Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Tell Me the Stories of Jesus

Working in Primary has provided plenty of tender moments for me; the greatest of which has been observing Chloe. Don't get me wrong, we've had our challenges. Like many children, she tends to melt down and dramatize things more when I'm around. But overall there have been more happy moments than frustrating moments. And I've caught some pretty neat glimpses of her eager, growing spirit that I would never have otherwise seen, had I not been in the Primary Presidency.

Chloe has always been very curious about Jesus and the events of His life. From His birth in a stable surrounded by animals to the miracles He performed, all the way to His death; she has always been willing to stop whatever she was doing to come and hear the stories of Jesus. Recently, she's taken a great interest in Jesus' death and the events surrounding it. At first I was a little disturbed by her obsession, and the frequency in which she'd explore the topic.

"Why did Jesus have to die on the cross?"

"Why did He bleed in the garden?"

"Why did they put nails in His hands and feet?"

"Are we going to have to die on the cross too?"

These are only a handful of examples. A few weeks ago in Sharing Time, the teacher held up the picture you see above, and asked the children to tell her what was happening. Without hesitation (and without raising her hand), Chloe announced, "That's Jesus praying in Gethsemane. And tomorrow they're going to put him on the cross!" She knew, based on a simple picture, not only what was taking place right then, but the events that proceeded. Another time she saw that picture, she further pointed out that Jesus was bleeding out of his skin (from every pore). Then the Sunday following, she whispered something to her Primary teacher, which her teacher later told me. I wish I remembered it word for word, but it was something along the lines of, "Jesus died on the cross so we wouldn't have to." -pause- "It was because He loved us." Chloe has not only absorbed more details about Jesus' death than I know I've told her, but she recognizes that the story holds significance; that it isn't just a typical bedtime story; that there is meaning behind it. What that meaning is, she has yet to figure out, but it's there. The seed has been planted, and she'll figure it out soon.

Chloe's concern for Jesus, and the things He endured overwhelms me. To see my four year old, who has the attention span of, well, a four year old!, eagerly listen to stories about Jesus, ask questions - deep, significant questions, truly begin to grasp His teachings and the lessons that accompany them, and feel genuine emotion over these things is like witnessing a miracle.

As Easter draws near, I find myself reflecting on my Savior, the unfathomable sacrifices He made for us, and the fresh start His atonement provides in our lives. I am also reminded of a book that my sweet mama gave me years ago, entitled, "You are Priceless: The Parable of the Bicycle". Simply said, the story represents our lives, our shortcomings, and the reality that no matter what we do on this earth, we will never achieve perfection. But through our efforts ("the whole sixty-one cents") and the atonement, which Christ has provided to help us, we can still achieve our ultimate goal of returning to our Heavenly Father's presence. That is truly what Easter and this life in general are all about!

I am inspired by my daughter's eagerness to learn about and know her Savior. I am inspired by her genuine love for Him and her Heavenly Father, and Their love for her! It is these moments when I am reminded of how in tune Chloe is with the Spirit, and what a great teacher she is to me. It really is no wonder Jesus shed tears when He gathered the children around Him. What an amazing presence they possess! Chloe's will is fierce, and sometimes impossible to reason with, but that will is developing a testimony that is bound to be unbreakable. And as her mother, I can't think of a greater thing.

Wordless Wednesday

If you're wondering why my blogging has become nearly extinct, this photo may give you some answers.

Here is a glimpse into my current world of madness...

Enough said.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Happy Birthday to Jared!

Special wishes for my brother-in-law, Jared, who celebrates his birthday today!

I hope this coming year brings happiness and excitement beyond anything you could hope for.
Thanks for makin' my "sister" so happy.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Look {Further} Back: July 2009

As I was selecting photos for October's post (which primarily covers a trip to Utah), I came across these photos, which were taken during another Utah trip, 3 months prior. Since I never got around to blogging about it, have a gazillion photos I'd still like to share (as you're about to see), and am playing catch up on the blog anyway, I figured why not? So, here is our July 2009 trip to Utah post, 8 months later!

To start, here's our Chloebug picking cherries at Aunt Holli's. Why I didn't get a single photo of Holli with Chloe, I don't know. Maybe next time!

