Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas 2009

Since Dave and Danica were the only family in town we decided to celebrate Christmas Eve by going to see Avatar. I was disappointed in the story and plot, but I was blown away by the FX and CGI. The story was way too much one dimensional – good guys were way good and bad guys were way bad. Evil corporation and military, it was like a democratic political speech with all the environmental issues thrown in to make me barf. “Fern Gully” on CGI steroids. But then I don’t have strong opinions on things so it was a good movie. The Na'vi chick was kinda hot so I asked Tracy to use more blue eye liner. My bad.

This is not an optical illlusion; everyone in Danica's family is wearing the same PJ's and they don't clash with the Christmas tree.
It was a wild rush to open presents including the elders who join the family fray. Jensen got trains - surprise surprise.

Putting together Lily's kitchen.
Charlie is spreading joy and it is either a dirty diaper or spitup
Jensen and Lily didn't eat their dinner, but later snuck into the candy dish and hid under the cushion cover and giggled and ate their "dinner" until they were caught.

The completed bathroom!!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas thoughts 2009

Here is part of the letter I wrote to Don today:

I hope you’re able to enjoy some aspects of a Christmas celebration and remember the Savior and all the hope he brings to the world. Because he conquered death with all may have eternal life and because he paid for our sins, if we repent we can live with Heavenly Father and inherit all he has. That is why I’m happy this Christmas. It is the season of hope, not Obama style hope, but of a real sincere plan of never ending true happiness, charity, and love. This life and world is ugly and tough, as you’re experiencing in Afghanistan. It is full of pain and cold and hunger and suffering and cruelty and sin. The world is designed for us to experience these torments so we will be motivated to strive to have a much better existence in the next life. How would we understand a pain free eternity without suffering pain during this mortal existence? How would we appreciate the companionship and blessings of loved ones unless we experience the loss of a friendship or the death of a close family member? How would we be able to treasure the loving environment of Heavenly Father’s charitable realm unless we slog through this bitter and hard scrabbled world? How would we be able to appreciate stain free white garments unless we experience the cleansing of scarlet sins through repentance and the Atonement? The Savior’s life made all our deepest hopes and joys possible and that is why I’m happy this Christmas. May you feel the elation of hope that is found in the celebration of Christ’s birth this Christmas.We miss you a lot Don and you are constantly in our prayers and thoughts. Have a great Christmas and remember the Savior.

Love, Dad

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Thanks to the Family -

Despite the cold weather (-15 going to racquetball in the morning this week) there are a lot of wonderful things that warm my heart this week. It all has to do with the family.

Mom is working three jobs, plus managing the home and me. So with all that spare time on her hands she may be heading off to Peru next month to do some humanitarian work with the native tribes in the Peruvian Amazon basin. Got to love her energy.

Celeste has pulled together a fantastic family picture for this year’s card. The whole thing looks great and Celeste and Brad have really worked hard to help us all look so good. Of course she had great material to work with.

Bryce has been captured by the spirit of Elijah and is going to town in ways I never thought of related to genealogy. He has uncovered about 400 ancestors and many will need their temple work done for them. He even found a Marcia Barrand (I had to gently tell him that Marcia was my grandmother and the all you kids have met her on our travels back and forth from Utah to New Jersey. Way to go Bryce, thanks for bringing the family together.

It is so nice to have Danica and Dave so close, they help us keep our sanity, while she battles three sick kids. She has us over for dinner and between them there is always some fun project they’re working on. Danica has spent hours copying the slides from years ago and is trying to put together each kid’s pictures. Thanks for saving our memories.

With Preston and Tiana, Preston has been helping mom with her web site development. I used to think it would be good to have a plumber or carpenter in the family but it is proving best to have computer savvy and web familiar kids to deal with the age of Twitter.

Don is upholding our family and country as he serves in Afghanistan. I haven’t heard much from him except he likes boot socks and mechanics gloves to protect against the cold weather. I hope no news is good news.

A lot of great things are happening in Austin’s life. His internship is turning into a wonderful experience. They have started giving him so real meaty projects and he has impressed the boss with his attitude and hard work. He has also signed up for a demanding schedule next semester including Biology, Calculus, and Programming. He has also landed a teaching position at BYU – a diving class. I’m sure he is hoping for a pool deck full of attractive coeds so he can help them land a reverse twist. He said he would offer the cutest ones extra attention. He was also invited to join an apartment of social return missionaries from Toronto West. I hear they aren’t gamers so that makes me ever so happy. With all that going on in Austin’s life I will forgive his not keeping up his blog. He isn’t even coming home for Christmas because he wants to stay in Provo and learn a new programming language. Life is good

Thanks to all of you for being such an incredible family.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Where's that boarding pass?

I had an interesting experience returning from Phoenix this week. I was down there to attend a training class and dodge the 4 degree weather in Denver. It was also nice to stay in a hotel where there was a shower in the room. I appreciate that because our bathroom isn’t completed yet and I still don’t have a working shower in the master bath. I think that I will sponsor a party in the shower when it’s finally completed….on second thought maybe we’ll just have a dinner to celebrate.
Anyway, the training class in Phoenix….I forgot how tough it was to sit through two days of listening, stuck to a chair, trying to stay awake for even interesting presentations. I attended with my good friend Larry from Ft. Collins and another work associate from north Denver named Terry.
Terry is a character. He has lead a very rough and tumble life, full of all the worldly pleasures available if one has the time and money. Terry has made good money through his life and so he has feasted at the banquet table of thrills and pleasures. He and I about the same age but he looks 15 years older as he has misused his body fumbling after the tinkling lures of the world. Through all the rust and canker Terry has a good heart. He married about 8 years ago and had his first child shortly there after. That young son has really changed Terry’s heart and he is now very active in his church struggling to swim to the surface after a lifetime of abuse and over indulgence. We have talked a little religion a couple of times and I gave him a Book of Mormon a few years ago. He wasn’t that interested.
After class and while we were sitting in the airport lounge waiting to board, he leaned over to me and asked, “What does Mormonism have to do with Christianity?” Well the question caught me by surprise and I wanted to think a minute about an answer so I cleaned up a few loose papers in my luggage and excused myself for a minute to throw the garbage away. When I came back we had a great conversation about the gospel. He asked about polygamy and I got to talk about prophets. He asked about Joseph Smith and I got to talk about the Book of Mormon and he asked about our Christianity and I got to talk about the Savior and his Atonement. It was great and he was interested this time. Then they announced our flight and I went to board the plane and my boarding pass was missing.
I had accidently thrown it away when I threw the other papers away and had to go digging through the trash bin filled with a half eaten McDonalds Big Mac and a sloppy salad. I finally found the boarding pass with an extra piece of lettuce, the flight attendant gave me a funny look but I was able to fly home. I thought about Terry and no matter how much stain and slop we may acquire in this life if we clean off the old boarding pass through repentance we can take our seat for the ride home. I will have to follow up with Terry.