Saturday, June 30, 2012

Far Away

My whole soul has been begging to write. I feel urged and pushed into it especially when everything around me looks, smells and sounds beautiful. We are packed into the condo with a good assortment of cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. My children mix with the others- link arms, giggle in couch corners and stay up late for ice-cream. I love the way none of them seem to even notice that the people out number the beds-to them, it's the best way to stay.

I haven't been sleeping well. I have exactly zero time alone these days and so when everyone is at last quiet for the night my mind starts racing around and around like it's trying to hurry and cram every bit of thinking in before the finish line of quiet is breached and I am surrounded by needs again. So yesterday when the baby was sleeping and Ella was entranced by a dune of sand, a shovel and an old happy meal toy, I tapped Scott on the shoulder from his position at left field (in the middle of beach baseball, no less!) and told him I was leaving for a walk.

I set the I-pod to hymns and I started a fast walk up the ocean line. I took full and complete breaths and I blew them away hard and long. When I found a spot I liked, I sat down and turned down the sound so I could pray. I loved feeling like I could at last really tell Heaven just how thankful I am.

This week has been glory at it's best. Sun and salty breeze and happy copper faced kids that come and drip cold bits of ocean on my knees while they rummage my bag for a snack, usually reaching out to show me their latest treasure from the waves. A shimmery shell, a smooth rock, a lobster tail.

A piece of Heaven lives here at this place where Scott played every summer as a kid  and where sand inevitably finds it's way into the bed sheets. I am so thankful that we are weaving those same magical memories into their growing minds too. And when we get home and seal up another mason jar full of sand and shells, I will feel sure that we are also storing away everything they'll need to see them through homework and stress and money...when that day comes barging in.

But today is not that day.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Birthday Party

I was asked the other day if it is hard to keep blogging when I have very few readers and even fewer responses to what I write.

"No",  is the answer, been doing it for years. What IS hard, is to keep blogging in the summer, when I am living in someone elses house.

But the summer is slipping away! Melting like the kids Popsicles that slide red, purple and orange streaks down their arms. I get a lump in my throat when I think how little time I have left until we are forced back into the schedule and back (gulp) into homework. dundundun!

So here goes my catch up...

We celebrated the twins 10th birthday! Be still my heart, a whole decade just went by in one breathe!
Grandma Mag cards!

The HUGE slip in slide!

We are 10!

At this point in the picture roll, I will pause to say that Brylee was bounced by Kaden and Dallin so high and so crooked that she dropped from the sky at I swear 20 feet, head first- she hit the ground and rolled, popped up and laughed. I nearly died of a heart attack and then I banned the bouncing game. Thank our lucky stars that Brylee is a ball of athleticism or I don't know that the out come would have been the same. Scary!

Jaci brought Ella some pomatoes!

Of course we had cotton candy and I am pretty sure that the twins felt loved and celebrated. It sure was a fun party, even if I was tired as the hills by the time it was all cleaned up. Worth it for sure. Happy Birthday my amazing little pair!

Fathers Day was just a good chance to remind ourselves how blessed we are in the Dad department. Scott has such devotion to his kids and they are so lucky to have him. Me too.

Plus my dad that deserves far more than he ever gets. He has already done every "dad duty" you could possibly think of and now he does it for my kids too. He and Branson built a very cool trampoline platform that the kids have loved!

We are off to the beach next week, where I will try to savor all those good moments that slip through my hands and diappear before I am ready. It seems like no time at all passes before I am back here blogging events as memories instead of looking forward to them.

I cant stand it! Slow down, slow down!!

Monday, June 18, 2012

75 Miles

I am behind life feels out of sorts. I am busy with my 5 kids, all home full time for the summer. I need sleep. I have nieces and nephews around all of the time, which is a blast but the kid count being as high as it is, makes quiet thoughtful time an elusive captor. House hunting is hard. We read in the paper the other day that our exact desired location, (which is basically the same area we have lived for 12 years is the hottest housing market in the country). That's right in the country. We put an offer on a house Saturday that had been on the market for a few hours. In less than one day they had 6 total offers, 5 above asking. Good...yes. Bad...yes. I lose sleep over house hunting. Toss, turn, toss, turn...morning!
But Kaden had an amazing scout camp. He walked through the door last Saturday with a dirt uni-brow, a dirt mustache, caveman feet and the very light of self confidence shinning through all of it. He did HARD things and he did them so well. He completed a total of 75 miles. 25 canoe, 25 bike and 25 hike. WOW!

