Tuesday, December 20, 2011

May your Mailbox be full of...Christmas Cards!

This year definitely went by faster than the last two…at least for me.  As I reflect back it has truly been an adventure for all of us…
Nathan finished up his mission in Sandakan, East Malaysia the end of July and we were able to meet him in Singapore and then travel to areas he served Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. It was an amazing experience for our family to meet with the people he taught and see how much they love our son.  It will be something our family will cherish forever. 
Since Nathan has returned home he has had surgery on his hand…which he broke 5 days before he finished his mission, started school again and is working for Cogent Health.  He will finish up his Associates Degree at SLCC next semester and then is planning on heading up to the U of U to complete his Bachelors. 
It is Landon’s senior year at Cottonwood and he is still deciding on where he will attend college next year.  With school, baseball, and seminary council he is always on the go. We went to Las Vegas to watch him pitch in the Bishop Gorman Tournament.  Baseball will take him to Nevada and California and we are looking forward to spring and watching him play his last year of high school baseball.
Jeff continues to work hard and makes it possible for us to enjoy life to its fullest.   His only request while in Malaysia was to drive to the Tip of Borneo it was a four hour drive from Kota Kinabalu on very rough roads but, well worth the view as you can see from our picture on our Christmas card.
As for me, I received the best birthday gift ever this year…the return of our son. Although it won’t last for too long, it is so good to be altogether again. It was a wonderful and full year.  Jeff and I are just trying to enjoy these precious years with our boys as they continue to grow up and before they leave home.
The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree:  the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.  ~Burton Hillis
                 Jeff, Joan, Nathan & Landon

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Mr. Postman bring me some Cheer...

One of my favorite things about the holiday season is receiving Christmas Cards in the mail.  It is December 8th and we have only gotten one so far this year. I brought in the mail today...what a disappoint junk mail again and no Christmas Cards. It's one of those things that I love hearing from the people that you don't see every day and what has been going on in their lives. I hope we get some soon to brighten my holiday. Please...Mr. Postman fill up my mailbox!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

We must have been tougher in my day!

Last Friday Landon got his wisdom teeth pulled.  When I got mine out you just went to your regular dentist and they just shot you with Novocaine and they took them out while you were awake. In other words you felt every thing...and I mean every thing! Now they just put you out and the next thing you know they're done.  Both of our boys were done like this...but, if you ask me...We must have been tougher back in our day.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

No more Pins...

The pins they took out of Nathan's Hand
Yesterday they took out the three pins in Nathan's hand. They have been keeping every thing in place after his surgery. You could feel them through his skin. They made a couple of small incisions and then literally the doctor pulled them out of his hand and then stitched him up.  I couldn't watch.  The first one came out pretty easy.  But the other two he really worked at prying them out.  Nathan described it like a nail being pulled out of a wood board. Each one of them were about two inches long. Not the best picture...Nathan took it with his phone. They are really pleased with how it is healing.  He is happy to be out of his splint and will go for Physical Therapy tomorrow.
The two small incisions where they took the pins out...the scar on the top of his hand is where they went in to do his surgery.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Nathan's Hand Surgery...

Nathan's left hand before his surgery...The light shadow part in the circle is where the joint exploded when he landed on the cement after flipping over his companion playing basketball 5 days before he was released. If you compare it below you can see how far the bone sticks out to the left and after the surgery it is all back together and in the right position.
When the doctor got in there and was cleaning out all the shattered pieces he found a small piece of his joint still there and was able to attach the bone graph to the joint. The three pin-wires will stay in there for 4 weeks while it heals and then the doctor will take them out. He is quite hopeful but, there is still the chance that he will have to go back in and fuze the bone down the road if this doesn't work.  We are praying this will work...

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Good Luck Elder Brower

Our neighbor Josh, who spent a great deal of time at our home over the years left this morning for his mission to Everett, Washington. Nathan and Josh just missed seeing each other by just a couple of weeks.  They were lucky to get the chance to say hello and goodbye before he flew off today. We are so happy for him and his family and wish him the very best as he heads out to serve the Lord.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Kota Kinabalu/Singapore - Leaving for Home

After ten days of traveling we will have a total of nine flights on four different airlines, no lost luggage, and five changes of  hotels. I am happy to report that all of the flights went off with out a hitch and no issue going in to any of the countries. Jeff did misplace his little card that told what destination you were going to next. Which was no real big deal they just had him fill out another one. It was funny though because Nathan and Landon were ahead of us and Nathan didn't wait for us.When we finally met up with them after; his comment was...I wasn't going to get stuck. He was worried because he had so many chops in passport that he was not going to be let back in to Malaysia. But everything has gone extremely smooth until we went to go see Sister Fiona the last morning in Kota Kinabalu. We drove out of the parking structure of the Hotel and we heard that awful thud, thud of a flat tire. The rental car company came and changed the tire and then we had to have it fixed which didn't cost too much. Nathan and Landon went in a taxi to see Sister Fiona so everything worked out just fine.
Sister Fiona, her mother and Baby with Nathan. She does beautiful bead work. She made one for Nathan that he is wearing.
Baby is holding another bead necklace that you can see a little better

Sister Jemimi, Leslie, and Relphie took us to the airport. They were Nathan's Malaysian family while he served in Kota Kinabalu and he became very close to this family. This is the part that is so hard...watching your son say goodbye to people that they have become so attached too. He has grown to love the people, their languages and the country and it is hard to take him away for this amazing experience that he has been blessed with. I hope that some day he will be able to return and visit.
Leslie, Relphie,and Jemimi with Nathan at the airport
We spent our last night in Singapore it was a short night getting up at 2:30 a.m. to catch our 6:00 a.m. on August 4th. We arrived in Tokyo, Japan at 4:15 p.m. their time and then on to Salt Lake International arriving at 11:35 a.m. August 4th. We gained 15 hours. It was 2:30 a.m. in Singapore, August 5th...a very long 24 hour day on planes.

