Scouts and Relaxing

Monday and Tuesday this week were pretty standard days. Monday we had family home evening with the kids as always. I am so glad that we have this tradition established in our family. The kids know that it is Monday and that we have family home evening. Tuesday was laundry day and Sarah and I watched the Olympics while we folded clothes.

Eliza and James have been watching the Olympics during the day too. Eliza started mimicking the swimming. She set up one of her toy boxes to be her starting block and then she would jump off and swim on the floor while the were swimming on the TV. She was asking to go swimming all week.

Swimming with the Olympics
Swimming with the Olympics
All ready to swim at the Olympics.
All ready to swim at the Olympics.

On Wednesday this week we had the court of honor for the scouts. Sarah and the kids came and supported me as they always do. I am so grateful for them supporting me in that calling. I love working with the scouts so much and it is fun to have the family be a part of that. We had a lot of awards this time because of scout camp and because of the merit badge fair that our ward put on a few weeks ago. All in all it was pretty good. On Thursday I had scouts again and went down to the round table meeting at the scout office. It was pretty well attended this time (better than usual) and we got some good ideas for things to talk about at future meetings.

They wanted to play outside even thought it was blazing hot.
They wanted to play outside even thought it was blazing hot.

Sarah and I went to a release party that my work put on on Friday. Every time we make a major release of a product we have a party to celebrate and this time we were celebrating the release of our second version of our communication’s product. My manager invited the whole team over to his house to have dinner and play in the pool. We went and brought some of the new games that we bought last week. It was fun for Sarah to meet most of the people that I work with. I work with a really great group of people and Sarah hears about them all the time so it was good for her to be able to meet more of them.

Best Friends!
Best Friends!
Awesome times!
Awesome times!

Last Sunday my good friend from college, Michael Simmons, called and told me that he was in Houston for a medical rotation at Baylor and that he would love to come and spend the weekend with us if we were available. Of course we had him come up. He arrived late Friday evening and spend the day Saturday with us and left Sunday after church.

Michael has been away from his family and kids for a while now and it was fun to see how easily he interacted with our kids and how friendly he was with them. He would just read then stories and play with them on the floor and give them his attention. Eliza immediately knew that he was her friend and was super comfortable with him. Even James, who is normally not comfortable with people he doesn’t know, was sitting on his lap and asking for stories after an hour or so.

New Friends: the kids reading with Michael.
New Friends: the kids reading with Michael.

On Saturday, Michael and I took Eliza to the pool to go swimming. It was lots of fun. I only intended us to go there for an hour or so but we ended up being there for almost three hours. Eliza swam the entire time. She was jumping into the pool, pushing off of the wall, swimming after her fishies, and just enjoying herself. The pool was sort of busy and she made friends with some other kids who were there that wanted to play. She just played right along with the kids and was having a ton of fun. As we were about to go home, she decided that it would be fun to jump off of Michael’s shoulders into the water. She climbed up on his shoulders while he was in the water and jumped off over and over again. She is a fearless little girl and never ceases to amaze me with what she wants to try to do.

All in all we had a pretty good week. Life is awesome!

Haircuts and Work

We had a pretty great week this week. There were a few highlights. Eliza got a haircut and got to come with me to work for “Bring your kid to work day.” We also had an extra fun day on Saturday.

James and Eliza riding bikes
James and Eliza riding bikes

For several weeks Eliza has been asking us to give her a haircut. Sarah got a haircut last week and after that she was especially interested in getting a haircut. She had such long beautiful hair that we haven’t wanted to cut it but we relented this week and let her get it cut. Sarah gave her the cut on Thursday. She is such a cutie and loves her little short haircut.

