Friday, December 19, 2008

Elder Whitnah and Becky standing by the MTC Christmas tree ( Becky snuck on her German tag :) )

Grandma Whitnah putting Sean's missionary tag on him

Outside the MTC: Becky, Grace, Elder Whitnah and Grandma Whitnah

Mom and Son :)

Dad and Son :)
Wes and I (December 16th)

Grandma Whitnah and Sean

The whole Whitnah gang and then some

Sean and Eli playing in the snow

Sean making a snowball. He had fun playing with Eli and Zachary that day

Salt Lake Temple surrounded with beautiful Christmas lighting. We went there on Monday the 15th
The Assembly Hall on Temple Square

Sean, Becky, Grace and Wes on the South side of the sure was cold that night but the beauty of everything made up for it!

My birthday...December 15th. Becky made me a birthday cake...look at all those candles! I can NOT be THAT old!!!

I had to stand a bit back the fire was pretty warm :)

Yet another Whitnah Missionary

President Dalton and "Elder Whitnah" taken just after Sean was set apart as a missionary to serve in Germany Frankfurt

From left to right: Bryan, Robbie, Bethany, Grace, Elder Sean Whitnah, and Wes

At our home prior to being set apart: Bethany, Sean and Grace

Sean sure looks nice in his suit, don't you think?

Sean has been in the MTC for 2 days. I must admit I was a bit worried as to whether we would be able to get out of Portland when the snow started coming down on Sunday. Thankfully Jeff Wight was able to pick up President Dalton and get him to the Stake Center so that Sean could be set apart. Now Elder Whitnah is, I'm sure, adjusting to his missionary life in the MTC and loving it! He was so excited to be there and can't wait for Germany too.

Grandma Whitnah traveled down from Richland Oregon to be there with him and we had her put his missionary tag on him. I thought that she would enjoy doing that especially since she mentioned that December 17th, the day Sean entered, was her Father's birthday.

Becky was able to take time off of work and be at the MTC as well. She pulled out her German tag for a quick photo opt of Sean and her with their names and German text on it :) It was nice.

Prior to Sean going in to the MTC we visited Temple Square in Salt Lake on Monday the 15th, my birthday. It was cold but very beautiful there that night. The following night, the 16th, Don and Shelly and their boys Zachary and Eli along with Mollie, Becky, Becky's friend Jeff, Grandma Whitnah and Wes and I went to Tacano's for dinner. Zachary had a good time telling his Uncle Wes about how much pineapple he could eat and how he would out eat Uncle Wes.

Sean slept in till 9:30am on Wednesday the 17th. The last day he can sleep in for the next 2 years :) I think he enjoyed being able to do that. It was great to see Sean enjoy some time with his Grandma, his sister Becky and with his Aunt, Uncle and younger cousins.

I must admit I cried some when we took him to the MTC but I know that Sean will be well taken care of and that he is SO EXCITED to go and serve a mission that I just couldn't be anything more than happy for him. It will be neat that Becky and Sean will now be able to communicate in German and Wes is working on keeping his German up that he learned many years ago while he served his mission in Munich many years ago.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bryan loves playing drums and listening to music

This is a photo of Bryan taken at the beach over the summer.
He has grown and developed so much since he was diagnosed with autism at age 3. I must admit that his initial diagnosis was devastating. It felt like a death in many ways. Over the years his language has developed, he has improved his social skills a great deal and loves interacting with just about everyone.
Tonight was a great night as Wes, Bethany and I were able to watch him perform with the rest of the 6th grade band. It's been great that he has been afforded this oppurtunity to play in the band and learn to play drums. A dream that he has had for a long time!
Thanks to a great teacher Aki Mori who presented the chance to Mr. Coates the band teacher the idea of letting Bryan be given a chance to play. Needless to say band is now Bryan's FAVORITE part of school and he loves his band teacher.
There really are no limits to those with autism. I have to keep reminding myself of that. As Bryan has grown I have realized that there are many things he may not be able to communicate or do as others but that he has great abilities to do much good. Bryan has always had a love of music and he loves to play it and sing it (even though he won't sing for Wes or myself).

I am thankful for having Bryan in our family. He is always teaching me so many things. Usually the things that are the most important.
He will be 13 on the 18th...I can't believe it! He is so excited for his birthday and to be a teenager.
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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Sean is ready :)

It is hard for me to believe that Sean is already 19 and ready to soon leave for his mission! He is so excited to go. He has prepared himself by working hard and being a good student over the years as well as in serving in the Church and community at times. It has helped shape him into the person he is today.

Sean will be our 3rd to "leave the nest". Many years ago a wise woman told me "enjoy your children because before you know it they are grown and gone." Wow, was she ever right! Becky and Robbie and Sean have grown up so fast!

Sean will leave next week and in the beginning of January Robbie will head off to BYU-Idaho. Our house will seem very quiet with only Bethany and Bryan and Tucker ( our dog).

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I have been busy this week trying to get things ready for Christmas and put away our Thanksgiving and Fall decorations.
Robbie couldn't wait to go out and get a Christmas tree! I think after 2 years without one in Honduras he wanted to get one quickly. It is up but and the lights are on it. We just need to find time to get it decorated all the way :)
Sean enters the MTC in 2 weeks. Crazy! I can't believe we were able to get everything done for him but it all worked out. He has been trying to read the Book of Mormon in German as well as English to try and get a head start. Of course I am sure he will find he will have a lot to learn once he gets to Germany

Monday, December 1, 2008

Sean's Mission Call

The last 6 weeks have been VERY busy. Sean returned from visiting his Gramma and Grampa McAndrew in Pennsylvania. He along with his brother Robbie were there for 2 weeks. They had a chance to visit with cousins they hadn't seen in over 2 years. They had a good time.

Sean was home a day and then visited with President Dalton and his mission papers were submitted. 15 days later Sean received his call and he is going to: Germany Frankfurt! We are all excited for him!! Sean took 3 years of German in High School and Wes served in Munich from 79-81 and Becky served in Berlin from July 06-February 08. Needless to say it's going to be fun having another Whitnah serving in Germany! I told Bethany that she needs to shoot for a mission now and hope for Hamburg. That way all the German missions will be covered :)

The day after Sean received his call we were off to Costco to get passport photos, then off to buy luggage, suits, shirts, ties, shoes, etc..etc...etc... It was fun and exhausting all at the same time. The crazy part was that he was given only 5 and 1/2 weeks from the time he received his call on November 7th to report to the MTC on December 17th!!

It is all working out. His passport has arrived and copies have been mailed to Germany for his Mission President. He has been to the Temple this past week and has given his farewell talk. Phew!! He is SO excited to serve and can't wait to. It is great.