Saturday, July 30, 2016

Week #74 & #75

For those who read my last letter, just to give an update for the house ... it is SO much better. After two fumigations and hours upon hours of cleaning, we are finally living in our own house. And being in our house, we have been a lot better at having time to work the area.

As for the area itself ... the last eight months (my last two area) were very "pueblo" ... small towns with 90% of the people working the humble farmlife. But here in Manantales, I have returned to the city. Supposedly anyway. It is practically a desert, with "fraccionemientos" (basically really nice neighborhoods behind big walls ... they look like some sort of compound from the outside) and fields of corn. That 99% of our area, and it makes working somewhat difficult because to enter one of these fraccionemientos, we need the name of the person, which house they live in, and permission of the person through a phone call to security. So ... not the easiest way to work.

*** Between Brothers ***

07172016 #74

Dear Landon, I finally had my first basketball game in about six weeks! We got destroyed. But I got seven points including a three pointer. Joy is in heat...... AGAIN! She will keep sleeping on us and meow just all the time. We had an awesome dinner today. We had pork chops, chicken drumsticks, steak, and mashed potatoes. The Wii U is so fun. I'm mostly this guy named Corrin. He is a beast.  Someone named Cloud might be the best in the game, I sometimes use him, Keaton mostly uses him when we play. Four of our ducks flew away. The other two, mom, dad, and I took the other two to the canal with two of the other ducks. Mom brings them food everyday. I guess that is all I have for this week. See ya, love ya man!           ColtBolt

Dear Landon, there wasn't much free agency moves or trades this week, and I've still been practicing at the church for an hour most days of the week. And I always walk to the church when we go because it's a PokeSpot. A PokeSpot is a place where you can go get items in Pokemon GO, so I think that is cool, and there is also another one at the park near there. And whenever mom or dad go somewhere and are driving, I'll come and catch some Pokemon and hit the PokeStops on the way, because there are rarer Pokemon out farther from where we live. Kitten is in heat again because she is being so cuddly and is meowing loud. Whenever she meows, I'll answer back and she'll keep on answering. If only Oreo wasn't neutered, we would have lots of kittens to take care of until we give them away. Speaking of kittens, Maga's kittens are at the age of where they can be given away. The one that I like the most, they are thinking of keeping it because he is to dang cute. We're having another special dinner today from the smoker with stuff we haven't smoked before: drumsticks, and pork chops. But mom doesn't seem to like the two, so dad is making some steak for her. The smell is just mouthwatering. I want it now!     Love, Cooper

Dear Landon, Mom wanted me to tell you that I've recently been making the waffles for Sunday Circles each week, and there hasn't really ever been much of, "FIRST WAFFLE!!!" every morning since there's usually two less people (because Cal usually sleeps in). We got the Wii U a few days ago and it is pretty fun. We've just been playing Smash Bros and there are a lot of new guys. The only characters from previous Smash games that aren't in this one are Snake, Ice Climbers, and Wolf. On Tuesday, Dad, Cal, Travis, and I went wave running. It was way fun because we brought a tube and hooked it to the back of Roxy. I was the best tuber lqtm. So yeah... Wuv, Keat

07242016 #75
Dear Landon, Dad, Coop, Keaton, and I went wave running today and brought a tube. I wasn't a big fan of the tube. When I was on it, I got nervous because Cooper said it hurt when he fell off, when I was on it, I bit my tongue pretty badly and started feeling a little sick. I finished the the Sapphire Pokemon game and started all over again with new pokemon! Keaton right now is playing Emerald is going to beat the 7th gym soon. In Sapphire, it took me a few hours to catch rayquaza. But it took me a few minutes to find Latias. My party in my new game is going to be, Swampert, Gardevoir, Aggron, Breloom, Swellow, and Roselia. My party before was, Sceptile, Slaking, Tentacruel, Skarmory, Manectric, and Hariyama. I will have a basketball game tomorrow against the third best team in the league. My team has the hardest schedule out of every team. That is all I have for this week so love ya man!  ColtBolt

