Tuesday, December 22, 2015

A Baby Blessing and a Christmas Card

Back in November my brother blessed his new baby Jackson. Jaren and Alexa had asked me to bring my camera and snap a few pictures for them. Jaren did a great job and we did manage to get a few pictures.

After the blessing I suggested to Scott that we pull over at a park and try to get a family picture for the Christmas card. We weren't in matching clothes, Cali was ragged from not sitting still for even one second in church and we didn't have anyone to take the picture.

But who cares right?

I positioned my family, propped the camera on a bench, set the timer and ran.


What a pain Christmas cards are! Biggest pain ever!  But oh so fun to get them in the mail!  I will miss seeing all these faces that I love when Christmas is over...

So, I give you Heywood Family Christmas card 2015...

Dear Friends and Family,
When I sat down to think over 2015 I realized that this was the year that my once small trio of “little kids” have now turned this place into an official house-o-teenagers. The scale has tipped over here and the “bigs” now outnumber the “smalls”. It’s hard to believe because I clearly remember hauling around my gaggle of little kids, in a car with 3 car seats, thinking that this would be the way of things FOREVER. 2015 turned Kaden 16 and Brylee and Branson 13 so those 3 “little kids” are long gone. I certainly miss the days when they were small enough to perch under the tree….

This shift from small to big has somehow blasted our schedules into a constant whirl of cheerleading, football and swim practice not to mention, piano lessons, concerts, work, tests, friends, amateur driving excursions, youth activities and insane amounts of homework. And to think I use to fill the days with walks to our small park, sippy cup refills, stories and nap time.
A few weeks ago Kaden was discouraged with his heavy load of difficult classes and long grueling swim practices. He was doing the work but wasn’t getting the results he was hoping for.  I went to bed praying that I would know what to say to him to lift his spirits. In the morning I opened my scriptures and read him this…Wherefore be not weary in well doing for Ye are laying the foundation of a great work and out of small things proceededeth that which is great. We talked about how every homework assignment and every lap in the pool was leading to greater things.
You should know that this early morning, pre-A-hour, pep talk was just as much for me as it was for Kaden. Our days and our year and our life for that matter is filled with small things. The day to day work of growing a family certainly isn’t grand or big or exciting and sometimes it’s hard to see the fruit of the countless small efforts. I just can’t seem to fill my Christmas card update with anything really big.
There was a day when Jesus was teaching a multitude of 5000 followers, Jesus knew they were hungry and He wanted to feed them. Andrew one of the disciples said, There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many? Jesus blessed the small amount of food and it miraculously fed the 5000.
That night with Kaden I rehearsed to him the small things he was doing…you are working so hard, you are building endurance, you are gaining knowledge, you are diligent in scripture study, prayers and seminary. But I knew his heart was saying, but what are these among so many? So many with better grades, better times, bigger success, bigger accomplishments, more handsome, more money, more popularity. And to tell you the truth I know how he felt. It always seems the world is doing the big things and it is easy to look at our small life and ask what are these among so many?
Has there ever been anyone in the history of the world that has based His life on the small things more than Christ did? He was born in a stable, He never traveled, never earned a degree, never held an office, never had a successful business or career, He definitely never took first place in the state swim finals and he also possessed no apparent beauty that man should Him desire. And yet He was the promised Savior of mankind. He is the One that can take our small things and lay a foundation of a great work with them. In His hands every small effort is counted, blessed and made more. When we let Him, He will take our five loafs and two small fishes and make miracles from them. Big, beautiful, mighty miracles.
We are grateful this year for ordinary, happy days filled with small things. We are grateful for 3 big kids that keep us busy with teenager schedules and 2 sweet little girls that keep the simple, carefree life of childhood in our home. We are grateful for the occasional big things like Kaden’s Priest ordination in November and Ella’s baptism in August.
We testify that Jesus Christ lives, that He loves us, that He is mighty to save, to change and to heal. This will be the way of things FOREVER. How we love, worship and adore Him at Christmas and always.
Merry Christmas with love, Scott, Julianne, Kaden 16, Brylee 13, Branson 13, Ella 8 and Cali 4.

Friday, December 18, 2015

My Little Friend

In the kitchen...

On cleaning day...

At the store...

So glad I get to spend such a big amount of one on one time with this little Love. I had a busy stressful day on Sunday. And then when I got home things were hectic and chaotic and I felt over loaded with everyone's needs, messes and issues. My head was bursting and I didn't even have a second to sit down. I told Scott that I was going for a 10 minute drive to decompress a bit and that I would be right back. Just then Cali called out..."I'm coming too! Then Ella said, "No Cali, Mom will be right back." And Cali responded, "No, Mom loves me to go with her because I am her special girl."

