We said our final goodbye to this guy tonight. He flies out tomorrow morning to the Mexico MTC before heading to the New York, New York South mission, (Spanish speaking) in a couple weeks.
Its never fun or easy saying goodbye to these nephews we’ve sent out. But it will be a fairly easy transition for our kids who have prayed for Paxton every night for two years – they’ll continue to pray and switch the name to Smith! And now his parents and family are already used to writing letters every week so they can continue with their routine as well. I suppose there are a couple of perks having back-to-back missionaries.
Smith is going to do great work and we’re excited to hear about his experiences.
I mentioned yesterday that we just returned from our annual pilgrimage to Idaho. I would’ve loved to have stayed longer, but we had an important day we wanted to get back for. Our nephew Paxton returned home from his mission in Manaus, Brazil and was speaking in church on Sunday alongside his brother Smith who is leaving for his mission this week to New York. It’s not very often you have brothers speaking together, one reporting on his mission and one giving his farewell talk.
These two bothers are close and watching them interact on the stand before sharing their talks was tender. Pure love and admiration between the two of them and you could see it from every seat in the congregation. It was worth coming back for.
We gathered at their house afterwards for a welcome home and farewell party.
Paxton shared pictures and stories from his time in Brazil.
And we played trivia games about Smith and his mission.
My heart always gets a little heavy as I watch one of our nephews (we’ve only had nephews go as of now) prepare and leave for their missions. 2 years is a long time. They have no idea the challenges that sit before them. And I just know they’re about to have some of their greatest struggles. But then I see them come home and that heavy heart is a grateful heart. I see so much growth and maturity and humility in those returned missionaries. I’m grateful for their examples to my children. Grateful to their commitment to God. Grateful that we live close enough to celebrate these milestones.
Here’s the group two years ago when Paxton left:
And now as Smith leaves – everyone has grown like weeds:
Not to mention the changes in our own family while Paxton was away – I was pregnant with Cannon when he left and he came home to a walking, talking toddler!
We sure do love these boys. Grateful to share this day with them.
The Mesa LDS temple has the best Christmas light display. It’s been a couple years since we’ve braved the crowds to go see them. But with great weather and even better company and the promise of hot chocolate (on such a chilly, 60 degree night) it was great. Notice the cousin in Utah is wearing short sleeves, while those of us acclimated to the weather are sporting jackets.
This piece was a new addition since I had been last and it was my favorite. It sat in a pool of water. With the reflection of the statue as well as the lights in the water it was beautiful.
Notice the cousin from Utah is wearing short sleeves, while those of us acclimated to the weather are sporting jackets.
We went the Monday before Christmas and it set a great tone for the days leading up to Christmas. Hopefully it doesn’t take us a couple years to brave the crowds again!
While my mom was visiting, we made a visit to the open house for the new LDS temple in Phoenix. (After a temple is built, they have an open house that allows the public of any and all faiths to enter) We went without kids and it was wonderfully enjoyable. Steve works right by the temple, so he took several co-workers on a separate visit. While our friends were visiting Halloween weekend, we attended yet again on the last day of the open house, this time we brought the kids.
We take for granted that our kids have been able to attend multiple temple open houses, which is their only chance to enter a temple until they turn 12 years old. Our friend’s kids had never been in a temple, so this was a special experience. There is such a sweet and tender spirit within those walls and even children can recognize that. Even our loud and rambunctious three year old was able to remain reverent for the tour and even started singing one of his primary songs, “I Love to See the Temple.” I’m grateful for experiences such as these.
Because I had already been on the tour with my mom, I opted to stay outside with the two babies to make everyone else’s experience a little more enjoyable! They’re just four weeks apart and I just know they’re going to be good buddies!
Hallie and Hunter both agreed that the chandeliers were the most beautiful part – although their friends piped in that the baptistry was the most beautiful and my kids agreed. Hallie corrected herself, “I can’t just pick one thing because it’s all so beautiful.” She’s right, it’s all a work of art.
We found a quiet spot near the back of the temple and enjoyed the atmosphere. So intricate. So perfect. So peaceful.
And we were reminded for the 100th time why we love these guys – never a dull moment.
We did something really special with our kids this weekend. We have a new LDS temple opening in Gilbert and we took the family (minus Cannon thanks to my sister-in-law) to the open house. Before a temple is dedicated for worship, it is open to the public, everyone who wants to enter can enter and feel of the special spirit within it’s walls. If you live near a temple that is opening – go and visit it, whether you’re of the LDS faith or not, you will love it. It was beautiful on all accounts.
This was the first time Hunter and Bennett were able to see inside the temple (Hallie went to an open house when she was 3). We were able to talk with them as we walked through; explaining to them what we do when we go to the temple and what to look forward to when they can go. It was really special.
They don’t allow photography within the temple – but here’s a video link with some interior shots. (here)
Last night I was thinking about the temple and just how beautiful it was. Hallie was commenting just how pretty all the chandeliers were and they really were breathtaking. I started thinking through all the temples I’ve been in and they are all so different and unique, yet they serve the same purpose.
When we travel, we make it a point to go to the temple in the area if there is one – a lot of times we’re able to worship, some times we just go to the grounds and walk around with the kids. Either way we’re reminded of the sacred and special nature of the temple. We added Gilbert to the list of temples we’ve visited.
Out of all the temples, Gilbert is high on my list of favorites – next to Nauvoo and San Diego. If you’re in AZ right now, go take a look.