Dear Landon, definitely wasn't my most productive week of the summer with really nothing to talk about. I did forget to tell you that we got a Wii U last week, and we have got some fun games on it like: Super Smash Bros, Splatoon, and Nintendo Land. Nintendo Land is a game where there are lots of mini games or attractions. They all have a different theme for it with different characters. The main ones we do are Mario Chase, Luigi's Mansion, and a Samus themed one. We visited Maga's today, and sadly, all kittens have been sold ):. And Princess will just meow and roll over where ever she goes. I don't know if she is stressed about her kittens, or just in heat and being really cuddly. We also went to the lake today and it was fun. It was finally my first time tubing. I don't know if I like it or I'm scared to go on it. A little bit of both, but I mainly have fun. Ping Pong was one the few things I did this week, but I did a lot of it. Whenever Colt and Keat would be playing on the Wii U, I would be playing Ping Pong with the table up so it would bounce back to me every time. Yesterday,  was the 24th and there were a lot of fireworks going on. The Lavallees were doing those BIG ones, and they sounded like explosions. They went on and on for about an hour yesterday.    Love, Cooper

Dear Landon, we visited Maga today, but she had no kittens. :( All of them have been given away. Also, Livi came over yesterday do give us all hair cuts, but she decided to give me a different look. So now, my sides are almost bald and if I wear aviators, then I look like a marine. It's fine though. We went wave running today and it was normal amount of fun lqtm. We had the tube, but Coop and Colt didn't seem to care for it, so we didn't last that long. When I was on it though, Dad skipped me and I fell off and this two girls on a wave running came speeding right close to me. They were probably 15 ft away! Dad and I were pretty mad because there's too many people on boats that shouldn't be on boats. Right after that I got back on and Dad kept driving, but it must've been too rough or something because my license actually ripped off the ring thing. He said we could replace it though. I can't even find a life jacket that fits me though lqtm. The life jacket I have right now is a Men's Large XD bigger than Cal's. So yeah... Ya boi, Beaton Klackham

  • Dear Colton: It is good to hear you guys are finally taking out "las chicas" (the girls, in Spanish). Honestly, I didn't like the tube pulled by the waverunner either. That's far too rough. Water spits right into your face. But in the end, still fun. Wow ... you start over pretty quick with your games! Did you not try to beat the Battle Zone? That's when real strategy comes in. Sounds like some pretty strong parties, other than Roselia. What? Why? Just Kidding. Keep working on your basketball skills, soon  you'll be able to dunk it!
  • Dear Cooper: The gaming never ends! I just hope when I come back and I want to play and try the new games that all you boys aren't sick of them already, leaving me to play alone. Just kidding, I doubt that will happen ... right? Of course I already know SSB, and I heard about Splatoon, which looks really cool. I don't have a clue about NintendoLand. No more kittens? So sad! Now that I've thought about it, tubing behind the waverunners is quite dangerous, but I like a bit of danger. Enjoy the fun of DANGER ...
  • Dear Keaton: So you are rocking the "jarhead" look like I do? Welcome to the club, it is great! Darn girls not paying attention to their water-driving. Glad you are okay! What happened with your other jacket, doesn't fit you anymore? You too buff? Is Callahan using mine? And the most important question ... what the freak does "lqtm" mean??

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Weeks #72 & #73 - La Cucuracha!

Where to start. This week it has been quite nuts! I guess I need to talk about last week as well, as I didn't get a letter out then. It was the last week of the change, but I was 90% sure that I wouldn't have changes. That was, until Saturday at 8:40ish pm when I got a call from the assistants. I was pretty bummed. The next few weeks in this area were going to be so great! With four baptisms and the wedding of Omar and Marisel. My last Sunday consisted of goodbyes and goodies with everyone.

 The district in Teotlaitzingo

As for my new companion and new area. I am with Elder Diaz from the Dominican Republic, and I am in the "LaLibertad" stake again. In fact, I'm in the sister ward of where I started my mission (Forjadores). It is called Manantiales. So while I was sad to be leaving Teotlaltzingo, I quickly got excited about seeing familiar faces and being in a familiar area.

Familiar Faces!

The challenge here is we are opening the area. I haven't have much experience with this, just one time in my first area when I was new and didn't know how to do anything! Elder Dias thankfully has some experience.

Our mission president was very straight with us, telling us the elders before us weren't very obedient and that is why the area had been closed down. So we are starting from scratch. At least there is one ray of hope, one 18-year old fellow named Miguel Angel. He has a baptismal date of the 23rd.

Here in the new area, we don't even have a house yet! On Monday, when we got there, we opened it up and it was horrifying. Lots and lots (and LOTS) of cucarachas (cockroaches in English!) Surprisingly, to this point I have never had cockroach problems ... but we do now! We've been struggling with the problem all week. We got the house fumigated, and then we had to clean up all the dead bodies. And there are STILL a lot. We actually had to have it fumigated a second time, and we can't even enter the house again for a couple of days. Now I know you can't get rid of all cockroaches, but we'd like to at least get it under control!

