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!

“Peeeaaa” and other words

James has a rapidly expanding vocabulary. Sarah made a list of all the words he is saying these days.

  • “hiya” – Hi ya!
  • “bah” – bye (while waving)
  • “peaaaa!!” – Please
  • “deh do” – Thank you
  • “mama”
  • “dada”
  • “Ih-ly-ia” – Eliza
  • “papa”
  • “beh” – bread
  • “pay” – pray
  • “eh-MEH” – amen
  • “dih-duh” – scriptures
  • “su-shuh” – Jesus
  • “po-PO” – prophet
  • “kaboo!” – peekaboo
  • “wa-wa” – water
  • “pa”- pacifier
  • “go-guh” – yogurt
  • “co-cuh” – cracker
  • “bana” – banana
  • “a BAH!?” – asking for a bite
  • “moooore??” – more
  • “did ih!” – I did it!
  • “ya” – yes
  • “no no no” – no
  • “no!” – more emphatic
  • “poo” – do I need to explain?
  • “ah dah” – all done
  • “ah gah” – all gone
  • “boo” – book
  • “ha! ha!” – hot
  • “brrr” – cold

He is talking all the time! We can understand some of what he says and when he needs to communicate he does a good job. He still has a lot of emphatic, loud, gibberish!

This weekend I went out to camp with the scouts at Lost Pines. We were hoping to do some archery but I couldn’t find a range master to come help us. I need to just get that training myself so we don’t have to wait on other people. We had a good camp. It did freeze that night and the boys were excited to earn their polar bear patches. We challenged the boys to make better food than their normal hot dogs for dinner and so they made one of my favorites — Dutch oven pizza! It is super simple. You just top English muffins with sauce and other good pizza stuff and put them in the oven until they’re toasty. They had a delicious “mountain man hash” for breakfast that got rave reviews. We also did a service project on Saturday morning. We built a wood stack to keep wood off the ground. We filled it up with wood and another one with small kindling. You can see more about that here: https://goo.gl/photos/Z5nLL2dPnXCpoiq16

I also went to the LDS Face-to-face with Elder Rasband on Wednesday. It was really good and I got a lot of good notes. One of the things that really stood out to me was when he said, “You need to make a very solid commitment to spend some time every day in the scriptures. it doesn’t have to be a lot, but it does need to be some.” I talked about this with my boys at our campfire program on Friday night. It is so important to have that daily contact with the scriptures.

Sarah and Eliza invited one of Eliza’s friends over for lunch this week. They made little heart shaped pizzas and shared them. Eliza loved helping to make the pizzas. She is a good helper and always wants to be at the counter cooking with mommy.

