4.18.2013

General Conference pictures April 2013

Another general conference has come & gone. It was awesome & I will be reviewing each talk, because there was just so much to learn & take in! But it definitely left me uplifted & inspired to strive a little more to be a better disciple of Jesus Christ.

And holding true to tradition, it was time for another semi-annual family picture.  Usually we set up the tripod & fire away with my remote for my camera. But seeing how my remote was in a backpack that was left on a plane in Belgium, we did something new. My sister came along & I took their fam pictures & then I handed off my camera to her & let her shoot ours.

She did a good job...but we didn't make it easy!  For ex, this picture may or may not have been highly photoshopped to eliminate a few tantrums.
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Oh, brothers!
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4.11.2013

Max's 1st birthday

Can't believe Max is already 1! His birthday was Friday...and he fell asleep before we could ever get the cake & presents out. Sooo...plan B.  Celebrate Saturday.  And then he fell asleep again.  He woke up about fifteen minutes before the afternoon session of general conference started.  So we were left with this small window of time to rush and sing, do a cake smash (& yes, I should've changed his full pee diaper before pictures had I not been rushed & noticed!), & open presents.  Despite the rush, it was fun & Max LOVED the cake & dived in...and Liam loved all the presents & the fact that he got to blow out the candle on the cake.
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4.07.2013

Liam's first soccer league

I can't believe Liam is already old enough to be enrolled in soccer...but then again, is he? There was a lot of this...
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A sprinkling of times where he was actually kicking the ball...
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Wandering...
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Lying down on the job...
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He threw the ball at the coach and tried doing a few summersaults...
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Carried the ball instead of kicked it...
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This is pretty much how the whole practice looked.
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And then there was his first game.

 Liam! Come back! The field is this way!!
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He did the most jumping and running of any player on the team.
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I think this was the only contact he actually got with the ball the whole game. He literally tapped the ball and it slowly rolled in the game, just barely clearing the line.
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Aren't dads great!?! This dad stayed out on the sidelines the whole game cheering, directing, hugging & even chasing down Liam.
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Easter 2013

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Family Easter celebration at the Reisners!
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All the cousins awaiting the easter egg hunt.
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Gracie stands by watching as Liam takes eggs from her basket...and then returns eggs to her basket.
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Celebrating Dad's birthday one day early.
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Spain, day 8, Congas de Onís, Llanes & Bilbao

Spent an hour or so touring the grounds of the parador. There was a museum in the hotel & the grounds were beautiful. One of the last rooms we visited before checking out had a framed allegory that was titled "The train of life". I was intrigued. I thought it was something I was already familiar with. I was wrong. 

Keep in mind our vacation was coming to an end.  I'd be leaving this country that I love and many that I love there.  Yet, I was anxious to get back to my kids.  This allegory seemed to express what I was feeling and leave me with a sense of closure and gratitude as I left.
The allegory read as follows (interpretation by Chad & me)-

Life is nothing more than a trip on a train, complete with embarking and disembarking, dotted with accidents and surprises.

When we are born, we get on the train and we find people that we believe will always be with us- our parents.  Sadly, the truth is different.  They will get off at some station and leave us orphans to their irreplaceable caring.

Notwithstanding, others will get aboard that are very special to us- friends and loved ones.  Upon getting off, we will be left with a permanent longing, and others will pass by so imperceptibly that we don't even realize they are no longer sitting in the seat next to us.

It's interesting.  We will also note that some passengers who are very dear to us, including our own family, will travel in distinct wagons from ours and we won't be be able to sit by their side because there will be other people that will take those seats.

The grand mystery is that we don't know in what station we will get off or even less, where our travel companions will get off.

When I get off the train, I will feel nostalgic.

To be separated from those that I made the trip with, I will feel pain.
Leaving my children to continue alone, I will feel sad, even though I will cling to the hope that in the moment they will arrive at their final station, I will have the grand emotion to see them arrive happy and better equipped that when I left them.

My friend, I hope that your time in the train has been worth the pain.  Let it be that when the time to disembark comes, your empty seat will leave longing and wonderful memories for those who continue their journey. 

To you that were on my train, my desire is that you have a happy journey!


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Llanes.  A gas station attendant said this little town would be worth the stop. It was beautiful!
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And back in Bilbao. We decided to stay in a hostel close to the airport this night. We were going to have to catch an early flight, so might as well. I'm pretty sure we shared a bathroom with a smoker, but the hostel keepers were some of the nicest people you'd ever meet. The rest of the night I tried to finish off any last shopping before coming home. Zara. El Corte Ingles. Bershka. Stradivarius. A few stores we made it to in our last hours.
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4.04.2013

Spain, Gijón & Covadonga, day 7

A park that we always passed on the way to church.
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More food.
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During Easter, they always have the most elaborate chocolate displays in the store windows.
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I used to do grocery shopping here every week with my first companion. Lidl's is a lot like Aldi's (if you're familiar with that). I had never been to a grocery store like either when I first got to Spain. I thought it was the strangest store! And I assumed that that was how all grocery stores must be. This was just one element to add to my culture shock. Then my second companion (Chad's sister) came along & she took me to a regular grocery store. Still very different in many ways (for ex., buying or bringing your own bags, no peanut butter to be found, & cartons of milk that sit on a shelves unrefrigerated), but much more like I was used to.
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This was our church. It was kinda a big deal that it sat on its' own lot & wasn't in an apartment building. Nearby wards would come to our "capilla" during general conference just to hear the words of our prophet. What a sight! Families driving from hours away, lunches packed, decked out in their Sunday best. Every room was occupied. We all listened with joy to the words of our prophet. There are 4 sessions of conference- 2 on Saturday, 2 on Sunday. We'd watch previous sessions that had be pre-recorded (note, the time change) & if I remember right, we got to watch one live session on Sunday. Those were times to remember. I remember feeling so blessed that I'd actually been to general conference in person, whereas these saints were just excited to watch a session live.
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And you may notice that I like to throw in occasional pictures of our car rental, just to keep you in shock of how tiny it actually was. (Please note: the cars next to our rental is the standard size for cars there...& they are generally smaller than the cars we drive here in the states!)
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So, what do you do when you want to keep rats, mice & other critters out of your house? You just build your house up on stilts! Duh! No, but serious, that is what they did. Kinda crazy, huh? Oh, & in case you're wondering where we are- good question. We were misdirected by GPS & ended up WAY off coarse on someone's farm, which according to GPS, should've been our hotel.
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Parador de Congas- our hotel near Covadonga. Paradores are historical buildings that have been converted into hotels. This particular one used to be a monastery.
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Roman bridge in Congas de Onís.
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Then we headed up to Covadonga, which is just up the mountain...maybe 6 miles??

Basílica de Santa María la Real de Covadonga.
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Do you see Chad??
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Then we climbed the mountain even higher to go to "Los Lagos" (The Lakes...creative name, huh?). I'd actually been here as a missionary. We'd paid one of the tourist buses to take us up to Los Lagos, but when we got to there, everything was completely covered with fog! No visibility at all! Now, having gone there with visibility, I'm wondering if it was good or bad that it was foggy that day. That road was treacherous! Narrow road, steep cliffs and in many spots absolutely no guard rail! I was so scared we were going to blow right over the edge.
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We finally made it! Definitely worth the climb!
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View of the basílica coming down.
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Back to our hotel. Called it a day & ate dinner at the hotel.
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