Posts Tagged ‘Family news’

Every Good Thing

I watched in amazement and wonder as my 10 month old baby girl carefully picked item after item out of the tipped over diaper bag, tasting one thing, shaking another.  She was having a wonderful time, so interested in every item, though holding her attention for only a minute or two.  That’s the way it was of course, until, she found the lollypop.  Then it was just her and the lollypop.  Every little piece of paper with the corners now missing, every diaper changing accessory, every squeaky toy or rattle was forgotten……jackpot!


The person who coined the phrase “it’s as easy as taking candy from a baby”, never took candy from this baby, boy did she ever yell at me!  And it was actually easier to feed her her liquid peaches if I just relented and let her hold the lollypop in her hand.  She wouldn’t let it go, it was what she had dug so hard for and she was not going to just give it up after all that hard work.

It was a funny but simple illustration of how each of us endures one thing or another, good and bad experiences along the path of life, searching for the one thing that is going to carry us through.  And when we find it, that is what we cling to. 

President Eyring gave a talk recently at the First Presidency Christmas Devotional where he used the scriptural phrase, “lay hold upon every good thing.”  Even though I’m sure the rest of his talk was wonderful, everything else seemed to fade except for that statement.  And the word that jumped out at me more than anything was EVERY.

Lately, with the news being anything but positive, and so much deceit and treachery on the world stage, it really becomes important for us to focus on the things that matter most, and what will give us lasting happiness. 

The 13th Article of Faith states, “if there is anything lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.”  Are we seeking out the good in life?  Do we keep a spirit of gratitude in our hearts?  Do we express it?

Perhaps that’s why Job was able to keep going when he had so little going for him.  He had boils, all his stuff was gone, his family were gone.  And yet he still praised God.  Why?  Because he had eternal perspective, and his testimony of Christ carried him through.  He knew that if he remained faithful, that in the end, it would all be okay. 

So I’m going to try and do something I haven’t done before, and that is to keep a gratitude journal.  At the end of each day, I will write one thing I am grateful for that day.  And hopefully, during the day I will keep an attitude of gratitude in my heart for EVERY thing that is good.  For there really is so much.

Luke: “Why does everything taste like grape?”

So Luke has the croup, or whooping cough, or something.  He’s got medicine for croup (Orapred) which is notoriously bad tasting.  He actually started out with a generic version of the drug that tasted much worse (so they say), and Luke wouldn’t have any more after the first taste.  He was quite adamant, using his tongue and teeth to keep us from putting anything in and took more desperate measures when we held his mouth open. 

Apparently the pharmacy can add flavoring to bad tasting medicines, and grape was the recommended cover-up flavor.  Luke likes grapes, so we took it.  It didn’t help.

Today Luke even refused unadulterated strawberry ice cream, presumably for fear that we’d tampered with it to trick him into taking his medicine.

So I went down and got the genuine article Orapred, in chewable tablet form, still flavored grape, that’s supposed to taste better.  I stuck the tablet in the middle of a piece of Mounds candy bar.  He ate it.  Yay!

Tonight he refused the same technique.  I distracted him as much as I could, and eventually he took it and put it in his mouth.  I thought he’d eaten it.  But several minutes later when I moved him from his place on the couch, I found chocolate mixed into the cushions and his PJs. *sigh*  I’ll have to come up with something else to stick the medicine into for tomorrow morning.

I can just hear Luke thinking tomorrow: "Why does everything suddenly taste like grape??!"

A Look Back at 2008 – It was the best of times, it was the ….well, you know..

With the first birthday of our first child in March Luke showed us that cake can be eaten with your toes and that balloons are way more fun than any more expensive toy we may have gotten him.  We have learned that parenthood is a mix of both teaching and learning. Luke has been such a joy and surprises us daily with how smart he is.

Attending Nathan’s wedding in California reminded us that true love comes to those who are patient and if we treasure it, can last forever.

With the discovery of a misaligned tub in our bathroom, a 15-year-old leak, and 60 square feet of mold we learned the luxury of privacy and having our own bathroom. Hooray for nice neighbors and deodorant!We also learned that nice new tile can result from suffering without that privacy and bathroom for a month and a half. 

