Monday, July 31, 2017

Scrambled Thoughts XXII (Catch Up Post)

1) The Cutest Thing About This is That He Has No Idea How Cute This is.

Running around in your swimming suit with giant goggles on your face is just kind of the norm around here.

2) If You Want To Hold Eliza, You're Going To Have To Fight For Your Position

She's a pretty hot commodity around here.

3) Masks are the Worst

Anyone else with me on this? That's McKenzie standing so straight and tall in the back right corner of this picture... but I only know her because of her flip flops. Creepy, I tell you. Also, I keep feeling tempted to get rid of all of our dress ups, but then all the neighborhood kids get into them laughing and creating and I think maybe I'll hold on to them for a little while longer after all.

4) This Little Peanut is Getting Too Little

I've always said I wanted a little one. But something isn't working quite right and Eliza's not gaining weight like she should be. The doctor earlier this month told me that I needed to stop nursing her and give her straight formula because, "some mothers just don't make nutritious milk." It was a hit to my emotions, but since we've made the switch she's doing much better. This picture was taken earlier this month and she looks so tiny and malnourished that my heart breaks every time I see it. Thank goodness for scientists who create the formula and for doctors who help solve problems.

5) I Wonder How Miles Felt About Being the Object of This Target Practice

I'm betting he loved it.

6) For Being the Baby of the Family, She Sure Knows How to be With Babies

My littlest sister, Amber has always had a gentle side that speaks love and safety to babies. They love her.

7) When You Feel Like Your Life Might Be Over

Timothy was giggling and playing away in my bathroom as I was getting ready for church and I had for the most part tuned him completely out. Until I heard his solemn voice snap me out of my own daydreams saying, "Well, I guess I'm going to be stuck here forever." I turned to see that his shirt had gotten caught on some piping behind the tub and he had decided that he would have to live the rest of his life there.

8) McKenzie is Getting Big Enough to Have Her Own Adventures

She flew up to Utah all by herself to hang out with Nana and Poppy for a few days.

I'm pretty sure they didn't have any fun at all.

9) When You're A Baby, You Can't Stop Things Like This From Happening:

We are all celebrating her being able to lift her head up off the floor without too much face planting.

10) Every Morning I Get To Wake Up to This:

In going through my month of pictures, I couldn't believe how many times I'd turned the camera to myself to try to capture this fleeting moment in my life. This baby is the world to me, and I am enjoying her so, so much. Every little part.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Larsons Visit (Catch Up Post)

This lady is a happy maker. Whenever I spend a little bit of time with her I come away feeling more empowered to conquer the world.

She and her kids came to visit and we randomly scored tickets to Vegas's hottest show: Cirque Du Soleil's O. We were sitting at the Green Valley buffet eating our hearts out (as one does at a Vegas buffet) when one of Brian's colleagues texted and said that we could have as many tickets as we wanted for that night's performance. Brian was such a great guy and took the four youngest kids home with him while the rest of us piled in the van and made our way over to the Bellagio. The show was phenomenal, and sharing such a fun night with these kids is always an adventure.

Other than that, we made sure to take the boys out to the candy shop in town,

cheer for the girls as they did tricks into the pool,

and praise their singing voices when they got loud into their popsicles.

At one point I realized that Becky and I needed a Jumping Off The Waterfall picture of our own, so we had one of the kids line it all up and take it. It was a great idea, but I must admit that I nursed a bruised and scratched up foot for the next week because I forgot I was jumping right into the shallow end.

These people are welcome in my house any time.

They are loving and respectful and full of spunk and fun. We love you, Larsons!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Miles's Baptism (Catch Up Post)

Months ago in the middle of a bedtime story, in the middle of a chapter, in the middle of a sentence, Miles interrupted Dad's voice. "Dad?" he asked. "Do I have to get baptized?" Brian realized at that moment that Miles was not focusing on the story about aliens and spaceships and a boy called Ender so he slowly lowered the book to his lap and thoughtfully responded, "No, bud. You don't have to get baptized. Are you worried about something?" Miles just shrugged his shoulders and after a few moments of silence he said, "I just don't know if I want to." And then after another short pause, "you can keep reading the story now."

And so Brian and I embarked on the ever complex journey of discovering the thoughts in Miles's mind.

Over the next few weeks we uncovered little pieces and slowly assembled the story of what was bothering Miles, what he was concerned about, where his fears lived, and we discussed them openly.

Through it all we made it clear over and over again that he didn't have to do anything he didn't want to. That making the choice to be baptized was not one to be taken lightly and that it was okay if he needed to think more about it and wait.

