Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Neil's 60th

Happy 60th Birthday Neil!

We gathered for a big party yesterday with lots of extended family. We were quite excited to see Gracie and Gunner, and finally meet the tiny, delightful baby Maisy (at 6 months she's finally post-heart surgery and healthy enough for all of us to snuggle her and pass her all around).

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Dinner Tonight

Downtown at Settebello with great friends from our Phoenix days. Loved it.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Backyard Party

During this crazy wet month we lucked out last Saturday and had a gorgeous day—perfect for hosting our families and a big birthday party in our yard. Our theme was simply "outdoor fun." We set out a basket of jump ropes and bubbles and games of catch (velcro paddles and bright tennis balls) and let the kids loose. The little ones basically played nonstop on the slides and playset while Cares, Maddie and Tillie stole away her to room to play Barbies and dolls. All our local family made it over that day and it was so fun to get everyone together to celebrate Bentley and Cares. My kids were truly spoiled with fun gifts from cousins/aunts & uncles and grandparents and then playing all around the yard with fun cousins. I loved seeing the kids enjoy each other so well while all the adults had some relaxing hang out time. Perfect.

With the constant rain we've had, Joseph and I had not spent the time we'd hoped to in getting our yard ready for a party. Come Saturday we felt rather overwhelmed but knew we had the whole day to weed, mow, sand and stain weathered furniture and arrange some new things from IKEA, shop at Costco, prepare food, clean-up inside and get everyone dressed and ready. We got ourselves going around 9:00 am, ready to work, and suddenly my father-in-law pulled up in his truck and grubby work clothes and announced he was here for the whole day to do whatever we needed. And boy was he needed. I was so grateful for all his help, his devoted work ethic (which Joseph thankfully learned/inherited from him) his one on one time staining furniture with Cares and making her laugh while they worked, and his calm demeanor and desire to help. We never would have gotten enough done without him here— thank you again Neil!

the fruits of all our (mostly Joseph and Neil's) labor: a yard ready for guests

I am so happy to finally have a big shady tree!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

To My 5 Year Old

Sweet Caresie--Happy Birthday!

5 years old today and as bright and happy and girlie as ever. You are a lively and energetic presence in our home and keep both your siblings so happy. I love how you try new things to be like Bentley (riding your new bike, playing soccer, drawing all sorts of cool things) and how you indulge your little girl side by playing with Livs (dollies and Barbies, babies and dress-ups). You have filled the role of middle child so easily the past few years and your siblings love you so well for it.

I love to sit with you every day while we eat lunch together. The light streams in from the sliding glass doors and hits your face so perfectly. Your gorgeous green eyes shine in it and your darling little freckles show-up just so—I think you are stunning and I could inspect you all day. I have thought these things from the moment I met you, in fact, 5 years ago at 10:30 in the morning. You surprised me by wanting to be born 3 weeks early only to find out you were breach—but determined to put me into labor nonetheless. I was scared and worried how we'd both make it through labor and delivery. Luckily, you were turned around while inside of me, and you stayed in perfect position until I was ready to push you out. You arrived safely and perfectly and I could barely believe my body had created this beautiful, delicate, daughter resting in my arms. I have loved to hold and snuggle you every day since then and I am so happy you are mine.

I love how you laugh, make friends so easily, aren't afraid of new things, race around the soccer field and score goals when you're really into the game. I love your kindness, your tender hugs, your quick mind and newly acquired reading skills. I love how you adore skirts and ruffles, headbands and bows and braids, babies and puppies and basically everything cuddly and sweet. Thanks for being my girl (and my tiny twin :) and for being you. I love you forever--


Monday, May 23, 2011

Beans' B in Bed

After this picture of Bentley alone he said "now I need one with my girls!"

my 3 amigos

and who doesn't love opening presents!
Bentley was happily occupied all day with his new things.
And that's before our big family party that night...

Saturday, May 21, 2011

To My 7 Year Old

Happy Birthday Bentley Boy!

7 years! And how you have grown. I have loved being your mommy all these years and experiencing everything with you for the first time: from new teeth and learning to walk to elementary school and learning to read. Thank you for taking me through all those milestones–and for setting a great example for your sisters to follow.

