Sunday, May 15, 2016

A catch up post: 25 years

Neil and I celebrated our 25th Anniversay on April 26th.  We went to Washington DC to celebrate.  We also had a fun family celebration together on Monday night for Family Home Evening treats.  We bought some fun ice creams and lots of candy bars for toppings.  We let the kids put candy bars on their bowls of ice cream and enjoyed eating it together.  I think they have asked for candy bars on top of their ice cream every Sunday since so it must have been fun for them.  Here are some pictures of our ice cream party:

Cutting up the candybars to put on ice cream

Josh looks happy to have ice cream and candybars

A catch up post: Julia's big white envelope in the mailbox

Julia's large white envelope from the church came on Monday, April 25th.  She thought it would be great if it had come on Tuesday, the 26th because Neil and I were going out of town and we would have to wait until Wednesday when we got back to open it.  I am glad the Lord knew I wouldn't want to wait and let it come on Monday.  She was called to serve in the Utah, St. George mission.  She reports on July 20th to the MTC.  I am having to trust in the timing of the Lord with this, because our baby is due on July 18th.  I know it will work out in the Lord's way.

We are thrilled that Julia is willing to serve the Lord.  We have family in the St. George mission and it will be fun to see if she serves in their areas.  I lived in Kanab for 5 years and I hope she gets to serve there and see where I lived.  I know she is serving where the Lord needs her and she will be blessed for serving.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mother's Day

My beautiful mother at the MTC July 2013 before serving the Lord in the Scotland/Ireland mission

Neil's beautiful mother at our house for Joshua's baby blessing
These two beautiful ladies are my best examples of motherhood.  I am so grateful to have one as my mother and the other as my mother in law.  I am grateful that each of them was willing to sacrifice to raise a family.  They each have a strong testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ and they have lived their lives to follow Him.  I am so grateful to have each of them as an example to follow in my life.  Heavenly Father has greatly blessed me to have both of these mothers in my life.  I feel so blessed!  Happy Mother's Day to two great mothers.

Mount Vernon

We also went to Mount Vernon to see where George Washington lived.  It was beautiful.  We got rained on just a little bit, but it was still a great experience.  The home and grounds were beautiful.  The gardens were very impressive.  The house had the actual bed where George Washington died.  There was  a woman dressed to be Martha Washington and she was talking about George and Martha's life.  It was very interesting to listen to her. What a beautiful view of the Potomac River the Washington's had from their front porch!  I loved being there and I am so glad we finally went to see it.  I wished that we could have gone when Rebecca and Bethany were here. The museum was amazing! It really made it easier to understand the Washington's lives.

Martha Washington

Lydia and Joshua enjoyed watching the Blacksmith

The view from the front yard

The Washington's front porch
After Mount Vernon we took the children to Arlington National Cemetery.  I love the feeling there.  I think that the older children felt the reverence and respect there.  They enjoyed seeing the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  They were impressed by all the rows of tombstones.  I hope they will always feel reverence and respect for our country and those who give their lives to defend freedom.

We finished the day off at Cici's Pizza Buffet before heading back home.  It was a good day.  I think it was our best trip to the Washington DC area.

Fredricksburg, Virginia

We decided to do one more trip to see some historical places in Virginia this weekend before we leave for Wyoming.  I had heard of the Battle of Fredricksburg but didn't know much about it.  Fredricksburg is half way between Washington DC and Richmond the captial of the Confederate States.  It sustained great damage during the Civil War.  The northern troops tried to build a bridge across the Rapahannock River into the city, but the Confederate troops were able to shoot at the bridge builders from the buildings in the city.  The north then started to fire cannons into the city to drive out the Confederate troops.  The city was nearly destroyed.  Families were hiding in basements and fleeing the city in December.  

