Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Family Pictures 2016

Back when the kids were younger, it wasn't too hard to get pictures of the whole family together.   If nothing else, we'd stop strangers and ask them to take photos of us on vacation.    Once kids started leaving the house though,  it's gotten harder and harder to get everyone together, for informal snapshots or professional photos.   The last professional ones we'd done were from 2012, when Spencer was still bald from his cancer treatments.   With Cami leaving on her mission, I really really really wanted  to capitalize on the brief window with everyone home and get new ones taken.   

Luckily the photographer we wanted was able to get us in.   She was fantastic and made us feel so at ease!   

I am not very good with fashion and colors, so I spent way too much time, effort, and money (all the while still trying to finish up Cami's mission shopping) trying to put together the perfect matching outfits.     Too bad that we picked the hottest day of the year to get them taken.  It was 100ยบ+ and humid, humid, humid that day.   The photographer had to bring rags for us to wipe the seat droplets off our faces between shots.       In the end, though, I was very happy with how they came together.  

Here are a few of my favorites:   









Friday, August 19, 2016

Letter to Cam

For today's blogpost, I've decided to just include excerpts from my letter to Cami:

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Dear Soeur G.,
Happy P-day!    So, first thing's first.   I am actually in town this Friday, which means that I can be much more responsive today than I've been the last two P-days.   It's my intention to keep the afternoon pretty open, so that if you need my response to anything, hopefully I can be on it pretty quickly.  

Second, why on earth is your cell phone not set to go automatically to "do not disturb" at night?    As you can imagine, almost nothing is happening with your cell phone currently.   It's used for Ellie's daily snapchats, taking pictures once in a while, and the occasional pokemon adventure (for Ellie), but generally it stays put away in the top of my closet the vast majority of the time.   So, imagine my surprise when last night your phone starts ringing in the middle of the night!  Dad and I have had our phones set to automatic do not disturb for quite a while now, so we're used to never even hearing a mail ping, yet alone a full blown ring.    It took quite a while to get to it at the top of the closet and of course we missed it (and we assume it was a wrong number anyway), but, man, it sure was hard to sleep again after that jolt of adrenaline.    It is now set to "do not disturb" and will stay that way for at least 18 months!
Random DC number that called on YOUR cell phone in the middle of the night.
It's your third p-day today, which means that you're almost half-way done with the MTC now!

The tomatoes are growing like crazy in our garden and we have been thoroughly enjoying them in all their fresh deliciousness.  I know I already told you this, but I'm totally obsessing about the panzanella I'm going to make for the missionaries for tomorrow night's dinner!    Hopefully there will be lots of great families in France that will feed you freshly grown produce straight from their gardens!    Or at least that there'll be lots of little markets where you can buy fresh produce and eat simple, healthful meals....like panzanella.  :)
Perfectly imperfect tomatoes from our garden.
Today we picked up a bushel of fresh peaches that we ordered straight from an orchard.  I was quite excited to dive into dehydrating and jam making tonight, but, alas, not a single one of them is ripe yet.   I am hoping that they don't all ripen this weekend, which will make it harder to give them the attention they need before they go bad...which happens far too quickly with peaches.
The bushel of peaches we ordered came in this cute basket.   Too bad none of them are ripe!
Random tidbit:  I was going through a box in the basement and came across my journal from my freshman year at BYU.   Some of it is pretty mortifying, but ask me nicely sometime in the future and I might let you read bits of it.  :)

My visiting teachers came over today and shared a message about strengthening families.  It's interesting that this has been the topic du jour lately, as it's the theme of our youth lessons for the month, as well as our sacrament meetings.    

“The home is to be God’s laboratory of love and service,” said President Russell M. Nelson, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
Our discussion really focused on the word, "laboratory" and how apt that seems for us as parents.    We're constantly trying to figure out what "chemical reactions" work and don't work with each kid and it's an ongoing process of experimenting---with every day things, like discipline and how to interact with each child, but also spiritual experimenting and learning how each child feels the spirit in their lives.     Anyways, it made me think of how imperfect we've been as parents and how impressive it is that you (and your siblings) are where you are, in spite of us!   How grateful I am for the atonement and forgiveness and for a lot of "lab notes" along the way--in the scriptures, from our leaders, from other people who've been down our path before, etc.  

And it made me think about how you're embarking onto a journey into a giant French speaking laboratory soon.    A place where you'll have the opportunity to experiment on His word and learn to do His work in your own way.   In a  way that only you can do.  

We love you and are so proud of you.   Have a wonderful week!  

