Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Bunny Hop

For many years I have tossed around the idea of having an Easter Egg Hunt.
Time has always gotten away from me, so it never happened.
That is, until this year.
Our small little event grew a little.

Invitations were posted on Facebook for all to see.

All Samuel was interested in was a bounce house with a slide.
It HAD to be a castle, but besides that, whatever you want Mum.......yeah, right!
 The eggs were stuffed and tossed......
 and tossed........
 poured in some places........
 tossed and rolled........
 thrown with wild abandon.......
  eventually all desire to even try to hide them was lost......
The food was ready to be eaten.
Well, not all the food was there ready to be eaten......

Let the festivities begin!!!!

There was bouncing,
 and maybe just a little bit of squishing going on.
 Parents stood around observing,
 and unsquishing.
On your mark,
get set,
 Jim surveying the scene
 Sam was happy because the hunt also involved bubbles!

Over 600 eggs hunted in around 5 minutes!!!
 We then turned to grilling hot dogs,
supervising the grilling of hot dogs,
 and being cute.

We hope that everyone enjoyed the Easter Egg Hunt.
If we do it again next year, we know some things to add and things to do differently.
Trial and error.
All I know is that Samuel is still talking about it and wants to do it again.
 Another thing I know.....
check the bounce house for all possible scenarios in advance.
Such as one certain 8-year old boy finding a way to climb up on top of the bounce house and hide behind the dragon.
By the way, the dragon's name is Bruce.
Just in case you were wondering. 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Lest We Forget - ANZAC Day

Thought I would do a blog post on ANZAC Day and why it is important to my family.  It is important for my children to know their family even though they have never met some of them.
"Lest We Forget"

What is Anzac Day?

ANZAC Day – 25 April – is probably Australia's most important national occasion. It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War.

What does ANZAC stand for?

ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. The soldiers in those forces quickly became known as Anzacs, and the pride they took in that name endures to this day.

Why is this day special to Australians?

When war broke out in 1914, Australia had been a federal commonwealth for only 13 years. The new national government was eager to establish its reputation among the nations of the world. In 1915 Australian and New Zealand soldiers formed part of the allied expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli peninsula in order to open the Dardanelles to the allied navies. The ultimate objective was to capture Constantinople (now Istanbul in Turkey), the capital of the Ottoman Empire, an ally of Germany.
The Australian and New Zealand forces landed on Gallipoli on 25 April, meeting fierce resistance from the Ottoman Turkish defenders. What had been planned as a bold stroke to knock Turkey out of the war quickly became a stalemate, and the campaign dragged on for eight months. At the end of 1915 the allied forces were evacuated, after both sides had suffered heavy casualties and endured great hardships. Over 8,000 Australian soldiers had been killed. News of the landing on Gallipoli had made a profound impact on Australians at home, and 25 April soon became the day on which Australians remembered the sacrifice of those who had died in the war.
Although the Gallipoli campaign failed in its military objectives, the Australian and New Zealand actions during the campaign left us all a powerful legacy. The creation of what became known as the “Anzac legend” became an important part of the identity of both nations, shaping the ways they viewed both their past and their future.

My Grandfather (father's side)
Sydney Rupert Johns
Service Number: 6103
Rank: Private
Roll title: 12 Infantry Battalion - 13 to 23 Reinforcements (January-December 1916)
Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918
Date of embarkation: 8 August 1916
Place of embarkation: Hobart
Ship embarked on: HMAT Ballarat A70
I don't know very much about my Grandfather Johns.  I don't have a photo.  All I know is word of mouth, so I am not sure how correct it is!!  I was told that when he came back from serving in WWI, he was suffering from "shell shock."     He died in 1948.

My Grandfather (Mum's side)
James George Bricknell
I don't know much about my Grandfather Bricknell's time of service either.  I remember a photograph of him in uniform.  He seemed very young and handsome.  I have 2 little elephants that he bought back from his time overseas.

My Dad
Eric Sydney Johns

Service Number: TX10873 
Date of birth:  23 Oct 1921 
Place of birth:  ULVERSTONE TAS
Place of enlistment:  BRIGHTON TAS
Next of Kin:  JOHNS SYDNEY
Dad served during WWII.  I have his ration book and a few other items that he had during this time.
I think Dad was still in training when the war ended, so he never was sent overseas. 
My Uncle
Wilton Tasman Bricknell
Service Number: TX8415
Rank: Private
Unit: 2/40th Battalion (Infantry)
Service: Australian Army
Conflict: Second World War, 1939-1945
Date of death: 24 June 1944
Place of death: At sea (South West Pacific Area)
Cause of death: Presumed
Cemetery or memorial details: Singapore Memorial, Singapore
I do know a bit about Uncle Wilton's service to his country.  I will probably do a blog post about him in the future.  I have to dig out the newspaper clippings, etc., that I have.  Uncle Wilton forged his birth date and his father's signature so he could enlist.  He was a Japanese POW when the ship he was on was torpedoed by and American submarine.  He was below deck and did not survive.

TAMAHOKO MARU (Saturday, June 24, 1944)
Part of a convoy sailing towards Japan with 772 Australian, British and American prisoners of war on board. With the lights of Japan in sight, one of the ships in the convoy, exploded after being torpedoed by the US submarine USS Tang. Nearby, the Tamahoko Maru was almost blown apart and water poured in through a gaping hole in her side. On top of the main hatch cover 80 men were sleeping. Not one of them survived. As the Tamahoko (6,780 tons) settled in the water, hundreds of prisoners jumped into the sea and soon a Japanese whale-chaser appeared and started picking up survivors. The final count was that 560 POWs had died. Of the 267 Australians on board only 72 survived. Fifteen US soldiers and sailors were killed as well as thirteen merchant seamen rescued from the sunk freighter "American Leader". Next day, 212 survivors of the Tamahoko Maru were brought into the harbour at Nagasaki to spend the rest of the war in the POW camp, Fukuoka 13.

