Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Day at Temple Square

On Tuesday, 12/29, we took the Trax train downtown to Temple Square.
[that's me putting my hat on James, Heidi, and Addie]

Heidi and Addie on the train.

James on the train.

Me and Rich on the train

Addie and her mp3 player.

We got to temple square at 2:30 pm and went exploring

Addie, James, and Heidi on the east side of the temple.
There is a cool nativity on the reflection pool!

Addie, James, and Heidi at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building.

[We had a 7pm dinner at the cafe behind them--I had Apple-Carrot-Curry soup and it was so good! And their $1 hot cocoas were great, too!]

Before watching the movie at teh JSMB, we took the kids up to the roof to see the temple.

"I love to see the temple..." James & Heidi

Heidi, Addie, Tarah and Brandon
James looking down on temple square.

Tarah, Brandon, Brittany looking down on the temple

James, Addie, Brittany, Brandon, Tarah, and Heidi
James was the only kid to notice that the Nutcrackers guarding The Roof were functional...

...and they could bite Addie!
Brittany, Tarah and Brandon with the Nutcracker.
[can you believe how grown up and gorgeous these kids are? The twins are going on 13 and little Tarah is 10! I lived with them for a month when Tarah was a tiny baby...isn't that CRAZY?]

Addie and James at "Ellis Island."
The Family History Center in the JSMB is SO MUCH FUN now!

Heidi at "Ellis Island."

Erin and me laughing at "Ellis Island."

Are we not just the cutest little old blind ladies you ever saw?
[We had the giggles bad, especially after somebody said, "Yay, you made it to Ellis Island! Now pick up your handcart and walk to Utah!"]
We took the kids to watch the Joseph Smith movie at 4:30 pm (and it was wonderful for them--everyone was mesmerized, except for Heidi, whom I had to take to the bathroom at about 40 minutes in and missed the ending, but I've seen it several times). Anyway, when we came out of the building at 5:40, all the lights were on! It was amazing!
Rich with James east of Temple Square
Casper girls with the Mexican Nativity
(including Nestor, the long -eared donkey)

Heidi and the Native American Nativity.

Heidi looking at the reflcting pool.

There were hundreds of beautiful luminarias around the church office building, including this cool one in Slovenian (reminded us of the Blatters' mission to Croatia).

Two happy families at Temple Square!
[we lost Heidi for about 20 minutes after this picture was taken...Rhett found her, but not after the entire force of Temple Square secret service agents were called on the case...thanks for the memories, Heidi!]
Brittany and Addie

The Plaza
(you can see the Brigham Young Statue there behind the red tree)

Rhett and Brandon
Eliza, Tarah and Addie near the south visitors' center.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Greetings from the Shadow of the Everlasting Hills

So we're in Utah now. We spent Sunday & Monday morning in Idaho, then drove down to SLC yesterday. Rich sold our Civic hybrid in Bozeman (I know, so sad), so he is shopping for a good 4WD (because he's tired of getting stuck in our Montana terrain---not ideal for a tiny hybrid, but it was fun while it lasted--I love that car). We test drove a Lexus equivalent of a Land Cruiser yesterday (Rich is testing another one today) and we liked it. So tomorrow we'll own one Land Cruiser or another (which you may remember was my dream car in HS---I was SUV when SUV wasn't cool).

After car shoppin' we went and visited Erin Casper at her in-laws' (you may remember that Erin was my post-mission Provo roommate/soul sister and we stayed with her in England last year--they are visiting family for a few weeks here, and that's why we came down). Then we drove a whole mile or two to MY mom's house and had dinner and family time. So far so good, but I only slept for about 4 hours last night because my back hurt, I had a caffeinated beverage at dinner, and I was riddled with anxiety and am off medication for it right now. I talked myself down and slept well between 4:30-8am. Now we are heading out to lunch with Rich's Aunt Jude, then up to spent the afternoon and evening on Temple Square with the Casper family. I am SO VERY EXCITED!

I didn't get a chance before Christmas to post pix of Addie's super fun Christmas program, "A Beary-Happy Holiday" in which she (and 37 other 2nd graders) played a Panda bear and sang fun songs. I got to help make the costumes, as I have been more and more involved at the school this year. I really like knowing what my kids are doing everyday and having some input into the curriculum, discipline, and atmosphere they experience. In fact, I just took over as PTO secretary (even though I have only been to 3 PTO meetings in 3 years). The major job of the secretary is to post minutes from meetings, rallying support for activities and fundraisers, and I am all about that kind of stuff. Anything I can do mostly from home, online, I'll do in a heartbeat. Besides, my mom mocked me and the PTO, and that's always a good sign that I am on the right track. I have other plans for the New Year, too, which I am excited about. Richard and I have done some talking and I have done a lot of praying about how to be a better and more whole person/wife/mom/friend and we have come up with some great ideas that I think will take our family "to the next level." I really love how the gospel, the great plan of happiness, is all about progression. It gets really exhausting sometimes, but I know that I am LEAST hapy when I "stop to rest" and most happy when I am striving. Often lately I have been singing in my hand this very joyful verse of "The Iron Rod": So Hand o'er hand the rod along/ thru each succeeding day/ with earnest prayer and hopeful song/we'll still pursue our way. I love the image of "hand over hand," just pulling our way up and up, becoming better. It says nothing about lollygagging along, nor taking a leisurely stroll along the rod (reminds me of Neal A Maxwell's "Hoping to ride to heaven on a golf cart" image), but 'hand over hand'--holding tight and moving. Striving. Onward and upward, y'all.

Hey, my ride is here! We're outta here. Have a great day and leave me a comment!

Friday, December 25, 2009

On Christmas Day in the Morning

Santa brought James this giant homemade Isle of Sodor!
Addie with her Easy Bake, Barbies, & other loot.

Heidi with her play-doh kitchen, art set, and other loot.
"Choo-choo!" (he's STILL playing with it!)
The girls checking out stocking stuffers (thanks, claire's)
Sweet Sisters
Still playing trains...
Gift cards from Florida! Thanks, Jelli!
Too bad it's blurry...Mama got AZ oranges from her Papa!

Addie's new coatWedding Day Barbie!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Night Before Christmas...

Heidi built this Nativity
Heidi threw reindeer food on the lawn...

...and the porch (they love oats-n-glitter!)
We usually eat an international dinner with the Melins on Christmas Eve, but this year we decided to bring it on home (cuisine-wise) and had grilled steaks, baked potatoes, and a huge salad, with cookies for dessert. (Sorry, no pictures of the feast, but it was grrrreat!) We shared our evening with Grandpa & Grandma Melin, Uncle Mike and Christina (and the Bates Family carolers and the Holm girls, too, for a minute--LOOOOVE you guys!)
Grandma dressed James up as Joseph for the Luke 2 story
Addie was a herald Angel
Uncle Mike was a shepherd (riding a horse, I guess)

Mike & Christina (a wise-woman)

Our sweet Nativity

Look at that tender little Joseph

Richard, Christina, and I were Three Kings, bearing gifts, which Mary was happy to receive
Heidi/Mary, ponders it all in her heart while rocking the baby Jesus.

The Angel comforts Baby Jesus

Heidi took this picture of me

Then the Elf came and told us to get ready for bed and left some jammies on the porch.

I played a few Christmas lullabies on my flute for my babies, then tucked them into bed.
Now it's time to go do some elfing and get to bed so Santa can do his bidness!
Merry Christmas to all & to all a Good Night!


Dear Loved Ones                                                                                                                            ...