Spring Break Camping

Yes I know that we don’t have any kids in school so spring break isn’t actually any different from any other week that we have; however, we decided to “celebrate” it this year. There are some families in our ward who go camping every year on the week of spring break and we were invited to attend this year. We were the youngest family–by far. Most of the families have teenagers but we have some good friends in the group and we had a good time.
We had kind of a crazy day on Monday as we were getting ready to go on the campout. As you know, we’ve been looking at cars for a few months now. We’ve had our eye on a Honda Pilot for a while but have been waiting for a recall to finish on the airbag before we can even test drive it. We got a call from the dealership saying that the car was ready on Monday as we were trying to get everything packed and ready to go. We decided we’d run up there and just be late to the camp because we really want to get this car. Well, when we got there, the salesman had gotten the wrong car. It was the same model year and everything but had two time as many miles on it and wasn’t what we were looking for. We ended up wasting about two hours with that trip.
After getting back from the dealership, we finished getting everything together and somehow got all our camping gear and the kids and ourselves packed in the car. Yes we actually had to pack ourselves in too, that was how crowded it was. We drove the hour and a half drive out to Lake Somerville to camp. When we got there, most of our friends were already there and had already cooked dinner. It was around 6:00 at this point. Everyone was trying to pawn off their extra food on us so we didn’t even have to cook. Lots of my scouts who were there helped us unload and setup our massive 8 man tent. The tent was awesome! I’m glad we got it.
We really packed it in there
We really packed it in there
We had a blast camping! It was so nice to just be away with the family and to have time to ourselves. Every time we’ve gone on vacation in the past we’ve been running all over and haven’t had time just with our little family to sit and have fun. This was a welcome change for us. We still were chasing Eliza a lot and didn’t get to associate with the other adults there but it was a great time.
Eliza with marshmallow all over her hands
Eliza with marshmallow all over her hands
Eliza finally slept pretty well.
Eliza finally slept pretty well.
Running outside
Running outside
Looking at the plants
Looking at the plants
Eliza had a bit of trouble sleeping. Mostly because she was excited about being in the tent with everyone else. She kept running around and wanting to play. She sure is cute. James, of course, was out like a light all night and didn’t make any trouble.
James being happy on mommy's sleeping bag
James being happy on mommy’s sleeping bag
This is the lake where we camped
This is the lake where we camped
We had breakfast tacos for breakfast on Tuesday.
We had breakfast tacos for breakfast on Tuesday.
We stayed at the camp all day on Tuesday and did breakfast, lunch, and dinner, We had originally planned on trying to stay for Monday and Tuesday nights but there was going to be a huge rainstorm on Tuesday and most everyone was leaving. I told Sarah that if it was the scouts we’d be staying but camping in the rain with two babies was not going to be too fun so we just went home after dinner on Tuesday.
"Why are my hands so dirty?"
“Why are my hands so dirty?”
Daddy and Eliza hanging out by the tent
Daddy and Eliza hanging out by the tent
"These are MY donuts"
“These are MY donuts”
Eliza absolutely loved camping. She loved being outside all the time. She picked flowers, ran all over the place, chased our friend’s dogs, played in the dirt, ate way too many donuts, and generally just had a great time. Sarah and I took her out on the canoe on Tuesday and she did pretty well. She’s been a bit afraid of water lately and I wanted to help her face her fears. Sarah held her in the front seat and I paddled. She let us go out for a few minutes and then decided she was done so we turned around and went back. I was proud of her for doing it. She also went out with me in a kayak but that didn’t last too long either.
James holding the umbrella
James holding the umbrella
Mommy and James hanging out
Mommy and James hanging out
Daddy and James snacking
Daddy and James snacking
James was a sweetheart the whole time we were out. He was just calm and loved to be carried around and doted on by all of the ladies we were with.
Eliza and her new friend Danielle Ashford
Eliza and her new friend Danielle Ashford
Eliza zonked after being traumatized by the canoe
Eliza zonked after being traumatized by the canoe
Eliza trying to be happy picking flowers
Eliza trying to be happy picking flowers
In other news, James rolled over once this week. He’s getting really close to having that figured out!
The cute family
The cute family
future missionary
future missionary
James and Daddy time
James and Daddy time
We have a crazy week ahead of us. Our stake is doing a musical presentation for Easter this Thursday and Friday and Sarah encouraged me to sing in the choir. I have rehearsal every night, except Monday, this week so your prayers for our sanity will be greatly appreciated!
Monkey Face!
Monkey Face!

Utah visit (from Sarah’s point of view)

In September, Adam and I took a quick trip home to do some recruiting for Adam’s work at our alma mater. (I even got to go as the wife recruiter to convince all the wives that Austin is the place to be.)

The BYU Engineering Career Fair was two days long (plus one day of interviews). We flew in the weekend before so we could spend a little time with our families and friends. It was the first time we’ve seen one of Adam’s brother’s since he returned home from his mission in Finland. It was so great to see him! He left very much still a high school senior (albeit mature) and came home a man.

Joint family dinner. So fun!

Our week was packed! It seemed like every free moment–wait, no, we didn’t really have any free moments. Adam and I were going, going, going. We both got sick and got barely any sleep. It almost felt like I was a college student again. (I’ve gotten so used to 7 and 8 hours of sleep every night; it’s hard to go back to 4-5  hours a night.)

Even though it was such a crazy week, I loved seeing so much family and so many friends. I didn’t feel completely coherent whenever I was with them, but it was still great to be with them all. Our families are wonderful. We got to see three of our grandparents, all of our siblings (except Sarah, who is serving a mission), and our niece and nephews, who are a blast! I also got to see various friends from my major and my dear friend, Jenny.

Family at Sister’s concert. (Isn’t she lovely?)

Some of my best friends from high school and I were able to get together for a couple of hours. These gals are amazing. The seven of us haven’t all been together since I think 2009 (and you’ll notice that there are only six of us in the picture. One of the ladies came early and had to leave before I got there because she is a nurse who works really early in the morning). It was fun to get most of us together.

Six of the seven ladies

Oh ya. Adam and I saw the Mitt Romney bus. Too cool.

I got to spend two lovely days at the Family History Library while I was there too! If you live close to the Family History Library (and by close I mean within 2 hour’s drive) and you have never been there, then shame on you! Set a goal NOW to go there. I’m serious–go grab your planner or calendar or ipod or post-it notes or whatever you use and pick a day right now to go there and learn something about your ancestors, okay? Your life will be enriched by the experience. There are hundreds of workers and missionaries who will gladly help you. Just go do it! (You don’t know HOW BLESSED YOU ARE to live sooooo close to the largest family history library IN THE WORLD!)