We've been staying with our district leader, which has honestly been rather fun ... but it is time for our own house so we can unpack and plan and study better.

So to sum up ... the first week here in Manatiagles hasn't been super great, but when my comp and I talk about the situation, we laugh, knowing these will be quite the memories later on. But ... I will take a minute to testify to the importance of cleanliness. The Spirit will have a tough time visiting if you are in a pigsty. Please take time to clean your room, your bathroom, your car, where ever you are so that Spirit can be with you.

 Enjoying some donuts!

Picture proof of the package mommy sent ...
One of the mission secretaries said international rates just skyrocketed!
A 2kg package did cost $180 (pesos) and now would be $700!

With the craziness of the cockroaches and transfer/travel, Landon wasn't able to write personally to his brothers these past couple weeks, but here are their letters to him ...

*** Between Brothers ***

07032016 #72
Dear Landon, yesterday I watched Ip Man again. I forgot how good the movie was. It's probably one of my favorite movies. I watched Ip Man 2 just barely and it's also really good. Now I just need to watch Ip Man 3. I've been driving a few more times, but I still need some practice lqtm. I had to rearrange my room to get an AC unit in my room because in the morning, my room gets up to about 90 degrees! It's kind of like the white one we put in the living room, but it's better. I actually like my room better now the way I arranged it. OCD comes in handy :P The NBA is kinda crazy right now. My favorite team is still the Celtics and there's a slight possibility that Kevin Durant could go there! They also got Al Horford (he's a center and probably wouldn't remember him after a year and a half lqtm). I really wish that the Celtics had picked Buddy Hield for there pick. He was probably the best shooting guard in the NCAA last year. Now Boston just needs a good power forward. We went to Rodizio's today. It's up there on my list of favorite restaurants shortly behind Tepanyaki and Windy Ridge. I had a dream that I woke up and you came into my room and said, "I'm taking your room." I was completely unaware of the fact that you weren't in Mexico lqtm. So yeah... Wuv, Keat

Dear Landon, we are still going to the church often, and still working on the drills, but there isn't much to update about it. But in the NBA, there is a big update in free agency. The contracts teams are signing to players are crazy. They're basically spending $20,000,000 on bench players every year. There has been plenty of signings, but I'll go to the more important re-signings first. Whiteside re-signs with MIA, DeRozan re-signs with TOR, Drummond stays with DET, Conley stays with MEM, Batum stays with Hornets, LeBron stays with CLE. And most of the guys I just listed above are making between $20-$30 million a year. And there have been other people going to other places. Horford to BOS, Rondo to CHI, Dwight Howard to ATL, Parsons to MEM, Evan Turner to POR, Joe Johnson to the Jazz (OH MY GOSH, THAT'S AWESOME), Deng to LAL, Jeff Green to ORL, and Biyombio to ORL as well. KD, Wade, Gasol, Nowitzki, and others are still available. And KD says he is making his decision TOMORROW. Whether he is re-signing or goes elsewhere, I'll be flipping out tomorrow! You know how I got your Charge after you left for your mission? That broke a while ago. And I got a replacement for that... but it broke earlier this week. So now I got a Charge HR to wear. Earlier today, we went to Rodizio Grill for dad's Father's Day present. If you don't remember, it's a place where the waiters walk around tables with a sword with some kind of meat on it, and they'll slice some for you if you want it. Anyway, it was amazing like last time tasting the different varieties of meat. And we smoked some ribs again, and they just fell off the bone with every bite, and that is what makes them so good. We got to visit the kittens again, and they have began to walk, or should I say hop? Whenever they see mama, they just hop right to her. It's funny to see, but I still can't get over of how cute they are.     Love, Cooper

Dear Landon, Kevin Durant is going to make his decision tomorrow to decide where he is going to go. I want him to stay with the Thunder but he has a good chance of going to the Warriors. We went to go see the kittens again. When they run, well they don't run, they hop. It's so funny to look at. We thought that one of them was lost because we didn't see it in a while. Princess grabbed one of the kittens by the neck and took her under Maga's bed. Mom followed them and looked under the bed. When she looked under, she saw the missing kitten! Today for dad's Father's Day present, we went to Rodizio and all I can say is that is sssssssssssssssssssooooooooooooooooo good. I mostly like the trytip, and the bacon wrapped chicken. I was so full at the end though. Dad has been smoking a lot of stuff on the grill. My favorite was the ribs. They just fall off the bone when you touch them. So that is about it, anyway, love ya man!           ColtBolt

