Tuesday, September 29, 2009

New Family Pictures

When we were in Maryland, my parents paid a photographer to take some family photos. With all my siblings, their spouses, and children, it is difficult to fit us in a studio. My entire family (except for Jacob and Jonny) are in these family pictures. I treasure them. Thanks Mom and Dad!


Why is there a picture of burnt toast on my blog? It's kind of a long story.

Soon after John and I were married, we bought our first toaster oven. John had one in his house growing up and insisted we needed one. Well, I loved having one, so we've had one for most of our married life. When our last one died, we decided we would buy a cheap one to replace it. We have had more problems with this toaster oven than any other appliance we've ever had!

At first, it burned everything really fast! It was like we were holding our food up to the sun! Everything came out looking like a charcoal briquette! After a few days, we figured out it's quirks and I could get a pretty decent piece of toast out of it.

However, since our move, our toaster oven has had some serious problems, well more serious than it already had. The top heating element has pretty much stopped working and only half of the bottom element works. John cooked a piece of toast on Sunday and this is how it turned out: completely untoasted on one side and burnt to a crisp on one half of the other side.

But we're stubborn and cheap, so we are refusing to buy a new toaster oven!

Court of Honor

Last Tuesday, the boys' troop held a court of honor. Michael received 2 merit badges: Citizenship in the Nation and Home Repairs. David earned his Life Scout rank and received the following merit badges: Citizenship in the Community, Citizenship in the Nation, and Citizenship in the World.

We are so proud of our boys!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Primary Activity at the Los Angeles Temple

Our ward primary held their quarterly activity at the Los Angeles Temple (of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints). We took a tour of the temple grounds and learned about some of the symbolism of the temple's architecture and grounds. For example, there are 5 steps leading up to the temple doors. They stand for: faith, repentence, baptism, confirmation, and enduring to the end. After the tour, we went to a nearby park in Westwood and enjoyed a picnic lunch with the Primary.

I asked A.J. what his favorite part of the activity was, and he said it was touching the temple. I asked him why and he said that he felt "good" and "holy" when he touched the temple, and that he knew it was God's house. I explained to him that was the Holy Spirit testifying that this is God's house. I also told him that now he knew what the Holy Spirit felt like, he should "listen" for it, and his testimony will grow.

It was a great experience for our family and our ward family.

Here's a picture of A.J. touching the temple. The leaders had the kids do this, because of President Monson's statement "As we touch the temple, the temple touches us."

Here's a picture of the kids in front of the statue of the family. The kids were encouraged to try and pull the kids away from the family. Just as it didn't work with the statue, a temple marriage can endure and keep our family together, so no outside force can destroy it.

These are the doors where newly married couples exit the temple, and many have their pictures taken here.

These are the doors to the baptistry.

These are the doors to the temple. Notice the five steps I mentioned earlier.

More Pinewood Derby Cars...

John and A.J. are continuing to work on his pinewood derby car. A.J. is loving this whole experience. Hopefully, the car won't come in last place!

A.J.'s Baptism

A.J. was baptized on Saturday, September 12. John performed the baptism and confirmation. I said the opening prayer and spoke for a minute about how A.J. follows the example of the Savior.

My parents flew out for the baptism, making it that much more special. (Thanks Mom and Dad!) Afterwards, we went to a local restaurant, Wood Ranch, for dinner.

I am so happy that A.J. made the choice to be baptized. He is trying really hard to make good choices and to be more kind to his brothers. We love him so much!

Praying Mantis

There's a praying mantis that lives on our balcony. The kids were a bit freaked out by it in the beginning, but I think it's really neat. Here are a few pics.

Monday, September 7, 2009

I've Embarked Upon a New Adventure...

I have a new calling (job/assignment) at church. I've been called as the Relief Society President of our ward (congregation). Honestly, I thought that if I was ever asked to be RS President, it wouldn't be for many, many more years (if ever). For my non-LDS friends, the Relief Society is the largest women's organization in the world and is dedicated to compassionate service and relieving the suffering of those enduring trials in their lives. This calling can involve a great deal of time and effort, often as much as a full time job. As with all ward callings, these are unpaid, but the blessings are incomparable.

I feel quite humbled and inadequate to be taking on this responsibility. I see many of my imperfections and am sure others can point out even more of them. I take great comfort in my testimony that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is led by a prophet and other inspired leaders. If I am the individual who has been called to serve in this capacity, the Lord will help me accomplish the things that need to be done.

I have also been blessed with a wonderful family who are very supportive. I am especially grateful for my loving husband, without whom I would not be able to fulfill even an iota of my responsibilities.

If you want to know more about why I feel the way I do, please visit the following websites:

All Tuckered Out!

After working so hard initially shaping AJ's Pinewood Derby car, John crashed on the couch. Around the same time, our strange cat, Mia, was sleeping like a person under the table. (Yes, I know I am becoming that weird cat woman for posting more pictures of my cat, but it was quite funny!)

It's Pinewood Derby Time!

AJ and John are working on AJ's first Pinewood Derby car together. It's such a creative idea in appearance, that AJ has forbidden me from posting photos of the actual car until after the Pinewood Derby. So some photos of John and AJ working on the car (without showing the actual car) will have to suffice. I will post photos of the car in early October after the race.

AJ's First Pack Meeting

AJ had a great first pack meeting! He and the other Scouts participated in a scavenger hunt in the tree area surrounding the church.

He also received his Bobcat badge, and enjoyed the privilege of being turned upside down while I pinned on his Bobcat mother's pin.