Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Week #95 - Feliz Navidad

Feliz navidad, prospero año y felicidad. I'd heard that little song growing up, I just never knew what it said until I became Mexican. 

This week is when everyone leaves for vacation or just has home parties. Late afternoon on Saturday, we were standing there in the street... "What do we do?" my companion asks me (in English). There wasn't ANYONE in the street! Then we tried to go visit some of our investigators... They were having a party. Members, also in parties...So that was fun. But that is Mexico! 

Two weeks now since the baptism of Guillermina. 
I've included some pictures. 

Now we are wondering who is next... One of her daughters (Lita) has always accepted and received us warmly. She has many honest questions and is very interested in learning more about baptism. We talked to her that, if she wanted, she could be baptized on New Year's! . . . She thought about it. "That would be a great way to celebrate New Year's..." She has the goal and is committed to it! In the moment of talking about the date, she was unsure of course, but after praying and consulting with the Man upstairs, she was answered. 

The power of prayer continues to influence great miracles, and it amazes us. 
I will leave you guys with a quick scripture, 
2 Nephi 32: 8-9
I would write it, but I only have it in Spanish, of course.
Merry Christmas to all!
Con cariño,
Elder Landon Blackham

*** StepStats***

Monday, December 12 - 10338
Tuesday, December 13 - 10567
Wednesday, December 14 - 14861
Thursday, December 15 - 7855
Friday, December 16 - 12052
Saturday, December 17 - 10284
Sunday, December 18 - 6943

I haven't been great at getting Landon's steps entered and updated ... and he hasn't sent them every week anyway. But alas, our Family Fitbit-itness has faltered. Callahan's Zip isn't working, Colton lost his One. I told Gray and Keaton they could stop wearing theirs if they wanted (they were only wearing them for ME) and they did. Cooper still wears his, but there have been days it's been left off, and he hasn't been as active. I'm honestly surprised I'm still at the top of the list, as I haven't been very motivated lately! I haven't posted a Step Stats for a while, but usually, I'm well over 100,000 for my week!

I also forgot to remind the boys to write their brother. One of them has missed a week here or there, but never all three of the younger ones (Callahan sometimes writes on his own, I don't have copies of those emails between brothers). Alas, no "Between Brothers" this week! 

I sent out a Christmas package for Landon. Using My Missionary Shipping, it's only taken a couple of days to get to the mission home. I was a little late in getting it off, and then, there were "uncontrollable clearance delays" ... understandable, with the overabundance of packages this holiday season. I was a little worried it might not get to him in time, but ... just got notification that it arrived! To the mission home at least. I hope Landon will connect with them to get the package by Christmas!

We're almost to a one month countdown!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Week #94 - District Pictures, Spicy Chiles and Ash

I do not remember the last time I had written a general letter. Yikes.

Almost halfway through the training of Elder Reyes which has been great of course. He has honestly progressed incredibly in teaching. Has me impressed. His faith his surely helping me out for these last couple months.  The sister missionaries from the district are worried about him being with me. I mean, I am a tough love guy... but not that bad. I only put a little chile in his food..... (He is from Peru, remember? They don't eat spiciness.) So we have had a few hilarious stories about that.

Eating chile habanero

We will have a baptism next Saturday! Guillermina is going down to the water! And she will only be the first...Setting the example for the rest of the family.

Not sure if news of the volcano hit you all at home? On Tuesday and Wednesday, there was a lot of ash in the sky, covering the horizon from our point of view. During my mission, there has only been two big-ish eruptions. Back in April, when I was in Tlaxcala, and a considerable amount of ash fell in Puebla (apparently it was a real eruption, with lava and all that), and this week. But this time, all the ash fell in the City of Mexico and Tlaxcala... It keeps missing me! I want to see the ash! I want to bring some home! 

I can't believe that my cousin Janika is home already. I forgot that she was going to win me home. Hahah that is good. Just as there are missionaries going home...new ones head to the field. I won't see Cousin Kellin for another two years then. We'll just miss each other as he leaves in January! My buddy Tyler must have extended if his release date isn't until March (as we left right around the same time). Me ... January 31! Right smack in the middle of winter! It is like 60 degrees around here... and I am dying of the cold.

