Monday, March 31, 2014

And I'm 35

Another milestone birthday for me as it puts me closer, much closer to the big 40. But I just really don't feel sad or awkward or weird about getting old (yet :) I feel really good, have been exercising consistently for 2 years straight (hurray for no pregnancies getting the better of me!) and I feel like my heart and lungs are stronger than ever even if I'm not as trim and tight as I was before having 4 babies.

At 35 I have an amazing marriage and the best partner I could have ever asked for. I have the best circle of women around me in my ward—one that I've lived in for almost 10 years—and as people have come and gone I've learned to love my neighbors, and those who worship with me, and especially the women who serve with me in church callings. I feel like more of a homebody than ever simply because I relish my time to just be here with my littles playing. It's fading fast so I am trying to sit back and soak it in. I love to take care of my busy little family and feel so happy with them all nestled under my wing. It's a good time of life, a really good time of life.

I have spent a year and a half in my calling as YW president and I feel like I have learned so much from it. I am learning to love in ways I hadn't before, learning to connect and communicate better, learning to listen to the spirit in any quiet moment I can find to think of ideas and offer prayers and ponder the Gospel and how to serve my young women. I feel much more empathetic to the girls and especially their moms who are fighting their own battles and needing my love and prayers just as much. I am finding beauty in so many of the littles things around me and am reminded of God's love for those girls, and me, on a daily basis. It has been amazing to sit in ward council meetings and see how much time and worry and devotion these good leaders spend on behalf of others and humbling to see how incredibly blessed I am when others in my ward are suffering so deeply. These are things I was oblivious to in the past and now that I know, I can't help but feel more grounded, more content, and more eager to help in the small ways I can. I love being in this calling because it requires so much from me—and that is namely how I learn and stretch and grow. Yes, I am quite comfortable here at 35 and ready for another year of bettering myself in small and simple ways and enjoying this crazy beautiful life!

The day before my birthday I was feeling frustrated and a little annoyed at a few things and my lovely friend Jessica showed up at my door with this cute bundle of gifts for me as an early birthday gift. My mood shifted right away and I felt so grateful that her impromptu visit made me feel loved and just happy right when I needed it.

My birthday morning wouldn't be complete without breakfast in bed! Joseph brought me McDonald's because it meant no dishes for me to do once he was off to work :)
 Livs let me do her hair however I chose—might have to know Livs has strong opinions about her hair and most days makes me do a ponytail which she'll just take out about an hour later :) 
I went for the classic crown braid (I loved this when I was a little girl!)
 I fit in an afternoon run once the big kids were home from school using my newly upgraded iPhone and the Nike+ app which Joseph was telling me forever ago I'd love. I do. It's a great tool to use along with Strava as they track and work differently although both are great.

Then my gracious big sis grabbed my kids from me around 3:30 so I could get ready and head to the Draper temple for sealings with this awesome group:

Mary brought a bunch of family names which always makes those so cool. I loved hearing the unique and endearing names and thinking of Joseph's ancestors. Mary and Seth even did the sealing for Joseph's great aunt and her husband which was really tender—that's just his Nanny's sister! Such a close connection and what a glorious reunion because of that sealing—I could just feel it as we sat in that beautiful sealing room.

Our cheesy picture outside the temple :)

We had dinner at Tepanyaki in Lehi with my parents before calling it a night—it was a really good day and fun to have a chill, easy morning and then some fun plans in the afternoon and evening. Birthdays are so funny as an adult because they are this hyped up special day that we have have to make special amid all the regulars of life! Livs was scolding Luke at one point in the day (in a very sweet, high-pitched, motherly voice) saying "Luke you aren't supposed to be grumpy today! Don't you know it's mom's birthday? Why are you being such a grouch?" It was pretty sweet that she was looking out for me although I'm sure she had her moments that day too :) I'm honestly very spoiled on my birthdays by my husband and I have an awesome family of parents and siblings and all my in-laws as well as many great friends who always make me feel loved. There is nothing else I could ever need and I know I'm truly blessed!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Pieces of March

Much of my everyday is captured on Instagram which makes me so sluggish about blogging. But whenever I read back and see what a great document/journal/scrapbook this blog is I just can't help but want to update my posts and have another record here. Plus, I hope to be more thorough and thoughtful on here which is not ideal for Insta.

