Monday, April 20, 2009

Spring Vacation

We recently got back from a great vacation. First, the kids and I drove home to Arizona (Nathan joined us 5 days later). We spent a week getting aquainted with new baby Lily (so cute!), shopping at vintage stores, eating at our favorite places, and just plain old relaxing. We welcomed the warmer weather after all the snow we got before we left Utah.

Gillian took these pictures. I have no idea why I didn't get my camera out - this little face was difinitely worth a photo shoot!

Easter weekend was the icing on the cake. We dyed Easter eggs with the Jacksons on Saturday and spent Sunday with the Beutlers.

Easter Sunday was sunny and beautiful, as it should be. After church, we went out in Nana's backyard to enjoy the sunshine. Henry was in this weird Kung Fu mood (maybe it was the open shirt.

Time to tuck the shirt in for pictures -

When it was time to leave AZ, instead of heading back up to Utah, we headed west and surprised the kids with a trip to Disneyland. Turned out, the girls had already figured it out - thanks to my dorky family with their suspicious comments followed by alot of eye-winking.

We spent three days at Disneyland. This trip was funner than most, because it was our first Disney vacation without a stroller. What a difference! The kids were also tall enough to ride almost everything. Henry hadn't been since he was a baby, so it was fun to see his reactions to some of the rides. The only ride he wouldn't go on twice was Tower of Terror. I don't blame him.

I think Henry would love to live in Tomorrowland. His favorite attractions were Space Mountain, Star Tours (big surprise) and Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters. We went on each of those multiple times. Everytime he got off the Space Mountain ride he said "That's AWESOME!"

Tomorrowland also had a thing called Jedi Training Academy. We had to watch the show twice before Henry was chosen from the audience. We tried one more time to see if Elliot would get picked, but we didn't luck out. I could explain how cool the Academy was (especially for a Star Wars fanatic like Henry), but it's easier to just show the video.

I was so excited for Henry that he got to do this. I can't even imagine what a rush he must have felt to see a very realistic Darth Maul coming towards him like that swinging his dual-bladed lightsaber! He still talks about how defeated Darth Maul!

This trip was a little different this time now that the kids were older. We didn't waste our time in the long line for the Dumbo ride. In fact, we kind of skipped Fantasyland altogether! Well, we did have to ride the Teacups.

I think we have a video of every teacup ride we've taken over the years!

We also spent half the time we usually do in Toon Town. The girls are too old, and the boys don't really have an interest in the Disney Characters or the little kid type stuff. Although, Henry took a real liking to Pluto. He kept telling us how soft he was.

Elliot's favorite ride was Indiana Jones, so Nathan took him on it one last time just before midnight on our last night in the park. I took the rest of the kids on one last Space Mountain ride instead. "Awesome!"

Oh, yeah! We couldn't go to California without going to the beach! We took the kids to Newport Beach one evening to walk on the shore and put their feet in the water. Well, with four kids, the odds are at least one of them is going to end up with more than wet feet.

It's a good thing I had him take his dry jacket off mere seconds before he took a nose dive in a wave.
Only a water resources engineer would appreciate this!

Fun vacation!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Draper Temple

People around here have been pretty excited (and busy) with the opening of the Draper Temple. Let's start at the beginning:
When we moved here last March, it took us a week or so to notice that there was a temple being built on the hill south of our house. One day, we were on the freeway, and I looked up and said, "What is that huge thing being built on the mountain? That's pretty large to be a catholic church!" So we went home and looked on the internet and learned that it was actually a temple! (The Draper Temple had been announced in 2004, but I guess I wasn't paying attention.) Next we were pleased to discover that we have the perfect view of the temple from our living room window!

March 2008

One year later, the Draper Temple is complete. Nathan and I took the kids to the Temple Open House the last week of February. The temple is very beautiful. The temple designers choose dark woods and modern furniture - which I appreciated. Afterwards, we walked over to the reception in the Stake Center next door. Since it was the middle of winter, there was a heated tunnel built to connect the temple to the Stake Center. That might of been Henry's favorite part! At the reception, we were served cookies and we looked at all of the artwork that was set up around the cultural hall. Then we hopped on the shuttle bus and headed back down the mountain.

One week before the dedication, Nathan and I had the opportunity to work at the Open House for a few hours. We were both assigned to work in the reception area. Nathan's job was bringing in cases of water bottles and getting them ready to serve to open house guests. My first job was to place cookies on platters. I did that for about two hours and then I got a broom and dustpan and headed to the cultural hall and spent two more hours collecting all the crumbs that fell from all those cookies I served. Our jobs weren't exactly glamorous, but I enjoyed serving and having a part in the Open House.
We attended the Draper Temple Dedication on March 22nd. It was the first dedication for Samantha and Gillian. They liked it, but both of them mentioned that they felt a little silly when they were waving their white handerkerchiefs during the Hosanna Shout. I think its cool!
My favorite part of having a new temple so close is the neat opportunities I have for temple service. Last Thursday, I had the unique experience of going to the temple after it closed for the night. I was part of the temple cleaning crew, along with about twenty other members of my stake. We all put white jumpsuits on over our clothes and worked until after midnight washing windows, dusting, vacuuming, and yes, cleaning toilets. I actually felt lucky to be cleaning toilets in the temple, especially when one of them was in the Temple President's private bathroom. I also felt priviledged to be the one to make all the glass on the front door of the temple sparkle. Next time, I'll request to be assigned upstairs. I would love to vacuum and dust the Celestial Room and the sealing rooms! Being involved in the maintainance of the temple made me feel close to the Lord because I had literally cleaned His house. I really feel blessed to have so many temples right in my reach. I feel it when I see the Draper Temple nestled in the foothills of South Mountain every morning when I open the front blinds. I feel it when I drive west towards WalMart every friday and I can see both the Jordan River Temple and the nearly completed Oquirrh Mountain Temple through my windshield. And I feel it when we travel around the valleys in Utah and pass by multiple temples as we go. When we drive on the freeway and I know a temple will come into view, I search for it to make sure I get a glimpse before we pass. There is no where else in this planet where a person can stand in one spot and see three - sometimes four - temples just be merely turning their head. I do not take the bounty of temples here in Utah for granted.
Samantha also has the opportunity to feel connected to the new temple. She gets to be a part of a 25-stake temple celebration with the 19,000 youth in the Draper and Oquirrh Mountain Temple Districts. She will perform in front of the Prophet at the Conference Center on May 29-30. She's really excited and it proves to be a once in a lifetime experience for her.

Soccer Update

Henry finally scored his first soccer goal during his last indoor soccer game last week. I wasn't there, but Nathan says he looked surprised when the ball rolled into the goal. After that, Henry couldn't concentrate on the game - he chased his teammates around the court to ask, "Did you see my goal?"
Elliot also scored his first goal! The teams in his soccer league play two seasons together, so he's been playing with the same boys since last fall. They've had about 10 games total and Elliot was the only one on his team who hadn't scored a goal in a game. Well, last week, Josh was dribbling the ball towards the goal when he saw Elliot run up next to him. Josh stepped away from the ball and Elliot took over and took the shot. Gooooooooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaaaalllllllllllll!
Way to go guys!
I have to mention, Elliot's team is still undefeated. Henry has started outdoor soccer as well - there's been two games and two practices so far, but because of SNOW, he hasn't even been able to put on his cool red and white uniform. Bummer.