Certainly cant argue with that.

Today I am helping at Ella's class party and then we will be FREE for Christmas break. Heavenly choirs of angels are singing in my ears because school is FINALLY out. Now maybe I wont have stupid dreams where book reports, class projects and finals are haunting me and giving me heart burn.  I cant wait to have all of the kids home to join me and Cali and celebrate Christmas and eat lots of treats. Fun!

Thursday, December 17, 2015


Scott turned 40 yesterday. How I love him. He is the hero of our family,  the steady hand and my very best friend in all the world. 18 years ago when we met, 40 seemed a world away and now here we are. I love the subtle gray hairs showing up around his temples and a few more in his whiskers. He is better, sweeter and wiser with each passing year and I am the luckiest. 

"Feeling the security and constancy of love from a spouse is a rich blessing. Such love nurtures and sustains faith in God. Such love is a source of strength and casts out fear (1 John 4:18). Such love is the desire of every human soul.” David Bednar 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Little Boy

Kaden went on his first date this weekend. Sigh.....

He looked so cute. And he had a great time. This felt to me like my first step into a BIG new chapter of Motherhood. It is both awesome and horrible. But I played my part, I bought new clothes, ordered a corsage and smiled and snapped pictures in the doorway. And then I whispered a quick reminder to hold the doors and I waved good-bye. Ready or not...

Life is fleeting, years rush past
And little boys grow up too fast...

Friday, December 11, 2015

Little Chucky's (I mean Ella's) Concert

Last night was Ella's school Christmas concert. It was pretty fun mostly because our music teacher is nothing short of AM-AZ-ING and she had these kids singing and moving like a professional show choir. I also love it because our school actually lets the kids sing about Jesus and includes songs like Silent Night and the Nativity Song.

It was also fun because Ella had a speaking part and she just fully loves the stage and any chance to perform.

At the very end the kids were supposed to "fall asleep" but Ella did this instead...

I thought it was a bit...um...scaryish. What is this Ella? Christmas or Halloween?

Never a dull moment with this one I tell you.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Temple Lights

When I was a younger Mom I felt like it was really important to get all of us looking extra cute when we were going out or getting together with friends and family. Hair done, clothes clean and coordinated if at all possible. Things are different now. Sure I'd really love it if we were all put together perfectly before we walked out the door but with 7 schedules to keep up with I am usually just happy if we actually get out the door at all. Last night we met up with Scott's side of the family for our yearly visit to the Mesa Temple lights. My kids love this tradition and they look forward to it year after year. We start by eating together at Pete's, then we see the lights then we meet up at the cars after for hot chocolate and doughnuts.

Branson and Scott came straight from football practice, Brylee and I straight from the orthodontist and Ella straight from piano lessons. I hardly gave anyone's clothes or hair a second thought before rushing out the door. I just grabbed my camera, the doughnuts and hot chocolate supplies and ran for it. When I looked at the pictures I realized how disheveled and day-worn we all look but you know what? We were there, we were together, we followed through on a tradition that our kids love and we spent the evening at one of my most favorite places--so the ragged pigtails and old make-up probably don't matter all that much.

The kids ran all crazy with their cousins and to tell you the truth it stressed me out because I didn't want them to bug everyone around them but then we stopped in to see the Presentation of the Christis Statue and Cali just gazed up with such sweet reverence and love that all the craziness melted away...

I am grateful my kids have cousins to be crazy with, I am grateful that we have family close by, I am grateful for traditions and for the Temple. I am glad that when I am there under all those millions of Christmas lights I feel close to my Grandpa West who spent many many years heading up the temple lights and hanging the highest palm branches with lights while strapped into a cherry picker. Maybe someday we'll be picture perfect but for now I'll take things just the way they are.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

November Catch-Up

I took VERY few pictures of Thanksgiving...

I did a little better for Kaden's 16th birthday and all the festivities that went along with it.

Sometimes, I let myself feel overwhelmed with everything there is to do and then its hard to stop for a minute, take a few pictures and enjoy the fruit of all the work it takes to make special days happen. (and ordinary days for that matter).  I have a couple BIG things behind me so now I am determine to do the basics and enjoy the holiday season. I really just want to have a clean home, stay on a good dinner schedule, have a few meaningful FHE's and watch my kids soak up the season. Cali and Ella are at such perfect ages for the magic of Christmas and the big kids love to indulge them. Its a great combination.

A graphic of the Holy Family at the first Christmas, combined with a quote by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland: “First and forever there was just a little family. … That’s how Christmas began.”