Family Newsletter



Dear Family,

I spent most of the day Saturday at the RootsTech Family Search expo at the Salt Palace in SLC with the youth from our ward. I openly admit that I have not caught the genealogy virus and I’m not naturally interested in doing genealogy work. In fact, I was dreading going to this conference despite 2 of my own kids going. It seemed like it was going to be a day of babysitting and boredom. I was not wrong. 11 people piled into my van and we very noisily headed northbound to Salt Lake. We got to our destination and finally found a parking space large enough that we could squeeze into (not an easy task for such an obese whale of a van). Before any doors opened, I yelled to the hooligans, “Be careful opening the doors so you don’t hit the cars next to us!” One second later, door ding #1! We started making our way across the parking lot and a few boys were throwing a soccer ball to each other. Of course the game escalated and they were soon throwing the ball over rows of cars despite 3 leaders yelling at them. And then I heard it, door ding #2! As we walked down South Temple towards the Salt Palace there was a rather nice Audi A6 parked on the sidewalk. It was some sort of display or something. Of course it attracted the ball and we had door ding #3 before we even made it to the event. I’m an utter failure when it comes to babysitting.

The event itself was pretty good. It featured some pretty big names, including John Bytheway, the cast of Studio C and Elder Anderson of the Twelve. But I still haven’t caught the bug. I did, however, commit to doing something so by the time you read this, you’ll be able to go to and see some of my genealogy efforts. (You’re also reading my other efforts right now, so it’s not like I’m totally ignoring my responsibility.) One of the things I learned was to tell a story instead of just naming facts. So, for the remainder of this newsletter, instead of boring you with facts, I’m going to tell stories. If nothing else, it will keep me awake while I write.

Once upon a time, I interviewed with a great company named Mitre. It was March of 2013 and Lorin’s company invited me out to Maryland to interview for a position. Crystal and I took Alison and Megan with us to the east coast to scope out the possibilities. The interview went fine, the job seemed great. We had a great time being with Lorin’s family and seeing some of the local sites. But the response from Mitre was “not yet.” Fast forward almost one year and Lorin called on behalf of Mitre with a follow up question, “Are you still interested?” My heart skipped a beat and Crystal’s heart sank. We couldn’t even talk about it because the emotions were so raw. After a few days of non-talking, I started noticing little clues around the house. First, Crystal and I were both on edge. It wasn’t just the job we couldn’t talk about. We couldn’t talk about anything. Both of us were on our own islands, praying for the other to see our point of view. We made it through the week, but it was lonely. The kids could tell something was up too; they started asking questions about us moving. And all of them were negative. “If we move, we won’t be able to ___________” (fill in the blank). I tried to counter it with a positive of moving. “If we move, we’ll be by Lorin’s family.” “We’ll be by the beach.” But nothing I said made it sound it better than staying in Utah. I learned later that Melissa was praying for me to “develop a severe dislike” for my current job and the schools here would become intolerable. Melissa must have a lot of faith because there have been multiple days since then that I have severely disliked my work. But the local schools continue to impress us. And while I don’t always love my job, I know I am valued and my leader tries, in her own unique way, to remind me that I do like working at American Express. So, to end this short story, my response to Mitre was the reciprocal of their response to me last year, “not yet.”

Once upon a time I decided to take advantage of my calling as Priest Quorum advisor to learn some new skills. I guess I need to give a little more context than that. As you all know, part of being a Lund boy is participating in the cub-scout pine wood derby race. As the Lund story goes, that means weeks of anticipation, followed by watching Dad make a few cuts with a saw, 1 night of sanding until your arm falls off, spraying some paint, hammering the wheels on and finally heading to the church for a night of watching your car lose race after race. Well, that wasn’t the case for me. My first pine wood derby car was modeled after my favorite hot wheels car. A green Porsche 944. I handed that little metal car to Dad and then he expertly converted my block of wood into a spitting image of my favorite car in the world. Chapter 2 is ALWAYS the same. I sanded until my arms fell off, probably for 15 whole minutes! Then Dad painted it green, just like my hot wheel. And we stuck the wheels on it. I remember being really disappointed after the wheels were put on because they stuck out the sides. It looked so much cooler with the wheels off. But we took it to the church, and just like my older 5 siblings did when they were 8 years old, I watched my Porsche coast down the track while my friends’ cars raced like real sports cars. But I didn’t care. As soon as I got home, I took the wheels off and admired my green Porsche 944.  The next year, Dad decided to use a different tactic. This would be his 17th car and I’m sure he wanted to see success as badly as I did. He called Uncle Marty (who apparently is a pine wood derby expert) and we went to see his vast collection of cars. I picked out a winning design and Dad replicated it. It was a beautiful white racer with 2 red racing stripes across the top. All the weight was in the back, the wheel base was extended and Dad even rounded the wheels to reduce friction. It was a sure winner. We went to the church for the much anticipated event and took 4th over all. Dad’s fastest car ever! I couldn’t be happier. I’m not sure what happened to that car. I remember one of the front wheels broke off not long after the race.

