Monday, March 23, 2015

So this is thirty one.

It is Saturday night. Currently there are clean dishes waiting to be unloaded in the dishwasher downstairs. Scraps of pineapple now litter my counter top, waiting to be collected and given to the chickens. And although I spent over an hour folding and putting away clean laundry tonight, I don't feel like I made much of a dent in that eternally chaotic situation. Despite the things on my list that remain undone, and trust me there's more, I feel satisfied by what I did accomplish today and am grateful for the people I shared it with.

This past Tuesday, I turned thirty one years old. My gift to myself is to fully indulge my sentimental nature in reflecting on what my life is, at this time. To accomplish this, I am going to share snippets of my day to help illustrate the daily blessings I enjoy and appreciate.

Andrew and I alternate who wakes up with the kids each Saturday morning. Today was my day to sleep in. I had to laugh, and curse a little (but not really), as he wasted no time in pulling out the drill to continue his work on Eliza's pinewood derby car. I was brutally robbed of the luxury that this extra helping of sleep would have been as the loud and incessant drilling filled the entire house.Thanks, babe.

It's okay, though. Forrest soon discovered me laying in bed. Opening my bedroom door, he stepped in. Our eyes met which triggered a darling squeal of delight. My day was made in that moment as he smiled. Life is so sweet. I thought. Joining my family downstairs, I find that Andrew has set aside his project and is now whipping up some eggs for breakfast. It's officially Spring and we are looking forward to another gorgeous day.

It's Saturday, so we get to work. Andrew and Eliza are in the process of bringing to life her pinewood derby car. After years of having this event belong to just the Boy Scouts, Eliza and all of the girls in our area who participate in "activity days" have been invited to join them. I don't know who is more thrilled; Andrew or Eliza.
Having cleaned the fridge and cleaned out the pantry, I begin cleaning out my car in the garage. Nearby, Andrew offers advice as Eliza begins to paint her car. Lottie and Henry gather around to watch the pair of them as Forrest happily explores the front seats of my car. Cleaning out a van belonging to a Mom who procrastinates such projects is not for the faint of heart. I was simply embarrassed for myself and kind of grossed out. Even so, I felt a slice of sweet contentment as we went about these projects together in our cluttered, but in that moment happy, garage.

In the afternoon, I took a day trip with the Champlins down to Herriman because our dear friends, Krystle and Brock, were blessing their baby boy, Ledgyr. It was a sacred event and I felt lucky to have been invited. Ledgyr is Krystle and Brock's rainbow baby. He arrived one day shy of the anniversary of their son Corbyn's passing. As tragic as their loss is, the tender mercies that have carried them through are real, full of grace and in my opinion, evidence of the love our Father in Heaven has for their family. Having recently moved, it's been a long time since I have seen Krystle. After Corbyn passed, we saw each other frequently and talked just about every day. Seeing her cuddling her sweet Ledgyr today made me so emotional. She writes a blog that you can visit here. She is candid with her thoughts and feelings; which I admire as I imagine that it takes great courage for her to do so.

Coming home, I found my backyard full of neighborhood children. Eliza was painting nails with friends on the patio table. Forrest was toddling near the coop and Henry and Lottie were chasing their friends around the yard like the little maniacs they are. Andrew connected two wagons to the four wheeler, which soon filled with children, and began giving our redneck train rides. My heart soared once more, thankful for what my life looks like at thirty one.
Having left for the afternoon, I was behind on my list of to-do's. Lottie and Eliza joined me as I went and vacuumed out the van and then to grocery store. Lottie didn't want to spend anymore time away from me, so she said, which is why she pushed to come. Eliza was praying I would buy her some breath mints in the check outline, which I believe was her primary motivation. :) Either way, it was fun to have some time with my girls.

Henry greeted me at the door and didn't wait to be asked to help bring in the groceries. After his shower tonight he joined me downstairs where I was doing laundry. He needed a cuddle with me, he said. I love cuddles from Henry; especially after a shower. He is proficient in bringing in layers of thick dirt and sweat as it is now Spring and he spends as much time as possible playing outside. So, to cuddle with him while smelling clean is a real treat. As he left the room to go brush his teeth, he said to me:

"Just so you know Mom, I love you a whole lot." Upon hearing this, I demanded he return to my lap where I scooped him like a baby and kissed his forehead over and over.

