Thursday, August 27, 2015

More Abundantly

I have always thought that there is nothing more beautiful in the world than a perfect, flawless, pure and innocent infant baby girl in her blessing gown.







































At a very close second is that same girl newly baptized in her baptism dress. 















































Ella's baptism was lovely. I just love the baptismal covenant, I think it is so beautiful and simple. 8 year olds have no trouble understanding what they are promising, what is promised to them in return and what to do when they make a mistake and break that promise. If the whole world lived by this promise,  suffering, sadness and sorrow would be eliminated.

On Sunday morning Ella looked so pretty, she was really looking forward to being called up in Sacrament and recognized as the newest baptized member of our ward. Our new Bishop is our across the street neighbor, he knows Ella pretty well. As he asked for Ella to come up he became very emotional and teary. Later he told me that he wasn't sure what happened but seeing Ella so pure and sweet coming up the steps of the stand in her baptism dress touched his heart.

My heart feels the same way.

And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;
Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—
Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?
And now when the people had heard these words, they clapped their hands for joy, and exclaimed: This is the desire of our hearts.
That He may pour out His Spirit more abundantly upon you. I love that part. I have felt that part. I know that part is true and sure when we are striving to keep our end of the deal. The whole world needs so desperately what is being freely offered through baptism. I love the Savior Jesus Christ. I love His true church. I love the baptism covenant and I love that now my sweet Ella will have His spirit poured out more abundantly upon her. I can not think of anything I want more.













































Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Ella

I have been reading some of my old blog post to the kids after our family night lesson. They love hearing these old stories from when they were little. Last night we had family night on my bed. (Monday nights I am SOOO tired--cleaning day, football game in 110 degrees, dinner, ect...)  and I just had to have FHE in my bed so I could collapse as soon as we spoke AMEN.

Anyway, I happened to read them two really funny posts regarding hilarious things that Ella had done and said as a toddler. She still is full of drama and she still says the most dramatic and hysterical things. The kids were laughing so hard, all rolling around on my bed and Ella really loved the little bit of extra attention.

My little beauty Ella turned 8 on Sunday. She had cousin Lauren over for the weekend which was really all she needed. But as a bonus Brylee and darling friend Kazzy gave them make-overs. We hit Bahama Bucks and had a birthday feast and the girls made a huge quilt fort to sleep in. Life could not have been happier for this little girl.































Now we are excited for the weekend that will bring Ella's baptism. She is ready. She knows what this decision means and she is happy and content. Be still my heart.




Monday, August 17, 2015

Change

Branson started taking a gymnastics class about 5 years ago. I needed something to help my Energizer Bunny get out his endless energy. Gymnastics worked! He loved it and after a few months he started advancing through the classes. One time a week turned into 2 then 3 then 4. At this point the only place left to go was onto the team. The price sky rocketed along with the time commitment but our boy loved it and seemed to be thriving there.






































The season before last he really excelled, he won first place in the regional meet. It was such a great day to see him compete at his very best and get the outcome he wanted. That year was also the first year that his team started competing on Sundays. It  is a heart-wrenching thing to be a part of team, spend endless hours practicing and then miss the competition when your faith over rides your sport.






































This last season that came to an end only months ago brought more challenges. Branson moved up two skill levels which took him from being one of his teams highest scorers to one of the lowest. And just before his last competition his beloved friend and coach who he had practiced with for years pulled Branson aside and told him that this season would be his last. He and his wife had started their family and he was taking a new job somewhere else. I remember picking Branson up from practice that night. He got in the car and turned his head toward the window. I knew something was wrong. He had huge tears sliding down his face. The idea of Coach Dom leaving and no longer being a part of each day seemed more than Branson's heart could take. And watching Branson struggle through a painful good-bye nearly broke mine in two. Branson didn't do well in the last competition and ended the season more discouraged than ever. Sunday meets, missing Dom and facing an uphill battle to get back into high scores was enough to make us consider quitting for the first time since his very first practice.











































After several weeks of thought, prayer and tears Branson had his last day at that gym. Life has been so different for Branson  these past few months. He has more time on his hands than he knows what to do with and he misses his friends and life at the gym. My heart has ached watching him make this difficult transition.

As we registered for school I took note of when football tryouts were and encouraged Branson to go for it, he was super nervous because he had only played football one season when he was little and didn't really know the sport. But he is a natural athlete and I thought he could have a chance. The tryouts were a week long, it was over 100 degrees everyday and there were at least 100 boys all hoping for one of the 30 spots on the team.

On the day of cuts Scott and I waited at the school and as soon as we caught a glimpse of Branson across the school yard I put my hands in the air and made a thumbs up sign followed by a thumbs down. A huge smile crossed his face and he raised his hands up high with a thumbs up.

