Sunday, July 16, 2017

Wedding #2 - Salt Lake City

We got tucked into our home-tel none too soon before we drove back south to Salt Lake City for cousin Ari's sealing. Ari is the eldest son of Joy's cousin-sister Laurel (who we call Lala) and Rich. We stayed with them back when we first got married. Back then, I befriended the 10-yr old Ari by playing Star Wars Battlefield with such ineptness that I won the Traitor award for killing more of my own squad than the enemy. Ari is an amazingly talented young man who dances better than I even dreamed of doing. He recently returned from a mission to South Korea, whereupon he swiftly and successfully wooed Paula.


We arrived early so we could take the kids on a tour of Temple Square. At the visitor's center we listened to the Christus statue presentation and watched a movie about family, listened to someone practice on the Mormon Tabernacle Organ*, and ate lunch under the Seagull monument. There was apparently a massive car crash on the 15 coming north to SLC, so the rest of the family was delayed and I waited in the children's playroom at the temple for a while before someone came to relieve me and the ceremony was set to begin.

Meeting family we haven't seen in ages is great. Reuniting with family we haven't seen in ages at the temple of God is even better.** The sealing ceremony was beautiful. I hope Ari and Paula wrote down some notes of what the sealer told them before they were married for time and eternity. That was the first thing Joy and I did after our sealing: stand in the hallway scribbling everything we could remember on the envelope that our wedding certificate came in. I told Joy we'd have to dig around in our journals when we got home to find those notes again.

While waiting for the bride and groom to change and come out to meet the rest of the wedding party for pictures, we got some pictures of the kids playing on the steps of the Salt Lake Temple. We got to join some of the family pics, but the kids eventually got antsy enough I took them off for a bit more Temple Square touring.


We visited this statue of Hyrum Smith, the Three Witnesses, John the Baptist restoring the Aaronic Priesthood to Joseph Smith, and these gorgeous pink flowers. We also learned a little about how they built the Salt Lake temple and saw the model of its construction before we were all in desperate need of a long sit down and to refresh our blood sugar levels before driving down to Orem for the reception. (see next post)
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* - I got to play that organ back in 1997 as part of a class I took at BYU on organ registration (that means picking the right sounds for the organ to make to get a particular feel).
** -  The only downside is that the temple workers had to make a very soft announcement over a microphone every so often to remind us in the waiting area to keep it to a whisper to preserve reverence - an announcement she had to make so often I jokingly expected her to mention not to leave bags unattended and to report any suspicious behavior to TSA. Way to be reverent, Derrill!

Memorial Day in Lehi

Before we got to our home-tel, though, we stayed a couple days (May 28-30) with Joy's cousin-brother* Mike and their family in Lehi, UT, just north of Provo/Orem. (Incidentally, that's also our 12th wedding anniversary. I love you, Joy!) After lunch with my uncle Sherm's family, we drove the 4ish hours across the Utah desert through unfamiliar territory until suddenly we hit the I-15 and we were HOME. I may have never claimed Utah as my home - I've only been a wayfaring visitor despite 4 years at BYU - but it sure feels good to be back!

Mike and Genevieve threw a Memorial Day BBQ and we got to spend some good quality time with a lot of that branch of the family right off the bat.

But first, a trip to Smith's Monday morning. You'd think the kids had never seen a grocery store before, they were so excited! Then again, maybe I'm the odd one for not being excited because I think Joy was also rather happy about it. Among our culinary highlights of the trip was Grandma Sycamore's bread; SO much better than Large Mrs. Baird's in Texas.**

I tried to help the kids understand Joy's complex family tree so they could figure out how they were related to all these nice people they hadn't seen in 3-15 years. Half-siblings and extended cousin-brothers just don't fit the usual diagrams! Superstar eventually got it down well enough to try to draw the genealogy lines during sacrament meeting one Sunday.

Our home-tel in Brigham City (*****)

We had a wonderful experience with our Airbnb, a place called The Temple View Inn. I called it our home-tel (home-hotel). The family is moving out of the place and using it as an airbnb for some extra income, so we had this four bedroom home to ourselves. The Airbnb website doesn't so the place justice:

For the kids, the highlight was this narrow attic playroom. (Superstar says, no, his highlight was the Wii. "I had no idea they would have a Wii.") Okay, but the kids spent many hours in the playroom and it was the first thing they mentioned when we talked to other people about our home-tel. Lots of toys of many kinds, a TV/VCR with a stack of Disney movies, and most importantly a keyboard. The kids are begging us to get a keyboard. Why, when you don't play the piano we have? or the toy piano we already have?


Princess slept in the coastal-Africa room while the boys took the Cars room. We were upstairs with two rooms to choose from: one decorated like Nauvoo with a 50lb sunstone doorstop, a carved hope chest, pictures and busts of Joseph and Emma, a crocheted-lace Nauvoo temple, and LDS church history books; the other in white and blue with wedding pictures. We could see the Brigham City temple from the Nauvoo room. We made Nauvoo our main bedroom and used the blue room for naps.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Being 4-F has never been so adorable

Princess: Daddy, are you going to go fight for our freedom?

[Hmm, that's an unusual question for just before bed. Maybe it's because we're reading the war chapters in the Book of Mormon. The good guys are fighting for freedom, so she probably wants to be reassured I'm a good guy.]

