Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Dear Baby Boy

My sweet baby. In 2 days I will be 2 weeks away from your due date... May the fourth be with you! Seems fitting to name you Luke or Hans but we are building quite a lengthy list instead. We've considered Anders, Sam, Wellington/Wells (my current favorite), Brenton, Scotty, Paul, Jenson, Hansen, Henry, Thomas, Smith, Wesley, West, Seth.... and maybe a few more? I told dad he could choose. But now he's nerves about picking, so we shall see.

We love you so much already. Hand's down you have been my best pregnancy yet. After 5 miserable round of 9 months- you are easily my favorite. I threw up and felt yucky the first few months (still not perfection) but since December I can count on one hand the times I have since... that's huge! We've wondered if it's the Smarty Pants prenatal vitamins I've been taking... but I like to think you are just a pure blessing from heaven (which you will be even if you did make me sick). Because I have 5 kids and my body is that much older- I'm definitely more tired than I remember. But thank heaven Jane still stake 2 plus hour naps- so I often join her.

I've been a nervous wreck about delivery. Being induced and not having an epidural is a wild combo- so I'm trying all I can do to get you here on your own. I've heard dates, evening primrose oil and walking are all key- so I'm doing them all! Today I took Cal and Jane to the gardens and hopped up stairs... just thinking how soon you will be here!

I love being a mom and I'm so thankful you will be joining my most favorite people. I married the best man- you'll see. As a parent, I really don't stand a chance. Cal thinks dad is the greatest thing since slice bread (and he is)... wrestling, riding bikes, snuggles. Dad always puts his family first and really loves us all. Cal still loves me- but it's pretty clear dad is the favorite. I know they'll make sure you are in on the fun. Speaking of Cal, he is the most loving little brother. He lets Jane get away with most everything- all the while telling me how cute she is. And then you have your sister, miss Ellie and Ruby. They are my right hand ladies- helpful, funny, adoring and wonderful. Jane will play with you so much. She has seen a few new babies recently, and I'm praying she doesn't trying to twist your ears off our carry you down the hall- but her intentions are good and I can tell she is a big sister pro. Dylan isn't home as much as I wish- but he is a baby lover. So fun to see him be old enough to walk around with a new little person and feel comfortable doing it.

There is truly nothing sweeter than a brand new baby... I especially love those sacred days spent in the hospital getting to know each of my kids. I am so excited to see your sweet little face and really soak you in. I am almost certain you are our last little one- and so I promise to enjoy every last drop. I'm so thankful you are mine forever- and I will love you until then.

Love Mom


Spring Break

You know it's going to be good- when day one of spring break- Brandon comes home from a Looooong trip to China. Party on. With the combo or jet lagged dad and size a small village pregnant lady... we stayed home. It was joyous. We mixed it in with some fun though... and here's some things we did.

Brandon brought home lots of treasures from his trip... including my new darling diaper bags, giant airplane gliders and a mii- where we can watch pretty much any movie. The girls were so excited to introduce the boys to Greatest Showman- but Cal quickly fell asleep only a few minutes in. The next day he awoke and asked how the movie was and then said, "All I really want to know is, mom? Did all their dream come true?" Sweet thing.

It was sweet having Dylan home... he left a bit early on Thursday- but we loved every chance we had with him! He had a sleepover with mim and bop- went to a movie and birthday shopping.

Art night! The girls drew some darling elephants and Cal made a masterpiece Hobbes lion.

Cook off! Boys made guac and salsa to go with our fish tacos and the girls (who everyone decided was the winner)- made mint brownies.

Lots of walks- around the hood and around highland glen park.

Thanksgiving point with Jenilyn and kids... and home again for grilled cheese. It was mostly fun until Jane burned her arm on the griddle. The next day she jumped into Brandon's knife he was using to cute quesadillas and the tip went right into Jane's burn (!!) It was quite traumatic. A few days later we went back to the curiousity museum where Cal spun Jane (seriously not hard, not long and not far from me or the ground) and she toppled off and smashed her mouth into the toy. Blood everywhere. Black gums... thought she was going to lose her teeth. Chipmunk/bruised face. Needless to say- she has been looking quite battered.

Hike on Brandon's lunch break to Bridal Veil with Subways. Met up with Kaori and kids after for BYU ice cream and the Bean museum.

Dinner with Anna and Jaclyn! Dylan was anxious to see Jaclyn too so we had a sweet visit at our house right after!

Game night with Caleb and Sara. We were rudely interrupted by my major pregnant sick fest. But it was fun while it lasted.