In that moment I felt a bit of the pain and hurt and loss from gymnastics leave his growing heart. He is still hurting and frustrated because like most the 7th grade players he doesn't get much playing time but he is getting better everyday and his time is filled up again with good, hard work.

I think a part of Branson's heart will always be in the gym, up on the rings and swinging from the high bar but for now I am happy for him and he is progressing in other ways. Life is full of hard changes and big challenges and this will just be one more thing to make him a stronger more able kid. Man, I love that guy. The icing on the cake was Brylee making the cheer team the very next day. I think these two are going to be just fine.


Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Morning-WOW









































I really should record my ridiculous schedule right now. For posterity sake. Hi there posterity.

I get up at 5am, I leave to go running at 5:15, I get back by 6ish, have prayers and scriptures with Kaden and then at 6:20 I drive him to school. As soon as I get home I get the other kids up and have scriptures and prayers with them. Then I get Ella dressed and ready and then I make breakfast for everyone. I also make any lunches that are needed for that day, sign homework and all that junk. At 7:30 I drive Ella up to school, usually after a "what shoes to wear debate" and a few minor crisis as Ella seems to have these about every 5 minutes. I rush home and help Brylee and Branson pack up their cheer/football bags and resolve any homework/teacher issues and find Branson's belt that is always lost. After seeing them off to the bus stop at 8 I rush home and get Cali cleaned up from her bed-head, breakfast on the face and sometimes in the hair-state of being. We pack her bag and then head off to pick up the other 4 pre-schoolers on our street and then by 9 I drop them all at school, only to go back and get them at 11:30.

I die.

I die every morning getting through this routine.

By the time Cali leaves, my house (especially the kitchen) is a bomb from the breakfast/lunch making frenzy of the morning. If I am lucky I can get the chores done and myself some what presentable before the 11:30 pick up but that's questionable. I use afternoons with Cali to run errands and work on Primary and take care of the menus and doctors appointments and dual enrollment forms and such. Except for Monday on which day I clean ALL DAY. I scrub all the bathrooms, mop all the floors, do all the dusting and vacuuming and laundry. It's a must but its a huge demand on both my time and my energy. The school kids are home again before I have caught my breath and then its the sports, piano lessons and church obligations. To say that I go to bed nearly dead is truth.

I say to Scott, Hun we are IN IT. I mean we are in the deep thickness of raising children. And then we give each other that look that soldiers in the battle field know, share a fist bump of resolve and we press on. Because we chose this. We BELIEVE in this and really-its a good life. We hit every age from high school, to junior high to elementary to pre-school and we ARE doing it. We may do it really bad on some days but we are still standing so I say its a win.

Remember the tree from "The Giving Tree" book, how she ended up nothing more than an old stump, but she was happy, yeah I totally get it now.


Friday, August 7, 2015

7th Grade Comparison

I have to stop every now and again and just take-in my big kids. They are turning into such fun and amazing people and they do it all while looking totally darling. Maybe I'm bias.

I was just admiring how beautiful and put together Brylee looks the other day before school when I remembered how incredibly bad I looked at that same age. Holy. Holy. Cow.

I looked absolutely ridiculous as a 7th grader. Huge bangs threatening to take flight at any moment. A uni-brow, weird teeth, over-sized T-shirts and a bad, frizzy perm in my chlorine bleached hair. Not to mention a general over-all feel of I just rolled out of bed. I mean my whole look was just this side of down right scary. I may have even had layered socks on in this picture, one red and one white making my ankles three times bigger than they actually were. Now there's a sophisticated look for adolescence. So much for inner beauty shinning through, I could have been as sweet as Mother Teresa-aint no amount of goodness getting through this disaster.

Good grief...






































Brylee is a 7th grader and she looks like a super model...






































I blame my Mother. I mean seriously Mom? You could have stopped me. But it makes for some good laughs around here so I guess you are forgiven and thank-goodness Brylee is making up for the atrocity of me as a 7th grader. Thank-you Brylee, you deserve a medal.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Gird Up Your Loins



























(Dear Summer, I miss you.)

Is it at all over dramatic to say that with only one week of school completed I feel I must march around the house singing...

Gird up your loins! Fresh Courage Take!

To MYSELF!

Because seriously I have filled out 5 million sheets of "parent homework" and just why does the school need my address and email written out a zillion times? Is that info not already on file?? Why do my children need 5 trips to Walmart worth of school supplies and why is there like 14 different fees for each of my kids. I thought I paid a boat load of taxes to cover my kids "free American education". Not free, so not free.

I am tired and last week was tough. But it was also filled with tender mercies from Heaven. Always in my life the two go together. Sorrow and joy, angst and peace.

When all the first week stuff came to an end Friday night I crawled into bed and FINALLY slept. As it turns out stress and anxiety attack first and always my ability to sleep. So after a weekend of catching up on sleep and plenty of fresh courage I think I might make it another 8 weeks until October Break.

Gird up your loins Moms its only just begun.