General Conference was last week - and while I felt there were many things that I should work on, this was among them.  Half of our family is in Provo, and we rarely are all together when they call to check in.  I miss us all in the same house.  And I feel the desire to stay better connected with my own parents and siblings.  So here is my best, renewed attempt!  I know that you have all been waiting with bated breath!

Things have taken a slower pace with just the three kids at home. I feel that is a strange thing to say - but it feels like I'm waiting for everyone to come home.  I cook less, clean less, and do less laundry! But I am determined to not having less fun!

Abbey is nearly ending her JV Volleyball season.  She has done so well. She is tall (maybe as tall as Hannah? - and I just say that to create a discussion!) and plays the middle.  She has a beautiful serve and a mean block.  And always a smile - love that.  I think there are 4 more games left in the season. She also has a great school schedule - how can you go wrong with guitar, ceramics, and lifeguarding as your electives!  And a cute cowboy as your guitar buddy...makes for good days.  We have a good morning routine - she gets herself up for seminary every day, I make her breakfast, we have family prayer at 6:15 - and either Tom or I drop her off.  Proud of her - she is kind and good and fun.

Danny and Jack are super thrilled to be done with cross-country.  They didn't love the season, but I think if you run 2.9 miles - you win. So both winners in my book.  Danny can hardly wait for basketball tryouts tomorrow and Tuesday.  I am impressed and inspired by his hard work and dedication - that boy is outside with a basketball more often than he is not.  I love that he works to improve.  And always works hard at school.  He checks power school (online grade book) every day - just to verify that he has an A+ in all of his subjects - which he does - not including band, because he fails to turn in practice logs.  A point that we are remedying!

Jack survived cross country, but he was motivated by a few great coaches who told him that he has a natural stride and good breathing pattern - love Mr. Wallace and Dr. Tun.  He mostly loves a new gymnastics class that he is in - all boys and lots of flipping - which in his words - he sucks at, but it is so fun.  He is determined to do better and is outside practicing flips and cartwheels all the time.  Love to see him in something that he is enjoying.  He is working hard in school also.  Loves Mr. Perry and Mr. Tiscareno.  It's strange for him to have mostly new teachers - new to our family, anyway!  The Dudley's have outlasted a few of the Eagle Valley teaching pool!

I am enjoying this newly free schedule!  I always think it's going to offer me alot of time, but after cleaning up the garden, doing a little yard-work, throwing in a load of laundry, keeping the fridge stocked, and trying to stay on top of reading for a history class I am taking at the college - the day is half done and I am on drive and cheer duty again!  My favourite part of the day.  I am enjoying my callings at church - Nursery leader and Activity Day leader.  I always thought I would cry the day they put me in Nursery - but it is pretty fun.  Last week we had 13 kids.  13! The kids are cute and funny, and I only got hit once in the head with a toy today.  Whoop!  And activity day girls are pretty terrific and like most of what we do - so that is a win, too!  Last week, we talked about healthy meals, and they made a great sausage and cheese pasta bake and green salad.  And we delivered it to a young family in the ward who had just moved.  Delicious and service.  Can't beat that for a fun calling.

Tom is working hard - at the office here in Carson, at the Fallon office, at his church job as 11 year old Scout leader.  At keeping our family going.  I have always marveled at his pace - I can never keep up with him whether he is walking or working!  We are grateful for how hard he works to take care of this family.  And he brings the fun - hot springs, movie nights, late night ice cream runs.

We all enjoyed our visit from Nana and Gump last week - so good of them to add us to their Utah trip.  They go and go and it's easy to forget that they are not as young as they used to be!  The weather here was glorious and we had a few picnic dinners at the lake.  Patricia and I had fun wandering around a quilt shop one morning and I am determined to become a quilter.  She makes beautiful quilts.  It was also fun to have them here for a volleyball game and Abbey's induction into National Honour Society!  It is always a treat to have family around.

We all have a little fever around here - Romney fever!  Jack is Mr. Republican headquarters guy!  He stops in a couple times a week for a new sticker or a house sign!  His school binders are covered in Romney paraphernalia.  Love it.  Danny read Atlas Shrugged a year or so ago - and he is watching this election with  an educated interest.  All the kids watched the debates, and we are all hoping our voters in Utah vote on our behalf.  I made friends with the guy drawing my blood at the CHS blood drive - he said he'd vote on my behalf in this election - wasn't too sure who to vote for!  Ha!  I told him - and I'll pray that he really does it!  I was reading in a recent Ensign the call to not just vote, but to be courageous and stand up for what we think is right.  And we are.  I just hope our rock wall doesn't get knocked down by someone who doesn't like our political persuasion!