Okay, so off my rant. I did a ton of research while I was there. I’ve been working on one of my family lines in Württemberg, Germany for quite some time. Here’s an example of a record:

 

Marriage entry for Philipp Jakob Keppler and Eva Maria Kalmbach on 26 June 1792 in Oberschwandorf, Nagold, Württemberg, Germany. They were my fifth great-grandparents!

Oh, doesn’t it just make you so excited?! I LOVE Germanic family history research!

Anyway, it was a lovely, jam-packed trip, but I am so grateful we could go. Yay for families! Yay for friends! Yay for Adam’s great job! Yay for BYU! Yay for ancestors and the FHL!

A Trip to Arizona

Well folks, I realized that I haven’t posted on this blog since July. Pathetic. I haven’t been so great at writing in my journal for a while either, so within the next couple of months, I’ll (hopefully) be writing about some of the big things that happened in the past little while.

To start, my dear friend, Jenny, got married last month!

They did it! And it’s bright outside!

 

Awww…don’t they look happy?

I am soooo thrilled for her. We were roommates at BYU for 2 1/2 years. We talked a lot about things that were most important to us. I remember that once we were being silly college girls and made lists of all the qualities we wanted our husbands to have (Adam has every one, and if I remember correctly, I’m pretty sure Jenny’s husband meets all of her qualifications too). 🙂 After seeing all the worrying and waiting and working she did to find that right guy to marry, I’m sooooo glad that things worked out for her!

This is what best friends do. We get leaves out of each other’s hair when the wind blows them there.

 

Jenny got married in Arizona. I flew down on a Thursday, but Adam didn’t come until Saturday. (Jenny went through the temple on Thursday, and I wanted to be there for that. She got married Saturday.) My other former roommate’s family lives five minutes from my friend, and they graciously invited me to stay with them. That was a blast. Her mom reminded me so much of my old roommate in her expressions and kindness. (My former roommate wasn’t there because she is on a mission right now.)

I spent a lot of time at my friend’s house on Thursday and Friday helping them get ready for the family dinner and for the wedding itself. Jenny’s family is awesome. Every person in that family has an amazing sense of humor, intelligence, sarcasm, and wit. It was so fun hanging out with them. I was hoping that they would put me to work so I could help out with things, and they did just that. I felt like I was part of the family–whipping lots of cream, ironing Jenny’s dress, making boutonnieres (which was so fun and simple!), eating leftovers, helping choose picture frames for the wedding reception, helping her pack for a honeymoon, moving, school, and storage, etc. Jenny’s home had such a good feeling in it. I had never been there, and it was fun to see where she grew up and see how her family functioned in their habitat.

Sibling love…where Jenny gets squished (as usual)

I was glad to be busy on Thursday and Friday too because I missed Adam. You know, I miss Adam anyway when we’re apart, but add to that all of this talk of weddings and love and seeing everyone with their sweethearts, and it made me really miss my Sweetheart.

It’s us! And cacti!

Jenny’s wedding was so beautiful! She got married at 3pm, so the morning was fairly relaxed. We took pictures and then headed to Jenny’s church building to eat a quick meal so we didn’t starve until the reception started (especially the bride and groom!). Whoever set up the tables covered them with butcher paper and put jars of crayons on the tables. It was so fun. Jenny’s family is also very artsy, and they drew some hilarious sketches.

Table Art by Jenny’s Siblings

The reception was lovely! Honestly, it reminded me a little bit of Bilbo’s 111th birthday party on the LOTR movie, but much lovelier and classier and minus the drinking (although there were some delicious Italian sodas being served!).

The Reception

Adam and I helped Jenny’s siblings decorate the car. It was so great. Adam was a pro after helping with all his former roommates’ cars, but it was new for me. After the happy couple left, everyone just stood in the road laughing and joking (and doing the baked potato dance). It was awesome.

The couple getting ready to leave the reception.

The next day was wonderful. Adam’s mission president, Elder LeSeuer, lives about twenty minutes from Jenny’s family, and we were able to go to church with his wife. They had us over for dinner afterward, and Elder LeSeuer sat and talked with us for nearly two hours. He not only talked with us–he taught us, lifted our spirits, and prayed with us. I had only met him briefly once about a year-and-a-half earlier, but he treated me as though I was an old friend and spoke to me just as much as he did to Adam. I can’t really describe the perfect Christlike love I felt from him and the Spirit that radiated from him. I have only seen and felt that kind of love and Spirit from a few other people before. I didn’t want to leave. I could see how much they loved Adam and he them, and I loved them too. He is an incredible man, and his wife is incredible as well. I hope I am even a smidgeon as good as them someday.

Gilbert, AZ Temple. The LeSeuer’s can see it from their front window!

Needless to say, this trip to Arizona was amazing.