Before Eliza's haircut
Before Eliza’s haircut
Eliza loves her new hair and loves headbands these days.
Eliza loves her new hair and loves headbands these days.
After Eliza's haircut
After Eliza’s haircut

On Friday Eliza got to come with me to work. NI put on a “Bring Your Kids to Work Day.” This was her first time coming with me and she had a great time. They had all sorts of fun activities that we got to do. They had a bunch of science experiments set up that we played with after we had a breakfast of strawberries. Eliza liked playing with the magnets and with some of the other balancing experiments they had. We also took a little train ride and Eliza got to ride a little toy horse that you powered by standing up and then sitting down again repeatedly. We also got to play with some beads and with a lot of playdoh. Eliza made a huge pond out of her playdoh and was so happy to have so much to play with. She also got a little balloon cat that she loved. (The only hard part of the morning was when she tripped in the parking garage on the way to the car and popped the cat’s body.) We finished the day by going upstairs to my computer and letting Eliza write mommy a message. She also met some of my coworkers in person. She’s seen a lot of them from when I call into meetings in the mornings but she was shy to meet them in person.

Daddy and Eliza ready to go to work.
Daddy and Eliza ready to go to work.
Planting flowers
Planting flowers
Blowing bubbles
Blowing bubbles
Riding the horse.
Riding the horse.
Playing with a magnet on the screen. Don't try this at home.
Playing with a magnet on the screen. Don’t try this at home.
Eliza loved her cat balloon. She told the guy exactly what she wanted and was absolutely crushed when it popped.
Eliza loved her cat balloon. She told the guy exactly what she wanted and was absolutely crushed when it popped.
Typing a note to mommy on daddy's computer.
Typing a note to mommy on daddy’s computer.

While Eliza and I were at work, James and Sarah had a great time together at home. James has been growing so much this week. His vocabulary has expanded a lot and he can communicate with us much better now. He and mommy played with duplos and read books and had a generally awesome time.

James eating breakfast with mommy.
James eating breakfast with mommy.
Reading books with mommy.
Reading books with mommy.
James playing with duplos
James playing with duplos

Saturday we had a fun day with the kids. All summer Eliza has been asking to get back to the pool so we finally took the kids on Saturday morning. Eliza was so brave and was jumping into the water over her head all by herself and swimming all over. She does a great job. She still uses a bit of a flotation but is very confident. James, on the other hand, was terrified. It was a good thing that we were the only ones there that morning because he had a major crying fit when we first carried him into the water. When his toes hit the water he just started screaming. As we were there longer he finally let himself get into the water but we had to work with him for an hour almost before he would get in the water at all. We need to swim more often so that he can get comfortable.

James didn't even want his toes in the water
James didn’t even want his toes in the water
Eliza was all over the pool.
Eliza was all over the pool.

I have been running a lot this week and last. We are going to run the Temple to Temple 5k when we’re in Utah and I really want to be able to finish the race strong. I’ve never done it before so I’m trying to get in shape. I did pretty good this week. On Friday night, I ran 5k here in our neighborhood in 30 minutes. Hopefully I’ll be able to do this again at altitude when we’re in Utah.

Eliza’s 3rd Birthday

Three years ago this week Eliza joined our family! Our lives were forever changed for the better as we welcomed this sweet, spunky, little girl into our home and into our hearts. We have loved watching her grow up these last three years and this week we had a great time celebrating her birthday.

Eliza on her birthday standing by her completed birthday chain.
Eliza on her birthday standing by her completed birthday chain.

She has been looking forward to her special day as only a three-year-old can. Sarah made her a paper chain that she’s been removing links from every day for the last few weeks to see how close she is to her birthday. It has been so fun having her so excited.

Playing with playdoh on her birthday
Playing with playdoh on her birthday
Playing with shaving cream
Playing with shaving cream

We tried to make her birthday a special day for her. She started off her day going to the doctor for her checkup. This was actually something that she was really excited about. She loves the doctor these days and likes to play doctor with us at home. She is in great health. 99th percentile for height and right on par for everything else. She’s one tall girl.

Eliza and Daddy building her bed.
Eliza and Daddy building her bed.
First time in the new bed.
First time in the new bed.

Before her party at night, she had a fun-filled day at home. She got to play with play-doh and shaving cream on the table and mommy let her watch a movie too. On my way home from work I stopped and picked up the bed frame that we got for her for her birthday. The mattress was delivered right before I got home too so while mommy was finishing up the last bits of dinner, Eliza and I went and built her bed. It was so fun for me (and for her) to build it together. She said, “It’s like building a really tall tower from blocks!” She loves her new bed and has been sleeping in it really well.