Sleepover at Grandma's with puzzles and pudding and a delicious dinner. It's so magical at her house! Cal learned how to ride a two wheeler! So very fun! He's been a riding machine ever since!

We picked out all the details for our house- so totally fun! I am so thrilled we get to build a new home- so thankful. For Brandon, for Heavenly Father, for a fresh start! It was so fun to spend the day with Brandon and Lorna- and I feel so solid about our choices! Hooray!

Double Easter wonderfulness. Saturday with my parents, and Sunday with Lorna and Craig. We had our fill of funeral potatoes, ham and rolls. So delicious. On sunday we celebrated Dylan's bday with the April bdays. Jane was in candy heaven- sneaking every little chance she had.

We also loved listening to conference. I felt the spirit so strongly as President Nelson was made the new prophet in the solemn assembly. Peace filled my heart. I loved hearing from our new apostles and the changes to visiting teaching and elder's quorums. I'm so grateful for this sweet gospel and the blessings that constantly flow into my life because I'm living it.

It's funny how I thought we did next to nothing this break- but as I right down a seemingly chill week... I realize just how full my life is. Full of blessings, full of love, full of people who care about us. It's a good life.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Happy Birthday Dylan

Is it really possible I have been a mom for 15 years? That's almost half my life! I will never forget how instantly I fell in love with Dylan's new little face- and I've loved him deeply ever since. I love how handsome he is, how cute with little kids and babies he is. I love how much he plays with the kids and that lately he calls me mama. I love his tan yummy skin and his perfect hair. I love how quick witted he is and that he can whoop me at any game (and I'm quite competitive). I love that he's teaching himself the ukulele- even if it means borrowing my phone a bazillion times to tune it and that when he's not doing that he's playing the office theme song on the piano. I love his guac making skills, his love for sports, his excitement to drive (even though I may just explode with anxiety at the thought of him cruising on the freeway) and that truly happy smile that lights up a room. I love you Dyl. Always will.

While today is his big day, he is away. So we celebrated him this weekend with dinner to the Olive Garden (Boppee came), games at our house (mimi came) and Splizza for dessert. We played a game of who knows Dylan best- with lots of laughs and a once near tears (Ellie was really bummed when she didn't know ALL the questions). When Dylan asked what his favorite toy was, Cal asked, "How do you spell guns?" Out of 27 I scored 25. Not shabby! When we sang happy birthday to Dylan, Jane requested we then sing Happy birthday Jane. So why not! For his bday present we are sending him to EFY, but he also opened a swimsuit and new shirt. He also celebrated with Collette cousins at a family party with cousins a couple weeks back... where I made his favorite raspberry cream cheese cake.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Spotlight

Cal was spotlighted in primary this last week... I adore his sweet little answers to their questions.

Who is your hero? Heavenly Father and Jesus

Who is someone you would like to meet? Nephi

I am good at... Bike

Tell us something you could not live without.... Scriptures

If you could be any animal what would you be? Lizard

What is your favorite thing to do with your family? Go to Thanksgiving Point

What do you think Heaven is like? With Heavenly Father and Jesus

Sunday, April 1, 2018

I don't like you I LOVE YOU

Cal tells me this everyday... each time giggling with just how clever he is.

Jane remind us 157 times per day that she is a princess. "I a pincess" with a mouth full of spit. It really is the cutest.

When Dylan is home for the weekends, there is a 2 song sound track of the Office theme song on the piano and the "I lava you" song on the ukulele.

Cal only wants ones pet: a pikey corn. (ie. porcupine)

Ellie has moved up to best chef status in our home, according to Cal. I don't blame him- I make food with thing like chicken and vegetables... and have ended my marriage long streak of ever burning anything with a few dinner victims as of late. Recently Ellie made the kids mac and cheese. Cal declared, "Ellie has the best wecipes- eva!!"

Speaking of Cal's cute speech... I adore that he doesn't say his r's. Cutest thing ever. But it may be a struggle for him as I hear him request from the TV to watch World Word, via voice command. "WOD WOD! WOD WOD!!"

I sat Jane down to touch each little finger and tell her something I love about her... from her curly hair to her small words and tight loves. After each of her ten fingers were completed she swung her legs up on my big tummy and asked, "My toes mama!"

Brandon and I were skyping each other while he was in China. He told me how cute I looked and Cal looked in the screen and then looked at me and said, "She's much bigger that she looks dad!"

