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!

Learning and Growing 2

So this week was week two of potty training for Eliza and we had a much better week! She is pretty consistently going in the toilet for #1 and she had a major breakthrough on #2 this week. We have some bigger rewards for her when she does #2 and on Thursday she finally decided that she would get up the guts to try to go. She told Sarah that she needed to go and then just went into the bathroom to “have some privacy” and took care of business! She was tickled pink with herself! She could hardly contain herself when she told me about it when I got home from work. She got to have a reeses and a cool key chain when she did it and she kept them for a day until she had another accident. We’re still trying to get her to consistently have courage to go. She gets up and then just gets scared and kind of freezes up. I suspect that we’ll have another few awesome breakthroughs this week.

Eliza celebrating her success.
Eliza celebrating her success.

After our week last week of sickness this week has been much better on that front. We’ve actually had several nights that everyone has been able to sleep all night! We’re almost done with all of our antibiotics and feeling back to normal.

James loves to have his hair combed. . . just like his mom.
James loves to have his hair combed. . . just like his mom.
Eliza has been hunting hefalumps this week.
Eliza has been hunting hefalumps this week.
We got a costco membership this week and took our first trip.
We got a costco membership this week and took our first trip.
Eliza has been making valentines for everyone!
Eliza has been making valentines for everyone!

We had a good day at church today and Eliza had a great time in nursery. Sarah visit teaches our good friend Sis. McCullough and Eliza and her are good friends. Sis. McCullough was substituting in nursery today and they had a great time playing together. Eliza told her all about our daddy daughter date we had on Saturday.

The kids love to play on the stairs.
The kids love to play on the stairs.

For several weeks we’ve been planning on going on a daddy daughter date this week. We had a gift certificate to Chick-fil-a and tickets to the Round Rock daddy daughter dance and we were super excited to go to that. Eliza loved getting all ready and dressed up to go. She picked out my blue shirt that she wanted me to wear and got all dressed up in her pretty pink dress. Sarah did her hair like “princess hair” and Eliza loved it! She was just beaming the whole time. We had a fun dinner at Chick-fil-a and then drove to the dance. (She fell asleep on the way over). They had the rec center all decorated fancy and had people there to welcome us and make the girls feel super important.

Getting ready for the dance.
Getting ready for the dance.

Eliza just wanted to dance the whole night away. She had a lot of energy for the first hour of the dance and was jumping and dancing and spinning and flying all over the place. We saw some friends from church there and she had some fun dancing with them too. She was so sweet just wanting to dance with me. I had to convince her to go get some refreshments but she really just wanted to dance. She wanted to stay all the way to the end and was super sweet. I had a great time with her and I’m excited to make this a tradition for us.

08 Daddy and Eliza 07 Daddy and Eliza

We also had a family assignment to clean the church on Saturday and we had a good time doing that. Eliza and James worked with us (they refilled the toilet paper and re-dusted things…) and had a good time.

Cheeze!!!
Cheeze!!!
Mommy and James having a fun time while Daddy and Eliza are gone.
Mommy and James having a fun time while Daddy and Eliza are gone.

Something every night

We had something going on every night this week. All of them were good things and we had a good time doing them.

On Monday we had our normal family home evening. It was pretty good. Eliza is getting better and better at singing. When we have family home evening she has to go get her little children’s songbook and open it up to sing. We almost always sing “I am a Child of God” or “I Love to See the Temple.” She knows those two songs pretty much by heart and will sing along with us for some of the words while she leads the music from her little music stand. In our home evenings we’re using the nursery manual which has tons of awesome lessons and methods that Eliza resonates with. This week our lesson was “I Have a Body Like Heavenly Father’s.” We talked about how each of us has eyes, ears, nose etc and how Heavenly Father has those too. We sang “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” (another favorite) and had a little closing prayer. These lessons are just about right and we love having them.

00 Eliza working

Tuesday I had my usual scout meeting. We spent the evening getting ready for our canoe trip this coming weekend and also brainstorming plans for the coming year’s camps. The boys had some fun ideas and I think we’re going to have a great year! I took the boys ice cream because usually we do this activity as part of our camp and make homemade ice cream but because this year we’re going to be canoeing I figured this would have to do.

