Sunday, July 27, 2014

When Tragedy Strikes

Our summer trip to southeastern Idaho took an unexpected turn.  

My father passed away unexpectedly while we were there on Friday, July 11th.  

My body is weak, and I am emotionally exhausted from the course of events that have taken place over the past two weeks.  I am in my own home now with my children and husband - simply learning to navigate my new life ahead with a constant clamp on my heart.    

The tears continue to fall, but despite his absence, I know in whom I have trusted.  The divine promises of the atonement have strengthened me.  I have prayed more fervently than I have ever prayed in my entire life  - seeking answers, seeking peace.  I have never known grief before, but the pain is transforming my heart, and I can feel this daily burden strengthening my family and I one day - one moment - at a time.

“You do not need to see the Savior, as the apostles did, to experience the same transformation.  Your testimony of Christ, born of the Holy Ghost, can help you look past the disappointing endings in mortality and see the bright future that the Redeemer of the world has prepared.”  

Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Little by little, and as appropriate, I will share more - always praying for guidance in an effort to focus on truths learned and the exemplary life my dad lived.  A simple Thank You will never express the love and appreciation we feel for the thousands of individuals who have reached out to my family and I during this difficult time. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Moments in MAY & JUNE

Hey May & June, where did you go?!  I’ve anticipated July for a while now, but whoa - here it is.  I want to share a few highlights from the months leading up to today.

We’ve been loving this gorgeous view next to our home.  I took a few walks with the kiddos along this field in late May.
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Carlie & AnnMarie have been living in their swimsuits ever since Mother’s Day when we planted our flowers.
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I finished off my year of piano teaching with a wonderful spring recital.  Boy, as much as I love piano teaching, it felt nice to bring it to a close. 14 students throughout the week - mostly early morning between 6 & 7 AM - definitely gave me a run for my money. When I do something, I can’t help but give it 100%, and my students were no exception. Time and a season I say, but I’m so glad I was able to reconnect with the many amazing families that I did and work with such dedicated aspiring musicians. I’ll always remember this past year of piano teaching.
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One of the most incredible parts of my spring recital was this group of people right here that came 8 hours to support me!!  (I’m kidding, kidding - they didn’t come just for this). My Mom, Dad, Grandpa, & Grandma were able to stay with us during the weekend of my recital because my little brother’s wedding reception in Coeur d’ Alene happened to be that same weekend.  Perfect - such a blessing.  
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Both of my little girls performed, and they did excellent.  AnnMarie played “I’ll Be a Sunbeam,” - she did amazing, and Carlie concluded the recital with a vocal solo.  I couldn’t leave her out, AND she had a true desire to perform.  We practiced & practiced for weeks leading up to the recital, and honestly, she knocked it out of the park.  I was so happy for her!  She sang, “Do you want to build a snowman?”  from Frozen, of course.  You could’ve heard a pin drop during her song - so sweet.
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Jared & I celebrated 10 years of marriage in June. We were lucky to find sitters throughout the day to give us a chance to be together. We biked along the Columbia River during the day and ate at our favorite restaurant that night. We talked about the many places we’ve lived throughout the years, the things we’ve learned, and what we want to change moving forward. We both agreed that the greatest gifts the past 10 years have brought us are our 3 children. We couldn’t help but laugh at the early years and all the little things that we were totally blind-sided by. Neither of us had a clue as to what life had in store for us, and in reality, we still don’t! But one thing’s for sure, I look forward to the next 10 years and feel grateful to have such a good companion to share life with.    
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I spent the majority of last week getting ready for this...
Monster Invitation
in addition to…my husband’s annual work picnic, a wedding, dinner guests on Sunday evening, sleepless nights due to my 2-yr-old boy who refused to nap or stay in his room at night, and too many little messes to count including a giant Gatorade bottle that C dropped on the garage floor splatting onto nearly everything within a 10 foot radius.  Just keeping it real.  

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Golden Rule

I came home from church yesterday wishing I knew what to say.  

