to have them come visit us, and after the homecoming weekend they came back home to our rental and stayed a few days. 

That night was the football game.  
It was fun cheering the Aggies to victory over Weber State.  We also enjoyed watching my cousin Jenna cheer.  She is one of the girls in the air.
Lydia loves to show her spirit and was probably the loudest cheerer of all.  She also enjoyed sitting with and getting to know a few of her second cousins.  Here she is with her second cousin Lexie. 

Cross Country
Landon and Mason joined cross county this year.  It has been such a great thing for them to be involved with.  When the season started the weather was in the 90's and the altitude was a lot higher than we were use to, but these boys stuck it out and are great runners because of it.  It has also been a great place for them to make some good friends and feel involved in a new school.

Every Friday they have a meet in the district somewhere, and every meet they get faster and faster.  We are so proud of them and they both have developed a passion for running now.  

Landon pushing it 

Mason always finishes very strong! 


Jacob Soccer
Jacob has always loved anything that has to do with balls.  He has enjoyed playing soccer the last two seasons so we knew it would be important for him to be able to play this fall.   He enjoyed every minute of it.  No matter what the weather was, or how the team played Jacob had a blast with his teammates.   He also continues to be a good little player! 


Lydia Soccer
Lydia has played soccer for many years and she has been fortunate to always be on nice teams with great coaches.  We were a little nervous about having her start fresh in a new place.   But this year was no different.  She had a very nice team of girls and a great coach.  A new soccer player emerged from Lydia.  She found greater confidence in the sport as well as some fierce competitiveness.  Her team won all but two games and she was one of the top goal scorers for her team.  

She also loved having her Dad as a coach! 

Relief Society Broadcast
I always look forward to the annual Relief Society broadcast, so when I heard that our stake got tickets and we could go to the conference center I was excited.  My stake told me I could get more than one ticket so I got two others and invited my sister and niece to go with me.  Melissa came down with her family so they could hang out and have a boys night (plus Lydia) while we went to the broadcast. We rode the train up north, got some dinner, did some shopping and had wonderful evening. 

The boys (plus Lydia) had a blast playing pool, watching football, playing video games, legos, and eating this "nothing good for you" concoction that is only made when mom is not around. 
The Hot Mess (donut hamburger).