Thursday, May 31, 2007

Happy Birthday Neil

Happy Birthday to my father-in-law! I love that he and Bentley have such close birthdays when they are such twins :) If my son turns out to be anything like his grandpa, I will be one lucky mom.

Neil is an amazing father and a very tender grandfather. He taught my husband the value of work, the sacred nature of the gospel and the importance of family. These are all core values and completely inherent in Neil's life. He also taught Joseph more trivial things, but things I love nonetheless: singing to children, telling silly jokes, collecting cool ties and playing pranks. I love to watch Neil watch his kids. He literally basks in their presence and frequently sits still with a content smile on his face as his children banter, laugh, sing and simply hang out together.

Neil is an antique master and has shared so many of his great finds with us. He has turned me into a collector myself and now, whenever I travel to London, I will always schedule a Saturday morning for the Portobello Road antique stalls. Neil is also the king of travel. He has taken Ruth Ann and his children on hundreds of worldwide adventures, sometimes taking just a child or two for extra bonding time with Dad. I love how smart Neil is and that he has such an incredible vocabulary (even for a Canadian! ). Hope you have a great birthday Neil! Our little family sends you all of our love.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Memorial Day Weekend

What a weekend! Heidi was in town so we had to make the most of it. Saturday afternoon we gathered for a picnic lunch at Cec and Chad's house. The kids loved showing off and acting goofy for all of us. After lunch, I sent the kids home with Joe and hit the mall with all the girls. I mainly returned things ('mainly' being the key word here :) and enjoyed adult time with my mom and sisters.

Sunday afternoon we headed up the canyon to the cabin. It was absolutely gorgeous up there--the perfect temperature and lush and green everywhere. The best part--the cabin was filled with almost our whole family (just Ben was missing--boo). We had a huge BBQ dinner and celebrated my kids' birthdays--it was so fun! Many of us ended up staying overnight and talking about any and everything until midnight. We knew it was getting late when my dad had already been sleeping for an hour while sitting right by me on the couch :) We love Sherm!

Last night, after we all took killer naps, we grabbed some dinner and headed to the park to further enjoy Joe's day off of work and tons of Daddy time. Bentley and Joe hit the slides and swings while Cares and I stayed on the grass. Caroline hates to feel the grass on her feet and legs so she hardly ever ventures beyond the edge of the picnic blanket. However, she loves to wrestle and crawl all over me so we just played together while the boys ran wild.

I had one of those moments while we were at the park last night and I was watching my husband happily trot around with our son while I kept laughing and cuddling our baby girl. I wanted time to freeze or at least extend itself a little more than usual. I focused for a second and tried to memorize all that I was seeing with the gentle wind blowing Caroline's feathery hair and Bentley's strong little body climbing all over the place. My children are already growing up too fast and I want to enjoy this happy place we are in before it fades away. I am so happy and feel so much love for this little family of mine that it overwhelms me all the time. I never want to stop feeling this way. I am so lucky.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Presents, Picnic and the Park

We had one happy Bentley on his birthday (notice the PJs--could be confused with Christmas!) On Caroline's brithday, she "chose" to share the fun with Bentley in unwrapping her gifts. I love this little picture of teamwork. We had a great party for the kids at the park last night and the sun even joined us when we sat down for our fried chicken dinner. Thank you again and again to all the LeBarons for coming to play (and then playing pretty hard and wearing Bentley right out!) and for being so generous to Beans and Cares. We have been exploring their new toys all morning and having so much fun. I feel like the birthday girl because we still have a Smith party planned and I am very excited--we should always just celebrate and party our way through life :) Caroline and Evie--2 May birthday girls! Running free (even Tommy and Jess's puppy, Miko, joined in on the excitement) I asked Bentley if I could take a picture of him looking at his present--so this is how he looked at it :) Nanny baked a custom car cake--how cute! Yes--she is my little twin! She was totally loving all the attention last night--I love her :)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Happy Birthday Caroline

I cannot believe my baby is 1! This year has passed so quickly. It has been so fun and full of so much change and growth in the life of my sweet baby Cares.

Before I knew I was pregnant with a girl, I had decided it would be most practical if I had another boy. That way, Bentley and the new baby would be perfect little playmates and friends forever. I was quite sure there was another tiny boy swimming around inside of me. When I went to my ultrasound and found out I was most certainly having a girl, I was really surprised and insanely excited! I felt too spoiled. I was suddenly planning for a much different mothering experience and I couldn't have been more eager to meet my daughter.

She came--early and little and easily--what a good baby already! And of course I fell in love all over again, holding a new child for the second time--what a miracle. Now, my tiny little infant is growing into such a big girl! And she is so much fun. Her newest trick is to say "hi" to all around her, over and over again, but I'll never get enough of her darling baby voice. She can also say "dada," "mama" and "baba" for bye. Bentley and I love to "talk" to her as we play during the day. Caroline is a very curious thing and she crawls like the dickens--it is hard to keep up with her. She loves to climb up the stairs at lightning speed, eat toilet paper, newspaper, mail--essentially any and all paper, hunt for treasures in the garbage can, and hideout under the kitchen table. She is incredibly patient with Bentley's "hugs" and no matter how often he upsets her, she is still very eager to play with him, hold his cars and big boy toys, and laugh with him as they nuzzle their faces into each other's blankies.

