Thursday, January 31, 2008

snow day

It snowed today. Nathan kept bugging me all day to go outside and play in it. It wasn't a sunny snow day- just really cold. I finally let Nathan go out in the afternoon. He was only outside for 2 minutes before he was complaining about the cold. I let them both go out in the early evening for about 10 minutes. Jared wasn't too excited about it.

Nathan dressed himself. That's why the hat is inside out...

Nathan's second 4th birthday party

Nathan was a lucky boy this year. He got to have 2 parties for his birthday- one in Australia and one here at home. The theme was the same- Thomas the tank engine, of course. You might notice that we re-used the tablecloth and candle from his party in Australia.

We had a lot of fun. There were 9 toddlers (including Nathan & Jared) plus 3 infants.

This was my attempt at making a train cake. I ran out of time- I like to call it "shabby chic." The kids loved it though. They each got to make their own, from mini loaf pans, decorating them with sprinkles, marshmallows, and candy.

I used tape on the floor, much to Alex's dismay, for train tracks.

The bunch (minus Jared)- Nathan has the hat on!

The bunch, with wiggly Jared on the end

Nathan's best friend Garett gave him a

homemade Thomas pillow. He loves it.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

'Til we meet again...

I will miss our prophet, President Hinckley. As I heard and read his testimony again, I was filled with so much emotion and love for our beloved prophet. I know that he truly is a prophet of God, a special witness of Christ. I loved his wit and sense of humor- he was an amazing man, with remarkable endurance. He was 97! I never got to shake his hand, but I was able to see him in person when he spoke to us at a Youth Conference when I was a teenager. I still remember the moment as he was leaving, waving farewell to us- the overwhelming feeling that he was a true prophet of God. We sang "God Be With You 'Til We Meet Again," one of his favorite songs. I will always think of President Hinckley when I hear that song. God be with you 'til we meet again...

"The Race"

This poem/story from Dee Groberg gets to me every time I hear it, possibly because I know what it's like to run a race. The feeling of failure weighs heavy on your mind. Another reason is that my dad was always there cheering us on and I can see him saying that to us, "Get up and win the race." But even more importantly, I can hear those words in my mind every time I "fall" in my daily challenges, that voice inside pushing me on, the voice (through His spirit) from a loving Father in Heaven.

“Get up,” an echo sounded low
“Get up and take your place;
you were not meant for failure here.
Get up and win the race.

“With borrowed will get up,” it said,
“You haven’t lost it all,
For winning is no more than this:
To rise each time you fall.”

I particularly like the phrase, " were not meant for failure here." How true is that? There is a plan and purpose for us being here, and we were not meant to fail. And with all of life's challenges, the reason we are able to fall and get up again is because of Jesus Christ. I'm thankful for that gift.

Here is a video I found of this story:

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Momma's Boy Look-alike Meter

MyHeritage: Celebrity Collage - Free family history

Look-alike Meter

MyHeritage: Celebrity Collage - Family search

Alex look-alikes??

celebrity look-alikes??

My friend Jill had this look-alikes on her blog, and I thought it looked interesting. I didn't know how hard it would be to post however...

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

we're home

We've been home for a few days now...

The journey home was very long and tiring, but we made it. The bus ride was fine because the boys were in their car seats. The long flight was terrible. The boys slept about the 1st hour and last 2-3 hours. The flight was completely full, so Jared was on our lap the whole time. At one point in the middle of the flight, Jared finally went to sleep. About 30 minutes later, Nathan decided he had to go to the bathroom. I carefully slid out from underneath Jared, and we climbed over him and Alex. We made it back in without waking Jared. Then 5 minutes later, Nathan said he had to go again. You don't mess around when kids say they have to go... so we went again. This time on the way back, Jared woke up screaming and wouldn't go back to sleep. Sigh.

We took turns holding him at the back of the plane.

The next flight from LA to Chicago was great. The boys slept the whole way, and they slept half of the last flight. Our one problem on the last flight was the landing. Nathan had to go to the bathroom again, but we couldn't get up because we were getting ready to land. He couldn't wait, so he went #2 in his pants...

We made it safely home though. Alex's parents were there to pick us up. And because we had to deal with Nathan's issues, all of our bags were waiting for us on a big cart. The baggage guy wheeled our luggage directly out to the car for us. That was nice. Six weeks worth of stuff is hard to cart around.

We hate traveling with little kids.

We did notice that the smaller the plane, the MORE leg room we had. For the long flight, the seats were so close together that we couldn't bend over to reach anything on the floor, unless we went down sideways. With kids, things are always on the floor, so that was a big problem. One other complaint: I know we didn't pay full fare for Jared (only 10%), but doesn't he still need food and drink? To most of the flight attendants, Jared was basically invisible, as they generally ignored our request for another drink.

