Monday, April 25, 2016

Kensington-ing It Up

This last week was another pretty good, yet fairly uneventful week.

On Monday, we ushered in the warmer (at least at the time) weather by
having zone activity! Many kick balls were kicked, volleyballs
volleyed, water balloons  thrown, flags captured, food eaten, and fun
times had! With group pictures!

So much fun in fact, that we didn't get back to our apartment until
about 5! Fortunately, our dinner was with a family that lives in the
same complex as us, so we weren't panicking trying to get ready for
the rest of the day.

Tuesday, we had dinner with a former member of the church (still
attends church regularly, sings in choir every week, feeds the elders
every month, and knows the church is true, but due to some "lifestyle
choices" isn't able to enjoy the blessings of church membership). He
is super nice and really cool, though it's sad to see how the choices
he's making are affecting his ability to have that true happiness that
the gospel brings...

This week was very much a week of service. On Wednesday and Friday for
all of the morning and some of the early afternoon hours, we helped
the Fordhams, a(n awesome) family in the Ward, with some "yard work".
"Why is yard work in quotes" you ask? That's because the "yard work"
was more like "yard demolition" as much of it involved taking an
electric demolition-strength jigsaw and some large garden shears to
several trees/vines/bushes/other unwanted greenery that had infested
their yard. The "shear" fact that we got to "carve" out some time in
our day to wage war on Mother Nature, made those days and service
projects very enjoyable, to say the least (you are welcome all you
fellow pun-lovers out there)! Plus, doing service is always fun!

Other than that, this was a pretty rough week as far as work goes
(lots of appointment cancellations, plans falling through, etc.),
hopefully that just means that this upcoming week will be an AMAZING

I love you all!i hope you all have an amazing week! I know I will!
Training calls are Wednesday (though I doubt I'll train this next
transfer, President pretty much told me that I'm going to "kill"
Thorpe, so unless we're in a trio, it's not likely) and Transfer calls
are Saturday (again, pretty sure I'm staying, but time will tell), so
that's exciting! Until next time, I am still...

Elder Sam Williams
Washington DC North Mission
11700 Falls Road

Potomac, MD, 20854

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Crazy Month of April

April has been a crazy month!!  First of all, a member of our ward died unexpectedly.  Just before the funeral my brother Ray passed away.  So, we did the funeral and then Chris and I traveled to Utah for my brother’s funeral.  We had quite the adventure traveling since a portion of the road between Page and Flagstaff fell of the mountain.  We went through the reservation which we had not done for a long time.  We stopped at a restaurant in Kayenta called The Amigo.  They had great Navajo tacos.  We also traveled up the side of a cliff.  The one other time I had been on that particular road was when Stephen was a baby and he threw up all over me. Chris was the perfect traveling companion.    Thanks everyone for the flowers and cards.  I really appreciate it since we only has a couple of other flower arrangements.  Heber City, of course, was much colder than any other place we were.  Many of my cousins and aunts and uncles and old Heber 7th ward members attended the funeral.  I loved seeing everyone.  I was also very glad that we all could say good-bye to Ray.  I’m sure he is very grateful to be with my parents and my brother Phil.

Last weekend, April and I gave a shower for Britt.  After the shower was over Gary and I went to Flagstaff to hear Sam sing in the Arizona all state choir.  They were awesome!!  The next day we all went to Zac’s farewell.  He did a great job speaking.  Afterwards we all went to Boyd and Stacie’s to eat.

This week is all about the wedding.  Except for tomorrow, Stephen has declared it a “can’t talk about the wedding day” in honor of his birthday.  Like that is ever going to happen.  We are so grateful that Stephen found a wonderful woman to marry.  We all love Britt.  We are also doing the last walk through for the wedding reception to make sure the Wright House has everything right.

School has been busy with the AIMS test.  Honestly, these poor kids.  There is just way too much testing going on.  The first and second graders are taking the CRT test and next week is DIBELS testing.  Don’t you just love all the acronyms?

Tax season is finally over!  It was made much more difficult this year with system failures by both the Arizona Department of Revenue and the IRS.  Baseball season has begun.  Our  pool was a disgusting shade of green.  We have since had it drained, refilled and the filtering sand replaced.  We also had sun screens put on some of our windows.  It is already making a difference in how hot the house is in the morning.

May will be just as busy.  At then end of the month, Gary and I get to go to North Carolina for the reception there.  Good times.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


This was a great Thanksgiving weekend.  I took Wednesday off from school and got the house cleaned with really lowered the stress factor in my life.  The weather is a little warm for my taste--especially for late November.