01 James loves to bang on this box

Sarah has been working on some family history names for one of her lines and on Wednesday she got to go to the family history center up in Georgetown to look at some films that she had ordered from Salt Lake. She found the name of the father that she was looking for and she thought it was a successful night. She said it was a bit sad that there was no one else there. In fact, the people that were there working were planning on leaving early at 8:00 but Sarah needed to stay until the real posted closing time of 8:30. That tells you how little traffic they get if they’re used to being able to leave early. Sarah is going to try to make a habit of this and go up once every week or two. We figure that if she can get into this she’ll be able to start making progress toward her accreditation.

Eliza brushing her teeth
Eliza brushing her teeth

Thursday evening was a Relief Society meeting so I was home with the kids again while Sarah was at the church. I know they made some little purse things (Sarah calls them “purse caddies” — golf anyone?). . . but that’s about all I know. The kids were pretty good. James has a hard time getting to sleep sometimes and has to be rocked for a long time. I try to be patient but sometimes he tries my patience. I love him lots but he just refuses to sleep sometimes!

She always sits like this.
She always sits like this.

Our friends the Larsen’s invited us over for pizza on Friday. We went over and ate with them and then we brought Eliza’s friend back to our place so they could go to the baseball game. We had our family scripture study and burned the rest of the night on stuff.

Eliza likes to help me mow the lawn. She always needs her gloves!
Eliza likes to help me mow the lawn. She always needs her gloves!

Saturday was a full day for the kids. Eliza was going, going, going from the minute she got up. She really wanted to help me mow the lawn and helped me push the mower again. She also wanted to go shopping so I took her with me to get some lightbulbs at Home Depot and then to HEB for groceries. She was not excited about Home Depot because she just wanted to go to HEB. We were hoping to find her a pool noodle that she can use swimming but they were out of season. We did find some little splash balls that she wanted to get so we got those. She had been looking forward all day to going swimming. After we got back from shopping, we all got dressed to go to the pool and headed out. She was so excited! She played in the little kiddy pool for a while and then wanted to “go swim like a fishy.” In the big pool she’ll walk down the steps and then step off into the deep water and let her float wings hold her while she swims. She’s gotten so much braver. She started to get really tired while we were there and was starting to fall asleep in the pool. She was about to put her head on the water to sleep. She also got out at one point and curled up on the cement to fall asleep. . . needless to say, we went home. She almost zonked during dinner and so we just put her to bed (around 6:00) and she slept until morning. James also went down super early and both of them were sound asleep at 7:30. We didn’t really know what to do. Sarah prepared her lesson for church today and I went and got us some ice cream to celebrate.

James likes his peas!
James likes his peas!

Today was nutso. It was the Arnesen show at church, at least that’s how it felt. I accompanied someone singing and Sarah played the organ. Sarah taught gospel essentials and I entertained James. I had a youth fireside tonight at 7 and Sarah had a musical number rehearsal at 8. Yep, nutso.

Sunday selfie with daddy.
Sunday selfie with daddy.

We had a pretty good week all told. We have some great kids and they keep us on our toes!