D: Well, if America calls for me, sure.
Princess [worried]: Oh, but they wouldn't, right, Daddy? They have lots of other warriors?

[Ah. That's her worry. ... Of course. Silly daddy.]

D: Yes, yes they do, Princess.
Princess: But, what if all the warriors die and they need some more? Would you fight for freedom?
D: I would if they asked me, but, they're not going to ask me. You see, they want people with good health to fight for freedom.
Princess [brightening]: And you NEVER have good health!

...
D: "Well, I wouldn't say neeeever. But, yes, they want someone ..." in better shape [let's not go there] stronger [hey, I'm strong!] whose wrists haven't abandoned him [too long explain] who can actually run "Yes, someone who doesn't get sick and hurt as much as daddy does."

[She was greatly relieved. She snuggled up close to me and gave me the most angelic smiles.]
Princess: I don't want you to go fight and die, Daddy. I want you to stay with me forever and ever.

Image result for 4F george bailey
Fellow 4-F, being thankful

Sunday, July 9, 2017

What did we do the last 5 weeks?

WE DROVE!
6222 miles in the last five weeks!
TX, CO, UT, NV, and LA all got stopovers

Why? Mostly to visit family we haven't seen in three or more years.
2 weddings and a funeral.
We left to visit Joy's family primarily, but ended up seeing every single member of my extended family except for my grandmother as well.

The kids got so used to living in the car, they started asking where we were driving today as their first question of the day!
We went to a different ward every Sunday - Princess particularly enjoyed that because she got good at making new friends in every Primary while I enjoyed comparing Sunday School teachers teaching the same lesson I heard last week.

We stayed at a nice place in Brigham City that was three blocks from the Brigham temple, so Joy and I made it to the temple every single week.

Superstar read about 6600 pages and I've done a bit more than half that much. 
We all listened to Fablehaven 2-4 in the car.
Unfortunately, my computer is in the shop right now so I can't  post a bunch of pictures today or I totally would. I'm hoping to share more over the next couple weeks, so stay tuned!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

I blew it

The tire, that is.

About 10-15 miles outside of Plainview, TX on Friday, May 26, we paused for a potty break on the side of the road. As we rejoined traffic, I noticed the car was a little harder to control than I remembered it being. As we got up to freeway speeds (75 mph or so) the car was bouncing and bouncing as if we'd lost our shocks. I started slowing down and pulling over just as Joy suggested I might want to do just that.

I didn't have time to say, "That's exactly what I'm doing" when the tire went BANG.

We had just found the spare tire (hidden in an all-but-inaccessible place) when a good Samaritan drove up. He used to work for the call center that calls a tow truck to help stranded passengers and he knew a thing or two. He helped me finish getting the spare out and mounted, only to realize that the spare was kind of flat and appeared to have a tear in it as well.

So this friendly guy drove me to Plainview where WalMart didn't have a tire our size (though they could get it in by Tuesday...). Thankfully, a smaller tire store did have our size and we were soon heading back up the road to where my family waited patiently for me to repair the tire.

After he left, though, we discovered that leaving our emergency lights on for 2 hours had drained the car battery. So we called our Samaritan back to give us a jump. That was, thankfully, the last of our troubles for that trip. That tire made it to Utah and is still going strong, so I guess we got it on correctly.

John-Thomas wants to tell you about the Jungle (June 8)

I want to say something to it. Let me tell you. I love to go to the slides. Yeah, I love to. For my birthday, can I go to the Jungle? I know that you go around and then you climb up and that's how you make it!

(The Jungle is a climbing structure in Logan that Superstar and JT enjoyed while Princess and Joy went roller skating.)














And while JT is talking to you, let's go back  to the Straws to hear puppy-JT speak:









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Wedding #1 - Grand Junction, CO


McKenzie's pun is that she caught "the last Straw."
The timing of this year's vacation was determined by a couple family weddings. My only uncle, Sherm Straw, has but one son, and he was sealed in the Washington DC temple last month. That's the same temple where my parents were married. So we left Stephenville just as soon as I was done with my work for the semester and drove up to Grand Junction, CO to attend Brandon and McKenzie's reception.




Saturday, April 1, 2017

What JT wants for his birthday

JT turns 3 years old next week and we've been getting ready. We had a delightful little conversation with him over some pre-birthday ice cream. It all started when we let him know we had bought his birthday presents.

He asked what they were. We said we wouldn't tell him because they were a surprise.
Then he whispered in my ear, "You can tell me the surprise Daddy."

We wanted to encourage him to enjoy the surprise. I described how, when he opened his presents, he would say "Aaaaaaaaah!" from being happy. This confused him.

JT: "I say Aaaah?"
D: You will be happy and surprised. You won't be sad. You won't be angry. You won't be scared.
JT: "Scared? Daddy, you remember the dinosaur? He said Raaaaaaar!"
D: At the airport in Qatar? Yes, he was very scary, wasn't he?"
JT: "Yeah!"
D: Don't worry, JT. None of your presents are scary.
JT: My presents not scary? Awwww.

He drooped his shoulders and looked utterly depressed, like all the joy of his birthday had deflated!

That's our littlest - someone who loves being scared and then overcoming and embracing his fears.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Moana - the video game I want to see but won't get

I'm envisioning the Moana civilization building/resource management simulation. It takes place in the time of the ancestors... (wavy flashback lines)