Tommy, Hannah, and Camilla - I wish I was a fly on their walls - I wish I had all their stories to tell you.

Tommy is a hungry college kid - he is working hard to get in to his desired advertising program at BYU.  He still works at the lds movie studio in Provo, and has big and hopeful plans to travel while he is young. I don't hear too much about his dating life - but I think he has one...and I hear that he might have met a girl from Magrath, and that is never a bad thing!

Hannah is working at Sushi restaurant named Sora's, eating more fish than in the rest of her past life, dating a few more boys than in her past life, and hoping to get through Math!  She was getting ready to put in her mission papers, so the new age announcement didn't affect her too much, other than probably put her behind a few thousand other girls who want to put their papers in too!

Camilla has taken to college like it was a piece of cake, only she doesn't like cake, so not that!  She seems to be doing great and having a fun time.  She has done well in her classes and I am proud of her for that.   She and a friend 'rented' a puppy for an afternoon - which I think is funny and perfect!  Cutest dog ever - a baby lab named Bentley

And this is us - I love all these people.  I miss us all together - have I said that?  I have.  I really am feeling it.  But this feels good - and I'll send a link to the kids, and my mom and dad, and Nana and Gump and the siblings - read it if you want, don't if you don't.  It's probably mostly for me anyway.

Peace out.




I have been muddling about this year. Feeling my age. Oldest child moved out. Hannah eager to head out on her own for good. I have certainly done my fair share of introspection. My friend of many years - dare I say how many? wrote this on her blog back during the the first week of school, and I have thought it lovely - the way she worded our breakfast out and our discussions of the day.

Thought I'd share it with you.

"I guess I am now a "middlish-mom", rather than a youngish mom. Yesterday was our first day of school, and I was standing on the playground of the elementary school with some of my 'middlish' friends after we had just dropped off our youngest children. In this particular group, we had combined mothering experience totalling 91 years. We were noticing all the young, cute moms (we've termed them the 'snowboarding moms' for some reason) who were dropping off their first children. They were eager, some looked stressed -- we collectively were . . . neither. Just peaceful, maybe a little tired (we had to get up with our Seminary kids, after all), with a different perspective than we used to have. We were chuckling about how we used to be so much better at being involved in all the school stuff than we are now. And we realized, somewhat wistfully, that none of these younger, eager moms had any idea how much we've contributed in the past. We've made many phone calls, volunteered at school events, attended countless meetings, balanced many things, and managed the chaos. Now we kiss our kids and say, "see you after school!" and politely decline when asked to be the PTSA Treasurer for the year or organize the clean-up crew for the school barbecue. Don't get me wrong, we still volunteer in our kids' classrooms, go on field trips, etc. but we have somewhat lower expectations of ourselves now. Sometimes in commercials or movies there will be someone who is standing still or moving slowly while everything around them moves in super-fast motion. That's sorta what we felt like, and in some way we felt rather sorry for the anxious fast-movers. And also very grateful for them! Somebody's got to keep up the enthusiasm and clean up after the barbecue!

The five of us decided to go out for a spontaneous breakfast at Mom & Pop's Diner where we sat, laughed, reminisced and marveled at the passage of time. One of us just married off her oldest child this summer (I taught her in what used to be Achievement Days). Another one has her oldest serving a mission (I used to drive him to Cub Scouts).
My oldest is a senior in high school and counting down the minutes until he can launch, while in the meantime figuring out the ups and downs of having a steady girlfriend. The other two moms have oldest daughters who are Kristi's age, so we were discussing hormones, messy bedrooms and AP classes. Three hours later we thought we'd better go home and clean up the before-school dishes before our kids started coming home and wondered what we'd done all day!

I am not fortunate to live close to any of my family, immediate or extended. But I am fortunate to have friends who I have known since we were young moms, and who I hope to have until we are old grandmothers. When I sheepishly admitted to Keith last night about how I spent my morning, his comment was, "You guys deserved it." I would agree." - Karen Shaffer


It's about darn time...Really.

I cannot believe that I have let this large amount of time lapse. It is absurd. I have no excuse. Other than lacking in focus and not lacking in other things to do. And really, much of the words I will put here will be of no interest to just about anybody!

But I digress. Let us Recap.

