Sunday, September 28, 2014

Ending September

Daddy bought a 300 gallon oil tank, stand, and fuel oil from a co-worker this week at about 1/2 price new.  Topped off our own fuel tank for the winter (for those nights were get lazy and decide not to fire up the wood boiler).  He let the kids run wild while he drained the tank and loaded the truck. Upon completion, Daddy rounded up the kids to leave and found he was missing one. Porter was later found playing on this John Deere Lawn Mower making noises and trying to turn the wheel. Grand-Pa Thomas would be proud.  Anyone need a 300 gallon oil tank and stand?
We usually have snow on the mountains by this time, but the weather have been sunny and warm extending fall for a few weeks.
 The kids are a big help. Sometimes people think we are crazy with 5 kids. Now days it seems anything more the 2 kids in a family is strange but we have found the older ones really help out, at least when they want to.

 As part of Henry's Home School he went on a field trip with Elizabeth's class to a salmon hatchery where they got to see how they mix eggs and salmon sperm to and then learn about the life cycle of salmon.

 Calvin, shown below, is really starting to make facial expressions and really giggles when you talk to him. He has a joyful disposition.

Daddy completed his 2 week class on Collision Investigation and learned to do things like estimate the speeds and angles of vehicles involved in crashes and damage classification. Ended up with a 97% overall grade for the 80 hour class.  Thinking about pursuing the other 5 classes required to become a collision re-constructionist. Eyeing it as a possible retirement job to do between missions.  We will be getting 6 PFDs this year (about $11,000 total). We decided to put almost all of it towards the mortgage. We are trying to be as frugal as possible with a goal to be completely debt-free in about 6 years. We are constantly thankful for our many blessings in life. I know some financial advisors suggest at the current mortgage interest rates (2.9%) you should invest any extra income in the stock market (which currently averages returns of 6-12%) rather than pay off your mortgage. But we have chosen to follow the Prophet's counsel to strive to get out of debt first.
That's it for this week. See you next week.       

Monday, September 22, 2014

Fall Colors, Testimony Sharing

Fall is here, unfortunately fall usually only lasts about 1 week here in Alaska. We still enjoy it with an outing to a playground.  The kids are doing well.  Henry is doing well in home-school. Elizabeth is doing well in third grade. She forgets her homework from time to time but I think we all did at her age.  

I received a phone call from a telemarketer and turned the tables on her. We had a nice conversation about whether she was calling from India or somewhere in the United States. She indicated she was calling from the United States and ultimately I narrowed it down to Florida by guessing states. I asked her what church she attended? She replied she had recently found a church she likes, which gave her everything she wanted in religion. She indicated she was not supposed to be talking about personal things while at work, and at one point I heard a click on the phone and she immediately changed the conversation to something about my preference in voter something or other, then just as quick as she changed she then reverted back to our conversation. I realized she had to do that when her supervisor listened in for a brief moment. After a few minutes talking about her new found religion and exactly what it was she wanted out of religion, I learned she was taking the discussions with the LDS Missionaries.  I was still a little skeptical until I asked her if she knew the difference between a temple marriage and a marriage outside the temple? She replied that she was told a temple marriage lasts forever, while a marriage outside the temple ends upon death.  I spoke with her about baptism and Moroni's Promise in the end of the Book of Mormon. She said she wanted to be baptized.  I challenged her to be baptized and she agreed.  She asked how she could be baptized? I explained how the missionaries could make all the arrangements so she could be baptized by someone holding the proper authority. I then suggested she call the missionaries over and when they arrive, to ask them when she could be baptized, and also ask why they had not asked her yet. She agreed and said she was excited to read the promise in the Book of Mormon.  She said she had been praying for spiritual guidance and said she felt she was on the right path.  Having spoken with her for about 15 minutes, said she needed to get back to work so she did not get in trouble.  She said goodbye and hung up never once asking me any telemarketer questions or surveys.

I hope things go well for her, "Sharika from Florida". Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) I don't think she will have her current job for very long.

In the past I have always hung up on telemarketers, or played pranks on them. Now I feel I may have been wasting opportunities to share my testimony. No, I still will not participate in the surveys, but if they will listen, I might just take the opportunity to open my mouth and bear my testimony a little more often.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Week Off work- Work.

Lydia figured out how to take pictures with Daddy's phone during Church. Only 2 of the 100 she took were useable.

Below is the retaining wall/ planter bed I spent half the week building. It wraps around both sides of the deck and I planted rhubarb roots. Hopefully next year the rhubarb will grow and fill in bordering the deck.  

Henry is practicing his reading for baby Calvin.
Lydia is quite the drama queen, even when she is asleep.
I got the garage cleaned out so we can start parking in the garage for the winter. We bottled up several gallons of homemade apple sauce and apple butter. We tore down the green house and stored everything for next year.  We even covered the chicken run with a tarp to keep some of the snow out.  It was a good week of work while I was "off work".  Now I am starting a 2 week  - 80 hours Collision Reconstruction Class for work. This is the first of 3 classes. If I pass all three of the 2 week courses, I might have a good retirement job working for insurance companies as a Collision Reconstructionist.  
That's it for this week. 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Playing Catch Up

First, I must apologize for neglecting the blog for a few weeks. Due to my unique work, and duties, I had to work 24 days straight during the State Fair and averaged over 15 hours of work a day. I ended up working 138.25 hours of overtime in 2 weeks on top of my 80 hours of normal work.  Hopefully the pay check will reflect my hard work but almost everything in life was put on hold for the past 3 weeks.   Fortunately I earned myself a week off of work to get a few last projects done around the house before winter hits.  I just started a retaining wall/planter wall around the deck I should have completed next week. Lisa took Henry out of school and started home schooling him. He was in a class of 33 kids and was far advanced compared to his peers. While his peers were reading picture books consisting of one sentence per page, Henry was reading chapter books at a third grade level. Although its more work for Lisa, she feels it best to keep him learning rather than waste a year waiting for his peers to catch up with him.    
 Lydia loves to get into Mommy's make up and tries her best when we are not looking.

 The kids all went to the State Fair for some fun in the sun.

 Blue Berry picking turned into blue berry eating.  Mommy was the only one who had the self control to not eat every berry picked.

 Elizabeth had her 8th birthday, got some presents, and a rabbit.

 Cabbages from the garden.
Elizabeth was baptized on Saturday. She is growing up fast.
Till next week.....