Friday, March 28, 2008

My Birthday

Are you all ready? I am preparing to list all of the reasons why I love myself :) OK --that my be taking it too far... But seriously, I do love birthdays and this year I had a stellar one. I told Joseph that all I wanted was to sleep and I wasn't kidding either (you guys all know how I love it!). Well, my tricky (and very sweet) hubby arranged for the kids to have a special sleepover with Nanny last night so we could grab dinner sans kids and then come home and sleep without our little 3 year old coming in to wake us at 7:00 am. Oh my, I feel like a new lady today with so many hours of sleep and all the time I needed to eat breakfast, get ready and even check some blogs and emails without a child on my lap :) Ruth Ann--thank you so very much for taking the kids!! And to my family and friends--I loved all the emails, messages, phone calls and hugs. I am one spoiled girl. Some other fabulous things that made this birthday so great:

--my new sewing supplies so I can get cracking on more aprons and frilly, little girl skirts
--a new subscription to Domino magazine
--some very cute new clothes from a shopping day with my mom
--my darling new children's book that's all about dance
--Dance Dance Revolution--I honestly have way too much fun playing it and feel like I had my cardio workout for the day afterwards--nerd alert right?!
--a birthday call from Joseph's cute grandma and a card from my sweet grandparents (they make these efforts every year but it truly makes me happy to know they care)
--a birthday card from my dear friend Heather containing 2 notes I wrote to her when we were in Jr. High. I could not stop laughing as I read them and remembered what a silly, boy-crazy, and naive girl I was. I'm so lucky I had such amazing friends back then to bear all the drama of my ridiculous crushes!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Easter Sunday

notice Caroline's hair bow--I made it myself and feel quite proud :)

how did Uncle Ben know exactly which shirt to wear?!

Joseph posing like Beans

In Case You Read On

On Easter morning we headed to 9:00 sacrament meeting thinking it would be the best way to start off our Easter holiday. Plus, that would allow us to begin the egg hunt once it had warmed up a little more outside. In all honesty, I wasn't really feeling it during church--meaning the reverence for and joy in the whole purpose of that holiday in the first place. And by the end of the day I realized I had really missed the target and hadn't taken the time to appreciate my Savior and His life and sacrifice for us. During the weekend I had noticed the striking beauties of nature while we enjoyed the spring weather, and I did stop to sit down a few times and watch all the children happily playing. These things certainly filled my soul but I really felt the desire for spiritual nourishment and just hadn't found it or set the time apart for it.

Well, earlier today, I read a letter from my little brother who has just survived, and seriously, barely survived, his first 2 weeks of boot camp with the marine corps. And he is suffering a lot. I am really glad he was so honest in his sentiments and descriptions because they really made his circumstances clear and made this whole experience of his feel very real for me as an outsider. My head tells me that this time of serious mental and physical strain will help him to become the man he needs to be. And my heart just feels sorrow for his soul--that it seems so belittled and heavy and alone. And suddenly I have been thinking about my Savior so much; how aware of our needs He is, how He suffered through more than anyone will ever have to suffer, how He willingly offered himself up simply so He could succor our needs in times of trial, heartache, frustration and fear, and how He appeared after His death to His beloved disciples and later to the Nephites to teach them face to face of His Gospel and then pray for them and bless them. Anytime I feel the need to be more loved or receive more strength than I think I have, I rely on my Savior to lift my heart and feed my soul. And now I am relying on Him to do this for my little brother.

"For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall...and the Lord God will wipe away the tears from off all faces..."
Isaiah 25:4 & 8

So that is how I came to find some meaning in Easter this year, even if it was a few days late.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Crazy Cousins

We just spent a long weekend (Thursday to Monday) with my family down in SG. What this translates to in Bentley and Caroline's world is "unlimited cousin time" and they sure made the most of it. I love that cute Ethan and Will invited Bentley to tag along on many of their big boy activities--even if meant that Bentley fell a lot (and cried a lot) while climbing on rocks and running down the golf course hills in the evening. He always recovered quickly and now has one awesome set of tough little boy legs full of bruises and scratches :) As for Caroline, she spent the weekend doing whatever Maddie did--especially when Maddie lead her around by the neck and basically told her exactly what to do. They sure are cute friends and need each other since they don't have any sisters yet :) The 75 degree weather allowed the kids so much freedom outside and we couldn't get enough of the beautifully green grass, blossoming trees, blue, blue sky and stunning views as always.

my mom and I decided to wear our own matching outfits to fit in with Maddie and Cares :)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

And Back Again

Yes, heading down old I-15 again tomorrow morning. This time I'm bringing the kids and they are elated--let me tell you, they did not like the fact that I went to SG without them because they love it there :) The internet is in the process of becoming wireless down there (whatever that means exactly...) and so I may or may not be blogging anytime soon...