Janes newest phrase (all day every day) is "I want my mommy." or "I need you mommy!" I love it.

Ellie did a wonderful job and her final dance recital and I love that she still gets excited about things like wearing a puffy princess dress. Ruby spend much of the recital spinning around and doing fancy moves- just like her big sister.

(figure out the song ruby wanted to sing to Ellie every night so she would let her kiss her just once more)

Ellie was tickled when we moved her into her home room this week. She sighed relief after a good clean one day, closed the door and said, "Finally I can have a clean room and peace to read my scriptures every day!"

I my dear kids- I LIKE you and I LOVE you!

Friday, March 23, 2018

How to Survive...

a two year old.

Let her wear whatever she wants- be it a frilly peach dress she just wore yesterday or an older sisters meshy night gown that trails behind her.
Let her eat whatever she wants- dairy all day every day and snuck chocolate chips still result in growth. Somehow.
Let her sleep- or vengeance is yours. Tip toe is necessary.
Expect moods swings and give her lots of love.

hmm. I do see a connection here. These same rules apply to a pregnant lady.

Let her wear whatever she wants- be it inside out, mismatched or frumpy. All outfits apply.
Let her eat whatever she wants- takeout for days.
Let her sleep- or vengeance is yours. 10 hours nights just might not be enough.
Expect moods swings and give her lots of love.

Easy Peasy.

Happy ladies- happy life.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

These Days

Tonight I rocked my Jane face asleep- while all the kids had parties to go to. It was really quite sweet to have an only child moment with our youngest- taking her out to dinner and a drive for cheesecake, just the three of us. After I rocked her I grabbed each one of her fingers one by one telling her something I loved about her. As soon as I finished she lifted her foot on top go my giant tummy and said, "my toes now!" and so ten more things I love about her. She really is perfection.

Cal asked me why he has to do all the work when I asked him to bend over and throw a paper away for me (while I scrubbed the dishes). I put a giant backpack on him filled with books, flipped to the front to experience being pregnant for all of 2 minutes. I don't think he'll complain again.

I thought I would receive the penalty of death when I tried to wake dylan up for church a couple of sundays ago. I used my magical motherhood powers and turned on his EFY soundtrack. 10 minutes later I tried to wake him again- and he was all smiles, singing all the words. Note to self: do that again.

Ruby is all about being the favorite yesterday. It has many perks- always wanting to help, chat, snuggle and play with everyone. It's completely wonderful. Twice now she has surprised us with a fancy table setting and once seated, we each get to choose a way to spend time with her. I've been the lucky winner of taking her on a date and hugging her whenever I want.

Ellie had a lesson on slavery today and a classmate asked if their hawaiian friend would be have been a slave long ago. Ellie said, "At first I didn't know that her question was very nice but after the teacher explained it was only people from africa- at least I learned that Dylan wouldn't have been a slave- he just gets tan."

My kids are hooked on Book of Mormon reading. I love walking in to find Ellie independently getting her chapter in for the day. In a weeks time Ruby read the entire illustrated scriptures (earning a new set of scriptures before her baptism. Cal read me a chapter each morning before school- and each day he is growing as a read ( I hardly have to tell him any hints on word). It makes me so happy!

We are also so close to finishing The Living Christ. 3/4 of the way through and the kids have it down. Even Jane will finish our sentences if we pause and let her try. I am so grateful for this opportunity.

We are so excited to meet our baby boy. 7 more weeks! While I am the size of a small village- I haven't thrown up in months. Such a huge huge blessing.

After tucking our kids in well before, Brandon and I heard someone quite loudly scavenging around the kitchen. 10:30 at night and you have a brief worry it's a break in- but no. Jane comes up the stairs moments later with a cup the size of her, filled with water- just get refreshed.

Ruby is over the moon thrilled that she is getting baptized! Her dress came in the mail and she adores it. So does Jane- she threw a full blown tantrum when she couldn't get the princess dress on fast enough. Ruby has asked almost every day... can I wear this giant pink bow, or black and diamond earrings, or gold leaves with my dress on my baptism day?! Last night Collette's came over for a family bday party and she showed everyone her dress- one by one. She tried it on- just glowing! And at the end of the night she stood on the coffee table and announced, "Just so you know, you are all invited to my baptism!"Sweetest little love.

For months Jane has been calling Dylan and Cal, DYL DLY. She adores her big brothers and sisters- truly they treat her like a queen. Lucky little lady.

Cal is obsessed with the would you rather game. "Would you rather kiss a rotten egg... or something supa supa disgusting?"


Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Wishful thinking

When I'm not pregnant I will have the patience of mother theresa. I'll cook up a storm of healthy, delicious meals... and when someone says how it gross it looks, I'll work my magic of motherly charm and convince them with my wit that it's worth devouring. My house will shine and smell of citrus- and we will have structure and systems in abundance, making being on time, or early to every event,  as simple as clockwork. No one will run into me at the grocery store without my hair and makeup done- and my clothes would never dare adorn boogers and the like. I'll have so much energy I'll stay up until the wee hours of the morning developing my talents and serving neighbors far and wide. I'll look forward to wrestling with my kids, making explosive, learning messes and I will never ever think anyone around me it quite simply annoying. Yes, when this baby comes I will morph into super mother- waking up hours before my littles to launder, prep and scrub. They will never appear as orphans- with hair that is freshly braided, clothes neatly pressed and showers will happen more often than not. I'll spend hours in my scriptures memorizing Genesis and able to offer insights on the pride cycle with all my study. Brandon will click his heels when he returns from work to find homework done, dinner wafting from the kitchen- and me, ready to enrich our family for the rest of the evening and kiss his little face eagerly. Oh it going to be good. My constant need for dessert will suddenly- POOF- disappear and my waistline will be that of a movie star. TV binge watching will be a thing of the past. I will remember everything I've forgotten, including, but not limited to, leaving my wallet at every store I shop and we will begin celebrating things like national pancake day just because I'm so on top of things. Just you wait.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Christmas

So much fun!

Christmas eve dinner with Mim and Bop
Shepperds dinner with our little bunch
Christmas breakfast with Mim, Bop and Gma Billie
Christmas dinner and games with Grandma and Grandpa
Ellie's homemade doll blanket for Jane
Rubys surprise to get Ellie the vet set
Matching Jammies
Grand America and Temple lights the week before Christmas/ blessing bags for homeless
Sleepovers with the Giles!
Santa at Cabellas
Christmas sing, class parties, ballroom performance, traditions fair
Adult Christmas couples date at Sundance
Peterson party and Nativity
Collette Christmas party- cal almost won minions with that big giant group! Chicken cordon blue!
Lorna made all the girls checkered blue aprons from Grandma peterson's fabric and the boys got treasures from Grandpa
Live Nativity in Highland with cousins to our house after
Kids went to breakfast at Grandma Lorna's ward
Coco the week after Christmas
Jordan and Danielle in town for Christmas- curiosity museum, game nights
Visiting Gma and Mazile (mazile had a flood!)

Two

I just snuggled Jane into nap time. She normally wants "Christmas" (silent night), "Temple" or just some face tickling makeups before she drifts asleep... but today she wanted "Jesus' (Sunbeam) and lots of extra kisses. Out of her norm- she cried we I went to leave. And so, I can back for more kisses, surrounded her babies as close to her as I could and said if the babies start to cry- could she please sing too them until they sleep. Now I can hear her tiny voice singing, "I am a Child of God" and every other primary song her heart desires.

Have a two year old is pure joy!

How my two year old arrived at this non-baby stage is beyond me... but I'll take it, and all the darlingness it offers.

Jane is the family mascot- this is for sure. Our world revolves around getting her yogurts from the fridge, singing Moana (her most favorite of favorites), trying to talk her into putting on jimmies, changing her bum or wanting her dinner (her least favorite of favorites), and changing her princess dress- or two or three or four- as she requests, "peas help?"

Her smile melts us and her giggle is priceless. She is always bound to giggle when daddy lifts her on his hands into the air. She flaps her arms, quite proud of herself and lights up the room. She throws the funniest little tantrums and heads straight to time out upon request, no questions asked. Within- oh- 3 seconds- she emerges completely content, "I happy now!" (reminds me of a certain big certain so many years ago). She walks around the house singing little songs and is always up for a big hugs and kids.

She repeats everything we say. I truly cannot get enough of her saying, "bubblegum." She has such a hard time with any word with an s. I can only explain it as her mouth is full of spit and spitting it out take all her effort. That sounds gross- but really it is the cutest thing. I smile every time she say princesses (which is regularly). She's starting to build little sentences and making so much sense. After a ballroom dance performance she could not take her eyes off of Paige- or beautiful dancing cousin. She kept saying, "Paige a princess! Paige sparkles! Makeups!" Over a week later she adorned her very own hot pink dress up with sequins- just like Paige. "Dis look good mom? Paige? Sparkles? Makeup all over... eyebrows and lips?" She's also quite good at phrases like, "I don't want to!" or "me no want..."