Eliza requested tortellini for dinner (which we accidentally forgot to buy so I had to run to get some at the last minute). If you know her at all you know that she loves pasta and tortellini is her favorite.

Opening her presents.
Opening her presents.
Giving mommy a checkup.
Giving mommy a checkup.
Ready to sing Happy Birthday
Ready to sing Happy Birthday

After dinner we had her little birthday party. Thank you everyone that sent her presents. She loved everything. The books, the water toys, the ballet clothes, the kaboodle, and the doctor kit. She has been wearing her ballet clothes all week and reading her books in bed. She has been playing with her doctor kit almost non stop and will give all of us checkups and then ask us to giver her one too. James and she will take turns giving checkups to each other with Eliza coaching James on the right way to do it.

Blowing out the candles
Blowing out the candles
Helping mommy fold the wash clothes.
Helping mommy fold the wash clothes.

Eliza is a great helper around the house and this week we started asking her to help us unload the dishes every day. It is her job to unload the utensils and put them in the drawer. She loves to help (most of the time) and it is fun to have her working with us.

James modeling his clothes for the family picture.
James modeling his clothes for the family picture.

The rest of the week was pretty standard. Sarah took the kids on a walk around our little trail this week. We are so grateful to live in such a beautiful area. We love it here and are grateful for everything we have been blessed with.

Eliza being a balerina
Eliza being a balerina
Sarah taking the kids on a walk
Sarah taking the kids on a walk

I decided this week to interview with a company here in Austin that is doing some cool work on a new many-core chip. I interview with them on Monday and we’ll see if anything comes of that.

Our  beautiful neighborhood
Our beautiful neighborhood

Sarah and I went to the temple yesterday too. We got to do a full session which was awesome because we haven’t done that in a while. I’m grateful for Sarah’s help in making sure that we get to the temple every month. It has blessed our lives.

Calm before the storm

So the next few weeks are going to be a bit crazy around here with me heading out to my semi annual CHREC meeting (in Albuquerque this time) and then out to scout camp the next week. This week was a good, normal week and we were able to recharge our batteries a bit to get ready for what’s coming.

01 James has started feeding himself
James started insisting that he feed himself this week.

Because of the normalcy of this week, there isn’t a lot notable to talk about. Probably the most interesting thing that happened this week was that James had a bit of a fever for a few days. We’re pretty sure it was just teething because he’s been working on some molars lately. It was still hard to have him not feeling well.

02 James was so proud of this thing he made
James is getting better and better at making lego things. He made this all by himself.

Eliza also got some 24 hour bug on Thursday. She woke up and wasn’t feeling well. She didn’t eat much breakfast and then threw up soon after she ate. She rested on the couch the rest of the day. When I got home from work, she tried to be her normal happy self but just wasn’t up to it and had to lie down again. She had had a hard night the night before also and hadn’t slept much. On Friday she was feeling pretty much better but had a hard time sleeping that night also. Saturday she was back to her normal happy self and was just as cheerful as can be.

03 Eliza made a swimming pool
Eliza made this swimming pool and they were swimming in it.
04 James chasing my watch reflection
James thought it was great fun to chase the light reflecting from my watch.
05 Kids reading
We found them here just reading books. That’s my kids!

Oh yeah, Monday was Memorial Day. We spent the day in true Arnesen style working around the house. The goal was to do some yard work but it was too rainy so we dusted, vacuumed the cobwebs, vacuumed all the floors, and did some other cleaning. Eliza wanted to watch “Music Man” so after we were done cleaning we let her and James have some popcorn and watch that. In the evening we went over to our friends house to give then a frozen meal because they had a baby coming this week. They invited us in for home made ice cream to top off our Day.

Eliza wanted to help vacuum the floor so she got to do part of mommy and daddy's room.
Eliza wanted to help vacuum the floor so she got to do part of mommy and daddy’s room.

Friday night was James and my first Father’s and Son’s activity. Our ward didn’t do a camp this time but just opted for an evening activity. It was held at Berry Springs park which is just a short drive up the toll road in Georgetown. We had fried chicken and mashed potatoes to eat. James and I played on the playground that they had there and had a grand time. It was fun to just have some time with him but he was definitely missing mommy and Eliza. He kept asking where Eliza was and wanting her to help him do things.

