Wednesday, March 26, 2008

My Fam

I've been reminiscing about my family lately. Since we don't get to be with them often I like to look back at pictures and remember times we have gotten to spend together. I also like to look forward to when I get to see them again! I have to say that I have been very, very blessed with an amazing family to be on earth with. I don't really know if this is the kind of place to share this, but in my patriarchal blessing I was told that I chose my family. I must say, I chose the best. :)

My parents have been married for 31 years. That's pretty darn great. :)
They built a very solid foundation for the 5 of us kids to grow up with. Not one of us has strayed from that path. Very impressive, I'd say. Family was always important. They always allowed us to participate in the activities we wanted to be in (which now that I have 4 kids I am amazed at since it is just insane!) and we continued with what we loved and excelled at and we stopped the things that weren't so interesting anymore (such as me quitting piano lessons after 8 years to pursue choir, gymnastics, and dance). They encouraged us, loved us, and provided everything we needed. Even though we live apart, we are so strong as a family. We love when we can spend time together and we always enjoy it. We don't have any huge family dramas. I'm very grateful for that! :)
I have 3 younger brothers and a younger sister. While I don't remember being great friends with them growing up I do know that they all mean the world to me now. We have definitely gotten closer as we have gotten older. It's so neat to watch them all grow up, some have gotten married, some still working on it. :) I even have a nephew! It's too bad that my kids won't be so close in age to their cousins, but I hope they will love them just the same!
Thayne, Kailee, and their son, Harper (just turned 1!). Thayne is in market research (taking after Dad) and a great dad. Kailee works at a hospital as a surgical tech (right?) and is the best mom for Harper! He's a little doll and I can't wait to see him this summer. Kailee was a great addition to our family as my first sister-in-law! She's awesome and so much fun to be around.

Spencer and Missy. They are finishing up their BYU careers and are very adventurous so they are trying to find really cool things to do before they start a family (like go to China to teach English!). They are such a fun couple and we are very blessed to have Missy in our family!

Me and my sister, Charisse. She is definitely the brainiest of the family, which is a very good thing. She's a musical wiz as a wonderful pianist and even taught herself how to play the cello. She is an English major at BYU and speaks French and Gaelic.
My youngest brother, Brett, on the left. Spencer is in the middle, Thayne on the right. Brett is graduating from high school this year! Wow, he's growing up! He is going to receive his Eagle soon, he is a jock to be sure and is awesome at basketball and soccer.I am so grateful to have parents and siblings who are all strong in the gospel. We are certainly not perfect, but I think we're about as close as you get in this life. I love all of you guys!

Of course, my own family is dear to my heart. Ben is certainly the one I want to spend eternity with and my kids are the best ever. We have been told that the strongest spirits have been saved for these last days and let me tell ya--I've got 4 of them! They are very strong-willed and free spririted, but they are also so smart and talented and so loving!

More to come...I have awesome inlaws as well! Am I blessed or what?! ;)

Monday, March 24, 2008

Eliza's Blessing Day

Saturday we spent the afternoon at my cousin's house. They blessed their baby in their home and it was so lovely. Richard gave her a beautiful blessing and she was the sweetest little baby all day. Here are some fun pictures from the day.

I had decided to let my kids wear their Easter clothes to the blessing and then changing them right after. It was a gorgeous day and I wanted to get some pictures. Well, the succeeded in getting completely dirty before the blessing even started. So, I got a bunch of pics, but they weren't great. :) Brandon was the only clean one of the bunch!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Faith in our Savior, Jesus Christ

I reflected a lot this Easter about my testimony of Jesus Christ. As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints I have a testimony of Christ as my Savior, Redeemer, Brother, Lord, Comforter. He is the head of our church, our books of scripture testify of Him, He is our example and we live our lives to be more like him. How can I deny this? I have no doubt in my mind that Jesus lives.

I found a "friend" this week online. I was blog searching names of people I have known in my life. Where I found this person makes me sick. It was on a website basically trying to "save the world from Mormons." This person was a member of the church, has been through the temple, has a family. How can he deny the truths that he has known. This person is one who has to "know" with facts and is not able to rely on faith to come to the truth and I believe just feels the need to argue about everything--the gospel being this person's life mission to reject now. It makes my heart so sad.