Anyway, I'm done complaining. We're just glad to be home safe and sound. After being up for nearly 36 hours, it was nice to sleep. Now we just have to get back to a normal sleep schedule (waking up before 11:00am!).

Friday, January 11, 2008

good-bye Australia

We're signing out...we're pretty much all packed up. We leave in about 5 hours to go to the bus station (5:30 am)- a bright and early start to a long and dreary day. Hopefully it won't be too bad. We'll see how it goes... We take a 3-hour bus ride at 6:30am to Sydney. Our flight leaves at 1:30pm. After the 13.5 hour flight into LA, we fly to Chicago and then into Tulsa, getting in at about 7:15pm Oklahoma time (about 12:15pm on Sunday in Australia). So we just miss about a day...

We enjoyed our time here in Australia. It was hard at times, but it was worth it. The boys probably won't remember it, but we left our mark on Australia. We met some wonderful people and hopefully we will be back again someday. Until we meet again...

G'day Mate!

Thursday, January 10, 2008


The sun is setting on our time here in Australia. We have one more day and then we're headed home. These beautiful sunset pictures were taken on our walk this evening...

Jared spent quite a bit of time in the stroller- good thing he likes it!

Nathan's birthday

Nathan turned 4 on the 9th. He was excited to be the birthday boy all day...

We did a small party with Gabrielle (our hostess) and a family from church (who helped us out so much while we were here)- Thomas the train theme. He had Thomas cupcakes and got another Thomas train.

Amanda & Bruce, with Christopher (who wouldn't look) and Lana and Erin


On Tuesday, I took the boys to a place called Questacon. It's very similar to the Children's Museum in Houston, for those who have been there. The boys loved it. I was going to take them on Nathan's birthday, on Wednesday, but noticed that 3 year olds are free and 4 year olds are $9.00. So we went the day before his birthday.

There was a place called "Mini Q" (I think)- especially designed for little ones to play. Nathan loved the construction area. He played with the manual conveyor belt, bringing these plastic bricks up and down. And he had to wear the hard hat and vest of course. Jared was drawn to the water play, watching the fake ducks swim around.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Bittersweet moments

Today was our last Sunday here in Australia... Nearing the end of our time here in Australia is one of those bittersweet times. We're sad to say good-bye to the wonderful people we've met (even in just 6 weeks), but we're excited to come home. We said farewell to most of our acquaintances at church- they made us feel so welcome and offered their service to us. We received rides and meal invitations and even a night out this week without the boys (along with free baby-sitting and use of their car). You can't beat that... We also called upon a ward member to help give the boys a priesthood blessing when they were sick. They came right away and even brought medecine for us to use.

I can see the hand of the Lord in our lives in so many ways. At a recent conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Henry Eyring spoke about looking daily for evidences of the hand of God in our lives and recording that. While unfortunately I haven't been keeping record daily, I have thought about that and noticed several times when my family or I have been blessed in small and simple ways. During our time here, being so far away from home, I have felt more dependent on God for strength and patience. When at times I didn't think I could walk anymore in the heat, with tired boys, carrying groceries, while the flies were bugging us, then I'd see a pretty flower and think it was there just for me. It was just enough to keep me going. OR another time when we missed the bus from the grocery store and the next one wasn't coming for an hour, a nice lady (who had seen us in line at the grocery store) offered us a ride home. OR when we found nearly the last motel room on Christmas and they didn't charge us extra for the kids. OR when we made it home 5 minutes before it started pouring, sparing us from walking in the rain. OR getting a full week off for Christmas. OR getting a chance to watch the First Presidency Christmas devotional again when we missed most of it the 1st time. OR all of the rides, meals, and service I mentioned earlier.

These are just a few of the little blessings I've noticed- small, but evidences of the Lord's love for me.

1st day of primary

Nathan is no longer in nursery (18 months to 3 year olds at church). Today was his 1st day of primary (Sunday School for children 3 and up- they have to be 3 before January 1st, so he didn't get to go to primary this past year). I got a glimpse of what it may be like to send your child off to school. I was excited to see him go to primary, but a little sad, because that means he's not a baby anymore. My baby is growing up...

The primary theme for this year is "I am a child of God." That is Nathan's favorite song and he sings it pretty well. I was so proud to hear that he sang it in primary today, and he even sang so well that they asked him to stand up in front while they sang it again. Yeah Nathan!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Sir Thomas

When we returned home from our trip to Melbourne, we were surprised to see 2 dogs and a GOAT. Gabrielle received it as a gift for Christmas from her children. The dogs belong to one of Gabrielle's daughters. The goat's name is Sir Thomas (you must say it with an Aussie accent...) - the boys were a little unsure of the goat, but have warmed up to him. Nathan liked playing fetch with the dogs. They would retrieve a ball as long as you wanted to play. The dark brown dog has only 3 legs, but does just fine. He catches the ball in his mouth before it hits the ground.



Nathan and Sir Thomas