Wednesday, January 11, 2012

2012 Theme: Families Are Forever

One of the things that I cherish most about my faith is families being together forever. What a thoughtful, loving, and smart Father in Heaven we have, to place us in family units. We support each other, we love each other, and we help each other be better.

To help our family continue building strength, we prayerfully decided that our 2012 family theme would be "Families Are Forever."

As we go throughout the year, a special focus will be placed on this. FHE's will be about family, discipline will refer back to the family. Everything will be family!

Our first real FHE was to introduce the theme. Essentially, we came up with ways that we can strengthen our family and wrote them on cups. Then, we stacked the cups to make a "castle" (as the kids called it), like so:
The ways we can build our family (which we all came up with together) are:
* Go to the temple.
* Ask daddy for a blessing.
* Follow the prophet.
* Help mommy make dinner.
* Clean the house together.
* Help mommy with the dishes.
* We each fold our own clothes.
* Do service together.
* Give lots of hugs & kisses.
* Help mommy do the laundry.
* Always have Family Home Evening.
* Go to church every week.
* Tell the truth.
* Read our scriptures.
* Do family history.

As we stacked them, we talked about each one. Then we talked about what would happen to our family if some of the cups were missing. So, to demonstrate, we pulled a cup out of the bottom. Guess what happened?
The kids SQUEALED in delight! So we quickly wrapped up, saying that our family would be its strongest if we remembered to do those things together.

And then the kids continued to build and destroy castles for the next 30 minutes. The cups were demolished, but we had a great time!

Here's to 2012 - all about our family.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Temple Lights

I want to be better about taking our children to the temple grounds. They can feel the spirit and experience the temple just by being able to walk around! Through this, I know that their love for the temple will grow, and they will greatly look forward to the day they get to go.

Over the holiday break, we went to go see the temple lights. We took Grandma and Grandfather Franklin with us! We went and saw Courtney and Matt's new house, went back to their current house for dinner, and then went to see the lights.

There are no words to describe the feeling there. Here are some highlights.

Sariah's favorite part: The Nativity. She's entranced with the baby Jesus, and the star that was above him. When we pulled up to the temple, she immediately spotted the star and said, "There's the star! That's where baby Jesus is! Let's go!"

Matt, my sister's husband. If you look closely, you can see their brand new baby, Ashlynn, tucked away inside his jacket:
Courtney's cute butt with the two kindred spirits:

You know how family pictures go. Never a good one. Best we could do! Don't you love my niece running to be in the picture with us?!
Courtney's cute family:
Grandma and Grandfather Franklin:

My favorite part, the wisemen. They are my favorite because they traveled YEARS to go see the Christ child. He was a toddler by the time they got there! These camels are huge, and are far away on the opposite side of the visitor's center, demonstrating their travels. Such reverence when looking at them from afar.
A cute story. While inside the visitor's center, we went up to the Christus statue to listen to the presentation. Sariah was in my arms, and we were standing at the back. In the middle of the presentation, Sariah leans her head against mine and whispers in my ears, "Mom, why isn't Jesus wearing any shoes?" (The Christus is a statue of the resurrected Christ, with his arms outstretched so you can see the nail prints in his hands.) I kind of chuckled to myself and then answered with: "Because He's now living with Heavenly Father, up in heaven. There aren't any thorns or stickers, just nice soft ground."

It was a wonderful experience, and one that I look forward to doing each year!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Grandma and Grandfather Franklin

Jared's parents joined us for Christmas! They flew in on Christmas Eve, and stayed until New Year's Eve. They were missed the minute their plane took off.

Grandma and Grandfather Franklin, in pictures:

The 3 generations:

Because they are from Illinois, they did a lot of this (basking in the sun):

It was truly touching watching our two children fostering a loving and cherished relationship with this set of grandparents. They played on the floor together, played outside together, played in the bathtub - they couldn't get enough of one another!

Thank you, Grandma and Grandfather Franklin, for making our Christmas so special. It wouldn't have been the same without you!