Sunday, July 31, 2011

Boot Camp?

Yes, that's right.  Joseph will be attending a boot camp of seminars for the blind and visually impaired it's "an intensive 3 day workshop that will focus on many of the elements that make a job search successful.  It is designed to assist you in restarting, re-energizing, re-tooling your job search efforts." We signed Joseph on to do this in June and we were hoping that we would have to cancel because he would have a job but no he doesn't. 

We are being put up in the double tree hotel in downtown spokane, right near Riverfront Park. And our gas is being re-imbursed! Which is awesome because we have to borrow my parents Honda Pilot, it's the only car with AC, and we have to travel in the middle of the day. (We can usually plan our travels to miss the heat, but this is an exception, we didn't plan it, or our arrival time) So we will be spending more than usual on gas, but it's alright it still comes out to free. Joseph will have meal vouchers, for breakfast and dinner while we are there. We're frugal so we can probably make it work for the both of us. I will have to find my own lunches though because that meal is served at bootcamp  each day and I don't get to attend.

My plans involve walking around riverfront park, maybe a little of riverside drive, picture taking at both places, both are in walking distance from the hotel. Maybe check out the botanical gardens, lots of swimming in the outdoor pool, a little laying out in the sun. some movie watching in our room,  book reading, maybe a little shopping, we want to make a visit to see the Toths... but basically Joseph will be busy, I will be trying to keep busy and we'll still have time enough together to make this feel like an almost all-expenses paid vacation. 

We're really excited to go. See you later. 
Although I may update from there, we will have wifi.
Until then here are some flower pictures.

(This is the background on my iPod right now.)

The Better than free phone...

 Somehow Joseph breaking his phone, was an unexpected blessing. After he broke it, he called me at work, and we were both a pretty frustrated, he HAS to have a phone. So off to our neighborhood Verizon store we went.  The guy there was super nice, unfortunately his phone was beyond repair, and out of warranty. So we looked at our options, buying a used one on eBay or a new one there. Luckily my line was up for an upgrade, it shouldn't have been. So we explained exactly what we wanted, to accommodate a blind man (we usually just tell strangers that he is blind, unless pushed for more info. It's just easier) a simple flip phone, bigger buttons, and the capability to read out the caller ID. We picked between two "free" phones, and one fit his needs better than the other.

That poor guy, his name was Jarod by the way, he spent over an hour helping us out.  Most of it was spent getting the Audible Caller ID to work, meanwhile, I perused phones, played with an iPhone, and paced. He had a couple of customers come while he was wrestling with the phone, one awful one, that he invited to leave, one great one who needed a new case for his phone.

Once all of that was done, it was time to check out which is a little bit of an ordeal on it's own.  He made a phone call in the middle asking for a discount code... Joseph was getting a $200 phone for free, and we still got to send in for the $50 rebate. So someday soon, we have a $50 Visa card coming, all because Joseph broke his phone. Another reason we love Verizon.

Crazy week (July 8th-15th)

When we got back from our July trip to Idaho we all got sick... no not food poisoning. Dad was 1st, which is weird he never gets sick. After he spent the night sick and a day laying in bed he got up and got ready to go on a 200 mile bike ride! (Seattle to Portland, if you were wondering) And yes, he is insane. Anyway about 12 hours later I was really sick, so I called my mom, who was waiting at the half way for Dad who decided 1/4 through the ride that he was too weak to finish.. Turns out I had the same thing, which is the reason for the call. 12 hours later Joseph and Mom were sick. We shared the flu, the influenza flu- and it was NASTY!!  While I was in the thick of it, I just wanted held, then after I wanted to cuddle but I hurt too much and we both had fevers so it was too hot to get too close. It was one of those times we would just lay in bed and touch hands or feet, because that is all we could stand. Like I said this was NASTY!

We texted Val and she was promptly banned from the house, she was going in for surgery later in the week. So she desperately needed to avoid this yucky-ness.  We were constantly sanitizing the house, and were well stocked with 7up, Gatorade, saltines, chicken noodle soup, top ramen & Popsicles.  And that's basically what we all lived on for that week.

Valerie had her tonsils & adenoids removed. She and Mom (who was healthy by this point) stayed at grandma's house- JR got sick and I was home playing nurse.  Somehow we survived all of that and I was finally just getting energy back when I had to go back to work.

I wanted to document this, because it was so strange. We all got it every 12 hours, except JR, who was boasting that his immune system would withstand it and he got it 24 hours after Mom and Joseph. I am finally working out again, it was pretty darn bad and luckily it happened while I was off work.

and this is a photo of the flu virus, just to make sure this post isn't picture-less. 
(from National Geographic, here)

Lets just say that Lysol wipes and hand sanitizer are my friends.

Monday, July 25, 2011

ABC's of us...

While I have many (3) different posts rolling around in my mind, I haven't yet been able to organize them yet, so here it is...

