Wednesday, April 30, 2014

We are Grinning at You

Branson really hates to get up in front of people to speak. Primary talks, in front of a crowd of 50 kids that are NOT listening anyway,  are a cause for full blown anxiety attacks. So you can imagine the distress that ensued up in here when Branson "accidently" qualified for the school spelling bee.

Branson: Next time I am going to miss on purpose because I didn't know I had to go up in front of EVERYONE if I won in my class.

Oh the drama. The morning of the bee Branson refused to get dressed. He was not going. He WAS NOT. He fretted and paced. But, at the last minute,  he bolted and got ready. At 7:30 he yelled back at me to be there at 1:20, grabbed his list of words and left.

I had been praying that he could just muster the courage to give it a try. And he was!

I had high hopes and was planning my victory speech for him. "See Branson, you did it! You worked hard, you practiced, you over came your fear and you were a total success!"

And then...He spelled his second word wrong and was the first one eliminated. I hurried him out the back way as fast as possible because my Mama heart knew that my boy was holding back the tears and the dam was about to burst. And boy did it.

He wanted to be taken straight to gym so we stopped for a change of clothes and some food and I dropped him off. I then went straight for the store, found a card and a 6 pack of IBC root bear because he HAD to know! He must know! I must tell him that I felt proud as can be. Proud as any Mom ever was! I didn't care one bit what place he got or what words he spelled right. I cared that he tried! I cared that he did something even though every personality trait in him was screaming don't do it! Even though getting up there felt like cotton in his mouth and a hammer in his chest.  He told those fears to shut-it. He opened up those little wings and stretched them till it hurt and I was proud. That's what mattered, that's what I cared about, that's what makes us strong.

Branson Boy,
I know things didn't work out, I know you are bruised and sore but thanks for letting me watch you fly Buddy. I sure love you.

"Let the rest of us grin at you while you run your race. Let us be proud. Let us be inspired and grateful that God made you to do this thing and you are doing it. The timing is never right. Forget that. It won't just fall into your lap. That’s fake. You are probably not guaranteed success. Sorry. This might be a crapshoot. It will be hard and require sacrifices and you might step out on shaky, shaky legs. But off you go because we were not created to stand still, even though that is safe and familiar and you are practically guaranteed never to fall or stumble or grow weary.
We were made to run.
I’m grinning at you. We all are." ~Jen Hatmaker

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

I Love Easter

In 2 Nephi 25:26 it says,

And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.
In our home last week we talked of Christ. I am not shy about sharing spiritual things with my children. I often tell them my testimony or my most heart felt feelings about things and I relish any opportunity to remind them that Jesus Christ is God's Almighty Son. But last week I made a special effort to gather my children around first thing in the morning and talk of Christ. It was Holy Week, the last week of Jesus's mortal life, what better time to reinforce and build up hope and joy and testimony as a family?
Of course and like always, I have been on the receiving end. There was a special spirit with us each day and the lessons sparked some really great discussions and I think we all feel more inspired to be a little better. I know I do.

Easter was wonderful in every way!
My Easter Egg

Egg Hunting in Cowboy's yard-where I hunted for eggs when I was little

My Grandma would be so happy to have us on her back porch-even if it was only about half of us

Little Jedidiah Grant

Be still my heart

Scott and Kaden were out of town Friday night and Saturday for the Triathlon. They both did awesome but we missed them! It always feels so good to be back together again.

This is my new favorite Easter song...


Monday, April 14, 2014

The Calm after the Crazy

Yesterday I started my Holy Week lessons with the kids. I love this week. I love my Savior and I feel the spirit strongest in my life when I am teaching others about him. Two lessons in and I already feel uplifted, it has been a welcome calm after a crazy weekend.

We had a wonderful time though cheering our kids on. We were so booked starting Friday night and on through Saturday. Every minute was filled. I have learned from experience that on these busy days I need to be prepared and ready ahead of time for every little detail or else I end up grouchy. Brylee and Kaden had a swim meet Friday night, I opted out of this one. Cali and I grocery shopped, cleaned up and did the laundry. I also packed Branson's gym bag and layed out towels and gathered snacks for Saturday. We had Branson's regionals gymnastics meet in Phoenix, Brylee and Kaden's splash and dash in Mesa, our wards foot rodeo in Gilbert, Scott had to meet a client at 4 to get a house listed and Kaden had committed to do cotton candy at a wedding reception that night in Tempe.

Not kidding.

Divide and conquer right?

Branson, Cali and I left for Phoenix at 7, the painters were coming at 8 to touch up the trim work so Scott had to get everything ready for them, plus Ella and the others ready for the splash and dash. It was crazy but after Kaden came in 1st place  and Brylee 2nd they rushed over to the gymnastics meet.

Gymnastics meets are LONG. I mean like 6 hours and you only get to watch your kid for about a total of 2 minutes. The rest of the time I am just trying to entertain Cali and keep her off the mats. It is exhausting. But, I am so glad to have been there. Branson was amazing. He scored his highest score ever on High Bar and did so good on all the events that he came in 1st as the 11 year old all around for the entire region. I was so surprised to hear his name that tears just started filling my eyes. Branson is normally completely stone faced on the awards stand but this time he could not contain his grin, Man! He needed that and we were all so happy for him.