Remember these little egg hunters from last year?
Too cute :)

Monday, March 17, 2008

Sewing Like Crazy

Our sewing retreat has come and gone--how did it all pass so quickly? Well, I guess I know how:
1) Chatting in the car on the way down making 4 hours seem like only 1.
2) Sleeping peacefully with my quiet roomie Krista.
3) Learning how to really sew--as in cutting out patterns, following directions, and using fancy things like interfacing, seam rippers, disappearing ink, rulers, cutting boards, gathering stitches and even an iron--who knew? :)
4) Laughing over "caramel apples" and "spicy chicken" and jamming to music from the iPod speakers as we worked.
5) Relaxing during our manis and pedis at the nail salon (well, for the most part they were relaxing--among other things...)
6) Dining on Cafe Rio and homemade calzones--both very delicious.
7) Making hair bows for our darling daughters and teasing Mary about her "sensitivity."
8) Posing for several timer pictures--yes, I said posing because the 8 of us can really ham it up.

I love all of you girls!! (and yes, you too Porter, the lone male, for being the sweetest, sleepiest baby:) Thank you all for a fabulous weekend and for teaching me so many useful skills!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Off to Sew

In about 7 hours I will finally be on my way to the very first LeBaron Sisters retreat (and hopefully just one of many in the coming years). All of us have either just started sewing or are complete pros--guess which category I fall into? :) Anyway, we are spending the weekend working on sewing and craft projects and trying to get in our fill of girlie movies, 80's movies and anything that has Colin Firth in it ;) I am very eager to work on my new Brother machine and spend time with all 6 of my sisters-in-law and my mother-in-law. Yay!

My pictures are of some darling fabrics I found for my sewing projects!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

The Book of Mormon

**If you haven't already seen it, click here to view the LDS church's new website. It is beautifully designed and all about the Savior--I love it.

I hate for this entry to feel like it's out of place in my blog (surrounded by more worldly and silly entries) but I feel compelled to share a bit of my testimony this afternoon. I taught Relief Society today from the Joseph Smith manual, ch. 4, on The Book of Mormon. I tried to focus the lesson on the fact that the book truly is the word of God meant for our benefit in the latter-days. We read several quotes from the prophet about The Book of Mormon being not only the keystone of our religion but a book that will draw us nearer to God, give us knowledge and enlightenment as well as comfort and cheer to the honest in heart.

I can honestly say that I love that book with all my heart. It truly is an anchor of solidarity in my life. That knowledge began at an early age through simple family scripture study--a great introduction to the stories and prophets and people in The Book of Mormon. And then, as a teenager, I embarked on a more serious path of discovery. I was 15 and felt like I was very ready. I had been praying for other things in my life which in turn, still didn't seem to be working out--especially in the ways I had hoped for. I wasn't really frustrated or losing faith by any means, just eager to find a way in which the Lord would show me that He did hear the prayers of the young, searching, teenage girl that I was. On the very first day of seminary that year, we read Moroni's promise at the end of The Book of Mormon. I hadn't really known that scripture existed before then but it was a lovely promise and made a lot of sense to me. That day, I decided to read the whole book, page by page, and then, once I was entirely finished, and had read Moroni's words once more at the end of my journey, I would follow through and pray earnestly to know if the book was true.

I remember the night I finished the book even though I am not sure how long it actually took me to get there. I sat on my bed, late at night and felt my heart beating faster as I approached chapter 10 of Moroni--the very end of the book. I started reading the highlighted section in my scriptures, verses 3-5, and the tears just started pouring down my face as the power of the Holy Ghost overwhelmed me. When I finished reading, I knelt down and prayed, knowing I had already received a powerful answer, and could only find words of gratitude and love to share with my Father in Heaven for revealing such a treasure to me. In the many years since then I have found the book to be an anchor, a refuge, a joy, a masterpiece and the best tool I have found for drawing me closer to my Savior.

For the RS lesson today, I asked 4 women to share their favorite scripture or passage from The Book of Mormon and then share with us why those words had been important to them. I love that when I asked them to do this earlier in the week, they all commented on how hard it would be to choose just one--so very true! But they each chose very personal and tender verses which related to their unique needs and situations. It made me want to share my favorite as well but I knew our time was too limited. So I am sharing it now :) It is actually almost an entire chapter but I could read it every day and feel the same love for my Savior and joy in His goodness time and time again. It is the 17th chapter of 3rd Nephi. The verses document the time when the resurrected Christ appeared to the Nephites and taught them face to face. The previous chapters cover much of Christ's pure doctrine, the Beattitudes, and many parables. But in chapter 17, He truly reveals Himself as the God of mercy and compassion that He is.