After a thorough shower, he and I sat on the couch together. I told him to start on Monday and tell me everything from everyday. What they ate, what they did...everything. When he got to Wednesday, he buried his head in the couch cushion and I could see warm little tears start to pool in his eyes and slip down his sunburned cheeks. I whispered in his ear to meet me in the bedroom and then I went to find Scott. When we were safely tucked away behind a closed door, Kaden found a way through his emotion to tell us that he had felt the spirit stronger than ever before and that on one beautiful after noon, alone in the pine trees, worn tired from a 12 mile hike...he had made promises to the Lord and had felt surrounded by the love of Heaven. I was so happy for him and so thankful for wonderful leaders that made countless sacrifices to give my growing boy this experience.

Also on the first day of canoeing there was a wind storm. Kaden and two other boys couldn't get through the wind in their little boat and ended up getting separated from their leaders. They felt completely terrified and panicked. They struggled through the wind without success so they parked their canoe and prayed together for safety. In this part of the story Kaden looked at us and said,

"Mom, we were so scared, and tired and there were tons of little spiders in our boat that were freaking me out, but after we prayed, I knew we would be safe, so we left the boat and swam for shore."

I loved the mixture in his story of 12 year old boy details and absolute golden faith.

How I love my Kaden boy, I'm so proud of him.

Later we went to Denny's for kids eat free night and a celebration of Kaden's triumphant week at scout camp. I was so happy to have him back. Ella and Cali couldn't get enough of the boy.

Later in the week, we celebrated the twins b-day and that needs a post of it's own. Lets just say that Brylee survived one very close call with, "backyard mishap". That girl had birthday party guardian angels with her for sure.

So scout camp was a success, and just so you know, I literally gagged when I cleaned out that kids pack. Damp, dirty, stinky...disgusting. Imagine the contents of this...

smashed in his pack and then set to simmer in the summer sun on the drive home. Blekkk!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Birthday Letter-Branson at 10

Dear Branson,

My heart aches a little that it is already time for another birthday letter. But I also feel profoundly happy while I sit here and type and think about you. With one more year, has also come thousands of happy moments and memories that we get to keep forever. What a joy you are to me and every year the joy that you first brought to our family a whole decade ago, gets bigger and bigger and bigger. My goodness how my heart nearly burst at the sight of your beautiful baby face on that early June morning. I loved you so much and I have loved more and more everyday since.

Branson you have a gift for helping with the younger kids. You have a natural instinct to know what the little ones need and how to do it. Your little sisters and all those younger cousins are drawn to you because they know you will play with them, love them, teach them and most importantly make them feel like the most special person on earth. Just the other morning, you noticed that Sidney's hair was in her face, you took her to the bathroom, brushed her back and fastened it into a ponytail holder all by your self. I have watched you give countless acts of service just like that one over and over to the younger children in your life. You are so good at noticing who needs help and giving that help with out being asked. This gift will be such a benefit to you through out your life as you continue on in family life, serve a mission and have a family of your own someday. Always remember that when you are in the service of your fellow beings, you are only in the service of your God. I know that Heavenly Father has special work for you to do and if you continue on faithful, just the way you are now you will be able to accomplish amazing things and be a blessing to so many people. And that Branson, is the very essence of happiness.

I love how busy and active you are. Remember, that's how you got nick named, "the man with a plan?" I rarely find you in front of the television, you would much rather spend entire days, building, playing, working, fixing and experimenting than anything else. Even chores are more appealing to you than sitting still. This is such a good quality to have and you will be able to accomplish anything you set your mind to.

Branson, you are growing up so handsome, strong, talented and kind. You have a strong testimony and I am so happy that I get to be your Mom. All those years ago when we first met, I loved you and held you and looked into your eyes, I put your face up to mine and whispered a promise of love into your tiny ears. That love has been so easy to give and has multiplied stronger and faster than I could have imagined. You entirely stole my heart that day and now a whole decade later it still belongs to you.

I love you more than life and breath my sweet boy.

Happy Birthday.

Love, Mom

Birthday Letter-Brylee at 10

Dear Brylee,
When time flies by as fast as it has since your last birthday it makes me feel like if I blink or sleep or breath, you will be all grown up before I am ready. But tomorrow whether I like it or not you will be another year older. A whole ten years. One of my favorite things to do on your birthday is to hold you tight and tell you about that amazing early morning when you and I first met. But like I always say…we knew each other long before -and that morning was a sweet reunion. Branson was whisked away and quickly hooked up to breathing supports and there you were to lessen the fear and comfort my heart. You still do that. You are so good at recognizing the feelings of others and doing what you can, to lighten a heavy load. The scriptures say that we should, succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees. You are so good at that.

You are so beautiful Brylee. Sometimes I literally cannot take my eyes off of you. You have a strong and athletic body and such stunning blue eyes that remind me of the deep part of the ocean. Your eyelashes are long and thick and you have a happy smile that can brighten up even the saddest days. So much of your beauty comes from what is inside of you and this past year has been another where you have taken so many opportunities to help others feel loved and included. All that goodness and kindness and natural ability to love comes shining through, making you amazingly beautiful in every way.
In church last Sunday you were watching your friend sit with her family. She has 4 big sisters and you leaned over to me and said, “I wish I had a big sister.”  You felt a little bit jealous of your friend. I whispered into your ear,

“But you get to BE the big sister.”

