It may be March Madness for some, but we, the Shaffers, are mellowing out.
Keith is into a pretty good rhythm balancing his school district job with his consulting business, and now that Dallin's 6th grade basketball season is over, he may have coached his last community team! He has coached all of our children in various sports for multiple years each (until school sports have taken over in 7th grade), so it's a bittersweet concept for sure! Keith is also very politically-minded, so he was a bit busier in the days and weeks leading up to the Nevada Caucus. But now that's over too, and we have a break until we are closer to the general election. [GO ROMNEY]
I have been mellowed out since last fall when I decided not to return to my job as a reading tutor with the school district. Dallin would have come home to an empty house every day now that he's in middle school, and that was something none of us felt good about quite yet. Instead I go in as a substitute tutor from time to time, which I enjoy, and I also try to keep PEAK Engineering & Design's books and billing up to date. Being home again has been so nice - I am back to walking most every morning with friends, I can go to the temple more frequently, and I can read a book now and then! It's been lovely.
I was at the school substituting on the day after my birthday last week - and a 3rd grader asked me how old I was, not knowing of course that I was trying to make the adjustment to 45, so I told him to guess. He said, "26?" I told him I was a little older than that, so he said, "27?" Sweet. We finally got to the correct answer, though, and his eyes widened and he said, "So you are a grandmother?!?" Sigh. Here's my yearbook picture from last year. Somewhere between 26 and a grandmother, perhaps?
Kristi has been home from school since Christmas. She began working full-time on January 3rd, but this week she has gone to part-time, so she is mellowing out as well. Her position is funded by a grant, and is supposed to be part-time, but since they hadn't had anyone in the position for awhile, they had some leftover funding, so she was able to work full-time until that money had been used. So her bank account is pretty plump and she has been grateful for that opportunity, but now working part-time just feels so mellow and delightful!
Kristi began attending our singles' branch as soon as she came home, and was soon called to be the FHE Coordinator, meaning she has to give a lesson each week and plan the activity. It's a pretty small group of people, and a rather eclectic mix of personalities. The only callings she's ever had have been associated with music, and therefore have required no preparation on her part. So this has stretched her! But she is into the groove now - this week they did some tie-dying and had chocolate fondue for refreshments (see family cookbook, so delish). She is excited about registering for her Spring classes in a couple of weeks, and is greatly looking forward to her return to Rexburg!
Since last summer, Austin has been continuously in a sport. Football went from June to late October, and basketball went from October to February. He briefly considered signing up for a Spring sport, such as golf or track. But instead he now comes home after school like a regular person! [I guess I will insert that his first practice for club/traveling basketball is later today, but that is less intense and more fun] Austin plans to complete his Eagle Scout project between now and when football begins again - in MAY - heaven help us, we better get moving.
Austin was unexpectedly brought up from his JV basketball team to the Varsity team mid-season. It was a compliment, but one he didn't really want because all his friends that he's played with for years are on JV and he was having a great time. But up he went, and although some games he played very little, most games he played far more than we expected, and did very well. The highlight was probably playing against our rival high school where his cousin (a senior) plays. We never expected the two of them to be on the same court outside of church ball, so it was pretty fun. Austin played most of that game, and we took them to overtime. Austin and Trevor gave each other a hug as the teams walked by each other at the end, and it was nice to see that blood was thicker than team pride.
Playing against the rivals!
#12 on the line while cousin Trevor is shooting:
And Dallin. His community basketball season began last November (I think?), and so from then until mid-February he had bball on Mondays and Wednesdays, and swim team on Tuesdays and Thursdays. But now bball is over, so it's just swimming. He was sad about the season being over, but now I think he is enjoying a couple of more mellow afternoons each week. He came home from swimming on Tuesday with a 'report card' from his coach saying that they want to evaluate him at the end of March for the competitive league - moving up would mean three days a week plus the meets would no longer be optional, I'm pretty sure. He seems fine with that, but I am stifling some low-grade anxiety.
Only 3 kids showed up from his team on picture day:
In some of our mellow moments, we can be found watching "American Idol" or "The Middle" - two shows that gather the whole family, which is my favorite part about them; or playing ping-pong since Keith and Austin recently cleaned out the garage and made a place for the table again; or going Geocaching for treasure; or going driving with Austin so he can get all of his required hours in before his 16th birthday next month!
Our most recent geo-caching trip - pretty Nevada skies!
And the treasure!
Speaking of "The Middle", and since I haven't mentioned Brennan yet, one of the reasons I personally enjoy the show so much is that the oldest son reminds me so much of Brennan. Certainly not in every way, but possibly quite a lot. Here's a clip from youtube that has lots of good Axl moments. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6EKAHVrAqiQ (sorry, I may never learn how to embed links!) It's 9 minutes long, but at least watch the first minute and a half; so funny (now) and so relatable to me. I can't wait to introduce Brennan to Axl when he gets home from his mission. (if you watch, sorry about some of the language - my one complaint about the show)
Take a look at Brennan's missionary countdown! Can you believe we're on the "S"??? So awesome.
Elder Shaffer is currently a Zone Leader in Elizabethtown, KY, working hard, learning a lot about leadership responsibilities, and continuing to have amazing faith-building experiences. Yesterday morning we were watching the Weather Channel, and there was a tornado warning for Elizabethtown specifically! Brennan has wanted to see a tornado since he got there, and knowing him, he might just run towards one instead of away from one just so he could say he's really EXPERIENCED it. But no news is good news, right?? We continue to be grateful that his mission has been so fantastic for him. I think he will come home with a whole lot of reluctance in November. But we are getting so excited to be on a single-digit month countdown!
Can you find Waldo? First row, second from left.
I will finish this l-o-n-g post by quoting from his last letter:
This is our time to be a standard for the nations, there has been no greater need than now in the world for us to be better than we've ever been before. The world is getting farther and farther away from the Truth, but the Lord has blessed us with the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, restored by Joseph Smith. He has trusted us to be the bearers of light and be a standard to where people can't help but notice a difference. We must live so that it is impossible for the world to think we are one of them. We all have to be better and be that example so we can bring others closer to Christ. I'm so grateful for him and his example on how we should live and how we should love everybody as ourselves, and because of his love for everyone and sacrifice for all, we can all become who we were born to be! And live with him forever!! Nothing brings greater joy in this life.
Brennan has come a long way from his Axl days.
May March brings more mellow than mad into your lives!!