Sunday, January 30, 2011

Happy Birthday to Neil!

Neil's birthday was last Monday, the 24th.  I had planned an afternoon of bowling followed by burgers at Five Guys in Stockton, until Neil lovingly brought to my attention the fact that his finger was still in no shape to bowl and that it wasn't necessary to drive clear to Stockton just for a good hamburger.  So we scratched my original plans and went to Chevy's instead.  Our friend, Natalie drove down from San Ramon with her cute kids to help us celebrate (we missed Steve, who was out of town).  It was a simple birthday for a simple birthday boy.   

And now, for each year Neil has graced this world with his presence, here's one reason I love him!

1. He is a boy at heart.
2. He has the ability to make me laugh at myself.
3. He has a cheerful, optimistic nature.
4. He is generous with his time and talents.
5. He is fun to look at.
6. He is a worthy Priesthood holder who values and practices his beliefs faithfully.
7. He supports my hobbies and interests.
8. He refuses to hire out jobs he knows he can figure out on his own.
9. My memory of the expression on his face when he saw me for the first time in my wedding dress.
10. He is silly with the kids and makes them laugh as hard as I've ever seen a kid laugh.
11. He waited until our third date to kiss me. It took some serious will power, from what I hear, but he did it!
12. He completes the projects he starts.
13. He holds high respect for his mother.
14. He is slow to anger.
15. While extremely competitive, he always shows good sportsmanship.
16. He makes me feel safe.
17. He eats whatever I place in front of him.
18. He is the father of my children.
19. He is brutally honest but still tactful in the way he approaches me when something needs resolution.
20. My memory of witnessing his first moments as a new father.
21. He has an incredible sense of direction.
22. He is driven to succeed and perseveres to the end!
23. He has always supported my desire to be a homemaker and mother.
24. He is practical and easy to please.
25. He does not care what other people think.
26. He picks up after himself.
27. He has a contagiously beautiful smile.
28. He rarely complains.
29. He is confident but not arrogant.
30. He rough houses with the kids, takes them on dates, and makes them feel special.
31. He always has a smile on his face, even when he's mad.
32. He has never forgotten the anniversary of our first date.

I sure do love you, birthday boy!  Thanks for being born!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Amen to that!

"Nothing is more silly than silly laughter." - Catullus


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ringing in 2011

With less than a week left of January, it's probably time I start sharing some events of the month.

We spent New Year's Eve at my cousin, Heather's in Pleasanton.  She and her husband, Scott hosted a party and hired some of the best bay area jazz musicians to entertain.  My brother, David flew in from Salt Lake to complete the band, and it was one groovy night!  Seriously, they sounded amazing!  And I'm not a lover of jazz music.  Here are some shots I got throughout the night.

David Halliday (saxophone), Andrew Emer (bass), Alan U'Ren (drums), Wil Blades (organ) - not pictured

The kids provided entertainment between sets.  They were quite amused with themselves.

Ryan got this toy saxophone for Christmas from "aunt" Heather.
These photos speak for themselves.  It was a priceless moment.

And here's a mish mash of other shots taken throughout the night.

The music came to a close at 11:59pm.  After counting the last 20 seconds of 2010, kissing at the drop of the ball, and saying our goodbyes, we were on the road headed home by 12:06am.  Exhausted we were, and the kids BOTH stayed awake until we left!  Needless to say, January 1st was a sleeping in kinda morning!  Thanks again, Scott and Heather!  You guys know how to throw a party!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Random photo

In an attempt to feel more on top of things, I've been going through and organizing my 2010 photos.  So far so good!  Here's one I wanted to share with you from last January.

This was taken at the park just around the corner from our house in Colorado.  It was a bitter cold day.  One of those where you look out your window and see the sun shining, then convince yourself that it can't be that bad only to get outside and realize you've been deceived by the sun and are now about to freeze your tush off!  This is frequently the story with Colorado Januaries. 

See the snow in the background?  I miss that.  I don't care what any of you say about how miserable snow is.  I miss it.  I knew I would when we moved away, and I do.

I love the hazy sunlight in this photo coupled with the expression on Ryan's face.  It really sets the mood.  And it's so Ryan.  Calm.  Cool.  Content.  I love this boy.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Another forgotten post: So long, Primary...

Wow, another forgotten post!  What is with me?  I wrote this one in September shortly after I was released from Primary.  Again, months later and I'm just now getting around to publishing!  And from the looks of it, there are a handful of other posts from that same time waiting to be shared.  In my defense, September was an extremely busy month for me, and I think I just got into a habit of writing when I had the time, saving my work to "perfect" later, and never getting back to it.  Anyway, here goes.

Originally written 12 September 2010
I feel like I've said a lot of goodbyes lately.  Ultimately that's been a good thing because it's meant I'm that much closer to living the life of normalcy again (under the same roof as my husband).  Still, having to say goodbye to loved ones is never easy.  On August 29th I was released from the Primary Presidency in our Colorado ward.   As I've pondered life without Primary for the last couple weeks, I've quickly realized the things I already miss.

Primary music
It is impossible to work in Primary and not be touched by the songs - especially when sweet little souls are singing them.  One song that I have grown to love over the months, which is also probably the most known and frequently heard Primary song of all time is 'I Am a Child of God'.  What simple power and truth its words convey.  I cannot think of a more beautiful sound than that of children singing - or rather pleading with their Heavenly Father to lead them and guide them and walk beside them; to help them find the way; to teach them all that they must do to live with Him some day.  'I Am a Child of God', in my opinion, sums up our desires, goals and needs in this life.  It sums up the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I have really grown to love and appreciate it, and I am grateful I had the opportunity to hear the sweet children sing it over and over again.  For if I hadn't, I'd probably still just consider it a somewhat boring Primary song that is sung way too often.