The next year was Dad’s last chance to ever build a pine wood derby car. I knew this and took full advantage of the extra effort that Dad was willing to put in to making this one special. I was still in love with the Porsche, but wanted Dad to make a much more complicated design, the Porsche 911. Instead of the hood being smooth across the top, the headlights stick up while the hood slopes down. In the back, I love the whale-tail. But most importantly, the wheels on the real car have fenders and I really wanted my pine wood derby car to have fenders too. Very curvy and of course, it needed to be fast too. So Dad set out making the best pine wood derby car of his life.

He made fenders to glue on the sides of the block. He drew a flawless design on the side of the wood. We took all the pieces to the Vellinga’s house and borrowed their scroll saw. I remember Dad cutting out the fenders and handing them too me with a stern warning, “don’t drop these.” Of course I dropped them and broke one. I don’t know how, but he magically fixed it without yelling at me. We put it all together and I ran sand paper across it until my arms fell off. I’m sure Dad also sanded until his arms fell off. We painted it white and then I got to hold the best pine wood derby car Dad would ever build in my 10 year old hands. That car was not as fast as the previous year, but I didn’t care one bit. It was my ultimate dream car. I held on to that car for many years. And then Mokey (my least favorite dog ever) chewed it to pieces. But that didn’t stop Dad from displaying it in his shadow box, along with the bite marks and missing a wheel. My favorite car ever. In fact, I’ll probably own a real 1985 Porsche 911 someday. Maybe I’ll buy one with the inheritance money when Dad dies. 🙂

Now back to the real story. I am as “handy” as Dad when it comes to working with wood, that is to say, I’m not really that handy. And I will not have the opportunity to build 15 cars before Dylan’s first pine wood derby car. (Cayden participated in 1 derby in which he placed 4th out of 20. Dad was able to place 4th out of more than 50.) So I decided to take advantage of my calling with the Priests and planned a pine wood derby as a Priest/Laurel activity. But instead of having the dads build the cars, I wanted the kids to build the cars. (translation: I would build the cars for them.) So I setup shop in my garage and have been helping the youth build about 30 cars (the cubs are taking advantage too). My kids were jealous, so I bought kits for each of them and we’ve been having a great time building cars together. I might actually be pretty good at this one day. But at least I’ll have the experience of building dozens of cars so I can build the perfect one for each of my kids, just like my dad did for me.

Once upon a time it was Sunday afternoon and the Olympics were on TV so Matt turned off the computer. If the rest of the Lund family submits newsletters on time (hahaha) then this will be all you get. If Leslie postpones the deadline then maybe I’ll write another story.

The End.

Love Matt


My Favorite Things

by Crystal Lund

(Pretend I’m singing, Julie Andrews’ style)

Smiles on Megan and gingersnap cookies

Kids playing Star Wars, especially Wookies

Hot bread from the oven, our garden in the spring

These are a few of my favorite things


Sherlock and mysteries and reading in bed

Sewing and smoothies, a day at the pool

Warm sunny days pushing Alison on the swings

These are a few of my favorite things


No snow when I drive carpool, snowy days when I don’t

Camping in places I never have been

Date nights with Matt, my new wedding ring

These are a few of my favorite things


When the kids cry

When the dishes pile

When I’m feeling blue

I simply remember my favorite things

And then I can smile at this crew!



You are looking at the new primary chorister. I get to entertain, teach, smile, dig out my artistic skills, and look at Alison on the front row (a new Sunbeam). When I’m helping at the elementary school, I feel like the world’s most popular adult because of all of the waves and smiles I get from my Primary kids.  Most Sundays it all goes smoothly. Today it did not. But usually we all have a fun time, we learn really cool songs and I’ve learned that all of the words to the songs are so inspired and perfect! Plus, I get to slip in “old school” songs like “Primary Colors” and “The Chapel Doors.”



It’s a tie between my fuzzy crocs- possibly the most uncool kind of footwear to exist- and our van – possibly the most uncool vehicle to drive. I wear my crocs all day in the house- my feet don’t hurt on the tile!- and outside the house for every little thing. I keep trying to talk myself into wearing my trendy footwear more often. I really do. My van- besides cursing its existence when the streets are snowy- allow carpooling (which makes life more simple for me) and allows certain children to keep a favorable distance of separation no matter how long or short the drive.



