Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Under-Doggies and New Perspectives

This past Sunday the kids went to the park twice with their ole papa bear. I knew they liked under-doggies, but they took it to a whole new level with under-tigers, under-chickens, under-frogs, etc. The trick is you have to make an animal sound as you go under them. It was a great way to get them to think, because I wouldn't let them repeat the same animal.
On a similar note, I have been thinking about how I view my kids lately. As the oldest I find myself holding Heber and Hannah to such a high standard. Whereas Olive can do no wrong and is always cute and adorable. Lately, I've tried to see our little twins as if they were the last two of our family (of, say 6). They would be the two little twins that everyone adored, instead of the mischievous, schemers always getting into trouble. The change of perspective helps a lot.
It was after tweaking this perspective of mine that I was able to relax a little and really enjoy giving the kids under-zebras and what not.

Monday, February 27, 2012

You want little bit Chinese culture? Yeah yeah, sure.

I unintentionally have been exposing myself more to Chinese culture lately. Here are a few things that have helped give me a little insight into Chinese culture:

  • Reading two historic fiction books set in China during 500AD and the 20th century, respectively. The second one seemed to shock me about how little freedom the Chinese had under communism.

  • Listening to an audio book called The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom. The author's parents emigrated from China to the United States. She talks about the different parenting styles she has been exposed to.

  • I also have a friend who is from China and I have got to learn about China from her. She has fed me and the kids lunch twice and we are so stuffed by the time we leave. They take feeding kids seriously. Her family is very giving. She gives me something every time we hang out. Some of the gifts I have received are a Chinese comb, Chinese pears, meals, animal crackers, Chinese candy, special duck eggs, a box of cereal, etc.

Within the Chinese culture there seems to be a deep desire to sacrifice for their children. All good parents sacrifice for their children and each culture approaches it in different ways. There is so much I can write about their culture but I think the similarities outweigh the differences.

P.S. The title was taken from a line in an SNL skit on the republican presidential candidates.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

In the sun he melted, SMALL, Small, small

All good things must come to an end.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Once there was a snowman tall, Tall, TALL

It's gotten pretty cold here in Blacksburg over the last couple of days. Sunday the snow came down thick all day covering the streets. Monday was pretty clear but the snow remained. Needless to say, we took advantage of it and made ourselves some snowmen. 

This was on Sunday
Not sure Why I'm so angry.

Monday Morning
Monday while I was at school. 
Rachel locked up coolest mother of the year with this one.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Ode to Grandpa, the Missionary

Two weeks ago I wrote about missionary work and mentioned my own 2 year mission to Portugal. As I was thinking about what to write tonight, my thoughts turned to my maternal grandfather Robert Emerson Gibson. He too served a mission in Portugal. In fact, 23 years ago this day he left his kids and grandkids and went with my grandma there. His dedication has been a good example to me and all of his grandkids. Here is his journal entry (thankfully, he wrote practically every day) on February 19, 1989. Alternatively you can read it here or here.

Got up and went to Church at Chandler 7th Ward. A real nice homecoming! It was like a real farewell. We saw so many old friends there. I wished I had never gone. We left reluctant after Sacrament Meeting. Then a little later to Pioneer Park for lunch with the family. They were all there. Melvin sent his apologies that he couldn’t come because Marilyn has pneumonia. She’s had it for some time now, and that’s a concern!

The food was great, the company was great, and we had a joyous time (even on Sunday!). Then we all had our family picture taken. Dale Welker did it. That was a real max effort. We stood by the steps of the temple. It was like herding sheep alone, without a sheepdog, but we got it done!

Then a little family time at Mom’s, and on to the setting apart at the Chandler Stake Center. President Kempton was at his best! He had Mary Ellen speak, Kay and Mike pray, and he set us both apart.

Mary Ellen’s talk was extemporaneous, of course. I was so proud of her, and it took so much for her to do it. She bore a sweet testimony and told of her love for us. Frank and Bev and Kay and Joy were all there. It was a love feast. The entire day was a love feast! It was worth a thousand lifetimes of trial and endeavor to enjoy that one sweet day. I know a little better the joys of heaven—the joy of the Saints that has been spoken of by the prophets. It seemed that every shining, bright, smiling face was writing itself forever in my heart. I don’t need to take pictures to Portugal. I just need those treasured faces in my memory. I love every single one. I pray four times daily for every single one. I pray that there might be no empty chairs in time nor in eternity. No empty chairs. If faith and prayers and any example I might set, together with faith and works and best effort on the part of all my descendants and their spouses count for anything, I pray that this prayer might be answered.