Teaching Sharing time
Never thought I would say that!  Being the perfectionist that I am, it wasn't uncommon for me to spend 8 hours preparing a Sharing Time lesson.  Drove me nuts!  Especially when my lessons still didn't quite go as planned and I was left feeling discouraged and unfulfilled because I didn't think I'd gotten my message across.  I will say that each month got a little easier, and with that my confidence grew.  Despite this challenge of getting up in front of all these children and leaders, I wouldn't trade any of it for the world.  The basic gospel truths that I not only learned, but grew to appreciate and love more than ever, hold priceless value.  Even if it's a familiar topic I'm teaching, there's always a new way to understand or appreciate it.

Watching Chloe blossom in the gospel
To see the innocent and boundless love that her tiny little (almost) 5 year old being already holds for her Heavenly Father and Savior is one of the greatest rewards I could ask for as a church leader or mother.

Working with 3 incredible women
It's always an interesting dynamic putting 4 women together, each of whom has come from a different walk of life carrying different qualities and strengths.  I think what stood out to me most about our presidency is that we supported and helped one another without question and without fail.  I loved laughing with, learning from, and building friendships with these women.  It was a beautiful connection and one I'll miss being a part of.

Camille, Amy, me and Susan (apparently I missed the B&W memo)

Today Camille pulled me into Primary one last time so the children could say their official goodbyes.  They presented me with a pink packet containing these precious drawings and thank you notes.  I was so touched by their thoughtfulness and only wish I could have uttered the right words to truly express how much they meant to me.  Hopefully my tears helped get the point across somewhat.  :)

My testimony certainly grew leaps and bounds in the 15 months I served in this Primary presidency.  I feel honored to have worked with these children.  I am certain they taught me more than I ever taught them, and that God intended it to be that way.  I have seen the strength and will power of this generation, and it's no wonder they would be placed on this earth right now!  While I am afraid for them, I am also confident they will have the strength to carry on the work of the Lord, and overcome the evil things thrown at them along the way.

From the mouth of Chloe

I haven't been the best lately about documenting the funny things Chloe says, but here are a handful of treasures I have managed to get on paper.  Some of these go back 6 or more months. 

"Mom, if you needed to put me in time out for 4 minutes, I would be just fine.  If you put me in time out for 60 minutes, I would not be fine."

"On your market, get set, ready, go!"

During a prayer, "Bless that our strength and bodies will help us stay alive."

Chloe: "Is my daddy allowed to cook?"
Me: "Sure!"
Chloe: "But he doesn't know how to?  Because it's too hard for him?"

"Mommy, I'm full.  It's all the way up to my tummy!"

"Dad, maybe when you're a little bit very stronger you can do it!"

After writing a '2' on a piece of paper, "What happens if you have a 2 this way?" (rotates the paper sideways)
"It'll be a N!  And what happens if you have a N this way?!" (rotates the paper further)
"It'll be a 2 again!  Pretty funny, huh?"

"I think I like salad and lettuce now.  I like both but not tomatoes.  I don't like those yet.  Not 'til I'm a grown up."

While watching the scene in 'The Slipper and the Rose' where Cinderella and the Prince get married, "This part makes me have tears."

Saturday, January 8, 2011

A forgotten post : Ryan's prayer

In perusing my draft folder I came across this post, which I wrote on September 8th of last year.  For whatever reason I never got around to publishing it.  It's too cute not to share, even if it is 4 months old.  So, here goes.

Tonight there was much giggling at the dinner table.  Especially when it came time for the blessing on the food.  Ryan's vocabulary and desire to speak has exploded these recent weeks, and while you still can't make out a lot of what he says, you can tell he's trying.  Due to his growing desire to talk like the rest of us, he and Chloe often argue over who gets to say the prayer before meals or at bedtime.  Tonight was no different, and, well, Ryan won.

First off, Ryan never lets us forget to bless the food.  The minute we sit down at the table he immediately folds his arms and then looks around to see who is following his lead.  It's priceless.  Anyway, here's how his prayer went - with mommy's help, of course.

Me: "Dear Heavenly Father.."
Ryan: "Ehhh dyyyyyye.."
Me: "Thank you for this day.."
Ryan: "Ehhh dyyyyyye.."
Me: "Please bless this food.."
Ryan: "Ehhh dyyyyyye.."
Me: "Bless Daddy.."


At this point, I heard Ryan gulping his milk.  Apparently all that praying was making him thirsty!  Still had one arm folded while the other supported the sippy cup he was now drinking from.  This is when Chloe chimed in and repeated, "Bless daddy..?" which Ryan replied, "Ehh dyyyyyye.."

By now both Chloe and I were giggling, which then made Ryan start to giggle.  Then I peeked over at Chloe who was trying her darnedest to keep her eyes closed, but was peeking over at Ryan whose eyes had been wide open throughout the entire prayer. 

Seeing that our food was no longer hot, I figured it was time to finish things off so we could eat! 

Me: "In the name of Jesus Christ, amen." 
Ryan: "Unn!"

I love my children.  And I love the simple moments like these that remind me how precious it is to be the mother of little ones.