Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Brandon's 9th Birthday

(long post, tons of pictures!)

My baby is 9! I can't believe it. What a ride it has been. :) He is my boy, my "bud." I just love him so much. Nine years ago today I missed my college graduation because of this little guy. LOL! I was looking through the pics of Brandon on the computer and his baby pictures aren't on there yet (I'll need to scan them all in), but I did find some from his early years. He had a slight obsession with Thomas the Tank Engine. Here he is sporting the Thomas costume for halloween. This little Thomas contraption was earned by potty-training. :) He was totally ready for it, but we just needed to find the perfect bribe to get him there. LOL! He loved this thing. Here's the handsome little guy.

Isn't this picture adorable?! Here's Brandon holding Megan as a new baby. He was only 3. I love the hint of a smile on Megan's face.
Cheesy grin boy.
Silly face Brandon! Look at those eyes.
Brandon and Ben on his first day of kindergarten. He looks so little!

Here's Brandon holding new baby Carli. She was sooo tiny. He's got a bit of the 'deer in the headlights look.' Too many sisters! LOL!
Here are Brandon and his good friend, Evan, from when we lived in Austin. They have moved and so have we, but I thought this was a cute picture. We had taken a day to go down to San Antonio to see the Alamo and have some fun. They were such good friends.
This was the first day of 1st grade, when he was still smiling for the pictures. This year he didn't want me to see him through the camera. ;)

Hanging out on the lawn last summer during out UT vacation. Brandon has been the sweetest boy. He loves to read together--I guess it's our special time each day. I really love it, too. I'm glad that he still likes to spend time with mom. :) He loves pizza and macaroni (his choices for birthday dinner tonight--I encouraged some strawberries as well so we could have a ltitle nourishment!). He is brilliant at math and is a smart guy all around. He is very helpful and is usually willing to help me out when I need him. Last December he was diagnosed ADHD. He is definitely the H in the name. He just bounces off the walls! He was having a very difficult time at school and church and home focusing on what he needed to do and just controlling himself in general. He has started some medication and it has worked wonders for him and our family. Gratefully, it has been a relatively easy transition. We have not lost any of our sweet wonderful boy. He has been able to get work done and make good choices in all aspects of his life. If anything, we have seen more of who Brandon is and have gotten to know him better because he can actually express himself and get his thoughts out without forgetting what he was trying to say or not be able to organize his thoughts. It's amazing.

This morning I was trying to take a few birthday pictures of him. Here's what I got.

Then tonight we had a little family party for him. He opened presents and we had ice cream cake. It was fun. I love the family birthdays. I just want everyone to feel special on their birthday. I want them to have the things they love and I want them to know how much I love them by paying attention to the little things that I hope will show them that I do love them!

Brandon is always excited to get money. :)

Here he is holding his new Pokeball that Kate gave to him. He loves Pokemon!What a blessing Brandon is in my life. I'm grateful to have him as a son!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Kate's Baptism

Saturday Kate was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. What a special and wonderful day it was for our family. Kate was so excited and just glowed with joy. When she came up out of the water she let out this giggle that can only be explanied as a sound of pure joy. It made everyone watching giggle as well. How sweet it was to see her so joyful.

Kate's best friend from school came to see her baptized. When Kate walked into the chapel and saw her sitting there she ran right up and gave her a huge hug and told her how glad that she was that she came. Again, Kate was just so full of joy and happiness!
Kate's school teacher also came to support Kate. She did the same thing as she did with her friend--ran right up to him and gave him a hug and was so thrilled that he had come.
Kate had all of her grandparents fly in for this special weekend. We were so glad that they were able to come. Nana and Papa flew in from North Carolina and Grandpa and Grandma from southern Utah. They are already back home, but it was so sweet to have them all with us for this occasion. We wish all of our family members could have been here, too!I am so happy for Kate having made this decision to be baptized a member of the church. She was confirmed Sunday during Sacrament meeting and then she wanted to bear her testimony (we had fast Sunday since next week is stake conference). That was neat. She was very nervous, but determined. Papa went up and helped her because mommy (me...) was too wimpy. I need to work on that. Having a daughter like Kate is teaching me many lessons. I know why I don't have any children like me--I have so much to learn from these sweet, strong-willed spirits!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Time Out For Women

Last weekend I had the privilege of attending a Time Out For Women conference in Oklahoma City with 3 wonderful friends from church. It was definitely a bonding experience. We had so much fun together. Friday night we went out to dinner and found a fabulous restaurant with authentic New Orleans cuisine. It was SO yummy!