James found a stick and started banging on this ladder and making all kinds of glorious noise.
James found a stick and started banging on this ladder and making all kinds of glorious noise.
The best part of the night was ice cream sandwiches.
The best part of the night was ice cream sandwiches.

While James and I were at the activity, Sarah and Eliza had a little date also. They went to Chick Fil’a for dinner and then Eliza wanted to go shopping so they went to Walmart and got some fun socks and some fingernail polish. James and I actually got home before they did so we read some books while the girls did their nails. Eliza was so excited about her nails and James didn’t understand why he couldn’t get his nails painted too.

Mommy and Eliza had some girl time and did nails.
Mommy and Eliza had some girl time and did nails.

We did get quite a bit of rain this week. It rained basically every night and usually had some pretty good lightning to go along with it. The yard was so wet that I couldn’t mow the corner of the back yard yesterday because it was still under 2 inches of water. This week is supposed to be dryer so that will be a nice change of pace. We’re really grateful for the rain after the years of drought we’ve been having. Our two main lakes are near or over 100% and they have had to release water downstream several times.

Sarah taught a lesson in church about honesty this week.
Sarah taught a lesson in church about honesty this week.

Eliza also had her last swimming lesson on Wednesday. She has absolutely loved her swimming class and we are so grateful for Sister Scott for teaching her and working hard with her. We were able to get her some nice flotation things to wear while she continues to gain confidence. It’s fun to see her learning so much.

Breaking Rain

So this was supposed to be our normal week after all of our traveling and travel recovery. We were even going to get back into the mode of exercising. All of that came crashing down when Sarah’s bathroom drawer crashed down on her big toe and fractured it in at least three places. It hurt so so bad. I’ve never seen Sarah in such pain as she was Monday morning (and I’ve seen her give birth twice). We got the kids up really quick and went over to the urgent care to have it looked at. After the x-rays came back sure enough it was broken. We got a boot for her and went home to setup an appointment with an orthopedic doctor for later in the day. I stayed home from work that day so Sarah could stay off the foot and not have to do anything. We went to the orthopedic in the afternoon and luckily one of our good friends was able to watch the kids so they weren’t wreaking havoc on the doctor’s office. The doctor was really nice and after relieving some pressure in her toe he told us to come back in 3 weeks to have it looked at again. Sarah was in considerable pain the rest of that day.

Eliza and James waiting for mommy to see the doctor at the urgent care.
Eliza and James waiting for mommy to see the doctor at the urgent care.

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday we took it easy at home. We had a lot of rain those days. On Tuesday I got to take Eliza to her swimming lesson which was a lot of fun for me. It was pretty cold that morning but she was excited to show me how she could swim all around in the pool. She has started doing a really good job. Her teacher offered to give her an extra week of lessons because she is so close to getting over the hill to swimming without support. It is fun to see her work at something and get better at it.

Eliza and James had a lot of time to play inside this week with all the rain and because Sarah wasn’t up to getting out very much with her toe. They played with the Legos a lot and built all sorts of fun things. Eliza is a great little builder and has a great imagination. She makes farms, ovens, airplanes, trains and all sorts of other things. James started picking up on how to build things this week too and he has started to make his own little creations also. He loves doing whatever Eliza does.

Eliza making a duplo farm.
Eliza making a duplo farm.
Eliza made this tower taller than she is.
Eliza made this tower taller than she is.
James is building things.
James is building things.

Friday started to get crazy again. Sarah’s toe had some swelling from bleeding under her nail (don’t worry no pictures of this) and we had to get her back into the doctor so they could drain it and remove pressure on her toe. The problem was that the doctor wasn’t available until the afternoon and I had a scout camp to get to. Sarah was amazing and got the kids to swimming lessons and visiting teaching in the morning all by herself and then drove to the doctor where I met her. I took the kids back home and grabbed my camping gear and then went to the church to meet the scouts. Sarah met me there again and took the kids home. She was super tired and just crashed that night while I was camping.

The pink fairy!
The pink fairy!
Milk and scriptures at the end of a long day.
Milk and scriptures at the end of a long day.