I love to cuddle my featherweight Caresie, dress her every day in her adorable, girlie clothes, listen to her mimic sounds (especially when we're in the car and she's copying Bentley), and watch her cruise around and test her growing abilities. She's my beautiful, angel, princess baby and I love her. Happy 1st birthday sweetie Cares!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Happy Birthday Bentley

I love my little boy! And I am so excited for him to celebrate his birthday (in 3 installments I might add--lucky kid :) He has been eagerly waiting for this day for several months now.

Bentley is a fabulous little boy mix of wild and mild. He always has a lot to say and is filled with funny little boy quips which keep us laughing--and he knows it! He loves to jump, bounce, run and play, and enjoys working with Joseph and me in the yard. He dons gardening gloves, digs up weeds, and waters plants with the watering can--and always does so with a lot of care and patience. I love his little voice and the fluctuations in it as he asks questions. I love to hear him playing with his toys--the conversations his cars, blocks and animals have are so endearing. I hope I can remember them forever--they reveal such happy innocence and a wonderful imagination.

Last year, when we brought our brand new baby girl home, little Bentley faced quite a challenge. His stable world turned upside down and it was hard for him to share attention with this tiny, boring baby. I am very proud of Bentley for learning to show her so much love and concern even though it is still hard to share the spotlight and favorite toys :) He really is quite taken with her and loves to go in her room after her naps and in his highest, sweetest voice say, "hi baby girl--did you have a good rest?"

During the past 3 years, there have been hundreds of wonderful moments with my Beans. Some favorites: the day he came into the world and made me a mommy, swimming with him in Phoenix at the end of the summer when the pool at Williamsburg Square was nice and hot, moving to Utah and discovering what a great traveler he was, helping him take his first steps across our living room floor, Tom and Jessica's wedding where he wore a little boy Tuxedo and was honestly the cutest thing ever, our Hawaii trip last spring where he experienced dolphins, the ocean, and catamaran rides for the very first time.

Bentley has always been an amazing sleeper, just like his daddy. He is very smart, very silly and very helpful--always eager to unload the dishwasher, help make his lunch, and clean up Caroline's toys. He loves beef jerky, the movie "Cars," Hot Wheels, trucks, construction vehicles and tractors, blocks, puzzles, books, chocolate milk and his blankie. I am so grateful that Bentley is mine and that I get to be a part of his life forever. He is my sweet "bean burrito" and I love him!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Little Bits

Seems like we have hardly left the house during the past week yet life has been so busy--how does that happen? I am hosting an enrichment activity at my home tonight so I am taking a little break in between cleaning projects to blog and mainly post some fun pics of my sweet, silly kids:

Caroline cuddling Bentley's blankies
Bentley showing off his new Mater socks
Picnic lunch with cousins at John and Krista's houseCaroline testing her walking skills (she still needs support but she is getting close!)

Sunday, May 13, 2007


Last night, I laid in bed with Bentley, sharing a pillow and tickling his tummy for a few minutes to help soothe him before he fell asleep. He rubbed his blankie against his face for a second and then turned and stretched it so it reached over both of our heads in a little blankie cave. He whispered to me "I love you so much sweetie." It felt like heaven.

3 years ago, my doctor placed a brand new infant in my arms. He was crying and very messy, and he was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. And he was mine--my very own child to love and raise. I fell instantly in love with that tiny helpless baby and immediately knew that he had filled my heart with an immeasurable amount of love--the kind of love that only a mother can feel. 1 year ago, I met my baby girl and felt the same natural, immediate and overpowering surge of love for her. It hasn't diminished nor do I think it ever will for either of my sweet children.

So, to Bentley and Caroline, thank you. Thank you for making me a mommy. It is the most fulfilling role I have ever had and I know you are helping me reach my divine potential. Thank you for being patient with me when I am tired and cranky. Thank you for indulging me on trips to the mall and Target and TJ Maxx. Thank you for all the hugs you give me with your warm little bodies. Thank you for teaching me about love and sacrifice and innocence and joy. We have quite the journey ahead of us and I will make many mistakes. I have already made countless ones. You belong to me and I belong to you, forever. If you only remember one thing your mommy has taught you, whether you're 2 or 12 or 20 or 50, please, please let it simply be this--"I love you so much sweetie."

Thank you to my own, special mother who has always supported, nurtured and taken care of me and continues to do so. Thank you to my mother-in-law, Ruth Ann, for raising a wonderful family and adopting me into it so easily and lovingly. Thank you to my sisters and sisters-in-law--whether you are mothers or not, you are loving, kind, affectionate mothers to my children who are so lucky to have you in their lives. I am lucky to have you in my life. Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

24 Dancing Bodies

That's the number of students of mine who performed in their big concert today. And they were beautiful! I loved watching them move with such freedom, happiness and energy as they danced on stage. I love my job. Granted it isn't much of a job (2 hrs a week!) but it is a perfect fit in my life.

