Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Sunday June 7 - Church

Sunday should have been a great day for our family. We do not have opportunities to worship God together as a family very often so we try to really enjoy it when we have the chance. Mary Lou picked out a church that she attends periodically. It is very contemporary with 3 sanctuaries on the same campus and another campus 12 minutes away. It took a bit to find a place for Jonah as we were shown the nursery but it was only for up to 2yr olds. We found the Children's ministry area and they had classes for 2-6yr olds. There was a class for younger 2s (2-2.5) and 2 classes for older 2s (2.5-3). Each age group had multiple classes. Very impressive!

After dropping Jonah off, we choose to go to the central sanctuary so we could see the minister face to face instead of on a screen. After we sang the first praise song, an usher came up behind us. He asked if Andrew could sit through the whole service. I proceeded to tell him that he would be able to. The usher offered a class for Andrew to go to but I told him that Andrew wanted to be with us. He then stated that "they prefer children not to be in here" and that "there was a place for us to all sit together" elsewhere. I polietely declined explaining that Andrew sits through our 1.5hr service weekly and would be fine. I think he was surprised we were not following him out of the service.

Maybe to some this sounds fine but I was completely offended and after he left, I started to cry. It was so sad to me to be told my child did not belong in this church! I do understand that they are taping and broadcasting the service but Andrew had not even made a peep up to that point. It is one thing to ask us to leave if Andrew started to get rowdy but he was sitting like a proper little boy and was doing just fine. Keep in mind we were sitting in the 2nd to last row too! Ironically the sermon was about communion bringing all of us together - I guess they don't think kids are included in that!

At the welcome time, the others around us did not seem bothered by Andrew and even made a point to say Good Morning to him. After church was over, the woman in front of us said he was "perfect" and that she "forgot he was even there". That made me proud!

I did like the sermon and was glad to know that the church was otherwise very Biblically based. God certainly knew we would be there as they held communion. They apparently have not had communion on a Sunday morning in years (yes! years they said! - it is offered other times) but Nate's dad prefers to have communion every Sunday. What evidence of God's hand in our attendance at that particular church!

I am just saddened that church has now become enough of a production in some places that children are not even allowed. Taping and broadcasting the service should not be more important then the people participating in the service.

To end on a good note - here is God's handiwork for our last evening in AZ

Saturday June 6 - Phoenix Zoo

Phoenix Zoo is rated one of the top 5 zoos in the US so I really wanted to take the kids there. They had a good time but they were more interested in playing in the water areas once it got really warm out. The adults took turns seeing the rest of the zoo while the kiddos played in the water.
Andrew's favorite part was "play thing with all the animals and the carousel". The play thing you can see in the pictures - lots of animal statues to sit on and explore.
Jonah's favorite part was the goats. You could brush them and I think he thought he needed to brush them ALL.

Friday June 5 - Graduation

The main reason for us to go to Arizona was to celebrate with Mary Lou as she graduated with her Masters of Occupational Therapy. Nate's dad was able to hood her as he has his PhD. Unfornately, Mark's family was unable to celebrate with us so the family was not complete. We were glad we could be there to support her, see her school, and celebrate together!
the happy graduate!
the not so great family picture....

Thursday June 4 - Grand Canyon and Sedona

Andrew desperately wanted to hike the Grand Canyon. Knowing we and the kids did not have the stamina to hike even an hour in the Grand Canyon, we told him we could hike the Bright Angel Trail to the "hole in the Canyon". We could see the "hole" from the rim so we knew it was not too far. We did manage to hike just a tad past the hole but knew we needed to head back. It is much easier to go down then to hike back up.

The "hole" in the Canyon - Bright Angel Trail

Views of the Canyon while we hiked

The trail continues below us...

Jonah sacked out while riding on Nate's back

Hiking our way up

Afterwards we packed up and headed back south to Phoenix. For a change of scenery, we decided to drive down through Sedona. We were amazed at all the large red rock formations. If we even went to AZ without kids, I would love to stay a few days in Sedona. There are tons of shops and art galleries in town and lots of touristy things too. The pictures are not the best quality since they were mostly taken in a moving car! We didn't want to stop and disturb the kiddos.

What the kiddos were up to during the drive....

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Grand Canyon

After a VERY long day yesterday, we enjoyed our day today at the Grand Canyon. The Canyon is spectacular! It is always changing it's colors and you never tire of looking at it. Well, maybe the kids do!

We started off the day by taking the free shuttle to the Visitor's center to check out the programs and get Andrew started on becoming a Junior Ranger. He needed to listen to a Ranger Program and do some workbook pages about how the Grand Canyon makes him feel and draw some pictures. In the end, he made a promise to the Ranger to take care of the Grand Canyon and the earth and received a Junior Ranger badge and certificate. We also went to the Yavapai Observation station that has panoramic views of the canyon. We hiked some along the South Rim, looked through a telescope to see the Colorado River, and had ice cream. All in all, a GREAT day!

All of us at the Entrance

Nate, Andrew and Jonah standing on a big rock

The Spectacular View!
my pictures do not do it justice!

Andrew taking his oath with the park ranger

Andrew loving the Grand Canyon - Junior Ranger badge and walking stick

All smiles

Jonah had to be in the action too!

In the evening

Jonah and me

Monday, June 1, 2009

Last Day of Young 5's for Andrew

School doesn't officially end until Friday but Andrew's last day was today. Tommorrow we are off to AZ to celebrate with Mary Lou as she graduates from her Occupational Therapy Master's program. Andrew is unfornately going to miss his class program but he doesn't seem bothered by it. Here are some pics we took to commerate his last day.

Jonah had to stand in front of the locker too!
Locker shot
Andrew and his teacher Mrs. Muller
Andrew was blessed have such a great teacher this year. He started this year in preschool with Mrs VanDyken and we loved her class so we were a tad nervous to switch classes. But, Mrs. Muller as been the perfect teacher for Andrew this year. He has learned so much and she has kept him challenged. She helped relieve some of his perfectionist tendencies and really helped him blossom. It has been great transition for Kindergarten!