We camped with the scouts at Granger Lake which is about 20 minutes north of our house. Because of all the rain this week the lake had risen considerably and the trail was completely covered after about the first mile. We had to bush-wack our way around for a while until we found another path. The boys were planning on doing wilderness survival where they have to stay in a shelter that they make overnight. I’m not sure if what they “made” really counts as a shelter, more like a scout sandwich on tarps, but they did stay in it overnight. We had a good time and the boys were happy that they did a hard thing. After I got back from camping, I went straight over to help a brother in the ward move 2 tons (literally) of rock and dirt to his back yard for his garden. After all that, I came home and mowed and trimmed our yard and took Eliza grocery shopping. I was exhausted and Sarah and I both just crashed Saturday night.

I love spending time with the scouts. Backpacking is one of my favorite things to do with them.
I love spending time with the scouts. Backpacking is one of my favorite things to do with them.
Eliza and James watching daddy mow the lawn.
Eliza and James watching daddy mow the lawn.

Church was great today. We just got to attend our classes and be rejuvenated. Here’s to hoping that we have a somewhat “normal” week next week!

Winding Down

This week we finally started winding down after our whirlwind month of weddings and traveling. Our trip to Utah was so much fun and we loved seeing all of the family and getting two wonderful additions to our families. Eliza and James love their new aunt and uncle! After all this traveling it is good to be back home in our own beds and on our own routine again.

The big new thing for this week is that Eliza started swimming lessons. A sister in our ward (Sis. Scott) is teaching at one of the HOA pools in the area, and she has a class of four kids that Eliza is in. She goes every morning from Tuesday to Friday for two weeks. The first two days this week were rough. It’s been a bit cold for swimming and Eliza didn’t really know Sis. Scott and so she spent most of the first two days crying and screaming. We had a few good talks and worked up her courage and now she is doing really well. She loves kicking her feet on the side and trying to find the fishies that Sis. Scott throws into the pool. She swam almost the whole length of the pool by herself (with supervision) on Friday! She has made great progress and we’re proud of her. It has been fun to see her be so proud of herself for overcoming her fear and doing a hard thing. We wanted to go swimming on Saturday but there was a big rain storm that rolled through in the afternoon and we didn’t make it.

On Saturday morning we spent some time getting our other two garden boxes ready to go. We had a bunch of volunteer tomato plants come up in the two boxes and we decided to just leave them and see what we get. The kids and I spent an hour weeding out the boxes and cleaning them up so we could see the tomato plants. We also got to pick and eat some of our peas. Eliza kept asking all day if we could go and eat some more so she must have liked them. They were pretty tasty.

Friday night Sarah and I went down to San Antonio to the temple to celebrate our anniversary. We’ve been married 6 years! Wow! We’re pretty awesome. (On a related note, apparently we’re supposed to get each other gifts made of iron for this anniversary? Anyone know what good stuff you can get of iron?) We got to do sealings again because we were a bit late and missed our session. Doing sealings is always a neat experience. We went over to Kneaders after the temple and had some yummy food.

On Thursday night Sarah helped throw a baby shower for a lady in our ward. She tackled the huge project of making 1 million cake pops. Ok, maybe that’s a bit of exaggeration. . . She spent a lot of time getting them right and they were delicious. She is good friends with this lady and it was good to have her be able to help out even if it did make things a bit stressful for her. She is a great servant.

Easter Hallelujah

Of course the focus of this week has been our Easter celebration. This year has been especially nice because we have been able to do better than ever  before on helping the kids (and ourselves) focus on Jesus Christ this week. Every night we have read from the Bible about what happened on that day of Easter week. We have posted the pictures on our wall for the kids to see so that they know what we’re talking about. The kids have loved having the pictures up and will point to them and tell us what is happening. It is awesome to see them start to understand what we are talking about. We introduced Eliza to The Testaments and she has loved watching “the Jesus movie.” She is a little sweetheart and is starting to understand things.