Two Kids Teething

We survived Sunday. Go us! This week has been a bit rough with both Eliza and James both teething and  both of them with the sniffles. Eliza has been waking up in the middle of the night several days this week and will just cry inconsolably and have a bad cough. She doesn’t run a fever or anything (although she did learn that word this week and asks us to take her temperature). James has been having a rough time cutting his bottom two teeth. Today just before church he was screaming and screaming and didn’t like taking his pain killers. We were really worried that we were going to have both kids melt down on us at church but they both did fine.
We finally got a cute picture of James's cute gummy smile. We think his teeth may come through any day so this may be our last look at this. .. :(
We finally got a cute picture of James’s cute gummy smile. We think his teeth may come through any day so this may be our last look at this. .. 🙁
James has been really snuggly lately when he's feeling sick from his teeth.
James has been really snuggly lately when he’s feeling sick from his teeth.
Sarah and I both taught lessons today. Sarah volunteered to substitute for the gospel essentials class and she taught an excellent lesson about Baptism. She is getting to be quite the natural teacher. (She says that I inspired her but I’m not sure that’s true.) I taught a lesson in my deacon’s quorum about the Atonement. I only realized last night that I was supposed to teach and so I didn’t have the time to prepare that I should have had but it still went well. We have a huge deacon’s quorum. Today we had 15 boys in there. It’s always growing.
Jame is learning how to use his hands much better. He likes to hold his giraffe and try to eat it. He sticks his tongue out like a Huggard when he's concentrating!
Jame is learning how to use his hands much better. He likes to hold his giraffe and try to eat it. He sticks his tongue out like a Huggard when he’s concentrating!
I love my giraffe
I love my giraffe
Rebekah came to visit us this weekend. The weather here has been pretty cold and rainy and even icy this week so we didn’t get out as much as we would have liked. She’s been fun to have. We took her to dinner at Rudy’s and got Round Rock donuts. We also got Torchy’s Tacos with her when she first got here. Eliza has fallen in love with her and has started yelling for Bekah all the time.
James is usually a content, happy, little boy.
James is usually a content, happy, little boy.
Eliza has had her friend, Lydia, over several times this week. One of the days she was here, they got into the mascara. We’ve let Eliza play with one of Sarah’s old bottles and she liked to carry it around when she was younger. She didn’t know that it opened. Lydia showed her how to open it and they did a beautiful job painting it on each other.
01 Eliza and Lydia got into the mascara
Eliza recently started doing her own Winnie the Pooh dance. She’ll bend over and sway back and forth while we sing the song. It’s adorable but she doesn’t do it too much on command.
02 Eliza doing her pooh dance
Eliza doing her pooh dance

03 Eliza doing her pooh dance 2

Gratitude

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about our life and how awesome it really is. I hope you’ll forgive me for just writing some of my feelings publicly. I’m sometimes not very good at showing how grateful I am to the Lord for my blessings. I really have so many blessings that I’m sure that I could go on and on. I just want to list a few:

  • I have an amazing, strong, beautiful, talented, smart, good wife.
  • I have a place to live and spend my time.
  • I live in a place where people are generally good and friendly.
  • We have had way more rain this winter here in Texas than we were supposed to. I know the Lord’s hand was in that.
  • I have great co-workers who are friendly and supportive.
  • I have friends who care and try to stay in touch.
  • I have great parents who love me.
  • I have amazing in-laws who raised my wonderful wife and who are supportive of our decisions.
  • I have two awesome missionary siblings who are off having the time of their lives.
  • I have a good job.
  • I can sing.
  • I am able to walk.
  • I have sufficient food to eat.
  • I have a knowledge of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • I have the knowledge that I can live with my sweetheart for eternity if I am worthy.
  • I get to work with awesome Cub Scouts in my church calling.

I hope that I can remember to be grateful more often. I have many more blessings that just these. Some are too personal to share and others are too many to list in the few minutes that I have today. I’m grateful for all of the blessings that I have. I know that these blessings come from God and that I am His son.

Houston . . . Not a Problem!

Last weekend, we drove to Houston. The land here is so green and beautiful. We even saw an LDS church building along the highway!

Prairie View, Texas LDS church building

As we entered Houston, there was a beautiful sunset in the west, and the moon was huge and bright as it rose in the east.

On Saturday morning, we had the opportunity to go to the Houston, Texas temple! It was so beautiful. The architecture and landscaping were lovely, and we had a wonderful experience inside. I’m so grateful for the temple and to live close to many temples!

Houston, Texas Temple

After our visit to the temple, Adam and I changed and drove to the Johnson Space Center!!! (That was the real purpose of this trip.) Adam has wanted to go here almost as long as he can remember.

I’m going to let him post about the Space Center, but I want to add this cool note: We were in line for something in the space center, and there was a couple with a little girl. The dad asked it we would take a picture for them, so we did. Afterward, they saw Adam’s BYU shirt, and the man said, “BYU? I went to BYU.” They were LDS! It was so great. We were practically instant friends. What are the chances of running into and meeting LDS people there? Slim to none. Anyway, I thought that was cool. They snapped a picture of us too.