07102016 #72
Dear Landon, Pokemon has made its comeback once again. Cal and Coop got the new iPhone app, Pokemon Go. It uses your surroundings and tells you if there are Pokemon near. I might get it later, but idk. Cooper is using YOUR old phone (now the family phone) as it requires GPS. I started playing Pokemon Battle Revolution again. Nobody else really likes it. Colton plays FireRed. Yesterday, we finally went wave running. I totally forgot how fun it was. I still think tubing can be a little funner though. Clay's family, Ana's family, and Maga met us at Pineview. It was really fun, except I got sunburned. A few days ago we purchased a Wii U with Smash Bros. It should come this week. Mom, Coop, Colt, and I split the cost of it and the games. We had the Westra waffles here today and Mom and Dad took the initiative and changed the whole environment. There's weird things in the back yard (shading the patio), the door is so clean (Dad painted it), and the bacon was so good. So yeah... Wuv, Keat

Dear Landon, so two major free agents made their decisions this week. And they were KD and Dwyane Wade. And they both chose to leave their teams. KD went to... Golden State. And Wade went to... the Bulls. First of all: why did Durant decide to leave his team to go to a team that prevented him from going to the Finals? This just makes me hate him instead of love him, because he was one of my favorite players. I guess if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. I actually understand why Wade left, but what KD did was cowardly. He wanted money that the Heat weren't offering, but Bulls were. And they are his hometown so... We have been getting into Pokemon again because of these funny videos we have been watching, and they were tempting me to play again. So now I am. I am playing two games right now: Platinum and Pokemon GO. GO is a new game that uses GPS on your phone and gives you a huge map of where you actually are. Since my Ipod does not have a GPS, I am using yours. You actually have to walk around to encounter Pokemon. Callahan plays it too, and he told me there are crazy places to find legendaries. Like if you wanted to catch Deoxys, you have to go into outer space and catch him. And this is actually real.  The NBA Summer League has started, and dad took Colton and I to a Jazz-76er's game. We got to see #1 overall pick in the 2016 Draft, Ben Simmons, play. He is a 6'10'' power forward, but he chooses to play at point guard. And he is really good at it! He does all these flashy passes, and he doesn't shoot a lot. I guess he's kind of like Giannis Antetokounmpo (you don't know who he really is, huh), he is a point forward. We finally took Suzie and Roxy out yesterday, and it was way fun. I was one of the people to take the wave-runners out, because Callahan was not there. We also did the Westra Waffles today, and we were the ones hosting it. And to sum that all up, Aniston and Layla terrorized the kitties the whole time they were here.       Love, Cooper

Dear Landon, I can't believe that KD went to the Warriors! It makes me so mad! He left his team and Westbrook to win a championship with the team who denied him his first ring. Dad, Cooper, and I went to a summerleague basketball game, it was the 76er's against the Jazz. We saw Ben Simmons, the number one pick in the draft, he is really good. We FINALLY took out Suzie and Roxy yesterday. Dad and I hit some unbelievably big waves. Maga, Clay, Courtney, and Anna came with all the kids. It was really fun. I started playing Pokemon Fire Red again, Cooper and Callahan play this game called Pokemon GO. I would get it if there were a GPS on my Ipod. Keaton is playing Pokemon Battle Revolution. Today, we had the Westra Waffles here and it was really fun. Annie and Leila Really liked Oreo and Joy. Anyway, That is about all I got for this week. So, love ya man!            ColtBolt

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Week #71 - Gabriella's Baptism, a Funeral, and more Rain

Gabriella's Baptism!

There are times Landon can't get an email off, but his camera can auto-send pictures if there is wifi (and while not as common as here in the USA, there are still some spots). So sometimes we get a picture of a written letter. So here's Elder Blackham's last week, in his own handwriting. Ironically, we've noticed he writes MORE when he writes and actual letter! (click on the image to enlarge). 

... you can see Landon included steps there at the end (as always, one of the "mommy" requirements) and here's how his steps stack up to family and friends this past week ....

*** Step Stats ***
For the first time in a loooong while, Mommy is in the top spot! I create a capture as soon as I receive and input Landon's step counts and even though that was several days ago (until today, when I'm actually updating the blog), I'm still holding! Cooper, Colton and Callahan are the only ones who made the Top10 from our immediate family (Keaton just missed, and Grayson's been struggling with pinched nerve pain). We've got our old neighbor's the Maxfields (Curt and Terrilynne) with impressive numbers. Tenille is Grayson's cousin. They've moved to Georgia, but are in Utah this week. I've seen her Facebook posts about family hikes, and seeing those steps show up here in the Top10. Uncle Chris loves the mountains and hiking too. Aunt Wendy nabs the final spot this week.

