Monday, April 24, 2017

The big 6

 On the 12th of April, our "bubba Flynn" turned the big 6. 
Flynn has been SO excited for his birthday, counting down for weeks. He is so cute announcing dates like "my birthday is on April the 12". "Anzac Day is on April the 25". Flynn often creeps into my bed halfway through the night and Simon was away on a search and rescue trip so I let him sleep there the whole night and he woke super early ready to open his presents with the girls before they left for the bus at 7.30am.

Flynn got a special blanket from Nan (he has it on in the pic below) that I picked out for him. His favourite thing to do is walk around the house with a blanket around him so now he has his very own. 

I got the blanket from a beautiful lady called Suzy whose daughter Lizzie had Down Syndrome. Mum taught her at Youngtown Primary School when Lizzy was in kinder and Prep. Suzy and I talked for nearly an hour and she told me to pick out a blanket free of charge just for myself as Mum had told her about Charlotte having Down Syndrome and she understood how much I loved her and the roller coaster of emotions I went through finding out about and coming to terms with the diagnosis and then later when she died.

Suzy had been running a business called Lizzy's Blanks where she made her own blankets to raise money for medical costs as Lizzie had been diagnosed with  terminal Myelodysplastic syndrome and aggressive liver disease in 2014. Sadly last week Lizzy passed away just a few weeks short of her 18th birthday and her funeral was on Friday. You can read about this beautiful family here.

Flynn is into everything Power Rangers. He has Power Rangers pjs, a figurine and for his birthday he got a sword that has lights and sounds. So of course he wanted a Power Rangers cake. Emerson was my little helper. Pity he couldn't do any taste testing.

Seeing as it was the last day of school before school holidays, it was great timing to take a cake to school for Flynn's classmates. Last year in kinder, his birthday was in the school holidays so, Flynn was super-excited to be going to school on his birthday this year (I'm sure that will change when he is older 😋)

Here he is with his Prep teacher Mrs Mead and the class,  singing happy birthday to him.

After school, Flynn had invited his cousin Bastian and Nora for tea where he picked tacos, cocktail says, chips, snakes, M &Ms, Maltese's and Mountain Dew for tea. The kids love the tradition of picking what they want for tea. No-one ever picks take-out... just junk food at home.

This is the finished cake. Flynn loved the sparkly 6 candle and the power ranger looking like he was bursting through the cake.

Flynn really misses his Bingham cousins, especially  Will and Zac. Last birthday they were in the middle of their 8 month experience of living in Australia and Flynn loved having them next door and going to school with him.

It was lovely to get this little clip from them for his birthday and he has watched it loads of times.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

The end of the MTC and onto Valencia [missionaryMum.3}

Mum loved the CCM (Missionary Training Centre) (MTC). There were so many lovely people that they met. The week there went way too quick.

 Hermana Gutierrez, one of the Maestras (teacher)

 Sister Ganaza

"Sunday in the CCM was amazing. Sacrament talks were in the variety of languages with an English interpreter. Again the hymns were sung in different languages as was the prayers. The sacrament was blessed in Russian. Sister Snowden and I at the end were asked to bear our testimonies which we did in Spanglish! The spirit was so strong, these young missionaries bring such a sweet spirit with them, and the light of Christ shines from them so strongly. We had relief Society with Sister Packer and then early lunch today. On the way down to Sacrament Sister Snowden and I were stuck in the lift. It just stopped between floors. We laughed and laughed.....then pressed every button we could see. It was only about 5 minutes and it moved again. It also happened to Sister Packer so they called in the fix it man. President and Sister Packer are so nice they said they would like us to stay here.

Sunday night we had a devotional with Elder Holland on our mission purpose. Wow every church member needs to hear this message. In the afternoon we had a devotional with President Packer on missionary work e.g. God loves you, he has a plan for you and the to get there.  This is what the people need to know.
Then the missionaries all went out to the steps and sang...another great experience.
In between somewhere Sister Snowden and I watched the women's broadcast. Monday was back to full on classes, we have been working on grammar and pronunciation.....hmmm!!!interesting! We found out Monday that we would be staying an extra day. We leave the CCM on Wednesday at 9 am and go by fast train to Barcelona where we will meet our Mission President, President Dayton. It takes three hours. Monday we also met Sister Plume, who comes from Valencia. She dos not speak English but we had a lovely conversation with her, translated of course! She is at present working in the temple but will finish in April and she gave us her phone number to call her. The Spanish people are lovely and all want to be helpful. Tuesday we were going to the temple again but Sister Snowden was not well so she spent the morning sleeping while I stayed in the room with her and studied. By lunchtime she was okay though so after a lesson, early lunch and photos with the President and Sister Packer we went to the 2 pm session. It was in Portuguese as the bulk of the people were from Portugal. We had the headphones for English. It is hard saying goodbye to these wonderful people, even though we have only been here 8 days they are like family already."

A cute note found on Mum's door on the last day of their training at the MTC. Sister missionaries are always so thoughtful.😅

"Well up early Wednesday morning to catch the train to Barcelona. Got to the train station by 9.30 and left at 10.30. Quite a business with all our luggage!! Arrived at 1.15 and finally found Elder and Sister Morejon who picked us up and took us first to the mission office where we had to organise papers for our residency cards and then to the mission home where we stayed overnight. President and Sister Dayton were lovely. The home is beautiful and we were welcomed very warmly. On the bed was a basket of chocolate, fruit, nuts and water. We were taken out to dinner and afterwards had an interview with President Dayton."