C, my second daughter, is beautiful - I will always see her as that.  She’s small for her age, but just like her name defines, she’s little AND strong - with a spunky personality to boot.  Being new can be hard, and this past year, a small group of girls in her church class have been rejecting her.  I know, I know…they’re 5 year olds, but it hurts…week after week.  I haven’t been too worked up over it, because in the past, she’s always been very open about any incident or mean thing that has been said, and overall, she’s been okay.

I’m also not naive enough to believe it’s all unprovoked.  C tries so hard to be included - maybe a little too hard sometimes.  She’s not only eager to make friends (since our return from Argentina), but she’s learning to socialize like most girls her age.  Her personality insists that her presence be known.  

But yesterday was different.  I could see it in her countenance, and things were not okay.  The pain had built up, and something that was said seemed to break her.  It’s hard for me to understand how little ones can be so cruel at times, but I pray that this past year will be a stepping stone to higher ground.  We spent the majority of the day discussing her identity as a daughter of God and NOT basing her self worth on what others may say or do.  As hard as it is for my mother heart to accept, this life demands that we will ALL experience rejection at one point or another, including my very own little ones, and I hope that as a mother, I will react in a way that can move mountains rather than start fires.   

I’ve talked with her teachers, and we have a plan in place that I believe will improve the situation.  Regardless, I’m beaming with love over my little C, and I hope that even the tiniest belief of who she truly is can plant itself in her heart - a seed of confidence to not only let her light shine, but move her to dance into greener meadows and blossom into the beautiful flower she’s meant to be.  

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I just barely realized how perfect my shirt was for the day.  Drop of awesomeness right there. ;)

Friday, June 20, 2014

THIRTY!

Today has been a GREAT day!  It’s birthday season around our place, and today I celebrated turning 30!  How does that happen?  Jared & I had been making plans to go out - just the two of us - but when it came right down to it, we both wanted to be together as a family.  

I started a birthday tradition with our kiddos a few years back (something that was done when I was growing up): waking up to a birthday gift at the end of your bed on birthday morning.  I didn’t think much of it until I woke up this morning to a giant Tinker Bell gift bag at the end of my bed full of notes, pictures, paintings, poems, & a few photos that highlighted some of their favorite moments with me.  It was one of the sweetest things my girls have ever done for me - it nearly brought me to tears.  I know they worked really hard on it.  We sat at the end of my bed this morning going through each item in the bag - giggling & talking about how hard they had worked on everything while squeezing each other for a job well done.  

A picture in the bag of A & I (Chuck E. Cheese photo booth on C’s birthday last month):

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I took the kids to one of our favorite parks this afternoon - the wind nearly blew us away - but we soaked up what sunshine we could and ran through the water on the aquatic pad.  My favorite part was right before I got wet; Gabe took off my flip flops while I was sitting on the grass, grabbed my hand, and pulled me up as best as he could like - 'you’re not getting out of here dry, mama.’  SO I found my inner child & ran through the cold water squealing like a crazy person.  Classic. :)

I had some quiet time today, too.  My neighbor is one of the nicest people I have ever met, and her daughter & my girls have become such good friends.  We share back fence lines, & now that it’s summertime, those three girls play their hearts out.  They happened to get together outside today right during Gabe’s nap time which gave me some birthday peace. ;)  I really appreciate having them in our life.

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We finished the day off with some ribs at Tony Roma’s, and wow - it was divine.  I’ve been there maybe three times in my entire life, & it was the best birthday meal yet.  The very fact that I didn’t have to cook & do dishes tonight was heaven. :)  30 feels amazing, and I know this sounds cliche, but I’m excited for the decade ahead!!! Thirty, flirty, & thriving!  Oh yeah.  

 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

10 Years!

Once upon a time, this handsome little boy grew up to be an honorable, hard-working man.

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And this dreamy-eyed little girl grew up to be a dexterous :), determined woman. 

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He continued to grow,

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And so did she,

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Until one glorious day on a summer night in July, they met on her front porch for a blind date 

And they knew they couldn’t live without each other

So they tied the knot and promised their love for time & all eternity

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And 10 years later, they’re still growing in love, one day at at time.  

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Happy “Aluminum" Anniversary to my favorite guy! ;)  

Our anniversary was actually a few days ago, but we’re celebrating all month long.  I’m SO glad I married him, & I look forward to the many more phases of life we will share.