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.

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.

Peaches, Swimming and Missionary Lessons

This week there was a good sale on peaches at our HEB (that’s the local grocery stores for all you non-Texans). Sarah decided that we should bottle some and make some other peach products so last Saturday I bought a bunch of peaches when I went shopping. The lady at the checkout was surprised that I was getting so many and asked if we were making cobbler! On Monday, Sarah spent some of the day working on bottling those peaches. She made one batch (7 jars) and they turned out much better than the ones we tried last year. She also made some delicious peach jam from them this week. She made some peach syrup also that we’ve been eating on pancakes this week…yumm!

Our peach haul
Our peach haul

On Wednesday we finally got around to delivering the flyers for the block party that we’re having this coming Saturday. We went up and down our street and knocked on every door. We found a few people home and got to talk to one family for quite a while. They were super nice and we’re hoping to make better friends of them. They have kids close to our kids’ ages.

"Train" with daddy after work
“Train” with daddy after work
Spending some time with the kids
Spending some time with the kids

On Thursday night I told Eliza that we could go swimming on Friday. She remembered all day long on Friday and was carrying her swim suit around most of the afternoon waiting for me to get home so we could go swimming. She really wanted to go. We had to talk her into eating dinner first. We used a few distraction tactics (like setting the table) and got her to eat before we went swimming. We took the kids down swimming at 6:30 after dinner and swam for 40 minutes or so. Eliza was more interested in the little splash pool than the big pool this time. She jumped into it and “swam” around by herself. She is getting more and more brave. When we did get her into the big pool (which was much warmer by the way) she even let me let go of her a few times in the deeper water and she kicked her legs to stay up. She’s learning fast. James, of course, loved to splash and get water everywhere. He got some water in his nose about halfway through our time and was done after that.

Having a picnic lunch
Having a picnic lunch

Eliza found my old recorder from 6th grade in our music cabinet this week. She’s been walking around “playing” it a bunch. Mostly it just sounds like a whistle but she loves to show us and to have Sarah play with her. She is also starting to do somersaults on the floor. They’re not very graceful and are more like flops but she loves doing it.

Eliza found the recorder
Eliza found the recorder
James plugging himself into the stereo
James plugging himself into the stereo

James has been on a teething spree this week. He has three teeth coming in on top. All things considered, he’s been a trooper about the whole experience. He’s had a few rough nights of getting to bed but mostly has been good. He hasn’t needed a bath all week because he’s constantly covered in slobber. We just mix in a bit of soap and wipe him down! (I jest of course. We bathed him twice this week just like normal!)

James exploring
James exploring

Some of you read my blog post about my first reaction to the announcement by the BSA that they are going to allow openly homosexual people to be scout leaders. Apparently a lot of people from our ward also read it and I got several comments on it at our young men/young women’s combined activity on Tuesday. I was happy that others shared my sentiments and also that they were willing to read my writing. I am proud to lead with other adults who are willing to follow the prophet and are looking out for the best interest of our young men.

Eliza loves sliding on the slide
Eliza loves sliding on the slide

On Saturday Sarah had her early morning missionary coordination meeting that she has every other week. After the meeting she got to go with the sister missionaries to a lesson. It’s fun for her to be able to go to these lessons and to contribute. The sister that they visited sounds really nice and has a super cute little 5-year-old boy that keeps life interesting.

Eliza the artist hard at work.
Eliza the artist hard at work.
Eliza doing somersaults
Eliza doing somersaults

Having fun around home

Well this has been a much calmer week than the last few. We mostly stayed around the house and didn’t get out and about too much. We have all been a bit tired and so the few things we did this week were kind of a big deal!

Eliza calls these little scriptures her "scripture power" scriptures.
Eliza calls these little scriptures her “scripture power” scriptures.

Monday we had our normal family home evening. We try to set quarterly goals and that is what we worked on this Monday. We are pretty good about making goals every 3 months. We’re less good about actually following through with our goals. One of our goals this time was to try to get to bed earlier. I think we did pretty well this week but we were still tired for some reason. Maybe the kids had something to do with it.

Eliza helping cook something
Eliza helping cook something
Eliza will get really excited about playing Candy Land and then lose interest after 10 minutes or so. Oh to be 2!
Eliza will get really excited about playing Candy Land and then lose interest after 10 minutes or so. Oh to be 2!