The ABC's of Me or Us

Age: S- 25, J- 28
Bed Size: Queen
Chore you hate: S- weeding, I have allergies. J- cleaning the toilet.
DogsWe have one, two if you count our cat, she seems to think she is a dog.
Essential start of your day: Prayer.
Favorite Color: Both: Blue
Gold or silver: Silver
Height: 5'6-7"
Instruments I play (or have played): Piano, Baritone, Trumpet, Mellaphone, percussion, and voice.
Job Title: S- Teacher. (Piano and Music). J- TBD
Kids: Definitely.
Live: in Washington, the dry side.
Mom's Name: Leah, LuRose
Nickname: J- Joe, Turbo, speedy. S- Shay, Shay Rae, Sunshine, (Shaylee Rae of Sunshine Swanger Mecham- I have Bro-Bish-Mo to thank for that) 
Overnight hospital stays: S- none. J- surgery in Brasil, surgery on my finger.
Pet Peeve: Bad drivers & and people (singles or groups) that take up entire aisles in stores!!
Quote from a movie: ...We quote so many, it's hard....But Harry Potter being the most recent movie we have watched .."I solemnly swear that I am up to no good. " 
Right or left handed: S- both, J- Left 
Siblings: total? 6 Sisters: Alisha, Valerie, Miri, Bethany, Kaelee, & Jessica. 6 Brothers: Josh, Jacob, Samuel, John, Dustin & Marc.
Time you wake up: When my eyes open, usually around 7 or 8, at least during the summer.
Underwear: Clean.
Vegetables you dislike: S- Mushrooms & Tomatoes. Broccoli dislikes me. J- I like veggies.
What makes you run late: Forgetting things, there are so many things we need when we leave the house.
X-rays you've had done: S-Teeth, foot, back, hip, shoulder.. I think that is it. J- Teeth, head, back, hand, arm, foot, ankle & elbow.
Yummy food you make: Everything I make is yummy, except when it's not. Joseph makes an excellent cobbler!
Zoo animal: S- Giraffe! J-Cheetah!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A long post, with lots of pictures.

Our trips to Idaho, both all wrapped up in one.
During our trip in June we stayed with these lovely people: 
Jake, Bethany & Cadence.
Whom I was privileged to take their family photos,
 but for their privacy I've added a little disguise. 
We enjoyed staying with them in their new house,  
exploring the changes to BYUI campus, and to Rexburg. 
We also played in Idaho Falls, and in Shelley with our family.
 It was so good to get away. 
And we love any time we can grab to spend with our Idaho family this summer.

Exploring in Idaho Falls and seeing the flood waters invade the green belt.

Join me for a picnic? Or a nap?

I got a lot of beautiful shots of the Idaho Falls Temple.

After playing in Eastern Idaho we stopped and stayed with Alisha, Marc, Tori and Sera Jean.
on Mountain Home Air Force Base. 
This is when we met Sera Jean for the 1st time.

Our trip in July was with my family. 
Mom, Dad, Valerie, JR, Joseph & I.
It was quite a road trip, we did manage to have a lot of fun.
Some of the fun including Valerie peeing in a grove of trees.
And the rest of us laughing so hard, we were crying, 
I also managed to text her best friend about it, before she could. 
My advice to her, as she got out of the car
"Don't pee on your shoes!"

We went to Idaho for Sera Jean's blessing. 
Getting that many people on base was interesting.
Her dress was handmade by my Mom,
 from Alisha's wedding dress and some lace from Mom's wedding dress.
We really like their tiny little military branch,
 they were all so sweet, 
and remembered  us from our visit 2 weeks previous,
 and Mom and Dad from 2 weeks before that.

We really love our nieces all 3 of them (soon to be 4)
This is my favorite picture from our visit.
Joseph and Tori, they're such good buddies.
They play so well together. 

Victoria Renee  "Tori"

We talked the family into going to Idaho Falls to see "real" fireworks. 
So the Swanger Family and the Mecham Family all stayed in a hotel,
just down the street from where we watched the fireworks.
Here is John showing off his "chariot" for Joseph.
It was really hot, much too hot for Joseph, 
his muscles get weak and rubbery when it's hot.
So John put this together to get back and forth in. 
Pretty awesome.
Joseph enjoying his ride. 
Check out the patriotic temporary tattoo on his arm.
He could make it wave! 
We had tons of fun,
 and it was great to have air conditioned rooms to cool off in.

Here are some of the great Fireworks that we enjoyed.

So those are the highlights from our trips to Idaho.
I know I missed some details,
 but that's what happens when I wait too long to write about it.
 To sum it up we've had fun, we needed it and
We're lucky to have such great family.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Our niece Sera Jean

Only about 2 weeks old here.

Tori is usually never this serious, or this close to the baby. 
She doesn't want too much to do with her little sister, yet.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


lots has happened since my last post... umm 5 weeks ago.