After the royal send-off, Marian and I, alone and together, pointed our faces to Salt Lake City. We stopped at Mom’s, emptied garbage, vacuumed the floor, tidied up and locked up. Drove as far as Flagstaff. It snowed some on us—real cold. We stayed the night at the Pony Soldier Motel. We’re on our way to Portugal!!!!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Bandaged Olive

We recently found a sore behind Olive's ear. It seems that it has just become raw back there and even started bleeding. Tonight we washed it, sterilized it, and put triple antibiotic on it. Finally to keep her hair out of it we put this home-made headband on it (compliments of Rachel). She seems to be much happier now.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Pizza and Pie

Even though we aren't making the big bucks, Rachel and I still manage to go out to eat somewhere nice every now and then. Blacksburg is full of restaurants that we've never been to and we always try to go somewhere new. This place is called Backstreet and specializes in pizza and other Italian food. I got a pizza (which you can barely see on the left). Neither of us can remember what our dishes were called but they were delicious, to say the least. As an extra treat you get to see my beautiful girl, in addition to our food.

And we didn't forget dessert. Go on say it, Kimball. "Riiiich!"

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Heber's Rote Prayer

Heber's prayer is always the same. He always seems to volunteer and push to say the prayer. You have to imagine it in his little sweet, sincere voice. Sometimes he'll entertain us with deviations from his rote prayer. Here it is:

Heavenly Father,
I want to eat
I want Jesus
I want Christ

Friday, February 10, 2012

Family Night Out

Last Friday was military appreciation day for the Virginia Tech Women's Basketball game. So the whole family and I went for free.

It was fun for several reasons:
  1. Because it wasn't as packed we got to choose a seat very close.
  2. It's kind of fun to watch girls play basketball. Although not as fast paced and entertaining as men's basketball, they are actually really good and could school me.
  3. Free Virginia Tech t-shirts.
  4. The half-time show had to be the best part. They were on America's Got Talent and got the crowd going. Following are some pictures.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Breakfast Time for Hannah-rella

Hannah loves Cinderella. I don't blame her, because I did too growing up and I was a boy. Here is a clip from the moving that she likes with the song Breakfast Time.

Now here is me reenacting Breakfast Time for her in the morning. She normally is much more excited to hear Cinderella songs in the morning. But this morning she was especially tired.

We love our little squirrel.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Blessed to the Share the Gospel

Sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ through missionary work is a distinguishing characteristic of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Many people are familiar with seeing two young men in white, short-sleeved shirts and ties and for some that is all they know of the church. I was once one of those missionaries who (for two years) did virtually nothing but talk with people about Jesus Christ. That itself is another topic by itself that has blessed my life more than I realize.

However, many members of the church struggle to be actively involved in missionary work. Sometimes just the busy-ness of our lives consumes all our time and thoughts that we put it on the back burner. Sometimes we fear that our relationships with friends/acquaintances/coworkers will become awkward after the subject of religion is broached (especially our personal convictions). Other times it just doesn't seem like there is anybody to share it with. I have felt and struggled with all of these challenges.

The fact is it takes two (or three) to tango. Missionary work does not simply happen because someone gets motivated and decides to do it. It first requires that there be someone who is interested in listening to or investigating the Restored Gospel. But that person will rarely take the initiative to contact the missionaries and set up a visit on their own. The second thing needed is a member who can extend a simple invitation to listen to the message, come to a church meeting, or attend a church activity. Finally (third) and most important is that we are blessed with an opportunity to cross paths with such people, or they cross paths with us.

  1. The first requirement is always fulfilled, i.e. "the field is white already to harvest."
  2. The second is dependent on our own desire—"If ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work."
  3. The third is a reminder of Who is it that is really leading this "marvelous work."

Well this perfect storm is occurring here in Virginia and we feel blessed to be able to share the gospel. I say blessed because it hasn't come of our efforts alone, but we are happy to be instruments in God's hands. So here is our schedule for the week.

Monday, 9am: Our neighbors are coming over to listen to the missionaries. The missionaries just happened to be teaching them anyways and so we will be getting to know them too at this time.

Wednesday, 8pm: For the past couple of months we have enjoyed religious discussions with two new friends of ours. They are devout Jehovah's Witnesses who tracted into our house while doing their own missionary work and have since become good friends. I asked them if two Mormon missionaries could lead our next discussion and they were more than happy.

Friday, 7:30pm: A friend from work will come over to be taught by the missionaries. He got interested after another coworker came to our house to have the missionary lessons and had a good experience.

I try to write a significant post every other week and chose this topic because it seems to be the thing that we are most involved with right now. Here are some photos from my mission to Portugal that Rachel miraculous saved online for your enjoyment.