*** Between Brothers ***
12/04/2016 #94

Dear Landon, I'm just going to say, Saturday was no question my favorite day of the week. I had two games and got to go to watch a game that one of the teams had 5 of my friends on it! Onto my two games. I won them both. In the first, it was my fifth grade team and we got some lit new jerseys and shorts. We won 27-12 and I got 9 points. I did this in both of my games, I just dribbled down the court and was wide open at three. I just put it up and swished it both times. I did get some good rebounds then put back baskets. In the second one, it was a close game with us winning by 2, 22-20. I got 8 points in this game,I sank two threes and two free throws. I got a lot of minutes in each game. And here is when I'm going to tell you another GREAT thing that happened this week, dad got us a HOTTUB! And it has got all kinds of different massagers. It is the best thing in the world. It is right out on the patio in the backyard. We keep going into the snow to get really cold then instantly go back into the hot tub. One of the challenges we all did was put snow in our underwear! It burned SO bad. haha That's about all I got for this week, love you dude!         ColtBolt

Dear Landon, so this week was end of mid-terms, so I got an upgrade on how my grades are looking. So that F I had in Language Arts actually stayed for a lot longer than I thought it would. I turned the assignment that was late last Monday, and she had all of the break to change it, but it was finally changed just a few days ago. So I have an A in all classes except for Science, which I have A- in. Out of all my classes, Science has most often been the only one I do not have an A in. My Jr. Jazz Comp league team started this week, but are team is basically the same expect for someone new to the team, and someone no longer on the team. When it came to Saturday, my first game, we won 35-27. I got 10 of those points, got a few assists, and a clutch block at the end. Then dad got us an early Christmas present that will probably be most of our Christmas. He put in a hot-tub in the backyard patio. It has only been here yesterday, but I have already been in it a lot; and it is a lot of fun because it is winter, so we will hop in the snow, and then go right back in. It does sting a lot though, as the cold tries to fight off the warm of the hot-tub, and it stays for a while.       Love, Cooper

Dear Landon, pretty boring week this week. Nothing much happened except that dad got us an early Christmas present yesterday. I big ol' hot tub. It's way nice and has got a bunch of jets and seats. At night you can change the color of the lights in the water. Yesterday was also the dinner auction for Copper Hills basketball. It was pretty fun. All we had to do was pretty much be a waiter and talk to people. There were a lot of people and it was pretty good Italian food. Sorry, I can't think much about what happened this week. So yeah... Luv, KEat

  • Dear Colton: Dang.. Sounds like you had some pretty intense games! But where are the double doubles? Or a triple double maybe? Hahaha just kidding.. WHAT? A hottub?! That is nuts! You guys are going to get so sick doing that... But that is good for the hottub. I will not die because of the cold now. 
  • Dear Cooper: Are you serious? An F... Unacceptable! Science can be a bit difficult... but is it justsciencee in general? Or biology, or something else like that? That is good that you are getting into the game again! It is a lot better to play with others. I am even more excited now...hot tub!! 
  • Dear Keaton: Fine. I guess I won't write you. te amo. oh wait but I AM writing you.. whatever. lqtm. I am scared to come home to snow. But at least with the hot tub I will not freeze to death. 

Weeks 91, 92, 93 ... Between Brothers

Sorry I haven't been good at updating the blog ... not entirely my fault though, I haven't had a lot to work with from a certain missionary! There has been contact each Monday, so we know he's alive. During November, it was my birthday and Gray's birthday ... I got the picture above (which IS a great present because mommy loves pictures) and a little note, Grayson got a letter his week. One thing to update is that there is a release date ... January 31! Coming up quick. But even though we haven't been getting responses back ... the brothers have been great and writing Landon every week! Their outgoing letters from the last three weeks are below ...

11/13/2016 #91
Dear Landon, so, not much to write about this week besides my game and I'm going to be going against Mayhem in the championship. We have already played them once in a championship game but sadly, we lost by 4 points. This time, we are looking for revenge. In the game that is sending us to the championship, we won b around 30. I got 9 points and probably about 4 or 5 assists. I hit a three but mom didn't quite get it on video. Just last night, Livi came over and gave us haircuts. In my opinion, I think mine is now pretty short, but EVERYONE else thinks it is still really long! Also last night, we had really amazing ribs! He even has some brisket and pork in the fridge for later! I'm now really looking forward to it. So you ask about school ... we had parent/teacher conferences this week. I am perfect of course. The only problem my teacher has is worrying I'll get bored because I finish everything so easy and fast. She mentioned ALPS but that would mean switching school, and I don't want to do that. Mom forgot it was early out on Thursday though! I had to call her from school when she wasn't there to pick me up. I guess that is about all for this week, so, love you man!             ColtBolt

