Tuesday, February 24, 2015

When She Was Small







































When Brylee was small she was the perfect little girl. She was so easy going, so patient, she was never unkind to other kids, she didn't throw fits, she was easy and wonderful and the very center of my heart and soul. She was beautiful. Everywhere we went people would comment on her amazing blue eyes and thick black eyelashes. She was happy and confident and sure. Time has swirled past us and more than a decade has come and gone. Brylee is growing into an amazing woman. She is still everything she was when she was little and more.

But life lately has pushed her around a bit. She is lonely and misses our old ward so much. She feels awkward in a new body and is trying to keep up with all the changes. Homework is harder, friends are more complicated and she feels that weird exhaustion that comes with teenager-hood. She just cant seem to get enough sleep. My heart has been especially aware of her and I am trying to walk every step of this growing up road right beside her.

We spent part of last week in Las Vegas for a gymnastics meet. Brylee was ever helpful with the little girls and always the first to say "thank-you Mom and Dad" after a meal or a fun activity. She has a heart of gold and I know that that big, soft, beautiful, golden heart will see her through this rough patch.

What a gem you are my sweet Brylee Girl.
The Venetian Hotel
































It was meant to be that life would be a challenge. To suffer some anxiety, some depression, even some failure is normal. If you have a good, miserable day once in a while- or several in a row- stand steady and face them. Things will straighten out. There is great purpose in our struggle in life. -Boyd K. Packer


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

When They Hold Hands

Cali and Ella are kindred spirits. They spend all their free time together, playing, laughing, talking to the neighbors over our backyard fence, taking baths and turning their bedroom into a "store". They go together, they love each other and I am so glad that they are sisters.

We used our POGO passes on Saturday and spent the day at a carnival. Ella took care of Cali, helped her on and off rides, held her hand in line and was in general, a fabulous big sisters.






































Gosh I love them and when they hold hands like that all the world feels right and good.

Lucy Mac Smith said...

"We must cherish one another, watch-over one another and comfort one another." Cali and Ella have that one nailed.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Work Works

Branson has gymnastics everyday. I drive him there and we get to spend those 15 minutes chatting and catching up. I love that time with Branson. He is the type of kid that is one way when he is in the mix of 5 kids and a completely different way when he is one on one with Scott or I.






































I wish I would have been better over the years about writing down a snippet here or there from our car ride conversations. Yesterday on our way to gym I was telling him what a good job he and Kaden had done putting up the Presidents Day flags in our neighborhood. As I was complimenting him on his work he said,

"Mom, I do a lot of hard things."

So we talked about 4 hour gym workouts and early morning scout commitments and 5:30am temple trips each week. We talked about how these hard things are shaping him into a strong a capable man. We talked about how no one ever became anything great or amazing or better by taking the easy road.

President Monson said, "There is no substitute for hard work."

There really isn't and I am glad that Branson knows this at twelve. And I am sure thankful for a 15 minute stretch of road that has added up over the years and turned into hours and hours with my boy.






Friday, February 13, 2015

Before the Sun







































Kaden has A-hour and it is just so stinking early in the morning. I have spent this entire school year dreading my start time. Which happens to be when it is still dark outside and the city garbage trucks have not yet clanked up my street. I have to will my self, with all I have, out of bed each day. I have been trying to think of any possible way out of the A-hour schedule for next year. Anything to avoid this again.

In the past 2 weeks, three Mormon boys from Kaden's school have passed away. One of them reminded me of Kaden in a lot of ways. He's the oldest in his family...a cute as can be, 15 year old great boy. That description is very close to my heart. That description lives in my house. A whole part of my heart looks exactly like that.

In those wee hours of the morning, I turn on Kaden's light and rub his back to get him going. Later after his shower I meet him down stairs to make him a simple breakfast and read scriptures with him. We pray together in our silent kitchen and then I drive him down the dark streets to school. We exchange our "love you's and have a good days" and then he goes off into his world of friends and sports, tests and books.

When I think of the grieving parents left behind, holding their broken hearts together and trying to make sense of life after loss, I feel ashamed. Waking up early in the dark to spend the first hour of the day with my handsome, sweet and precious boy is a privilege.  It is an honor to be in that space with him. And if the price I pay is a few uncomfortable minutes as my eyes adjust to light and my body adapts to morning- then it is a small price indeed.

Its too bad that my wondering heart needs reminders like this to be grateful for small inconveniences that provide big blessings.








Thursday, February 12, 2015

Shot Day

I reached a milestone today. My last kid went for kindergarten shots. We are done with major immunizations. Just the boosters at 11 which are a total cinch. I sobbed the very first time I took a baby for shots. Sobbed. Right there in the doctors office. I wish I could talk to that young 20 year old Mamma and give her a hug. I would tell her that she was going to get this hard thing and a million more figured out. I would tell her that she was doing just fine.






































But even with all my years of practice I still dread shot day and Cali hated the whole ordeal. Cried from the start of the appointment all the way down to the 5 awful pokes. I took her straight for an ice-cream cone afterward but to no avail...






































Poor baby girl.


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

I Very Love Her







































Oh my little Cali J! How we love her! It was so fun to celebrate her 4th birthday last week. She had been anxiously awaiting her big day for a long time. She had her little friends over for a "heart" party...

























and then on her actual birthday we gave her a few gifts, ate cake and ice cream with Lanny and Grandpa and then took her to ride bikes at "the Big park". Discovery Park which is her very most favorite place to play of all time.

























































Cali is a kindhearted soul. She loves to be the one asked to "please go get.....". She will jump right up and run for it. She is super athletic and can climb anything. She loves with her whole heart, she is always professing her love for us. My favorite is when she presses her nose hard up against my cheek and says, "I very love you Mom."

After Discovery we stopped for sub sandwiches and then we let Cali stroll the isles of Petco. She loved all the nasty rodents, lizards and fish. She is an easy girl to please and doesn't need much to be content. In fact her favorite gift was a 98 cent container of bubbles. Cali has the best sisters and they really adore her. Ella who Cali calls Alla is her best friend and Brylee who Cali calls Brawlee cares for Cali like a second mother. The boys love to tease her to pieces, lift her above their heads to "fly" and generally get her giggling or screaming about something.


























Cali Girl, our family would simply be lost with out you. I very love you...heart and soul.

Happy Birthday

Monday, February 9, 2015

Good Old Normal Life

What do you do in the 10th hour of being the sole responsible adult for a TON of LITTLE kids. You gather up a stack of plastic cups a bundle of spoons and you go to the sand volleyball court. And you stay there until the last possible minute of the day. Good Times!





























Cali discovered the snow clothes. She looked so awesome and I am pretty sure I wore that snow vest in 1983.






































Kaden got new jeans that fit him perfectly and since my Mom is the jeans police he posed for a picture to send her.







































We got to keep this little champ for part of last week and he fit in perfectly!






























Spent like 4 hours on Saturday helping these two with a scout assignment. Hated the assignment but loved the time with my two very handsome boys. Don't they looked thrilled!





























Brylee came with me to the park the other day and we had the most lovely time chatting and reading Anne of Avonlea. Her bun from early that morning still looked great and so I needed a picture. I am so lucky to have this girl in my life!






































Ella LOVES cooking shows. She watches Chopped and "Cut Throat Kitchen" on Net Flicks everyday. She gets out the bowls and whisks and pretends to be a fancy Chef. This was "soap soup".






































Ella likes to have Scott and I pose for pictures. I love Cali looking on in the background...






































Busy, crazy, wonderful Normal Life. Gotta Love it!
These are words to live by...