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!

Last travel before Christmas

After getting back from our Thanksgiving travel last week, this week I was off again traveling for work. I went to Florida to attend the annual CHREC conference that I’ve been going to for years. At work I’m responsible for managing the research relationship that we have with the lab at BYU that I worked in when I was in graduate school. I have calls with them fairly regularly and I attend meetings in June and in December to see them report on their work and to give some formal direction to what they research in the coming year. This December conference was held at Kennedy Space Center. I was the only person from NI that attended. I had a great time. The conference was actually at the center and we had to get badges and everything to get on site. The room we had the meeting in wasn’t much to look at but it was cool to be there. We had our conference dinner at the Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit. I was like a little kid in a candy shop there! I spent more time looking around and taking pictures than eating. We had the whole facility to ourselves and I figured that I could eat any time but having the whole place basically to myself probably would never happen again. Being there reignited my childhood excitement for space exploration! I had a great trip.

Space Shuttle Atlantis. What an inspiring site. Visiting here recommitted me to my goal of becoming an astronaut. I was getting chills the whole time I walked around this magnificent machine.
Space Shuttle Atlantis. What an inspiring site. Visiting here recommitted me to my goal of becoming an astronaut. I was getting chills the whole time I walked around this magnificent machine.
Sitting in the space shuttle cockpit mockup at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor complex. We had dinner here as part of the CHREC conference and we had the whole place to ourselves! It was awesome!
Sitting in the space shuttle cockpit mockup at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor complex. We had dinner here as part of the CHREC conference and we had the whole place to ourselves! It was awesome!

While I was gone, Sarah had some adventurous nights with the kids. In fact it kind of started the night before I left for my trip. Eliza started waking up in the middle of the night crying and would end up sleeping in our bed. This happened a few times but she got back out of it and is sleeping in her bed again now.

James and Eliza laughing together
James and Eliza laughing together
We catch James a lot looking at the tree.
We catch James a lot looking at the tree.

Eliza had a few good prayer experiences this week. She lost her special bracelet on Thursday. Sarah helped her pray to find it and she was able to find it. She told me about it when I got home and clearly remembered what had happened. She also got to pray that I made my flight connections (which were kind of tight) and also that Benjamin would be safe during his school lockdown this week. She says the best, most simple little prayers. I love listening to her pray.

Eliza made this arch all by herself
Eliza made this arch all by herself

Sarah waded through mountains of laundry this week. We had a lot to do from our trip to Utah and it seemed like there was a never-ending stream this week.

After getting back very late on Thursday evening (actually Friday morning at 2:00 am) due to some crazy something that the airlines pulled, it was finally good to be home. We’ve had a pretty good time at home these few days too. Friday I just slept in and got to help the kids get up and dressed and ready for the day. I put in a few hours at work and called it good. We had a pretty normal day that day. Eliza and James went to music class with Sis. Fife and Sarah ran some errands.

Us with the missionaries at the ward Christmas breakfast.
Us with the missionaries at the ward Christmas breakfast.
James was less than thrilled about Santa
James was less than thrilled about Santa
Eliza was apprehensive but I think she still liked it.
Eliza was apprehensive but I think she still liked it.

Saturday we had a kind of crazy day again. After many changes, we had finally settled on going to the temple on Saturday. We also had a ward Christmas breakfast in the morning that day. We got up and ready to go pretty well and made it to the breakfast only a few minutes late. Sarah and I were helping with a silly skit of the 12 days of Christmas so we had to send Eliza and James off to sit with a family in the ward while we sang our song. Eliza had been really excited about sitting on Santa’s lap so after we finished eating we went and stood in line. She was excited about it all the way until we were next in line and we were starting to walk up to Santa and then she kind of froze up. She did end up sitting on his lap but didn’t say much and we just basically got a picture. She was cute about the whole thing though. After the breakfast, Sarah and I went straight to the temple and Eliza and James went with home with the Larsens. They stayed at their house until that evening when we got back from the temple. It was great to be able to attend again in San Antonio. We got to go to the temple while we were in Utah last month but it was good to go to our temple.

We put out our shoes for St Niklaus on Saturday night.
We put out our shoes for St Niklaus on Saturday night.
On Sunday morning St Nikluas had filled our shoes with goodies.
On Sunday morning St Nikluas had filled our shoes with goodies.

We’re excited for the Christmas season to truly be upon us now. We watched the First Presidency devotional tonight with the kids and it just brought the spirit so strongly into our home. Eliza and James helped us put up the ornaments on our Christ tree this week (well some of them at least) and Eliza has been so cute and excited about moving Mary and Joseph on our advent calendar. We hope that we can remember Christ this month and keep him as our focus.

Grandma Huggard made this dirndl for Sarah years ago. Now Eliza can wear it.
Grandma Huggard made this dirndl for Sarah years ago. Now Eliza can wear it.
James always looks sharp for church.
James always looks sharp for church.

Easter Choir Week

Our big event this week was our stake Easter choir presentation. I sang in the choir which has been rehearsing for the last 6 weeks or so. We have a fairly talented group of singers in our stake and they are fun to sing with.We had a rehearsal for our performance on Tuesday evening and were supposed to have a rehearsal on Wednesday also but it was called off. Thursday and Friday evenings were the performances. The first night was pretty good but Friday was great. Sarah and the kids came and watched the performance. The kids were good as gold and I was proud of them. We sang well and the spirit was beautiful. I love sharing my testimony through music and this was such a fun opportunity for me.
James and Mommy
James and Mommy

Eliza pretending to sleep on the stairs

Wednesday night, because my rehearsal was canceled, we decided to go look at a car at CarMax. We saw a car online that we thought we liked but it was overpriced by about $4000. I was hoping that if we liked the car that I could talk the guy down. We were looking at a Honda Pilot and actually got to test drive it this time which was nice.There were two problems. First, it smelled like urine (sorry there’s no nice way to say it). Second, the guy wouldn’t even talk about price. I know that CarMax has a “no haggle” policy but I was hoping that it wasn’t real and that it was just there to catch gullible buyers. I went through all the comparable cars and online price listings and then made him an offer. He wouldn’t even talk about it. He just kept saying they have a “no haggle” price policy and that was that. We obviously didn’t get that car!
Getting ready for scriptures
Getting ready for scriptures
Eliza was tempted by the play place at CarMax
Eliza was tempted by the play place at CarMax
Saturday I went with the youth to the temple. We met at the church at 7:00 in the morning and drove down to San Antonio. It was a really good trip. We had lots of youth with their own family names and I was proud of them for all the hard work they had done to find them. We did around 400  names and it felt good to work in the temple. I got to baptize for a while and that was a treat.
Eliza put all the animals on by herself
Eliza put all the animals on by herself
Eliza in self-imposed time out
Eliza in self-imposed time out
Saturday evening Sarah went to the General Women’s Meeting with her friend Katie Larsen. I talked her into letting me keep James and Eliza so she could just go and focus on the meeting. I kept the kids and we had a good time. I mowed the lawn while Eliza watched and James was napping and then James woke up and cried so I bathed Eliza and got her to bed and then James and I had some quality bouncing time while I tried to get him to go back to sleep. I love these kids. They are both so good and I’m so privileged to be their father.
James looking dapper
James looking dapper
The San Antonio Temple
The San Antonio Temple
We’re looking forward to conference this weekend and are trying to get Eliza excited about watching the prophet. She loves to look at our picture of the first presidency and point them out.
I surrender to sleep
I surrender to sleep