During Family Home Evening this week we were discussing Sister Stevens' conference talk about the lessons we learn from children. You were sharing what you remembered after listening and your tender little heart couldn't quite explain your feelings without tears filling up in your eyes. I could see the spirit touching you and your own sweet testimony growing right before my eyes. Thank you for sharing that moment with me and for being my child—my son. I learn so much about true happiness and sincere love from you and your sisters—thank you for bringing that joy into my life.

Keep being silly and spunky, curious and creative, helpful and happy, tender and true. Keep investigating sharks and sea life, riding your bike all over our street and trying out cool tricks and turns, playing with the neighborhood kids and working in the yard with dad, and entertaining Livs and Cares with your fun games like Aquarium and Spies. I love you my 7-year-old boy. Have a happy, happy birthday!


Thursday, May 19, 2011

2 Going On...

When the American Girl catalog came in the mail last week:

I remember doing the exact same thing when I was little...but maybe at age 9 or 10. How is she growing up so fast? It must help to have a super savvy big sis.

Adding a smile when she saw me photographing her.

And just thought I'd add a fun new song I'm loving of late—anything to get me energized with the constant rain outside:

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Rainy Days

May is always like this around here so why am I surprised? At least the sun has found us off and on the past few weeks.

From our park picnic last Friday:

Monday, May 16, 2011

Star of the Week

My little man gets that title at school this week as his birthday arrives in just 5 days. He is so excited—and why wouldn't he be? Birthdays rock.

Love my boy's bright blue eyes

Saturday, May 14, 2011

All For Today

After months of rehearsing my dancers had their big recital at Kingsbury Hall today. Performance day makes me truly love my job. I was so proud of my students and the beautiful work we created together. This year I felt especially lucky to dance with this gorgeous girl:

My niece Maddie
I know I am biased but this girl is a good dancer.
I love to watch her move and see her natural grace and full joy.
She made this shape all on her own too...see what I mean?

my Kindergarten—2nd grade class

some of my 3rd—5th grade class

I made purple hair clips for them to remember their dance (and match their costumes)

The younger ones each got a handmade lacing card:

front view

back view with a little inspiration added on

Whenever I have danced, my choreographers have always thanked me for my participation and hard work in some way. Even though I am paid to teach these lovely girls, I still think it proper etiquette to thank them every year with a small gift–I like things that help them remember their shining moments on stage.

and then they treat me to happy smiles, big hugs and my own pretty flowers (thanks sis:)

Thank you mom and dad, for letting me be a dancer when I was young (paying for it year after year, buying endless leotards and ballet shoes, and attending so very many performances). Dancing has always been in my blood and led to so many important paths for me. It has been a huge gift in my life, and now, teaching others to find their strength and selves as they skip and stretch, melt and reach, leap and prance and fly—it brings such happiness to my life.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

My Livs

St George airport April 2011

I miss this little lady every Wednesday. I pop her in bed around 1:00 pm for her nap, then leave for work before she wakes up, and get home for the night hours after she is sleeping away. It's days like this that make me so grateful for all the time we do spend together.

And sometimes we even have such grand adventures as Costco with Connor and Cec (and Brigg). Happy times I tell you (especially if we open up snacks as we shop and pose for sweet pics).

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Summer 2011

I was working on our family calendar (cozi.com) all the way to June the other day and realized that summer, and long, lazy days, will soon be ours to claim. Our current week looks like this:

So very soon it will change to this:

I am excited to start filling those days with our favorite things.

Summer 2011 Bucket List:

Swimming Lessons (August at rec center)
Give B&C 5 tennis lessons (ala tennis pro Carrie)
Lagoon (with whole LeBaron Family?)
Raging Waters at least twice (3 Groupon season passes)
Hike Stewart Falls (June)
Hike Cecret Lake (August)
Hike Lisa Falls on a hot summer night (Aug)
Hike Donut Falls (July)
Hike Cascade Springs
Hogle Zoo
Poppies up AF canyon (ask Krista for details)
Backyard Camping
Rosecrest Splash Pad
Umbria Splash Pad
Liberty Park
Red Butte Gardens (June)
Lake Powell vacation (July 24-31)
SG getaway--just kiddos and me (early June)
Cabin for 4th of July weekend
Big fireworks show on 4th (Holladay or Sugarhouse Park)
Joseph's Birthday--Aug. 15th
Father's Day--June 17th
Pediatrician for 5&7 year old well visits
Dentist for all 3 (already scheduled for end of June)

What else do I need to add?