Thursday was a wonderful day filled with great food and great company.  We had 24.  Claye had to work and Amber has to stay home because Carter was sick.  We sent them home food though so all they missed was our excellent company.

Friday Sam, Gary, Susan (Rich’s daughter) went to see the movie Lincoln.  It was excellent even though we did have to stand in line for too long.  Abraham Lincoln was the perfect man for his time!  After the movie, we all went to Rosa’s to eat.  Gary, Chris, and Sam headed home so Chris could work on Gary’s new computer.  Stephen, Rich, his girls and I headed over to the temple to see the lights.  Now it was about 70 degrees outside and there were people there with jackets and hats.  I don’t know if they were doing it because they were looking at Christmas lights and if they were really cold.

Now that this weekend is almost over, the craziness begins!  Tuesday night is our Relief Society Party.  Sam has more than seven concerts between now and December 19.  He has a solo in the PCC concert and they are going to be on TV Tuesday night on channel 12.  We’ll see if he makes the cut for TV.  His jazz group is singing for our Relief Society party.  I can’t wait!  I also love to go hear Chorale sing at the temple.  There is nothing like Christmas lights and music together.

Lily is very excited for Christmas.  We plugged some Christmas lights on.  She screamed joyfully, “Christmas!”  I can’t wait until she sees the lights at the temple.  Kate smiles all the time.  We love them both!!!  This picture is Rapunzel and her friend the elephant on Halloween. The wig only lasted about 20 minutes.  But it was cute while it lasted.  For the longest time, we only had Rapunzel.  Lily was off to preschool somewhere.  Rapunzel’s dad was Flynn Rider and her poor mom was Lady Gothal. (The villain in Tangled.)  Now we have Lily back until she decides to be someone else.

Have a joyous and festive December.  We will!!  Dinner at our house on Christmas Eve and Claye and Rakay’s on Christmas.  I don’t want it to come too soon though.  We have the whole month of December to enjoy!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Downton Abbey, the Prius, and Halloween

It’s already the 22nd of October and we are still in the 80’s.  My perfect temperature is 70 degrees, but I’m glad that it has cooled off somewhat.  Two weeks ago was fall break.  April and I had fun hanging out together.  We found a way to watch the new Downton Abbey episodes on the internet, but before we could watch all the episodes, the lady had to shut that part of her website down because she was being threatened by attorneys.  If PBS doesn’t want people to watch it illegally, they should show it now instead of waiting for January.  Sheer nonsense.  I also put my Halloween decorations up.  Lily was so excited.  She is going to be Rapunzel for Halloween and sometimes insists that her mother calls her that.

Kate is doing her army crawl all over the place.  She is one very curious baby.  I don’t think anything will be safe by Christmas.  We are going to have to baricade  her from the living room.  She is also one of the best natured babies I have ever seen.

Last week was parent/teacher conferences so I got out of school an hour earlier.  That was very nice.  This week we are back to the grind with the next day off for Veteran’s Day and then Thanksgiving.  Sam has to take the preparatory ACT test tomorrow.  Mountain View is making all of the sophomores take it.

Gary’s battery in his car died today.  It was a HUGE deal to fix it.  He is not so sure he chose the right car now. After all was said and done, he didn’t make it to work until 3:00.

I will be SO GLAD when the election is finally over and done with.  I’m sick and tired of political ads on the TV and have pretty much decided everybody is lying.  Stephen is in the other room watching the debate right now.

Sam has been rehearsing for Christmas concerts all fall.  His jazz group is coming to sing at our Relief Society Party.  I’m very excited.  The first two weeks of December are loaded with concerts.  He certainly enjoys singing!  

We had everyone over after General Conference.  It was fun to have everyone together, even though some had to leave early.  Our next big event will be Thanksgiving.  Can’t wait.

April is in charge of her ward’s Halloween party and Sam has to go out of town to do Wood Badge for scouts, so I’m going to the party with her to keep track of the girls while she deals with all the party goings on.

I have been helping the 6th graders work on their compare and contrast papers about the book and the movies of The Outsiders.  Even though I have never read the book or seen the movie, I am sick of having had to hear about them over and over again.  Although, some of the different ways the kids have told the story has been quite entertaining.  

I’ve decided that I was totally cheated in high school in math.  I had a horrible teacher.  Since I have been working with the 5th and 6th graders on their math, I think I may have continued to enjoy it if not for that.

Happy Halloween!!!

Sunday, August 26, 2012


Well we started school again and it was only 116 on the first day. Yuck! I felt sorry for all the kids when they had to go outside of recess.  Anyway, we had a heat advisory warning for the first week of school.  LAME!

