Sunday, July 26, 2015

Speaking in Church

This Sunday our family spoke in Church.  We spoke in Sacrament meeting for our congregation here in Utah.  Usually children under the age of 12 aren't asked to speak in that setting.  However, our kids were super brave and didn't hesitate to say they'd speak!  The boys spoke about baptism and the holy ghost and Colin and I spoke about observing the Sabbath day and keeping it holy.  We've been away from this ward for 2 years while we were living in Asia so we also talked about our experiences in Singapore.  It was a great day for us.  Colin and I were overwhelmed with pride for our boys.  They're pretty darn amazing.  

I had each of the boys write their own talks.  I obviously helped them a little bit.  I helped them find scriptures and guided them with the flow of their talks, but the majority was written by them.  And... here they are!  

Hi, my name is Evan Miles Dean.  I am seven years old, I will turn 8 in March.  I will be going into the second grade.  In my free time I like to ride my bike and do par core.  My favorite food is spaghetti.  My family and I just moved to Utah from Singapore.  Singapore is hot and humid, it never snows or gets cold there.  It rains every day but the rain is not cold.  My favorite thing about Singapore was the food.  I especially liked garlic naan.  I made lots of friends and I had an awesome school.  I even learned how to speak in Chinese. 
I have been asked to talk about baptism.  I am excited to be baptized early next year.  When we were in Singapore I went to many baptisms at our church.  We go the room where people get baptized and watch them get dunked under the water and say a prayer. 
Baptism is a covenant.  It is the first covenant we make.  A covenant is a promise between Heavenly Father and us.  I make a promise to him, and he makes a promise to me.  When I get baptized I will promise to follow Jesus Christ, to always remember him, and to keep his commandments.  Heavenly Father promises me the Gift of the Holy Ghost, to forgive me, and he also promises me eternal life.  That means that when I die, I can live with him again. 
When I am baptized, I become a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  In the Book of Mormon, we are taught that our baptism is a promise to "Stand as a witness of God at all times and in all things, and in all places".  There were many times I was invited to go to a birthday party on a Sunday.  Because I go to church on Sunday, I didn't go to those parties.  Sometimes my friends asked me why I couldn't go.  I told them that because I go to Church on Sunday, I have to keep the Sabbath day holy, and that means I shouldn't do things like go to birthday parties on Sunday.  It made me feel good to be an example to my friends, and sometimes they still got me a gift bag. 
I am excited to be baptized.
I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.    

Hi, my name is Ryan Dean and I'm nine years old.  I will be turning 10 next month.  I'm going in to the 5th Grade.  I like to go swimming and ride my bike. I lived in Singapore for 2 years, and moved back to Utah about a month ago.   Singapore is smaller than Rhode Island, it is a city, a country, and an island.  Singapore has four seasons just like everywhere else: hot, rainy, hot, and  hotter.  You could even go to the beach on Christmas Day.  I made lots of friends in Singapore and we played with them every day.  We lived in a condo in Singapore so there were always lots of kids to play outside with.  The best part about living in Singapore was all of the different kinds of food we got to eat.  My favorite was chicken tikka masala, which is a type of curry. 
I've been asked to talk about baptism. In fact, I was baptized 3 days before I left to go to Singapore. I remember that most of my extended family came to my baptism.  My aunt came right after her mission to Portugal, my uncle and cousins came from Singapore, my grandparents came from Maryland. And other family members were here in Utah with us too.  So you can see why I went to Singapore.  I also remember I got baptized in this very building.  I was very excited that day because I got to be baptized and receive the Holy Ghost. 
I know that baptism in the first ordinance of the gospel and it makes you a true member of the church. Once you get baptized you get a special gift from God; the Holy Ghost.  The Holy Ghost is the 3rd member of the Godhead. Unlike Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost does not have a body of flesh and bone.  In D&C 130:22 it says, "The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as a mans'; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit.  Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us."  The Holy Ghost is a spirit who can speak to our minds and our hearts.  2 Nephi 32:5 says, "For behold, again I say unto you that if ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do."  In the sacrament prayer we learn that we will always have his spirit to be with us.  Having the Holy Ghost with me all the time makes me feel comforted.  
When I do good things for other people I feel the Holy Ghost.  I know it is the Holy Ghost because I feel good inside and I feel comforted. 
Sometimes the Holy Ghost can be felt or heard as a voice of warning telling us to not do something.  For example, the Holy Ghost could tell me not to ride my bike off the bluff. 
I know that baptism is an important step in living the Gospel.  I am grateful that I am baptized and have the Holy Ghost to be my companion. 
I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.  

