Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Girls Go Downtown

I am so behind on blogging. 

"I dough-nut" even believe you, Mom."

Oh. But it's true. 

Eliza made that cute donut notebook cover.
She wanted to jazz it up and that's what she came up with.
It's adorable, yes?
August Girl's Trip 2016!

Prior to coming to America, one of the few requests Mia had was to spend time downtown at Temple Square. In thinking ahead to the weekend Andrew and Henry spend together each Fall hunting, I thought the girls and me could have a weekend of our own downtown. The original plan included Lottie but when she heard that her cousin's were heading to Bubba's cabin, she decided to go with her Dad and brothers on that trip instead. 

Our weekend began with a stop at Fiiz. With our drinks in hand, we made our way to the nail salon where we were treated to pedicures. Mia had never had one so she didn't know what to expect. She was very pleased with the experience. We all were. 
This cracks me up!
Eliza was very relaxed.
Clearly. :)
She managed to have some fun too!
The massage chair made her laugh.
Eliza was especially thrilled when her nail artist went ahead and painted her fingernails too. That was unexpected and they didn't charge us for it. Next up, we made the drive down to the Marriott Hotel at City Creek. We checked in, snapped a few photos and then walked over to temple square.
Our first stop was to the visitor's center where we spent time looking at the Christus.

As we walked around, looking at the exhibits and then closer to the temple, I kept tearing up. I have been to temple square many times but felt especially touched by the spirit as we explored that afternoon. It is such a neat and sacred place. My hope was that the girls were likewise feeling what I was.

Because I am obnoxious, I went out of my way to initiate conversations with both the German sister missionaries and the Chinese speaking missionaries. I like watching them light up when they are able to use their native language. Having embarrassed the girls a few times already, Eliza spotted a German and a Chinese speaking companionship. Because she is kind enough to indulge her Mom, she pointed them out to me. I was glad she did because we were able to make a neat connection.

But first, a little back story. Mia's best friend from Germany is named Lisa Hopf. Lisa is actually serving a mission to temple square but is currently spending a few months in California. Missionaries who are assigned to temple square get an additional assignment, away from Salt Lake, so they have opportunity to proselyte. Mia was disappointed we wouldn't have the chance to cross paths with her while she was here, but after talking with the sister missionaries that Eliza pointed out, we realized we had met one of Sister Hopf's former companions; Sister Chen.

Sister Chen recognized Mia's name right away. They had a fun conversation as they realized this unique connection. After awhile, we crossed the street and headed back into Babylon. ;) We were excited to introduce Mia to the Cheesecake Factory. We ate a delicious dinner, dropped off our cheesecake at the hotel and then did some shopping.

As the sun began to set, we jetted back across the street to the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. We took the elevator to the tenth floor so we could have a great view of the setting sun.
That night, we settled into our room. We were able to facetime with Mia's family for a little while, nibble on some cheesecake and watch "National Treasure." The next morning, Mia put on a dress and went to the temple to do baptisms. Finally, she made it inside a Utah temple.  
Hotel Lobby

While she was there, Eliza and I did a little more shopping.
The rest of our day included checking out of the hotel, stopping at Gateway for lunch and a trip to Hollister (Mia's favorite) and then driving back home. After resting for a bit, I went to the grocery store, worked on my young women's lesson and then headed down to Lagoon with the girls. Maren was kind enough to join us.  

This ride is my favorite. 
But going on it proved to be a big mistake. 

Eliza got drenched and ended up freezing the rest of the night. 
I eventually purchased Eliza a dry shirt to put on. 
That helped her immensely.
We had a fun time that night but came home exhausted. 

Thank you to Andrew for supporting and sponsoring such a memorable weekend!
Speaking of Andrew, Forrest was in the middle of potty training when he took them to the cabin
that same weekend. So receiving pictures like this made me laugh. 

Henry, Lottie and Forrest had the best time with their 
Nanna Teresa, Bubba, Aunt Liz and cousins. 
Nothing makes Andrew happier than when we are all at the cabin with those we love. 

And finally, that weekend I heard Mia really play the piano for the first time. 
She also plays the trumpet. 
I didn't know I was such a softy, but I must be because hearing her play that afternoon made me cry.

And ever since that weekend, Forrest has been asking to pee outside. 
Which some people may (or may not) find embarrassing! 

