Sunday, September 30, 2012


Eight years ago.

Brandon was three years old.
Look how cute he was!
(And imagine how active.)

Whitney was an infant.
Super sweet.
And lots of work.

Life was good.  And busy.  And that's when Andrew was asked to serve in the bishopric at church.  Eight years ago.  Wow.  Where has the time gone?  

Today, he was released from his responsibilities.  It is truly a bittersweet day.  When he was first called, it often felt like a sacrifice.  There were many, many long lonely days with Andrew gone.  Sundays were easily the hardest day of my week.  I felt sorry for myself.  And missed Andrew.  It was hard.

But as time went on, those sacrifices became just a normal part of our lives.  I had experiences that helped soften my heart and change my perspective.  We got used to lots of mom-and-kid-time on Sundays.  We didn't see Andrew on Wednesday nights and that was fine. Our family was strengthened in his absence.  We grew closer to each other and closer to the Lord.  His service was no longer a sacrifice.  It was a blessing.

There are some things I'll miss about Andrew being the bishop.  Many weeks a speaker in sacrament meeting would say something that would strike a chord with Andrew and I.  Or remind us of an inside joke.  I loved looking up to him sitting at the front of the chapel and sharing a smile across the room.  I'll miss that.  I will miss the outpouring of love, prayers, and service from the members of our congregation.  As a continuing BYU student, I have to get an ecclesiastical endorsement from my bishop every year.  It was so nice to just sit with Andrew in the living room in my pajamas for my last six interviews.  Now I'm going to have to actually set an appointment! 

But we are ALL happy to have more time with him.  And I'm so excited that his emotional burden will be lightened.  He'll receive another calling sometime soon.  And will continue to serve the Lord in whatever capacities he is asked.  But for now, we'll enjoy all the family time that we can get.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Kid Updates

The kids have been busy!  Lots of fun stuff going on around here.

Caroline started her last year of preschool.
 She was giddy about her first day.

Truly, she skipped all the way in to her classroom.
"Are you coming, Mom?"

She has 18 kids in her class this year.  (Huge!)
Here are two of her three teachers:
Mrs. W. 

Mrs. A.

She ended up with several of her friends from last year's class and is having a blast with them.  Her favorite part is playing "Super Girls and Bad Boys" out on the playground.  

Another first for Caroline:
She started ballet class with Miss Shelley.
Woo hoo!

She loves it and looks forward to it every week.
Her favorite part is when they get to choose a 
stuffed animal as a "dance helper."
Last week, she chose a plush lobster.

Brandon started fall soccer.He's on the Thunder this season.Practices can be kind of brutal.Lots of push-ups and running suicides.Bur apparently the hard work is paying off.  Out of their first three games, they've won 2 and tied 1.  Here are the actions shot we got so far:

Whitney is in the middle of her off-season,
no extracurriculars for now.
But she got a hair cut last week:
Lookin good!

In Scouting news, Brandon earned his Arrow of Light Award. We are so proud of him. When he finished his Webelos badge, he told us, "I'm done with Scouts." But when we saw how close he was to his Arrow of Light, which is the highest award you can achieve in cub scouts, we (mainly Andrew) encouraged him to keep going and he did it.  He finished all the requirements back in June before our road trip, but this was the first Pack Meeting where all of us around for him to receive it.

 During the ceremony.

 All painted up.

Welcomed into the Boy Scout Troop.

Way to go, B-train!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Denmark: The Little Things

So, I already posted A LOT about all the fun stuff Jayne and I did in Denmark, but so much of the adventure for me was in the little things.  Here are some of my random observations.

*I do so much travel with my kids that I thought it would be fun to be on my own and not have to worry about someone else.  My flight out there ended up taking SO long (about 22 hours door to door!) that I actually found myself feeling lonely.  I missed having someone to laugh with.  And I had a nagging feeling that I should be in charge of someone, but couldn't figure out who. 

*International flights rock!  This was the first time I'd been on one.  We all get blankets, pillows, and headsets.  Our seats all have touchscreens with free movies, music and games.  And they feed us!  A full meal and another smaller snack.  And it was good food, too.  Plus, we get to check a bag for free.  Why aren't all flights like this???

 My blurry picture because I was afraid to use my flash.
My seatmates thought I was weird enough for taking a
picture of my dinner.  Didn't want to draw more attention.  :)

*In Denmark, when you meet someone at the airport, you bring the Danish flag and wave it when you greet them.  SO great to see Jayne and her son standing near baggage claim waving one as well as a US flag.  Fun!

*The parents of young children have the cutest strollers!  They remind me of old-fashioned carriages.  Very cute.  And you see them everywhere.

*They have yummy bakeries.  Jayne's husband got us an assortment of goodies one morning.  Some of them have marzipan in the bottom.  Delicious!

*Almost everyone in Denmark is at least bilingual.  Amazing.

*All the cafes with outdoor seating not only have outdoor space heaters, but also provide blankets to keep you warm on chilly nights.  How thoughtful.

*The restaurants all have yummy juice options on the menu.  For me, as a non-soda-drinker, this was awesome.  I tried elderflower, apple/berry, and (my favorite) blueberry juice.

*Jayne taught me the way to do cheers in Denmark.  You raise your glass and slowly say, "Skol!" And then you say it again, not so loud, as bring your glass down.  And you don't actually clink your glasses together.  My kids love it and we do it at dinner most nights now.  Fun!

