Friday, August 29, 2014

Pupil Free Day - Walking The Hills

Adam notes:

The older three kids all had pupil free days at school a couple of Thursdays ago. I ended up taking the day off as well so that I could get my car in for a service.

It was a cloudless almost-Spring day so Seth and I went for a walk up around the nearby hills. He said that he wanted to try and get outdoors more. No complaints with that, and going for a walk is always good from an exercise point of view.

Having climbed up the hills past suburbia we encountered our first part of nature. We bravely went past a flock of sheep. I'm sure that they were ready and primed to attack us at any moment as they intently wathced us as we went past. We were so brave.

See - no clouds

Ready to attack and maul us at the slightest chance

Pushmepullyou two headed sheep?
It's always a nice view from the hills' elevation. We got to see the houses nestled on the hillsides below us, and in the distance a fire - which we presumed must have been a controlled burnoff. Unfortunately, the fire was making some of the views rather hazy.

Less hazy facing away from the fire and towards Castle Hill
As we continued on we found what appeared to be a bunch of burrows in the ground, and with them, tracks made in the grass by whatever lived in the burrows. Whatever was in there wasn't large - too small for wombat burrows, but they were obviously creatures of habit that were large enough to have worn paths in the grass. We followed the paths for a distance before losing them in rockier, less grass covered ground. Still no idea what they were from.

It was a nice little chance fro Seth & I to get out for a walk together and to talk and laugh as we went.


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Book Week 2014 Was (Skullduggery) Pleasant

Elissa sews and borrows....

Last week was Book Week at schools across Australia. I made Jewel's Minnie Mouse costume earlier this year. She wore it to Supanova and again last week for Book Week. I love it when the costumes I make get worn several times and aren't just once off pieces.

This year I also lent three previous costumes I'd made to a friend Elsie for her three children. So Gandalf made a reappearance with a lovely staff, Arwen had some additional head gear and great ears, and Rapunzel looked so sweet.

Jayde school did not have a dress up this year.

Seth could not decide what to wear. One of the teachers at ours had made an amazing mask and hat to come as Skulduggery Pleasant - a book series that Seth really enjoys.

As Seth's dress up day was later in the week I asked if Seth could borrow the hat and mask (as he already had the rest of the costume). Seth was thrilled. He proudly wore it to school and got a mixture of compliments (from anyone who knew the books) and people asking who he was (who had not read the book).

We're thinking he may need to make his own mask and hat and go as Skullduggery Pleasant to Supanova next year.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

You Have to See The Baby!

Adam notes:

We got to go in and see the Gregory's new baby boy two Saturday nights ago. Rachel was having some heart issues so the Doctor decided to put her in for a caeserian on the Friday. Elissa looked after Jacob for a couple of hours on the Friday morning whilst waiting for Rachel's mum to come and get him whilst Rachel was in surgery.

We actually got in late to the hospital late on the Saturday evening , so didn't have long to visit, but still the girls all had fun holding the baby. He didn't yet have a name at that stage, although we believe they've decided on Noah.

We had a bit of fun teasing Michael and Rachel when we realised that it appeared that Noah was likely conceived in our house. They had stayed with us for a short period late last year when they moved to Canberra. It was a reunion for them after being apart for a period of time ...  Elissa claims that therefore Noah is actually part ours ...

The title of this blog post is because I can't hear about going in to see a newborn baby without thinking of Seinfeld's "You have to see the baby!" skit.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Jewel at the 2014 Curtin Art Show

Adam notes:

It was the annual Curtin Art Show on the same weekend as Stake Conference, so we managed to squeeze in going to the Art Show between music lessons and the Stake Dance. Jewel had two artworks on display (separate from the half a dozen or so artworks on display around her class room) which she had specifically created for the show.