5 And it came to pass that when Jesus had thus spoken, he cast his eyes round about again on the multitude, and beheld they were ain tears, and did look steadfastly upon him as if they would ask him to tarry a little longer with them.
6 And he said unto them: Behold, my bowels are filled with acompassion towards you.
7 Have ye any that are asick among you? Bring them hither. Have ye any that are lame, or blind, or halt, or maimed, or bleprous, or that are withered, or that are deaf, or that are afflicted in any manner? Bring them hither and I will cheal them, for I have compassion upon you; my bowels are filled with mercy.
8 For I perceive that ye desire that I should show unto you what I have done unto your brethren at Jerusalem, for I see that your afaith is bsufficient that I should heal you.
9 And it came to pass that when he had thus spoken, all the multitude, with one accord, did go forth with their sick and their afflicted, and their lame, and with their ablind, and with their dumb, and with all them that were afflicted in any manner; and he did heal them every one as they were brought forth unto him.
10 And they did all, both they who had been healed and they who were whole, bow down at his feet, and did worship him; and as many as could come for the multitude did akiss his feet, insomuch that they did bathe his feet with their tears.
11 And it came to pass that he commanded that their alittle children should be brought.
12 So they brought their little children and set them down upon the ground round about him, and Jesus stood in the midst; and the multitude gave way till they had all been brought unto him.
13 And it came to pass that when they had all been brought, and Jesus stood in the midst, he commanded the multitude that they should akneel down upon the ground.
14 And it came to pass that when they had knelt upon the ground, Jesus groaned within himself, and said: Father, I am atroubled because of the wickedness of the people of the house of Israel.
15 And when he had said these words, he himself also aknelt upon the earth; and behold he bprayed unto the Father, and the things which he prayed cannot be written, and the multitude did bear record who heard him.
16 And after this manner do they bear record: The aeye hath never seen, neither hath the ear heard, before, so great and marvelous things as we saw and heard Jesus speak unto the Father;
17 And no atongue can speak, neither can there be written by any man, neither can the hearts of men conceive so great and marvelous things as we both saw and heard Jesus speak; and no one can conceive of the joy which filled our souls at the time we heard him pray for us unto the Father.
18 And it came to pass that when Jesus had made an end of praying unto the Father, he arose; but so great was the ajoy of the multitude that they were overcome.
19 And it came to pass that Jesus spake unto them, and bade them arise.
20 And they arose from the earth, and he said unto them: Blessed are ye because of your faith. And anow behold, my joy is full.
21 And when he had said these words, he awept, and the multitude bare record of it, and he took their little children, one by one, and bblessed them, and prayed unto the Father for them.
22 And when he had done this he wept again;
23 And he spake unto the multitude, and said unto them: Behold your little ones.
24 And as they looked to behold they cast their eyes towards heaven, and they saw the heavens open, and they saw angels descending out of heaven as it were in the midst of fire; and they came down and aencircled those little ones about, and they were encircled about with fire; and the angels did minister unto them.
25 And the multitude did see and ahear and bear record; and they know that their record is true for they all of them did see and hear, every man for himself; and they were in number about two thousand and five hundred souls; and they did consist of men, women, and children.

The Book of Mormon is the word of God and it has taught me in many different ways that Jesus Christ is my Savior and Redeemer. I will love and worship Him all the days of my life.

I'd love to know what your favorite BofM scripture is too and why...if you feel like sharing :)

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

I Just Can't Get Enough

You, however, probably can. But, just in case, I have posted my final posts on our Hawaiian vaca. Click here and here if you want to check them out. Maybe this sweet little picture will help entice you :)

Monday, March 3, 2008

Wild Things

I had some surprise house guests today. They climbed on the furniture, growled and snarled and bounded around the house. Surprisingly, they played very well together and posed quite sweetly for pictures. Take a peek at Fifi the dog and Boof the Dragon:

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Ingrid & Joshua

Joseph surprised me with a late Valentine's date night this Thursday: Ingrid Michaleson and Joshua Radin in concert. We happened upon Ingrid's music from hearing it on Grey's Anatomy last year and Joshua's from watching Scrubs reruns (I know, total TV nerd alert :) Anyway, the night was very fun--mostly because we had a) great company: Mike and Lydia Metcalf and Doug Freiss from Joe's work and Joe's little bro Bob and his date, and 2) Ingrid is darling and a fabulous live performer. Sadly, I can't say much in Joshua's favor. He is a great musician and songwriter and I really like his breathy singing voice but he was such a mood killer. I swear the poor guy is clinically depressed because every single song he sang was about love not working out and every time he introduced a new song he told a tale of crying and heartbreak and blah blah blah... and then played each sad, slow song. It's too bad because he has some really great songs that are fun and upbeat like These Photographs and Only You but he didn't include them in his set list. To his credit he did play a great song, The Fear You Won't Fall, as his opener and then Sky as a duet with Ingrid as his final number (click here to hear it on his myspace page). I am obsessed with Sky lately and so I have to admit it was worth it to stay through his set just for that fantastic little tune--such a fun one to sing along to as I drive around town :)

I have now realized I would download anything by Ingrid. She is very real and has an original sound with cute, quirky lyrics in her songs. And I would love to see her again live--she has a great rapport with the audience and is just really likable. My faves from her are Breakable, The Way I Am, and Far Away. And for now I will just keep enjoying Joshua "Rad-in" or "Ray-din" (or however you say it) on my mix CD's. Here's to hoping the kid finds true love soon so he can start singing some happier songs!