Eliza watching "the Jesus movie."
Eliza watching “the Jesus movie.”
Our wall of Easter pictures.
Our wall of Easter pictures.
Eliza was super obedient when she went out and so she got to share an ice cream with mom.
Eliza was super obedient when she went out and so she got to share an ice cream with mom.
Eliza sewing her temple cross stitch.
Eliza sewing her temple cross stitch.
James will always open to this page when he gets his scriptures out and point to Jesus.
James will always open to this page when he gets his scriptures out and point to Jesus.
James tried on this cute hat at Target
James tried on this cute hat at Target

On Wednesday evening we colored eggs after dinner. We’ve been meaning to do this for years but finally made the time to do it this year. Eliza made a pink egg that turned out very pink because she wanted to leave it in the dye for a long time.

Coloring eggs
Coloring eggs

As part of our Easter celebration we went to two egg hunts. The first was put on by our ward on Friday evening. They had a cake walk and some other games before the hunt started. James and I walked in the cake walk together and won on our second turn. Eliza walked for a while with her friend Lydia but she kept not winning so eventually Sarah got in with her and they walked for a long time before Eliza finally got a cupcake. The kids both had a good time looking for eggs. James was pretty quick and efficient and Eliza kept wanting to look more carefully at the eggs and would walk right past eggs as she was just kind of in her own little world.

James looking for eggs
James looking for eggs
Eliza looking for eggs
Eliza looking for eggs
Eliza and James inspecting their spoils.
Eliza and James inspecting their spoils.

We also had another Easter egg hunt with our neighborhood on Saturday. A lady in our neighborhood posted on our Facebook group that they wanted to do one so we just kind of did an impromptu hunt where everyone showed up and brought eggs. It was pretty fun. I finally got to meet one of our neighbors who lives around the corner. We need to do better at getting to know people. Eliza and James had a great time looking for eggs again. They especially loved it because there were cows in the field next to the amenities center where we were doing the hunt. I took to kids over by myself at first because Sarah was at missionary coordination meeting. After the hunt, Sarah arrived we played in the playground for a while and the headed home.

Opening Easter baskets o Saturday.
Opening Easter baskets o Saturday.

Saturday morning was also the morning that the Easter Bunny visited our house. Eliza found her basket before she came into our room to say good morning and she was super excited about the socks that she got. The kids got matching Dory socks. They also had a very healthy breakfast of candy while we were getting ready for the day.

Eliza making a dragon from the poles for her tent.
Eliza making a dragon from the poles for her tent.

On a side not the kids love the cows that are in the field by our neighborhood. Every time we come home from somewhere Eliza will ask if we can go say hi to the cows. She’ll always find where they are in the field and say “hi cows!” James will then join in making cow noises.

 

Spring Break Camping 2016

This week was full of camping and family fun. This is the second year that we went with a large group from the ward to go camping over spring break. Last year when we went, James was very young and Eliza was obsessed with mini doughnuts. This year was significantly easier than last year and we had a great time.

We left Monday afternoon after scrambling around all morning trying to get the last things in order. We went up to Lake Georgetown to Russell Park which is on the north side of the lake. People from our ward and our neighboring ward had reserved almost all of the spots on the tent camping loop so it was full of people that we knew. We set up camp and cooked dinner with our friends the Solters who came also. We made Texas Pioneer Pie (it was pi day!). We were going to make cobbler but we ran out of time. Monday night we had a large group family home evening lesson. One of the scouts from my troop put the program together and they had a few skits and then I gave the lesson. I’m sure there were people there that could have given a much better lesson than me, but I am good friends with the scouts, and I think they are comfortable asking me for things. It was a fun evening. Apparently, however, we got in trouble for being too loud and they asked us to disperse back to our camp sites. Eliza and James slept really well that night. It didn’t get too cold and we had a good night.

Sarah cooking dinner on Monday
Sarah cooking dinner on Monday
James waiting to eat
James waiting to eat
Looking out at the lake from our camp site
Looking out at the lake from our camp site
Eating dinner on Monday
Eating dinner on Monday

Tuesday we spent all day out camping. We played in the morning at the campsite and then in the afternoon we went down to the lake to play. They have a gravel beach that they built along the shore and we played there for a few hours. We had borrowed a kayak from another of our friends in the ward and I spent most of the time out on the kayak with the kids. I would hold them on my lap and we’d go out and paddle around. Last year when we tried to get Eliza on the water, she was terrified, but this year she absolutely loved it. She kept asking to go out again and again. She even wanted to try paddling by herself. She got it pretty good. She’d move the paddle back and forth, back and forth. I was so proud of her for being so brave and having such a good time. I took James out also and he had a good time. Sarah also took the kayak out and did really well. This was her first time doing it and she looked like a pro.