Our good friends, the Goulds and Roberts just happened to be in Utah the same weekend we were. April, Leslie and I worked together in Young Women's, and were also pregnant at the same time with our girls. Brett also helped open some doors for Neil when he was pursuing a job with Eli Lilly. Our friendship with these families go back 6 years! The Goulds moved to Arizona 2 years ago, and the Roberts moved to Indiana around that same time. We've remained friends, but obviously haven't seen much of each other given the circumstances. Since we were all in the area at the same time, we planned a little play date at a park in Draper. The kids were thrilled to see each other again. It was a fun hour of catching up and exchanging hugs.

{Top left photo is of Chloe, Sydney and Alyssa, who we were pregnant with at the same time}

We were also able to see Brandon, Wendy and Chase. If you've kept up on my blog, you know my friendship with Wendy goes back to our very early days (I'm talking when I was Chloe's age!), and that there have been many parallels in our lives. Our babies, for example are just 2 weeks apart. Chloe talks about Chase all the time, and claims she is going to marry him some day (when she's a mom). Here are a handful of photos I took when we got together for a picnic one morning.

Watching the big kids play...

Look at those chubs! He has changed so much.

Darling little things they are! And rumor has it, Chase is going to be a big brother in October! :)

Neil's aunt Malinka turned 50 the week prior to our visit, and Neil's aunt Holli hosted a birthday party at her house. It was the perfect opportunity to see lots of loved ones, as much of Neil's extended family was there.

I was not thinking too clearly while carrying the camera around, and feel bad I didn't capture everyone. Sorry for those of you who were there that I missed (Carl, Holli, Curt, Blake, Jenna, Brad, Ryan... oh, and Neil). Should have gotten a big family photo! Oh well.

After Malinka's party, Neil and I drove to see the Draper Temple, which had just been dedicated. Beautiful.

We had some quality time with my family too.

The kids can never get enough of Grandpa Roy and Grandma Jill. Uncle D and Grandma Martha are also favored individuals. Thanks for your hospitality, and for spoiling our babies for a few days. We love you.

It was a busy, chaotic and wonderful trip, as they always are! I am really missing Salt Lake these days, and hoping to make it out sometime this Spring to see family again.


Friday, March 5, 2010

Baby Croft

Now that the cat's outta the bag, I'd like to officially congratulate Jared and Lori, who are expecting their first baby September 22nd!

Can hardly wait to see that cute belly grow, hear all the updates, and meet my little nephew. That's right - Chloe's predicting BOY, and is quite adamant! I'm not convinced she's right, but then again I was never the best baby gender predictor.

Congratulations! We love you guys!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

A Look Back: September 2009

I think we've established that time flies, but it seems like from September to December is the worst. Between the new school year, Halloween, Thanksgiving and finally, Christmas, life just gets insanely busy. Looking back it seems like the Holidays were just on top of each other last year. Perhaps that explains why I neglected my blog so much during those months (not that I've been much better since Christmas). Well, in attempt to catch things up, we're going to take a look back...

...starting with September!

First, let me just say we are big football fans in this house! Since I can remember, I've cheered for the 49ers, while Neil has cheered for LSU. Because he graduated from BYU, he's also a Cougar fan, but LSU is in his blood, and ultimately, his team. We support each other's fandom, and I'll have to say, while I grew up watching professional football, being married to Neil has really opened my heart to college football. For a few years we've talked about buying LSU gear for the whole family, but never have. Some fans we are, right? Well, in September, we finally made the plunge and did it.

While football is exciting and all, I'll have to say the highlight of September was my parents' visit. Since we moved to Colorado Springs in 2004, they have made it out at least once a year to see us.

Not sure I've known another grandma to be in as much love with these two as this Grandma is!
Okay, maybe Grandma Susie!

Ryan didn't know what to do with himself. Just the thought of Grandpa and Grandma coming for a visit had him exploding with excitement!

Grandpa took Chloe to the park every single day, sometimes more than once.

I was so happy to have captured this tender moment. Chloe and Ryan certainly love their Grandpa Roy.

We love you both! Thanks for coming!

And since we're talking September, I may as well throw this photo in too. Here's my brother, David with Neil and the kids at Cheyenne Mountain Resort, where David had a gig the last weekend in September. After his time there, he came and stayed with us for a couple days. I wish I'd taken more photos, but I guess I was just too excited to have him around to even think about it! We watched football, ate sushi, explored, and just had fun together! Chloe can never get enough of her Uncle D, and this visit proved to be like any other.

Here are a couple more random ones...

The kids entertaining each other before church

...And us on Logan's blessing day! One of my favorite family pictures to date.

So there you have it! September 2009!