And as his eighth birthday grew closer I saw him pulling on faith. The fears did not disappear, but he began to develop his own faith that getting baptized was something his Heavenly Father wanted him to do, and that things would all be okay.

The morning of his baptismal interview with the bishop he got out his brand new suit and carefully put it on. He was quiet and anxious and outside the rain fell in sheets. Minutes before the interview, hail started shooting like bullets from the sky in such quantities that we couldn't even hear each other speak as we drove to the bishops house. It added excitement into the mixture of Miles's emotions and I couldn't decide whether that was helpful, or not. We covered as much of ourselves as we could with umbrellas to protect from the sideways rain and ran through the porch into the bishops living room where we laughed about the weather before Miles anxiously went into the bishops office. I visited with the bishops wife for a few minutes until Miles came back out. And when he did I almost didn't recognize him for the change in his disposition! He was absolutely beaming from ear to ear, bouncing on his toes, and I recognized the sparkle in his eyes - he had felt the spirit confirm to him that he was doing the right thing. He had acted on his faith all the way to this point and the blessings of that action were now visible in his countenance.

We walked back outside into the most gorgeous sunlight. The rain had gone and left the earth in front of us glistening and fresh. The combination of Miles's sparkle and the sparkle of the earth was too much for me and we had an impromptu photo shoot right then and there (which is where all the above pictures came from).

The excitement and eagerness to get baptized followed Miles through the next week and on the morning of his baptism he was emotionally ready.

So we spent the rest of the morning getting him physically ready.

The following picture is one of my very favorites taken as Poppy was helping him with his tie.

At the church, Miles and Brian dressed in white, and Miles made the covenants with Heavenly Father that he was ready to make through baptism.

Eliza did not like being upstaged, however, so she made sure to blow out all over her beautiful dress and call some attention to herself. Thank goodness for Grandmas, and Eliza was soon bathed in the kitchen sink and changed into fresh clothes (much to her dismay).

It had been a long day, and the sun was beating down in its desert way, but everyone kindly agreed to stand for pictures as soon as we got home.

Miles is so blessed to have strong men and women surrounding him in his life.

Soon enough this little face below will be getting baptized too.

Miles is the middle child, which makes him a perfect fit to stand in the middle of all the love.

I hope Miles always feels the love and support that these people shower on him.

We are proud of you, son. Always remember how following your faith through the middle of your fears brought you to this place of happiness.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Pine Valley Vacation (Catch Up Post)

I don't know if I've mention this before, but it's hot in the summers here in Las Vegas. So, we decided to pack up all of our kids and a few laundry baskets full of games and head to the mountains for the weekend.

It was delightful and relaxing.

There was a a perfect little stream tucked away at the corner of the lot we were staying on. But it took a bit of a hike to get there. Carson navigated it slowly and surely and needed an occasional piggy back ride, but he was awesome!

Admittedly, he had to work a little harder for his fun, and sometimes he felt a little left out, but he was such a great sport about it all and seemed genuinely happy.

And he was a master at taking care of his baby sister.

There was a brand new croquet set sitting on the porch and we took no time at all to open it up and break it play it. 

Timothy caught the vision,

but couldn't seem to get the hold right on the mallet.

Carson ditched his crutches halfway through the game and started hopping on one leg through the rest of the game and then for the rest of the weekend.

At sunset we decided to take a walk around the lake.

And at one point all three of the boys needed to go the the bathroom at the same time, which left my beautiful girls and me together to enjoy the gorgeous scenery. 

I wonder if every mother has conversations with her children about the appropriate way to use a hammock.

And I also wonder if every child ignores that council and treats the hammock like the offspring of a swing and a trampoline.

And, also, let's talk about this little lady in the tree:

She is a climber, this one. She loves a good climbing tree and the higher the challenge, the better. But she hates bugs. She got so far up in this tree that I started to fear that she'd come across a bug on a branch and let go. So I mentioned casually that she might see a bug up there and to be smart about her reaction, which killed her momentum and caused her to shimmy her way back down.

Much of the weekend was spent cuddling up on the couches inside the cabin. It rained hard on our one real day up there, but we were so happy to be out of the heat and holed up together that it didn't even matter. 

On Sunday we went to the historic Pine Valley chapel for church. There were so many people visiting on this particular Sunday that the chapel was full, and the extra building they have on the side of the building for such scenarios was also full. So they started bringing out lawn chairs and they opened the windows on the side of the building so we could hear what was happening inside while one of the ward members rushed home to gather his television and a few speakers which he set up to broadcast the meeting for us. It was beautiful.

And after church, perhaps my favorite sight of the whole weekend, I walked up the stairs and saw this handsome boy donning his hat and getting dressed down for the drive back home.

A happy weekend, indeed.