We have had summer = fun
We started school = fatigue
We had Hallowe'en = sugar high
We have had a missionary for nearly 6 months = proud and happy mom

Would you like a pictorial review? Here we go!

Tahoe - can't be beat. We spend as many days as we can up there. We were thrilled when Hannah got back from D.C. and headed up there often. We also discovered a new place of fun and went kayaking at Fallen Leaf Lake. Beautiful tiny lake right off Hwy 89. There are some waterfalls up there and we had some good fun scrambling on the boulders.

Next: A little hiking fun for Hannah and Tom.

Little? A bit of an understatement. They did about a 50 mile hike along the John Muir trail. They were gone for 5 days and were tired and dirty and covered in mosquito bites, but what a feat. Quite an amazing accomplishment and pretty beautiful pictures, as well.

What else - oh yes, my summer tradition...
GIRLS CAMP at Bucks Lake

The theme this year was Musicals. We had a revolution - thanks to Hannah and Camilla's camp group - Les Miserables. But other than that and a little payback, everything went off without a hitch. Abbey had a great first year in her Beauty and the Beast group.

And I had a little run as a nun. A singing nun, no less!

That is me - 2nd from the left. These are the ladies who helped me plan camp. We had a little too much fun and got a little punchy by the end. But I love them and camp is good.

Are you weary? Should I give you a break from all the visual pleasure.

Nah - Let's just fast forward to...

We had a Jack in the Box:

We had a 70's basketball player:

Afro Abbey:

She is missing her cape and crest in this photo- but she looked darling and had a great day. A Canadian teacher thought she was some sort of Canadian superhero from the 80's? Anyone? I had never heard of one, but he printed a picture, and she sort of looked like him.

A couple of Thugs (Camilla and her pal, Kylie):

And a Pac Man her friend , Ghost (aka: Hannah & Haydn):

So fun and adventures had by all. We've done a million other things. Waterskiing at Lake Almanor, tennis season for Camilla and Hannah, basketball for Abbey. Danny and Jack are looking forward to hockey season.

Probably everyone who will read this is on the email list for Tommy's mission letters. He is doing so great. He sends pictures once in a while and emails every Wednesday - so that is my new favourite day.

On the back of this photo he wrote, "Crying repentance unto the people." Hahaha - as he would say. Below is a picture of the family that he and his companion taught and baptized.

The Perez Family
So that should bring us up to date.

Next I'll add a post about our new addition.

No, I'm not pregnant.


Arrival - Safe and Sound

We got a fun surprise on Tuesday morning.

Tommy gave us a call from the airport in Salt Lake. His district was one of the lucky ones that were able to get their flights back on track. Only one of the Sisters in his missions wasn't able to go due to swine flu. She was put in quarantine the night before they left. Sad. He said it is pretty crazy. He wished he had bought a face mask just to take pictures out by the MTC sign.

But off to Toronto he went.

We got a phone call from President Middleton Tuesday evening. Jack took the call and the message that Elder Dudley had arrived - safe and sound. I was sad to have missed his call. And anxiously awaited the letter below.

I am posting these like they come - spelling, punctuation, capitalization, or lack there-of!

SO good to hear from him.