She can't get enough of Ruby doll- and Ruby is really quite sweet with her. Everyone is. Cal shares everything with her and is beyond patience as she steals, hits... maybe bites and he just goes with the flow. We often find Cal embracing her as they fall asleep. Ellie is so helpful, dressing, bathing and doing her hair. She misses Dylan and talks about him throughout the week. Both Cal and Dylan go by "Dyl Dyl" - but Cal doesn't seem to mind.

Somehow Jane has been given the name "Scoobs" by Ruby and especially Cal. He is always so excited to see his "Scoobs" as he returns from a big day of kindergarten. I call her Lady bug or Jane bug and everyone calls her bugs. Mostly I call her Jane face.

I hope never to forget the passion she exudes as she belts out Moana songs, or her little tiny hands- so chubby and ready to be held. I love that she bed hops each night to wherever she darn well pleases and daddy always has to carry her back to her bed- where she will wander from early morning, close the door behind her and sneak into another unsuspecting siblings covers. I love her clearly crazy wispy hair from her face and when she's all done up for church with high buns and red shoes. I loves her obsession with backpacks, even if they are filled so heavy she almost topples over. I love that when I say I love you she says, "So Much!"

Oh Jane face- I LOVE YOU SO MUCH! We all do! You bring so much sunshines, giggles, (work), (messes), and love into our home.

Happy Birthday sweetest girl!! Love Mommy

Birthday Plans:

Sing "Happy Bert-day ME!" at the top of your lungs!
Invite all the cousins to the tramp place for a really fun night and strawberry shortcake
Only take pictures with your eye shut, squinty smiles
Family Birthday Party at the Giles house for yummy dinner, splizza and presents
Open Calico Critter car (from the kids), dollhouse and treehouse with bunnies- that you love to sit and play with constantly.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

These sweet days...

... Ruby was worried (with a big giant grin) that her new seating partner would be mad she was sitting next to him now when he returned from his vacation. She went on to explain- he really doesn't like her because she calls him "Toddy Woddy." He doesn't like her so much that he chases her around the playground. Sure...

... Cal is obsessed with Lexia- a website that he can play games with vocab and reading. I love it because he has no idea really what video games are and pleased as punch to spend earned time doing, well, homework. Cal is such a hard little worker for school- always on top of his reading and site words. I also love how on top of brushing his teeth he is. Quite responsible.

...Brandon is away on a business trip so Cal was my sleepover buddy last night. Before we fell asleep, he read half of the first chapter of the illustrated book of mormon- reading so great! At 3 am, Jane joined our party. I could hear her climb out of her crib, close the door loudly behind her and call for me at my door. "Mama? Dwink?" We go to the bathroom for some water, "Light?" Turn on the brightest lights and she sits and blinks for a minute, yellow princess jimmies and hair in every direction. She drinks and drinks. Finally I scoop her up and she snuggles close to me in bed. Might as well try one last request if she's getting her way. "Cookies?"

... I did it. I gave Ellie the birds and bees talk. I warned her she might giggle a little and when we read through the book by Brad Wilcox about where babies come from, it was pretty detail free. She sighed and said that was far from funny and no big deal. Then we entered the Q & A sections that painted a more clear picture- and boy did she get the giggles (she also yelled how disgusting and had plenty of worthwhile questions). But first, we both took a minute or two to laugh until tears. Oh Ellie, I just love you. Thanks for making my job fun- even the dirty work ;)

... Cal randomly told me, "Sometimes I get weally used to my little toots, what about you mom?"

... We took Dylan out to dinner this Friday and had a really sweet night. Brandon wrote Dylan a letter telling him how much he loves him- and we tried to help him understand that our only goal really is to help him to be happy. This whole situation is a tricky one- but I'd do anything I could to help this boy and this was a really positive night. As we got up to leave Cafe Rio he smiled and said, "So... fresh start?" Sounds wonderful to me!

... I overheard Ruby interviewing Cal the other day in the car. She asked sweet questions like, "How do you feel loved in your family?" and "Tell me what you think Heaven looks like?" He sincerely answer each question.

... We gave Jane a Calico Critter dollhouse for her birthday- and I'm tickled to report she loves to play with it. I find her singing "I am a Child of God" to her bunnies and giving the kitties hugs softly saying, "I lob you so much- I mich you!" She is so darn cute... repeating all we saying and wearing brightly colored princess dresses over any outfit. She is heaven. (speaking of repeating- I just had to give Ruby a little talk for going out of control with friends over. Jane repeated the end of every sentence... understand? not ok! we lob you!" I think ruby got the idea- twice!)