Unfortunately, her main piece became a bit of a rescue effort, It was originally meant to be a quote saying "Keep Calm and Love Glitter". which would be plain white, surrounded by the three glitter colours. The original design was to temporarily stick cut out letters onto the canvas, before covering a third of the canvas with each coloured glitter. However the "temporarily"stuck letters wouldn't come off, and so with some creativity, the design was changed to that you see below.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Sister Missionaries in the Ward

Adam notes:

We have had Sister Missionaries in our ward for about 6 weeks now. The first two Sisters transferred into our ward were Sister Clegg from Utah, and Sister Ilalio from Western Samoa. The funny thing was that Sister Clegg recognised us. She had been in Sutherland Ward,  which we visited on our way home from The Lion King for Elissa's Birthday. On that day, she had made a comment to Elissa about Jewel and how pretty her eyes were. She remembered us from that visit when she and sister Ilalio visited us the day were transferred to Canberra.

Elissa has had the chance to go out on tradeoffs with them, and will likely have many more to go. Sister Clegg has now gone home - she was only here for her last 6 weeks, and we have a new Sister - Sister Levine, also from Utah, who has replaced her. We grabbed some photos with Sister Clegg a couple of days before she left for home.

We had planned on taking some photos of her with the whole family at Stake Conference (her final day in Canberra), however Elissa ended up feeling unwell and we didn't end up staying long after the session finished.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Stake Conference Dance, Service Project and Ice Creams

Elissa taxis......

Last weekend was our Stake Conference. We had several events on that the YW wanted to attend. First on the Friday night was a Family Dance. The theme was Carnival. We got there a little bit early as we had been at the Art Show for Curtin Primary School. It was still just starting so not a lot of people there. Seth was not feeling well so he and Adam found a quiet place to sit while Jayde, Jewel and Minori danced. The band was a Jazz style band made up from various members of the Stake.  We had keyboards, drums, guitars and about 4 singers. They were really good and played a large variety of music. Jewel left with Adam and Seth at 9 and I stayed on till 11 with Jayde and Minori and some other YW.

There was a photo booth set up for people to have photos in with dress up available. There was also face painting for the younger children.

(Jewel as a unicorn)

The YW had fun trying to talk to several YM they had wanted to get to know better. One got asked to dance by a YM for several dances which brought excitement from the other girls.There was a very cute younger member of the band which the girls enjoyed dancing to his songs and getting a photo with both the band and him afterwards. At the end we had fun collecting balloons and decorations to take home. Once the car was full of balloons we drove home via McDonalds for some ice cream.

The next morning was a Stake Youth Service Project.  They made 200 meals and blankets for the homeless. It was a busy and fun morning. Seth wasn't well still and only stayed for about half of the morning. It got a write up in the Canberra Times.

The evening was the Saturday session on Conference and the 12 and up were invited. I left Seth home and took Jayde. Afterwards we went into Civic to buy ice creams (again) and had a fun evening.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Little Mermaid on the Big Screen, and The Guardians of the Galaxy Redux

Adam does more movies:

The high cinema attendance aberration continues. Last Thursday Jayde, Seth and Minori all had Pupil Free Days at school. Elissa was home sick from work, and I took a day off to get my car in for servicing. Once we picked up my car from servicing and Jewel from school, I took Jayde, Seth and Jewel off to go see Guardians of the Galaxy (second time around for Seth and I).

Our local cinema is also doing a special showing of several Disney "princess" movies each weekend. Earlier today they were showing The Little Mermaid. Both Jewel and Minori wanted to see it on the big screen and tickets were only $6, so we took them in to see it. I had even planned on going with them, however our clothes dryer died yesterday, and so I spent the time with Elissa shopping and arranging a new clothes dryer.

Beauty and the Beast is on at the cinema in a couple of weeks, and I suspect that at least some of the family will be back for that one.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Adam's Testimony

Adam contemplates and confirms:

I've been thinking that I need to write down my "testimony" for a while now. I have a strong knowledge of spiritual things that are true. I know that God lives. I know he lives because he operates upon laws. If we test those laws and look for evidence of his work in our lives, we can see it. I have seen many evidences of God at work in my life. As a Bishop and Church leader I have also closely seen these evidences in other peoples lives too. I know that God lives, that he knows us, and he cares about us. I believe that he does these things because he created our spirits. He loves us because we are his spirit children.

