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

-- Robert Frost

Thursday, November 27, 2014

happy thanksgiving 2014

There's so much to feel grateful for and tons that makes me happy from the very tips of my toes. 

I wish I'd gotten a more complete picture of our HAPPINESS PROJECT for this year before throwing it all in a suitcase and disappearing with my favorite folks.

But for today ...

Cooking a turkey while kids disappeared to enjoy time together. 

A one on one day with a baby girl who missed a big sister in ski school terribly.

Eliza's thrill over the accomplishment of finally taking the chair lift up and making it down the big hill.

A family full of friends who enjoy being together, including big kids gone from sunrise to dinner returning full of stories of the day's adventures.

Good food, laughter, health.

And a man we love most of all.

Happy Thanksgiving to you!

Monday, November 24, 2014

sixteenth birthday surprise

Christian was good to not want much for his birthday. Regardless, as the day approached, I could tell he was a little bit regretful that he hadn't planned something for sixteen.

You only turn sixteen once.

That's why I'm glad we had a plan in place to surprise him with all of his friends gathered at a local speedway racing place.

I had the best time texting all of his friends in secret to pull this thing off.

And there's nothing quite like driving a van full of exuberant teens who have been working so hard to keep a secret … even if my knuckles were white on the steering wheel driving in the seasons first big snow storm ;)

Newel had Christian off running errands and swung by the racetrack to snag a price guide to see if this would be a good activity for our family.

The look on that face to find us all inside, was priceless.

I don't think he could believe we'd all kept this a secret without a leak.

And man, I love these kids for being excited to celebrate with him.

They are a pretty darn competitive bunch.

There were some kind-of bruised kids from a couple of high speed crashes, but I think they had a great time.

Best birthday present ever was to take first in such a tight race.

Though, we requested no presents, there was a really heartfelt homemade gift or two that brought a smile to his face.

Followed by pizza at a local restaurant and an evening at a church dance with all his best-ies … couldn't have been a better sixteenth birthday memory.

We love you, Christian!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

progressing personally

Currently, I have the best job there is at our church in teaching these beautiful young women (among some others that I also adore!).

I was their age just a minute ago and I remember what it was like. 

The Latter-day Saint young women's program has a pretty intensive award that takes hours upon hours … and maybe a few years in there, too :) …. to complete. 

These girls I love, right along with our own little Annie, were honored by receiving theirs recently.

She stood there sharing her testimony of her knowledge and I was just flooded with appreciation for great leaders who fill the gaps I lack.

Through that "Personal Progress" program, she has truly bloomed.

I've watched her internalize scriptures, pray more effectively, master self confidence and see a bigger picture of herself. She and I have had long discussions about how we can't change circumstances or those around us, only ourselves.

She's a beautiful example of that.

Celia also received an "honor bee" that night, for mentoring and hours of service.

I hope these girls of mine can see that the great choices that they make daily are what help them progress in a spiritually personal way.  Not by assignment, but by choice.

And I just love to see all that they can "become".

Monday, November 17, 2014

gratitude rooted in happiness - a family night

We've begun our month of gratitude with our annual family night of happiness.

This girl here was pleased as punch to be conducting our meeting and making assignments that night.

A good friend of mine sent me such a super article about "happiness" and I loved it so much I drew the lesson from it's teachings.

We wrote out the characteristics of happy people so we could look at it every day this month and maybe find a couple of areas that we could personally work on.

And then those notes of absolutely favorite things in this world that make us happy from the bottoms of our toes, just flowed.

Our happiness wall has begun to grow.

That one in the middle says "helping sisters". Love that. I should put one beside it about how much I love that early writing development :)

We've had some pretty cold days lately so this one is agreed on by all.

But as I stand there reading the new ones added every morning, I can feel my own self well up with gratitude that comes from all these happiest of things that make me glad to meet each day.

More about our tradition in this month of thanksgiving HERE.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

sixteen years ago

I fell head over heels for a 7 lb. red head.

I remember looking him over and thinking he was the most perfect little thing I'd ever seen. It nearly made my heart hurt that he would not be as little tomorrow as he was at that moment.

Now it makes my heart nearly burst at all that he is growing into.

Sixteen reasons, he's one of the joys of my life:

1. He includes his little brother like he's his right hand man. The minute those two are home from school, they are off on an adventure. If there are other teenage friends along, Grant is right at Christian's side and those friends take a back seat and Grant is never made to feel like the little brother. Ever.

2. He's got really good tastes in friends. They are a fun bunch to watch learn and grow together.

3. Though he makes me hopping mad sometimes, he knows how to turn my frustrations into laughter.

4. He will carry a conversation with me to the moon and back.

5. He has no fear of adventure nor new things. Oh, how I've loved watching him tackle learning to lead the music at church and his disregard of his own mistakes in the learning. He will try anything with me … rock climbing, mountain biking, crazy new dinners experiments. No fear.

6. He'll own up to a mistake and do everything in his power to make it right.

7. There's just enough adventure in him to push the limits and though that sometimes gets him in trouble, it makes us kindred spirits.

8. His heart is made of gold. He does his best to forget no one.

9. No questions asked … he'll dispose of any dead animal. Even though I know it's not his favorite thing on earth to do.

10. Fun is his middle name. He hasn't stopped moving since the day he was born so there has never been a dull moment. Ever.

11. His testimony runs deep. He often teaches me a thing or two and man, don't I feel humbled.

12. He's not afraid to hug his mother.

13. He is an idea man. And I just love his ideas.

14. He will work for food. Any food. And every meal I make for him is better than the last even when it's not.

15. Some days he's home before the other kids and we enjoy downtime watching Leave It To Beaver together. I think we both feel a little like we were born in the wrong era.

16. I love watching him Become. He learns through each mistake. He tries a little harder always. He reads to learn. Prays to grow. And everyday I see him become just a little bit more, everything he was always meant to be.

Happy 16 years, Christian!