"i dont have tons of time..so im just gonna pretty much write you guys, and you can send them to any relatives or woodburys or whoever you want.i arrived in canada. it went well. we were all nervous about the flight, having to sit next to real people and talk about religion. i ended up sitting between two other missionaries hahaha so no talking for me! i tried my hardest to stay awake during the flight..but no luck..i was zonked. um we landed in toronto and had to go through customs and junk, im still not exactly sure what im supposed to do with this citizenship information. the first lady said that if i dont get my canadian passport within 6 months then i have to leave the country, then this other guy i talked to at immigration said no, because i was born in canada i have right to citizenship and can stay and do whatever i want. so i now im confused and not exactly sure. um well anyways, we landed and got to president middletons house at about 5pm local time. there we kinda hung out in the living room and talked to sister middleton while president middleton went through and interviewed each one of us. he is an AWESOME guy. he is gonnna be like a general authority one day hahaha. um we ate dinner there, had a little testimony meeting, and then we met our trainers. my companion is elder beanziger (pronounced ben-z-ger)from west palm beach florida. he is a way good missionary. he has only been out on his mission for 9 months..all the other trainers have been out for about 20 or more. i dont know if that means that the president trusts us to do well, or that my comp is amazing and can whip me into shape haha. we stayed the the night at the "mission mansion" and then went back to the middletons for breakfast. we then had our orientation and all that good stuff. after that the middletons took us all to this chinese buffet for lunch called the Mandarin. it was pretty good. i nice change up from the mtc at least haha. um we then broke off and headed out to our separate areas. me and elder beanziger are in one of the bigger areas. we are in a town called Guelph (pronounce gwelf) its umm interesting. its about an hour West of Toronto and it has a population of like 120,000 i think and we are the only 2 missionaries in the town. so a lot of work to do! there is only one ward here though. we have our own car and cell phone. we drive a chevy cobalt haha. our apartment is big, not very nice but big. i have my own bathroom haha. we also have a treadmill and a workout bench. last night we ate at sister ouletts house with her friend stephanie. stephanie is an investigator who is addicted to pain killers, she asked last night for some time off from meeting with us so im not sure what we are gonna do from here on out. sister oulette is CRAZZYYYY though. we were in this tiny tiny apartment and she seriuosly made SO much food for me and elder beanziger, we also brought a kid named mirco who is from sweden..or something.. today was also really busy. we had an appointment with a girl named megan. she is also addicted to a lot of different drugs, and believes in Christ and Existentialism. its a weird combo and im not sure we were able to break into her. we taught her at the park for about an hour and tried to answer and offer insight to a lot of her questions she was having with the plan of salvation. she pretty much doesnt believe in satan, doesnt like the 3 degrees of glory, doesnt understand why the atonement was a big deal, and believes that none of the stuff around us is real, that we are all dreaming. she is a really nice girl though and we actually got her to give the closing prayer. she also tentatively agreed to come to church on sunday, well...we're supposed to call her again tomorrow so we'll see. what else happened today, umm we met briefly with a man named wilbur, he is RLDS which was interesting. i wouldnt really say that we taught him though, i think he has a little bit of a mental disorder and hes partially deaf. he pretty much just talked straight for 20 minutes, asked us a question, and then cut us off before we could answer. it was weird but nice. we had an appointment with a girl named lisa. she is a wicken, which from what i understand is like witchcraft. we showed up to her house but she got called into work. hopefully we can meet up with her again soon. a wicken though, im not exactly sure how i will be able to handle that. its been pouring rain for most the day. my socks are soaked! we went door to door for about an hour. heard a lot of get off my property and bad words haha. its hard not to be discouraged when i walked around outside for an hour in the pouring rain only to have nobody listen to a single part of our message. tonight we are mainly going around to less active members. i havent even been in this town for a full 24 hours. its crazy. we are goin shopping though after this so i can buy food and other necessities i need. yesterday was pday but because of the training and driving we didnt have time to do anything so the president gave us permission to use part of today. well overall things are going well. its weird, i was so much more afraid to talk to people in the mtc..fake people! here though im doing pretty well, i guess the lord is helping me overcome that fear of preaching to strangers. its not completely gone but im feeling much more confident than i thought i would be. well i gotta go! but i love you all, i enjoyed the pictures as well. have fun.
love elder dudley"
Can you believe this was one day? Wow.


Got a letter from tommy today. Two short ones, actually. Sounds a little stressed. So I sent him a package from the dear elder.com site. I had a coupon for a delivery from MR.MAC - back when we bought his suits. Came in handy today. Sent him a card with the picture above. And cinnamon rolls and a bottle of Sparkling Martinellis - just what a boy who needs to lose a few lbs needs (see below!).

Here's the highly anticipated mail! Not long enough, but enjoyable!

"i apoligize but i dont have tons of time to write right now. i sent you a few pictures today but the swine flu has hit and it sucks. my departure date has been delayed a week.. i will literally lose my mind. can you at some point send me a jump rope and my flip flops? i got to go change my laundry. hopefully i computer will be open in there. talk to you in a bit."


