Happy Memorial Day

10:02 PM Monday, May 26, 2008

I think I would be a fool if I didn't take just a brief moment to share our gratitude for the service of so many men and women who have sacrificed to serve our country. I suppose you could call me a patriot. I am wonderfully imbued with this special gift in part because of my dad. In 1973 he joined the Navy. He spent 30 years in uniform honorably serving this country. My mom stood faithfully next to his side, raising me and keeping our home.

The armed forces have always inspired me. Movies, books and songs are written about great events in our history that in some cases could only happen because a guy stood up and grabbed a rifle and did something heoric. Memorial Day was first celebrated as a national holiday in 1868, at a time when the U.S. Civil War was still fresh in the minds of everyone. It was so named in honor of those that gave the lasting and eternal sacrifice, on both sides of that conflict. It did not become an official holiday until 1967. On this day and again on Veteran's Day, I often think of the words of Abraham Lincoln.

In 1864, Lincoln was encouraged to write a letter to Mrs. Lydia Bixby. It was thought that she had just lost her 5th son since the onset of war. Lincoln's letter to her is prescient:
"Dear Madam,
I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle.
I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save.
I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.
Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,
A. Lincoln"
Today, as we grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, and flew American Flags, I hope we uttered the words Liberty and Freedom with solemn respect for those like my father, my uncle, and many generations of my grandfathers, who never said that the hill was too hard to climb, the seas to rough to sail, or the air too thick to fly. May God continue to bless America.

Just checking the date and it appears that we last blogged almost three weeks ago. That just won't do! Well, today is Memorial Day. As I think back to the last week I found it fitting that I spent two and half days of it in Boston, in the cradle of our fair country. I travelled to Boston on a business trip, but I had some time with one of my colleagues to do a bit of sightseeing.

We visited "Old Ironsides," the U.S.S. Constitution. She's the oldest warship afloat in the world. I've been to see her a couple of times now, but it never ceases to amaze me everytime. She's a commissioned vessel, so the men and women who are priviliged to be her crew are active duty Navy personnel.

Now, I've been to Boston about 4 times. Each time, I've really wanted to see John Adam's house. He's a bit of a hero of mine and I've had no luck taking the tour of his birthplace and the home that he and Abigail lived in until they died. Well, this trip, I got my chance. There's been a heightened amount of traffic lately given the popularity of the HBO series that recently aired. There are three parts to the tour. First, you see the birthplace homes of John Adams (our 2nd President) and his son John Quincy Adams (our 6th President).

The National Park Service doesn't let you take pictures inside. The homes sit on their original foundations and the structures themselves are the original. Of course, the siding and interior "decorations" have been remodeled for a variety of reasons. The yellow house above is the home of John Adams. It was the first home that he and Abigail lived in when they got married. The brown house is the home where John was born. I'm standing at the doorway of the yellow house, taking a picture of the brown house... to give you an idea of perspective. The proximity was very common in the 18th centry, I'm told.
The 2nd stop on the tour is the old house. This is "Peacefield." John and Abigail purchased this property when they returned from England, after the Revolution.
Ajoining the homesite is a place where John Adams grandson, Charles Francis Adams constructed the first ever presidential library. In 1870, the structure was completed and it houses over 12,000 volumes. There is little of the Adams presidency in the library. Instead, the volumes are all books that John and his son John Quincy read. The tilework inside is imported Italian tile. The pattern is ornate and designed by Charles Francis himself... there is an error in the tilework, a piece purposely put out of place. It was Charles way of telling the world that only God was perfect. I wish we were allowed to take photos inside. The library was my favorite part of this two hour time-travel.

The last stop is United First Parish Church in Quincy, Mass. We drove by, but didn't get out. It's the burial place of John Adams, his wife Abigail, John Quincy Adams and his wife Louisa are entombed. It is the only place where two related presidents and their wives are buried in the same place...

Twilight Trailer

5:42 PM Thursday, May 08, 2008

William and his blankie

1:35 PM Tuesday, May 06, 2008

For all of you who know Charlotte she is a thumb sucker and she loves her "bankelie". William has discovered that he needs a blankie. When he sees it and can get to it, he grabs it and walks around the house with it. He will lay it on the floor and put his head down on it and scoot across the floor. He is such a funny little boy. His 2 top mollers are coming in and I think he is getting teeth on the bottom as well. So needless to say he is a really fussy and grumpy kid these days.

Emily was baptized on May 3, 2008 by her dad John Knotwell. Both of her families were there to celebrate this special day. She was so nervous about getting baptized that she was in tears before she walked out to get in the water. We had to take a couple of deep breaths and calm her down. I think she was crying because I started crying when I saw her in her white jumpsuit. I was so proud of her and I had remembered my special day oh so many decades ago. Once she got baptized, she was all smiles and ready to be a member of our church. John and I gave her some new scriptures for her baptism and she was so excited to start reading them and marking them. We explained that she should mark the versus that made her feel happy and think about Jesus. So I went in to check on her while she was reading and she had marked a scripture. I looked over to read the verse and the verse was 1 Nephi 1:2. After you read this verse you will see why this is so cute.

Emily had such a fun birthday. She woke up to having the kitchen all decorated for a party. Charlotte was funny when she saw the kitchen, she came into our bedroom and said " Gankgoo (thank you) for my party!" She had fun helping Em open her gifts. Emily loves playing in the swimming pool, so we got her some snorkeling gear. She is also learning to tell time so while in New York we scored a sweet deal on a knock off watch. Emily has really been into cooking things and helping with dinner. Her Nana made her the CUTEST apron just her size. The picture certainly does not do it justice. John and I surprised Em and checked her out of school and took her to Red Robin for lunch. We figured since we couldn't go out to dinner for her birthday, this would be just as fun. Emily got to go with her dad Jared that evening and have yet another party. She got to go to the Mayan and watch the half naked men jump off the cliffs. She has become such a beautiful girl and I love watching her grow and learn.

Happy Birthday Emily!

7:52 AM Thursday, May 01, 2008

Today is Emily's 8th Birthday! She has really changed over the past year and I am really proud of her. She is the best big sister to William, Charlotte and her other sister Regan. She is always willing to help around the house and take care of things for me. She is so funny and she is always making us laugh. Her passion for Hannah Montana, The Jonas Brothers, and basically the whole Disney scene is really fun for us. She inspires Charlotte to be like her and I love to see Charlotte copy her big sis (most of the time). Emily is getting baptized on Saturday and she is so nervous about going under the water. I am so happy that she is ready to take this step in her life to better it and make her a better person too. I will post her pics from that.