            Megan’s new teeth. On a scale of 1-10 of pain tolerance, Megan is at a zero. She cries months before the tooth pops through. We’re dealing with molars. Right now she’s our little thundercloud when normally she’s our peppy rainbow that showers sparkly sunshine all over the house. (Picture that one- but seriously she is usually that happy). Instead we are dealing with crying/complaining/whining 8 out of her 10 hours of her awake time…. Unless she’s watching Curious George which is seriously a blessing.  Matt’s worried about teenage mood swings with this one! I know it’s a phase. Last time she just woke up one morning at she was back to normal and I remember thinking, “Wow! I almost forgot what this was like!”



            Getting older. There- I’ve said it. I’m getting grey hair (Yes- I think spelling “gray” with an “a” is crazy).  I can’t walk on tile all day in my stocking feet because it makes my feet hurt. What?!  But it all came to a head when we were at Utah Lake, walking on the frozen plains of the actual lake when I totally wiped out. I was holding Dylan’s hand and like a trooper my hand flew up, I smacked him in the eye and I hit the ice back first. I had my hair in a clip and as my head hit the ice it broke all of the prongs in my clip. I’m lying there as Matt and Rick Soulier are walking away, willing myself not to black out (that’s a strange feeling). Dylan’s crying because his eye hurts, the rest of the crowd is long gone. I shuffled across the lake to the waiting van, and then didn’t get out of bed for two days. My back! I hobbled around like an old person, Matt brought me pizza in bed and I realized that chronic back pain has got to be THE WORST. Two days was enough! Mental note: Take care of your body…. and icy lakes are slippery!


Recipe for one of my favorite things:

GINGER SPICE COOKIES (from Our Best Bites)

 ¾ cup butter flavored Crisco

1 cup sugar, plus more for rolling

1 large egg

¼ cup molasses

2 cups flour

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

½ tsp ground cloves

½ tsp salt


Preheat oven to 350 *. Spray cookie sheets. With an electric mixer, combine shortening and sugar. Cream until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Add the egg and the molasses and beat until completely incorporated.

Sift or whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt and then add to the mixture. Stir until combined. Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and roll in sugar.

Place on cookie sheets. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until just set around the edges and you start to see “crackling” on the top.

Don’t overbake! You want to keep them nice and chewy-soft in the middle.


I’ve talked about teething already in my newsletter and her devoted love for all things Curious George. So, besides all of that, Megan’s really growing into herself! Her favorite color is unquestionably PURPLE. She collects purple crayons and is upset if her purple sippy cup is dirty. She has opinions about clothes and pajamas (polka dots are best). She likes it when I fix her hair. She sits on the counter while I’m fixing it and when I’m done she looks up and says, “CUTE!” While Alison is taking gymnastics, Megan and I go to mom-and-tot gymnastics. We are in a separate group from Alison’s class, but we can see each other across the room. Megan is strong and can swing on bars by herself and do all sorts of coordinated jumping. At home she loves practicing somersaults and donkey kicks, playing with toy kitchen, driving her Little People school bus around and following everyone around!


Alison has been our little one who is afraid of change.  Not just a little bit afraid…. Sometimes it’s more like panic attack afraid.  It can be something small like changing a routine, changing a hair style (which produces fear/nervousness) or something larger like changing a nursery teacher (we finally had to move her down to junior nursery so she could be with Megan) or going to get a haircut (full-blown panic).  This year we decided to introduce structured change. Not spur-of-the-moment change, but the kind we could talk to her about in advance (for days) and then venture out and do. It has made a world of difference! Starting Sunbeams in January was an easy change because I’m the Primary chorister. She doesn’t try to sit by me or climb on my lap, but she does like me to walk her to the front row and she likes knowing that I’m there! We started gymnastics in January and the whole week leading up to her first class she would worry and cry and keep making sure that I’d stay there.  She loves it now! She’s an active participant, willingly tries all of the activities and is making progress! For my part, I’ve introduced new hair styles (mostly braiding her bangs back) which she hated for a long time, but now puts up with. She’ll wear ponytails for gymnastics only. A few days a week she wears her hair down which is the way she prefers it, but it’s been nice to find little ways to bring change! I know it’s been a good thing for her!


I like 1st grade because Miss Lyons sometimes gives us 3 recesses!  I like to play with Ethan (my cousin) at recess. We try to stay on the snow, we like to chase the girls and play tag.  Yesterday we made circle crayons out of broken crayons and we made a lot of them! We also made a Lego car with a balloon for the motor. I didn’t think it would work but it went really, really fast! Then once it was going too fast that it broke! I like to play Littlest Pet Shops with Dylan, Ashlyn, Alison and Cayden. We did that after church for a long time! While we were doing that, Cayden brought some of his Bakugon’s and my dragon was a big one! It was mixed with all different kinds of Bakugons!