...The kids all made it into the plays showing at the Lehi Rec center. I was so impressed with their bravery in trying out- and now they are all so excited to perform! It's a little wild with the rehearsal schedule- but I think so worth the experience!

...Jane woke early to Brandon and Ruby hanging out (my early risers). Apparently she snuck down the stairs and greeted them with hair completely covering her face. She lifted it out of the way and cheered, "Peekaboo!"

... My kids have been so committed to memorizing the Living Christ together. It makes my heart so happy. We are a few sentences away from reaching halfway. We try to recite it every morning on our drive to school and every night. Ellie, Ruby and Cal can do it with few prompts by themselves and Jane actually pipes in at the end of many sentences- not repeating it... just knowing it! How wonderful! We started in November so I think we can for sure have it done by the time our baby arrives. Hooray!

... Last week I went to the temple and prayed. In a ps. of prayers I asked if we could speed up the house process- that would be so great! Just a couple of days later we received word that lots by the American Fork temple would be opening up with Cadence. And! We are going for it! It's a little wild when I've had nearly year to wrap my brain around plan A but this new plan is exciting and puts us in a house possibly 6mon-1 year sooner than the ivory lots. I am so grateful for Heavenly Father opening windows for us! How exciting to build a new house and to have it all underway before our new baby arrives.


Friday, January 12, 2018

Dear Darling Kate

(Missy asked all the women in the family to write her a letter for her 12th birthday- my pleasure! I wanted to hang out to it... and so here it goes)    

                                                                                   January 12th (your almost age), 2018


Dear darling Kate,

            Happy Birthday! In just a few short days you will be turning 12… and later this year I will be turning 36- TRIPLE your age! If the truth be told, some days I still feel 12. While my kids feel like I’m the boss who has it mostly figured out (which, ahem, I do not), I often feel like I am babysitting again and still just trying to figure myself out. I feel young- and yet! Here I am. TRIPLE your age. (I am possibly triple your size too, 6 months pregnant, but we will save that story for another day).
            Anywho, I was thinking about all I have done in the last 12 years of my life and in awe of just how much has happened during that time. I have been married to my most favorite person, I will have had 5 beautiful babies to add to my cute first born, I have lived in 7 different homes, in 4 different states… I’ve experienced some of my highest of highs (life really is wonderful) and my lowest of lows- but I’m alive and happy to tell the tale.
            I was then thinking about all you have accomplished in 12 years. I am one of the lucky ones that have loved you and watched you all 12 of those years. And because an aunt doesn’t often have the chance to tell you all the many reasons she loves you- today is the day!

YOUR FIRST TWELVE:

1.     I will forever be grateful for the example you set for my girls. I know you are their confidant and friend… and you have been from the beginning. I can picture Ellie following your every move after you received your first ever tutu. She wanted to be just like you. They see the kind way you talk to everyone- always so mature for your age. They see that you want to be good and make such solid choices when it comes to living the gospel. You are selfless and giving. Thank you for loving them and making them feel special. I could not have asked for a better example for them.
2.     I remember Aunt Sandy once saying, years ago, that she saw her nieces as her dear friends. She said she learned so much from them and wanted to be like them. At the time, no one was over the age of 3, and so I wondered what that would really be like. I can picture it now! Kate, thank you for being my friend. You are so easy to talk to and I am grateful that you always greet me with a hug. You are always so grateful and kind. Brandon and I will never forget the night you came down to chat with us while we finished the basement in our Sandy house. You made us smile and entertained us all night with sweet stories and thoughts. You are a class act and I want to be more like you!
3.     You are just plain cute. I’ve always thought you had the dreamiest hair. Even as a little lady- it laid so perfectly in place and you always have looked your best. You have great taste in clothes and a beautiful smile. You are a beautiful girl Kate- you were made to look exactly as you do- and it’s perfect!
4.     You are so well rounded and talented- what a blessing! From soccer to music, to doing well in school and always creative (plus an excellent baker/chef, sister, friend…. on and on)- you are quite the gem! I love the art you do and always anxious to see what you come up with next. I love watching you patiently teach younger kids how to do an art project- always so encouraging and helpful! With all of those talents- you can be anything you want to be!
5.     I have never seen you in a grouchy mood. Ok- maybe as a tiny babe you had some moments. But always you are smiling! Always you are pitching in. Always you are grateful. What a wonderful way to be! I love you Kate. I am so thankful you are in our family.