Love,
Mom


PS  Here are a few other random pictures:
This is a lovely flower we found while out on one of our evening walks.
 
This is what Emma will wear in next week's production of the "Wizard of Oz".  
She is Auntie Em.  

This life-size poster at the library almost gave me a heart attack when I saw it out of the corner of my eye and for half-second thought that a group of people were glaring at me.    Ellie, of course, loved it!  

Monday, August 15, 2016

The Baptism

The main reason for our weekend in Philadelphia (besides seeing the temple open house) was to be a part of my nephew's baptism.    

It was so fun to have so much family in town for the occasion!

Including 10/14 of the Crain cousins.   

I also very much loved the Baby Ben snuggles I got to enjoy. 

Glen couldn't get the time off of work, so he just joined us for the day.   

I loved being able to spend time with my parents.... 

and token British brother, Matt. 

I also enjoyed the opportunity to photobomb my brother, Pete, who was reluctant to have his picture taken.  

Ever since our trip to Europe, in which we each packed all of our belongings into a backpack only, I've been kind of obsessed with packing light.   I loved the freedom of not having a ton of stuff to tote around on our adventures.    I may have taken it a bit too far this time though, as I totally forgot to pack dental floss, mouthwash, toothpaste, hairbrush,  pajamas, and I was short one outfit.  In other words, I slept in my clothes (that I had to double up on wearing anyway), never brushed my hair, and had to brush my teeth with Emma's organic toothpaste.    I did end up going to a store for some dental hygiene stuff, especially since Adam also forgot his toothbrush, which with him having braces was too disgusting an omission  for me to ignore. 







Friday, August 12, 2016

Philadelphia Temple



In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we build temples as special places of worship. They are different than the meetinghouses where we meet and worship together every week and we consider them to be sacred, holy places where special ordinances (such as weddings) are performed. 

When I was growing up in Minnesota, our family drove 24-hours to the nearest temple in Salt Lake or Washington DC. That distance meant that we could only go once a year, at most. When I was a teen, they built a temple in Chicago, which then made it only an 8-hour drive to get to. This was a HUGE blessing for my family and all the people who lived in the midwest. 

When I was in college there were about 50 temples throughout the world, which meant that people in many places still had significant distances to travel to get to a temple. In the mid-90's an announcement was made that they were going to start building smaller temples in more places, to get them closer to the people. Twentyish years later there are now 150 temples throughout the world and these temples continue to bless the people and the communities where they are located. 

We are in Philadelphia right now, where a brand new temple was just built. It's right in the heart of the city and quite a beautiful sight to behold! The architecture resembles that of other historic buildings in the area and THEY ARE GIVING FREE TOURS RIGHT NOW for anyone (church member or not) who is interested in seeing the inside of a temple! Tours are available now through early September. 


We took our tour yesterday and really enjoyed seeing the unique interior of this lovely building. {Pictures were not allowed to be taken in the interior, so the following pictures are from this website

This is the baptismal font where vicarious baptismal ordinances are performed for those who died without a knowledge of the gospel. Of course, this isn't a forced baptism, since we also believe that the deceased person has the opportunity to accept or reject the baptism in the afterlife. 

This is the celestial room, where no ordinances are performed, but people go to contemplate and enjoy the quiet and peace found there. 


This is an instruction room where we learn more about God's plan for us. 


This is a "sealing room" where marriages are performed for time AND eternity. Glen and I were married in a very similar looking room in the Denver temple in 1993. 


We also loved all the nods throughout the temple to the history of the area. There are pieces of art depicting the founding of our country and some of the great historical events that took place here in Philadelphia. 

It really was a joy to bring the kids there and answer questions they had about the temple. We've also been enjoying our Jack/Lincoln/Ben time, which is slightly easing my missing-Cami-ache! 




My nephew, visiting from England (on top of the dog pile here) is getting baptized here in Pennsylvania tomorrow, which is why we were lucky enough to get them to come hang out with us for a while! 



"There exists a righteous unity between the temple and the home. Understanding the eternal nature of the temple will draw you to your family; understanding the eternal nature of the family will draw you to the temple." —Gary E. Stevenson


I love my family and am so grateful for the blessings of the temple in our lives! 

Monday, August 8, 2016

Houston....


HOUSTON! 

We have another driver in the house!



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Saturday, August 6, 2016

Life Along the Way


Here are a few more random pics of the last couple of weeks: 

First, the week before we left, we went on one more excursion to the temple with Cami.    It is a great feeling to be able to spend time with a child in the temple.  


My visiting teachers brought me a little lemony care basket of cheer to help in the process of saying goodbye to Cam.   They also visit teach Andrea S., whose son, Christian, was going into the MTC the same day as Cami, so they had double duty.  