Cooper's Charge  band ripped, but Fitbit sent us out a replacement (upgrading to the ChargeHR). I do think band integrity has been an issue, as the new Alta has replaceable bands (it is replacing the Charge in the Fitbit market). Cooper would have preferred the new Alta, but has been liking some of the new feedback the ChargeHR provides too.

Personalized planners ... Landon wrote in his letter to me, that he is appalled that we haven't gotten "the girls" (the waverunners Suzy and Roxy) up to the lake yet this summer. He even selected a picture of him on Roxy for his current planner.

*** Between Brothers ***
Dear Landon, not much happened this week besides NBA stuff. In the draft, my favorite college player went to New Orleans, ugh. The first two picks were Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram. The third pick was surprising. It was Jaylen Brown, Cooper and I though it would be Khris Dunn or Jamal Murray would be the third pick. There has been a few trades but my favorite one was Victor Oladipo to the Thunder and two other players for Serge Ibaka. Kevin Durant is most likely going to go to Golden Staten or stay with Oklahoma however, he is meeting with a bunch of teams. That is all I got for this week because Summer is here and there is nothing to do. Love ya! ColtBolt

Dear Landon, now with The Finals taken care with, it's time for the draft and free agency. Free agency doesn't start for another week, so I'll keep you updated with the trades and draft picks right now. The draft had many surprising picks with people I've never heard of before. But Ben Simmons went at #1 (PHI), Ingram at #2 (LAL), Brown at #3 (BOS), Bender at #4 (PHX), Dunn at #5 (MIN), Hield at #6 (NOP), and Murray at #7 (DEN). I know you don't know them, but these were the main picks and I wanted to let you know. There has also been some big trades that have happened: Jeff Teague to IND/ George Hill to Utah/ the #12 to ATL. Derrick Rose to NYK  and two others/ Robin Lopez to CHI and two others. Thaddeous Young to IND. Serge Ibaka to ORL/ Victor Oladipo and two others to OKC. The most surprising one was definitely D-Rose being in a Knicks jersey, but it'll be cool. The one that effected me the most was Oladipo to OKC. If Durant stays, that'll make on heck of a big three. I was not feeling well this week, and I my legs were feeling kind of weak, so I didn't go to the church as much this week, but we still made some trips there. Colton and I like playing on the tramp, but it's summer so it is very hot. We put the sprinkler under it to cool us down, and when the tramp is wet, we jump like 2 times higher, so we play different games on it. Anyway, I'll update you next week on more of the free agency rumors and tell you where other people have been traded to.     Love, Cooper

Dear Landon, Dixie was way awesome but it seemed a lot shorter than last year. Out of all the CH teams, Varsity was the only team to win something. They won the 2-minute tournament this year. I remember winning it last year. It was way fun. No one won the whole thing, but the coaches didn't really care because it doesn't mean anything. The ride back was really hot in the bus because we couldn't figure out the AC until we were about half way home. It was still awesome though and I was put on a good team and I roomed with my friends. Star Wars Battlefront has gone through a bunch of patches and updates. I haven't played it for like 2 weeks. When I played it today, there was a bunch of different things. Doesn't matter though, it makes the game better and I'm still amazing lqtm. The Bespin update is almost released. If you have the Season Pass then you can have access to it right now. When I played it today I saw people with it because they were using some star cards that were only available if you had the DLC. So yeah... Wuv, Keat

  • Dear Colton: Well, what do you WANT to do during the summer for fun? Make a list and make it happen! You need to do fun things so you can tell me all about them. Ha ha, New Orleans still gets first pick? Yikes, they haven't improved much.I don't know this Victor Oladipo, is he new? Kevin Durrant giong to Golden State? How would that work? Doesn't he play the same position as Curry?
  • Dear Cooper: Basketball season never truly ends, does it? You are correct ... I don't know ONE of the players you mentioned! I do remember Derek Rose. That is pretty crazy that he'll be leaving Chicago and going to New York. But it is pretty cool about George Hill heading to Utah ... that is if he is still good! Enjoy summer, be careful with it being so hot!
  • Dear Keaton: Time flies when you are having fun, so the saying goes! Yikes to be on a hot bus for a long time. Here, ALL the buses are HOT. It is a bit annoying with the constant updates, having to wait 30min for dowloads. Good you remembered it though. Be careful on the roads!