Thursday, June 19, 2014

Taking Alex to Utah

Eric and I wanted to drop Alex off at the MTC personally, so we decided to fly out to Utah with him and spend the last night and day with him.  It was great to have that last personal time with him  before he left.

We flew out Tuesday morning on the 6am flight.  We arrived in Salt Lake City around noon.  By the time we waited nearly 2 hours for our rental car, we were starving.  We found a Crown Burger right away and enjoyed some delicious burgers and fries.  

Oh how I miss fry sauce!!! 

 After lunch, we got busy on our list of things to get done.  Alex needed a missionary haircut, we needed to purchase some new scriptures for him, and he wanted to watch Ephraim's rescue.  First was the haircut.  We found this traditional barber (pole and all) closeby and he did a fine job on Alex's hair.  He was very particular and perfectionistic.  I liked that about him.  He even put shaving cream on Alex's side burns and shaved him with a blade.  Alex was not expecting the shaving cream.  You should have seen him jump when he touched him with it.  Pretty funny! (Second pic down with shaving cream).  

Next up, scriptures bought.  We even had them engraved.

We also picked up Ephraims Rescue while at the church bookstore.

Finally time to check into our hotel

Alex getting comfortable in the hotel room chair
We relaxed a little and then had dinner at Cafe Rio.  Since the hotel didn't have a DVD player, we went and purchased an inexpensive one to watch the movie.  (Kind of annoying) But, we took it home with us since we needed one anyway.  We watched the movie and went to bed.

The next morning, Alex was up at 6:30am according to missionary guidelines.  He got up, showered, and was dressed and ready to go without any encouragement from us.  He then did his scripture study time while Eric and I showered and ready.  We werent in any hurry since we didn't need to be at Brick Oven until 10:30 to be sure to get right in at 11 when they opened.  It was about a 40 minute drive.

We drove around Provo, and found the duplex where we lived when I was pregnant with Alex.

The door behind the bush was our side of the duplex

We drove in downtown Provo to see the progress on the new temple which is being built from the old tabernacle that was damaged by fire.

It is huge!!!!  It going to be beautiful when completed!!!  Alex said maybe he will want to get married here. :)  It's going to look like a castle!!

Finally made it to Brick Oven
 The minutes seemed to drag that morning.  It felt like torture knowing what was coming.  We got to Brick Oven at 10:30, and there was not a soul in sight.  Thus, the decision was made to walk around BYU campus for a little bit.

It was a beautiful morning, and walking around the campus made me miss my college days.  That campus is SO beautiful!!!!  There's no way you could be unhappy when you get to see that everyday.

Some beautiful landscaping up the side of the hill to campus

Lots of roses

One of many sets of stairs up to campus (Eric and Alex near the top)

Father and son next to the beautiful little path and stream that runs along it.

Alex and I next to the stream, it was breathtakingly beautiful and peaceful

Y on the mountain

Eric and Alex walking along the stone path

Alex and I by one of the waterfalls

This will be Alex's next step after his mission.

We had to get a picture next to the soccer field

Great picture of Alex, Eric, and his Uncle Joel (who met us for lunch)

Alex pulling a little face cause he was tired of pictures. :)

Another "no more pictures" look.
 I told him that I wouldn't be able to take any for 2 years, so I had to get as many in as possible.
The 4 of us having lunch at Brick Oven

Alex with my youngest brother, Joel
 We still had a little time after eating, so we looked around campus a little more, found the Engineering Buildings and walked through them listening in on a few classes as we passed by.  Alex loved all of it.

 Then we headed up to the Provo Temple, which is across the street from the MTC.  It was time say our goodbyes soon. (They tell you to say your goodbyes before you get to the MTC, because it is just a drop off drive through.) Every minute seemed like an eternity.Alex suggested we drop him off early.  Goodbyes aren't his thing.  :)  We took some pictures and walked around the temple grounds and finally said goodbye.  It was SO tough.  I am going to miss that boy SOOO much!!  We have developed a really close relationship over the past 2 years.  He is such a good kid.
The Provo temple is beautiful up against the mountain
 Last pictures with Alex, us, and the temple

We got a video while driving into the MTC.  Once we got to the right drop-off location, Eric helped him with his luggage while I waited for my one last hug.  It was a quick hug, then I turned around and when I looked back, he was almost gone.

Missionaries helping him pull his luggage, Alex is walking in front.
As soon as I got back in the car, the tears flowed freely for the next while.  I would cry, then get composure, then cry, etc. etc.  Eric took me shopping to help me feel better, which worked to distract me a little bit, but whenever I started thinking about him again, I'd start to cry again.  It was terrible.  It's so hard letting go of your son knowing you wont be able to see him at all for 2 years.  He was excited though.  If he was nervous at all, he hid it.  He was very excited.  He has waited for this day for many years.

After shopping for a couple of hours, we drove by the Mount Timpanogos temple (Alex's favorite) just to make us sad I guess.  Maybe it was a way to hold onto him a little longer.

Then we headed back to Salt Lake, turned in our car, and waited awhile before boarding a plane for home.  We finally made it back to our house at 2:30am the following morning, sad and completely exhausted.  Over the next few days though, the gloom started to lift, and I am feeling much better.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Saying Goodbye to Alex

It was not easy for the kids to say their last goodbyes to their big brother.  There were many tears shed.  Alex has really tried hard to build a relationship with each of his siblings this past year.  It has really paid off.  They really love him and will miss him very much.  They said goodbye the night before we left for Utah since we would be leaving around 4am the following morning.  They still insisted that Alex wake them the next morning anyway though.  

I noticed Alex tried to spend a lot of time with Micah the last little bit.  He was sad that Micah will not remember him when he gets back.  We will do our best though to show Micah his pictures regularly.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Missionary Setting Apart

On Monday night, our family and my parents went to the Stake Center in Hopkinsville, KY where Alex was set apart as a missionary.  It was a wonderful and spiritual blessing that he was given by the Stake President.  I am grateful that my parents were able to be there, and I know it meant a lot to Alex too.

I warned Jarem beforehand that he needed to make sure he didn't break out laughing during the blessing cause he has had a strange tendency of uncontrollably laughing at the most inappropriate times lately.  He said he was going to say a prayer and ask Heavenly Father to help him be reverent during the blessing.  I was so proud of him.  He did very well and remained calm and reverent during the blessing.

It was a wonderful time to be together just before Alex left.

Waiting for the blessing to begin

Tried to keep him quiet with snacks

Alex with President Craig

All of us after the blessing