Monday, December 16, 2013

A REAL Tree!

For the first time in the history of this Stewart family, we decided to do something new for Christmas. We didn't make it to the back woods, but we did go to our local Canadian Tire and picked out a REAL tree! It was the gustiest, coldest morning ever, so we felt like we were pretty hard core! We found the most beautiful tree and loaded it up. It smells so good and looks amazing! Why did it take us 20 years to do this??? It may become a new tradition for us...
The crew...

We searched for the perfect one...

It turned out to be the perfect height for our room.

After we decorated it last night, we sat and admired it. We love the magic of Christmas!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Winter Wonderland

I often wonder why we choose to live in a place that is often so cold and windy...but, there aren't many places where you can find beauty like this either. I had to stop and take a few pictures!

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Saturday, December 7, 2013

Tiger Classic Champions

It was the Tiger Classic basketball tournament yesterday. Sara's team played very well and won! She made some amazing plays and scored many points. Very impressive for a girl who had been sick in bed with strep throat all week. We are grateful for modern medecine!
Great work Tigers!

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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Snow Day!

Today we have the first snow day in Lethbridge since 1968! Parker will be so disappointed to miss it! He's never had one and was always envious of how often our cousins got one. :)
Dave tried to leave for work in the Suburban and got stuck right in front of our house!
So we are staying home to read, watch movies and make cookies. Forced "slow down time"! We'll take it!

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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Adventures in AZ

We headed south to our home in Phoenix for a week away of some warm weather. It was warm when we arrived, but got progressively colder. We had a great time anyways! We slept in, cooked fun food, went to "Catching Fire", did some shopping, went to the Mesa temple, biked around Phoenix and stayed up late eating ice cream and watching movies at our house. All things we never do at home! :)
But part of our plan was to bike in El Tour de Tucson. When we packed at home, we packed for a warm bike ride, not frigid conditions! As luck would have it, Tucson got unprecedented rainfall and temperatures plummeted just in time for the race. But, it's what we came for, so we quickly found some rain appropriate biking gear and went ahead with it. It was 60 VERY wet miles! We especially appreciated the peanut butter and jam sandwiches at mile 40 offered to us by some LDS youth wearing yellow Helping Hands vests! We finished in just over 4 hours and discovered that a warm shower and hot chocolate never felt so good!

At the start...we stayed in the van until the last possible second!

This is right after the gun went off and we were off. The course looked very wet and pretty gloomy!

A flat tire added to our adventure at mile 33.

There were many Elders and Sisters at the finish line to check off finishers. We thought that was really neat!

Medal finishers! A bike ride in Tucson, AZ is the closest we've ever come to hypothermia...and we're from Canada! :)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

20 Years....What??

Everyone agrees that time flies when you're having fun. We must have had a lot of fun these past twenty years because it seems like just yesterday we got married! With all its ups and downs, it's been an adventure we would never trade!
To celebrate we took everyone to Miro's for a fancy meal. Sara loved it, Hannah tried things she'd never had before and Matt decided he would prefer Boston Pizza, hands down.
Sara and Hannah surprised us with a "Stewart" sign from the craft sale. They secretly had Amy take them there to make their purchase with their own money. We love it!
Flowers topped off the night! It was a great day to commemorate an amazing 20 years. Here's to 20 plus more!!

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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Remembrance Day reminds me....

Remembrance Day reminds me how fortunate I am to be able to choose for myself each day.
Freedom to choose is something I hope my children never take for granted.
So, on Remembrance Day we let everyone choose an activity for their day off.
Matt chose shooting hoops at the gym (I learned I have some skills to work on). Sara chose making caramel apples (because the climbing wall was closed, that was option B) and Hannah chose mini golf at Puttz.
It was a great day. I'm glad I could be reminded...

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Friday, November 8, 2013

First Email from Elder Stewart

I won't post each time I get a letter from Elder Stewart, but this one was exciting because it was the First one and we had waited 8 days to get it! It seemed like an eternity. Here are parts from it... We will be starting a blog just for him, but have not done that yet.

So sorry about not emailing. It's not my fault. Our p-days are on thursday, and since last thursday was a lot of MTC orientation and stuff we didnt get a p-day and had to wait until this week.

