Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Post Where-in I Get Caught Up

So why the slow slow drip of posts? I am not really sure. The simplest answer is to say that my computer situation is ugly. The Christmas lap top ended up getting returned because we discovered it had a glitch. Then we used the old laptop for a while until it just plain gave up. And now we are in the middle of setting up the old computer that had to be wiped clean but I am clueless and Scott isn't home much so I am stuck with the iPad.

I have also found that parenting older kids along with babies is tough and takes a lot of focus. I don't like to get distracted. Plus Kaden's school situation is consuming me. Such hard decisions to make. We live in Crazy Land when it comes to schools. Gone are the days of all the kids in the neighborhood and in the church going to the same school. I am not kidding when I say our ward kids go to probably 6 or 7 different schools and with a TON of new schools set to open in the fall it will be even worse. 2 new charter JH/HS are opening and 3 more k-6 or k-8 charters and 2 new public JH schools that may or may not be charters are opening. All of these schools are within fairly close proximity to us.

This circus of schools reeks havoc on the unity of neighborhoods and wards and if you ask me its all getting a little out of hand. I have always been just fine with being separate, I have never had a problem doing things alone but it feels different when it's my kids. Our neighborhood is full of families that get boundary exceptions, then there are a few charter school families, a home school family and almost zero that go to the public school that our area is assigned to. I am so grateful that we have choices but I feel sad for Kaden who is caught in the middle. Poor Boy has been fasting and praying his little heart out searching for answers. Crazy Land I tell you!

So lets get to a little catch up shall we:

Last day of school swim party and this was my favorite part,
























We are so thrilled to be off the schedule and free from the grip of homework for a while!

Cali gets her first set of Indian braids, so cute.



































Kaden and Brylee started swim team and already have a good little stack of blue ribbons accumulating. Branson moved up to level 5 in gym and now spends 14 hours a week working out and learning tricks. If Branson were not my kid I think I would be the judgmental onlooker saying, "that's too much for a little boy." But Branson is never happier than when he is physically moving and busy. He has such a  hard time when he is bored, for him, this is good.

Ella is still scared to be alone, ever, and by alone I mean anywhere that she cannot see another person. But on Sunday we had a little tender mercy when our sweet primary president planned sharing time around Ella. She gave Ella a super soft white blanket with a tag that said, 'Ella's Holy Ghost Blanket" on it. Ella loves it and felt so special. Hopefully it will help her want to sleep somewhere else other than wrapped around my torso.

























Cali has gone from talking in cute little one word bits to full sentences that are so completely adorable we all stop to listen. Toddler speak is just the cutest.

We have pierced ears!!

























Ella has taken up a game involving all the baby blankets that I keep neatly folded in the linen closet.



































We loved the dance recitals and loved the fact that dance is over for a bit!




































We celebrated a double birthday! Scott and I surprised the twins with tickets to a Piano Guys Concert. We loved it! But my goodness how did 11 years come and go in one breath??
 
 
 
 
One of two things happened here.....We had a bloody household accident OR Cali smeared an entire tube of lip stick ALL over the bathroom and all over every inch of her body. Hardest mess to clean up in the history of messes. Congratulations Cali, for earning the distinguished honor. Holy Moly.
Branson graduated from cubs! On to Boy Scouts. He earned his arrow of light and a million other things. He got to ride a zip line as his "cross over" ceremony and he got to shoot a flaming arrow into a bundle of sticks that was doused with gasoline. It just may have been the happiest moment of his life.


 

Kaden left earlier this week for scout camp. I get a lump in my throat every time one of these things comes up. He always has a great time but I miss him a ton! This picture was taken at 3:30am!



































My brother and his wife had a new baby! I got to do a little photo shoot, what a cutie!



































The other day I got a text from Scott.

"Just thinking of you, I miss you."

I am so thankful for Scott and it's little things like that that remind me everyday what a lucky girl I am. My kids hit the jackpot in the Dad department and it was so great to celebrate him on Fathers Day! Scott spoke in church that day, he did an amazing job.  He didn't even care that the girls wrapped his gifts in Christmas wrapping.
























Whewwww! Hows that for a catch up!


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Branson Birthday Letter at 11




































Dear Branson,

In just a few hours the clock will tick over to your eleventh birthday, I am not sure how since it seems like you should still be crawling around on those chubby, dimply baby knees but here it is anyhow. Handsome, good, busy and ambitious in every way is what you are. I could have never really known all those years ago about all the fun we would have together, all the things you would teach me and how my love for you would grow and grow so much that it sometimes feels like my heart might burst! On that early June morning when the doctors hooked you up to monitors and tubes and breathing machines we worried so much! But now I know that it was just you showing us that you can overcome hard things, that you can take on a challenge and come out better for it. My goodness Branse, I sure loved you that first day and I love you a million times over now.

