Monday, May 15, 2017

A Special Invitation to All!

I want to take a moment to reach out to all my friends, but most especially those who live in and around Tucson, and tell you about something very special and exciting for me and many of the people in our community: the newly built Temple for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints here in Tucson. I want to tell you a little about why this new building is special to me and invite you to go inside that building and see how beautiful it is during the open house this June.

May 2016 Tucson, AZ: still under construction.

What is this open house? Prior to a temple being dedicated, it is open to the public to walk through and see the interior. Anyone, regardless of age, gender, religion, or life style can walk through the temple during the open house. After it has been dedicated, only members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) who hold a temple recommend can go inside a temple and participate in the work done inside.

Salt Lake City, UT Temple at Christmas time.
Why would you care about seeing the inside of a temple? Well, if you are curious about Mormon theology you would get some insight into what it is that goes on inside a temple that is actively being used. If you aren't curious, that is fine. Temples are beautiful and unique. The work that happens in temples is the same everywhere in the world, but the architecture and decor different in each one. The design of a temple usually reflects the culture and natural beauty of the place it was built. Even if religion holds no interest for you, it is worth it to see the beauty of this building. It is a work of art and well worth walking through.

Seattle, Washington Temple
How do I go to this open house? There is no charge for a reservation, it is FREE to attend. As I said before, anyone can attend the open house. Follow this link to make a reservation:

All you need to do is select the Tucson AZ Temple, choose your date, time, and number of people in your reservation. Your reservation info will be e-mailed to you, so use a real e-mail, you won't start getting spam as a result. The open house begins June 3rd and ends June 24th, you can tour every day of the week except Sunday.

Apia, Samoa Temple
What will this open house be like? I have been to a couple of these, so I can tell you! You will watch a short video that explains the sacred nature of the temple and why we build temples. You will then get to walk through and see several of the rooms. You will likely not see every single little nook and office, but you will see the majority of the interior. When you enter, there will be volunteers helping you put on weird looking white booties over your shoes. These are for the very functional purpose of protecting the carpets while thousands of people walk on them for three weeks. Imagine having to replace the carpets right after installing them! In other open houses I have been to there were signs posted in each room you walk through to explain its purpose, I imagine the same will be done here. As you walk through, you will be asked to refrain from talking unless in a whisper to maintain a reverent atmosphere. You will also be asked to turn off your phones and to not take pictures of the interior. There will be professional photos posted online for the whole world to see and share, but others are asked not to take pictures. Taking goofy selfies inside a temple is the same level of no-no as goofy selfies at the Vietnam war memorial. It is in bad taste and does not show proper respect to the reverent nature of such places. Take as many photos of the exterior as you like and pose however you want. Walk around and see the landscape and garden, see the temple from every angle, but bring some water because it is June, it will be HOT.

St. George, UT Temple
What are temples for? For the purposes of this post I will simply say that the purpose of temples is to bring families and individuals to God. marriages performed in temples are called a sealing. Couples and families are sealed to each other and to God. They are sealed to parents and grandparents, children and grandchildren, for time and eternity. It is our belief that those family relationships can last beyond the grave and that the sealing work can be done by proxy for our relatives who have passed away. I believe the whole goal of such work is to bind the whole human family to their Heavenly Father and Mother so we can live with them and be like them. If this sounds crazy to you, that is fine. It doesn't hurt my feelings and I will continue to love you and be your friend.

Las Vegas, Nevada Temple

I feel close to God and Jesus Christ, when I spend time in the temple. I was lucky to live several years less than a mile from the Logan, UT temple. We went to the temple on a weekly basis. Moving to Tucson meant the nearest temple was in Mesa, AZ so we could only attend on a weekend, traveling 4+ hours in the car round trip. When you have small children the challenge of going to the temple regularly feels insurmountable at times. To have a Temple in Tucson will be a blessing beyond description for so many people living in Southern Arizona.

Bountiful, UT Temple
 After the open house ends in June, the temple will be prepared for the dedication.  I don't know what all that preparation entails (cleaning and preparing practical things like computers for record keeping, I think) and on August 13th of this year the Tucson Temple will be dedicated. All baptized members of the church in good standing are able to attend by way of broadcasts to meeting houses throughout the state of Arizona. The dedication has 3 sessions that Sunday and members can attend any of the three (or all, I suppose if they wanted to) speakers will share short spiritual messages, a choir will provide music, and a dedicatory prayer will be said. The speakers are usually men and women who have been asked to fill leadership roles within the temple.

I have tried and failed to adequately express how much this new temple means to me, how significant it is to members of my faith, and its importance to God's plan for his children. I could not do it justice in a few paragraphs. If you want to understand, by all means ask. I am not shy of answering questions. And, please, come and see for yourself what has all your Mormon friends jumping for joy!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Our Legoland Adventure

We just got back from a long weekend away in Carlsbad, CA: home of Legoland! Paul has become a huge Lego fan so we thought since he is tall enough for most of the rides that now would be a great time to visit the most Lego-themed theme park of them all.

First off, let me say that older kids could easily see the whole park in one day. That being said I am really glad we did two days. We saw and did everything we wanted to do without rushing and taking time for feeding Laszlo, stopping for snack breaks, potty breaks, and photo ops.
Paul was totally geeking out.

First thing's first, meet your hero!

Laszlo slept through his first theme park ride.
 Legoland has some amazing playgrounds, and there aren't long lines so it was the best part for this energetic little guy:

 I think Paul is going to be a real roller coaster fiend. He seemed to like all of the rides, even the fast ones! He was not crazy about waiting in lines (we had a few meltdowns the first day) but he came to accept what he could not change: Theme Parks = Lines.


