Saturday, March 19, 2016

Henry's Baptism Day

Dear Henry,

This morning you were baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints! It's been a special day for you. I hope that you will write down some of your thoughts and feelings before the day's over. If you're like me, you will likely remember details from today your whole life. If you're like your Dad, which is quite obvious, you may forget. Either way, as always, I am happy to volunteer to write down a few memories from my own perspective. 
Your baptism was at 9:00 this morning. Considering your Dad and I came home from a trip three days ago, we had a lot to pull together! And when I say "we," it was 98% my responsibility. Your Dad traveled this week which kept him occupied. Plus, because I'm the Mom, these type of tasks usually fall on me; which I'm okay with. However, I am thankful because your Dad worked with me on cleaning the house last night after you went to bed. He mopped the floors while I made a breakfast casserole. And, he went to the bagel store, early this morning, as they were part of this morning's brunch menu. For the record: I feel like a phony whenever I type the word "brunch"... it feels fancier than we are! 
Nana Marie shopped with me earlier this week for frames for a few of the photos I wanted to display. A few weeks ago, we went down to the Ogden Temple with your primary president and had some pictures taken. I had a few other errands to take care of too. I mailed the invitations before leaving for Hawaii and then figured out your baptism program while on our trip! I'm grateful everything came together. Nanna Teresa has been in New York helping Aunt Liz and her family. We were so happy that she was able to make it to your baptism; along with Bubba, Nana Marie and Papa, the Chamberlains, the Jensens, Matt and Allison Mays and some of the Taylors. Your Primary teachers, primary president, Nancy Waterfall and Bishop Kronmiller also came to support you. I mention the "craziness" that went into the preparation because even with all that we had going, the spirit of the day was strong. There was such peace and joy; which I feel thankful for. 
You probably know by now that your Mom likes pretty table displays and flower bouquets. I was full of smiles as I watched you try on your first suit jacket the day we had your photos taken. Speaking of those photos; they showcase your handsome face, incredible blue eyes and fun personality. Thinking about the menu we'd serve at our home following your baptism also took thought and consideration. I'm grateful for those in our family who helped contribute to it. All of these things added lovely elements to your day... but really, they are just things. I felt happy and satisfied in watching it all come together, but it's not the same kind of happy that comes when Heavenly Father is blessing you to feel His spirit. 
When I saw you walk out of the dressing room in your (somewhat) over-sized white baptism clothes, my heart skipped a beat. I saw a glimpse of a future Henry standing in the temple. Your Dad stood beside you, looking so handsome and proud. Everyone was there, waiting in their seats; but we went ahead and took a few quick photos before we began.

Your Aunt Katie talked about how she has a big brother (your Dad) and shared the ways in which he is a great example to her. She then spoke of our Savior, Jesus Christ. She reminded us all that He is our big brother. Today your sins were washed away as you made covenants with our Heavenly Father. The incredible blessing of the gospel is that when you make mistakes in the future, we can repent. Each week when we take the sacrament, we repent of our wrong doings and recommit ourselves to follow our Savior. As we do this, Heavenly Father blesses us with the companionship of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost will help you to learn, comfort you when you are sad, help you to remember things, warn you and protect you. As you grow in the gospel, His spirit will testify to you when things are true. He can be your best friend and helper if you invite him to be with you. I know this is true. 
Lottie and Eliza sang, "I am a child of God" and then it was time for you to be baptized. I wasn't sure where to stand as I wanted to be there to wrap you in a towel after. I finally decided on watching up front, by the kids. I watched as your Dad helped you down the steps. You said something about how warm the water was and Dad made everyone chuckle as he quietly replied, 

"It's nice, isn't it?" And then with a voice full of power and emotion, your Dad called you by name and recited the baptismal prayer. You went completely under and then came back up again. You had a giant smile on your face. Again, pretty table displays are lovely, but seeing you in that font was something entirely different. I felt joy! It was real and powerful! I was full of gratitude as I walked with you into the dressing room. I hugged your wet little body after wrapping you in a towel. I'm all about feelings, so I was probably hounding you with questions like, 

"How was it?" or "What are you feeling right now?" or "Let's talk about our feelings!!" You smiled at me and said you felt very happy inside. You were cold as you changed out of your wet clothes and back into your Sunday best, but your eyes were so bright and blue (and straight! I'm so glad we did that surgery, Henry!). Your Dad was also beaming. We gifted you with a new tie. It's your first non-clip on tie. It made me teary as I watched Daddy tie it just right. Oh, I have such strong, smart, kind, handsome boys in my life. I feel so lucky. To quote Forrest and the catchphrase he's been sharing all day, "Boo-yah!" 