Then we went back to have some girl talk in our beautiful hotel. Look how cute this room is:
Saturday we enjoyed the inspiring music off Hilary Weeks, who I think ended up being our favorite artist/speaker of the weekend. I love the words in her songs. They are so thought-provoking and sprititual. The other speakers were great as well. I'm short on time so I'm not going to list them. I'll post some more about them another time after I have read some of their books that I purchased while I was there.I have to tell you about this fabulous Italian cafe that we found for lunch on Saturday. They really had such yummy food. One thing I love is fried mozzarella, so when I saw it on the menu I had to order it! I was not disappointed and this fried mozzarella was the best I have ever had! YUM!We headed home refreshed and rejuvinated and ready for life again. I learned to step back and love the little moments like coloring with Kate, reading to Brandon, letting Carli hug me as long as she wants (with her arms clenched around my neck--so sweet), and cooking with Megan. What a wonderful life and family I have and what a blessing I have in the gospel. I cannot imagine my life without these truths that I have.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Week of Field Trips--the Zoo!

My second field trip last week was to the Fort Worth Zoo with Megan's kindergarten class. There were so many parents who volunteered to go that we all pretty much just had our own child to take around the zoo so it was a lot of fun and not stressful at all. We hung out with Megan's friend, Sydney, and her mom, Lindy, who is my good friend. It was great! The weather was perfect, too. I bit overcast, a few sprinkles her and there, but the temperature was perfect. What a fun day!
We love the flamingos. We always start there first. Maybe it's just the pink color, but for some reason I am drawn to these beautiful birds.These little deer (can't remember what they are called) were all 3 sharing the same branch. I thought this was pretty cool that they could all hold on to it at the same time and eat. LOL!
The hippos are always a favorite as well. Here they are just peeking up at us.This rattlesnake was in a mood that morning. We could hear him rattling so loudly. He did not like that we were all standing in front of his glass. If you look at the pic you can see the tail blurred on the bottom. It was crazy to see it rattling so much. He was in the strike position! Thank goodness for glass!!! I did learn, though, that you can most certainly hear a rattlesnake rattling before you come upon him. It was so loud! It went on for a good 15 minutes, too.We stopped for a photo opportunity in front of these pretty falls and it didn't last long before Megan saw the train coming and she was up and off that wall!The baby giraffe was so precious!

The baby giraffe.

Getting a bit tired.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


Last Tuesday I accompanied Kate's class to the Stockyards. I was looking forward to seeing what it was all about since we had never been there. It didn't disappoint. We all had a great time and we thought it was pretty cool. I was in charge of Kate and 3 of her good friends from her class. You will recognize 2 of them from her birthday post. We started out with a lesson on the cattle, how the cowboys herd them, the type of clothing they wear, and about their tools (whips, saddles, and spurs).
Then it was off to the maze. The kids were each given a card with the letters M A Z E and they had to find all the letter stations in the maze and punch them. Then they had to find their way out. It was all times and my girls did awesome! They were the 2nd group out! Here they are finding their way through.Yay! Kate gives a thumbs up for finding a letter.Yippee!!! They made it out! They don't look excited or anything, though... :)
Next it was time to watch the cowboys herd the cattle down the street. They do this 2 times a day and it's cool to see the animals so close. It only lasted about 2 minutes, though, so it wasn't that exciting. The kids loved it, though.Taking a break for a pictures in front of the flowers.
The guide took us up on the Cowboy Catwalk where they would go up to look over all the cattle. They told us all about the Livestock Auction. It's pretty cool to see that they still do auctions every week.This si the Cowtown Coliseum. They do professional rodeos every Friday and Saturday. Kate can't wait to actually go see one. None of us have ever been to a rodeo before so we figure we should see what it's all about for once. Friday nights kids get in free!