Sunday, April 20, 2014

Day Three -- Easter in Wichita 2014

Just like three years ago, we celebrated a beautiful Easter Sunday in Wichita.
The three Russells.
Left to right, Uncle Russell Arben Fox, George Russell Fox, and Grandpa James Russell Fox.
Fox Cousins on Sunday morning.
The game of Pandemic for the young people after church.
Cousin Megan helped Faith with her new look.
Russell and Melissa's family have a traditional Easter lesson with golden eggs filled with items and scriptures telling the Easter story.  Russell and Melissa have a very full house for dinner with our family, Grandpa Fox, Melissa's parents, and two missionary elders.  Fortunately, there was enough Kansas Wild Boar to go around! 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Day Two-- Playmates in Wichita

Abe and his older brother Russell.  Just a slight family resemblance--don't you think.
It is fun to go visit friends or family when everybody (or almost everybody) has a playmate.
Melissa and I killed two birds with one stone by taking our morning walk to Walgreens to grab a couple items I forgot from home.
Grandpa Fox and Clark went on an adventure to the Flint Hills-- a landmark Grandpa had been reading about in his books.  It was good for Clark and a treat to get to spend some one-on-one time with Grandpa.
 It appears they grow some pretty tall grass on the Kansas prairie.

The big activity of the day was Kristen's baptism.  It was especially fun for Faith since she was baptized just the week before.
Earlier in the day we went to a great park.  Kristen likes to wear hats and she let Faith wear one as well.
After the baptism we all went to a great burger joint-- yummy!  Faith and Kristen had a little dance party to work off the huge burgers and hotdogs!

Elinor (age 11) and Alison (age 10).
Pretty girls.
Even though as they were getting ready for the baptism they both agreed that although they don't really like getting pretty, they can when they want to.

Bethany and Caitlyn.  Three years ago when we visited they locked themselves downstairs and wrote pages and pages of poetry.  This time they've discussed good books and the virtues or lack thereof of the various Disney princesses.

 George had a grand time at the park.
And he and Cannon had a grand time playing on the clubhouse in the backyard.
Lookin' good in Wichita!
Here's a funny new face Georgie is making these days.
We liked riding around town in the mega-van.
The Fox gang at the baptism.
I'm telling you, they were super-tasty burgers.
This morning Abe and Russell took the kids to a farmer's market and stopped at a gas station where they attempted to clean 1000 miles worth of bugs off the front of the van.
 Loving Wichita with cousins!
Me and my favorite playmate.

We're Off!-Day One

And we're off!  Our final destination is St. Louis for Clark's robotics competition, but we've got a couple of stops along the way.  First up was Wichita, Kansas.  I know for security reasons it is not considered wise to announce publicly to the world that you're out of town.  But since we don't really own much of monetary value and we have our electronic devices with us, I don't feel we are a strong risk for home robbery.  Nonetheless, if you see anything suspicious at our house, please investigate.  I can't wait until I get home to blog or I'll be overwhelmed.
We took a similar picture of the gang on our St. Louis trip three years ago.  Clark was not as willing to pose for pictures at the age of 14 as he was at 11.
The gang was very comfortably situated in the mega-van.
Lots of wind in Kansas. 
For 16 1/2 hours in the van, the kids were remarkably well-behaved and pleasant.  Everyone was great, but Faith and Cannon in the far back seat were especially easy-going.  I kind of missed them all the way back there.
Even with room to spread out, everyone gathered close to watch The Muppet Movie.
Abe drove the whole way.  All 1000 plus miles.  I would like it to be known that I am willing to drive, but he loves driving on long road trips and doesn't want to share driving responsibilities.  I'm fine with it, because although I am willing, I do not particularly enjoy driving on long road trips.  Also, do you see that silver open container in his hand? (Ooh, that doesn't sound good)--It's Diet Pepsi.  He can drive a long way on a steady supply of Diet Pepsi

We pulled into Wichita about 10:30 pm Central time, got comfortably settled at Russell and Melissa's home (Abe's brother) and conked out.  