Eliza holding a rollie pollie
Eliza holding a rollie pollie
Eliza and James looking at the lake
Eliza and James looking at the lake
James playing in the dirt
James playing in the dirt
Eliza playing in the dirt
Eliza playing in the dirt
James loves camping. He was always asking to beput down so he could walk around.
James loves camping. He was always asking to beput down so he could walk around.

We ate dinner with the Solters again on Tuesday and then we made our peach cobbler. We had promised Eliza that we would roast marshmallows and have a fire but the kids were so exhausted that we had to do it while it was still light out after dinner. We had a good time with the marshmallows (although James wasn’t really a fan of the stickiness) and then read scriptures and put the kids down for bed. After the kids were down, Sarah and I played cards with some of my scouts. It was fun to be able to be camping with them and just be their friend and not have to be responsible for them.

Just out camping with my milk and scriptures. Life is awesome.
Just out camping with my milk and scriptures. Life is awesome.
Reading scriptures by the fire.
Reading scriptures by the fire.
Eliza roasting her marshmallow.
Eliza roasting her marshmallow.
Eliza's completed marshmallow.
Eliza’s completed marshmallow.
James woke up first and was throwing things at us.
James woke up first and was throwing things at us.
Eliza in daddy's sleeping bag.
Eliza in daddy’s sleeping bag.
Eliza showing piglet the lake one last time.
Eliza showing piglet the lake one last time.

Wednesday morning we packed up camp after breakfast and headed home. We had such a good time. This was totally our speed of a vacation. It could have been really stressful, but I was proud of Sarah and me for not losing our cool and just rolling with how things went. We need to get these kids out camping more often.

Thursday was our only normal day this week. I worked and then when I got home I prepared my gear for my Friday and Saturday scout training camp for my Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills (IOLS) (since I obviously need an introduction!) 

Friday and Saturday I was down in Kyle for IOLS. I was the patrol leader for my patrol and we had a pretty good training session. I’ve been doing scouts for so long that I probably could have taught the course myself but I learned a few things. I mainly wanted to go so that I could check the box that I have been trained finally. I met some other LDS scout people from our stake and started to get to know them a bit which was really good.

Me starting the fire at IOLS. I couldn't get anyone in my patrol to do it so I did it.
Me starting the fire at IOLS. I couldn’t get anyone in my patrol to do it so I did it.

Today we had our ward conference. This was the first time we’ve really been able to hear our stake president speak because we were out of town when he was sustained and we didn’t get to hear him. I liked him a lot and think he will be a great president. We made it to choir after almost sleeping through it again so that was good. So now we’re ready for next week which should be as normal as things ever are around here.

Things every night

So this week we had something going on every night. Weeks like this keep us busy and also make us grateful for our little family routines and traditions.

Matching in their striped pajamas
Matching in their striped pajamas

Monday night was probably the most “normal” (is that even a thing?) night of the week. We had family home evening. Sarah taught a lesson about the sacrament. We’re almost done with all of the lessons in the little nursery manual that we use. Eliza reminds us every week that we have to do family home evening. We always have an opening song and she leads while we sing. Eliza almost always gives the opening prayer. We have a lesson from Sarah or I which usually involves pictures of Jesus and a bit of an activity. We then have a closing prayer, read scriptures and have our family prayer and go to bed.

Tuesday I had scouts. We made trebuchets out of our lashing staves. It was a pretty good activity. Near the end we started running out of tasks for everyone to do so it got a bit crazy but still was fun. Sarah had the kids at home that night and got them to bed.

Wednesday Sarah went to a baby shower for three sisters in the ward. The husband of the sister hosting the shower works with me and I was supposed to bring him home from work. I unfortunately forgot until I was almost home and I had to turn around and go back to work to get him. Oops! After the shower, Sarah went and practiced her musical number for the stake women’s conference this weekend. She and two other ladies sang a song for the conference. I was home with the kids and we did our normal night routine with baths and scriptures. The kids have been having fun bubble baths these last few weeks. We let them have their bubble bath first and then drain the tub to do the real bath.They love playing in the water.