*Lots of people wear glasses there.  And they're not subtle glasses, these people are making a fashion statement with their specs.

*Same with scarves.  Lots of women wear bright, colorful ones.  And not necessarily to keep warm, just to look cute.

*The word for boat is "bad" (except the A has that little dot over it, don't know how to make my blog do that.) And the word for speed is "fart."

Thus, the name for this boat.
Ha ha ha ha.

*I got to go to the grocery store with Jayne.  They are cute!  The aisles are more narrow.  And they don't have shopping carts ("buggies" here in the South).  Instead, they have baskets like the ones you get at Target if you just need a few items.  (I've never used one, but I've heard.   :))  But the baskets in Denmark have wheels on the bottom and a long handle, so you just wheel them around the store.  I guess I'd have to bring all the of the kids with me and have them each pull a basket if I wanted to do my normal amount of grocery shopping.

*They have 7-11 there!  Luckies.  We don't even have 7-11 here in our city.  Andrew was so jealous when I showed him this pic:

*The doors!  I LOVED the doors.  To homes, to public buildings.  They had so many gorgeous ones.

 This collage doesn't do them justice,
but at least you can get a peek at what I mean.

And that concludes my overseas travel journal.
Let's do this again sometime, shall we?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

More Denmark

Since my stay was over the weekend, I looked up the local Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Or Jesu Kristi Kirke af Sidste Dages Hellige

It was amazing.  I sat by a saintly Danish woman named Malena who volunteered to translate the entire service into English for me.  I was SO thrilled to not only feel the Spirit of the meeting (and it was so strong!) but to also know what was being said.  It was also neat to see the the worldwide church in action.  It really is the same gospel and same testimonies and same good people trying to do the Lord's work all the way across the ocean.  Loved it.

Jayne told me that while I was there I HAD to ride the train.  It's a part of European culture I just needed to experience.  So we did.  

I am SOOO glad I had Jayne with me
because I would have had NO idea what to do.
I couldn't even read the schedule.
Or figure out which platform we were supposed to be on.
She was an old pro, though.

We rode about an hour to a neighboring town called Arhus.

One of the reasons we chose that city is because they
have a really cool art museum, ARoS.
That's it behind me with the giant rainbow on top.

You can go out onto the roof and INTO the rainbow.

Where you can take strangely tinted pictures of the city below.

So, so cool.

I am sure Andrew would have HATED it because you can look
right over the edge, down nine stories to the street below.  Yikes.

Jayne and I also hung out on the roof just enjoying the view of Arhus
while the wind whipped through our hair.

The art was great.  I wondered if it would be a little too risque for me (judging by some of the things I'd seen in store windows!), but it was no worse than US art museums.  They had a collection of beach/sea/boating paintings by Skagen artists that were my favorite.  

After that, we walked a few blocks to Old Town Arhus.  It's a collection of old building from around Denmark that they have moved across the country into this little town.  Very cool.  We got there just before closing time, so had to hurry through a few of the homes before they locked us out.
It was SO charming.

Loved walking the narrow cobblestone roads.

We made it into a couple of the homes.
Look how ornately this room is painted!

I also liked this symmetrical hedge garden.

Loved taking in the history of this place.

Next, we walked down to the part of town where the canals run.
Loved this white gauzy street covering.

Downtown Arhus looks like a postcard.

This was the moment I felt most European of the whole trip:
standing in front of the canal eating gelato.  Yes!

We got a seat at a little canal-side cafe and just soaked in the ambiance.

Nearby, they had these capsules where you could
"walk on water."  It reminded so much of zorbing,
one of my bucket-list activities.  I was tempted to try it.
But I couldn't see Jayne doing that with me.
And wasn't up for trying it by myself.

On my last day in Denmark (already??),
we decided to visit a nearby Viking museum.
Lots of Viking heritage in Denmark.
On our way to the bus stop, we saw some
live archeology in action!  Wow.

Jayne and I enjoyed a nice long walk through a
super-cute neighborhood on our way the museum.
(That was code for "we got lost.")
But it was a beautiful day for walking!

 Once we found it, we had a great time looking around the museum.
Great exhibits,

cool artifacts,

and some illustrations that cracked me up.
Times haven't changed that much.
This reminded me of giving Andrew his monthly haircut.
Maybe I should invest a barrel so he can soak his feet.

Outside of the museum is a Viking burial ground.
 It is set on a hill, with the oldest graves at the top.
They date back to 400 AD.
Four. hun. dred.
Isn't that incredible?

Some of the graves were marked with 
stones all around, like this.

And then it was time to say good-bye to Jayne and her family.  Darn.  I wish I would have had one more day.  I would have liked to do more shopping.  Or at least window shopping.  Stupid cancelled flight.

On the way home, I overcame the airline curse and caught all three of my flights.
 Our flight path took us over Greenland!

Loved the rugged, arctic landscape.

I even saw several icebergs sticking up out of the ocean.
Awesome!  I had the line from Titanic stuck in my head,
"Iceberg, straight ahead!"
And I was grateful I was in the air,
not the water.
It was an amazing trip and I'm so thankful to Andrew for proposing the idea and holding down the fort while I was away.  He and the kids had a blast.  The kids are already wondering when I'm going on another vacation.  :)