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Days as a Mother

My typical day as a mother includes:

Rising early.
Snuggling sleepy bodies.
Making lunches.
Drawing endless stick-figured mommies and daddies for Livs.
Kissing bonks and bruises.
Wiping away hot tears.
Quelling fights and calming hurt feelings
Singing Sweet Baby James (with Cares) and Baby Mine (Livs).
Checking over Bentley's math homework.
Reading all kinds of books.
Washing non-stop dishes, and laundry, and hands and faces.
Brushing out tangles and braiding Cares' hair.
Laughing--off and on all day.
Hearing my name called a hundred times (half of which occur when Olivia wakes in the morning).
Trying hard to be patient when I hear my name called so incessantly.
Cleaning up toys, the table, and the kitchen over and over.
Working hard for the people I love the most in the world.
Thanking my Father in Heaven every night for giving me the gift of motherhood 3 times over.

Being a mother is hard. I am worn out every night and wish I could sleep longer every morning. But I take great pride in my job and know no one can raise my children better than I can--that no one could ever love them the way I do and that makes me eternally tied to their happiness and well-being. I owe it to them and to me to mother them the best way I know how. And those moments when I am doing it right, and I feel tiny hands gripping mine with glee or see a child learn something new with me at their side, I feel total and complete happiness. Those are the times I feel like I am truly living up to my most sacred role, and the rewards outweigh all else.

I love being a mother.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Jane Eyre

Saw the movie last night and I am still enchanted by it. I love that all I was picturing in my head as I read came to life so majestically on the screen. I believe Jane Eyre is my favorite love story of all time. And Jane one of my favorite heroines.

—from the novel, Mr Rochester to Jane:

"I have for the first time found what I can truly love—I have found you. You are my sympathy—my better self—my good angel. I am bound to you with a strong attachment. I think you good, gifted, lovely: a fervent, a solemn passion is conceived in my heart; it leans to you, draws you to my centre and spring of life, wraps my existence about you, and, kindling in pure, powerful flames fuses you and me in one."

Thursday, May 5, 2011

How to Please Mom

This post is for my hubby, and truly, any man who would like to give his wife a Happy Mother's Day. Read this blog entry, pay attention, and then follow through. It is all so very simple and clear. Share the post with your friends, brothers, and co-workers and you will have many happy women come Sunday.

Women, it's our responsibility to share this kind of information with the men we love (if we expect a little recognition from them). Pass on the link and throw them a bone.

**For Joseph, specifically, I am still partial to the gift we have been talking about so don't get confused. However, these ideas are really good for any birthdays or Mother's Days in the future...

Monday, May 2, 2011

Clean, Organize and Clean Again

I am highly motivated by images like these to declare some sort of order in both Caroline and Olivia's rooms. I have been sorting their clothes and toys like crazy the past few days and love organizing. But how amazing would it be to have closets like these to work with?

What I love about them: 1) shelves at many different heights 2) coordinating bins in several sizes 3) short and easy to reach hanging rods 4) lighting in the closet (love the effect that has) 5) fun colors 6) use of the door space in the green closet.

I am inching (very slowly) toward having my girlies in the same room. And the closet in that room is quite substantial. But it is boring and nearly useless with one super high shelf and one very high bar running underneath it for the length of the closet. It needs some major life put into it before the girls can actually share it (let alone reach their own clothes).

Can Joseph and I do it ourselves? With IKEA practically down the street it seems like we could...but do we want to? Should I hire my builder who did our basement closets which are much more useful? Should we call a closet specialty place (aka California Closets)? I don't want to spend too much but really want it to look well-done and oh so orderly. And very feminine and fun too.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Easter at the Temple

Sunday at the temple with my beloved family.
It was the perfect way to spend our Easter morning before heading to church.

Cares was only too happy to pose for pictures

Plainly and simply, why I love Easter:

"But there is a resurrection, therefore the grave hath no victory, and the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ.
Mosiah 16:8

"But behold, the resurrection of Christ redeemeth mankind, yea, even all mankind and bringeth them back to the presence of the Lord."
Helaman 14:17