As we visited the wild bushvelt of South Africa, we learned how wonderful it is to revisit places and people. It is amazing to experience another culture and the beauties of another land, even if it takes more than 24 hours of traveling with a small child on your lap…thank you Benadryl!

We found out we were having another child and felt truly blessed to be parents again especially to a little girl who will no doubt teach us lessons her brother has not (due Feb 23rd).  She had better learn how to wrestle and play with cars really quickly!

When Cheryl finally got her citizenship we were reminded of what patriotism should mean and how many people (including the Mackrory family) sacrificed to come to this great land.

As we attended Andrew Mackrory’s graduation ceremony we were impressed with both his persistence and smarts as none of us had any clue what his thesis was about except that it had something to do with fire.

When we (Cheryl for the first time) voted this year and saw great change in our country, we were reminded that we answer to a higher power and that all things will work together for His purposes.

We put our condo on the market and after 6 months decided we’d given it our best shot.  We learned that the people in the house matter more than the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. We also realized how much stuff we have and how little we need it all, however, we will keep most of it….just in case…

When we attend Sean’s wedding and celebrate our own anniversary of 5 years we will look back and realize that we have learned so much about one another and ourselves. It has been full of the events of life and we have weathered them all by leaning on each other.

As we visited with our friends and family, slept in your beds, used your bathrooms, and strengthened our ties, we learned most of all how much we need and appreciate each one of you. Thank you so much for being there when we needed you and for the light you bring to our lives. As we finish up this year and celebrate the miraculous birth of our Savior, our prayer is that each of us will look back with fondness on the memories of this year and be reminded of the blessings that came from both the celebrations and the trials.

Luke’s favorite songs

Recently I discovered, which is a really cheap way of listening to any of six million songs. Luke has his own account where we keep his music. Here’s his favorite.

The many “loves” of Luke

Due to popular demand, we have created a slide show of Luke’s latest and greatest shots.  The little girl in the pictures is his best friend, Makenzie who is a month younger.  She is all girl and he is all boy, so it’s fun to watch them interact.  Mak makes sure he is fed, and that he’s got toys to play with (she’s the woman taking care of the needs of her man) and he gives her hugs and occasionally roars like a dinosaur in her face – okay, so he’s a boy – the energy’s gotta go somewhere!  They are very sweet together.

Aside from playing with Mak he also has some other hobbies.  Mostly they involve either a slide, a plunger, or something with buttons, lights, or wheels.  He loves books very much and has finally kicked the habit of eating them – hooray!

Luke: primary and his crib

Our luck with Luke in nursery ended very quickly.  Within a couple weeks he was crying when we left him and I’ve spent most of nursery time with him lately.  We hope that improves soon.

On the positive side, we recently exchanged his crib rail with a shorter rail that has an opening where he can crawl in and out without our help.  Although he seemed to love the change and crawled into his crib the first night, it was scary the first night as we weren’t sure whether he’d wake up in the middle of the night, forget about the change and end up flipping head first over the shorter railing.  He did great though, in part due to my running in as fast as I could that first night when I heard him crying to help him notice the shorter rail.  Since then he has been an angel.  He almost always goes to bed willingly at his bed-time anyway, but now he occasionally comes to us in our bedroom in the middle of the night if he needs attention — very often without crying at all. It’s so exciting to have a son in our home that is feeling so grown up!

Luke’s first day in nursery

Tuesday Luke turns 18 months, so today was Luke’s long awaited first day in the nursery at church.  We’ve learned that when we leave him with babysitters that rather than try to sneak out when he’s distracted, the best thing to do is actually wave goodbye to him until he finally waves back.  That’s his way of coming to accept our departure, and he always agrees, although sometimes it takes a minute or two.

But today in primary we did not have to do even that.  I dropped him off and he took a few steps, just wondered at the many other children and stared.  He never turned around at all to see his mom and dad leave.  And two hours later a very happy toddler was returned to us.  Luke is truly a darling.  We anticipate many more easy drop-offs at nursery in the future.