It also makes me rejoice in the rock that is my testimony. I know that Jesus is my Savior. I believe in the power of prayer. I know that we have a Heavenly Father who hears our prayers and answers us. I know that we all have a plan and a purpose on this earth. I know the Bible to be true. The Book of Mormon is also be the word of God and is another testament of Jesus Christ.
I am gloriously happy to be raising a family in the gospel. Though life is not perfect and fun and easy all the time, that is how we learn and grow and become closer to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I know that Joseph Smith was Heavenly Father's tool (for lack of a better word--I'm not so good with words :)...) to bring the restored gospel back to the earth. He was a true prophet of God.

It brings me much peace to know that we have a living prophet on the earth today, Thomas S. Monson. With all the turmoil in the world today--especially politically--I am grateful to have a leader I can look to and rely on to help us in these latter days. What an amazing blessing this is!

I am just grateful on this Easter Sunday for my life and the blessings of my family and the gospel. It is all I need.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Dallas Zoo and EQ Derby

Today I took the kids to the Dallas Zoo. My cousin, Stephanie (and her hubby, Richard) who lives over in the Dallas area, has all her family in town (my aunt, uncle, and cousins) for the blessing of their new baby this weekend. We met them at the zoo and had a fun afternoon! It was such a gorgeous day. However, the it seems everyone decided today would be the perfect zoo day, so...there was no parking at all. It was awful. We waited forever just to get off the freeway at the exit only to find that the lots were all ful and they were just telling people to find a place on the street. Anyway, we finally made it into the zoo and the girls met up with their favorite second cousin, Addy. They have been so excited that she was coming to TX! They are so cute together and all get along very well. Here they are together:
Carli was sometimes more interested in the leaves on the ground than the animals.

There was this tree that they just couldn't resist climbing on. I got some cute pictures from it!Carli really surprised me. This was so funny. She must have watched the girls at gymnastics more than I thought (mostly she just ran around the rec center). She actually climbed up onto these park benches and put her arms out (the picture wasn't what she looked like the whole time--usually her arms were straight out) and walk like she was on the balance beam! It was so cute! I've got to get her into lessons early. ;)Here is my cousin, Steph, and her sweet little girl, Eliza, who I just gushed over. I can't wait to go over there tomorrow and just hold and snuggle her! She is so beautiful and precious (so is Steph, of course). :)This was right before we left. They were so good to sit and pose--sort of--for this picture. Brandon actually tried to smile instead of refusing to even be in the picture, which is the norm for him. By the end he had had enough, too. I'm so glad he gave me this picture to post!

After the zoo we made it home in time to make dinner and a treat to take to the Elders Quorum activity tonight which was a Dad's Pinewood Derby. I can't tell you how much fun Ben had getting his car ready. It was a fun activity. Here are the dad's (and some sons) enjoying the evening:

Another Milestone

Today Kate got her ears pierced! She was so excited and has been talking about it for a long time. It was a bit of an early birthday present, but also a bit of a bribe. She has sucked on her finger (no thumb for her!) since she was a baby. It is most definitely time she stop. I told her she could get her ears pierced early if she stopped sucking her finger. It worked! She has done really well and I haven't seen her suck her finger at all. That doesn't mean she goes off and sucks it when I don't see her because I check to make sure it is dry. So we headed off this morning. She wasn't really nervous until we got there. She picked out adorable little pink heart earrings. She sat on my lap and 2 ladies did it at the same time--thank goodness! I don't think anyone would let them do it again after only one since it takes them by surprise. She was a bit shocked by how it felt. She was kind of sad, but didn't really cry. She was pretty brave! She was fine a few minutes later and was glad it didn't hurt for long. So here she is with her new earrings!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Megan's Growing Up!

We finally got Megan a bike on Saturday. She has needed a new one for about a year now. She was so excited! What a great week to have a new bike, too--spring break! She's gotten a ton of use out of it today already. She started out this morning with training wheels and has ended the day zipping back and forth on only 2 wheels! She is over the moon that she has learned to ride her bike with no training wheels. She has even mastered starting by herself. That part took a while for her to get, but she did not give up and finally was able to get the hang of it. So fun! I'm really proud of her for working so hard to get it right.

Kate also got out the chalk and did some lovely artwork on the driveway. She is quite the little artist!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

This is a little late coming...

I posted this picture of Carli at Christmas and said there was one of me when I was little that was very similar. I finally found it and scanned it in! Here there are together:

Carli, Christmas 2006 (2 yrs old)

Me, Christmas 1980 (3 yrs old)

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Snow Day!

Today we had snow! It was crazy and fun! I am so ready for spring, but it was really fun to watch it snow. The kids had a great time playing outside--except for Brandon, who prefered to be inside drinking hot cocoa (he's just like me). Carli was fascinated with it, but not so hot about being out in it. She came in after a few minutes. It was so beatuiful!