Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Letter to Russia

March 3, 2016

Dear Elder Hallstrom- 

HAPPY 19th BIRTHDAY!!!  We love you so much and miss you tons.  We hope you have a good time celebrating your birthday this week.  Does your mission have any random birthday traditions?  

I wanted to let you know how much I admire you, my youngest brother.  You're the youngest of the Hallstrom 10.  I bet it is super fun, yet kind of strange growing up as the youngest.  The day you came home from the hospital, I pretended I wasn't feeling well and stayed home from school so I could hang out with you.  You are such a fun person to be around.  I love how you easily make friends with the older generation and like to do some things "the old fashioned way."  I think it's so cool how you've taken a particular interest (calligraphy) and have taught yourself how to perfect your own style.  I am taking a modern calligraphy writing class using brush pens.  I haven't made much time to practice yet, but I've enjoyed it so far.  I'll have to send you a sample of my fancy calligraphy sometime.  Hey, do you still have that envelope I mailed you of the Primary pics my ward put together?!  I hope sometime on your mission you'll be in a ward/branch that has a Primary that you can share it with.  Let me know when that happens.  Our Primary would love to hear back from Primary children in Russia.  If there's no interest in the Primary children in writing back, you may have the church members write back.  Just an idea. 

Thank you for emailing pics of Russia.  I think it is so neat to see what it's like in other parts of the world.  Is the weather warming up or are you entering a cold season?  It's finally starting to feel like spring in Logan.  Our snow is melting and it's been in the mid 40s to low 60s the past week or so.  Brian is 11 now.  Sam took our boys and two of Brian's friends to the Jump Zone to celebrate.  They came to our house to for cake and ice cream and opening presents.  Brian LOVES birthdays.  He really wanted me to take him on a date to Pizza Pie Cafe (a pizza buffet place) for dinner.  So we did that.  And on the way home, we stopped by a nice big cooking store  that we've never been inside of.  It was fun to browse around that store.  We found out that store offers summer cooking classes for kids, so I'm going to sign Brian up.  I had an idea that night and told Brian about it.  I told him that I should get a hold of my friend who runs her own little bakery out of her home and see if she could teach Brian how to decorate cakes, how to set up a business, and sell VanWie chocolate chip cookies, strawberry ice cream cakes, fancy cupcakes, etc. to earn money towards his mission.  Brian seems excited about that idea.  

My girls have been rather mischievous lately.   Last weekend, I caught Julia cutting her own hair with kids scissors!  I had my friend and neighbor fix her hair.  Then a couple days later, Katie found scissors and gave Julia ANOTHER haircut!!!  Ahhh!  Julia's hair looks kind of wild now, but I refuse to cut it anymore.  When I take the girls on walks around the neighborhood, they like to ride their bikes.  And of course, Katie is a lot faster of a bike rider than Julia, so I have Katie wait at the corner for us to catch up to her.  After awhile, Katie got way ahead of us and continued on her merry way.  By the time Julia and I got back home, Katie wasn't there!  We search really quickly up and down a few streets.  Katie eventually rounded the corner onto our street riding fast and crying her little eyes out, thinking she'd lost us for good.  Poor girl!  I loaded their bikes up in the van and let the girls ride their bikes in the church parking lot to make them happy again.  

Anyway, we just got a pretty cool family gift... a Yamaha digital piano!  It's a really nice model and has hammer weighted keys like a real piano.  Mom mailed me some of my old piano books.  We've had fun with it.  I really want to review what I've learned over the years.  I'm so rusty with my piano playing.  I'd really like to get a simplified hymn book and start there.  Oh, Tyler wants me to tell you that he's not doing soccer this spring.  My school kids have all decided to join a running group that meets for a month or so over at the high school from mid April -mid May.  They want to prep for their end of the school year Wildcat Run.  They'll have fun running and should sleep great for that month or so.  

Well, this email could just go on and on and on.  There's always so much to tell you about.  Oh yeah, we had Grandma Hallstrom, Uncle Calvin, and our cousin, Nathan Kristjanson (who is going to school in Logan) over for dessert on Valentine's Day.  We had a few different treats that I made, one of which was a bday cake for Grandma.  She loved how we remembered and celebrated her.  I had family members (that wanted to) mail bday cards to my house for Grandma to open that night.  She's 85 now and doing well.  She comes over sometimes and spends the night.  She says it's like a vacation coming to our house.  One of the boys always gives up their bed for Grandma to sleep on and we let her sleep in as long as she needs to.  Grandma says she doesn't have to worry about Calvin while she's here.  The kids love seeing Grandma and hanging out with her.  

I guess that's enough of an update for now.  Tell me more about your missionary adventures.  What do you miss about the USA?  Tell me more about how the people do things differently in Russia.  

I leave you with a quote that stood out to me today:

  "To succeed in life, we must teach our spirit and body to work together in obedience to God's commandments." -L. Tom Perry  

I recently got out of a rut I was in for a super long time. I was so down on myself thinking I wasn't living up to my full potential because I didn't have the booming photography business I have been working towards for years. After a lot of prayer, fasting, soul searching, etc., I am finally at peace with the current season of my life. I am a wife and mom of 4 young kids, who are my pride and joy. I love the home my husband and I have created and the strong family bonds we're creating with our kids. Instead of wishing I was living in the future, when all of my kids are in school, I have switched gears in my mind to enjoy life NOW. So, I'm working diligently daily on creating the life I've been dreaming about. Life is beautiful and SO. ARE. YOU.!!!! 

I love you, Ryan!  Keep up the great work you're doing.  Know that we pray for you ... for your safety and success.  

Love, LISA (Sam, Brian, Tyler, Katie, and Julia)

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