Saturday, August 22, 2009

August 14 2009--CITIZENSHIP DAY

Emerson was sworn in as a US Citizen last friday (August 14). I can't believe it's finally all done! It was an exciting day, the only sad thing was that Ana Elisa didn't get to be there because they told us to plan on three hours and we didn't feel she would enjoy herself very much.

We went to the courthouse in downtown Phoenix for the Oath Ceremony. They showed a video and then had them raise their right hand and swear in as US Citizens. After that they showed a video of President Obama welcoming them and then they did the Pledge of Allegience.

Before the ceremony started they had asked for some people to share their experiences about what brougth them to the United States and the opportunities they've had while here. I asked Emerson to get up and share his story, so after the Pledge of Allegience, they called him and two other people up. Emerson did such a wonderful job, it was very emotional and we both got teary eyed. He talked about how he grew up in the projects of Sao Paulo and how his mom worked so hard to provide for them. She worked and went to school so he and his sister stayed with his grandma for several years and only saw their mom on the weekends. He talked about how he dreamed of getting an education and finding a way to provide a better life for his future family. Then he talked about the opportunities he's had here in the States to go to school, find a good job, and provide a home and stability for his family. He talked about his gratitude for those opportunities and his love for this country.

At the end of the ceremony they had everyone stand up and sing "I'm Proud to be An American" while the newly sworn in citizens waved their little American flags. This was definitely a day to remember. I'm so glad that Emerson agreed to speak, it made the day so much more memorable and special. We are so blessed, I thank the Lord every day.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Summer Vacation--MONTANA

Every other year my grandpa's family has a big family reunion up in Hamilton and Corvallis, Montana. We started going up in 1984 and didn't miss one until 1995. We've tried to go up as much as possible since then, and have done pretty good. Emerson's even been up a few times. The reunions used to be several days long, but now they last only one day. Our whole purpose in going to Utah was so that we could make a family trip up to Montana all together. My dad seems to feel like this may have been the last reunion there since my grandpa and most of his siblings have passed away (there were 12 of them and now there are only 3 left).

I'm so glad we went. It was great to get all of us together on a family vacation (my parents, Lizsett and her family, Sherrie and her family, and us). We drove up half way on Wednesday and stayed in Idaho Falls where we went swimming and just enjoyed being together.

When we got to Montana, we went to visit our great aunt Marge and great uncle Bob. They live on Arley Lane, a private road where they and a few other great aunts and uncles built their homes and farms. This is where we spent most of our reunions when I was a kid. Being there brought back so many memories. Like, when Uncle Arley tied a barrel to two trees and let us kids spend hours riding the "bull", and the time when we got one of our distant cousings to take us out into Uncle Arley's barn where we played in the hay until someone told us there were mice in there, so we ran out into the pasture where the bulls were grazing (we were obviousley not raised on a farm!)

We took this picture in front of Aunt Marge and Uncle Bob's house.

For several years, we stayed in the basement of Aunt Larue's and Uncle Arley's house every time we went up for a reunion. Aunt Larue passed away about a year and a half ago, so it was sad to go up and not see her there. She seemed to be such a part of the whole reunion experience for us. These next three pictures are of Aunt Larue's house--front and back yard as well as the old barn and cow pasture (the barn and pasture used to be really well taken care of, but once Uncle Arley died, more than 20 years ago, there wasn't anyone who really looked after it. So this definitely isn't how it looked when I was a kid).

The reunion was held in the back yard of the church there in Corvallis. They had a bunch of water games for the kids, baseball and golf competitions for the adults, a raffle, country store for the kids, and a really nice dinner.
I've always loved Montana and how green and beautiful it is, but for some reason, I felt like I really took it in this time (maybe it's the contrast between living in the desert now and then going there and being surrounded by so much green and such beautiful mountains. It was so relaxing!

This picture was taken behind our hotel there in Hamilton.

I'm so glad we made the trip up to Montana this year. I'm glad my dad was so adement about going, even when the rest of us started re-thinking it. It was so much fun, so relaxing, and so good to spend time with family--immediate as well as extended. I was grateful that we were able to take Ana Elisa to a place where I have such fond childhood memories.

I hope we were able to make some fond memories for Ana Elisa and her cousins.

Thank you again, Dad for knowing that we all needed to make this trip, and for making it happen.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Summer Vacation--UTAH

We've been doing a lot of fun things this summer. We went up to Utah and then to Montana for a family reunion and then back to Utah. Then, Breanna and Brooklyn (our nieces) came to visit for several days. We've been having so much fun and taking so many pictures that I don't even know where to start :). What I'll do is separate my postings according to where we were.

This one will be Utah (before and after Montana), then I'll do a seperate post for Montana and then another for our fun visit with Breanna and Brooklyn.
(This might take me a few days...)

We celebrated Breanna's 12th birthday while we were in Utah. They had her party at Classic Skating. There was, of course, the skating, but they also had a water park, video games, jungle gym, and lazer tag. It was a lot of fun. Here are some pictures we took at the party.

While in Utah we always try to make it a point to visit our close friends. Here's a picture of Ana Elisa with Ace, one of our very close friends' little boy.

My dad really wanted to see Ana Elisa play out in my grandma's backyard before the house is sold. We went over and spent a nice evening running around her yard and garden while my dad picked apricots from her tree. I never realized how nice it is to have such a big backyard when you have kids--Ana Elisa was in heaven running free all over the place. (What you see in this picture is only about 1/8 of her back yard--if not less)

We went over to the park and then to see Ryan play baseball one evening, Dad bought the kids a popsicle from the ice cream truck. Ana Elisa had to have a Spiderman one, just like Josh and Matthew. By the time they were done with them, they all had Joker looking mouths from the red part of the popsicle. They looked so cute.

Emerson had to come home for work, so he left Sunday and we stayed until Thursday. On our last day in Utah, we went up to "This Is The Place". They've really done a good job on that place. Last time I went it was just a monument, now it's an entire little village of fun things to see and do from the pioneer times.

I even got to ride the little kids train with Josh, Matthew, and Ana Elisa. I love that I got to ride with them, it's the benefits you get from having a child that might jump out of the moving train! :)

This is definitely a place I'd like to take Emerson to see when we go back for another visit to Utah.