There is no one quite like you in all the world. You are happiest when you are busy and you can go like the energizer bunny! You can build things from scraps, you can make entire meals by your self and you are a great babysitter. Yesterday, I was gone taking kids around to swim team and other appointments and you put Cali on the counter, scrambled some eggs, mixed up some muffins and even let Cali help with the whole thing! You are not the type to wait around for things to happen--you MAKE them happen. It is such a good trait to have and I am certain that for as long as you live you will find a way to make life comfortable for you and your family.  You are a caregiver in every sense of the word, it is a gift that you have been blessed with and I am sure that Heavenly Father has special work for you to do in your life. These last few months you have started coming to me just before bed time to tell me goodnight and then you say, "I am going to bed as soon as I check if all the doors are locked." It's just like you to take responsibility for something that most kids don't even worry about--I love it and I love getting to be your Mom.

I cant forget to say that you are the seat belt police! And you take this calling very seriously. No one in our car gets away with not wearing a seat belt, no way, no how, not ever. You are the John Wayne of seat belt law and you also keep a sharp eye out for anyone texting while they drive. Maybe you should be a real policeman someday! Unless you become a famous gymnast because you are getting really good! I love to see you work and concentrate and struggle to get better. You can do hard things!

If ever there was a strong willed child it is you my Bransypantsy! Strong will is a good thing, it means that you are not easily pressured into anything. You know how to make up your mind and stick with it, you also know how to get what you want and while it makes me absolutely exhausted, I wouldn't want you any other way. Point that iron will in the right direction and you will move mountains! I love to see you pull out your ipod to read scriptures at night because I know that reading the scriptures is like filling your spirit with fuel to face all the challenges of life. A race car doesn't go out to race without gas and we shouldn't go out to the races of our life without scriptures and prayer. It will help you cross the finish line! Keep working on those habits and make them strong!

Last night Branson we got to go to a really fun piano concert, you and me were squished together in the seats the whole time. You held my hand, and put your hand on my leg and then like a true gentleman, that is really proud of his date, you reached your arm up and around my shoulder. Well, I was super proud of my date too and if there is a way to really say just how much I love you, I am not sure what it is. Sometimes you smile with that handsome dimple and time stands still for just a moment and I think that there isn't a luckier girl in all the world than me.

I love you my BransyBoy, you are my treasure.

Happy Birthday!

Love Mom

Brylee Birthday Letter at 11

























Wow is all I can really say Brylee Girl! Eleven years old has come speeding at us like a jet streaking across a blue Arizona sky. You are so beautiful my brown haired doll, I love you so much and these eleven years have been a joy. The day you were born is carved into my soul deep and permanent and I love to close my eyes and remember. Welcoming you that day into my arms, my family and my heart felt like Heaven had opened it's doors and blessed me with it's most precious kind of gift; a first born daughter--and life was never the same again.

When I think of my tiny, mostly bald first baby girl, with her heavy black eye lashes and her amazing blue eyes that seemed to fill up our entire house, my heart squeezes and burns and throbs and then I almost die of missing that baby! But then just as I think I cant bear the thought of my little baby all grown up, I see you NOW and I realize that loving you NOW and knowing you NOW is like enjoying that precious gift from Heaven over and over and in new ways all the time. Your doing a wonderful job of growing up and I have loved being your mom everyday of it.

The other night we were at Pack Night with Branson. You had just come from a swimming party with your friends. Your hair was all wavy and dried from the warm afternoon breeze and you ran around the big green yard barefoot and confident. My friend leaned over to me and said, "I cant believe how beautiful she is." You really are Brylee, you have a carefree beauty that comes from the inside out. You are happy with who you are, you treat others with love and kindness and you don't worry very much about things that don't matter-- that combination equals beauty!

I cant write this letter with out mentioning what a good big sister you are. Ella and Cali demand a lot from you! They beg you to play with them ALL DAY LONG! They sleep in your bed and tag along with you to the park, they love when you are home and look up to you in every way. These little sisters hit the Big Sister Jack Pot with you and I am thankful everyday for the love you give them and the help you give me!

This year you have tried so hard to get into good scripture and prayer habits and you even watched and took notes on this past general conference. Keep at it! Nothing will be more important and uplifting in your life than the blessings that these habits will bring. When you miss for a few days, just start up again, when you forget,  do it the next day, when you are lonely, scared, sad, worried pick up those scriptures and open your heart in prayer. You will find a comfort and a peace that can be found no where else. But don't wait for the hard times to do it, make those habits strong and sure now, don't wait! Heavenly Father wants you to talk to Him, He wants you to read and learn about His Son, it takes work! It takes commitment but it is worth it! I promise.

Brylee, Dad and I love you. Oh how we love you! Someday you will look into the eyes of a heavy lashed baby and maybe then you will get a little glimpse of the kind of love we have for you. It is BIG, and sometimes it hurts as we see you face challenges or deal with a frustration but there is nothing that matters more to us than you. We are never far when you need us and we will always be here walking the road of growing up right along with you, only we will always be learning more form you than you will from us!

You are goodness and light, joy and hope, sunshine and love all wrapped up together. Thank-you for being our little Chicky, the love of my life and a piece of Heaven in our home.

Happy Birthday!
Love Mom