Monday, February 23, 2015

This Week!

The Gilbert temple on President's Day

Hola, Elder Keppy-Face!!!


We are so, so sad we missed you last week. :-( But we hope you got our package, as a consolation for no letter. (Did you get it? Huh???)

This has been a busy week at Das Keppnerhaus. Last Sunday evening, we had Daddy's Keppner cousin and her family over for dinner. They live in San Tan Valley, and have three boys. The oldest is seventeen, the middle on is 14 (I think?), and their ten year old little guy is autistic, like Morganne and Gavin. It was crazy and fun, and it was wonderful to reconnect a bit. Who knew we had Keppner cousins in AZ?!

Early Monday morning, Avalon and I went to the dentist's office so she could get a tooth pulled, a spacer put in, and several teeth filled. After we got there, they weighed her and then gave her some special medicine to make her sleepy. She and I waited in a dark room where she laid down on a special little bed and watched a movie. When the medicine kicked in (She was so funny!), they led us in to a room where Avalon could sit in the dentist's special chair to get her work done. She was so good! She help still and hardly remembered a thing.

Avalon getting sleepy...

When we went home with her, she was so good about eating only soft things, and slept pretty much the entire rest of the day. We are so glad her owie tooth is better and that she was such a brave girl. (See the picture of her getting sleepy below.)

Tuesday afternoon, I took everyone but Gavin, Ronan, and Davy to see the E-- boys performing in "Seussical the Musical!" (Gavin and Ronan said they didn't want to see it, but they really missed out!) It was PHENOMENAL!!! Those musicals [high school] puts on are awesome, and we were so glad we got to see it. Sister E-- emailed me that their cast was performing the show at --- for FREE for some public school students, and that we could attend. There were plenty of seats available, so we got good ones and had a blast!

Morganne, Lliam, Bonny, and Dierdre were all raving as much as I did. You would have loved it, too. EVERYONE in the show was amazing-- it was just soooo good! One of the G-- boys played Jojo in the show, and did a great job.

Wednesday had the usual craziness, with mutual, scouts, and all. Ronan helped with the flag ceremony for the Blue and Gold banquet, so he was the only one who attended. Can you believe that we have NO Cub Scouts in our family right now? Weird...

Friday we had our TJLA classes. During my English Literature class in the afternoon, we had a really special experience. We are studying the early Victorian Era and were going over Tennyson's poetry specifically that day. In a flash of heavenly inspiration, I walked my class over to the basketball park, and I read them the poem "Crossing the Bar" out loud on the green rolling hills. Picture the cloudy sky above, with birds chirping in the background:

Crossing the Bar

Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea.
But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.
Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;

For tho' from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crossed the bar.

We then had a great, GREAT discussion on our life's callings, and what the future holds for us. I had then eat go off alone in the park, somewhere quiet, and had them write a list of FIVE things they want to do OR be before they "cross the bar." And by "crossing the bar," it could either mean before they die, or before they leave home, or...?

I did the exercise, too, and it totally made me cry and realize what is MOST important to me.

After gathering back together at the end of our debriefing discussion, I suddenly felt prompted by the Spirit to share how important Grandma Nielsen's living testimony has been to me in my life. I totally cried and bore my own testimony.

I don't know if the class helped the students that day, but I know it helped ME. Heavenly Father is so good to give what we need, right when we need it!

Saturday was full of housework and lazing about, too. Then, that evening, we went to a play done by another new homeschool group. The play was actually written and directed by D--, who also starred in the main role. It was fun and cute, though they had some itty bitty ones in their cast! (9 and 10 years old) It was a moralist story with a defined message, but also was done in Shakespearean-esque language, though not in iambic pentameter. I guess K-- and S-- helped write it, and S-- was also in it. We had a fun time, and I thought they did a great job. :-)

Yesterday was really great, with a wonderfully inspiring ward conference. (President D-- and Bishop W-- are so great!) Daddy and I both took several notes, and have some new goals. GOOD STUFF!

Just waiting...

This morning.... (drumroll please...) Lliam did something major!!!




driver's test!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

He OFFICIALLY has a real Arizona driver's license.


It's so exciting!!!! :-)

We love you, we miss you, and we know the work you are doing is the Lord's. We're so proud of you for your devotion to Jesus Christ and His work. Stay True and Faithful always. We love you!!!

Carry on,

Mama Rachel

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Random February-ness

Our "Ten Virgins" cast

Dear ones,

We had a calm, good week-- my favorite part was being in the Ten Virgins musical! :-) I'm afraid I will subject you to several pictures on that subject! ;-)

Monday I took Lliam, Gavin, and Ronan to get haircuts. Yes, even Lliam was ready for a trim. I stopped in the McDonald's drive-thru for ice cream cones afterwards. It was nice to spoil them a bit. :-)

Haircuts make us happy!

On Tuesday I ran Morganne to Institute Choir at CGCC (Chandler-Gilbert Community College), and then Daddy took her back for Institute that evening. We need to get that girl driving soon!

Wednesday evening was New Beginnings for the Young Women. They had a fun "Cruise" theme and Dierdre brought home one of the decorations; a tiny goldfish she named "Goldilocks."

