Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Visit from the McCoy's

Brad and Tara and the boys came for a visit!
The weather was perfect - well kind of. Depends if you like monsoon rains for the first few days, followed by super humidity and 80 degrees in late September!

So we braved the elements and were soaked between museums and such.
Having our umbrellas didn't help all that much when we had 6 boys trying to hold them over our heads.
Let's just say, they need to get taller really quick!

We visited the Bureau of Engraving and Printing where they print money.
It was a really quick tour, only about 45 minutes, but I think that was the perfect time for kids. They loved seeing all the money come off the printer, get cut and banded together ready for the banks. I just wondered if the people who work there get strip searched daily before heading home? Not a job I would want, the searcher that is, making the money might be cool for a few days.
 How tall are you in $1 bills?

 We then hit up Gettysburg. Visiting the museum there and driving past the battlefields and cemeteries. It is such a beautiful place. One day I'm going to go back without kids and shop at the antique stores, secretly I wish I could wear the vintage clothing and have a girdle on with a huge hoop skirt, I'm pretty sure I could hide at least 20 pounds in one of those things!
 The kids especially loved the gift shop and enjoyed dressing up in hats and playing with the guns. Why do we even bother paying the museum entrance fee when we could go to the bookstore for free?

 We of course had to get our picture taken with our good friend Abe Lincoln, I don't think he ever saw this coming, what a group converging right on his lap!
 And this boy, man is he getting big. I remember going to the hospital to meet him, we brought pizza and he didn't even eat any. But now he is 11 and a pretty nice kid to boot, and he eats tons of pizza! Stop growing Braden!
 And this girl was spoiled rotten, again, by uncle Brad. I'm pretty sure her middle name should have been "Lip Balm" because it's all she wants all the time and her uncles are very happy to indulge her, constantly. That is not making my job very easy! She can't understand why mom always says no, but all the men in her life always say yes, except Gage. He is not swayed by the sweet smile and the puppy eyes and the crocodile tears.
We had a great time with you McCoy's. Let's do it again, only  there will be one more of you by then! Tara was a good sport and trooped all around the state in her pregnant state - now if only she'd find out if that were a little pink or blue peanut in that belly we would all be happy :) 

I'm in trouble ...

This little girl is such fun.
She is perplexing.
She is genuine.
She is emotionally diverse - a phrase borrowed from a friend!
She is sweet and can be sour.
But when I get the camera out this is what I get.
All smiles, sweetness and innocence.
 How will my mother, who rarely gets to see her, ever believe me when I say she is anything but what these pictures show?
No matter.
The girl is such a joy and a pleasure.
We love her to pieces.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Did You Know?

Did you know ....

That I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints? Most people refer to us as "Mormons", only that is a nickname given to us because we believe in the Book of Mormon.

Yes, I do believe in the Book of Mormon, which testifies of Jesus Christ. I also believe in the Bible, which prophesies of Christ, records his birth, his ministries, his life and teachings, his death and resurrection.

Yes, I believe in Jesus Christ, with all my heart and soul. I know He lives now, I know he lived and died for me, and you, and for every child of God that we may all live again.  I read daily from the scriptures, and renew my faith in Jesus Christ each time.

I believe in the same Jesus Christ that you do. I believe he was born of Mary, in a stable in Bethlehem. I know He is the Son of God. I know he taught and lived the gospel setting an example for us to live by. I know He loved all people, even those who refused to believe Him, those who mocked Him, those who persecuted and crucified Him. I know He loves all of God's children, no matter our station, our choices, our mistakes or failures. He loves us and I love Him.

Jesus Christ is my Savior and Redeemer. But not mine alone, He is the Savior of the world. He is not a respecter of persons. While in the Garden of Gethsemane He atoned for ALL sins, of ALL people, of ALL religions. He does not offer this gift to some or an elite few, it is a gift available to all people - all that have ever lived here on earth. He loves us all equally.

Yes, it hurts and is extremely frustrating when there are those who want to diminish my faith for whatever reason. Those who want to claim that they know what I do and do not believe in. Yes, our faith differs from many in specific doctrines, as all religions do. But I KNOW that I believe in Jesus Christ. He is my exemplar, my friend, my Savior, my Redeemer. I know He LOVES me, unconditionally, but with that, I also KNOW He loves you to, and every individual on earth. Even those who condemn, judge and persecute.

The gospel of Jesus Christ gives me hope. It can give us all hope.

I love my Savior,  Jesus Christ,  and I BELIEVE in Him.

If you have questions about what we believe in please do not hesitate to ask. I am happy to share what I believe. You can visit to have any questions answered, contact me directly or attend a local congregation at any time - all are welcome.