Friday, July 17, 2015

First Swim Meet

The boys had their first multi-team swim meet this weekend at West Jordan Pool.  It was so fun to see them participate in a swim meet!  I think they both really had a lot of fun too.  So we've decided that we are going to do the pre-competition team this summer and hopefully we can join the competition team in the fall.  Ryan is definitely ready for comp but Evan has some work to do still and I can't really be at two different pools at the same time for practices so this is what we're going with!  

I was surprised by their competitive nature.  Ha ha ha!  I have no idea why I was surprised that they're competitive.  Have you met their parents??? Anyway, the boys have really only been swimming for a swim team for a couple of weeks.  Because of the whole moving back to the other side of the world situation, they weren't able to start at the "beginning" of the season.  There are some things they still need to learn and work on.  However, I am still so proud of them.  They're hard workers, they swim hard, practice lots, complain very little and enjoy the ride.  
I'm not sure how I got to be so lucky with these two but I sure do love them!  

This is Evan starting his first race.  

And swimming! 

Ryan starting (not the best form but still a cool shot!) 

And off he goes!  

The boys each swam 3 events.  Free, Back, and Breast races.  Maybe next time they can give butterfly a try!  

Monday, July 06, 2015


Boys are swimming a lot this summer.  Lessons, Swim Team, Water Park, oh my!  

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Back in the USA

Well, we are officially back in the USA.  For those who have asked and wondered, we are back in the same city that we were located in before our move to Singapore.  We're actually in the same house!  You see, we only purchased the home about 18 months before we started planning a move abroad.  Really, we had waited and waited and waited to BUY  a home thinking that maybe an opportunity to live abroad would come along.  We decided that after about 10 years of marriage and 8 years with Colin's employer, that the opportunity probably wasn't coming and we should just go ahead and settle in Utah.  So, we did.  We bought a home, and then less than 2 years later moved away.  SO... we weren't quite ready to get rid of the home, we both loved it so much.  And so we rented it out and that was an excellent decision because now we are back in our house and we love it just as much as we did before.  

But, anyway... we ARE back!  It is nice to be back.  Thank you to all who have welcomed us back and come to visit us this summer.  

We had forgotten how BIG things are in America, and how CHEAP they are too.  I was going to take a photo of how large this piece of pizza which costs less than $2 is when Evan's "long-lost brother" walked up!  What are the chances of seeing your best buddy at Costco?!  They were so excited!  

It's been great being around my family again.  I sure did miss this little guy and his big sister too.  He even likes me this year too!  

You know what else we missed?  Shopping!  
We sure have done a lot of that in the past couple of weeks!  

More cousins from California came to see us and went to Seven Peaks with us!  Yea!  

We received the first of our belongings from Singapore.  This is our air shipment.  They allowed us 1,200 pounds to have shipped to us by air.  That shipment only took about 4 weeks.  The majority of our belongings is on a sea cargo freight and that will take another 4 weeks before it arrives.  

But don't worry we have purchased some furniture so our house isn't really empty.  

I missed Mexican food.  The rest of us... I'm  not so sure.  
Ha!  I ordered this nacho plate for the boys for lunch.  They had no idea what kind of food this was.  I reminded them that they'd been very open minded about food in Asia and that this was the same.  Once they remembered that, they dug in and I think they actually liked it too!  Ha! 

Jax and Emry wanted a sleepover because apparently our kids just can't quite get enough of each other.  I think that's called making up for lost time.  Anyway, the kids had a sleepover and it was really fun!  

We went to the park. 

Made mini-pizzas, and had a grand time!  

It is good to be back!  

Monday, June 15, 2015

Farewell, Singapore

On June 16, 2015 our family said goodbye to Singapore.  We lived there for about 22 months.  It was an incredible experience for each of us in various ways.  I hope that we will always remember our time there and who knows, maybe one day we'll get to move back.