As a separate individual witness, the Holy Spirit can communicate to our spirits truths about God. He acts as a separate witness for those who want to know spiritual truths. I have felt the Holy Spirit communicate to my spirit. Some of our most important decisions that we have made as a husband and wife have been through decisions that have been confirmed through the Holy Spirit as being in accordance with God's will for us. I know that through the Holy Spirit, we can gain a knowledge that God has a living Prophet on the earth today, and that God has restored His Church to the earth. God's church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. If we want to know that that is a fact, God can let us know if we do our part to search the scriptures, ponder and pray. Being missionaries when Elissa and I were younger enabled us to help teach other people about the Church, and help them through this process so that they can know for themselves. I have seen the process of conversion work, and know that those who sincerely desire for spiritual truth can find it.

I have no doubt of these things. I may not always be the best at living the things I know I should do, but I do know that I should do them, and that if I do do them, I will benefit spiritually and temporally.

The family is the central unit in God's plan for His children on earth. Our greatest desires are that our children will gain their own testimonies, and not have to rely on ours. That they will show maturity and wisdom to rely on the promptings of the Holy Spirit rather than believing the deceptions of the world. We do not know everything, but we have been given enough to be able to know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true.

I add my testimony to the words of many others. God lives. Jesus is His son, and is the Saviour and Redeemer. Through Jesus' Atonement, we can all overcome the obstacles of sin and death and return to live with Heavenly Father after this life. I know that the family unit can continue on after this life. I know that Thomas S Monson is God's Prophet on earth today.

I thought I'd include links to a couple of talks of interest that tie in to my post:
Doubt Your Doubts (AKA Come, Join With Us, by Elder Dieter F Uchtdorf)
Hope for Parents of Wayward Children (by Elder David A Bednar)
And to finish off the post, a quick thought on Gratitude from President Monson. Can't help but reinforce that gratitude strengthens our testimonies, as it enables us to see the hand of God at work in our lives.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

When He Used to Be Good Looking

Elissa organises......

a youth activity about your ancestors. The kids all had to come dressed as an ancestor, tell a story about an ancestor and bring food from an ancestor. Seth choose to be Grandad and had a fun phone call getting stories from Grandad about Vietnam. Seth then made an apple crumble to take (Grandads favourite food). He used Jaydes jacket and we drew on a moustache. Seth felt the glasses helped but I don't remember seeing any photos of Grandad with cool Raybans on. It was a fun evening.

Jayde wore a blouse of Grandmas that she loves and spoke about Nanny's stories from growing up in England during the war.

Updated 11th Aug: And her's a copy of the original from Grandad's response.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Snow ... So Close, Yet So Far

Adam shivers:

We've had a bit of a cold spell two Fridays ago. The forecast for towns such as Cooma was snow showers, down to about 700 metres elevation. Canberra is about 600 metres - our house is about 640 metres.

Throughout the day a bank of clouds sat over the Brindabella ranges with what looked like snow showers. The media had reports of people debating instances of sleet vs snow occurring around the suburbs.

We didn't get any snow at our house (that we know of), but coming home with the kids on Friday afternoon, we could see the small hills near our house had coverings of snow. I stopped at the turn off to Point Hut Crossing to grab these photos  The larger hill at the front is Castle Hill, and is 4.7kms from our house, although we can't see it directly from our house because it's directly behind Clem Hill that we face. That snow on Castle Hill is an awful lot closer than  an awful lot closer than Corin Forest, which is nearly 16kms from our house.

Unfortunately the snow had all gone by the next morning. Temperatures obviously didn't stay cold enough in the evning to keep it on the ground. The maximum for that Friday was 7.9°C. Not an overly cold day by Canberra standards, but the next week would feature night time temperatures averaging just below -6.0°C each night.