Dear Landon, you didn't know there was Fantasy Basketball? My friend Parker is even in a Fantasy Baseball league. I don't know about Soccer, Tennis, etc., but it has been pretty fun. Anyway, I do have a decent roster, and that includes James Harden, Kawhi Leonard, Demarcus Cousins, Paul George, Devin Booker, George Hill, Mike Conely, Kenneth Faried, and a few more players. My record is 1-1, but it will become 1-2 after tomorrow. I was going against McKay, and he doesn't even know a lot about basketball... but he came out with almost the best team. And his team name is "Y'all Get Shrekked," and he has. Every. Day. Of. The. Week. Right now, he has a lead of about... 450 points! So that is a little bit of Fantasy Basketball for ya! Away from that, school has been alright. We finally started playing basketball games in Gym. But it sucks because this kid who doesn't know crap about basketball, picked me, and after that, he picked all of his friends. All of his friends are kind of like him, so winning is very hard. We are 1-2 right now, which is actually kind of surprising. And that game we won, at the end, the kid who was captain was like "Our team is so good!" When I got around 110% of our points. Then today we were watching a lot of the NFL, and the two games we watched were INSANE! But I won't bore you to death about it, b/c you probably don't even care and don't even know what I'm talking about. But it was SOOO crazy!         Love, Cooper

Dear Landon, I forgot to tell you that we had tryouts this past week. They were good and I ended up on the team with 11 other guys, but the last cut was so scary! I had never been more nervous in my entire life! The coaches put up the list a half hour late. I don't know how much I'll play since we're all so small. Our first practice was on Friday and we ran 20 straight ladders at the end! We got to the last one and the coach gave me the ball and said, "If Keaton makes it we're done." Of course, I drained it lol. We got our uniforms after practice and I got to choose number 3. Mom was so happy and seriously about everyone at church today knew about it because they all follow her on facebook. Tryouts was the main thing this week, so there's not much else I focused on. I have to sell a bunch of tickets for the dinner/auction thing already. So yeah... Luv, Keat

  • Dear Colton: Mayhem? Wow.. Sounds pretty intense the rivialry between you two.. Just remember no fights! ... But maybe one hard foul.. NO. Of course not. .. . Maybe. Hahahahah now you are somewhat confused. I saw a picture of your hair, and thought "HOLY COW. His hair so long!" It is very true that your hair is long. haha perfect? Nobody is perfect but Jesus! Maybe you need to take a step up, that is if everything really is that easy for you. It is like working out. You don't gain anything from lifting 1 pound. You need to lift 5 lb, then 10, then 25 lb.. Haha but whatever, it is your choice I suppose.
  • Dear Cooper: Whoa. sounds pretty sick Fantasy Basketball. sounds like a pretty good roster too. Just no big All Stars, right? I remember doing the little tournament for basketball. First, it was just normal teams, and my team won. But then the teacher chose teams according to skill. I made the first team, and we slaughtered all the other teams. It was a little fun. I had to turn off the game in the house of one of the members yesterday. Darn teenager. It saw that it was the Pats vs. Hawks. 7 to 3. But I did not see the time.. But I guess it was just starting. But whatevs..
  • Dear Keaton: Haha I am not one for that. I would believe you! To make it all that way to be cut very last.. that would hurt. Dang.. BALLER. I heard that Mom was pretty happy with number 3. Yikes.. Now you need to be a saleman.. not a baller.

11/20/2016 #92
Dear Landon, turns out, I did lose the championship against Mayhem... It wasn't only our team's fault, the refs were probably the worst I've ever had. There is this one player on Mayhem who's favorite thing to do is probably carrying and not noticing nor getting called. I did get like 5 points with some decent assists. I guess it wasn't enough though. Next time we play against Mayhem, I'm going to just do everything and anything I can to beat that team. (We have already beat them once though ;) ) Anyway, dad made some amazing pulled pork today! And what I mean by "amazing" I mean like REALLY REALLY REALLY amazing. We visited Magas' kittens the other day, they are now playing and fighting. It's so funny and cute. At school, every morning we do a sixth vs fifth grade basketball game. We always win because me. Two days in a row I dropped one of their kids, Ashton. The first time, everyone was just "OOOOOOHHHHHHing" The second time, I decided to help him up haha. Which kind of just gave him more embarrassment. In class, we got to play tons of songs. I thought it was going to be fun but then all the other kids started singing them and it just ruined it. Well, apparently that is all I have for this week, I can't believe that it is only 4 more months until you come back! Or is it 5? Oh whatever I will just ask mom haha. Love you man!             ColtBolt

