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.

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.

 

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!

Happy New 2016

Happy New Year everyone! We’re excited for this new year and all the adventures and challenges that it will bring. We had a great year last year and are excited to see what the future holds for us.

This week started out with a fun reunion of sorts with my college roommates. A few weeks ago one of my old roommates, Scott Rose, emailed the group of us and proposed that we do a Google hangout together sometime over the break. We had that hangout on Monday evening. We are all spread across the country and so we did it while some of us, including us here in Texas, were still having dinner. We went family by family from east to west. It was fun to see everyone and get a quick update from people. You could tell that most of us had young kids because it was pretty chaotic and noisy at times! I’m so grateful for that group of friends that I made in college (Savilles, Simmonses, Ashtons, Roses, Glancys, and Barrow(s)).

00 James with his trumpet
James playing his trumpet
02 Eliza coloring on the white board
Eliza coloring on the white board
01 Eliza and James looking at daddy's space book
Eliza and James looking at my “Life in Space” book that I loved so much when I was a kid

Christa was here visiting this week to meet her boyfriend’s family. She stayed with us on Tuesday and Wednesday nights and Sarah had a good time talking with her and spending some good sister time together. The kids also had a great time with Christa and her boyfriend when they came over. They had tea parties and played with duplos. Both of the days that they came over to play with the kids, Eliza prayed for them at night. It was super cute.

03 Aunt Christa dancing with the kids
Playing “ring around the rosie” with Aunt Christa
07 Eliza at her little table
Eliza at her own personal table.

On New Year’s Eve we were invited to go to a party at the Tietjen’s house (a family in our ward). Their invitation said that they were going to have sparklers for the kids and then fireworks and a dance party. Eliza was super excited for the sparklers! She loved playing with them and probably lit 10 of them. It is funny to me that she likes them so much because I hated sparklers when I was younger. James thought the sparklers were pretty cool too. They had a pretty good firework show too. We brought our blanket and cuddled on the lawn while they shot them off. James and Eliza were both super good about it and enjoyed the show.

04 Sparklers on New Year's Eve
Doing sparklers on New Year’s Eve
05 Our family on New Year's Eve
Our family on New Year’s Eve

After the sparklers and fireworks were over, the Tietjens turned on some music and their disco ball and started dancing in the house. Their girls wanted to have a dance competition so we did. They had several rounds. They had all the little girls dance, the mommies, and then the daddies and daughters. Eliza and I won the daddy daughter competition and our prize was a gift card for a date at Chick-fil-a. Eliza is pretty excited to do that!

06 Daddy and Eliza dancing
Daddy and Eliza winning the dance competition.

We had a good time at the party and then came home early and relaxed the rest of the evening. Sarah and I had martinellis at midnight and then went to bed.

08 Eliza and james are best friends
Eliza and James are best friends.

This year we’re starting to have church at 9:00 am. This is a good shift for us from 1:00. We all were up and made it to church by 8:30 this morning so that I could help setup chairs. The kids did really well too. Eliza is in the “big kid” nursery this year and we were told that she did really well. We were a bit worried after her meltdown last week but she was awesome! We’re excited to have more time together now that we have earlier church.

Thanksgiving 2015 in Utah

So this has been a week of travel and celebration for our family. We traveled to Utah to spend time with the family this week for Thanksgiving and had a great trip. We left last Friday morning and drove Friday and Saturday to get to Utah. We spent the week dividing our time between our families and having a grand ol’ time! Here are some photos from our trip.

