Sunday, April 16, 2017

Well done, sweet Sis. Hall!!

On April 15, 2017, Jena officially completed her mission.  Today in Church the Bishop had her come to the front to acknowledge that and give her her missionary plaque.  She will be speaking in Church on April 30 at 9:00 at our Barber Acres Ward.  Someone asked Jena what she was going to do after her mission and she said, "Talk in Church".  Later she told me that we were going to have a "celebration".  Yes, we are.  We are very proud of her desire to serve as a missionary, her determination to do it when she was 19 and to serve for 18 months.  How blessed we have been to enjoy her service with her.

Some pictures from her last days as a missionary:

These are the sweet ladies who served with Jena at the Church History Museum minus Judy, a Church Service Missionary who worked the most directly with Jena.  She had to head out before the picture taking began but I understand that they have some pictures they are going to send us.
 Here is Sister Hall, 18 months after her first picture by the Museum Store sign.

 And of course, the beautiful spring flowers are everywhere around the museum and on Temple Square.
 Wednesday, Jena is heading out for her last day at the DI.
This is the great group of people Jena worked with at the DI.  She loved the DI and usually said that was her favorite thing to do.  She worked hard there, sorting clothes and taking baskets of clothes to the laundry area.  The first few weeks she usually took a nap when she got home.  But she loved being part of this team.  And we heard that she loved sox wars as well which occasionally would break out between the team.

Chad was one of her supervisors at the DI
 At the sorting table at the end of her shift
 One last shot outside the door.
This has been a great experience for her.  Judging by the tears and sweet comments and notes she received from both the Museum and the DI, it was a good experience for those she worked with as well.  We know that she has been an example of good and that Heavenly Father is proud of her service and her joy in that service.

Spring Break

Jena and I headed to AZ for some peace and relaxation---I did one small assignment for school, but in general, did nothing but sleep in, talk with my sister and her family, and sleep again.

Valerie, Jena and I did do a United Way Service Project for the Homeless in Mesa for 4 hours on Thursday.  We were assigned as a partner to one homeless person and took them around a LDS Church building near the Mesa Temple.  There was about 40 stations to meet a variety of the needs that they might have including clothes, paperwork like getting an IDs and birth certificates, haircuts, showers (in an outside mobile unit), insurance, free phones, food packages, etc.  It was amazing and a great experience.  We got to spend time with a woman who has been homeless for over 12 years.  We had lunch together and spent the time helping her touch bases with the services she wanted.  She was very happy to get some new clothes and take a warm shower.

Our selvie after the service project

 On Friday, Jena and Kylie headed over to Landi's house to help them with a birthday party for one of their little children who they are fostering.  It was a "Moana" party so they all wore grass shirts.
Cousins:  Jena. Megan, Kylie and Landi 
Sunday we headed to Anthem, AZ, which is one of the northern most cities in the Phoenix/Mesa area.
We went to Church with our friends from Hong Kong--the Hillams--it was so great to see them again. Katie made a great dinner for us afterwards and we got to enjoy their fun house.  As we were walking out of Church, Katie said "Let's call the Smiths" (another family from Hong Kong.) and so she did. Christine with just a moment noticed came and joined us for dinner and conversation.  (James, her husband, was out of town.)  It was so fun to catch up with her and her family.  We are already making plans to get together with the four of them on our next trip down to Mesa.  We had one of the funnest vacations to El Nito years ago with the four of them.  We might not recreate some of our scuba diving moments but we can do some serious game playing.

After visiting with the Hillams and Christine, we drove to Page, AZ, to spend the night.  We took this pictures at a view spot of the dam at Lake Powell.

The diversity and beauty of our world is amazing!!!  And I love bridges!!

And then there was #6....

Cooper Ace Russell
April 5, 2017
7 lbs. 10 oz.
21 inches long

This little boy was very tricky.  He was born in the early afternoon of April 5th but we saw this picture of him right after we had headed to bed on April 4th.  This worked out that way because he was born in Okinawa, Japan and the day arrives first there before the U.S.  He was also a very cooperative little boy as well.  When Tosha went to her doctor's appointment on Monday, the doctor was concerned about her continual struggle with her mastitis and decided that Cooper needed to be born.  Tosha was set to be induced on Wednesday night but she went into labor on her own during the night before after her water broke and made his appearance in his own way.  We were grateful that things went so smoothly and that both of them did great.  We are so happy to have him here and I can't wait until I get to see him in a month in person.

Right after he was born
Our newest "little panda"..... (that is one of Tosha's nicknames--)

Going for a walk with Daddy and big brother Niki........

Can't wait for all of these sweet grandchildren to be in the same place at the same time!!!

Hopefully in October of 2017!!!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

The Hall Round-up

The biggest news is that Ben will be leaving the Utah State Hospital on Tuesday and be coming to the CRU which is in Layton.  This is the inpatient unit connected with Davis Behavioral Health.  Ben has been there many times and it is not his favorite place but he is thrilled to be leaving the hospital and getting one step closer to home.  Although we feel that there are things he could have benefited from by staying a bit longer (mostly vocational opportunities), it will be a relief to have him closer to us.

Jena will be finishing her mission in TWO weeks.  It is hard to believe.  It has been a great experience for her and for us.  She will be changing to full-time at the Vista Center in Farmington where she goes to school for the rest of this school year.  After that we are undecided what she will do.  Her desire is college and we are checking into opportunities for that--this year or next year.

Tosha, Austen, and Niki are in the waiting game (as are the rest of us) for Baby2 Russell to make his appearance.  His due date is April 15.  Stay tune for more details.

Starting him young to love cars
Scott, Chantel, Scarlett, and James are all adjusting to their new lives together.  Scott is busy with work at IHC Instacare in Sugarhouse and working on the weekends at Red Lobster.  He is anxious for his next move upward which should allow him to quit work at the Red Lobster.

Image may contain: 2 people, baby and closeup
Scarlett and James

Jessica, Elessia, Liam, and Zander are all well in Magna.  Liam is enjoying the new swing set that they found on KSL and also rides on the city bus.  Their car has been in the shop for a while and they have been taking the bus everywhere they can't walk.  Liam loves it, but everyone else is ready to get that car back this week.  Jena and I got to babysit yesterday.
Zander playing with his aunt Jena

Liam was so excited that it was hard to
get him to stop for a picture.
 With James's arrival, Zander is now seems so much older even though he is just four months old.
Aunt Jena and Zander
Gary is busy supporting all of us in our crazy lives--picking up swing sets, running Jena here and there, helping his mom and spending lots of time doing family history work and going to the temple.

Me--I do homework, a little bit of stuff for the Utah Down Syndrome Foundation, housework rarely and cooking even more uncommon around here.  I did accept a full-time job with The Children's Center.  That means I will continue as an intern part time through the summer and then start full time in the fall when I have my CSW license-- around the first of September, I would guess.  That will be a big change for me as I haven't worked full time since I got married in 1978.  It has been an interesting life and I can only say that I believe that my life will continue to move in interesting ways. All I can try to do is follow the direction that I should go---and I couldn't do it without Gary's 150% support.

It has been Conference Weekend and so we have been touched and inspired by the leaders of the Church.  It has been a great reprieve from the busyness of the world, but it is time to get back and to move forward--a little bit better than before.  May it be that way for you as well.