Saturday, December 3, 2016

Tis the season to be jolly!

After Thanksgiving, we put together our Christmas decorations

Tim's mom made our family in Raggedy Ann doll style years ago, with Christmas outfits even!

This nativity was Tim's parents.  It is beautiful and breakable, so I put it behind glass
My sister Carol made this wooden set for us which I love because the kids can play with it and I don't need to worry about it getting broken. And the kids do LOVE to play with it!

Tim's sister Cindy made this framed holiday sayings display.  It has posters for every major holiday of the year.  Our niece, Rachel made this cute advent calendar out of a cupcake tin.  You put a little Dove chocolate in each holder.  Ours has left over Halloween candy in it this year ;)
Amy and I hit the Black Friday sales late Thursday night.  It was something else!  We were just mostly there for the experience.  They had holiday movies showing on the side of Cabela's, a DJ playing music at the center Christmas Tree with lots of dancing at the Outlet Mall.  The stores were all completely packed.  Amy got some $50.00 jeans for $30.00 at American Eagle, and then we went to Target to get her bedroom blanket and pillow set (one of her Christmas presents).

We continued working on making gingerbread houses for our family party

Rick and Kelsee brought Lincoln over to our house for the first time.  He is doing well. 

The day came for the gingerbread house making party.  We listened to Christmas music, wrote our missionaries, had a soup, salad, and rolls luncheon, visited with each other.  
The kids played downstairs and outside.

And we took lots and lots of pictures....

Here is a photo of the finished product

And we received our very first Christmas card of the year from Megan and Dan!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Brian's birthday on the 22nd and the birth of Lincoln Glenn...

It was Brian's lucky birthday on the 22nd (because he turned 22)!  Chloe made a wonderful dinner of sushi for him and the cupcakes above.  He had a great birthday, his first with his sweetheart, Chloe.

The next day on the 23rd, Rick and Kelsee went into the hospital for a checkup at 3:30 pm, and they came out with a scheduled c-section for 8:30 pm.  Little Lincoln Glenn was born at 9:03 pm, weighing 8 lbs. 4 oz. and 18 1/2 inches long.

We got to have May over quite a bit while Kelsee was in the hospital and what a treat it was getting to know her favorite things.  She loves to fall asleep to music, "Let it Snow!" "Lava" among others.  
She is a delight!

This was May's first time meeting him

Luke asked to go sledding, although it was tough finding a little snow, they had fun.

We had fun doing May Kelly's hair and playing with her here at the house while Mom was at the hospital.

From Todd:  Hello, this is Elder Stout! 

SO! This week was WACKY!! We had meetings, Zone Conference, Splits,
and new missionary training! And they are ALL in Niigata, Which is
about an hour away by train! So, me and Elder Stout spent almost
everyday waking up extra early to catch the train and barely make it
to different meetings every day! I guess I am becoming a pro and am
really happy for all of the instruction on Japanese rails that Dad
gave me in High School. I didn't think I'd need it, but apparently in
the winter time, all Niigata Elders are encouraged to use basically
only buses and trains for travel because of the snow. So I am probably
gonna spend a ton of time on trains! That sounds way too fun to me.
So, we went to Zone Conference this week, and it was FILLED with jokes
about the two Elder Stouts. I think that just being here is making
everyone's spirits rise a little bit. 

I guess that makes sense.. Me and Elder Stout seriously have SO MUCH
FUN every day!! It is just like before our missions, except for the
fact that we are talking with lots of people instead of playing video games.
It's kinda unfair.. For the first time, I haven't had any negative
thoughts while doing work, it doesn't feel too hard! On
Thursday, me and Elder Stout went to 7-11 and got Thanksgiving dinner,
which was basically whatever we wanted, and that was super fun too!
Don't worry about me being unhealthy though! I have lost 20 pounds
since coming to Japan! I hope it is easy to tell that I have.. Me and
Elder Stout have a workout plan of waking up at six and running in one
direction for 15 minutes, then dropping down and doing as many push ups
as we can, then running back to the apartment and doing another 15
minutes of some kinda concentrated workout. It is working pretty well,
I don't like running though!! SO sad that Elder Stout loves running..
Oh well. I guess the last thing that I really want to share is that me
and Elder Stout have a new goal of speaking only in Japanese. ALWAYS.
It is going pretty well! He asked me if we could speak some English
today to get him warmed up to write letters, and it probably took me a
good 30 minutes to get back into English mode.. So.. The goal is still
fluent by three months!

I can't remember if I already talked about investigators at all, but
T is our main investigator!  He is 22 years old and has a 
baptism date for Christmas, but he also struggles with commandments.
He has a girlfriend, and both of them have been trying
to meet with the missionaries, get baptized and married as soon as
possible, so we hope it will work!

M is probably our next best investigator.. He is kind of a miracle
story, So.. On Tuesday, while biking down a street, Elder Stout was riding PAST
this kid when the kid yells and stops HIM and asks if he can speak
English! Turns out, his name is M, he is from the Philippines and
speaks English.. Is way interested in the gospel and has kept every
commitment we've given him, and he comes and is planning on coming to
every event we have for forever. He comes every week to Eiken on
Tuesday, Eikaiwa Wednesday, Ping Pong Friday, AND Church on Sunday.
So. We found him.. Amazing!

A is kinda like M in a lot of ways.. She randomly showed up to
Eikaiwa and said that a few months ago some missionaries gave her some
scriptures to read, and never followed up with her, and she was
wondering if she could follow up with us instead.. So We've been
meeting ever since and she totally keeps every commitment and also
comes to every activity and church meeting. That is awesome.

I don't have any pictures of me as a baby (Send some
pwease) BUT HE LOOKS JUST LIKE ME!! I can't even tell you how happy
those pictures make me.. Elder Stout can tell you, I stared at them for
probably 10 minutes of email time.. I love him so much already, and I
am going to be his favorite uncle, no matter what. I can't believe
that we have someone else in the family who looks like me! I honestly
didn't think it would be even possible with my own children, seeing as
my traits are so recessive.. I love Luke and May so much too.. Feel
free to send like.. Hundreds of photos whenever. I am allowed to look
at emails during lunch and dinner, so I will definitely check if they
are sent. I could stare at those little sweet hearts for hours..

Last thing, me and John read that Luke story and laughed so hard
together, and then I had pride swell within my heart.. That kid.. He
is my inspiration.

My love for y'all is great. I love you so much!

-Elder Stout