Monday, March 23, 2020

Bigfoot and Daffodils

We were so grateful to spend time with grandparents who came here just as things everywhere were starting to shift and close due to the coronavirus. It definitely changed our initial plans, but we got a bit creative and looked for opportunities and adventures that still worked.

As my parents arrived, the schools closed for two days for a deep cleaning. The kids actually went back for one day that week before their scheduled day off, and then the district announced they'd be shifting to online learning for the next chunk of time.

We spent lots of time in the yard with Vern!

 Picked up tomato plants and found a spot to plant them! Excited to give gardening a shot here. Just need to keep the deers away from the plants...
 Picking up some essentials and seeing the vast amount of empty shelves. This was the toilet paper/paper towel isle, but there were many isles that were emptied out like this - medicines, soaps, cleaning supplies, canned foods, eggs, dairy in general, meats.
 We took the grandparents on an adventure to the BigFoot Museum. It was fun, memorable, and a beautiful, scenic car ride!

 After going studying the map of Bigfoot sightings, Abby leaned over to me and said, "mom, I think we should move back to Florida." Then she looks at the map again (Florida also has sightings), pauses, and said, "no, not to Florida. I think we should move somewhere else." She first said Texas, but then realizing Utah is where grandparents lived, settled in that Utah would be much safer.

A portion of the museum had listening tracks of what Bigfoot may sound like in the woods. She pulled the headphones off, leaned over to me and with the widest eyes said, "Yeah, mom. I think I've heard that. I think I've seen one. I know I've seen his footprints in the forest."

 A fun old car next to the museum. Looks like there was an antique shop but it was closed.

 Took the grandparents to Village Burger!
 Saturday while we were so grateful for the break in rain for Tayler's Baptism, we were hoping for a rain free afternoon, but the rain seemed to just sit and settle. We wanted to pick something outdoors and grabbed our raincoats as we headed to Gibbs Gardens. We saw signs for it during our drive the day before about the "20 million daffodils."
The daffodils were beautiful! All different varieties that bloom throughout the early spring season. The grounds were so beautiful. Because of the rain, we took a little tram ride, and just as we stepped off the tram, there was a medical emergency for another guest just above us on the path. The medical teams were so responsive, but unfortunately, the person had a heart attack and was unable to recover. It was interesting to be so close to something so heavy and hard, and I found myself sending prayers throughout that day to whomever this person was and to their family.

Back to the flowers and lighter topic...

From that point, things continued to shift and close in the world, and we were so grateful to spend the Sabbath day at home together. It was so special to have Sacrament Meeting together and share our testimonies and messages of Christ. So grateful we were able to share that first "church at home" with grandparents.

Later that afternoon, Alexis and my dad made cinnamon rolls (the night before Alexis and Mike's mom made cookies). They all turned out fantastic.
Not shown are the fun times playing card games, shooting basketball hoops, studying Come Follow Me together, pizza movie night, and time in good conversation.

And by the end of day Sunday, things had closed down significantly. I had a strong and continual thought that the grandparents needed to get back home to Utah. My parents were set to leave Tuesday and Mike's parents were set to leave Thursday. They ended up all taking the same flight back on Tuesday, and all arrived before the earthquake hit in Utah on Wednesday. Who knows how things would have turned out had they not made adjustments, but we are so grateful the path they did take brought them all home safely. So grateful they were able to be here!

Tayler's Baptism

Full of light

Three ways we described her baptism.

She beamed. And before she changed out of her wet clothes, with her beautiful smile she gave me the wettest and biggest hug. "Mom" she said. "I felt the warmest hug surround me when I was baptized. I am SO happy!"

And all day, she'd whisper in my ear "mom...I'm SO glad I chose to be baptized."

And all day, I found myself whispering prayers of gratitude.

Prayers that even though there's chaos in the world right now, we can remember to draw upon His light.

Prayers that even though there's fear in the world right now, faith in Him is our source for rest, calm and comfort.

Prayers that even though complexity surrounds us, the gospel of Jesus Christ is simple and constant.

Prayers that even though suffering is happening, we can listen. For opportunities to be His Hands in small and simple ways.

Her light reminded me that He is our North Star. Our rest, our refuge. Who meets us where we're at. Who nourishes, gathers, preserves.

Who loves.

Centering on Him is true rest.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Basketball Pics

Max's middle school team had a photographer take pics. Loved seeing these!! He's worked so hard this season and has had tremendous growth. It's a blast watching him play!

Monday, March 9, 2020

Netherlands and England

 Moments and glimpses would be a good description of his time between meetings, hotels, dinners and airports. But I absolutely love whatever photos he's able to snag! 

Mike started his Europe trip in the Netherlands. Joost, with Paxpring, was his local contact and guide through the various business meetings. Joost's office is a building from the 1700s and they are currently remodeling the office space.

 Lunch at a cafe - De Eendracht Weesp. It looks so charming and I love that fiddle fig leaf! If only I could get mine to grow like that!
 Loved these photos of the streets.
 He said when he came back to this spot after meetings, the courtyard area was full of children and families playing outside.

 American Hotel in Amsterdam
The original Heineken Brewery (ha!) in Amsterdam.

Amsterdam - on his way to dinner.

Looking down into Bristol.
 London Underground

Windsor Castle
 The Ned Hotel in London.
 The Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol, UK.