I know many of us differ in our beliefs and I believe my life is richer and more full because of my friends from many faiths who have shared their beliefs with me and who show each day how to live a Christ like life. Thank you for showing me how to be a better person and for adding to my faith in Jesus Christ because of your example and your way of living. Thank you.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Lone Girl - (she may be bipolar!)

This girl of mine ... I sure do love her. But most days I am left utterly confused as what to do with her. She spends her days alternating between laughing hysterically and crying uncontrollably. I don't know what or where the off/on switch is. One moment she is fine, then the next in a puddle of her own tears. Other times she will be crying, only to start laughing and talking the very next breath.
And the clothes, let's not even go there. How many times can a girl change in one day? And what 2 year old is so concerned that they match all the time, from hairbows to shoes. The girl has issues.
But we love her, even with all her "bipolar" tendencies.

My Boys

When Michelle was in town we spent a few minutes at the Jefferson Memorial. The boys are getting used to me telling them to pose for a picture. Gage leaned up against this column and called me to take his picture. Connor and Tate followed suit. I love these three boys, I can't imagine life without them - although, I think it would involve less laundry and more boredom.

A Secret Visitor

Look who came to visit us!!
Michelle surprised us, well most of us, with a visit that only lasted 30 hours. But we packed a lot into that 30 hours and loved our time together. The kids were so excited to have Aunt Michelle here, especially after McCall got over the fact that she had NOT brought MaKenzie. Plus she left them M&M's just like her Aunt Kay used to do. She is working hard for the "favorite aunt" title!

We ran around DC and were lucky to have gorgeous weather. We hit all the monuments, two of them were even new to us. The Jefferson and the new Martin Luther King Jr. memorials were finally open so we visited those. I loved them! 
 We also went on a tour of the Capitol, our first time going with a Capitol tour guide instead of a staff member. It was kind of nice, the kids had headphones so they could hear so much better and paid attention pretty well. Every once in awhile they would take their headphones off to tell Aunt Michelle something else that they knew about the Capitol, I think in a few more months they  may be able to give the tour themselves. It helps that they have been on at least 8 tours!
Michelle and the kids are standing at the center of the Capitol, it is rumored that if you rub your foot on the star you will have good luck. So we all took our turns basking in the good luck star. It has been rubbed so much that it is concave!
 Thanks to Caleb and Nicole for bringing Michelle along, it pays to have friends that are pilots. At least I think it would, I imagine it would. I think I may need a new career.

I love the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, it is amazing. So many of his great thoughts and quotes are written there and it is very inspiring to go. I would recommend this to anyone coming into DC.
Thanks for coming to visit us Michelle, we LOVED having you!! Please come again soon and make sure to bring the rest of the family or we will have rioting on our hands!

Our Very Own "Night at the Museum"

Every once in awhile the Senate and Congress host a Congressional Family Night.
Sometimes at the zoo, sometimes it's an ice cream social, sometimes ...
It's a family night out at the museum!
This was so much fun, to spend a few hours in the American History Museum after hours.
Great food, fun exhibits, activities, etc.
The kids were enamored with R2D2. They spent most of their time following him around!

So while R2D2 was babysitting, the girls headed upstairs to check out the first lady's dresses.
Pretty cool, glad that my dress isn't sitting next to Nancy Reagan, man she was TINY! 

 I came back to this.
I'm thinking of getting one of my own and I may never have to parent again!
(Ryan was also with them, lest you think I abandoned my children)

 Then we got to meet a bunch of past presidents. They had a little dialogue going on between them and then drifted through the crowd in character. I loved that all the boys knew who each president was and what they were known for during their time in office.
I love that history is coming alive for them.
 Connor has decided that being funny in pictures is much more fun than behaving himself. One day I hope he will look back on this and think, "man I'm a bonehead!"
I'm already thinking that about him.
We got to meet Kermit and see Indiana Jones' hat and whip (outside of the case)! I felt like Toy Story when Stinky Pete gets out of his box! Out of the box! Can you believe it. We were allowed to play with stuff as long as we had some great latex gloves on.

It was a fun night and we really enjoyed ourselves.

Luray Caverns - a Labor Day Excursion

We spent Labor Day in Luray, VA.
A tiny little town that draws thousands of visitors each year because of this:

 These caverns are amazing! They were discovered in 1878 by  five local men and a 13 year old boy.
They were simply stunning and open and HUGE!
We went on a tour that lasted an hour and we were walking underground that entire time.
Kind of made the old Nutty Putty caves looks small and scary - which in hind sight, they were!

 I'm not sure Gage saw much of the caverns.
He has other interest it appears.
 I couldn't pry Gage away from his little friend to join our family picture.

 All the kids posing in front of the biggest formation found in the cave.
 There is a "lake" inside the cavern. It is only a 20 inches at it's deepest. But because of the formations around it, it becomes a perfect mirror and it tricks your senses! Unbelievable! 

Gage still staying with those he feels most loved by and comfortable with, girls!