 Sister Dayton (Mission President's wife)

 Office assistant Hermano Morejon 

Elder Morejon was "born in Puerto Rico and at 15 his parents sent he and his 17 year old brother to the USA for a better life. They were supposed to follow but then weren't able to. He spent time in three different foster homes and was 24 when he went to a world fair and saw the church booth and joined. His mother died without seeing either of them again."

"Thursday we travelled on to Valencia by bullet train again, 3 hours this time. The countryside is lovely and we saw water all the way, beautiful beaches and very tropical and lush growing areas. We are in a hotel for a week which is in the central city area of Valencia. Valencia is great, again amazing architecture. Most of the shops closed by 2 pm and didn't open again till 5 or 6 pm. Everyone comes out at night and it is very busy. We were visited by two young Sister missionaries and we had Chicken and vegetable Paella with them. It was very good. They were so nice and showed us where the Metro is and have offered to help us, they are both American.  Friday we spent a frustrating day trying to find an apartment, they either didn't speak English or didn't call back. We looked at two but they didn't have AC and apparently that is a must. The young missionaries are going to come Saturday and help us."

This is their hotel for the first week while Mum and Sister Snowden looked for an apartment.

Some of the lovely buildings around the hotel.

This is Sister Brudnicki and Sister Doze who are currently serving in Valencia as well. Mum said they have been so lovely welcoming them to the area.

 "Friday we also found where we will be working. The building was built in 1584 and the records look like they are that old. They are civil records which have been housed in the seminary basement. Huge numbers of books many bound together with string. The people we will be working with say they have been there for eight years so far and have done ten percent of it!!!!  

Oh wow these records look so precious!! Digitising them will be great way of preserving them.

This is the Square where Mum's building is.
It's still a seminary school for priests.

Next to Mum's building is a church (Corpus Christi). The architecture looks amazing. Oh the story its walls must have.

This is Mum "suited up" ready to do some digitising. 

We start at 9 am Monday. We work each day from 9-1.30 and then 4-8. In between it closes for siesta time! Everything closes and then you would be amazed at the night time....people and families all out everywhere. They don't eat till 8 pm or later, hard to get used to." 

I hope it doesn't get too cold in winter working in the basement. Mum said there were a few bugs down there that fall on the books and the concrete floor is hard on your feet. Winter is not as cold as Madrid and Barcelona, no snow and more like our Tasmanian winters. Summer sounds glorious right on the Mediterranean Sea. Last text was that they have now found an apartment building called The Piso in a suburb called Aragon. Piso is only 2 blocks from the train station which is then only 2 stops to the archives building. Cherish is only 2 blocks away too so it sounds like a great central place. They now have to find some linen etc for their place. Hello IKEA!!!😜

Monday, March 27, 2017

The Madrid MTC {missionaryMum.2}

the MTC

The first lot of photos are in from Spain. After 33 hours of travelling, Mum made it safely with a layover in Dubai which she said was "wet and dark and a hot chocolate and a bottle of water cost 10 Euros". Mum and her companion Sister Lin Snowden (who Mum met in the Salt Lake mission),  are at the MTC in Madrid for one week, learning the procedure for how to digitise the old records. Im not sure what type of cameras they will be using but I reckon Mum will be very proficient by the end of it.

Sister Snowden 

I've included some excerpts of Mum's weekly email which I will do each post so she has a photo journal at the end of her mission that can be made into a book.

"The MTC has the top three floors of this building and the bottom three are used as an hostel for the Temple Patrons. The Temple is on the same grounds and also a stake centre which is about the same height as ours and houses three stakes".

 the Madrid MTC building 

The Madrid Spain temple and beautiful gardens.

On Saturday Mum and Sister Snowden did a tour of Retiro Park.

 Their tour guides around the park.

This is a memorial to all those lost in the Madrid train bombing in 2004.

This tree was planted in 1633 by Napoleon.

Avenue of statues of ancient Kings and Queens. Oh what a history compared to our 200-odd years.

A conservatory when the land was owned by the Monarchy. I really must get up on my Spanish history.

Inside the conservatory.

"Wow...every Saturday the missionaries go for two hours and talk to people in the park. After that everyone stands at the fountain and sings"

On Sunday the missionaries sang "Called to Serve" on the steps of the temple. They sang in English, Russian and Spanish.

Mum's schedule at the MTC -

"Breakfast at 7 am and then classes all day till 5 pm, then an hour of physical activity, quiet time to change for dinner which is at 7 pm. After dinner more classes and or workshops, bed at 9 pm. Sister Snowden and I are in a class alone and we have three different teachers throughout the day. We do a little of Preach My Gospel but mostly we do Spanish as they gave us the choice. We are only here one week, everyone else is here for six weeks. There are 35 missionaries here at the moment, the number varies. They go to Russia, Portugal, Spain, Italy, France and other Spanish speaking countries. We often have meetings together and everyone sings in the language they are studying,  gives you goose bumps. Prayers are said in different languages too".

Churros!! The real deal... with pure chocolate.

Mum says the architecture is amazing.

On Tuesday they head off to Valencia which is 357 kms away from Madrid over on the south-east coast looking out on the Mediterranean Sea.