I am proud of all my little dancers and how hard they worked and how well they remembered and executed the choreography they helped me create. That's the beauty of creative dance--it allows each dancer to make her own choices, choose her own shapes, and test her own abilities. I love seeing how individual each dancer is but also how well they can work together and create art. It was a fun day--a busy and rushed and stressful day--but very fulfilling.

I have been dancing forever. And I still remember every single concert, every costume, and the feeling I got when I stepped out on stage. It is a thrilling, anxious, wonderful feeling.

I forgot my camera today so I am expecting some pictures via email--I will post them when I get them!

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Happy Birthday Mary

Mary truly is...amazing :) --and she is a dear soul to me. I have known Mary for a long time now and we have laughed through many fond memories. A few early favorites: eating lunch up at Campus Life, suffering through Wilford Griggs New Testament tests, dancing the ever famous Die Hammerschmiedsgeselln (say that 10 times fast!) and Rustemal, and cheering on Vocal Point at countless performances. I am so lucky that Joseph has such a cool family (seriously--they just really are cool!) and that they all let me feel like I truly belong to them. I loved seeing Mary on campus when I was a newlywed. She always pulled me in for a solid hug and her bright, familiar face made me happy.

I love how open and giving and honest Mary is with her emotions and beliefs. I know it made her a powerful missionary and it makes her an endearing, trusting friend. My hubby and I truly missed her while she was on her mission and felt so sad that we had to wait longer than almost everyone else to see her once she was back (we lived in Phoenix at the time). The summer she returned home, Mary showed me what an incredibly forgiving person she was, and also how strong and determined she was in choosing that which is good. A year later, while floating on soft, rocking Lake Powell boat waves, she shared great stories of her new love, Seth. We could all see that he had brought more joy and happiness to her heart than anyone else ever could.

Mary is a very attentive mom. I love seeing her with Tillie or with any children really. She is kind and patient and my kids easily respond to her nature. Mary has an incredible knack for bargains, makes some very tasty banana bread and lasagna I cannot get enough of, was one cute pregnant girl while living in London, and tells really great stories. She is a fabulous girl and I love to be around her--I will be sad if she moves far away again because I will miss her company so much. Happy Birthday Mary--I hope it is a wonderful one!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Happy Birthday Krista

Happy Birthday Krista! I remember the first time I really hung out with Krista. It was during all the wedding festivities of our friends Matt and Lizzie Stevens back in August of 2003. Joseph and Johnny decided to create quite a wedding gift (last minute of course) which left lots of time for Krista and me to hang out (since we are not the design pros/nerds our hubbies are). I loved how open she was, how easy she was to get along with and how happy she made Johnny--which was easy for anyone to see. We made even better friends when she and Johnny came to Phoenix to play with us several months later. They were engaged by then and I was thrilled at the prospect of having her join the LeBaron clan.

Krista is very loving and very aware of those around her. She is sensitive to other people's needs and can make anyone feel welcome and cared for. I love how adventurous she is as witnessed by her camping escapes with Johnny, Sisi and Coco, her daily commute to and from work in Manhattan, her mission service in Italy, her leadership of the Primary in her Brooklyn ward, and her easy willingness to become a mommy. Krista is fun to hang out with and I especially love shopping with her at H&M (or anywhere!) and chatting with her about motherhood, ottomans, blogs, and being married to silly LeBarons :) I love Krista's laugh, her decorating style, her innocent nature, and her gentleness with children. She is a true friend to me and I am grateful for the leap of faith she took in marrying Johnny--it has changed all of our lives for the better. I love you Krista and hope you have a lovely day!

Monday, May 7, 2007

Sick Sweetie

This is how we spent the weekend at our house--holding Caroline who has felt miserable. It's fascinating how much of a disaster my home is when I don't have any free time to clean and pick-up and wash dishes. But today is different and Cares seems better. I am so happy that a tiny smile has returned to her face and that she has begun to laugh and play and eat a little more. I am hoping this means we will actually sleep tonight (I shouldn't get too excited though, because we may not be there yet.) Caresie really was a sweetheart through it all, especially if her daddy or I would just hold her and cuddle her as her fever spiked or when she couldn't breathe through her snoggy nose. I am making a plea for an end to sick kids and for more sunny Spring weather!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Family Home Evening

We have turned a new leaf--I hope. Last night we had our very first Family Home Evening as an actual family. I feel like a slacker, but at the same time, Bentley is just days away from turning 3--a great age for actually participating and learning and helping. We began with a prayer given by Bentley (and helped by me). We followed with a song chosen by Bentley (It was "lightmean da queen song" which translates to Life is a Highway. Not the most spiritual song but it was fun to roll with his idea). Our lesson consisted of talking about fathers and how Bentley has 2--Daddy and Heavenly Father. Bentley asked if Heavenly Father was up by the stars and rocket ships which I totally loved :) We ended the lesson by baking chocolate chip cookies together. It was a lovely evening for us. I think it may have been, in part, because Cares was already asleep. I think the other reasons must have had something to do with sharing simple testimony with an adorable child and making happy memories.