Grandma and Grandpa Arnesen drove with us from Texas to Utah. They were great with the kids.
Grandma and Grandpa Arnesen drove with us from Texas to Utah. They were great with the kids.
James figured out how to work his car seat shade.
James figured out how to work his car seat shade.
We let the kids get out and "play" in the snow during a brief stop in Monticello
We let the kids get out and “play” in the snow during a brief stop in Monticello
Eliza loved playing the piano with Grandma Huggard
Eliza loved playing the piano with Grandma Huggard
Aunt Beka helped Eliza put together an old alphabet puzzle.
Aunt Beka helped Eliza put together an old alphabet puzzle.
At the annual pie making party Uncle Spencer helped Eliza make a pecan pie.
At the annual pie making party Uncle Spencer helped Eliza make a pecan pie.
James got a lemon somehow during the pie making party and he loved sucking on it. When we tried to take it, he had a fit.
James got a lemon somehow during the pie making party and he loved sucking on it. When we tried to take it, he had a fit.
Eliza is a beautiful princess.
Eliza is a beautiful princess.
James and Eliza at our family photo shoot.
James and Eliza at our family photo shoot.
Grandma and Grandpa Thomas came to eat an early Thanksgiving dinner with the Arnesen family on Wednesday. Grandpa Thomas is so good with the little kids.
Grandma and Grandpa Thomas came to eat an early Thanksgiving dinner with the Arnesen family on Wednesday. Grandpa Thomas is so good with the little kids.
All the Huggard granddaughters got these cute hats to wear during  Thanksgiving Dinner.
All the Huggard granddaughters got these cute hats to wear during Thanksgiving Dinner.
James loved all the food! He also loved the table cloth.
James loved all the food! He also loved the table cloth.
The kids were great in the car both to and from Utah. Eliza read books and entertained herself.
The kids were great in the car both to and from Utah. Eliza read books and entertained herself.
We had some bad weather on our way back to Texas. We had icy roads into and out of Santa Rosa, New Mexico. We decided to go the long way around through Fort Stockton instead of trying to go through Lubbock in an ice storm.
We had some bad weather on our way back to Texas. We had icy roads into and out of Santa Rosa, New Mexico. We decided to go the long way around through Fort Stockton instead of trying to go through Lubbock in an ice storm.