When we were in Utah, I went on a couple of long walks with my sister, Kristina.  We may or may not have played a little Pokemon Go along the way.   Cami snapped this picture of us.  :) 

The next walk we went on, we dressed to match!

Here's a selfie with my mom and dad right before I left Utah.  

 On Friday, Cami had her first P-day and and sent us this  picture of her MTC district.  I don't know much of  the Elders yet, including their  names, but she is quite happy with all of the Sisters.

Here's a picture of Cami and her roommates (Soeurs Allen, Goold, Huntsman, Jones).  Sister Jones is Cami's companion and was actually in her ward at BYU.  They are also both in the nursing program, which meant they have a lot in common and were very excited to be companions.  

So life has been going full-speed ahead since our trip to Europe.   Now that Cami is off, it should be slowing down significantly now and I hope to regain a little of my brain function back.   We will see how that plan actually works.

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Thursday, August 4, 2016

Sending Cami Off

I will try to keep this blog updated at least somewhat with Cami's mission experiences, however if you want the full story, you'll want to subscribe to her mission blog. 

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Cami's spent the last couple of weeks madly trying to finish up all of the preparations for her mission.   She's  been shopping, gathering items that she needs, visiting with friends, and making long late-night FaceTime calls to people, which is actually really only one special person that she's really going to miss.  

She also met with as many friends and relatives as possible to say her "see ya laters"!   


We ate up our Cami time as much as we could and planned and did little else (hence the lack of posting on this blog).



We did, however, throw in a family photo shoot...

as well as a trip to see Phantom of the Opera at the Kennedy Center.

Then on Sunday, July 31st, Cami was set apart as an official missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, after which the late phone calls stopped and we started calling her Sister Goold.
  It was an emotional day, but we could't be happier about the adventure she's embarking on for the next 18-months.


Then the next day on August 1st, Cami  and I hopped on a plane to Utah.  Glen and the kids said their goodbyes there at the curb...

and waved as Cami went off on her 18-month adventure!   

After we landed in Utah late on Monday night, it quickly became a whirlwind of activity getting ready to drop Sister Goold off at the Missionary Training Center on Wednesday afternoon.

We had some shopping to do, some things to gather, etc.    But for as much as she tried to stay focused on actually getting ready, really at this point, she just wanted to eat up her last few hours being a semi-normal 19-year-old.     We (and I do mean she AND I, since she was already a set apart missionary) went out to lunch and met a friend at the temple for a session.


Then we came back (later than we'd expected) to my parent's home to hang out with lots of relatives at the open house my mom and sisters planned.



Cami's friends stayed later at the open house than everyone else and she enjoyed one more night of being social.  

She practiced her missionary safe goodbyes, but ended up laughing more than anything else.  

Wednesday morning dawned too early and eventually it was time to get in the car and head to Provo.

Cami randomly ran into one of her favorite babysitting families in the parking lot at BYU.   The Welch's hold a special place in Cami's heart and I think she was as excited to see them as they were to see her.   

We spent the last hour before I dropped her off at the MTC, at the Wilkinson Center, so she could say her last goodbyes for the next 18-months.   Sister Welch (the mom of the kids above) even ran from the class she was teaching, so she could join in on the fun! 

There were no tears here, just some great friends (one of whom you've probably noticed has shown up in a lot of these pictures and may or may not have something to do with all the late-night FaceTime calls)  really happy to spend a few more minutes together.

Leaving time came all too soon though...

and Sister Goold and I reluctantly jumped in the car for the 2 minute drive to the Missionary Training Center.   She made a few phone calls (to Glen and her siblings) along the way...

and before I knew it I was leaving a piece of my heart behind there in the drop-off lane.  

Goodbyes are quick at the MTC, but that didn't stop the floodgates from opening.   I had to quickly pull over after leaving the MTC  and regain my composure before it was safe for me to drive again.  

I am thrilled beyond belief for Cami and know that great adventures lie ahead for her, but, man, we sure are going to miss her for the next year-and-a-half.  


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Fun facts: 
*August 3rd was a big day at the Provo MTC and 819 other missionaries also started their missions that day.  

*Cami's first companion, Sister Jones,  is the niece of a good friend of ours.  They were in the same ward at BYU and are also both in the nursing program. They had connected beforehand and Cami was very excited about having her as a companion. 

*Sister Goold's P-Day (short for preparation day) while she is in the MTC is on Fridays.  Basically that means, that's the only day she'll have access to email, so make sure you send your emails before then.   






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