 We went to Idaho, 
met our newest niece Sera Jean.
Painted and rearranged our room.
I got like 3 haircuts... doing bangs again.
were denied by DSHS AGAIN!!
went swimming with scouts.
Saw Miri and Josh on their way to their new home in FT. Lewis.
saw Pirates of the Caribbean 4 in 3D
signed on to do a "bootcamp" seminar thing  in Spokane
and other things I am sure that I cannot remember...
lots of updates coming soon.


I saw this while web surfing a few days ago and I had quite a laugh over it.

My brother and the tornado

Para-phrased from a letter: I will start off by listing the major damage. The Joplin Stake Center is gone and there are some cool pictures of that, with a picture of Christ left untouched. The St. John's Hospital is, well not gone, but erased and they don't know if there is enough damage that they will just have to rebuild, 75% of the city, FLAT, the feeling as you see it is unbelieveable. The school that thay built several years ago is just gone. Home Depot, Wal-Mart, and Cherry-Berry are flat! I mention Cherry-Berry because we went there last week.

We were up in a suburb called Jasper having dinner with the Talbot family. They informed us on our weather status and we just had a joke filled pleasant dinner. Well, it was storming pretty hard where we were at and we even saw one car that or rather a truck with lights on it speeding to where a hill might be and we guessed it was a storm chaser.

They were very fun to be with. We were communicating by text with our exchange and the Zone Leaders. At 5:23 pm (central) we got a text from the Zone Leaders saying, “Elder& Sisters there is a good potential of tornados today please please be careful tonight if there are tornado warnings or sirens please take shelter!” Exact spelling and spacing. We were just going, “okay we will watch”

About this point the storm was beginning to pick up. At 6:07 pm our exchange, (someone that volunteers to go out and help us teach), texted us and said, “There is a tornado warning!” Meaning they are literally watching one. So that got us a little more on our toes so we checked the radar and it didn’t look that bad. Our dinner was hesitant to take us home but it was a little crowded and the two babies were making a fuss. We were finishing dessert when we got another text from Bro. Brad Fields, our exchange. He texted, “Ya its destroying Joplin!” (Joplin, Missouri). “I would stay inside and seek shelter!” 6:16 pm.
Now we are a little nervous. We were trying to make pleasant over ice cream (cookies and cream) and fresh baked cookie dessert. Bro. Talbot at this point was being kicked off his email by his neighbor and bro-in-law to check out the radar. Everyone else is checking over their shoulders and looking out the window, every other few seconds.

The next text, Zone leaders (dramatic pause) “How is everything…we got hit” (6:21 pm). We tried to call them and text them right after but nothing would go through. There are two sets of missionaries in Joplin. The zone leaders and Joplin 2nd ward Elders. We are just thinking that the storm is creating interference.

I am so glad that the members care about the missionaries. To the rest of the world it would be weird for someone to be so worried about two really strange men that are in their church for such a short while. Bro. Field’s last text, “Okay just stay safe! God bless! You should check with the Joplin missionaries and see if they are okay!” (6:24 pm)

That is exactly what we did when we got home. Both Joplin Elders and even the Webb City Elders were un-reachable. Because of all this we decided to call the assistants, but they did not answer. So I decided to call President Merkley. I explained the situation and he said that he had also been trying to get a hold of them (the zone leaders). He told me I did the right thing to call him and that I brought him some peace of heart. He then charged us to contact the rest of the zone, and report. (about 7:20 pm).

We finally got a hold of everyone and even ended up working with Bro. Richinns (from the stake) to get all of the missionaries contacted. I called Pres. Merkley about every 30 minutes. I remember every time that I called him he said, “You’re a good man Elder Swanger. Thank you for keeping me updated.” I reported to President at 8:59 pm, right after the last of the missionaries were found safe. This is the order in which they were found. (by ward name) Nevada, Monett, Pittsburg, Granby, Neosho, Miami, Fort Scott, Webb City, Joplin 1st, and Joplin 2nd.
My companion seemed worried to a degree but I had an indescribable peace.

And now some cool pictures I (Shaylee) found online of Joplin



Search and Rescue


Dustin had the chance to help out with the clean up of Joplin before he was transferred back to Arkansas, and made a DISTRICT LEADER! He sent home his "Mormon helping hands" shirt and was sent a "Restore Joplin" shirt, both are very neat. 
This sweet couple were the ones who called my parents and let them know that Dustin was okay.

 Elders Swanger and Stoddard (his 1st companion, from the MTC!) 
sporting their Mormon Helping Hands shirts.

Helping with the clean up.

Awesome new name tag with a phonetic spelling of Swanger... genius!

We are so proud of our little brother, and all he has been able to accomplish while out on his mission, it'll be a year in August! And we pray for our missionaries often, Dustin, Aunt Joy and a smattering of cousins who are also out serving missions right now!