Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Price of Gasoline

Gas has steadily been falling for awhile now down here in Texas.

Last week a gallon of gas got down to $3.46.

When I filled up my car yesterday, it was still that price, but when I filled the van later in the day it had already risen to $3.49.

With the price of oil going up after such a long time falling, we're glad that gas is not as much as it is in the rest of the country... but with Gustov heading our way (or at least threatening the Texas coast) I get a feeling that the price is going to go back up for awhile.

But we are glad our tanks are full.

How much is a gallon in your neck of the woods?

Watching Gustov...

Here in San Antonio, we are watching Gustov very closely. He's a week away from us (maybe) but preparations are already being made for residents of Louisiana.

The New Orleans Saints called last week to see if they could possibly practice here... but it looks like they are headed to Indianapolis instead.

The 10-day forecast shows rain in our future next weekend, leaving Labor Day looking nice and in the mid-90s.

I am glad that we live so far inland. All we can expect is rain (which we need) and an influx of refugees (which we don't need).

But in the meantime, we will continue to watch.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The kids are off at school...

and I just realized I forgot to take pictures.

I have been looking forward to school, except for one thing... early mornings. UGH! I am not a morning person, and with the extra exhaustion due to pregnancy I have been dreading getting up before 8:30 (or later.) At least Mike is usually good help in the mornings, and he is the one that actually takes the kids to school.

Rewind to last night just before going to bed. Mike has been helping to set up new classrooms and labs that were just remodeled for their department. He has been spending A LOT of extra time getting things set up and ready for the first class this morning at 7:30.

So, Mike checks his email one last time before going to bed and finds out there is a problem in the classroom that is needed for the 7:30 class. He is off to school by 6:15 which leaves me getting the kids ready for school, making lunches, fixing breakfast by myself... while still half asleep. The kids were actually helpful, and got ready without the usual nagging and yelling it usually takes. Thank goodness.

I get the kids out the door by 7am (school starts at 7:30) so that we can beat the traffic jam that is the first day of school. No problems, get the little kids back home and in the door... and that's when I remember... no pictures were taken of the first day. I guess I'll have to try to remember to take them later today.

Now, I'm looking forward to a few less fights now that Aimee and Alex will be in different places and maybe a routine of some sort. Maybe at some point I'll even get some sleep, but I'm not holding my breathe on that one. Alex is still at home. ;)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Saturday, August 23, 2008

#5 is on his/her way

For those not in the know... We are expecting our 5th (and final) child in March.

It took a while this time (and some meds) in order to get pregnant. Strange to be talking to my doctor about infertility problems after having no problem getting pregnant before.

So, for those who are curious... there is only one baby (thank goodness!) After a brief scare during the ultrasound when my doctor thought he saw 2, he spent some time looking (and looking some more) to make sure there was only one.

In other exciting news. My little sister and her husband are expecting their first baby three weeks before us. They are super excited and it has been fun to be pregnant together so far. My kids will finally have a cousin on the other side of the family.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Aimee's Baptism

On Saturday, August 16, 2008, I baptized and confirmed Aimee.

We were very happy that both mine and Mindy's parents could be here for the wonderful event.

Aunt Jill came with her parents and my cousin Betsy came down with her kids from Pflugerville.

It was a wonderful day!...

... I say that with a smile, since it quickly turned into a frown: The lice are back.
But I think we got rid of them this time.
More later.

Full Circle

My father served his mission in South Africa.

One day while he and his companion were tracting in the city of Cluff, they came upon the home of a man busy working in the garden while his two bullmastiffs guarded the front gate.

"If we come in will they kill us?" My dad asked from the gate.

He let them in an began to tell them a story.

He had recently had an argument with the minister from the Parrish down the way that had him quite upset. Because his children had not been baptized as infants, it would not be possible (or appropriate) for them to be buried there.

So Hugh posed this question to my father: "What does your church believe on the subject of infant baptism?"

My father immediately took out the Book of Mormon and showed him Moroni Chapter 8:
5 For, if I have learned the truth, there have been disputations among you concerning the baptism of your little children.
6 And now, my son, I desire that ye should labor diligently, that this gross error should be removed from among you; for, for this intent I have written this epistle.
The answer was one that he could accept and likewise began to take the lessons from my father and his companion.

To make a long story short, he did not join the church before my father was transferred. In fact after five sets of missionaries, they asked the missionaries not to come around and that it would be up to him to let them know when he was ready.

About 20 months later he realized that he had not really acted on the words of Moroni and decided to pray about the LDS church. From his prayer he knew what he had to do. The next week he and his family went to church and requested baptism.