So, March came along and in the whirlwind of life it is almost over! I love this month because 1) yes, it's my birthday month and I do think I'm allowed to relish in that a bit :) and 2) SPRING! It comes in glimpses with gorgeous days here and there but the snow is off the ground for good (it will still snow of course but won't pile up for weeks on end anymore), the sun is out and so much warmer, and the days are longer again (part of my love/hate relationship with daylight savings).
 At the beginning of the month we had Tillie's baptism. 
Another cousin in the busy line-up of 8 year olds in the LeBaron family. Such a sweet meeting and a special day with people we love. The dress Tillie wore for her baptism was the one Mary wore when she was baptized too. Mary has volunteered it up to all those cousins getting baptized this year so Caroline is definitely on board and getting so excited for her turn in a few months.

 One of our favorite date nights ever—the Sacred Gifts Exhibit at the BYU MoA (dinner beforehand at Los Hermanos and Swig cookies after :) The paintings in the exhibit are all stunning and depict scenes from the life of Christ. It was so tender to read about the specific lighting and angles and colors used to highlight things like reverence, humility, sacrifice and so on. Such amazing craftsmanship and of course pictures of a man and life that I adore and revere.

Young Womens was/is as busy as ever with New Beginnings early in the month and lots of changes in our leadership. Since December I have had to replace all 3 of my advisors, all for various reasons, call a new camp director as my one from last year is pregnant and due right around camp, and my 1st counselor was called to do something else the bishopric really wanted her for (9 year old scouts...very random...) and so I have a new counselor as of a few weeks ago too. That's a lot of change all crammed up together! I am hoping they all just jump in and keep things rolling because there's always tons to do. We had presidency meeting at Iceberg the other night after our Stake Camp Kick-off devotional. It was the perfect way to get to know each other and laugh and talk over shakes and fries. 

 Lots of running going on around here. On Saturdays it's been nice to just run a straight distance from my house and then have Joseph come pick me up after 5 miles or so. We live in the foothills so there are no routes around me that don't involve uphill running when I turn around to come home. I know, boo hoo for me, but I'm seriously trying to up my endurance and strength and speed since I'm still such a beginner and leaving uphill climbs out is sometimes best. I ran a 10K last week just on my own along the Jordan River Trail off 1300 west and it was very flat and hence a great spot. It was very slow too but 6.2 miles is a personal best for me. And my Bean is such a little runner! He keeps a better pace than me for a run of the mill 5K. Good genes in that boy (from Joseph and Grandpa Sherm!)

 Park day the other week. Love how the slide makes Luke's hair get crazy static!

 Sunday evening walk a few weeks back. We visited one of my YW and then wandered past about a million brand new homes being built right by us (I may exaggerate a bit...) It's a building frenzy out here! We have at least 2 or 3 new families at church every single Sunday and we're growing to be a pretty huge ward.

 Marshmallow roasting and s'mores night at our next door neighbors' house with lots of friends in our neighborhood. We are so happy to have the Clements in the house next door when the 2 owners before were less than ideal (drunken nights out at the firepit at 2:00 am and snowmobiles revving engines in the wee hours or very late at night). Love it that a great, young family moved in with triplets all Olivia's age—perfect!

Disney day at school! Joseph made that Flynn Rider vest for Bentley out of an old uniform golf shirt some fancy stitching to create the lines, and hot glue-gunned buttons. I think it turned out so cute! 