Our lovely "Goldilocks" (a.k.a. Dierdre)

We spent Thursday cleaning the house in preparation for feeding the missionaries that evening. Morganne made her famous chili and served it with tortilla chips, cheese and sour cream. They couldn't stay long, but it was so nice to have them join us to eat. It sure makes us think of our missionary!

Friday morning's Biology class that's usually at our house was cancelled, so I gathered some props and stage decorations for the Ten Virgins play and after almost getting in a car accident on the way, (WHEW!) I headed over to the church to help decorate the stage. Even though I had my class to plan for later that afternoon, I decided to stay and help. It was so fun! I was draping fabric, pinning trim, and arranging decorations and props. I had a BLAST!

Our stage, all dressed up

About the play: It felt soooo wonderful to be using my talents to build up the Lord's kingdom. I had been praying for an opportunity to do so for a LONG time, and the Lord answered my prayers in a wonderful way! :-)

Cast members getting direction in between performances

We had our final dress rehearsal Friday night, where we also performed for our families. It was a little rocky, but overall, it went really well.

Saturday morning we had our first performance at 9am. President D--, our stake president, came and talked to us briefly after our warm up. It was so neat! He reminded us of how much the sisters in our stake needed to hear the message to prepare spiritually. We also performed at 11am and then again at 1pm. We really felt that the Lord used us to bring His daughters closer to Him that day. It was the BEST experience I have ever had being onstage. I loved every second!!!

Our director and pianist discuss song speed with our one dancer.

Being in this presentation has been such a blessing in my everyday life, too! It has helped me feel close to the Savior every day, and taught me lesson after lesson about staying in tune with the Spirit, and being prepared to meet the Lord. I have had some very sacred, personal experiences because of my preparation for the performances. I hope I remember them all! (Yes, I am recording them in my journal...)

Me, backstage

Last night, after choir practice, Daddy and I attended the Priesthood Preview meeting with RONAN! Can you believe it?! Yes, he turns 12 this year. He and all the boys in his group are so fun. There's a LOT of them! Most of the boys sat together on the front row, but even though they invited him to come and sit with them, Ronan wanted to sit with Daddy and I. That was sweet!

At the end of the inspiring meeting, Ronan and all the boys stood up at the front and sang "Armies of Helaman." I'm pretty sure there wasn't a dry eye among the parents. (The sound cuts out in the middle when I accidently covered the mike, and you get subjected to my soprano voice at the end when the sound comes back up. I tried to sing quietly-- I really did! LOL!)

During the meeting, Brother--, who is in the stake YM presidency, said that only 35% of young men in the stake are going on missions! OUCH. Satan is really working hard to distract the young men in our area from serving. Yes, I cried.

We we miss you all, and we want you all to know how important you are to us. We pray for each of you daily, and love each one of you sooo much. May the Lord continue to bless and teach and heal us all!!!

Lots of love,
Mama Rachel

Monday, February 02, 2015

Happy Groundhog Day!

Dear sweet peoples,

Well, it has been an in-ter-est-ing week. We have had a house full of sickies, beginning with Davy puking on Monday night, and then most of the rest barfing on Tuesday, with a few stragglers (Dad and Lliam) getting sick later in the week-- just in time for Granna and Pa to come! (Granna and Pa got here on Wednesday morning and just left last night.) Poor Granna did end up sick, but was well enough to go to church with us on Sunday, and to fly home that afternoon.

Goofy me and gorgeous Granna

The laundry room has officially been declared a disaster area. YIKES.

Granna and Pa brought down a moving truck full of things from them and from Grandma Nielsen.
​Wasn't that so sweet of them? We had a great time with them! ​It was like Christmas all over again, but this time with some tears. (From me.) It still doesn't feel like she's gone, but she was such a HUGE part of my life, that I know she will be with me-- and IN me-- always. She set such a wonderful example for me, and I want to be just like her. I want to make her proud of me!

Dierdre and friend serving at the temple.

Dierdre went to the temple to perform baptisms for the dead with her sweet little friend, C---. She got over her sickness just in time to go! She has some great friends in this ward. We are doing all we can to stay!

The stake presentation of "The Ten Virgins" that I'm in runs for three performances THIS SATURDAY!!! I am super, SUPER excited! I am hoping to take lots of pictures and take a video of the show so that I can send it to loved ones, like yourselves. It has been such a huge blessing in my life-- I just don't want it to end! I hope I remember the lessons I am learning from this experience. I want to be one of the WISE!

The kids loved having Granna and Pa here-- Fiona loved them, too, though she does take a while to warm up to people at first. She is such a mama's girl! 

Fiona warmed up to Pa pretty quickly.

She is sooo cute! Her newest thing is to smack her lips after someone kisses her. She is really good at mimicking sounds. And she is standing up and holding on to anything that will stay still. She crawls and babbles-- though she also likes to whisper-- so adorable! 

The kids are running around, playing, fighting, drawing, crafting, reading, some are even studying, and after a week of illness, the house is a disaster. SIGH. Hopefully, I can get them to clean up soon enough to take them all to the library this afternoon. (After the older boys all get HAIRCUTS.)

*They DID earn their library trip last week, in case you were wondering... ;-) )

We love you all!!!
~Mama Rachel