We had the missionaries over for dinner on Wednesday. We have sisters in our ward now and they are doing better than elders have in a long time. Sarah said that they actually had a full sheet of investigators at their coordination meeting on Saturday which is something that the Elders never had. I hope that we can find a way to help.

Eliza likes to help James with his water
Eliza likes to help James with his water
Eliza got to eat on the couch after she crashed early before eating dinner after we went swimming.
Eliza got to eat on the couch after she crashed early before eating dinner after we went swimming.

We went to the temple on Friday night and left the kids with the Larsens. Eliza was excited to go and play but it turns out that James is totally a mama’s boy, and he had a hard time once he realized that we were gone. The temple was good and it was good for Sarah and me to get away and have some time to talk and be alone.

James it totally a Mama's boy
James it totally a Mama’s boy
Hanging out in the mother's room at church
Hanging out in the mother’s room at church

Saturday we just did our normal Saturday things. We did a bit of cleaning and fertilized the lawn. In the afternoon we took the kids swimming. Eliza has gotten a million times more brave than she was the first time we took her this summer. She loves to jump in and is even putting her face in the water and likes to jump in with the water over her head. We missed swimming lessons for her this summer but we definitely need to get her into them next year. She loves the water. James had a good time too. He basically just wanted to be held and splash. Eliza wanted him to jump in with her a few times and that was super cute.

Eliza often sleeps with her "Pookie Books"
Eliza often sleeps with her “Pookie Books”

We had the letter from the first presidency about the supreme court decision read in our meetings this week. I think it went pretty good and no one seemed to react badly to it. I pray that we can learn to live with this in a Christlike way and that we can keep our religious freedom. I know a gay couple at work and I work with both of them really closely and it was a hard experience this week to get a letter from them saying that they had gotten “married.” I respect both of them professionally and I would even call one of them my friend. I really want my relationship with these people to be good and Christlike but also I want people that I work with to know what my standards are. I am still doing soul searching on this and trying very hard to act with kindness to them and to be careful in what I post online or in social media about this because I don’t want to be misunderstood.

I feel that in order to truly understand why I am against “gay marriage” you really have to understand the entirety of the restored gospel. I think it is probably very difficult, if not impossible, to get to this point is a simple blog post or in a simple statement online. I hope that we, as a family, can learn how we are to appropriately react in these situations.

Butterfly stroke across the floor

I guess this week was pretty uneventful. I’m sitting here trying to remember what happened and I can’t think of anything. So, either it was so crazy that I lost my mind or nothing happened.
Oh yes. On Friday night Sarah and I went to the temple. We haven’t been to a session in San Antonio for a long time and it was good to go back. Our friends watched both Eliza and James so that we could go. Eliza is awesome when she gets babysat these days. She just wants her food and then she’s good to go. James, on the other hand, is a screamer. Our friends would never tell us exactly what happened but we got the impression that he gave them a run for their money. He really needs to figure out the whole bottle thing.
Eliza loved this nightgown that she borrowed from our friends while we were at the temple.
Eliza loved this nightgown that she borrowed from our friends while we were at the temple.
I spent most of the week getting ready for scout camp. This is always stressful as I try to track down rogue medical forms and make sure boys have last minute changes to their schedules all set up. I think I got the last of the forms tracked down at church today so we should be all ready to go bright and early in the morning.
He's a mover
He’s a mover
Dancin on the table
Dancin on the table
Playing "ring around the rosey." Eliza like the "all fall down" part. James didn't like that part so much.
Playing “ring around the rosey.” Eliza like the “all fall down” part. James didn’t like that part so much.
James has been moving around a lot this week. He likes to eat books, toys, paper,  dust, cords, and anything else that is on the floor within his reach. Sometimes he’ll see something across the room and start scratching his voice and growling as he does the butterfly stroke across the floor to get it. It is kind of hilarious to watch. He cruises when he wants to and always makes sure to make enough noise that we know he’s on the move. He likes to yell especially loud when he gets onto the tile and starts slipping around. He has started to sing more with music when we sing and when he hears it. He can sit up, when we force him, but he doesn’t like it. He likes to be stiff and to have his legs and body straight. When you do force him to sit, he straightens up before you can let go and pops back up.
James puts up with a lot
James puts up with a lot
On Saturday Eliza really wanted to go swimming. We had a million things going on and so we kept putting her off. She took a late nap and when she got up she was reminding us again that she wanted to go. I took her to the pool really quick while Sarah got dinner. She was much more brave than she was last week and wanted to jump off the wall into the shallow end. Then when we got to jumping in the deeper end she’d try to lower herself backward into the pool. I’m proud of her for making progress in not being afraid. We’re trying to work on kicking and “swimming like a fish.”
Eliza playing her "Goodnight Moon" matching game.
Eliza playing her “Goodnight Moon” matching game.
A few weeks ago Sarah introduced Eliza to the song “Soulful Strut” (it’s the song on The Parent Trap when they have their fun handshake) and now she always wants to listen to it. She tries to say “soulful strut” but it doesn’t quite come out right and is super cute.
Wake up Eliza
Wake up Eliza
Eliza tried to climb up on the book shelf this week and slipped off and skinned the under-side of her toes pretty good. It bled quite a bit and she was scared and sad. Sarah did a good job doctoring her up. She tells us about it several times a day now about how she “bonked her toes” on the shelf and that “it was sad.”
Eliza's "bonked" toes
Eliza’s “bonked” toes
Her nursery teacher is moving out of state this week and so Sarah had her make a cute card and we took it over one evening. Eliza was sweet getting a picture with her and her teacher gave her a stuffed piglet to go with the rest of her Winnie the Pooh collection. She’s been carrying that around ever since.
Eliza and her great nursery teacher Sister Fuller
Eliza and her great nursery teacher Sister Fuller