YOUR NEXT TWELVE:

As I think of the years you have ahead of you, I have just a few snippets I wish I would have known as I entered the 12 years sandwhiched between the two you and are just now wrapping up.

1.     No one is as popular as you think they are. At times I would feel left out through high school- thinking I was the only person who wasn’t going to a party or a friend trip or a hangout every single weekend. I wondered if I just wasn’t pretty enough, smart enough, funny enough. And then I left high school and learned- those “popular” kids were the ones struggling the very most. Everyone has moments of feeling lonely. Use those times to really develop yourself- find a new talent, make a friend with someone else who needs one, stick close to your family.  I also learned that I am enough! Everything that I was- loving life, loving the gospel, loving the idea of being a mom, doing creative things (all that good stuff)- is most popular of all now that I am grown. Being you is the very best thing you’ve got. So love it!
2.     Find people you want to be like and follow in their footsteps. Kate, I was the luckiest to have your mom. When I was a freshman in high school, your mom was three years ahead- and I thought she walked on water (she practically does). Lucky for me, she took me in and was such a wonderful friend to me. Everything Missy did- I wanted to do… volleyball, leadership, church dances, scrapbooking-  you name what she did and I did it too! And it served me well to have such a wonderful example to follow. She guided me through big life moments and ultimately lined me and Brandon up. I am so thankful to have one of my very favorite people as my sister in law. And you are so lucky to have her as your mom! Stay close to her. And whoever you choose for friends and examples- choose the very best! Shoot high- and then lift those people up. They will lift you too and make life so sweet.
3.     Learn now how the spirit speaks to you. Little did I know, I would be deciding who I would marry just months after I left home. Looking back, I wish I had spent more time in prayer asking Heavenly Father to teach me how I receive answers to prayer. I would have prayed to know which boys to go on dates with, I would have prayed more fervently over gospel topics I knew little about, I would have really considered my choices for college and let Heavenly Father guide my path. That being said- quite often, Heavenly Father shows his trust in us by allowing us to make our own choices too. And that’s ok. But the spirit will always bring peace when we have made a good choice. Remember to seek always for the peace. Being able to feel the spirit as much as we can is up to us. If I feel distance from my Heavenly Father- I know it isn’t him…. He loves me always. It is up to me to really pray, really read, head to the temple, talk a little kinder, forgive, serve- all those tools that help us to feel a Heavenly connection. My testimony is my greatest possession. Because of it- I am able to feel happiness beyond myself and my sometimes hard situations. I know that Heavenly Father loves me- and he loves you too. Never forget that Kate.

Life is going to be great Kate! No matter what comes your way- you’ve got this! Heavenly Father is on your side! I will always be behind you cheering you on. You have quite the army behind you actually. We are the luckiest to be in this wonderful family full of so much love and togetherness.

Have the happiest birthday and know that I am excited to watch you these next twelve years.



                                    All my love,
                                           Aunt Hill 


Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The Talk

I should have seen it coming.

Since your 12th birthday you have expressed pure relief for not being asked to give a talk in church- and threatened me if I breathed a word to anyone that you had not.

This surprised me.

When you are thrown into new friends and faces- you shine. You make the mood light and seem comfortable and become your wittiest self. I'll never forget Jacyln's wedding open house we traveled to in California. You made quick friends with the pool boy and went around taking pictures of strangers, cracking jokes, like it was no big thing. You have prepared a few missionary march lessons and flawlessly presented them to family and rocked it in debate tournaments. School project presentations come easy for you.

And so it surprised me when your first offer to speak was extended- and you hesitated. But, you took on the challenge, and for that I am glad.

But the two weeks passed by and you mentioned the nerves each time we spoke. I thought little of it and told you you'd be great. I didn't realize how purely anxious and scared you were until the minute we were leaving for church.

Oh Dyl. It was heartbreaking to see how scared you were- and there was nothing I could say that would convince you otherwise. I knew anxiety was playing a role- but as your mother I feared it keeping you from many good things in your life. I wanted so badly for you to trust Heavenly Father and let him carry this for you. But I couldn't get you to walk down the stairs. The feeling of having zero influence over your choices has been ever so familiar and again we were left stuck.