You smiled wide and I could see the joy that comes to you from being a big sister to Cali and Ella. How they love you. I like how Ella wants to show you every single new thing she learns and I love how Cali leans for you when she sees you. They will need your love their entire lives and I know you will always be good at giving it. What a blessing it is to be a sister, some of your most profound opportunities to serve will come to you in the role of sister.
Brylee you are everything that our Heavenly Father wants His daughters to be. If you live the next 10 years, and the next, and the next, and the next, and on and on , the way you have lived the first 10 years you will always be happy.

If only I knew how to really tell you how much I love you! You are an extension of my own heart and soul. To me you are sunshine, laughter,  joy…and every other good thing in life. How I love you sweet dolly girl.
Happy Birthday.

Love, Mom

Sunday, June 10, 2012

If I Had the Time

(This is a post I wrote last week and never finished until now. Stay tuned for Scout Camp adventures, twin b-day letters and a house packed full of long lost Georgia Peach sister is here!)

Summer nearly kills my blog. In all my years of blogging I have yet to do a very good job over the summer, even though it is my favorite time of the year.

I could write all day about how many times I get to apply and reapply the kids shoulders with sunblock. I could write about how Ella had a huge fit last night because it was 10pm and she wanted to take her mermaids out side for a late night swim in the bubble pool, and I had to say "no". She ended up calming down and falling asleep right on top of me. Her tummy to my tummy. I could write how I really loved that and about how she has the silkiest smooth skin that she likes to have tickled while she dozes off.

I could write about what a fast swimmer Brylee is, how she already came home with 2 blue ribbons and how she likes to send text messages to her teacher, everyday. I could write about how she has made quick friends with my cousins little girl from around the corner, even though they had only met once or twice before now. They have become kindred spirits like Anne Shirley and Diana.

I could write about how Kaden is STILL gone at scout camp and how my prayers for him are quite long and how I cant wait to get my hands on him tomorrow and find out every detail of his adventure.

I could write about Branson and his bottomless appetite for play. The boy plays from sun up to sun down. When I was a kid here in my parents house we were always rigging up contraptions with the hose to keep us busy for the summer and now Branson does the same. I could write about he and I had a good long and needed laugh the other night when he gave himself a nice spritz of my Mom's perfume. When I hugged him good night, I complimented him on how pretty he smelled and then we laughed our guts out.

I could write about the 360 race that I had with my brothers yesterday. I beat the brothers 2 out of three times, even though Branson beat all of us by a long shot.

I could but I am too busy keeping up with all of this to find the time. will have to wait.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Summer and Growing Up

This morning, after a very late night Scott and I rose with the birds. Scott took a shower and I sat next to my biggest boy and rubbed his warm shoulders until he started to blink and stretch and find his bearings of wakefulness..

After one last hour of prep he left for scout camp and for the very first time in his life he and I will be apart for an entire 6 days. Man! I do not like the feeling these sorts of things leave me's heavy and it sits like a rock in my stomach.

He was so tender yesterday and this morning, all full of extra sympathies for me, because his little soul knows that along with my excitement for his adventure, I have a mother-load of angst. I can remember when Kaden started Kindergarten thinking that if he hesitated at all, if he looked back at me with anything but a smile, if there was any tight hand holding, any tears- that I would just say, "OK Buddy, run for the car, lets blow this joint and go the heck home."

But that handsome little blondy, smiled and waved and conquered Kindergarten.

And today will be no different.

On his last camp out I was told that when Kaden reached the end of the up hill, 4 mile hike, he dropped his pack and went back down to help 2 other struggling boys.

Be still my heart.

When in all the world did he get so old? How did he go from sleeping every night nestled between Scott and I, to heading off on his own for a 6 day camp?  It feels like very little time at all has passed since he was still all mine.

But so far, today has been a fantastic start to summer. We made it through the last day of school:

The twins class saying good-bye to the worlds best teacher!

Brylee and friends

Branson and friends

Kaden getting ready to throw away his folder. The condition of this folder is a good representation of how difficult the year was...good riddance!

Brylee's last good-bye's...I love the drama!

I LOVE having no schedule and I love not having to be anywhere. I love that the twins plus one neighbor boy have been on the trampoline since 10 am filling up huge water balloons and playing in the sprinkler.

I love that Ella slept in until 9 and that  she is now sitting at my feet dressing her magnet dolls.

Happy Day! Summer is here!
(Dear Scout Leaders, bring my boy back in one piece...or else)