Friday, July 31, 2015

Catching Up On Our Church Calling Changes

Adam alliterates the title with the letter C:

This is just a quick note as I don't think we've recorded some changes in our callings at Church. Elissa was released as the Young Women's President back in June. She has since been called as  teacher in Primary and is teaching the nine and ten year olds , which she is enjoying

Jayde was called as an Assistant Ward Pianist early in the year and is playing the prelude postlude music in the chapel before and after Sacrament meeting each Sunday.

Seth has been called as the Deacon's Quorum President and is taking the lead in teaching some classes and organising the Deacons.

I'm still the Sunday School President. I've been taking the youth classes several times as both my youth class teacher were released into other callings, and it took a while before new ones were called. I've also been teaching Temple Preparation classes. I've done the Temple prep course pretty much 3 times back to back, firstly with the Kingsbury's and Daniel B, then with the Careys, then with the Knights and Aki P. The Careys have actually now been through the Temple as well as Aki, who left on his mission only a week or two ago. It looks like I'm about to start another course again as a frioend's daughter has just gotten engaged and is plannning to go to the temple in October to get married.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Is That A Fringe I Spy?

Adam notices something different about Jewel:

Jewel decided that she would like to try having a fringe, so Elissa took her down for a haircut after school on Monday of last week. Apart from the obvious colour difference, we do think it makes Jayde and Jewel look rather similar. In fact, Jayde had come along for the ride when Jewel got her hair cut and the hairdresser asked if they were twins ... :)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Sisters vs Elders: Feeding the Boys

Adam goes on trade-offs:

Somebody started up a meal roster for the missionaries in our Ward recently, which means that several people have been putting their names down to feed the Sister Missionaries on Sunday nights when we usually feed them. As a result, we've had the Elders over the last two Sunday nights for dinner instead of the Sisters.

We currently have two Elders in the Ward, Elder Kim and Elder Cui (pronounced like "chway"). Elder Kim was born in South Korea, however his family moved to Virginia in the USA when he was 17 yeas old. Elder Cui is from Beijing in China. It's been interesting to hear from Elder Cui about the Church in China - that there are apparently two branches in Beijing with over 100 members in each.

Jewel and Elder Cui played chess whilst waiting for us to finish preparing dinner.

As per our regular tradition, knowing that we were going to have the Elders over, we made sure that we had damper buns and kangaroo burgers ready for dinner that first night.

We also had sticky date pudding for dessert, however Elder Kim doesn't eat dessert on his mission. Early on his mission he worked with people in trying to give up their smoking addictions. Another missionary who had done similar work had given up sweets/desserts during their mission as a way to develop empathy for those he was working with in overcoming addictions. Elder Kim has also chosen to do the same thing. Elissa knew that Elder Kim didn't eat desserts, so she decided that she would have some fresh vegemite scrolls for him whilst the rest of us had sticky date pudding.

I also had a chance to go out on trade offs with the Elders last Thursday night. The appointment they had set with Nancy, one of their investigators fell through as she was sick, so we ended up going to see the Travers, one of my home teaching families.

Afterwards I took Elder Kim for a quick grocery shop at Erindale. As a missionary it was always nice to get some extra groceries from the members, so it's nice to be able to "pass it on" when you're "back home".

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

What Has Our Family Got Against Garages?

Adam does an Elissa:

Last Friday was 10 years since "the accident". It's something that Elissa is always very cognisant of. She even posted some pictures of it up on Facebook with a recent photo of Jewel with the caption "10 years ago today. Miracles still happen." She also put a link up to my Tribulation talk which talked about the accident.

Jayde was working on last Friday evening, and needed to be picked up at 11PM. I'm the one who usually picks her up and brings her home from late night finishes. As I went to pull out of the driveway there was  a massive bang. I'd tried pulling out before the garage door was fully up and had hit it with the top of the car.

I checked and I'd damaged the garage door pushing one side completely out of it's running track. After pushing it back in I tried the door. It would close, but only open up about 1.5-1.6 metres high and then stop - not enought o get our cars out. We asked Dannielle, whose car was parked on the street, to go get Jayde, and we'd sort out the garage door problem in the monring.