Average flight time: 15 minutes or 15 seconds?

So I finally broke down after 19 years and bought myself a radio-controlled (RC) airplane.  I wanted to get something in the intermediate skill level so I could learn on it with help, and not grow out of it so quickly.  But the HobbyTownUSA man I talked to assured me that I would crash it, and the newer ones are a bit gentler to learn on.  So I bought the "for newbies" model.  It’s an electric motor whose battery has an expected flight time of 12-15 minutes between recharges.

It turns out it was a good thing to buy the one for flyers with no experience.  My first flight lasted less than ten seconds and ended in a nose dive crash.  My second flight lasted several minutes and was much more exciting–it even ended with a proper glide landing.  My third flight lasted only a couple minutes and ended with another dive-bomb crash.  By now I still had a bit of battery left, but the front-end of my plane was so mashed up that I was afraid another crash would damage the motor.  So we packed up and went home.

Monday I will have to buy a few parts to replace those that I broke.  I’ll leave my plane at Microsoft so I can fly it at lunch times. 

Our family trip to South Africa

Well, we’re finally over our jet-lag, we’ve unpacked all our goodies and now it’s time for a look back on the adventure of a lifetime!  We took lots of pictures, which Andrew has categorized and included in this post below.  But first, check out our 3D fly-by movie of the major places we visited.

We spent lots of time with extended family and enjoyed a landscape and culture that although is in a developed country, is quite different to the United States.  We went to visit Cheryl’s grandparents and Aunt Sheilagh and Uncle James.  But while there we also went to the game reserve and the beach.  We spent just over two weeks there.  Below we’ll tell stories with photos depicting each activity.

Beautiful vistas

There is an energy and rhythm in Africa that is alive in the people, the art, and the sunrises.  We went from Johannesburg’s busy market places through the plains and farmland of the Orange Free State to the gorgeous beaches of KwaZulu Natal.   

Cheryl hasn’t seen her Aunt, Uncle or Grandparents since she was 11 – if you’re smart you’ll work out that that’s 15 years!!!  It was wonderful to catch up and introduce them to Andrew and Luke – both of whom were an instant hit!

Game reserve

We spent a few days in a game reserve to see the animals.  We had a lot of fun.  We saw giraffe, antelope, lots of cheeky warthogs and rhinos and yet, it seemed as though 433 elephants were successfully hiding…until on the way out of the reserve, Cheryl spotted several in a row at a great distance.  We went on an early morning walk in the bush with an armed guide and a night safari drive too.  One night we even heard hyenas outside our chalet while we lay in bed! It was amazing!

Andrew’s beach accident

There were several days that we spent near the beach and I got to boogie board every day — until I had an accident.  A storm was on its way, and the waves were much larger than they had been the previous few days.  No one else was swimming.  Still, the waves were only about as big as a good day in California, so I decided to go for it.  Although Cheryl was napping, her dad, aunt and uncle were with me at the beach to watch.  It took a long time to even get out into deeper water because the waves kept pushing me back.  When I finally got out there, a side current swept me quickly away from the safe beach so that when I caught the next wave, I was smashed into some underwater rocks.  Ouch!

Luke moments

Luke had a blast.  He ate sand, tried some local delicacies like biltong and rusks, and dance any chance he got.  Even though we are well stocked with great pictures of this kid, we captured several shots of Luke being really cute.  Here are a few:

Stunt show

We saw a very impressive show while at a flea market:

Cultural differences

South Africa is a developed country, but there are issues.  Theft and violent crime are much more common there than it is in the US.  Luckily we weren’t personally affected by either of those.  Mostly what we noticed were just unexpected subtle (and not so subtle) differences.  Here are some of the pictures we took that captured unexpected things:

I’m published

MSDN Magazine cover, sporting an article written by Andrew ArnottI’m published in MSDN Magazine!  I wrote an article on writing a .NET Compact Framework application that uses WCF (the Windows Communication Foundation).  Yes, this magazine comes in a print edition as well.  Awesome.

Last Friday a blog post I wrote was featured on MSDN’s This Week on Channel 9.