My sister Ami then spoke about the gift of the Holy Ghost. Her testimony was powerful. I could see how much she loves you as I saw such tender emotion on her face. She was very thoughtful as she called all of our family members and asked them to describe you in one word. Here's a list of what they said (her kindness continued as she had this framed for you): 
It was mentioned as you were confirmed that baptism is that first step needed to return to live with our Heavenly Father. It's a saving ordinance. By being obedient in following the Savior's example, our Heavenly Father can bless you. Jesus Christ was baptized. And today you were baptized, just like Him! Commandments, Henry, aren't restrictions. They are laws of love set in place to test our obedience. As we follow them, we will be guided back to the presence of God. Obeying is a good thing because each time we are obedient, it gives Heavenly Father the opportunity to bless us!  
There was another musical number and then our Bishop spoke. He is such a great man. His testimony of the Savior was wonderful to hear. He said some neat things about you too. After your baptism, those who could, came to our home for brunch. You know, because we do brunch now. ;)

The casserole I had put in the oven before leaving the house was ready when we arrived. The timing of that made me smile, but again, dear Henry, I hope you remember that those happy details don't compare to the joy that I feel as I contemplate the wonderful boy that you are. It is my privilege and great happiness that I get to raise you. I pray everyday that Heavenly Father will let me raise all of my kids before calling me home to Heaven. You are a light in our home and a wonderful example. Aunt Ami said it so well as she talked about the amazing attributes you brought with you to this Earth life. She said that Heavenly Father needs you to do great things for Him.

As I think about you becoming a man, I don't know how I will ever be able to let you leave our nest. Motherhood is so amazing and yet it's full of heartbreaking milestones too. I hope that we can teach you to know how important the gift of the Holy Ghost is. I want you to recognize those promptings and warnings and to follow them so when I'm not there, I can feel confident that you are in Heavenly Father's care. Following our Savior's example will bring you happiness. You can learn more about Him as you study the scriptures, go to Church and listen to our Prophets.

I love you with my whole heart, Henry David Flegal. Congratulations on your special day.

Check this out!
Nana Marie spent 15+ hours creating this charcoal drawing of Henry.
It's simply amazing. 
She does this for each grandchild when they are baptized. 
I will treasure it forever. 
Thank you, Mom.

And thanks to my Dad for the great photos he shared from the baptism. :) 
 I can't believe two of my children are baptized. You can see Eliza's baptism story here:

Sunday, March 6, 2016

The Storm of Sick

The wave of sickness that I had expected to hit in January finally arrived. An ugly torrent of fever, coughs, chills and fatigue washed through my little Fleglets. My heart hasn't had a moment to beat soundly as my worry has bounced from child to child. 
Illness, as I'm constantly reminded, is unpredictable and unforgiving. For Eliza, she spent a few miserable days with a barf bowl at her side. The other flu like disaster hit her siblings and had them couch bound for days. Eliza, however, was spared. In turn, the younger three kids were spared the barfs. Enough time (two weeks) has elapsed so I feel safe typing that last sentence. Well...maybe I should "knock on wood" just in case.

Henry's illness included blood shot eyes. Lottie and Forrest both had intense nose bleeds. Forrest is still at the tail end of his illness and has had a random rash; but currently I suspect that he's allergic to something outside in our yard as it usually crops up after he's played out there. Wouldn't that be ironic if Forrest turns out to be allergic to nature... because his name is Forrest? ;) Geez, I sure hope not.

Before the storm of sick hit, we had some good days. 
President's Day 2016  

I would have sent my kid's to school on President's day if it hadn't been for Eliza's reminder. I was caught off guard Sunday night when she said something about returning to school on Tuesday. Ha! Caught off guard? Imagine that! I felt guilty that I hadn't planned anything special for us to do. It's okay because with Eliza at the helm, there's always something going on. She had all these kids painting by 9:30 am! And their day together continued to be a pretty great one. 