My Mum
Dorothy Madeline Bricknell
My Mum signed up for the Australian Women's Land Army.  With so many of the men away at war, there was no one to work on the farms.  My Mum was only 17, so she had to get her Dad to give his permission.  She worked on several farms all over the state of Tasmania.  Mum was very proud of her service and she received a medal which I now have.


This is just a snippet of why ANZAC Day is important to meI hope that I can share more of my family history with my children, and all who care to read it!!


Thursday, April 24, 2014


We had a birthday in our family yesterday.
I wasn't going to post anything.
I was going to let it pass.
But, I can't.
I am her Mum.
So, I will post today.
Ten years seems such a long time.
I still cry, I still remember

Saturday, April 12, 2014

I Love To See The Temple

Yesterday we did a quick, spur of the moment trip.
Jim's work schedule has been crazy this month, lots of travel all over Florida.  We had been talking about driving down to Ft. Lauderdale to attend the open house for a new temple that our church has built there. 
Here is a short video about temples.
 Thursday evening, we finally decided to drive down the next day.
After a brief panic about what to do with the big yellow dog called Blue, we were set!!
The drive down was uneventful......
well, there was a little drama at the McDonald's in Naples.
I want to add that it was NOT caused by the Purdy family.  Will have to tell that tale at another time!
The temple is beautiful, and well worth the drive.
As we made our way onto the temple grounds, via a ride on a golf cart,
 (this small fact becomes important at the end of my blog!)
we were greeted by many ushers/guides.  Best of all, we were shown our way to the "visitor's tent" by someone we knew!  It was wonderful to see Melissa Curtis again!
After a brief movie and introductions to temples, we were on our way for a guided tour.  Sam was very excited and did not want to wait.  He wanted to go inside  NOW!!!  We had our own private tour guides so we could take time with Samuel in certain areas and push through quickly in others/
 All the temples have this above the doorway.  This is one of the first things Samuel know, just in case they had forgotten!
 All the details are just beautiful.
 After the temple is dedicated, this will be the place where you enter the temple.
One of the rooms they showed us was the baptistery.
This is the above view.
Guess who tried to take a dip?? 
 The baptism font is on the back of 12 oxen, representing the 12 tribes of Israel.
The attention to detail is amazing.  Not one of the oxen is the same, and the tile on the floor was beautiful.  I think I am using the word beautiful quite a bit!!!

As a side note.  Samuel was very curious to know if the temple had escalators and was disappointed to learn that it didn't.   He then asked about elevators and was told that the temple was all on one floor.  As we were walking through where people entered who were going to do baptism, there was a little area where towels and white baptismal clothing will be kept.  Samuel made a beeline through that area with me in hot pursuit.  Imagine his delight when he spied a ELEVATOR!!  It probably went to the laundry, but not according to Samuel.  He informed me later that night that it was for Jesus so he could go up.

 Breathtaking murals were on the walls of this endowment room.  We had a little bit of a wait here, so we searched for the 3 butterflies in the mural.
 This is a sealing room.  Jim and I were married in a similar room.  Jim picked Samuel up so he could see, and we had Jessica stand by us.  We looked into the mirror and you could see our family reflected back over and over.  Samuel thought that was wonderful and we had the chance to talk about eternal families. 
 We were missing some important family members......but, we are an eternal family.
 This picture does not do the Celestial room justice.  This is the place that represents the Celestial Kingdom.  It is the most peaceful place on earth.  They asked us not to speak as we walked through this room, just to try and feel of the spirit.  Samuel had a tough time with this.  He kept looking around and saying, "Wow!"  We agreed with him.
 This is the chandelier in the Celestial room.

We saw many other beautiful rooms.  The "Bride's Room" was gorgeous.  We even got to look in the bathroom in the Bride's Room, I found the tile I want when we eventually redo our bathrooms!!

One of my favorite children's songs from church is,
"I Love To See The Temple."
 "I love to see the temple.
I'm going there someday
To feel the Holy Spirit,
To listen and to pray.
 For the temple is a house of God,
A place of love and beauty.
I'll prepare myself while I am young;
This is my sacred duty.
 I love to see the temple.
I'll go inside someday.
I'll cov'nant with my Father;
I'll promise to obey.
For the temple is a holy place
Where we are sealed together.
As a child of God, I've learned this truth:
A fam'ly is forever.
It is wonderful to go to the Lord's house.
It is even more wonderful when you see family and friends there.
The temple is a place where I have felt peace.  It has given calm to my heart when it has been troubled.  When my Mum, Dad and brother died, I was not able to go to the funerals.  Instead, Jim and I went to the temple.  We also went the day before our little girl's funeral.  The reassurance, promptings and personal experiences on those occasions and at many other visits, leave no doubt in my mind that these beautiful buildings are indeed "The House of the Lord."

As we made our way to the parking lot, we decided to walk because Samuel was beginning to have a tough time.  So many different experiences, the drive down and break in routine take a toll on our little boy at times.  But, a walk was not in the cards.  The driver of the golf cart chased us down and insisted that he drive us back to our car!!! 

Later that night I asked Samuel what his favorite part was.  He spoke of the elevator, the mirrors in the sealing room and the Celestial room.  His most favorite part, however, was the water park.  I was going to leave you guessing about that part, but that would be cruel!!
 Yep, water park.
Things could have gotten a little tricky.......