Ellie cheered for you. I cheered for you. But to no avail. Then Mimi stepped in. She had come to watch you, and spent another 10 minutes cheering you on while Ellie and I waited in the foyer communicating with the bishopric counselor through text whether or not to announce your name over the pulpit. Lucky for us- the bishopric was actually being shuffled around- making extra time while people bore testimonies. I prayed and prayed and prayed for you... another familiar circumstance.

Some how. Some way. Mimi convinced you of what we all knew- you would do a wonderful job! At the very last second (and I mean last) you joined me on the first seats once walking into the chapel- with a promise that I would move front and center as you gave your talk.

And you did just that- you gave your talk! It was flawless! No one could have known for even a moment that you have been so scared moments before. Your voice was clear and sure. You looked right into the crowd a gave a near perfect talk.

I sat there solo on the front row with tears pouring down my face. The room was still and I couldn't hear anyone but you. Apparently, I even missed Jane yelling, "DYLIE!!" a handful of times and the audience chuckle as your spoke. But you were all I could hear- and the spirit whisper to me... comfort me really. And this is what I felt:

He will push you to your limits (check), you will worry and wonder and stress about this boy (triple check), you will feel powerless and like he is pushing you away... and yet. He will do it. He will make it to the stand and you will be there, front and center, cheering him on.

I love you Dylan. Like, a really dig deep and give it all I have kind of a love. And even if you push me away, even if you have so much independence I think there is no room for my love- I will be there cheering you on.

I can't believe I'm going to say this, but thank you for this trial that is teaching me what is most important- it is my family. It is you and it is most definitely Ellie, Ruby, Cal, Jane, Dad and this little brother halfway to earth. Everything else can fall away- but all I want is a forever family. And I will fight for it- with the Lord on my side.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

My Ruby Doll

Has it been too long since I've written about how completely darling you are? It just may be. But it is not because you are not- because you really are. You are constantly serving- trying to help, writing sweet notes, saving all your classroom cash to buy all your siblings presents. You spent ALL of your candy deal money to buy Ellie's Christmas present... and on her birthday you selflessly gave your glass macaroon because you knew how much she's missed hers since lost. You are alway organizing games and activities to include everyone and the first to remind us to repeat The Living Christ and say prayers as we head out the door for school. You insist your new glasses sit right on the end of your nose and I am too often reminding you not to suck on your hair- but you always sweetly listen and obey and try again. I think you have the cutest lips on the face of the planet- oh your sweet hands, they could not be cuter. Your personality comes in bucket loads and you are a joy to have around. I love you Ruby. So much I love you Ruby. Love Mom.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Golden Birthday

10 years old! On the 10th! Can 10 years really have passed?

Oh Ellie you are such a joy and I hope you had a wonderful birthday! Here's the highlights...

We went to go see Wonder on Saturday- such a great movie. My kids are (happily) turning into foodies... and so Sunday, the big day, was all about the food: crepes, bruschetta, lemon shrimp pasta and cream soda. A delicious, filling, day. Ellie's favorite gifts were a plane trip to Grace's house (hooray!!) and a book a made for her of everyone in the family's top 10 favorite things about her. She devoured it all day- made me so happy to see! All day we played games... my favorite was questions to see who knew her best. She just glowed and giggled- and I think we found a new tradition! Grandma and Grandpa came over for pumpkin bars, she was sung to in primary with treats from the bishops office later. Britta brought her cookies and family texted and called throughout the day. Of course we closed with an episode of "When calls the heart."

Ellie. You are simply wonderful. I love you so much... and I swear it has nothing to do with the fact that you'd choose me as your friends and family pick on survivor! It's because you heart is as good as gold. You are kind and loving, brave and wise, easy to be around and full of light. I often think that I simply do not know how I would live without you. You are so aware and thoughtful of me- even when I have been a grouchy pregnant mom. I can't keep track of how many times you help without being asked. Just last week I had a busy day with Activity days at our house. I had flown around all day like a crazy person, leaving mound of unfolded laundry in my room. While your friends were still here, you escaped upstairs to put all the laundry away, make my bed, completely tidy my room and bathroom... silently and sweetly. It was a much needed, very appreciated, gift. It was so fun to watch you in ballroom. I love your quiet confidence and willingness to try new things and get to know new people. You are funny and make us all laugh- such a bright personality. You have such a great imagination... and I love seeing you and Ruby always playing school, house... anything you can dream up with your dolls.

Never forget how much we love you- and Heavenly Father too. You have limitless potential and talents and traits that leave you with so much to offer. I love you with all my heart sweet Elle. Always will. xoxo