James starts moving

The big story of the week is that James has started almost crawling. He does a pretty awesome army crawl/belly flop and is tickled pink with himself for being able to move around so much. It’s a good thing that Eliza has as many toys as she does because he’s always into them. She’s spent most of the week trying to take her things away from James. We’re working on the sharing thing. This is the second week in a row that they’ve also talked about sharing in Nursery so hopefully she’ll start getting it sometime before she turns 16. James doesn’t much care what he has just that he can get to what is in front of him. He especially likes to try to eat the DVD player. Once this week he somehow figured out how to turn it on, open the tray, and stick the tray in his mouth. I suspect this is a sign of things to come.
14 - James found the chair cave
James likes the chair space.
11 - You don't see me with Eliza's snuggle
“I sure hope Eliza doesn’t see me with this stuff.”
02 - James just bein
Mama’s boy.
03 - James discovered the door
Discovering the back door and window.
04 - Happy seven months James
Happy seven months James!
05 - James I love being seven months
He has the best smiles.
12 - James looking dapper
Hanging out at church in the mother’s room.
We got our first real harvest of beans and tomatoes from our garden this week. We were pretty happy with our bean harvest and spent Monday night snapping them and freezing them. We’re hopeful that we’ll get several more bags before the plants die. Who knows, after they do die we may even be able to plant another crop.+
00 - our  bean harvest
I traveled again this week. This time to Blacksburg, Virginia to attend the midyear CHREC conference. I went by myself this year because my colleague who usually comes with me got sick at the last minute. He was originally planning on picking me up at an out of the way airport and driving to the conference but because he got sick I ended up just driving myself from Lynchburg to Blacksburg (about 2 hours). It was a beautiful drive though and I got to see the gorgeous countryside of Virginia.
06 - The Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia
Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia
07 - Dancing before swimming
They were both excited to go swimming!
08 - Sarah and James swimming
James swam like a champ. He floated and kicked and everything.
09 - Eliza jumping to daddy
Eliza took a while to get warmed up and was scared and crying for about 10 minutes and then she decided she would try to “swim like Nemo.” After that she got a lot better and by the end wanted to jump over and over.
10 - Eliza got more and more brave
My sweet girl.
Sarah has been holding down the fort while I was away and while I’ve been busy at work. She is a champ and I love her.
01 - Eliza waving to daddy in the morning
Eliza always waves to Daddy from this window in the morning. It’s the best to see her!
13 - Teaching Eliza to play the Violin
We got my violin out this Sunday and Eliza wanted to hold it.