My companion is named Elder Baldwin. We are about as different as could possibly be haha. He is from virginia. He is 21. He is very loud, and i am very not. He doesn't like excercise, and i do. He is bigger than me, not so much height but in overall girth.  I don't really know how to describe him. Things are working out though. He is really nice, and we get along. Our roomates are Elder Holm and Elder Carling. They are both very nice as well. Elder Holm is 19. he likes sports ant stuff. He is big and strong. Its fun being on his team in basketball because he just destroys people in the paint. Elder Carling seems smart. he likes video games, and science. he and Elder holm are quite a bit different as well, but somehow things are working out.

There are 16 people going to Albania. That's way more than any of us expected. There are 8 boys and 8 girls. 4 and 4 in each district. Motra Bettinger from Ontario is in my district. She seems pretty nice. I don't know all of them super well yet though.

Our Zone is made up of the Albanians, the finnish, the Hungarians, and the Estonian. The 2 Hungarians, and 1 Estonian leave this monday. We get 10 Hungarians this wednesday. I really like talking and haning out with a couple of the finnish elders, and some of the Albaninas in the other district.

Here at the MTC i have seen Greyson Smith from Raymond, and that girl from Cardston that we saw while on our backpacking trip. it was very cool to see some people that i knew. I havent seen Mandy yet. I'm not sure if i will. They turned the west campus into a spanish/portugese campus. English, and all other languages are now on the main site.

The food here is very yummy. i can see why a lot of people gain weight. YOu can be as health concious, or as not as you want. It is always all you can eat. They plate most things for you, but they don't care if you come back for more. They have tons of deserts. Chocolate milk all the time is true... same with cereal. I have tried to make healthy decisions, but it has been hilarous to see what my comp comes back with. he is quite the comic relief all day long. i havent found the subway stuff yet. im thinking it may be on the other campus.I believe the mongolians used to be over there before they switched everything around. It really makes a lot more sense because of how many Spanish speakers there are, and it is just better for organization.

Gym time is a riot. Some days i run, some days i play basketball. They have a track upstairs. I believe it is 200m. its definetly not the coulees, but it does the trick. As long as you stay in the building you dont have to be with your companion for gym. Matt is gonna love the basketball if he comes to this MTC. Shoot for teams, games to 7. 3 on 3. They go fast. They are very quick games. Lots of running. Man defense. The only thing that is crappy is that they kick me out of gym class every time I dunk. in gym they also have volleyball, four square and wieghts/ machines. i dont do any of that stuff, but lots of people like it. Every time i get to gym class i have to do something intense because we sit for most of the day.

our Albanian teachers are very cool. Sister Atkin served her mission under pres Ford so she is pretty fresh back. She is super nice, and a good teacher. bro McGlothin is 24 married, and has a baby daughter. He is a good teacher.  i can say a lot of gospel stuff in albanian, and other simple stuff, but thats about it so far. My comp and i have taught 4 lessons so far. The first was on Saturday. Some go better than others. I learned my testimony right away just cuz of my blessing. i think i may be the only one who can do that without prompts right now just cuz I made that a priority. A few of the sisters are probably the overall best at the language. They work pretty hard, and are picking it up quick. I'm trying super hard to learn it, but am pretty relaxed. Some people get pretty frustrated but so far my comp and I have found laughing off our mistakes is the best way for us to suceed. One of our bigger mistakes was we didnt know the word for ready. We challenged our 'investigator' to baptism and she just kept saying je gati. We didnt have a clue what that meant. We just kept teaching, and left confused and without a baptismal date. Anyway we figured it out, and we know what to do in our 'next lesson' with her that we dont actually have haha. i really like teaching, but it is very hard.

The speakers and devotionals have been very good. On sunday night we watcghed a video of a talk given by Elder Bednar entitled the Character of Christ. It's a fabulous talk! Find it and watch it. L. Tom Perry will be here on Tues. im pumped!!!

Our first councilor in our branch pres knows the petersons. His name is bro taylor.

Talk yo you on thurs. Mom you will be happy to know my suit coat is at the tailor! Im happy you made it bach to Canada safely!!

Elder Stewart  

Elder Stewart's Albanian District. Two of these girls we had "met" on Facebook before they got there. Technology is amazing.

This is a neat statue. We assume it's at the MTC. He sent another picture that is close up of the missionary tag on the statue. It says "Elder Stewart".

In front of the Provo Temple. For those who know the "Coat  Story", take note of the coat. Happy to tell the story if you want....