Thursday Sarah was out again at a choir practice for the women’s conference. I got to stay home with the kids again and we had a fun time. I got some time to read my book which I’ve really been enjoying.

On Friday evening, Sarah was gone one more time to do a dress rehearsal for the women’s conference. This conference was quite the production. They had different rooms in the church all setup as different scenes from the scriptures. The had the sisters divide into groups and go through each of the rooms. In each room there was a musical number and a sister doing a monologue. Because the sisters rotated through the different rooms, Sarah performed her musical number five times that morning. The conference sounded pretty cool. I put the kids to bed and then finished my book (book 12 of Wheel of Time for those interested. It was awesome. I found myself cheering at parts!) Sarah came home and we went to bed after getting preparations made for Saturday.

Saturday, Sarah was at women’s conference all morning until around 2:00 pm. I took the kids to the park for a little over an hour. They had a blast. James has gotten more courageous and will climb up the steps now and go down the big twisty slide on his own. Eliza will climb up almost every ladder there. The only one she hasn’t figured out yet is the spiral one but I think she will do it when she realizes she can go up the other side of it and get off on the platform. After the park, we came home and tried to fly our kite. That didn’t go so well. James fell of the back porch while he was trying to go down the stairs frontwards (silly boy) and got a bloody lip and a scraped up head. We came in and had baths and lunch and got ready to go to the temple.

Eliza climbing on the twisty ladder at the park
Eliza climbing on the twisty ladder at the park
James was brave to go down the slide by himself.
James was brave to go down the slide by himself.

Saturday afternoon we all went down to the temple together. We decided to take the kids because the family we usually leave them with had had a crazy week and we thought they didn’t need a contrary James and a potty-training Eliza on their hands on top of everything. The kids enjoyed the temple. Eliza even got to go inside to the little bathroom before the recommend desk to go potty. Sarah and I switched off doing initiatories and staying outside with the kids.

James wanted to walk all around the temple by himself.
James wanted to walk all around the temple by himself.
James and Eliza at the temple.
James and Eliza at the temple.
Family selfie at the temple.
Family selfie at the temple.
Eliza smelling the flowers
Eliza smelling the flowers

Today we had church. I went straight to home teaching and then to Deacon’s Quorum Presidency meeting. We tried to go to choir but Eliza fell down the stairs and then our van wouldn’t start. Then we had a little dinner and I ran off to a youth fireside at the church about addiction recovery.

Whew, it was a crazy week!

Gone recruiting

Well this week I wasn’t at home a ton so I don’t have a lot to write. I spent the week up recruiting at BYU and kept plenty busy up there. I did the career fair, lots of interviewing and several events with candidates. It was a pretty good trip. It was fun to see family while I was up there.

Sarah and the kids.
Sarah and the kids.
Eliza and James playing the piano at music class.
Eliza and James playing the piano at music class.

While I was gone, Sarah held down the fort with the kids and was generally awesome. They had music class on Friday and went to the park after class. Eliza loves the park and James still isn’t sure what to think of it.

James didn't really care for the swing at the park
James didn’t really care for the swing at the park
Eliza loves swinging
Eliza loves swinging
Eliza loves slides even more than swinging!
Eliza loves slides even more than swinging!
So happy!
So happy!
James requires some coaching still on the slides.
James requires some coaching still on the slides.

Saturday morning, Sarah had her normal missionary coordination meeting and then took the kids over to the church for an Eagle Court of Honor for one of our friends. I was really proud of her for going to support them even when I wasn’t there. Eliza was super reverent during the ceremony and we’re so proud of the good girl that she is.

Eliza was so reverent at the court of honor.
Eliza was so reverent at the court of honor.
On Saturday, Eliza and I went outside to play. We didn't intend to play in the dirt but that's where we ended up.
On Saturday, Eliza and I went outside to play. We didn’t intend to play in the dirt but that’s where we ended up.
James is a ham
James is a ham
Sarah and Eliza made heart pizzas for dinner on Valentines day.
Sarah and Eliza made heart pizzas for dinner on Valentines day.

Here’s to looking forward to another great week!