May 31, 2016

soak it in

I keep reminding my kids to look around and soak all of this in.

Washington is absolutely breathtaking, when I stop to appreciate it..

The trees, the plants--all of the GREEN is such a stark contrast from what you find in Arizona.

I went to the Bellevue Botanical Garden one afternoon while the P Man was at therapy.

I had a whole hour to just breathe it in.

I just wished I had more than my iphone to capture the beauty with, like maybe I should've brought a professional photographer with me.

I walked the trails, but every once in a while I would stop and pause or find a bench to sit on for a moment.

And that's when I saw it.

 In the details.

I noticed individual leaves, drops of water, small flowers, a unique tree branch, the light shining just right through the leaves . . .

I saw more and more. 

Just pretty things I hadn't noticed at first when I was hurrying along the trail.

It does me good to stop and just notice occasionally.

What a beautiful world God has created for each of us to enjoy!

Just slow down.

And soak it all in.

May 27, 2016

fathers and sons, and girl time

Last week was the Fathers and Sons Camp out. And this was the first year Eric took all three of his boys. Perry was soo excited about that. He was clearly looking forward to the hot dogs and marshmallows and the fact that it would be no girls, just boys.

Eric is a fair weather camper. And since the weather forecast predicted morning rain, they opted for the Fathers and Sons lateover instead. They still had plenty of time for cooking over the camp fire and getting dirty.

While the boys bonded by the river, us girls had a party. It included shopping, cafe rio, rice krispy treats, and a bike ride to the park. We love our girl time.

May 25, 2016

family nights

We played "Stinker" on Monday night as a family. It was Perry's turn to pick the activity. So his older brothers heavily influenced him to pick Stinker.

I am so glad we have a scheduled family night each week. Having it on the calendar helps to make sure it happens. Actually, we now have two family nights on the calendar each week. We are four weeks strong into this new routine and it is working out well for us right now.

Sunday evenings we have a family calendaring/council meeting. It starts with a song and prayer and then we go over the upcoming week day by day. We eat our family home evening treats while we calendar. If anyone has any family council business we discuss it next. After the prayer, it is Sunday night game night.

Monday night is our second family home evening. We make it official with one person conducting the meeting. We sing, pray, and recite our family theme. Then it is lesson and prayer. Sometimes we do an activity, but I am lobbying for the activity to just be our Sunday night game. We added something new to Monday nights--talent show!

Each monday night, each person must perform a "talent". We have seen push ups, dances, a monologue, songs, and jokes. I'm a fan of this new tradition.

Both of our family nights are kept short and simple and that works for us right now. Hooray for family night!

May 20, 2016

art project-er

Layla and her preschool friends write notes to each other ALL the time. It is usually a string of letters or a picture and a name stuffed into an envelope. Then they pass them out when they get to preschool. This is a completely kid initiated thing that has continued since the first month of school. Yesterday, Layla sat down and wanted to make something for each of her friends. But not a note this time. "My friends don't know I'm an art project-er." So that's what she did for each of them--made an art project. And that's what she was--an "art project-er".

May 17, 2016

mother's day

For the first 5 years of our marriage, Mother's Day was hard. Hard and painful. We wanted so much to be parents. And this was just one more day to add to the monthly disappointment we felt. Sure I was grateful for the mother's around me. And some mother's days I was in a better place about it than other days. But anyone who has experienced infertility knows this day can sting. And sting hard.

While motherhood should be honored and celebrated, I often wish we could just change the day to "women's day" or something. And celebrate and honor all that we do, all that we are, and all that we stand for as women. Including motherhood, of course. But maybe, also, all the service, compassion, strength, and hard work of women to help lots of different people. I have known some amazing women. I have read about some amazing women. Mothers or not. Young and old. We all contribute in powerful, oftentimes, seemingly small ways. And that should be celebrated. Just thinking out loud here . . . 

On this mother's day, the painful emotions I used to feel have faded. But I will never forget them. Though, now they have been mostly replaced with a deeper understanding of what motherhood truly is and with intense gratitude for the four sweet children who call me mom.

When I have a thankful heart, I tend to experience much more joy in my role and daily tasks as a mother.

And so mother's day weekend was filled with joy and love and gratitude, not just because of the nice things my family did for me, but because, as a woman, I get to mother. I cherish that privilege.

And I love this man who stands by my side.

On the Thursday before Mother's day, I joined Layla at a preschool picnic. We ate a yummy lunch and she gave me this wonderful present.

They sang a song for us and then passed out the questionnaire they answered about each of us. Layla's answers were the best.

I weigh many pounds and my job is to give jobs to her brothers. ha ha ha!!

On Friday, Kacin invited me to join him for breakfast at his school.

Right after that, I got second breakfast with Perry at his school.

That afternoon was the start of our 3rd annual Women's Retreat at Ensign Ranch. Oh, how I am going to miss putting this retreat together each year with these wonderful women and friends!

There were 19 of us this year. Our theme was "Listen". We focused our discussion around listening to others, listening to ourselves, and listening to the spirit. We played the plastic wrap game for prizes, ate lots of food, went on walks around the lake, made t-shirts, did metal stamping, canoed, exercised with Rosa, and I led a yoga class. The 24 hours we had there was filled to the brim and oh so fulfilling.

On Sunday morning, Eric and the kids made me breakfast and gave me some sweet notes and gifts.

Church was nice that day. And then my family honored my request to watch the Sound of Music together. I'm so grateful for these guys.