This has been an amazing trip and two year journey with Nathan. It is sad to see it all come to an end...but I am very happy to bring our son home. I am so grateful to have been able to share this incredible part of his life.
Welcome Home Elder Watkins

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

KK Night Market - August 2, 2011

Every body comes out at night because it is so hot during the day. We walked to Kota's Night Market are last night in Kota Kinabalu. There fruits, vegetables, fishes, meats, soups, spices...etc...everything. This is where the local people come to eat and have a good time.

Tip of Borneo & Kudat - August 2, 2011

Jeff only wanted to do one thing on this trip and that was to go to the tip of Borneo. We rented a car/mini van and left at 5:00 a.m. with Sister Lillian as our guide and Leslie along for the ride. It is about a four hour drive on not the best of roads.  Jeff would be driving along on paved roads and there would some times be a sign that would say; "AWAS" which means "caution" and the next thing you know you are on a washed out piece of road. Landon and I were in the very back of the car and can verify the bad roads by the sore tailbones we sustained :) It was totally worth sore tailbones!

Tanjung Simpang Mengayay, is also known as the Northernmost tip of Borneo, the third largest island in the world, after Greenland and New Guinea. It is locate in the district of Kudat, in the state of Sabah, Malaysia. The tip is the meeting point of Sulu and the South China Sea.
A bronze globe marks the location of Tanjung Simpang Mengayau at latitude 7 degrees north and longitude 116 degrees east.
Every where you looked was an incredible sight. Here are a just a few...

Rungus Longhouse that you can stay in at the tip of Borneo.
This is the view from the porch of your room.
Farther down the beach looking back at the island.

On the way back we stopped at a Traditional Rungus Longhouse in Kudat
Today, only the Runggus and Murut peoples still maintain the longhouse system. Each family has its own "apartment" but share a common living area. A longhouse may be made up of 20 to 40 families. Each of the doors is an apartment.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Kota Kinabalu - August 1, 2011

From our room at the Hotel Promenade this is the view that we had. Nathan lived in the condos next to this Hotel and this was his view he saw every morning. Kota Kinabalu is a very popular tourist destination. Off in the distance you can see two islands...there are three islands all together. Famous for snorkeling and beautiful water off their sandy beaches.
We walked across the street and to this open market on the edge of the water. They sell lots of things made in Sabah. Sabah is a state in East Malaysia and Kota Kinabalu is the city. Lots of lots of souvenirs. This is were we bought all our souvenir from East Malaysia. Nathan found him a native bow and arrows and a carved wooden vase. Every thing was pretty cheap.
There are speed boats that leave the shore of Kota every hour to ferry people across to the island gems. Thank heavens we picked the closest island called Manukan. They are not luxury speed boats...they go about a 100 miles an hour I think and they cross the waves and you hit hard on your bottom every time they hit the waves. Jeff found an extra life jacket for me to sit on to help cushion the blow. The boys couldn't stop laughing.
View from our speed boat
An aerial view of Manukan
From the Shore of Manukan

The rocky side of island. We didn't do any snorkeling because Nathan was still a missionary. We tried to stay away from the enticing sandy beaches so he wasn't too tempted.
This cool sand sculpture of a sea turtle was just sculpted the day before we got there. They always put the day first...31/7/2011

Okay...the boat ride back was even faster and Karen was sitting at the back of the boat where there was no cover over head and she got drenched from the spray off the ocean. This was her after she got off the boat. At least she was cool the rest of the day.

Gary with a member friend Peter and four of his six children under the age of five. His wife had just had a baby the week before we got there. They live in very humble circumstances and yet they are very content and happy. We all can learn a lesson from these wonderful people. He tried to give Nathan his Malaysia guitar. Nathan not trying to offend him finally was able to satisfy him by signing his name on his guitar with a black sharpie. We had to go buy a sharpie and come back so he could sign it. I kept thinking how blessed we are, we have everything we need and then some. We probably have at least a dozen sharpie just laying around the house and yet Gary wanted to give him his guitar which was probably one of the most expensive things he owned. They love the missionaries who have shared the gospel with them and will do anything for them.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Kota Kinabalu - July 31, 2011

We took a bus to the church or what they call a bus. It is like a mini van with bench seats that they cram as many people into as they can. It was the first week that the KK Branch was split so, we went to two sacrament meetings.  During the second sacrament meeting the power went out so they canceled the rest of the meetings. We met a lot of the members and recent converts of Nathan. I can see why he loved all of them.
Kota Kinabalu Chapel
Visiting with the members after church.

Sister Jemimi took us to a beautiful sandy beach where we put our feet in the China Sea.

There was big open area were we had roasted corn on the cob. Nathan had chicken butt, this ABC Fruit drink pictured above and of course another durian.
Adrian Harun and his Mom, Dad and one of his twin sisters. Adrian was with us all day and has been called to the Utah, South Mission. We will be picking him up at the Salt Lake Airport on August 15th. We will take him to the Salt Lake Temple for his endowments and then taking him to the MTC in Provo the next day.