Making memories with Mia

This photo of Mia engaged in a squirt gun battle with the boys illustrates why we loved having her here. I often found her sitting at the counter with Eliza picking out nail polish, playing Candyland with Lottie or lifting Forrest up onto her shoulders. She truly bonded with the kids and made it a point to play with them. They adore her; Forrest most of all.

I confess that the timing of her arrival left my mindset in an unusual place. For our family, by mid August, summer should have been winding down. Normally, my focus would have entirely been on our back to school rituals. However, instead of solely gearing up for school, we kept the party going! Mia was here; all the way from Germany! Up until this trip, she had never been on an airplane! And as much as we had going on, I am so glad we played with her as much as we did.

Something she was really looking forward to was to shop! We took her to Station Park one evening and were able to meet up with my sister and her girls. Mia found cute things at Old Navy and American Eagle. After that, we introduced her to Fizz. The weather so lovely; the flowers so fragrant. We sat at a table and visited with Ami and Callie while the younger girls buzzed about. The fountain lights dazzled as the music played. I really enjoyed myself.
We were able to take Mia boating three times while she was here. Our first trip was to Pineview Reservoir. Picking up pizza from Little Ceasars on our way up, we enjoyed dinner on the boat before busting out the tube. This was also a notable trip because I learned to drive the boat that night. Andrew was so happy that he could tube alongside the kids. Captain Mom did pretty well, if I do say so myself.

I really hate when I have something awful to write about. Perhaps "awful" isn't the most appropriate word. Maybe I should say that I have a miracle/tender mercy experience that I need to share. However you view it, I was unfortunately reminded, again, how quickly accidents can happen and am left feeling humbled and thankful that the outcome wasn't worse.

August 17 is our wedding anniversary. This year marked 12 years of marriage! We haven't officially celebrated so I am deciding to save my thoughts on this benchmark for another day. But, yes, we love each other and are committed to the success of our family. Anyway... the day of our anniversary, we went to Salt Lake for a Flegal family reunion. It was a well attended event at Bubba and Nanna Teresa's neighborhood swimming pool. I was kicking myself on the drive down as I realized I had left Forrest's life jacket at home. He has been so brave this summer. Wearing his life jacket, Forrest has tackled diving boards and water slides. My other kids weren't that fearless at his age.

Andrew was heading to the shallow end of the pool with Forrest. He was going to be in the pool to supervise him, Lottie and other small cousins. Lottie was already in the pool. Mia and I were visiting right next to where they were swimming. I stopped watching Forrest because Andrew was on his way with him to the steps. Even so, I was right there where they were. At some point, Forrest tossed a toy into the pool. Assuming he had his life jacket on, he jumped into the pool to retrieve it. Neither Mia or myself noticed him do this. At that same time, someone had asked Andrew to take their towel and put it on a table near where he was standing; so his back was turned to Forrest. He then began visiting with this person. Suddenly we hear Lottie screaming,

"Forrest! Help Forrest! Oh no! No!" Hearing Lottie, Andrew and I both look at the pool to see Forrest struggling to stay above the water. It was horribly frightening. In a flash, Andrew was in the pool, holding him safely in his arms. Like I said, we were all just a few feet away but none of us heard him jump or heard him struggling. They say all the time that drowning is a silent event. I know this to be true. Forrest wasn't able to make any noise. Thankfully Lottie saw his struggle and hollered for him. I tearfully expressed my gratitude to her for saving her brother many times that night; including when we said our family prayer. I prayed and prayed that night to thank Heavenly Father for helping her to notice him. Thinking about that close call, I feel sick to my stomach. We have had too many of these accidents lately and I feel like perhaps I am not doing enough as a Mom to keep my kids safe. I expressed those thoughts in a previously written post. I hope I learn from these moments and implement more safety measures. I feel like I've been told most of my Mothering career that I need to relax more or to be more easy going. I don't want to be uptight but I do want to be more mindful and cautious. Accidents happen so suddenly. I hate that I've been a witness to that but remain very thankful that they haven't ended tragically.
The older kids were shaken up about what happened to Forrest at the pool. I was worried about "secondary/dry drowning" (google it if you aren't familiar with the signs and symptoms) so I kept peeking on Forrest that night as he slept. It melted my heart that I found Henry in bed with him that night. He went to bed cuddling with him. 
As we drove home that night, Henry said to everyone,

"Lottie is my favorite sibling right now." Having caught my attention, I asked him why. "Because she saved Forrest's life tonight."