Adam & Sarah at Space Center

Adam was really excited to be there. 🙂

Excited Adam

Ok, just so you don’t get confused, this is Adam writing now.  We went to the exhibit at Johnson Space center that had artifacts from the manned space flights. I’ve known tons about all of this since I was 2 years old and seeing all of the spacecraft and related paraphernalia was really cool for me.  Those of you who know me well can imagine how excited I was!  In the exhibit they trace the history of manned space flight from the Mercury missions all the way through to the Space Shuttle. This first picture is of the spacecraft Faith 7 from the Mercury program.  It’s really, really small and so the astronauts had to be a certain height to fit in it.

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After the mercury Missions came Gemini.  It was named this after the constellation Gemini which is of twins.  The Gemini craft held 2 astronauts but really wasn’t too much larger than the Mercury capsules.

A Gemini Spacecraft

This next picture is of the Apollo 16 command module. This is the only equipment that returned to earth after the last lunar mission.  I’ve loved these missions for a long time. When I went to the Smithsonian museum when I was in high school they had an Apollo capsule but it was all encased in plastic.  On this one the door was sticking out past the barrier.  Sarah told me that there were probably lasers and things making sure you didn’t touch it but I touched it anyway . . . don’t tell anyone.  I’m kind of like a little kid when it comes to this!

Apollo 16 Command Module

This next picture is inside of a mock-up of the Skylab space station. This was the first American space station and all it was was the first stage of a Saturn V rocket that was converted into a space station.  It was bigger than it looked in the pictures I’ve seen. Sarah told me that she could see me living somewhere like that.  That would be really cool.

Inside a mockup of Skylab

This is a replica of the Mercury Redstone rocket.  This is the rocket that took the first American, Alan Shepherd, into space. It isn’t very big at all and only barely could get a person into space!

A Mercury Redstone Rocket

Inside a big building next to these rockets is the massive Saturn V rocket! It is huge — 363 feet tall and 33 feet in diameter.  The five main engines on the first stage are big enough for a person to stand in! The next picture gives you an idea of how large they are!

Saturn V First Stage Motor

In the picture below I’m standing next to the command and service module portion of the space craft. This was the part that actually went to the moon.  The service module,  the gray part to the left of the picture, is the part that had the explosion on Apollo 13.

The Command and Service Module on top of the Saturn V

This picture is the entire Saturn V.  You can kind of get a feeling for how big it is!

The Saturn V Rocket

Well, there’s way too much to write about with my space obsession on a single blog post but if anyone really wants to experience it first hand, come and talk to me and we’ll arrange a trip back to Johnson!  On the way back home to Austin we saw this beautiful sunset.  All in all we had a wonderful trip. It was kind of our first official vacation as the Arnesen Family!

Sunset on the way home

San Antonio Temple

Yesterday we went down to the San Antonio, Texas Temple for the first time.  Our stake had set up a stake “Temple Day of Service” and encouraged us to come on Friday and participate as a stake in serving in the temple. We called ahead last week and reserved a spot on the 6:30 session.

Google maps, which I guess should not always be implicitly trusted, told us that it would take one hour and twenty-eight minutes to travel from Austin to San Antonio.  We therefore left at 4:00 which we thought would give us plenty of time to get there in time for the session even if there was bad traffic. Well . . . traffic was horrific! It took us about 45 minutes to just get into down town, a drive of about 10 miles. You do the math.  We were going really really slow! Traffic didn’t get better after we left downtown and it ended up taking us 2 1/2 hours to get to the temple.  We pulled into the parking lot at 6:30!

We had wanted to take a picture beforehand because we weren’t sure it would work well in the dark afterward, but Sarah felt like we should just go in. The kind workers at the desk asked if we were there to do sealings, and Sarah explained that we were supposed to be in the 6:30 session but the traffic had been really bad. Thankfully, our stake president, Pres. Hollingsworth, was standing right there and said that if we hurried “really really fast” then we could still be in the session because they hadn’t started yet! We were sooo grateful. Neither of us had been to the temple in a month, and we both really missed it. The session was really sweet.

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As we were pulling up late to the temple, I thought about how sad it would be if we were late for something much more important than the temple.  I kept thinking about how the temple needs to be a top priority in our lives and how being places in a timely manner is important to feeling the Spirit. I had the story of Joseph F. Smith going through my head about being late but being clean. I’m so grateful that we were able to participate in the temple.  It is important not only to our eternal lives after this life but to our mortal and daily lives.

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