Not pictured: Meltdown over wanting a blue boat.

Any ride that Laszlo wasn't allowed to ride (most of them) We got to do a rider swap. Paul got to ride them twice, once with Me and once with Lee. A pretty good deal for a kid. The baby got the short shrift, but he is a baby and cares not at all.

New York, Miniland U.S.A.

Han shot first.

Anyone know how many legos it took to build this?

Paul ran through this Adventurer's Club thing like 12 times.
Now we know how Legos are made!

 We wrapped up the first day with the Sea Life Aquarium and dinner at the Legoland Hotel. Paul took the aquarium at a break-neck pace so I can't give it an adequate review. I barely saw anything, just chased down the 3 year old with a burning desire to stick his hand into every tank, regardless of whether or not he was allowed.

 Just looking at these pictures is starting to make me tired. That first night Paul didn't even make it to pajamas. He curled up on his bed "for a rest" he said, and the next thing we knew he was asleep. After the second day of Legoland He and Laszlo were asleep before 8:00 and Lee and I were drifting off by 9:00. I guess the secret to early bed time is non-stop walking and over stimulation!

Our second day in the park was easier for a lot of reasons, the biggest one being that Paul knew what to expect. He didn't fall apart over waiting in line and didn't run himself quite as ragged. He rode in the stroller more and when we pulled out snacks he actually ate them. 


We did not plan or schedule any character meets into our day, but we kind of stumbled upon them. Paul does love the Lego Movie so he was excited to see Emmet. Paul is also a Ninjago fan and Kai--Paul calls him "Fire Guy Kai"--is his favorite. We just happened to be passing by and Paul really wanted to meet both of them so we went with it. I've never been super into meeting characters at theme parks, but Paul was so cute about it that it made it a highlight of our trip.

We spent a little time at the beach Saturday morning before starting the long drive home. It was cool and foggy, a complete contrast to the 99 degrees and blazing sun that greeted us in Arizona. I already miss the California weather.

We tried building a sand castle, but Paul just stomped on it every time.

Our sweet little sailor boy

And now we are back home, playing with a few new Legos and hoping all our family trips go as well as this one did.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Which Baby?

I was looking through some of Paul's baby pictures and realized that if I hadn't had the date of the photo right there, I might not know which of my kids it was. I am going to put all of you up to the challenge! Identify each of the following babies correctly and you will earn bragging rights. The first two pictures are labeled to give you a head start. Just try to figure out the rest!

This is Laszlo

This is Paul
Good luck folks!

Picture #1
Picture #2
Picture #3
Picture #4
Picture #5
Picture #6
Picture #7




I assume you have now made your guesses, the correct answers are listed below......




#1 Paul, #2 Laszlo, #3 Laszlo, #4 Paul, #5 Laszlo, #6 Laszlo, #7 Paul

Let me know how you did!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

A Day in the Life.

A collection of observations about my children punctuated by pictures of those children:

Goldilocks, of Goldilocks and the Three Bears fame, was a three year old. That explains, "It's TOO HOT!" "No, I want THAT CHAIR!" "I WANT THE BABY'S BED!"

Paul tells me these are Bob the Builder glasses.
Never get into a staring contest with an infant. Apparently they don't need to blink.

He saves his biggest smiles for his mother.

Don't tell your kid you are going to Legoland until you are literally entering the park. Otherwise prepare  yourself for a month of: "We go Legoland today?" "No, not today." "AHHHHHHH!!!!!!"

90% of the weird things your child says can be explained by the last movie they watched.

Crafts for Toddlers: 20 minutes of set up for 5 minutes of play.

Much more work for me than him.

Children of all ages are much cuter when they are sleeping.

Sleeping not pictured here.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Baby's First Visitors

We had Grandparents come and stay over the Holidays. Here are some pictures. My brain is scattered and exhausted so I can't really come up with anything more eloquent than that.

On Christmas Eve, we played in the backyard in the sunshine (please don't throw things at me.) Paul was bouncing off the walls to have Grandma Karen, Grandpa Dave, and Uncle Kody to play with him. Laszlo stared indifferently at the new faces and pooped.

On Christmas Day we attended our abbreviated church service before opening gifts. Paul really tore through his presents and Laszlo's and is still convinced there are gifts waiting for him to unwrap nearly a month later. Laszlo stared at the Christmas tree indifferently and slept.

We got a little bit of snow this year!...Because we went to Kitt Peak Observatory which is at the top of a mountain. Paul loved throwing snowballs and making foot prints. Laszlo stared indifferently at various astronomical instruments and dozed.

Not a solar telescope, just the regular type.

We went with Grandma and Grandpa to the Arizona Science Center in Phoenix. It is the kind of place that is just as fun for the adults as the kids, so if you are in the area and looking for something to do it is always a good choice.

Most of the photos I took were in this water area because it was Paul's favorite. If we had spent our entire day in that one spot it would have been just the same to him.

We made sure to see some Christmas lights at the Mesa Temple before heading back home.

We had Grandma Jamie and Grandpa Duane come for a visit too. Laszlo was blessed on January 1, 2017, all his Grandparents were in attendance.

Grandma and Grandpa Phillips

Grandma and Grandpa Burnett

I had to get some cute photos of our boy, of course:

 And I can't help but embarrass my parents by including these photos:

Our final big holiday outing was with Grandma Jamie at the Phoenix Zoo. Since we had to get Pa Duane to the airport, we thought we would make a day of it and go to this really big and fancy zoo:

Paul had so much fun and Laszlo slept through the whole thing. That is what I call a successful day at the zoo!

Now all our visitors are gone, our decorations stored, and Paul is asking if it is Halloween yet.