Speaking of school, when I walked into a fifth grade class the other day a boy asked me who was better--Michael Jackson or Justin Bieber.  Now I actually used to like Michael Jackson before he got all weird and had so much plastic surgery that his nose almost fell off. I have no use for Justin Bieber whatsoever.  However, maybe if I were in the 5th grade I would really like him.  

I also decided I was very grateful to my 8th grade English teacher for teaching me the parts of a short story.  I didn’t know it would come in handy years and years later since that’s what the 5th graders are studying this week.

Sam is back in the swing of things big time.  Last week he went to PCC camp up in Prescott.  Gary and I went and stayed up there while he was at camp.  I experienced the almost perfect day--sitting on a deck, in the mountains, in the middle of some trees, about 75 degree weather, reading a great book (A Discovery of Witches).  It would have been perfect except for my stupid back hurting.  Sam’s choir is going to be awesome this year.  They sounded great after only 2 days of practice.  It also rained in Prescott.  I wasn’t out in it so it was a great weekend.  Gary had a great idea to stay up there.

Speaking of which, I had a procedure on Friday called radiofrequency ablation.  The doctor stuck a really big needle in my back and used electricity to kill the nerves.  The even had to put a pad on my leg to ground me.  It’s a good thing they shot some kind of sedative in my arm.   Its purpose was to kill the nerves that have been shooting off pain for no reason.  I already feel much better and was able to sit through all of church without running somewhere to stand up.  Yeah for modern medicine.

Because of my back, Sam has attended the baseball games with Gary.  They have had some great father and son bonding time.

Speaking of Sam, he is now old enough to get his learner’s permit.  Where has the time gone?  Am I ready for this?  Probably not.

Lily learned “Little Purple Pansies” in nursery.  She has been singing it to us.  She is getting quite the repertoire of songs between Disney movies and church.

Kate gets cuter every day.  She can roll all over the place and has a very sweet disposition. 

We will all be glad when the primary election is over on Tuesday then maybe politicians will quit calling us all the time and we don’t have to listen to people say terrible things about each other.  Realistically those things  probably won’t happen, but I can dream can’t I?

Someday, sooner rather than later, I hope that it cools off around here.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Sam's trip to Italy (and other events)

Hey everyone, this is Sam here to tell you all about my  tour to Italy this past week with the Phoenix Children’s Choir. As no one else in the family has done anything very interesting (Mom’s words not mine) I am writing this month.
Monday-Tuesday: Dad drove me bright and early (3:30 AM) to the Phoenix Center for the Arts where I met up with my choir and boarded a bus for a 9 hour ride to Los Angeles. (we needed to go to LA because in order to get everyone on the same plane we had to fly Berlin Air which doesn’t fly from Sky Harbor). Once we arrived at LAX we checked our luggage and went through security where I lost my watch (don’t ask) and ate in the gate where I almost suffered food poisoning from undercooked chicken (don’t ask) and boarded the plane. 11 hours later and our plane landed in Berlin where we waited 3 hours for our flight into Rome. We arrived in Rome, checked into our hotel, and enjoyed a 4 course meal with lasagna, salad, some turkey with a gravy of sorts, and tiramisu. 
Wednesday: Toured Castel St. Angelo and walking tour of Rome. After a lunch of spaghetti and strawberry gelato (amazing btw) we toured the Vatican Museum which concluded with walking through the Sistine Chapel, which is BEAUTIFUL. Once we returned to the hotel our group decided to take a nap then go eat at this Italian seafood place (name escapes me) where on the way I almost got ran over by a car on the way there (not my fault I promise). Once there I dined on a whole fresh crab with pasta. (my friend got the same thing but with bass and ate the head as a dare. Not gonna lie, it was pretty awesome).
Thursday: Toured Colosseum and Roman Forum. In free time my group went to Trevii Fountain where we all threw coins in (the story goes that if you toss a coin in the fountain, you will return to Rome someday). We then had a concert in St. Peter’s Basilica for a Mass. Having never been to a Catholic Mass before it was something new and different for me. We then boarded a sleeper train for Catania.
Friday: Once we settled in to the hotel we hung out with a bunch of students of a Catanian school of language. We then went to the beach where I got sunburned (ouch!). Soon after, we went to the mayors residence for a welcoming speech and dinner with the mayor.
Saturday: We went up to Mt. Etna where we were given time to explore, eat lunch, and buy souvenirs. That night we visited an opera house and walked to a theater for a concert. Unfortunately, the building had no AC so at least 5 or 6 people in the choir either got sick or passed out on stage. Because of this and because of the concert ending late, we were allowed to sleep in on...
Sunday: After enjoying a couple more hours of sleep, we got on tour busses for some sightseeing in Catania. Afterwords, my group went Geocaching (look it up for I lack the knowledge to explain it in detail), and found a bread store where for 1 Euro we could get an entire loaf of fresh baked bread (delicious). We then found a group of girls from our choir who had the dilemma of ordering more Pizza than they could eat. Being the gentlemen that we are we decided to help them with their predicament. The choir then went to the US Naval base where we performed for our military servicemen. They then treated us to an amazing BBQ ( a hamburger has never tasted so good in my life).
Monday: We visited tourist central, Taormina, to see the Greeco-Roman theater and do what else, tourist shopping. That night we had our final concert with 2 other Catanian choirs.
Tuesday: Almost missed our flight to Berlin due to the system for baggage check going down for a good hour. Arrived in Berlin and ate some German food and did some tourist shopping.
Wednesday: Got held up in baggage check AGAIN because the Air Berlin staff in Catania accidentally DELETED OUR FLIGHTS. Thankfully it all got sorted out and before too long we were boarded and off on another 11 hour flight back to LAX. 9 hours of bus ride with a stop at Taco Bell in between (Taco Bell never tasted so good!) and we were back in Phoenix at about 10 P.M.
In short it was an amazing experience and I am so grateful that I was able to visit Italy. I now turn the Newsletter over to Mom for any other family information.
Meanwhile back at the ranch. . .School ended and Sam and I were both very glad.  Gary and I went to his firm retreat in Tubac, which doesn’t look like the deserts of Arizona.  I quite enjoyed it.  The weather was hot during the day, but at night and in the morning it was very nice.  We were all together (except Sam) for Father’s Day.  Chris gave Gary a remote control helicopter for Father’s Day.  We figure that Lily will really like it.   I’ve been to doctors for my yearly checkups.  That took up the first two weeks of the month.  My back has been driving me crazy since January.  After three cortisone shots and some physical therapy, it is feeling better.
I have been reading books and staying cool in the house.  Sam has an online biology class that he needs to work on now.  Gary works, counts money and teaches Sunday School.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

