Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Disaster in the Sky

Last Thursday, July 17, Malaysian flight MH-17 departed from Amsterdam heading for Kuala Lumpur. I'm sure it started out as a routine flight, but it crashed in Ukraine after being shot down by a missile. Everyone on board (283 passengers and 15 crew members) died. This tragedy comes just months after Malaysian flight 370 disappeared on March 8. That plane carried 239 people and has yet to be recovered. That's 537 people between the two flights. Just terrible.

The details as to what exactly happened and why are still sketchy, but the following photos show just how terrible the devastation was.
The following is a map showing the path that flight 17 took. It departed from Amsterdam and then crashed in Donetsk, Ukraine. I'm also including a picture showing the nationalities of the 298 people on board.
If there is a positive outcome to a tragedy like this it's that people––even complete strangers––rally around each other. These sorts of tragedies and disasters are definitely sobering and really put life into perspective. Suddenly all of the little things that seemed so important become really insignificant when you realize that the things that are the most important will not always be there (and may be gone sooner than you think).

Here are a few pictures of some of the memorials in different parts of the world for the victims of flight 17:
I'm not sure when we will know who's responsible for firing the missile that brought down the plane, but I hope that information comes out eventually. So far there has seemed to be quite a bit of resistance from Russia as far as the investigation and investigators haven't been allowed full access to the crash site. It will definitely be interesting to see what evidence turns up as the days, weeks and months go on. I'm sure concrete answers will help bring the victim's families more peace.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Annette's Visit 2014

My sister Annette visited from New York for two weeks. Her husband Joseph could only take a week off of work so Annette and the kids drove here by themselves and then her husband flew here the next week. We didn't do anything super exciting during the week Annette and the kids were here by themselves, but that seemed to be okay with everyone especially since they went on several adventures with Joseph once he arrived.

It was pretty warm the first week they were here, so the kids splashed around in the two dollar wading pool that Annette and then fiancĂ©e Joseph bought for my sister Sharon's kids like 10 years ago (one of the best two dollar purchases ever!).
We celebrated Rebecah's half birthday on July 7 since she has a January birthday and they only visit in the summer. We had a birthday treat and my mom and I each gave her a little gift. (A streamer to use when she dances from my mom and the Frozen Little Golden book from me.)
We got ice cream cones at Bob's Drive-In one afternoon. It was pretty warm and the cold ice cream really hit the spot. I love their ice cream because it's so creamy and smooth.
I thought this picture was funny. Even though Kimball had his own ice cream cone, he was caught eyeing Rebecah's. ;)
Chandra also went to get ice cream with us, but she was behind the camera (as usual) since she is usually the one that takes most of my pictures for me.
I sure love these cuties!
Kimball will turn seven at the end of August, so we celebrated his birthday as well.
Nothing like a little sister to help you blow out your birthday candles. :)

My mom gave Kimball a Lego Hero Factory guy and I gave him the Snakes and Reptiles Magic Treehouse fact tracker book.
My sister Chandra is a wiz with hair and has a natural talent for braiding hair (she makes it look easy!). One of the things my nieces always look forward when they visit is having Aunt Chan do their hair. Rebecah told Chandra she wanted a braid like Elsa from Frozen. I think Chandra did a pretty good job if I do say so myself. I love the color of Rebecah's strawberry blond hair:
The next day Chan did another cute hairstyle:
Unfortunately I didn't get a picture with the entire family, but I did get a picture with Annette (and another with Rebecah):
I gave Annette her baby gift while she was here. I knew I wanted to buy Annette a Willow Tree family ever since I found out she was pregnant. For Mother's Day her husband bought her Willow Tree twins which kind of stole my thunder a little bit, but that's okay. I completed the family with a mom/dad figure and a brother and sister figure to represent Kimball and Rebecah. I think they look precious all together:
Annette kept saying that she felt huge, but the picture above shows how fantastic she looks for being 25 weeks pregnant with twins!! 

Annette and her family left this morning to head back to Syracuse. We had a wonderful two weeks together and I'm glad Annette was willing to drive out with the kids by herself so that we could have an extra long visit. Things will be much different next year when they come since they will have gone from two kids to four! It will sure be exciting to meet the twins (who will be about 8 months old) in person.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Youth Conference 2014

Last Saturday I spoke at Youth Conference, a yearly event for the 14 – 18-year-olds at church. The first day of Youth Conference is always full of fun, games, service projects and a dance and the second day is more spiritual with different classes and workshops. I was asked to teach a class on adversity and how to get through the different challenges that people are confronted with in life.

I always dread the anticipation of speaking to large groups, but it actually went really, really well. I taught the same class to two different groups of kids and I could tell that  they were listening to me very intently. Some of them were moved to tears as they listened to me share my story/experiences and it made me wonder what sorts of hard things they are going through in their lives. I'm so glad that I'm not a teenager anymore! It was hard enough 15-ish years ago and it's even worse these days.

They asked if they could take a group picture with me which I thought was sweet:
I'm a big fan of making handouts to give the kids in my Sunday school class, so I knew I wanted to make something for the kids that came to my class last week. I found this adversity candy bar wrapper on Pinterest and attached it to my handout. I was pretty proud of the way they turned out:

Friday, July 4, 2014

Art Museum

My mom, Chandra and I went to the St. Louis Art Museum with my sister Miriam's family last week. We tried to go last year when they visited, but when we got there we found out that it's closed on Mondays. We were all disappointed, so this year we made sure it was open before we went! I was excited to go because I love art and because I haven't been to the art museum in years. (Even though I've lived in St. Louis my entire life I've only been there twice; once in sixth grade for a field trip and then 13 years ago on my 17th birthday.)

Here we are with one of Monet's Water Lilies:
And here I am with some of Van Gogh's paintings (too bad it's not my favorite, Starry Night).
This was a really neat painting. It was so detailed!
A closer up shot to show more of the detail
There were several sculptures and busts:
Abstract pieces by Picasso:
Surreal artwork (the pineapple/banana painting was interesting):
I had Chandra take pictures of the beautiful architecture:
The lower level of the museum had a lot of interesting furniture and the dishes on display. I prefer the upper level with the artwork, but these things were also interesting to look at.
Here are a few mummies and sarcophaguses on display in the Egyptian exhibit:
By this time the kids were ready to go, so we got some pictures outside in front of the museum before we left. It was extremely sunny and bright as you can tell from our squinty faces:
We also took a picture in front of the statue of King Louis, and a picture of this neat tree sculpture. It's kind of hard to tell from the picture, but it was made out of some kind of metal and it was glinting in the sun:
Forest Park (where the museum is located) is so beautiful and there is so much to do. The best part is that most things (like the museum) are completely free of charge.

Miriam's family left after these pictures and then Mom, Chandra and I took some pics by another one of St. Louis' 250 birthday cakes (I wrote more about them in this post). We took pictures of the front and back of the cake:

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