 General Women's Meeting on Saturday March, 29th. It was a historic night as it was the first time ALL women were invited to attend (ages 8 and up). My Cares was super eager at 7 10/12 so I was all too happy to take her. Such a beautiful meeting so full of love and encouragement and a focus on making and keeping eternal covenants on this journey of life. There were some lovely videos shown too of women all over the world, of all ages singing different verses of I Am a Child of God. So powerful to me to belong to such an amazing sisterhood in the Gospel. And to think about my little daughters sharing that sweet bond with me was very tender and endearing. Wow, I have so much responsibility to teach and guide and help and love them as they grow into women and I definitely feel the weight and importance of that wonderful task as their mother.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Rest of February

Boys outing snowshoeing with the Barnes up Yellowfork Canyon.
They got a huge kick out of rolling enormous snowballs down the hillside—hey whatever gets the winter wiggles out!

Our ward RS hosted a "Rockin' Through the Ages" night up at the church—a big dance party where couples dressed up to fit in any decade. We planned costumes at the last minute and figured the 60's seemed easy enough to throw together. Gotta love Olivia's Rapunzel wig and the Harry Potter glasses on Joseph!
Bentley started piano lessons! He has big dreams to be a cellist. It that any surprise when one of his life idols (Ethan) plays the cello?

 Valentines projects

 Luke found a fabric marker one afternoon and went to town with it all over the house! I was in the shower and Joseph was doing an art project with the kids in the basement and in 10 minutes of free reign we found yellow everywhere (aka the stairwell, his highchair, the kitchen counter, on a few DVDs, the hallway walls, the frog cage (school pets home with us for the weekend) and on many parts of his body).  Luckily, luckily, it came off really easily with Clorox wipes. What a crazy rascal!

 Capturing him when he's sleeping is still my favorite :) 

Hubby and I also had a fun snowshoeing date in between snowstorms one Saturday, again up Yellowfork. I must admit I am a huge fan of the quiet and views and clean mountain air up there. 

Lego movie! Luke liked it but wasn't nearly as into it as Frozen. I probably need to see it again to hear more of the funny jokes but anything Batman said was pretty awesome.

 Family art class on watercolor techniques. This needs to happen more often as these kiddos loved every minute of it and created such pretty pictures!

 2nd grade field trip to the Natural History Museum up by Red Butte. I've been a few times with my kids but it's a really cool spot and the date worked out well for me to tag along for 5 hours (left Livs & Luke with my mom). It was so fun to be with my cute girl and know how happy it made her to have me there. Kids are awesome for self-esteem that way!

 She's pretty fun to hang out with too :)


 Lots of library outings in the winter months for us

 Dinner with Marshall at one of our favorite downtown spots. Have I mentioned that he had reconnected with my parents and actually formed a really solid relationship with them again after 4 whole years of wanting nothing to do with them? It has been the most happy change for our family, and surprisingly very normal and just all around good. I could write and write about this subject but for now, I just feel very grateful and love seeing the joy it brings both my parents and my brother (and me as I know my prayers, and the prayers of all of us who love him, have been answered).

Outdoor runs require a little extra gear most days and my gator and headband have been essential. And then we'll get a 50+ day and it makes me so excited for spring! It's always great when I have to shed layers rather than pile them on.

Our stake was split at the end of February and Elder Perry came to oversee the changes and speak at our Saturday night and Sunday sessions. Joseph was serving as the Assistant Executive Secretary so we were invited to have dinner with Elder Perry and the stake presidency on Saturday before the evening meeting. Such a great privilege to meet him and his darling wife!

And then our new stake was formed, we got a brand new presidency and wouldn't you know it old Joseph was called to be the executive secretary for the new presidency (but of course :) It has been a little ridiculous how busy he has been and how often he is up at the stake center in presidency and PEC meetings, training others, activating temple recommends, setting up appointments and so on. Our two callings combined are like a full-time job! I'm really hoping things settle down as the new presidency gets settled into more of a routine because we are being spread a little thin right now. I'm excited for this new stake leadership though and Joseph is a great asset for them.