Dear Landon, I actually do have some big All-Stars on the team. Harden, Leonard, and Cousins are actually huge stars. James Harden is no playing in his season that'll seem to be his best, easily. He has already had 4 triple-doubles, and averages 30.2 points, 12.1 assists, and 7.8 rebounds. The only other player in the league that has similar stats to that are Russell Westbrook, who averages 32.1 points, 9.9 assists, and 9.7 rebounds. But to what it looks like, I am going to lose this matchup against Bridger, to become 1-3... As of basketball in school right now, our team is 2-3-1. We can't stay in all four quarters, which sucks 'cause I'd LOVE to play in all of them, so I always sit out in the 1st quarter. Every game it has been an absolute blowout until I came in! An example of that is on Thursday, we were losing 20-0 at the end of Q1. The end of Q2 was 14-22. So if I had gotten drafted by another team, or was sick for awhile, the average score of those games would probably be... 4-40? Anyway, in Language Arts, I have an F... but not for long, lol. It is just the start of the 2nd quarter, and I just forgot to turn this one assignment in, and when I do, it will go back to an A. Besides, if I were to have an F in a class, it WOULD be Language Arts. So that is probably all that had happened this week, besides some NFL stuff, seeing kittens (they are so cute!), and dad smoking meat.    Love, Cooper

Dear Landon, actually not much that happened this week. There was meet-the-team night on Wednesday. All the CH girls and boys basketballs teams played against each other just for the school to see who's on the team and stuff. I also might get my license this week. I've done all the requirements to get it, we just need to go down to the DMV/DLD to get it lol. It's just so far away and it wouldn't have made a difference if I had gotten it a couple weeks ago because I don't have car. There's only two days of school this week and then we get a long Thanksgiving break. We visited the kittens yesterday to pick up Maga for Dad's, (and Mom's) birthday dinner at Texas Roadhouse. The wittle kitties are soooo smaww. I would just wike to cwuddle wif one aww day. Today, Dad smoked pulled pork again too! Finally! Pulled pork is probably my favorite smoked meat by Dad. The only other competitors against it would be ribs and brisket. One thing I don't like about having the pulled pork is just that it takes the longest to prepare. I KNOW! First world problems whatever! You have to friggn get the pork out, put it on a plate, microwave it, get the sauce, poor it out in a bowl, microwave it, get the bun, cut it down the middle, put it in the toaster, take it out, put the pork on, spread the sauce over the pork AND THEN YOU CAN FINALLY EAT! So yeah... Luv, Keat

11/27/2016 #93
Dear Landon, ssssoooo, I'm just going to say that there was not a lot to write about this week because we had no school. But we did do one really fun thing besides Thanksgiving and it was going to a Jazz game in the 2nd row! The Jazz also won by a bit. At the start they were just unstoppable. In the first minute or so we got two threes and two AND-1s! I forgot what the score was but I just know they won. Oh and I forgot that we also got dinner in the arena because like this VIP thingy. For Thanksgiving, dad smoked a turkey, made mashed potatoes, and corn. Mom made these big and delish rolls. Maga brought some pumpkin pie. I played some basketball with Aidan and Amare. But Clay and them went to Grand America again. I had no basketball practice because Thanksgiving break. This week I just mostly relaxed and didn't do that much stuff. As I told you, I got almost nothing to write about this week. So, love you dude!           ColtBolt

Dear Landon, so my Fantasy Basketball match-up this week was against Hunter, who is the worst as of now. From the scores right now, it looks like I'm going to win because I'm up by 150 and James Harden hasn't even played. This will give me a record of 2-3. But I was lucky that I won because the first day of our match-up, I forgot to get on, then my bench started playing and did very well... except I don't get credit for those points. But Hunter did the same thing, but it was worse; he benched DeMar Derozan, Isiah Thomas, Rudy Gobert, and John Wall, which cost him the game. And to start Thanksgiving Break we went to a Jazz game, in the 2nd row! They cost $630 a ticket for 4 tickets, don't worry, dad didn't buy them, his boss gave them to him. Anyway, it was a good game against the Nuggets and we won by around 20, giving ourselves a 9-8 record. Also, before the game we could eat dinner IN Vivent Smart Home Arena! They had pretty good food, but not as good as dad's. Speaking of dad's cooking, Thanksgiving was great and he made really good turkey. But Keaton is still kinda upset that he just didn't make ribs for it. We were hosting and it took a while to get ready, but only Anna's family and Maga came, while Clay went to Grand America.     Love, Cooper

Dear Landon, I got my license on Friday. I guess I'm going to start driving a lot more now. I drove Cal's Charger the other day and I actually like it better than the Durango. Dad said he will probably get me a car if I get a job. I don't really know where to work yet. I just want to work somewhere in Jordan Landing hopefully. It doesn't really matter though. Thanksgiving was alright. Of course there was turkey, but I wasn't too impressed due to my most recent encounters with better meats lol. We only had 2 days of school last week and a long break that went pretty good. But now we have to go to school tomorrow :( Our first game is Friday and I'm pretty excited for it. I'm not excited for practice this week because we're going to have to run a lot to make up for the break. There's going to be a lot of people at the game because that's the game we're selling tickets to. Our tickets are due tomorrow and I still need to sell a few lol. I'm working on it. So yeah... Wuv, Keat