  • If I had a million dollars I’d…… buy a real diamond

  • If I could go on any vacation I’d…… go to Gobblin Valley

  • If I had to spend an hour in my room all by myself I’d….. play with my Lego set I got for Christmas

  • If my mom could make my favorite dinner it’d be……  Lasagna, the noodle kind (baked Ziti)

  • My favorite thing to grow in our garden is…… a pumpkin

  • The thing I like about winter is….. a snowball fight in the snow

  • My favorite thing in the whole world is….. Ethan (my cousin!)

  • When I grow up I want to be a……. a builder

  • How many kids do you want to have when you grow up? 10

  • My favorite candy is…… gumballs


School is fun because I have lots of friends! I  play games with them at recess- kind of like follow the leader, tag. Soccer season is over because it is snowy. I like to read my prank book. It is really silly! One of the jokes is: “Why did the toilet paper roll down the hill?” “So it could get to the bottom!”

I really liked it when we went to Flow Rider at Provo Beach Resort. We earned it by reading the Book of Mormon by the end of the year. It was really hard to read it but we read-a-thon one Sunday and I finished it up! The Flow Rider is kind of like a surf board that you ride on in the water while the water moves fast!

  • If I had a million dollars I’d…… buy the hexbug track I want and buy a bunch of candy.

  • If I could go on any vacation I’d……  go to Moab.

  • If I had to spend an hour in my room all by myself I’d…..  play with my favorite games, Snap Circuits and marble tracks

  • If my mom could make my favorite dinner it’d be……  tuna salad sandwiches

  • My favorite thing to grow in our garden is……  raspberries and corn

  • The thing I like about winter is….. I can go sledding!

  • My favorite thing in the whole world is…..  candy!

  • When I grow up I want to be a……. builder

  • How many kids do you want to have when you grow up? 6

  • My favorite candy is…… King Size Kit Kat


Lately what I have been up to is school. And I must tell you that nobody could love school as much as me. My favorite part of school is making friends and having the very best teacher in the whole world.

 At home what I mainly like to do is play the piano. I don’t like to play songs I don’t know yet but once I learn the song I play it 24 hours a day and 7 days a week (just ask anyone in my family). At school I make chocolate a big deal but not as much as home so that explains most of the questions below.

  • If I had a million dollars I’d…… buy a gazillion tons of chocolate

  • If I could go on any vacation I’d…… Hawaii

  • If I had to spend an hour in my room all by myself I’d….. eat the chocolate I got from question #1 or maybe I would play the piano

  • If my mom could make my favorite dinner it’d be……  chocolate

  • My favorite thing to grow in our garden is…… weeds to be silly for real carrots

  • The thing I like about winter is….. the end (I don’t like it)

  • My favorite thing in the whole world is….. (besides you guys) school

  • When I grow up I want to be a……. grapefruit to be silly and for real I want to be a 4th grade teacher

  • How many kids do you want to have when you grow up? A kabillion

  • My favorite candy is…… Chocolate


I haven’t been doing much lately. A while ago, we had decided that whoever had read the Book of Mormon in the year would go to the Flow Rider at the Provo Beach Resort. I completely forgot about it, so in the last week, I had to read to the end from about halfway through 1st Nephi. I made it in time. I recently opened a checking account, and now I can put money on a debit card.

I’ve been programming a lot as well. I got a Raspberry Pi for Christmas from my Uncle Randy, and I’ve been programming a lot on it. I am trying to learn a programming language called Python, because it is really cool. My friend had also gotten one for Christmas, and is programming his own Space Center server that anyone can do a mission on anywhere with a Wi-Fi connection; he’s programming it in Python. I’ve also been figuring out JavaScript animations on my Raspberry Pi, and have been pretty successful.

  • If I had a million dollars I’d…… buy a good (Windows) computer.

  • If I could go on any vacation I’d…… go to the moon.

  • If I had to spend an hour in my room all by myself I’d….. program on my calculator.

  • If my mom could make my favorite dinner it’d be……  lobster.

  • My favorite thing to grow in our garden is…… raspberries.

  • The thing I like about winter is….. sledding.

  • My favorite thing in the whole world is….. my friends and family.

  • When I grow up I want to be a……. programmer.

  • How many kids do you want to have when you grow up? Three.

  • My favorite “candy” is…… Lindt chocolate.


One response »

  1. Matt, make friends with a dentist. They can polish the axles and you will have a winning derby car every time! We had a friend in MN who was a lab assistant… he would polish the axles for us each year. The design didn’t matter, the cars always ran fast! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s