May Happenings

SCHOOL’S OUT FOR SUMMER!!!  Yippee and Yea!  I’m planning on doing as much of nothing as possible.
We’ve had concerts galore these past weeks--Sam’s voice recital, orchestra concert (with a rock band), school chorus concerts (the Broadway show), PCC concert (in which some kid pulled the fire alarm and everyone had to exit the Mesa Arts Center for about 15 minutes).  They have all been great, but my rear end was very sick of sitting.  These concerts all involved Sam.  He has successfully completed his freshman year at Mountain View.  Now on to the PCC tour of Italy in two weeks.  I’m stressing out trying to make sure he packs everything he needs.
I had to say good-bye to some good friends at school.  I hate good-byes.  That’s one great thing about Facebook; I can stay in touch with friends.
This is April. I’m adding a paragraph to my parent’s newsletter. It’s a win-win situation for me and my mom. So we are getting into the swing of things with our sweet little Kate. She is a really good baby and is now regularly letting me get at least one 5-6 hour stretch of sleep at night, and then she goes right back to bed for at least another 3. She just started smiling and we all enjoy trying to get her to smile at us. Lily loves her little sister a whole lot and calls her “my baby”. Lily, Kate and I went to a cooking group that I have with a few ladies in my ward. We all make a food that goes with the theme of the month and sit and sample new foods and talk while the kids play. The other little kids were trying to look at Kate and take her blanket off of her and Lily’s big sister/mother hen instinct came out and she stayed by Kate’s side to make sure no one did anything to her little sister that she didn’t approve of. Sam has a camp-out for scouts coming up this weekend and then he has scout camp for a week in June. I’m pretty sure we are going to miss him very much around our house. Sam and I both celebrated birthdays this month. Kate was blessed on my birthday, which was awesome and we had a fun family dinner that night. For Sam’s birthday Sam, Kate and I went to P.F. Changs  for dinner while Lily played with Grandma. That’s about it for us...Have a happy and hopefully not too warm June. 
This is Steve. I recently finished an excellent book entitled Fast and Furious, by Katie Pavlich. In it, author Pavlich does an excellent job of laying out the evidence of misdeed and corruption in the Obama Justice Department. Everyone should read it to fully understand why Eric Holder needs to resign (or be impeached). In other news, I’m still here. And that is my update.

Chris is working, as always, but managed to go to Comic Con, some crazy comic book convention in Phoenix this week.  I think he got his picture taken with someone famous or maybe it was just his friends.  When Sam and April went out to dinner, Lily and I went to Panda Bear (Express) to get food.  She is pretty funny.  
It’s baseball season, so Gary is happy to see the Diamondbacks play once again.

Until next month. . .