The most impressive story was of a young Confederate soldier named Richard Kirkland.  On December 13, 1862, Kirkland's unit had formed at the stone wall at the base of "Marye's Heights" near Fredericksburg, Virginia. In the action that followed, he and his unit inflicted heavy casualties on the Union attackers. On the night of December 13, walking wounded made their way to the field hospital while those who were disabled were forced to remain on the battlefield. The morning of December 14 revealed that over 8,000 Union soldiers had been shot in front of the stone wall at Marye's Heights. Many of those remaining on the battlefield were still alive, but suffering terribly from their wounds and a lack of water.
Soldiers from both sides were forced to listen to the painful cries of the wounded for hours, with neither side daring to venture out for fear of being shot by the enemy. At some point during the day, Kirkland allegedly approached Confederate Brig. Gen. Joseph B. Kershaw, also from Kershaw County, South Carolina, and informed him that he wished to help the wounded Union soldiers. By Kershaw's own account, at first he denied the request, but later he relented. However, when Kirkland asked if he could show a white handkerchief, General Kershaw stated he could not do that. Kirkland responded "All right, sir, I'll take my chances."
Kirkland gathered all the canteens he could carry, filled them with water, then ventured out onto the battlefield. He ventured back and forth several times, giving the wounded Union soldiers water, warm clothing, and blankets. Soldiers from both the Union and Confederate armies watched as he performed his task, but no one fired a shot. General Kershaw later stated that he observed Kirkland for more than an hour and a half. At first, it was thought that the Union would open fire, which would result in the Confederacy returning fire, resulting in Kirkland being caught in a crossfire. However, within a very short time, it became obvious to both sides as to what Kirkland was doing, and according to Kershaw cries for water erupted all over the battlefield from wounded soldiers. Kirkland did not stop until he had helped every wounded soldier (Confederate and Federal) on the Confederate end of the battlefield. Sergeant Kirkland's actions remain a legend in Fredericksburg to this day.

Image result for richard kirkland

Here are some pictures of us visiting Fredricksburg:

Joshua pretending to be a soldier behind the wall

The kids are checking for bullet holes in this house.  There were lots of holes to see.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Wizard of Oz

The schools here have a great drama program. Their spring production was The Wizard of Oz.  David was involved in it at school and he told Joshua and Lydia that they were looking for younger children to be Munchkins.  Joshua and Lydia were excited to be involved.  They practiced in March and April and performed April 28-30th.  David ended up being Uncle Henry, an Ozian and a Winkie.  Joshua was a Munchkin and an Ozian.  Lydia was a Munchkin, and a Poppy.  I didn't get a picture of her as a poppy.  Joshua and Lydia really loved being in the play.

The kids did a great job!  It was fun to watch them.  Joshua and Lydia listened to the cd so many times that they could do every song by heart.  Lydia would turn it up so loud that she looked like she was lip syncing because you couldn't here her.  This was the last production Mrs. Hogan was involved with before she retires.  She went all out on this production.  The sets were amazing.  The costumes were rented and looked really good.  It was great to watch the kids and be able to support them.  Great job, David, Joshua and Lydia!!

David as Uncle Henry

The Munchkins

The Ozians (David and Joshua taking care of the Tin Man in Oz)

The Winkies (David is the third one from the left)

Cute Munchkins

Arlington National Cemetery

One of the places I really wanted to see while we were here was Arlington National Cemetery.  We decided to go there after attending the temple.  It was an amazing experience!  There is such a feeling of reverence and respect there.  Just looking over all those graves was an experience I am grateful I had.  I loved watching the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  I really loved watching all the veterans who were there in their wheelchairs to pay their respect.

The Veterans Section

Here Rests in Honored Glory an American Soldier Known But to God

At the top of the hill is Robert E. Lee's home. There is an amazing view of Washington DC from the Lee's home.   I didn't know the story about how Arlington Cemetery came to be where it is. The cemetery is on General Lee's property because it was a hill where the graves would be safe.  The general who was charged to find a spot for the cemetery had been General Lee's friend and couldn't forgive him for helping the south so he picked the Lee's land for the cemetery.  The first 22 graves were placed around Mrs. Lee's flower garden.

There is also a Tomb of the Unknown Civil War Soldier.  It isn't guarded like the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, but there is a reverent feeling there.

John F. Kennedy's family is buried at the base of the hill below the Lee's home.  The story was that once President Kennedy visited the area and said he loved it there. He said he could stay there forever.  Not long after the visit President Kennedy was assassinated and they decided to bury him there.  There is a flame that burns at the Kennedy's graves.

Cherry Blossoms at Arlington National Cemetery