Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Grandparents and Christmas and climbing trees, oh my!

My parents came to town as part of an epic southwest road trip. We had a lovely time with them, but they didn't get much sleep. They slept on a mattress in our living room and every morning at 6 the boys would run in and jump all over them. That paired with our late-night pinochle playing meant lots of nap times for children and adults alike.

Josh explaining the finer points of the Bernoulli principle and why planes fly. 

My dad got to fly in this Stearman bi-plane, which is the same type of plane he learned to fly in seventy years ago.

If you're reading this and have exceptional wood-working skills, please make me one of these. I'll pay you in pies.

This went ok. James mostly just goes limp when he has to interact with other humans, especially adults, but he's getting better.

We went hunting for butterflies in the vacant lot next door.

We also visited the Gilbert Riparian Preserve and watched some cormorants fishing.

My brother is the new wing commander of the 926th wing at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, so we went up for the big ceremony and ensuing celebrations. We took a tour of the base and visited a place called "the petting zoo" which had foreign military equipment and vehicles from the past 50 years. It was boy heaven and James' eyes were as big as dinner plates for the whole tour.

Since the Air Force Thunderbirds are based out of Nellis, we got to tour the hangar, and even Josh was looking for the enlistment officer after seeing all the cool stuff there.

Jets, jets, and more jets.

Out trying to take a decent picture for Christmas cards.

By the end of the photoshoot.

Zoo lights were magical for adult and child alike.

Rupert is my accessories man. He's into bags, hats, shoes, all of it. He'll walk around the house carrying his Halloween pumpkin filled with his favorite toys.

Here we are in Montana visiting Josh's family for Christmas! We hadn't even left the airport and already there was cool stuff to see.

James loves his Uncle Jake and cousin Eli. The feeling is mutual too.

The boys' first snowman.

Pretty excited to be wearing their Christmas jammies and playing piano with Aunt Solange.

I tried this a few minutes later and fell on my rear. All those years of snowboarding for nothing.

Verdict on sledding: James is a HUGE fan, Rupert not so much.

We rode on the carousel in Missoula about a million times, and I think James could have gone a million more times with his Aunt Lana.

Back in Arizona and enjoying the perfect weather.

These two. They love each other to the ends of the earth.

We're making some big life decisions this year, like whether or not to stay in Arizona, and if not then where are we going? We have to start thinking about quality school districts, and all of these millions of other factors that will determine what kind of life we'll live. One thing we do know is that with prayer and lots of excel spreadsheets, we'll make the best choice possible.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Because there's more to see than can ever be seen

I have about half an hour while the kids are watching the Lion King, so here we go!

Here's what we've been up to lately! Life is rolling on faster and faster (although some days seem to drag by), and these children of ours are growing bigger and smarter and more wonderful by the minute. There's a quote I love that says, "You do not have to make your children into wonderful people. You just have to remind them that they are wonderful people. If you do this consistently from the day they are born, they will believe it easily." These babies come straight from Heavenly Father loaded with all kinds of fantastic qualities, and it's our job to help them figure out what they are.
James is so sweet and loving, and it's such a joy for me to see that and encourage it. He is extremely sensitive, especially to the feelings of the others, and I hope he stays that way. We talk a lot about how what we say and do affects others, and it is one of the most joyous things to see him change his behaviour to accommodate someone else's feelings.
Rupert is mischievous and curious, but also very sweet and caring. He rushes to give James a hug whenever there are tears, whether shed by James or himself. He loves his big brother more than anything and imitates his every move, which is another reason why James and I talk so much about being a good example.

Rupert turned one!

And got some blocks for his birthday that he was extremely excited to play with.

James went ice skating! In Phoenix! In the summer! He only lasted about five minutes on the ice, but he watched the zamboni and the other skaters for quite a while. He pretends to ice skate a lot around the house and requests to watch videos of it pretty regularly. When we got back out to the car after skating, it was 122 degrees on the top of the Subie where the temperature gauge is. Yikes.

There was a HUGE monsoonal moisture system that moved through the metro area last summer that broke all of the rainfall records, so we decided to break all of the playing in the puddles records for the day.

James made friends with a stray cat. This further increased the notion that James is me, just male and twenty-six years younger. 

We went to the Phoenix temple open house, and it was spectacular! Before the temple is officially dedicated for temple work, everyone is invited inside to check it out, and the inside was absolutely perfect. This is the second temple James has been able to walk through and it's a great opportunity to talk about eternal things like families and covenants we make with Heavenly Father. 

Fun, but also a little bit of overlording. That's how brothers work.

James requested to be a pumpkin for Halloween. I bought this out of the pet section for a steal. Then when we have a large golden retriever some day, they can wear it too!

Since Rupert doesn't have an opinion yet, James chose a pumpkin for his costume too.

Lots of days at the zoo. Buying a zoo membership was the best investment we have made since moving to Phoenix.

All primates have nipples, James. Some are just more useful than others.

Again, a little bit of overlording.

Finally into cooler weather and more adorable clothes.

We visited an incredible train park in Scottsdale that had President Franklin D. Roosevelt's personal train car, and we had a fantastic tour and an informative history lesson. James is sitting exactly where FDR would when he held meetings, wrote official documents and was just generally incredible (except for that part about sitting by while lots of people died in Europe during WWII). 

Desert walks can resume now that it's not unbearably hot outside.

My friend Charisse was in town and it was fantastic to see her. What's not fantastic? James' nose picking habit.

We took a little trip to the Shamrock dairy farms and saw miles and miles of cows.