Independence Day Long Weekend

Well we had a great week this week. I got to take Thursday and Friday off of work for the holiday and it was fun to have a few days to just spend time with the family. With all the craziness we’ve had lately this was a welcome change of pace for us.
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were pretty normal days. On Wednesday evening I took the scouts to  help a family in the ward load up their moving truck. The boys were pretty helpful and I was happy that we could do some service. I’m really impressed with the quality of the young men that I work with. They are really trying to be good and to do what is expected of them.
We had an initiation of sorts this week when Eliza redecorated the wall with her black crayon.
We had an initiation of sorts this week when Eliza redecorated the wall with her black crayon.
We made Eliza clean up the wall.
We made Eliza clean up the wall.
Thursday we had a fun family day. We went to the Thinkery in Austin. The Thinkery is a children’s museum with all kinds of fun things to do. They had a big “farmer’s market” where the kids could shop for fresh plastic fruits and vegetables and then pretend to cook things for the adults that wanted to order lunch. Eliza picked out a bunch of things from the crates and put them in her basket and then she started to pick up all the spare foods she could find on the floor and add them to her basket. She seemed to be trying to keep up with the mess that all the other kids were making. She also had a little personal quest to find all of the plastic strawberries. I think she may have had all of them at one point.
Eliza collecting the strawberries
Eliza collecting the strawberries
Eliza also enjoyed the tumbling room that they had. There were soft blocks that the kids could stack up and climb on She had everything just the way she wanted it and kept having to put it back as other kids moved things around. It was cute to watch her. In this room they also had an instructor come and do a parachute with the kids. Eliza loved shaking the parachute with the other kids, jumping, and walking in a circle. She was by far the youngest kid there but caught right on. She also enjoyed bouncing on the little inflatable animals that they had.
Eliza joined right in playing with the parachute
Eliza joined right in playing with the parachute
She was very pleased with herself.
She was very pleased with herself.
James wasn’t left out of the experience either. They had a room especially for crawlers with things setup close to the floor so the crawlers and toddlers could see them. They even had things built into the floor so that the kids could look down into them. James enjoyed scooting around looking at things.
Mommy and James selfie
Mommy and James selfie
James liked the things in the floor
James liked the things in the floor
James was so tall!
James was so tall!
Eliza was taller and she knew it.
Eliza was taller and she knew it.
James waxing philosophical about the mirrors.
James waxing philosophical about the mirrors.
Eliza felt like she was going to fall and we had to coax her through the mirrors.
Eliza felt like she was going to fall and we had to coax her through the mirrors.
James smiling at mommy through the mirror.
James smiling at mommy through the mirror.
They had a water room that we thought Eliza was going to love and she did. They had smocks and croc shoes to wear so the kids “didn’t get wet.” They didn’t always work but it was a nice thought. Eliza loved splashing in the water and throwing a little floating ball around.
Eliza splashing in the water.
Eliza splashing in the water.
After this room and lunch we went to a colors room where they had a huge ‘light bright” built into the wall. It was completely dark in this room except for the different color activities that were lit up. Eliza loved this probably the most of anything. The board had transparent pegs made out of different colors of resin and when you put them in the board light would shine through. She would name all the colors as she put them into the holes and had a grand time playing with this. She also wanted to clean it up and put all the pegs back where they belonged.
Eliza loved the color wall
Eliza loved the color wall
She made this long line of red and orange and was very meticulous about it.
She made this long line of red and orange and was very meticulous about it.
This wall changed colors when you touched the circles.
This wall changed colors when you touched the circles.
After this room she had a meltdown, and it was time to go home!
On Friday we did all of our normal Saturday things: shopping, house cleaning, lounging, laundry, etc. We wanted to make sure we didn’t have to try to do anything like that on the 4th.
James's first time in the seat of the cart.
James’s first time in the seat of the cart.
We divided and conquered and every time we ran into mommy Eliza was so excited to see James.
We divided and conquered and every time we ran into mommy Eliza was so excited to see James.
On Saturday we got up early and went to our ward’s breakfast. My scouts did a good job on the flag ceremony and the food was good. We had pancakes and breakfast tacos. You know you’re in Texas when you have tacos for the 4th of July! It was fun to see the ward.
After the breakfast we came home and Sarah crashed for a few hours napping. I got to play with the kids and we just played dress-up and duplos. We also did ring around the rosie several times. I let Eliza and James direct what we did and we just played. I had a lot of fun.
James being  a cutie while we play.
James being a cutie while we play.
Eliza pretended that these rings were her shoes. She wore them for several hours.
Eliza pretended that these rings were her shoes. She wore them for several hours.
She is definitely a 2-year-old girl. She's getting comfortable on the time out stool these days.
She is definitely a 2-year-old girl. She’s getting comfortable on the time out stool these days.
In the evening of the 4th we went out to some farm property that one of our ward members has out to the east of where we live. They had invited basically anyone in the ward that wanted to come and there was a big turnout. We cooked pizza in our dutch oven and made some peach cobbler. We also brought along our traditional homemade ice cream (vanilla with chocolate fudge and brownies) to share with people along with the cobbler. Sarah made the cobbler, and it turned out amazing! We got a lot of compliments on it.
Eliza and mommy making pizza.
Eliza and mommy making pizza to cook in the Dutch oven.
The family that invited us out also had a lot of fireworks to shoot off, and we enjoyed the show. Eliza loved the fireworks and would scream in delight at each one. She loved dancing to the music too. James also liked the fireworks and would just stare at them mesmerized. He lasted until almost the very end and then realized he was tired. Eliza wanted to dance with him at the end and he just couldn’t take it anymore.
When we got home, Eliza reminded us that we needed to read scriptures and say prayers before we went to bed. It was already 10:00 and we were ready just to dump her in bed and crash ourselves, but it was sweet to have our little girl remind us that this was in fact the most important thing.
22 - James is 8 months

Happy 8-months James!
Happy 8-months James!

