"Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to let you in."

-- Robert Frost

Friday, June 27, 2014

5 -- a hero and princess party

Half the family has been gone, and why shouldn't 5 be celebrated in style when the house feels a little empty.

And this girl really should be celebrated.

Nothing in the world could have made her feel more special than a party. It's a great age. No expectations, no comparisons, and friends are just friends. It's a drama free world.

She shone with delight at every detail of the planning and helping. 

She loved the invite creation, the printing, the mailing, the shopping, the baking, the set up … every detail, she was there and chittering away in love with the experience.

Our "princesses and heroes" made masks and wands.

Charlotte was a little stoic about that.

Then we played "Storm the Castle".

This super cute villain kept popping up over the castle wall and needed to be shot with water darts.

I loved how he pretended to be wounded with every blow ;)

Lottie was still pretty stoic about it all .. but despite the heat, would. not. remove that mask.

No really … I'm serious in love with that super villain.

Then there was "Training Camp" for all the princesses and super heroes. A relay with stick horse galloping, attack and defend by hitting a water balloon with a sword and warding off a water gun shot with the shield, then a jump through some hula hoops.

There's got to be a piƱata.

I just adored how Eliza takes Charlotte every where she goes like a side kick. Even to share her seat when there aren't enough chairs at the table.

A little hero rescue birthday cake.

The most genuine excitement over every detail of every gift.

Don't you just love when kids take the time to home make birthday cards?

This one from this cute, cute boy says, "Eliza, I love you more than Batgirl!!!"

That's really saying' something!

Lottie just wanted those gift bags for the friends. Hero and princess bubbles. Bracelets, ring pops, princess crayons and pink sunglasses for the girls.  A "get away" hot wheel car, pop rocks, blue sunglasses, and a flashlight for the boys.

We had some super heroes and princesses choose the opposite gift bag but who could blame them? They were both pretty cool.

And kudos to that dollar for having some really great stuff.

I just love this girl with all my heart.

She really shines from the inside out. Every minute of her day is a delight. She simply radiates joy like I've never seen before.

Some just say that. But man, o, man .. she really does. Her greeting to anyone who enters a room is such sunshine. Her morning is full of love, her evening ends with smiles and delight for another day ahead.

I've noticed that so often in a family, a younger child looks up to an older child with adoration, sometimes forgetting to look down at anyone beneath. What sets this girl apart is her natural ability to look in both directions. Not only does she crave being with everyone, she's got the softest spot in her heart for that sometimes too active, too opinionated, too demanding … little sister of hers.

I just burst inside to think of her and how lucky we are to have her.

Happy Birthday, Eliza! Love U!

Monday, June 16, 2014


We feel like the luckiest folks in the world.

And to have had this man …

I couldn't have asked for more.
"Any man can be a father but it takes someone special to be a daddy."
I love you.

Friday, June 6, 2014

factual friday -- random portrait of the week

I'm driving along.

In the back seat:

"Say cow, Charlotte." …. "Cow."
"Say goose, Charlotte." …. "Goose."
"Say pig, Charlotte." …. "Pig."

And so it goes, the two littlest girl's voices tinkling in the back seat.

"Say mom, Charlotte." …. "Mom."
"Say Grant, Charlotte." …. "Nant."
"Say hand sanitizer, Charlotte." …….. giggles. Too much too quickly?

I've been down to the youngest four children all week as the three oldest boarded a plane for EFY at Brigham Young University on Sunday. They fairly skipped from my car and camera.

I told them they looked too happy. "Joy in the journey, Mom!" Christian sang over his shoulder at me.

Isn't it?

They'll be back tomorrow and I've not heard much beyond a quick text from Celia to inform me she'd been to tour her department of interest up on the campus. Her heart was all a flutter and she said she felt a second wind heading into this, her last and final year of high school, to push a little harder and make that thing happen if she can.

My heart flutters too, at her sense of direction. Like when a baby bird has peeked it's head over the edge of the nest so many times, it is ready to commit to that jump.

Go, go, go … wait … okay … go, go, go.

Last night, there was a text from one of her young friends to share with her his excitement over receiving his call to a mission in Australia for me to pass on to her.

Here goes another one, just like the other one.

He's sixth in line of a string of others we know. My girl practically disappeared for the last three weeks in the course of saying goodbye to her closest friend and confidant, off and gone for the next two years. He was a really great part of her story, I tell her, she's been lucky to have had that.

She'll bounce, for now, but someday I can see, one will take her with him.

With each call to serve, I see Christian's eyes a-glitter. Three short years and his time is coming.

Three. Short. Years.

I delivered Eliza's kindergarten registration to the elementary school office at 4:00pm on the last day of school. Pay no attention, the registration days were in February. I'm in denial.

Sifting through photos for Annie's middle school graduation slide show, the stories of each unfolded before my picture file sifting fingers.

How are the years so short?

Charlotte awoke and I lifted her from the crib. Frowzy haired with remaining pre-dawn haze, she folds into me as we descend to the kitchen.

Her legs seem to hang longer, their pudgy folds thinning. My arms wrapped around her back, feeling toddler muscles rather than baby fat. Why the sting of sudden awareness?

Grant has missed Christian like one would miss a left arm, though all the while, Janie has corralled him to movie nights, yard games, puzzles and cards deep into the darkening hours.

It'll be like this one day.

And though my heart seizes with a desire to freeze … to prolong the reading of this very good book of exciting chapter leading from one to the next, I'm loving the character development within it.

To see how they become.

One leap to the next.
Bit by bit.
From cow to hand sanitizer.

That's a fact.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

and .. that's a wrap

There was snow just three weeks ago. 

Someone flipped a switch and I'm afraid to jinx this.

We usually lay down on the finish line of school. This year hasn't been so bad. Maybe I'm learning what I can and can't do. 

Grant is my first child in years who cared if I came to field day.

So I couldn't resist complying.

He was so anxious for me to see his entire school kick it all off with military style push ups.

And some Pilate's moves they had learned.

I loved the glimpse into his world with these friends of his.

Then there's this teacher he has loved to death all year … probably because he IS Grant in another fifteen years ;)

Charlotte .. who apparently comes with her own tissue box lately … and Eliza were kind of excited to be a part of a big kids world for awhile.

Mostly the last weeks of school feel like a wash as I hear about class time movies or jaunts to the park across the street.

Big kids endured finals.

Some had projects to wrap up.

Janie had been working away at this "who-done-it" rendition of The Three Billy Goat's Gruff for her drama class.

She wrangled Grant into staying up late one night to help color that backdrop.

She was in charge of costume design as well. Needless to say, they were a cute performing bunch of goats.

Annie graduated from middle school and I'll now be the mother of three high school students. How can that be?

I can't believe how she's growing up. This was to commemorate her birthday but I'll put it here just the same.

I think I'm shrinking.

I'm just blown away by time.

We are so proud of her. She had a great cheering section.

Who actually looked more like this during the too long principle's speeches.

And another year has flown. I can't stand it. So, I'll soak in every minute I've got before we do it all again.