On the Saturday morning we tried a number of different things - checking the manual, and resetting to see if it was a motor or computer problem with the door motor. We also asked Andy to come and have a look for us. He identified that I had bent the brackets holding the door frame and that the door was at an angle. I made the decision to get in a professional garage door repairer. I rang around and eventually got someone who could coem around in the afternoon.

The repairer spent three hours working on the door, and managed to get it up to allow us to get our car's out - just in time for me to go get Jayde from her latest work shift. When I got back I was told that he wasn't able to fix the door completely and that it would now need replacing. Of course, we were also going to be charged nearly $700 for the work required to be able to tell us that. :(

I didn't get any photos of the bent frame - too difficult whilst the cars were still in the garage. I could've taken a shot of the door from the otuside at an angle but didn't. After the attempted repair job the door looked fairly normal, despite the fact that it was no longer functional.

We rang our car insurance company, who reckon that because it's our own home, the car insurance doesn't cover it and that we'd need to talk to our home insurer. We've rung them and submitted a claim, but being a weekend the person was just taking details and didn't know if we were actually covered or not. I'll also need to put in an insurance claim to get the top of the car fixed as well.

The up shot is, we can't use the garage. The door is down permanenetly, and we'll potentially need $3K plus for a new door. Until then, we also need to juggle 4 cars in the 2 parking spots out the front of our house (fortunately Munirah left for Austria for 2 weeks on the Saturday night, so we only have to juggle 3 cars for 2 weeks.) Our family seems to hate garages :(

Still, as I point out in my talk "In the school of mortality, the tutor is often pain and tribulation, but the lessons are meant to refine and bless us and strengthen us, not to destroy us."

Monday, July 27, 2015

Sister Kendal Levine Remembers Us!

Adam is happy:

We were happy to discover that Sister Kendal Levine, the missionary who was in the car accident has staretd to remember us. She's made friends with Elissa on Facebook and we were the topic of their group Facebook update on Sunday (our time).

Due to the head trauma from the accident, Kendal is learning to re-control her body - language, motor skills, memory, etc. It's been a hard, yet miraculous 10 months so far, but there is also a long way to go. She only started recalling things from Canberra recently, so it was exciting to see that she remembers us and the times she came over to visit with us.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Apparently the Nineties = Grunge

Adam becomes a fashion photographer:

Dannielle went out to a "Nineties" themed dance two Saturday's ago. In trying to work out how to dress up as the "Nineties" she decided that apparently "grunge" represented that decade.

I reckon that Dannielle looked too nice to be grunge. Looked more 50s/60s rocker to me

Saturday, July 25, 2015

WinterCon 2015 - Camel Up and Smash Up

Adam controls a robotic dinosaur army:

It was the annual little brother event of CanCon's last weekend - WinterCon. As usual it was a much smaller event - just a single paviliion, a small number of stores, with the rest being gaming tables for miniatures gamers and the Canberra Games Society.

We arranged to meet up with the Andrew & Kerrilee for our regular chance to try out new games, although it was a little bit light on from our family. Jayde didn't come as she had a party and then work, whilst Jewel had a basketball game on (the "plait game"), so whilst Seth, Andrew & Kerrilee and their boys and I all arrived around 9:30, Elissa and Jewel ddin't arrive until 11:30.

We grabbed two tables - stashed our vast array of snacks on one and then sussed out games to play. There weren't a lot of games to choose from compared to normal, although we discovered after lunch that there were another dozen or so large boxes full of games that weren't on display.

Our first experiement was with Camel Up, as it was a new game that could handle the six players we currently had. The game concept relates to camel racing in Egypt, which whilst sounds like an odd idea for a game, it works well and was quite fun. Andrew & Kerrilee enjoyed it enough to purchase the game later in the day.

We had several games, wrapping up once Elissa and Jewel arrived. We then broke up into the "adult" and "kids" tables, as most games don't cater for eight players that we now had.

For the adults, I went and grabbed Mad City, which was almost like a SimCity type game where you scored points for arranging random tiles into city grids. It was OK, but after several rounds we decided that it was bit basic and that we'd move onto something a bit more fun.