24 - Happy siblings 25 - Goofy siblings

 

Memorial Day and the Weather

I think we found a new tradition for Memorial Day. We were thinking last night that we were lame and didn’t have any plans for today and we decided on a whim to make a few dutch oven cobblers and invite some friends to come eat with us. 

We invited people to come at 2:00 but unfortunately our nice safe indoor activity was rudely interrupted by this weather…

 

Weather forecast on Memorial Day

It was that kind of day. We had tornado warnings in the area for most of the day and the rain was pouring. We had a few people show up for cobbler and then get stuck here when our yard started to look like this.

Our yard had at least a foot of water

We had a good time with our friends while they were stuck at our house. After they had left we turned on the news and saw that downtown Austin was under water. It was crazy. There was a water rescue in our neighborhood and our little green area was a full-on river. 
We were safe through the day but have been praying for the people that have worse flooding. Our lakes have risen over 20 feet and we’re hopeful that this rain will break the drought we’ve been in since moving here. 

After the storm the sunset was amazing. 

   
   
  

Birthdays and Easter Week

Our family at the easter egg hunt
Our family at the Easter egg hunt
Happy Easter! We are so grateful for this week that we are able to focus our time on remembering the life and sacrifice of our Savior Jesus Christ. We had a pretty simple celebration this week. We moved our scripture study to reading from the New Testament each night about the life of Christ. Eliza has enjoyed looking at the pictures of Christ’s last week. We’ve been putting a picture on the wall each day after we read and using that to help us talk about Christ during dinner.
Adam's birthday cake
Adam’s birthday cake
Adam's birthday -- the big 30!
Adam’s birthday — the big 30!
Sarah's birthday
Sarah’s birthday
As you probably know (I hope :)) Sarah and I both had our birthdays this week. It is fun to have them on the same week but makes it so we end up having way too much candy in the house. This was compounded this year by all of the candy that we got for Easter. Oh well, we’re going to eat poorly this week and then try to repent. Sarah made me delicious fajitas for my birthday and an awesome German chocolate cake from scratch. At the suggestion of Rebekah I finally agreed to let people come over and celebrate with us. We had two of our good friends from church come over and have cake with us. It is fun to have good friends.
Sarah’s birthday was on Friday and we had a bit of a celebration. Sarah wanted Olive Garden so we ordered it out and I picked it up on the way home. The night before her birthday she made a decadent chocolate peanut butter cheesecake. It was awesome! It had a brownie crust and reeses all throughout. We still have a ton in our fridge!
Friday night we also had our ward Easter egg hunt. Eliza had a great time gathering eggs and playing on the playground. She is fearless on the playground. There was a tall rock-wall like climbing thing and she really wanted to climb it. I spotted her once and then she was climbing that thing like a champ.
Eliza kept posing for photos
Eliza kept posing for photos
Eliza and her friend lydia
Eliza and her friend lydia
Eliza finding her eggs
Eliza finding her eggs
Eliza loves the slides
Eliza loves the slides
Eliza had no fear climbing this thing
Eliza had no fear climbing this thing
After the ward activity, the Larsens took our kids and let Sarah and I go on a date. It has been a long time since we went on a real date without the kids. We went to see Cinderella and had a great time together.
James love to be upside down
James love to be upside down
James laughing
James laughing
Saturday we watched the morning session of conference and then decided to go look at a van that we had our eye on for a few days. I didn’t expect us to actually end up buying it but we liked it and it was a good price and in good condition so we went ahead and became the proud owners of a Toyota Sienna. Yep, we’re a minivan family now. . . I’m adjusting alright.
Our new van
Our new van
James being serious
James being serious
James is 5 months old!
James is 5 months old!
Today we watched conference all day. The Larsens came over and watched with us in the morning and the kids slept for most of the afternoon session. We loved conference and it was great to hear from the prophet and apostles. It is always rejuvenating to hear them speak and to hear their testimonies.
Eliza loves headbands these days
Eliza loves headbands these days