Wednesday, April 30, 2014

oh pool, how I've missed you!

The pool has been ready and waiting for my family to jump into it for a few weeks now, but the weather has been too hot for me to sit and watch my kids swim, and the water too cold for me to get in and swim, so we didn't go at all, even though the kids begged and pleaded and cried.

But this morning I swam with a friend while the kids were in school, because it's pretty much too humid to enjoy our long morning walks now. So we've gone back to long morning swims. Which I'd forgotten how much I love! I love, love, love private morning swims even more than I love fresh salsa and frozen mangoes.
 Except I don't love Giant Water Bugs. (check out this link, and this link to see how creepy they are)
We had to scoop them out of the pool before we could swim.
But we swam. For two peaceful hours. With no crazy kids around with all the splashing and jumping and screaming. And I remembered again how my dream for my next house is to have a private pool I can swim in every day. Chris says No Way Jose, but I'll find a way. I've got a dream.

And pool, it was nice to see you again!

Friday, April 25, 2014

so much to celebrate!

A few days ago, Chris had a birthday (and yes, I robbed the cradle...he's not 40 yet, contrary to popular belief). We went to the best bbq place ever. I'm not much of a meat eater, but I dream about this pulled pork at night, now. And I didn't get a picture of it, but Chris requested a chocolate cream pie instead of a birthday cake, and it was delicious (and not homemade).

We also celebrated Easter with some wonderful friends from church. You know how some people feel like family, sometimes even more than family feels like family? I swear these guys are my cousins -- they just feel like they belong to me somehow. Chris got a candle in his ice cream during dessert, so he got to celebrate twice.

His birthday wish must have come true, because we also got to celebrate the fact that he defended his dissertation the other day, and he passed! We celebrated by getting colds and going to bed early. Hooray!

But despite the sinus headaches and coughs, it's been a great week with lots of good things to smile about.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

family is everything

While my parents and sister's family were still in town for Josh's baptism, we got to hang out and have some fun. The kids got free rides at the hotel, which for some reason didn't seem to be included in any of the other guests reservations. Nobody else got free rides but us!
Everyone wanted to swim in the hotel pool, and the chilly water didn't seem to deter any of the kids too much. But it did deter me.
 The only way to get to and from the pool was either through the restaurant, the bar, or the exercise room and then the bar. Strange set up when you have we kids wandering around people who are trying to eat.
We also got free rides in the elevator. It's more exciting than it looks when 13 people pile into a small space.
 Then we walked over to the art museum to look at the Japanese garden, but the museum was closed. So we headed over to the natural history museum, but they were closing in about 15 minutes, so we looked at the exhibits super fast as we ran through the building.
After that, we decided to hang out at a playground and get some pizzas. The kids wore themselves out for a few hours before bed time, and made some good memories with the cousins. Like my little grandma always said, "family is everything!" (you can see it written on Ethan's shirt in the museum picture)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Our family's final baptism

The baby of our family was baptized last weekend, and it was wonderful to have family and friends join us for Josh's big day.
 It's pretty amazing, the spirit I feel when someone gets confirmed and receives the gift of the Holy Ghost. For me, the room is suddenly filled with even more warmth and love than was there before.
Several friends came, and it was fun to share our religion and traditions with them. I'm glad we have friends who are willing to share their beliefs with us, and are open to learning more about our beliefs, too! It makes the world a richer place, and we usually find we all have more in common than not.
After the baptism, we headed to Chuy's to celebrate with some Mexican food. Some of the kids worried that the hubcaps would fall off the ceiling and hurt their heads. But it was a pretty cool sight!
Ashley gave one of the talks at the baptism. She pretty much wrote it by herself (one of her many hobbies/talents is writing talks -- she did not get that from me!). I'm including her talk here so she can remember it forever when she reads our blog book:

My talk today is on baptism. Baptism is a huge step into being responsible for our choices. Many people I know of were baptized. Adam is one of them. Adam was baptized after the fall. It says in Moses 6:64-66:
64 And it came to pass, when the Lord had spoken with Adam, our father, that Adam cried unto the Lord, and was carried down into the water, and was laid under the water, and was brought forth out of the water.
65 And thus he was baptized, and the Spirit of God descended upon him, and thus he was born of the spirit, and became quickened in the inner man.
66 And he heard a voice out of Heaven saying: Thou art baptized with fire, and with the Holy Ghost. This is the record of the Father, and the son from henceforth and forever.