"Are you pretending I am your baby?" He asked.

"You are my baby." I returned.

"But I can't be a baby because Dad let me use a pocket knife today; so you know." This made him feel like a man, it would seem. :)

Forrest demanded that I put him to bed tonight. Usually Andrew fights me for this privilege but tonight it was me that he wanted. Having been away from him so much of the day, I welcomed it. I adore him with my whole heart and was so happy to see him follow after Andrew as he worked in the yard today. As Andrew toted gallons of water out to the chicken coop, Forrest sat in the wagon next to the containers, happy to be along for the ride.

The older kids and I picked up where we left off in our nightly reading of Little House in the Big Woods. I have not been stellar in reading to my kids at bedtime so I am really proud of the fact that we are pages away from finishing this book and hope that routine has been set and that we won't deter from it. I love how the kids cozy up in my lap as we read. Cuddling Forrest at bedtime and reading to those kids  was probably the most important thing I did today; (even though I am THRILLED to have a clean car and mint M and M's in my cupboard!).   

So here I sit... a thirty one year old mother to four wonderful children. I have a wonderful husband who loves me despite my varying shades of crazy. Messes are constant in my life. I can depend on random eruptions of contention. I often space out on things that really matter! My life is far from perfect. I crave to change certain parts of it and pray for the strength to do just that. Even so, this place in my life is right where I want to be. I am so thankful for the past 31 years and only hope that I get to keep on keeping on with these people I love so much.  

St. Patricks Day morning,
Eliza and Andrew left the house at 6:45 a.m. 
so they could buy me some birthday balloons (among other birthday treats).
It was Eliza's idea, by the way. I love her.
I have a secret crush on Steve Martin. The night before my birthday, friends decorated my yard with special birthday messages straight from Steve to me!! It was such a hilarious surprise!!
Due to the wind, I brought Mr. Martin inside and taped up the birthday messages. A week later, they are still there. :) 

That morning, Forrest and I met some friends for a play date at the park. After that, my good friend Megan offered to take Lottie and Forrest while Andrew took me to lunch. That night, Forrest stayed home with a babysitter while we took the older kids to dinner and then to see the movie Cinderella.

It was a wonderful day.

Sunday's Nature Walk

A few days before my birthday, Andrew gifted me with a new lens for my trusty, "we've been through so much together," Nikon camera. For months I have been relying solely on my iPhone. And while my phone is convenient and does a great job, I have missed my real camera in a big way; especially when it's time to blog. Because my skills as a photographer aren't fantastic, keep your expectations low as you peruse my first batch of photos. After all, this lens and I are still getting to know each other.
 Sunday, March 15th, we explored a nature trail near Nana Marie's house. The weather was beautiful and the kids were thrilled for the opportunity to run about and explore.
After our walk, we made our way to Nana Marie's for Henry and my birthday dinner. It was delicious, that goes without saying, but these cupcakes deserve special attention.
Kiss Me, I'm Irish Cupcakes
They were delicious. 
And fun!
Thank you, Mom, for making us both feel so special. We love you!

Madhatter Tea Party

Here are a few things from last week the deserve mention.

For the past four years, I have been apart of the enrichment committee that plans our relief society birthday party, among other activities. This year we did a Mad-hatter Tea Party. I won't take the time to break down each detail and activity, but wanted to share pictures as it turned out beautifully.  
My friends Chelsey and Maren are responsible for the decorations. Alyssa, another awesome friend, did the cupcakes. The centerpieces on the table were a variety of Alice in Wonderland themed pieces. It was extraordinary. I can boast openly as I had zero part in its creation. The sisters were invited to wear their most fancy hat. Later that night, we'd vote on our favorites for prizes. We played two games, ate dinner and watched a video on Relief Society and all it's goodness to end things on an uplifting note. It was a great evening.

Here's a funny/frustrating Forrest diddy for you. Thursday morning he found a purple marker and colored his face.
Friday morning, ten minutes after his bath, he found that same purple marker and did it again!
Some Mom's never learn. 

Thursday was extra special as we were able to go to Kangaroo Zoo on a field trip with Lottie's preschool class. Lottie had a blast. Forrest didn't know what to think about it for the most part.

Play dates at the park? Yes please!

Thanks to beautiful weather and great friends, we made the park a priority twice last week. With my "new" camera in hand, I had fun take pictures of my beautiful friends and their darling babies.