The following weekend, Eliza was my date as we went to watch the musical, "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers." I'm taking a theatre arts class this semester (which I love, by the way) and had to go see a theatrical production. What a terrible assignment, right?! It was a special night. We really enjoyed ourselves. For anyone who wants to read my official write up, let me know and I'll e-mail you a copy. ;) 
Returning to school has been challenging. At times I have felt like an "old lady" as I'm not caught up in the latest forms of technology. However, the one thing I will say for myself is that I am comfortable writing a paper. I assure you that I re-read and edit my work more thoroughly than when I spit out a blog post. But! I'm thankful for my blog because it has kept my writing skills polished. I dare say that I am a better writer now than I was ten years ago. Having made that claim, I kindly ask that you don't use this particular post to judge said skills. 

While on the subject of school, another thing I love is the relationships I have with my teachers. This might sound silly, but because I'm a people pleaser, I really like when I get positive feedback from them. With my theatre teacher especially, I feel like we have a fun student/teacher relationship despite the fact that my class is taught online. I thought it would be unlikely to form a relationship where you felt like they understood and valued you as a student; but I am here to say it can happen in the online realm. I feel lucky because my teacher's are smart, patient and make me laugh out loud. 

Speaking of "special" teachers, I have a story for you. A few weeks back, I attended my first young women basketball game. Fond memories came rushing back from when I used to play with the fantastic Canyon Rim 4th ward. I am not an athlete, but I still remember the joy of being apart of that team. So, when I first saw how sad our attendance was, I felt the need to motivate our girls to come. Our ward's name is "Eastwood" so I kept joking with Maren that we should be the "Eastwood Beavers." Having not slept well the night before, the concept of being a beaver kept making me laugh. The following Sunday, I told our girls that if we got eight girls to come to our next game, the final week of the season, I would come dressed as our  mascot. The girls showed up! We had thirteen girls come! Despite a week of crazy, and thanks to my Mom who made me a beaver costume last minute, I delivered on my promise. 
Recently Eliza finished this cute penguin at sewing. She's really enjoying learning to sew. 
Also, before the great storm of sick, I took Forrest to an open house at the Little Red School house. It's sad to think my baby will be starting two-day preschool next fall. However, his speech therapist and I both think it will be a great thing for him. As an update, she is only coming two more times before he turns three in May. She thinks he's grown out of his "need" for speech therapy. We're all so proud of Forrest. I'm grateful that this service was available to help us. If anything, I feel I benefited most as Jill taught me exercises to implement in our day-to-day conversation with Forrest to help him. 
And then it hit. 
"Mom, can you please cut me some apples...?" 
She was out before she could take a bite!
There was  a lot of sleeping. 

We did escape outside whenever they felt well enough. 
The first thing he asks to do each morning is to go the "chicken house"

But when there's no energy to visit the chicken house,
you know he's a sick, sick boy. 

Before Henry fell ill, we spent an afternoon at the Ogden Temple
with the fabulous Brooke Fuit to take pictures for his upcoming baptism. 
These photos were taken with my cell phone. 
I'll share the ones she shot when I receive them. 
That's Henry's first "suit jacket"
if that's what it's even called.
Man, I sure thought he was handsome. 
The poor boy had to deal with a lot of Mom smooches that day. 

I'm so excited for him to be baptized. 
I'm so proud of him and the testimony he is growing. 
He seems to really enjoy our scripture reading each day. 
A few times, out of the blue, he has mentioned that it makes him happy.

But then like the younger kids, he got sick too.
He missed three days of school.
That's the first he's missed all year. 

One of those days, we didn't have power for six hours,
because there's a lot of construction happening down our street. 
We knew the outage was coming, 
but man did the timing feel terrible.
With the illness they had, I didn't have any problem letting my kids watch shows 
while they rested on the couch. 

The morning passed and ended up being one of our better days.
Fueled up on children's ibprofen, 
we took a walk down the street and watched the tractors in action. 
Henry bounced back first, even though this all began with Lottie. 
Lottie was happy to make it back to school for "spirit week"
Crazy hair and crazy sock day!

Pajama day!
Her golden curls kill me. 
So does Forrest's cheesy smile!

I would say that I think we are "out of the woods" 
but I have a husband sick in bed upstairs.
He was up several times last night with chills and a sore throat.
Man-babies are the most temperamental of all patients!!
(ha, just kidding! - kind of)

The day we didn't have power, I made a video
of what the kids did to help keep themselves entertained:
including our visit to see the tractor.