Adam was the first man on Earth to get baptized. He was baptized by the Spirit since no one else at the time on Earth had the authority to baptize him.
Jesus was also baptized, even though he was perfect and did no sin. In Matthew 3:13-17 it reads:
13 Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.
14 But John forbade him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?
15 And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.
 16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:
17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

Jesus has made a way for us to repent for our sins by taking the sacrament on Sunday at church each week. We can also pray to God to be forgiven each day. When we are baptized, we make promises to Heavenly Father. Today, Josh will make these covenants:
1.       Believe in Jesus and Heavenly Father. Water the seed of faith in your heart each day so your faith will be strong. You can do things such as pray and read the scriptures to help grow your faith seed. Going to church on Sunday and seeing the temple every once in a while helps, too.
2.       Pray to Heavenly Father. He will answer prayers. He may not answer in the way you want Him to, but He does answer. And He does listen. You can pray anywhere at any time. You don’t have to be on your knees to pray. You can say a silent prayer in your mind or heart. The more we speak to God, the more he will help us through our challenges.
3.       Be forgiving and love others. As Jesus said in Matthew 22:36-40: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor like unto thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”  Jesus loved and forgave everyone. We want to be like Jesus.
4.       Choose the right every day. Listen to the still small voice before you make a choice. The Spirit will tell whether it is a right choice or wrong choice. If you have an icky feeling inside of you, you will know if it is a good choice or not. If you make a mistake during the day, repent and try again. Don’t forget to forgive yourself, too!
5.       Read the scriptures. God wants us to read His words because they help us know His will, and following God’s will is always the best thing to do. The scriptures have things that God revealed to His children through prophets. I love reading the stories in the scriptures. They bring me closer to my savior and will bring you closer to Him, too.
In return, Heavenly Father promises that we will always have his Spirit to be with us. As some of us know, this is said in the end of the sacrament prayer each Sunday.

I still remember the feeling I had at my own baptism very clearly. After my dad said the prayer, the spirit washed over me like a blanket. It felt so good. Baptism is a great choice. I am so very happy that Josh is making this choice.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Josh had a birthday, shout hooray!

Josh has been really into learning about super heroes lately -- where they came from, what their powers are, and who they fight. Uncle Brett cut out a bunch of masks off the Cheerio's boxes and sent them to Josh, who immediately became green lantern.

One reason we can't wait to get back out west is that we miss those big cousin birthday parties. Josh has never really had one, but that doesn't stop him from planning everything out. The night before his birthday, he kept reminding me to hang the happy birthday sign on the wall. And also that he wanted Golden Grahams for breakfast, peanut butter sandwiches for lunch, and pancakes for dinner (just like last year).

Also, he decided that we would hold his party at the exact hour he was born -- 10:05 a.m.
Good thing it wasn't a school day...
 We decided to make a Super Josh cake with key-lime green frosting and a red "J" logo. He couldn't blow out the candles all at once, so I'm not sure if his wishes will come true.
One of his grandma's sent Josh a notebook of paper (Josh goes through a lot of paper and tape) with a scavenger hunt inside -- he had to flip through and find the money and stickers throughout the book.  

 He'd told his other grandma he wanted a Lego watch, and she discovered there are about a million different kinds of Lego watches. Since he was still talking about how funny Batman was in The Lego Movie, she decided to get him a Batman watch. He's in love. 
The best thing about turning 8 is that Josh will be baptized this upcoming weekend! He's been learning about baptism at church in his primary class, and at our Family Home Evenings, and has been so excited that it's finally his turn.

Monday, April 7, 2014

a little church cleaning and velcro wall jumping

 Each week, members are assigned to help clean the church building. Last Saturday was our family's day. My kids love when it's our turn to clean the church -- I think they enjoy washing windows and using the vacuum, but more than that, I think they just love doing service for something they love so much.
 After we cleaned the church, we went to buy a new computer screen (ours was pretty much nearly dead. We had to beat it up to get it to work right) and then headed to the village's annual Spring Fling.

The kids' favorite thing was the Velcro wall.

 This is as high as Josh could get on his own. The suit was too big and awkward for him to jump very high and, and once he was stuck, his arms weren't long enough to unstick himself. So Chris came and tossed him high up onto the wall.
We stayed for about an hour, then headed home to watch General Conference. Such amazing, uplifting talks and such an amazing, uplifting day :)

Sunday, April 6, 2014

an overload of beach pictures...

The kids had school off on Friday, and Chris had a rare break from professor-stuff, so we headed to the beach. It was a perfect day, and since it wasn't a holiday, the beach was only crowded with toddlers and grandparents. And this turtle, who climbed out of his hole to enjoy the lovely morning, too.
You can see all the shells on the sand -- it was also a perfect day to find unique shells. And a few scary things like these big fat jelly fish.
Chris was more than happy to sit on a chair and enjoy the waves and sun.
Until the top of his knees got sunburned.
A super-flattering selfie to remember that we were there together.
The water was still too cold to enjoy much, so we dug lots of holes, built sand castles, and created spectacular sand art.
Josh is such a homebody, he groaned when we said we were heading to the beach. He just wanted to stay home and do nothing. But after about an hour at the beach he said, "Hey, I'm actually having fun!"
Imagine that...having fun at the beach.

Since nobody wanted to swim, due to the coldness of the water, Chris dared the kids that if they would lay down in the water, he'd buy them an ice cream cone. So they all gave in to peer pressure.

Once they were wet, they decided to enjoy the water and started swimming and boogie boarding.

Chris helped dig the hole even deeper, and then everyone wanted to take a turn standing in it.
When it was time to go, we told Ethan he could fill in the holes so nobody would fall inside accidentally and get hurt. Josh came back from his water fight with Ashley and saw everything destroyed.
It was heartbreak hotel all the way home.