Fast forward to a few months ago...

The Kjaer family moved into our ward about a year ago. Sister (Sarah) Kjaer was from South Africa. We learned that her parents were coming to America and were going to be living with them.

Brother Hugh MacMillan and his wife Edith became instantly famous in the ward due to their accent. He is a great man with a great spirit about him.

He is one of those members that bares his testimony every Fast Sunday (but you just don't care because they are so insightful and inspiring).

One Sunday he spoke about he and he family joined the church nearly 38 years ago... and it clicked "I wonder if he knows my dad?"

So after a few weeks I got up the nerve ask him.

"Hi," I said, "my father served his mission in South Africa from 1968 to 1971. I wonder if you know him. His name was Elder Charlie Clayton. I'm Michael, his oldest son."

Brother MacMillan didn't answer. He just stumbled back and grabbed the vestibule.

"Your father is Elder Clayton?" he asked.

"Yes, he is."

"Let me tell you a story about how your father introduced me to the Gospel of Jesus Christ..."

Later that night, I called my father and told him what had happened at church. He told me a slightly different version of the story Brother MacMillan told me, but it was same in gist.

That night my father called Brother MacMillan and they spoke to each other for the first time in nearly three and a half decades.

Fast forward to last Wednesday...

My father and mother came into town for Aimee's baptism.

We invited the MacMillans to come to our home for dessert and a chat.

It was great to listen to my dad and Brother MacMillan reminisce about the church and the members in South Africa.

There are too many things that I learned about my father and his friend that I can't write them all here (funny, I think something like this is the scriptures).

Before they left, I asked if I could take a picture of them... and here it is:

Brother MacMillan and his wife work in the San Antonio Temple, and he was even one of the officiators in the session that my parents and I attended on Friday.

I guess that what I bring away from this whole experience is that you never really know what becomes of the people that you talk to on your mission that don't accept the gospel right off hand. But it is nice to know that the seeds that we plant in the mission field can some day begin to sprout and bear good fruit.

Update: I'm the Kjaers' home teacher and Brother MacMillan joined us when we made out visit tonight. He pulled me aside and thanked me for letting him know that my dad was in town and how much he enjoyed the visit and seeing us at the temple. He told me that he felt that he had come full circle and had closure now knowing that my father knew he had joined the church and how much it has affected his life and the life of his family. He has been thinking about it ever since that night and expressed to me the great joy that he felt meeting him again and also knowing how he was doing and how blessed our family has been. The Gospel is indeed a wonderful thing.

Aimee's 8th B-Day

On August 5th, Aimee turned 8 years old.

She really wanted breakfast in bed, so I made her eggs and toast with a half of a grapefruit on the side. She really likes grapefruit.

Since life was hectic, Aimee's birthday cake came a few days later. She wanted Mindy to make her a Cinnabon® cake.

So she made it.

Here it is:

For her birthday she got a Princess Peach Nintendo DS Starter Kit:

Note: Aaron got the Super Mario Bros version for his b-day earlier in the summer.

Happy Birthday Aimee!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Bedroom Make-Over Part 1: That's Entertainment

So we decided to change up our room and do a few things.

Tonight, we installed the stuff for the little "Home Theater."

Here's the finished product. It consists of the following IKEA furniture: an EXPEDIT for the entertainment center and two BERTBYs for storage:

I've been starting to collect Blu-Rays and HD-DVDs this summer and I wanted a way to display them and keep them safe. Originally, I had thought about some simple shelves, but on our latest trip to IKEA, I fell in love with the BERTBYs and had to have a couple.

This is the same cabinet, just opened...

... and closed.

I added some LED lights in the tops of them so that the spines can be illuminated and you can see the titles. We decided to put the Wii, Gamecube, and DS games in one of the BERTBYs.

I don't have a huge TV yet (note the yet part), but our Samsung SlimFit HD-TV suits us just fine... but I have designed this in a way that a wall mounted LCD could be hung above the shelves in the middle.

... anyways, that's done.

Oh, we also installed blinds in the bay window today, but we'll post pics after we take out the extra slats and put the bed back in the room.

One more thing, a big THANK YOU to my lovely wife who did the entire paint job on the room by herself. I have learned to stay out of her way and let her have her way with the roller. I just seem to get in the way and make her mad.

Thanks honey!


Saturday, August 02, 2008

Min has asked not to be disturbed for the next few days...

She got "Breaking Dawn" in the mail a few hours ago.

Those of you who know what it is know why.

She's already up to page 200, so it shouldn't be too long until I get my wife back.