When we did this trip three years ago I was a diligent blogger each day.  I don't know that I'll do that this go round, but we'll see.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Faith's Baptism Day

It finally happened. Faith was old enough to get baptized.
It was a beautiful day filled with the very best things there are to enjoy here on earth: The Gospel of Jesus Christ, family, and friends.
In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints we believe that eight is the age of accountability.  Until that time children are alive in Christ and have no need of baptism.  To be be baptized is to make a covenant with the Lord that you will keep His commandments and always remember Him.  God promises to forgive us when we do wrong and that we will have His spirit to be with us.  
I believe this with all my heart.  I have a testimony of the gospel.  I am grateful that because of Christ's atonement we will all be resurrected and can live forever with Heavenly Father and our families.  
I was overcome with emotion and moved to tears many times throughout the day.  When Faith has a momentous event, such as this, I cannot help but think of our baby daughter Tessa.  Had Tessa lived, I do not believe we would have Faith in our family.  Now we will have Faith and Tessa in the eternities.  I still cry somewhat easily when thinking about or talking about Tessa, not because I still feel the sadness, but because I miss her.  I miss one of my children.  That being said, Faith is a reminder to me of God's goodness and kindness and mercy.  I firmly believe Heavenly Father gives me a gift to be able to feel all the happiness and emotion for two daughters when we celebrate an event for Faith.  God can turn any trial into a blessing and that is what He has done for our family when He sent us Faith.
What a treat to get to have both grandpas there for the big day.  Grandma Fox's health didn't permit her to travel and Grandma Cannon was in Texas for another family baptism.  We missed them and love them too.
The Fox men were well represented at the baptism and luncheon following.  From left to right: Phil, Jesse, Dad Fox, Daniel, and Abe.
We had a nice lunch of sandwiches and salads set up at our church building.
It was wonderful to have friends from the ward and neighborhood come to celebrate the day with us.  Here are Johansens and Endemanos.
Butterfields and Snows.
Cousins and friends
Philip and Katie's family up from Orem.
 Jesse and Amy's family was here from Spokane, Washington.  They were on a family trip and it was timed perfectly for them to come to the baptism. 
Between the two grandpas, I think there was a lot of political talk at this table.
Time well spent visiting with sisters and sisters-in-law.
Alexis, her mom Amy, and I.  They had to drive home Saturday afternoon, but it was lovely to see them if only for a very short visit.
Aunt Allison gave Faith a baptism necklace.  
We're so grateful for everyone who came to make it such a special day for Faith.  These are the best things in life.
Abe worked very hard on this slideshow of Faith's life.  It's about 12 minutes, which might seem excessive, until you consider that it started out at 40 minutes with over 700 pictures.  Be glad it's only 12!


Grandpa Comes to Town

Grandpa Fox came to town this week for Faith's baptism.  With much anticipation, the kids and I  picked him up from the airport Friday morning.
The first item of business was giving Faith her traditional 8 year-old gift from Grandma Fox.  A Madame Alexander literary character doll and book.  Faith got Anne of Green Gables.  Grandma Fox was not able to accompany Grandpa.  Her health is such that traveling has become very difficult and although we miss her very much, we're glad she is more comfortable at home.
Faith loved her doll and now I know what we'll do for our next read aloud.
 He listened to Faith read the first little bit.  He was very patient and helped her understand words she didn't know. Then Cannon got a turn to read to Grandpa.
Next the children took to the tree to show Grandpa one of their favorite places to be.
With these little guys is one of my favorite places to be.
Grandpa took one look at our death-trap of a trampoline and he knew what his weekend project needed to be-- replacing the trampoline.  The metal structure was sound and were all but about 10 missing springs, but there was a very large split on one side steadily growing towards the middle.  Talk about dangerous.  So Grandpa took the kids to go locate a new trampoline surface.
Then he and the kids spent a while that afternoon putting it all back together.  I do feel the children are much safer now and I feel a little bad that I didn't do something about it sooner.  I hadn't been out back for a little while and didn't realize just what bad shape it was in.  I'm grateful no one was hurt before Grandpa saved the day.
Grandpa took the kids to lunch and he let George do the honors of choosing where they would eat.  Everyone's suggestions were put into a hat and George drew out the winning entry.
After the baptism on Saturday we enjoyed taking Grandpa to Elinor's choir concert that was in conjunction with a great singing group called Octapella.  If you're interested Elinor is top row, 6th in on the left.
For most of last week before Grandpa came we had another house guest.  Cousin Talitha stayed with Bethany while her family was visiting Utah from Spokane Washington.  Talitha's oldest sister had her first baby and the family came to see the new arrival and help out.  Talitha is one sweetheart of a girl and she is welcome in our home anytime.  As expected, there were some late nights for these girls, and my Bethany found the routine of life dull and restrictive as compared to the thrill of constant play with a cousin, but they had a grand time together.