A little memory from home. His artistic side must have been coming out for him to take this photo. Just like Grandpa Stewart! :)

We sent him a package on one of the MTC Delivery sites and he got it on Monday.  Looks pretty good!

Monday, November 4, 2013

O Come, Emmanuel - Christmas Version - ThePianoGuys

This is a great lead into the Christmas season. The Piano Guys have become a favourite of our family. And, of course, anything that shows the love of Christ is a favourite too.


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Zones Volleyball Champs!

Sara's volleyball team went to Medicine Hat yesterday for Zones. They played very well, in fact they won every game they played making them zone champions! Great work girls and thanks Coach Lam! It's been a fun season. Thanks also to Hannah who helped out all day on the score table!

Funny though...City Finals are on Thursday. Not sure how that works! :)

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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Parker Reports at the MTC...WOW!

Over the past few months Parker and I have been busy finding the "perfect" things for Parker on his mission. We have spent hours filling out and sending in documents for an Albanian Visa. We have dropped off, picked up, made appointments, kept appointments. We have laundered, sewn, ironed and stitched. We have packed, unpacked, repacked and unpacked again. We have cleaned, organized and sorted. Needless to say, it has been an adventure. Not many people talk about the preparation of getting ready for a mission, so let me tell's a lot of work! But it was fun to spend days together, visiting, going for lunch, grabbing a Booster Juice and having a scavenger hunt as we searched for shirts, pants and sweaters that would fit a 5'8", 121 lb body. Most clothes aren't made for that size FYI. But, it all paid off as we dropped him off at the MTC yesterday. He will be there for about 9 weeks as he learns the Albanian language. He will then be off to the Adriatic South Mission which encompasses Albania, Kososvo and Macedonia. He was met at the MTC by two Elders who welcomed him to the MTC. He hugged us and smiled as he gave a little wave and walked through the doors. He was so excited to start this next phase. The goodbyes were hard, the future is exciting.

Parker at the Cardston Temple 

Nana and Papa flew out for Parker's farewell. It was great to have so much family support! Many aunts and Uncles and cousins came. 

Jeff, Lindsey, Tyler, Landon and Nash were one of the families we DID remember to get a picture with! Hopefully these boys pray as hard for Cousin Parker as they did for Uncle B on his mission. :)

For my birthday the week before he left, we went to the temple together...and to the cafeteria!
Our family after Parker was set apart as a missionary by President Evanson.

One of the most difficult good byes was to Matt. They will now be apart for about 4 years, as Matt plans to serve a mission too when he is 18.

The day before the MTC, Parker, Dave and Sara went to the Mt Timpanogos temple. It was beautiful and they really enjoyed it. Hannah and I explored American Fork and got a little lost!

Elder Stewart just before entering the MTC.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Wow... Time Flies!!!

 It's been 6 months since I posted anything. I can't believe how time flies! Our family is growing up and time with them is slipping through my fingers. We now have two more drivers. Matt turned 16 in May and got his license on his first try. Sara became a teenager this week and had a small melt down involving chocolate. I assured her she was completely normal!!! Parker graduated from High school and won a Principal's Medal for being one of the Top 4 academically. Hannah will be 11 in a few weeks and completed a marathon tonight with Lakeview Running Club. I am so proud of all of them!

Some friends of mine and I have started something we call "Conference Club". We pick two talks from conference and once a week we sit down together and discuss them. We just did this one by Sis Wixom yesterday. She counsels us to write things down for our children so they can see our appreciation and love for them. So, I'm considering this blog entry as my attempt to follow some really good advice!
Sara competed in the City Track and Field meet today and placed first in the 800m, 1500m and 3000m. She ran so well ! She amazes us with her mental toughness!
Hannah completed her marathon tonight by running the final mile. She has been running three times each week with her school running group. Gotta love chocolate milk for the recovery drink!!
Our Highschool Grad...and Buddy! It was an amazing day. There's not much more to say. I swear he just started kindergarten. Wow.
This week was the final performance of the LCI Chamber Choir at their Spring Concert. So, Parker and Matt had their last performance together. It was really good! Parker sang with the Jazz Choir too. 
Earlier this year Matt's JV basketball team won Zones completing their perfect season. they went 24-0. What a great accomplishment! He, Sara and Hannah are all doing spring basketball now. Parker completed his lifeguarding course and is now playing U18 outdoor soccer.