"k, i found a computer but i still dont have tons of time. you can still send me dearelder letters..in fact i probably prefer those more because i get them daily where as email i only get to check on wednesdays. but yeah, my departure date has been postponed. its horrible. we had our flight plans and everything! i got a letter from jordan today which was nice. bishop woodberry?! what?! craziness. ummm you dont even know how excited i am to get some music in the mail.. explosions is safe, dont worry..nana and gump loved it and they were mission presidents. um the mtc is still long. i dont have tons of stuff to tell you, pretty much everyday is the same. you can post whatever you want on blogs, or send out to people.. it doesnt matter to me. i got a dear elder from aunti monique but i have no way of replying to her soooo ya... i sent out some pictures and a letter that im hoping you could deliver to alyssa and nigel harrison who could then in turn deliver to mackenzie. just mail it to them or something.. did i already ask you to send out my flip flops and a jump rope? those arent necessarily important, but a jump rope would be a nice way for me to break a sweat in my bedroom. i need to lose some lbs. ummmmm sorry if this is scattered, ill write a better letter at some point tonight and mail it soon. um well good luck in washington dc! i hear that temple is pretty. i went to the provo temple this morning, its a nice break from classes. i cant believe im stuck here in the mtc for another week. i hate life..hahaha well tell everyone i say hello! andddd yeah, i prefer dearelder when im in the mtc..that way i can tackle each letter as it comes rather than furiously type a single letter trying to cover all the bases.. i love you guys,. things are going great and im really starting to become a better teacher and tool for the spirit. me and elder norton are doing well...

love you all

elder dudley"


Swine Flu Caution

Just to keep things interesting, I have heard that there is Swine Flu at the MTC.

I haven't received a telephone call, so I would suppose that Elder Dudley is NOT among the 20 or so who have been quarantined.

The MTC is changing protocol and allowing only curbside drop-off of incoming Elders and Sisters. So maybe we were lucky to be among the final few who got to say goodbye in a sea of sobbing relatives. (Our goodbye was made all the more interesting because the Tongan lady who was saying goodbye to her missionary elder wailed loud and long -a bit of comic relief for me - "Well, at least I'm not crying that loud!")

According to the news article, Tommy's stay at the MTC might be extended a week or so. I am interested to hear how he feels about that. A friend of mine described the MTC like Spirit Prison - "full of the Spirit... and you can't get out!" Probably accurate.

Read news article here


In other news - I'm off to Washington on Thursday to pick up Hannah. Looking forward to seeing her and lugging her new life home. Hoping the adjustment isn't too hard for her. We are all so glad to have her be coming back.

Here is a picture of Prom - they had a fun Prom on the Potomac. Her date is Sean from North Dakota.

I'm pretty sure she can't wait to be back in good old Carson City - but things are definitely alot slower around here. Alot less interesting. Alot less to do. I hope she can manage.

Welcome home, Hannah.


Letter # 2 - which came after Letter #3

"Well, It's Sunday night & I had a bit of time so I figured I'd write you guys. It was so fun getting your letter. The MTC is seriously SOOOO exhausting. It's bad, but every minute of the day I am literally falling asleep. It's a battle but I'm doing my best to stay awake! Well, to answer some questions, there are 4 to a room and the rooms are about twice the size of the BYU dorms. I feel really blessed that one of our walls are painted orange. All the other elders in the building are jealous of our orange wall! My two teachers are Brother Frei and Bro. Jenkins. They are two awesome guys. I feel like we really lucked out in that department. Sundays here are alot different. Breakfast was at 7:00am and it was just cold cereal. It was seriously the most depressing breakfast ever! Nobody talked, everybody just sat, ate, & stared. After that we had an hour and a half of study time with our district. We then had priesthood at 10:00am, then had lunch at 11:30, then off to sacrament. Sacrament meetings are intense here. Everyone has to prepare a short 5 minute talk on a certain topic, and then they randomly pick the speakers once the meeting has started. After sacrament we had 3 more hours of study time. One of the options we can do during that time though, is to walk up to the temple grounds. It was so nice to have an hour or more to just relax. We then had dinner and a fireside. The speaker was the manager of all missionary operations in the church. I feel like his talk was directed at me. I've still been having troubles on why I was called to Toronto. I see some of the other kids here who are learning languages and going to cool places and I can't help but see like how much more capable I am. So that was a struggle, but his talk was good. He spoke alot on how calls are made & the inspiration the quorum of the 12 gets. After that we went and watched an old talk by Elder Holland called "Missions are Forever."
It was one of the best talks I have ever heard, if you can find it I highly recommend reading it. Tomorrow is just as busy but I have another gym period. I'm happy about that! I feel so fat & lazy just eating and sitting all day...oh well. Today me & Elder Norton gave the lesson in District Meeting today. We taught on how to recognize & feel/use the Spirit; it went great. On Tuesday we are doing a fake first lesson with some RM's pretending to be investigators. I'm super nervous. I hope it goes well. We get taped and then we watch it later to see how we can improve. It'll be scary but good. Did my shoe shine kit end up at the house? Well I should go. Love you all!"

Elder Dudley