Next, the adults moved onto Smash Up. Smash Up is a game that I've been wanting to try for a while. Each player chooses two sets of cards featuring "factions" which they then merge into one deck and use to compete against the other players to control "bases". The idea of the "smash up" is the combining of the two deck factions together to create a different combination of strengths and weaknesses each time you play. For instance, during our first game I chose Robots and Dinosaurs as my initial factions. Elissa had Wizards and Zombies, Kerrilee had Aliens and Ninjas and Andy had Pirates and Leprachauns. Each faction hs it's own unique abilities.

The base game has eight of these factions, but there are currently an additional 25 factions available in exisiting expansions with more being released each year. The most recent is the "Pretty Pretty" expansion which features Cats, Princesses, Fairies and Mythic Horses (eg unicorn, pegasus, hippocampus, etc), which, funnily enough, caught Jewel's eye.

 The final game we played was Army of Frogs, a strategy game involving the palcement and movement of frog shaped tiles. Elissa really liked this game and it had the advantage of not being a long game to play.

We eventually wrapped up after 4PM, with Elissa having to go get Jayde to work, and Andrew and Kerrilee having to go rescue from Liam being locked out of home on returning from work. I stayed back with the other three boys, allowing them to finish their game of Smash Up before we detoured home via Costco to grab pizza for dinner.

Another fun day. Unfortunately, our game choices weren't quite as homogenous on this day. I'd really like to get Smash Up, but Elissa isn't keen on it, and vice versa with Army of Frogs.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Holiday Lunch Not at Pâtissez

Adam eats:

A new cafe called Pâtissez opened up in Canberra about 2 months ago that is getting international attention for its food offerings. Here are some photos from Pâtissez's Facebook page:

What they're becoming quite famous for though is their "Freakshow" milkshakes.

I managed to get the last Friday of the school holidays off of work, and took the kids in to check it out. We found the cafe in Manuka, but there were long lines - 45 minutes to place an order - and the kids decided that that was too long to wait in the cold of Canberra winter for milkshakes. We decided that we'd come back after their city store opens in October and things are hopefully a bit easier to get into. Unfortunately they're only open during the day, and because they make all their ingredients overnight, they often run out by just after lunch time.

We ended up going into Civic instead and having lunch in the downstairs food court in Canberra Central before checking out an array of shops that the kids were interested in and doing some grocery shopping. (Snacks for WinterCon the following day!).

Lunch was notable for Seth trying his first ever Doner Kebab and discovering that he loves them.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Jupiter, Venus and the Moon

Adam star gazes:

Here's a photo of something that I'd been wanting to capture over the last couple of weeks, but you may need to click on the picture to enlarge it see it more accurately. This photo from last Saturday evening shows the moon. At about the one o'clock position from it, you can see Venus as a bright star. At about the two o'clock position from the moon, and heading almost straight down from Venus you should be able to see a much fainter star. The faint star is actually the planet Jupiter.

The Jupiter - Venus conjunction had been visible for several weeks, but with cloudy skies and timing in general it was my first chance to grab a decent photo of them. The crescent moon was an added bonus.

I had also taken these photos as well, but I didn't think they were as good as the one above. You can see more of the moon in this shot. Venus and Jupiter are the two brighter stars in a similar configuration to the previous photo.

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Dangerous Plait and Twelve Points

Elissa cheers......

Jewel had a great basketball game this Saturday. She dosen't usually score any points but is great at defence. I have been encouraging her to take more risks and shoot more - even if she misses. She started taking more shots and ended up getting 6 baskets (12 points) in the game. Those were her first points this season. I was so proud of her. Especially as she wasn't looking particularly well and was complaining of a sore throat - I bought her a cool drink to pick her up.

The interesting part of the game was the other team complained about Jewel playing with her hair in a plait so we had to change it, first a bun that kept falling out and then a pony tail. She has always worn a plait and we weren't aware there would ever be a problem with plaits, especially as she is so tall most don't come up to her plait. Researched at home and it as an offical rule of Basketball Australia.

They lost the game 35 to 29 but I am so proud of her effort. I also left my phone at work over the weekend so no photos - but here is a link to a previous post and her deadly plait.