Sunday, September 10, 2017

JT's biggest fan

Superstar and John-Thomas sleep in a bunk bed, with 3 year old JT on the bottom. When he figured out how to climb, we took away the ladder to make sure he couldn't climb into his brother's bed. Superstar had to climb up using the headboards. Last month John-Thomas figured out how to climb up his brother's bunk bed without the ladder. To prevent him from falling and hurting himself badly when he came back down, we finally installed Superstar's ladder.

The immediate reaction, naturally enough, was to encourage JT to climb into his brother's bed ALL the TIME. Then one morning he turned on the fan, climbed into his brother's bed, and started jumping up and down excitedly. That's when disaster struck.
"I'm wearing my pajamas
and I look like a pirate!"

Over tonight's hashbrown dinner, I ask him to retell the experience: "Superstar was sleeping. I was climbing on Superstar's bunkbed - not on this night. And I turn on the fan. And I got whacked in the head and I didn't get breaked in the potatoes." On saying this, he resumes smashing his hashbrowns into bits.

He got hit just above his left eye. JUST above. I carried him to our bathroom to wash out the blood, give him a priesthood blessing, and try to calm him. Once we got him some Mr. Roger's Neighborhood, he was feeling a lot better.

We went to three different doctors that morning before we found someone who could see him, and she declared that he happily didn't need stitches. He has been recovering happily since then, much more wary about climbing into his brother's bed.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Reception: Ari and Paula

Here are some pictures from Ari and Paula's wedding reception. I enjoyed being MC, which consisted of telling people the line forms to the right, dinner rolls are on the left, and when it was time for our expert dancers to get their groove on.

Religious reading recommendations

So out of all those books (see last post), I must have some opinions, right? Matter of fact, I do.

CS Lewis' George MacDonald was glorious. It's one of the very few books I have ever managed to read slowly because I was constantly setting it down to ponder more deeply on a new insight. I need to read this again and again. In the introduction, Lewis writes "From his own father, he said, he first learned that Fatherhood must be at the core of the universe. He was thus prepared in an unusual way to teach that religion in which the relation of Father and Son is of all relations the most central." In that regard MacDonald said:
God does not ... make us always feel right, desire good, love purity, aspire after Him and His Will. ... The truth is this: He wants to make us in His own image, choosing the good, refusing the evil. How should He effect this if He were always moving us from within, as He does at divine intervals, toward the beauty of holiness? ... For God made our individuality as well as, and a greater marvel than, our dependence ... [so] that freedom should bind us divinely dearer to Himself, with a new and inscrutable marvel of love; for ... the freer the man, the stronger the bond that binds him to Him who made his freedom.
 Also: "A man is in bondage to whatever he cannot part with that is less than himself" and "He who seeks the Father more than anything He can give, is likely to have what he asks, for he is not likely to ask amiss."

The King Dethroned: summer reading contest 2017

To encourage me and my brother to read, my parents established a summer reading contest. We got a small prize for every thousand pages we read and a big prize if we read more pages than anyone else.

I won every year.

One summer I made it through 15,000+ pages by spending most every summer morning lounging in my bed with a Dragonlance, Forgotten Realms, or Ravenloft book in my hands.

But my former glory and prowess isn't really what we're here to talk about. I only need to mention it in order to showcase and highlight the glory of the rising sun: Superstar. Last summer he pulled ahead of me, but he stopped reading partway through the summer and I overtook him. By the time he realized it, I was far ahead and he had trouble catching up.

This summer he took a rapid lead, pushing ahead to double my page number. I thought I might be unseated, but kept plugging along at a steady, rapid pace. Eventually he paused and I struck by finishing off several longer books I had been working on for a while. I pulled ahead. This time I made sure to yell loudly and point it out to him early on. He rekindled his reading streak and struggled to catch up. Neck and neck we raced to the finish, sprinting through our books for all we were worth. I reorganized all our books so it would be easier for him to identify books in his age range. Superstar discovered Harry Potter and devoured the first four books. In the very last week of the contest, as we both crossed the 9000 page line, he pulled ahead.

When the dust settled the last night before school, Superstar was ahead of me by exactly 50 pages. Superstar is the new Reading King! The king is dead. LONG LIVE THE KING!

For his little prizes, he got some more books to read and for his grand prize, he chose the audiobook of Harry Potter IV to read him to sleep each night.

List of books we read:

Monday, September 4, 2017

Temples dot the Wasatch front

While driving up and down Utah and Nevada, we decided to try to show the kids as many temples as we could. It got them thinking about the temple and temple work a lot more, so they asked a lot of great questions about what happens there and why Mommy and Daddy love the temple so much.

Living just three blocks from a temple helped - the first temple each day came rather quickly. JT would call out "'Roni! Mroni!" when he saw the angel Moroni on them.

This summer was a time of dedicated temple service for us. LDS temple are there to unite families across multiple generations. We do vicarious ordinance work for them so they can have the same blessings of the gospel that we do. (more here).

A couple years ago Joy got really interested in doing some family history and she found and prepared the names of something like 60 family members for us to do temple work for. I admit the reason she did only 60 is because I asked her to stop at 50, knowing that at our usual pace of each of us doing one person each month, that was all we could manage in two years. We kept at it.

Then last year I got more interested in family history also. Playing around with both my history and Joy's, I prepared enough names to take us up to about 100 waiting on us. Oopsies.

As we counseled together about how we were going to get this done, we decided to do everything we could to more than double our temple work.

Joy: I had told Derrill, no, we didn't have the time. Then a week or so later I was feeling like I needed extra help from Heavenly Father. The answer I got was that I should go to the temple every other week. Then when I talked to you about it I remembered your insistence on doing more work for the dead, so yours was more altruistic *lol*

Over the summer, at least one of us was in the temple every week. In Brigham that meant a leisurely morning stroll for each of us to the temple three blocks away. In Stephenville that means a full day trip. We regularly sent one of us up to Dallas (2 hours away with traffic) first thing in the morning and they stayed there until the evening. It's been a wonderful, fulfilling, peaceful time.

The only "problem" is that despite taking care of more than 30 people's ordinance work, we still have 100+ people to do because I keep stumbling across more relatives who need work.