Monday, December 31, 2007

My new church calling

I've just been called to serve as the first counselor in the ward Young Men's Presidency.  The whole presidency is newly called, and I'm looking forward to working with all of them.

One of the things I'll be doing in my new calling is teaching the Teacher's Quorum.  I'm really excited about that.  There are only 2-5 youth who will be there each week.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Anniversary 2007

Cheryl and I just celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary.  After a few unsuccessful attempts at romantic getaways in previous years, we decided to enjoy the comforts at home this year.  Our friends the Leafty's babysat Luke overnight and we made a fancy dinner at home.  We had shrimp cocktail and salad for an appetizer, followed by twice-baked potatoes and steak for our entrée.  Of course we had apple cider along with it. 

 The table set out for our anniversary dinner

Although we missed Luke, we hear he was pretty good at the Leafty's and enjoyed himself.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Eves 2007

Luke, Cheryl and I celebrated Christmas Eve twice this year: once on December 24th and again (tonight) on December 26th.  The first time we were with Cheryl's family in Colorado.  We spent the last few days with them and flew back to Washington on the afternoon of Christmas Day. 

Our time at the Mackrory's (Cheryl's parents) was very enjoyable.  Andrew & KaraLynne Mackrory (with their two kids Lyman and CoriLynne) were also visiting.  We celebrated Christmas Eve with lamb, ham, squash, broccoli and other great food.  Christmas morning we opened presents.  We had left most of our own presents at home so we could open them after our own traditions when we got back.

Christmas Eve at our house tonight consisted of a quick reading of Luke 2, followed by a "Mary & Joseph supper" consisting of cheese, crackers, grape juice, beef jerky and dried fruit.  Tradition would have it that we re-enact the trek Joseph & Mary took looking for an inn in which to deliver the baby Jesus.  In interest of time and a lack of actors we just read Luke 2, and quickly so that we'd have time to put Luke (the baby) to bed at a decent hour.  The food was good.  We added sliced oranges (compliments of dad Arnott) to our meal because it might have been dad's offering if he were there in A.D. 1.

Our family having our Mary & Joseph supper  (Andrew promises to warn Cheryl next time he snaps a picture.)

Tomorrow we will open presents from our extended family and to and from each other in our immediate family.  We'll likely blog again tomorrow.

Monday, December 17, 2007

How to easily stay up-to-date on family news

With at least 3 blogs from branches of the Arnott family keeping the rest of us up to date, I thought I'd help you "subscribe" to these updates so you know when someone posts to their blog and can read it easily.

First, let's review the family blogs thus far (that I know of):

  • http://blog.mysideoftheweb.com/ (Andrew + Cheryl)
  • http://hancockarnott.blogspot.com/ (Sarah + Sheldon)
  • http://danwebbfamily.blogspot.com/ (Rebecca + Dan)
  • Not listed here?  Get your blog started so we can keep up with what's going on in your life.  Here's a good place to start your new blog (it's free): http://www.blogger.com.

Gmail

Here's how you can add these blogs to Gmail so you are more likely to notice when someone posts something while you're just reading your Gmail:

  1. Get into your Gmail account.
  2. Click Settings
  3. Click Web Clips
  4. Fill in the "Search by topic or URL" box with the blog URL you want to stay up to date on. (one of the ones listed above)
  5. Click Search
  6. Click Add
  7. Keep repeating the last few steps until you've added all the blog URLs you want.
  8. Click the "remove" links next to any web clip lines you're not interested in seeing.
  9. Click Inbox.

Then you can click the Right button on the end of the Web Clip bar until you see some recent blog posts.  You won't always have to click that arrow.  When new posts are added to a blog you're interested in, they'll just show up in that ticker.

Google Reader

If you'd like an app that helps you subscribe to all these updates where you can read through lots of past entries at once, try Google Reader. 

  1. Visit http://www.google.com/reader
  2. Click the "Add subscription" link
  3. Type in one of the blog URLs listed above.
  4. Repeat to add each of the blogs you're interested in.
  5. Click the "All items" link to read entries from all of your subscribed blogs, in chronological order.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Luke is standing!

Luke has been standing with the help of steadying nearby objects for a few weeks.  He has recently been trying to free stand but only managed to do it for about a second at a time.  Tonight, he stood without any assistance several times for 10-15 seconds.  How exciting!

We'll share a video when we can get him to do it for the camera.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Looking for another job

An internal change at Microsoft forces me to find a new job (within the company).  Microsoft is making the transition as easy as possible.  There are lots of internal jobs available to me to apply for, and I have at least a few months to find a good fit.

Still, I will miss working on the .NET Compact Framework.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Family Christmas Newsletter 2007

Isn’t it amazing how the birth of someone so small can have such an impact on our lives and hearts that we are never ever the same? We began this year making preparations for the arrival of our little boy. We read books, took a class, and made several stops at BabiesRUs so that we would know how to handle every eventuality…On March 9th, Luke Mitchell arrived with his big blue eyes and an unquenchable thirst for adventure, and we found that you just have to take one day at a time. Now as we near the end of the year and his 9th month, we are amazed at how much we all have grown! I have learned how to multitask like never before, Andrew has learned to get by on minimal sleep, and Luke has learned to move about, hide things under the oven, unroll the toilet roll, and steal our hearts every time he smiles and says “Mama”.

Even though the miles have separated us from family, we were fortunate enough to make visits to Colorado, California, Utah and Portland. The Relate Institute, whom Andrew used to work for, invited him back to a retreat, partly funding our trip to Utah in June, allowing us to spend time with Andrew’s sister, and most of my family. It was really fun to see all of the Mackrory cousins together and see, not only a confirmation of our quality gene pool, but how they have all changed in just a year. Scout camp took Andrew to Puget Sound for a week so I skipped off to Colorado with Luke so Grandma and Grandpa Mackrory could spoil us. Just as the cold was setting in here, we went off down to Southern California so Luke could meet his Grandma Arnott (and GREAT Grandma too!). It was so nice to see the sun, all day, everyday, for a FEW days, and we managed to sneak in a visit to the temple, an hour at the beach, and a ride through the orange groves! We just got back from spending Thanksgiving with Andrew’s sister (the Webbs) in Portland, and despite the illnesses that inflicted half the party, it was so nice to see them and be with family again.

At the end of the summer, our church ward boundaries were redefined and we became part of a new ward. We left behind a lot of friends, but found that there are much more young families with whom we can relate, and Luke has the benefit of extra playmates at the back of Sunday School. We are currently doing a Christmas assignment and Andrew is sharing the teaching of Gospel Doctrine.

I became my own boss just before Luke was born (and then he became boss..), and in August, Andrew got a promotion. He really enjoys the team he works with at Microsoft and keeps very busy with the Homeowners Association. I love being at home with my little boy and having time to do crafty things when Luke takes a nap longer than an hour, a truly rare phenomenon.

Next year we plan to join my parents in going to South Africa for 2 weeks. Hopefully I can get my US citizenship in time to get a passport… It will be so fun to show Andrew and Luke a part of my childhood and see my Grandparents as well. We’re sure there will be reasons too to return to Colorado and California and we look forward to spending anytime we can with family. It has been hard to be living so far away from everyone but hopefully the internet and telephone will keep us feeling connected.

We hope that this letter finds you happy and healthy. As we celebrate all that is Christmas, the trees, the treats, and the trimmings, may your family feel the love and the change that can come from the birth of one tiny baby so many years ago. When you look to Him, your heart and life will never be the same.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Snow on December 1st

Happy December, everyone.  We looked at the window, and what did we see?  Snow-covered rooftops looking at me!