Tuesday, June 30, 2015 - running a little late again this week, but my excuse is that it has been a VERY busy week and I am trying my best to get caught up.....plus we had lots of fun adventures that I want to share with all of you.
Last Monday was our final day with some of our family that were visiting. Quinn, Michelle and their kids spent the day in Norfolk at Nauticus and we met them back at the apartment for dinner. After dinner we decided to go get a Family Home Evening treat (because that is the most important part of family home evening) at Dairy Queen. And we found a new way for Elder Ashton to deal with the cars that get rear-ended - no need to call the body shop - just buy some colorful bungee cords to hold the trunk down. :) I think we need to put some of these on the mission supply list.
Last week we sent a group of missionaries home (I believe it was 15) and received 11 new missionaries. Monday was spent with preparations for the missionaries who were returning home - making sure they were all checked in to various flights, their baggage fees were paid and their boarding passes were printed out. Only one problem this time so I was able to complete all of that in about 2 hours....for 13 missionaries as two were picked up by their parents.
Tuesday morning departing missionaries caught their flights and Tuesday afternoon incoming missionaries were picked up at the airport and brought to the Norfolk building where we fed them dinner. Quinn and family had left our apartment early on Tuesday morning to head to Washington DC so I was anxious to hear if everything went well with their flights. I think the baseball game they hoped to see was rained out (at least partially):/ but hopefully they still had a good time. We sure enjoyed having them visit!!!
Wednesday was transfer day with lots of missionaries in the office - new ones and established ones picking up new companions.
Sister Shaw talks with two seasoned Elders wait for the new missionaries to complete their training. Note the bright yellow reflective tape on the book bags that Elder Ashton expects them all to use as part of making sure the missionaries stay safe - whether they are driving, walking, or biking.
Seasoned Sister Missionaries wait for their new companions to complete training
Elder Sommer on the left, "What did you just say?"
Elder Bullinger on the right, "I said I"m from Wyoming - you got a problem with that?"
Not really, just more sets of missionaries waiting for the new companions - but the Elder on the right really is from Wyoming.
Wednesday afternoon the missionaries had not been gone long when the rain began to come down....in buckets. In about 30 minutes, the parking lot was one big puddle!
The street was also a big puddle.
The rain finally slowed down enough that we could make it home. And when we turned on the TV we found that we were under a tornado watch - and it stayed that way for a couple of hours.
We also received a copy of the Virginia Hurricane Preparedness Guide at the office this week. I thought it looked less intimidating if I set it up in front of my computer monitor where these two cute boys smile at me every day!
The beautiful crepe myrtle trees continue to bloom. It seems that the white ones bloomed first followed by light pink ones and the more vivid colors are continuing to bloom now. I noticed this short street of more vivid pink ones - a feast for the eyes.
By Friday, mission activities had settled back down to normal and Colby and his family returned to Chesapeake from Washington, D.C. It was so fun to hear about all the things the family did while they were in DC.....brought back memories of when we took our children to Washington, D.C.
Saturday morning we did a couple of loads of laundry and then headed over to Norfolk to the Nauticus Museum, Battleship Wisconsin, and a cruise of the Norfolk bay area.
Colby's family in front of the shells for the guns on the Wisconsin.
Cooper and Tucker showing off their "guns" :)
We all had a great time in the museum. - Duncan is steering a boat in a virtual scenario.
Tucker and Cooper get a chance to see some of the equipment used for steering boats
We learned about some of the history associated with the Hampton area and the waterways around here.
I was very interested in this huge rope.....I think it was about 5" in diameter....can't even imagine how heavy it was!
Duncan trying out the pedal operated aircraft model.
Display outlining tests that were conducted trying to determine how many layers of steel were needed to reinforce the hull of ships.
On the cruise.....in the background you can see #67 - the USS Cole. I'm not sure what the yellow apparatus was, but it appeared to me that they were repairing a section of the bow .
A little better picture of it
There were several families on the little cruise with us that appeared to be native to India. This darling little boy sat in front of me and I wanted to take his picture as he had big, beautiful eyes, but every time I got ready to snap a picture he turned his head.
The white building on the left of the picture is a clam and oyster processing plant....the guide told us this building is where the clams are processed for Campbell's Clam Chowder.
In this port, there is a huge container operation. You can see that the red ship in the background (from a Scandinavian country) is being loaded with shipping containers using the giant cranes. You can also see a ship that looks like half of it is missing - that ship would be used for amphibious landings.
After a lovely 2 hour cruise where we learned that Norfolk is the largest port in the world and that all the naval ships could be docked there at one time without running out of space, we got off the ship and took a group photo of Elder Ashton (Grandpa) with Colby, Miranda and boys.
I am still having a great time watching all the foliage that surrounds us here in Virginia. One morning we stopped to drop off Elder Ashton's suits at the cleaners and I noticed these seed pods on one of the trees in the parking lot.
Yesterday I ran to WalMart to pick up some laundry soap and found more trees with the same kind of seed pods.
Remember the crepe myrtle tree from last week with last years spent pods? and me referencing that might relate to getting old. This week I thought I noticed something different about this tree so I took a closer look......it is rejuvenating. Do you notice the new buds alongside the spent ones?
It's beginning to bloom - a lovely deep fuschia color!
A full bloom on one branch
That made me think about how the Atonement can work in our lives and rejuvenate us - making our lives beautiful again.
The Ashton "boys" involved in a rousing game of FARKLE while they wait for dinner......the littlest one was the champion of the week - he won the majority of the games :)
A picture with Elder and Sister Ashton and the boys before they start for home.....this picture was taken after they spent the day at the beach and some of them were sunburned and ready to rest up from the beach. Grandma and Grandpa (aka Sister and Elder Ashton) are going to be lonely in the quiet of their apartment without any grandkids to keep them company.
Cooper honoring Sister Ashton's request to go slower so she can get there and take a picture of them loading up the van. I'm sure glad he did that, because I could feel the tears starting to fill my eyes and watching his exaggerated slow steps made me laugh:) I LOVE teen-age grandkids! (for real)
Two beautiful Hibiscus blooms....we tried to grow Hibiscus in Arizona and I loved how beautiful they were, but they were about 1/2 the size of these beauties.
What a great two weeks we have had enjoying the company and fun of having some family here with us. The time spent with family has reinforced the feelings I had when we came to Virginia, that although it would be hard to be away from family, I have been richly blessed with a great family and I have a responsibility to share with other people the things I've learned about the importance of staying close as a family. I hope those people I work with back here can feel my love for my family and my desire for them to enjoy the same blessings of a great family and great friends.
P.S. The humidity is a killer!! I frequently carry a paper towel with me to wipe the perspiration from my forehead and the ends of my hair. Can hardly wait to get back to the dry heat of Arizona :)