We celebrated at Rainforest Café and then dropped the big kids off at the foot rodeo, Scott left for his appointment and 2 hours later I picked Kaden up to drive him to his cotton candy job. It was an insane weekend.

Maybe all the craziness is why waking up Sunday to fast, attend church and start my Easter lessons felt so good. Being a parent will literally wipe you completely out but I would not want any other life than this one.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

General Conference Weekend

General Conference never ceases to amaze me. We had a really wonderful conference weekend. I told the kids that since we were going to get to have a spiritual feast that we would also have a physical feast. And we did! We also spent the 2 hours between conference on Saturday down at Discovery Park riding bikes down the steep hills, laying in the grass and fishing in the pond. It felt so good to have my kids all together. It seems like we are always spread out between activities and friends and I love anytime that we can ALL be together. One of these days I am going to write a love poem to Discovery Park, I love it so.

We only took one picture. This cute one of Branson giving Cali a ride down the hill. I am always so torn between wanting to be there in the moment and wanting to have pictures to remember the moment.

And just for the record my favorite talk was Grateful in any Circumstances by Elder Uchdorf. He is masterful. I have learned a lot about gratitude over the past year and I am certain that grateful equals happy. Kaden listened to all of conference and has gone back since to re-listen to his favorite talks. It is a joy to mother that kid. The others were in and out a million times but I don't mind, I am just glad to be in the thick of my family whenever I can be.

And so now we are ready to face it all head on. The last quarter of the school year is as busy as December but just around that corner is summer and I cant wait. The girls have started early by swimming every afternoon.

Here's to a great 6 months until next time!

We can choose to be grateful, no matter what. This type of gratitude transcends whatever is happening around us. It surpasses disappointment, discouragement, and despair. It blooms just as beautifully in the icy landscape of winter as it does in the pleasant warmth of summer.
-President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Friday, April 4, 2014

Tippytoes Blocked

Two Friday's ago I was getting everything ready for Brylee and Kaden's swim meet. I had dropped Branson off at the gym and I had packed snacks and towels and a whole duffle bag of warm over-clothes for my swimmers. I threw in the stroller and the little girls jackets and then when I had about 10 minutes to wait for Scott I sat down and checked my email and blog traffic.

I found a link to a website I didn't recognize. It was some kind of social website for teenagers. I clicked the link and my heart sank into a horrible sick pit in my stomach. There on the page attached to a profile of a stranger was pictures from my blog of my children. One child in particular,  he was posting as himself and the other 4 as "his" siblings. I felt sick.

To say that I was horrified does not even do justice to how I felt.

I immediately closed my blog, its all I could do in the 10 minutes I had left. All through the swim meet I forced my self to smile and function but all I could think about was getting home so that I could try to do something about this nightmare. All night I felt that at any minute I might throw-up or pass out, I felt literally sick and I was just barely holding it together.

As soon as I had all the kids in bed I went straight to the computer. Little did I know the bad news would get worse. Not only had this person created a profile using our pictures on the teen website he had also created two other profiles on two additional social media websites, all of "his" posted pictures were taken from my blog. This person was thoughtless enough to also use my kids names. It took hours but I finally was able to file a report on all three accounts. And then I had to sit and wait and hope that the reports would be read and action would be taken as soon as possible. I did not sleep a wink as the worry kept me up.

And then I started praying. Desperately. My heart was breaking at the thought that my actions- my blog-was the reason that my children could be in danger. Physical danger or danger of damaged reputations all because I have chosen to share their lives for the last six years.

I felt devastated.

It has been almost two weeks now and all three accounts have been closed. I can not find even the smallest trace of them now. I am so thankful for that and for the fast response of the websites. I have come to terms with the fact that I can never blog the same again. All these years I thought that blogging and sharing my testimony and ideas and faith was a good thing. I worried about the privacy aspect but felt pretty safe in sharing my life. All of that has changed. Something I loved doing will have to be eliminated or done drastically differently than I had done before. I am sad.

At this point I am not sure how I will go forward. I have a bedside journal that I write in consistently but it does not record the family memories and record that I have kept here, only private thoughts and impressions. I am not sure that there is a safe way of blogging. Even with a private blog I see that pictures could still be taken. And a blog without pictures just would not tell the story as well. The record would be incomplete with out them. I am praying about it so we'll see.

In the meantime, I am remembering to be so thankful for this record that I started way back when Ella was a baby. I knew I loved to write and so I loved President Eyrings advice to write down each day how I had seen the hand of the Lord in my life. It is a beautiful talk called "O Remember, Remember" from the October 2007 general conference. I took his advice and started a blog. I do not regret all the good I have recorded. When I look back I just weep at the blessings I have saved and recorded and can "remember" because of this blog. I am however regretting sharing it so publicly as it has now put my family in danger. It is such a shame.

I am also so thankful for the friends who have read and loved my blog right along with me. I have been the recipient of some of the nicest comments and I am so grateful that good has come from my blog and from my willingness to share my testimony. I know that good has come and in the end the good will always trump the evil.

For now, there is this...I still believe in it with all my heart.

"What could you do better for your children and your children's children than record the story of your life, your triumphs over adversity, your recovery after a fall, your progress when all seemed black, your rejoicing when you had finally achieved? Begin today and write your deepest thoughts, your achievements and your failures, your associations and your triumphs, your impressions and your testimonies and the angels may quote from it for eternity." President Spencer W. Kimball