Sunday, October 30, 2011

Startling my Mother Heart

My mother heart caught its breath, stared, wondered, and smiled as I listened to their exchange, then witnessed it with my own eyes. Travis was successfully helping Abby with her Algebra homework!
These two have had quite a history. They can be the best of friends, and then . . . let's just say they know exactly how to "push each other's buttons." Travis' first attempt at helping Abby didn't go very well. Her frustration at not understanding took control and she was in no mood to be teachable. At that point I intervened and insisted she move to a different room and work on her Utah Studies homework for a while until she cooled down.
When that assignment was complete round two began. I sat quietly in a neighboring room listening to their interchange. I was utterly amazed at how well it went. Travis was calm, patient, and perfectly pedagogical. He asked Abby questions to gauge her understanding and rephrased explanations when she didn't get it. Abby did her part too, by listening and keeping her tone in check.
I peeked around the corner and snuck a picture. It was awesome. I love it when the rewards come.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Dear Rachel (#2)

Dear Rachel,

I think it's time for another pictorial update. Abby followed your lead and has made a number of headbands since you left. The majority haven't been very successful, but this one made her very happy. She created it completely by herself. She did end up with a nice hot-glue gun blister on the tip of her finger, though, which she nursed for several days.
Cross-country has officially ended for Travis. I had no idea what a cross-country meet entailed until this Fall. The number of runners in this invitational in Murray was particularly overwhelming. I tried to capture the scene with my iPhone.
Travis loves running now and has improved significantly over the season. He basically PR'd (set a personal record) at almost every meet. These pictures are from Regionals where he ran Varsity. It was a cold and rainy day, but he had a great morning.
Guess what I saw outside our kitchen window today? I grabbed my camera and shot these through the glass and screen. It made me smile.

We miss you and love you lots!


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Hello Halloween

It's a good thing I still have children around here who want me to decorate for Halloween, otherwise, those boxes under the stairs might never see the light of day.
Here is my version of a Halloween centerpiece. I combined two ideas from my Pinterest Halloween board.
At first Travis was disgusted that I nestled perfectly good candy next to flower stems. When I explained that the flowers were in a vase within a vase, he eagerly reached in and stole a few. Over the past couple of days the top layer has gradually disappeared. I've replenished it a time or two.
Our entryway is the same as last year. I'm glad I took of picture of it so it could be replicated. It's too hard to be creative every year. I did find a free printable (here) which I printed and hung on the wall.

Hello Halloween!

Home Stories A2Z

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Vatican City

We spent our last day in Rome exploring the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter's Basilica.
(A Vatican guard)
The Vatican Museums were overwhelming. There was just too much to see. Mazes of rooms housed sculptures, paintings, tapestries, maps, ancient artifacts, books, and much more. The audio tour was a life saver, but we could have easily spend days there. Eventually, I had to just put my camera down and attempt to absorb it all with my own eyes.
(Rachel, this flutist is for you.)
(looking down)
(looking up)
(How would you like a bathtub like this?)
I can honestly say that the Sistine Chapel was my favorite place of our entire trip. As we entered the room, it was literally packed with people. Carefully we made our way to one of the side walls and waited a few minutes until a bench was available. It was a welcome relief to finally sit down. We entered the corresponding number on our audio player, gazed up at the ceiling, and were filled with awe.

There it was--right above me.  That iconic image of the creation of Adam.
I was so impressed with the shared truth between the Catholic church (as viewed through Michelangelo's frescoes) and my own church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or Mormons). It was all there--the Creation of the World, the Creation of Adam and Eve, the Fall, and the need for a Savior and Redeemer in Jesus Christ.

For a few moments I was in my own world of wonder and inspiration. I knew and felt (once again) that God loved and knew me and that His plan was the way, the truth, and the light.
Michelangelo's painting of The Last Judgement on the wall above the main doors is so complex, yet so symbolic of what I believe.

I have much to learn from these masterpieces. It was a true blessing to see them for myself.
As our day in Rome came to a close we lined up for a tour of Saint Peter's Basilica and Square.
(The remains (with mask) of pope Blessed Innocent XI)
(A baptismal font)
It was all quite magnificent. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Dear Rachel (#1)

Dear Rachel,

You've recently asked for more pictures and for more news from home. This letter to you (and David, of course) is my solution. Perhaps this correspondence will arrive once a week, maybe less frequently, but hopefully it will help you feel like you are still connected to home even though you are 1500 miles away.

On Sunday we all heard the exciting news that the Provo Tabernacle would be rebuilt as the second LDS temple in Provo. When the announcement was made Dad was upstairs on the phone dealing with the insurance agency about his wrecked car. He thought for sure we had switched channels and were watching a football game instead of General Conference when he heard our shouts of joy.

I drove by the Tabernacle on Tuesday and took a picture for you. Here's how it looks this first week of October, 2011.
While there I ran into the "main man" who has been at the site since that fateful day last December when the Tabernacle burned. He told me the building has been shored up for the Winter and that he will be meeting with the temple architect this week. It looks like construction will start some time in the Spring. I will document the progress for you!
Someone posted this sign on the wall in front of the Tabernacle along with white handkerchiefs and balloons. The balloons had popped, but the sign and handkerchiefs remain along with a second message right next to the first.
We told you about Dad's accident on the way to the BYU game last Friday. It wasn't his fault, but it is, oh, so very sad. Even though his car is only a Honda Civic SI and not the typical midlife crisis car (like a Ferrari or Porsche) your dad adored it none-the-less. I learned to take deep cleansing breaths whenever he took corners or whizzed around a driver that was a bit too slow. Even when repaired, the car will never be the same.
Abby has taken a liking to wearing her hair in two braids whenever she plays soccer. No one else on her team does this, and I am certain that is why she enjoys doing so.
It seems to be a tradition now. Whenever General Conference rolls around (twice a year) Abby begs me to braid her hair in little braids all over her head. Day and night they "set" with the result being a head full of perfectly crimped and curled tresses come Monday morning. I think Travis was a bit bored because he took a turn combining them even further when my assignment was completed.
It obviously took some intense concentration.
It's Homecoming week on campus. The flags are flying and the Y on the mountain is lit up every night. It's definitely Autumn in Utah.
We miss you and love you lots!