Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Wedding Flashbacks

A few weeks ago, Sam's brother was married for time and all eternity in the Mount Timpanogos Temple--
just as we were married in the Mount Timpanogos Temple almost 7 1/2 years ago!
They exited the same doors as newlyweds, the same face-breaking grins of joy on their faces,
and I naturally reflected on our own wedding that took place on that snowy winter day.


Before they were married, the sealer gave them just one piece of advice.
He quoted the scripture in Matthew that states, "Whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it."
He explained that the principle described in that scripture also applies to marriage--
that we find greatest happiness in marriage when we lose ourselves in service to one another and become completely unselfish. His words rang true to me, and also caused me to think about the advice our sealer gave us when we were married.
He gave us five pieces of advice:
1-Don't try to change your spouse; learn to adjust to them.
2-Continue courting. Go on a date weekly.
3-Attend the temple often together. Participate in all of the temple ordinances possible.
4-Recognize the relationship between our sealing and the Atonement. Express gratitude for the Atonement.
5-Put the Lord first, then your spouse. Put your spouse before yourself or anyone else.

I wrote in my journal the following day, "I am anticipating an eternity of joy with Sam at my side. Being sealed to him was the best experience of my entire life. I can't describe the feelings of joy that enveloped me in the Lord's house. As we walked out, my cheeks felt as if they would break because they couldn't hold my smile! It was elation, joy, peace, happiness, contentment, anticipation, satisfaction, and gratitude all rolled up into one beautiful feeling."

I am so grateful for the holy institution of marriage
and for the knowledge that we have been sealed for eternity.
We continue to learn and grow closer to one another,
and watching Sam's brother start on that same path with his bride has been a joy.
It was a privilege for me to be able to take their wedding pictures--allow me to share some favorites:

 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

His Entire World

This past Saturday, I was privileged to attend the baby shower of a dear friend of mine from college!
She lives in California and is expecting her first babies--twins!
Another one of our best friends was also there, and together we made a threesome of pregnant women:
(27 weeks, 22.5 weeks with twins, 22 weeks)
(Baby #3, Babies #1/2, Baby #4)

A few days ago, I was laying in bed, struggling to sleep.
As my thoughts whirled around, I considered the fact that I am our unborn baby boy's entire world.
My heartbeat that is his current soundtrack is the same sound that will soothe his first cries when he is laid on my chest immediately after birth.
The hands that stroke my growing, aching abdomen will soon stroke his back when he is sick or in need of comfort.
My muffled voice that he hears all day long will be familiar to him when I sing lullabies to him every day.
My breathing patterns and the movements of my body will be the same when I carry him out of the womb.

And so it is that the challenges of pregnancy become a beautiful framework for the earliest bonding experiences with my baby. We are even now forming a bond together that will reach into the eternities, forever unbroken.
And remembering that gives me strength during the challenges.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Hallelujah

Our Easter weekend was filled with family time and typical traditions--
dyeing eggs, an Easter egg hunt (involving ancestor stories!), hidden Easter baskets, a traditional Easter dinner, a beautiful church service, and lots of time spent with family--
but when I stop to consider sharing my own thoughts along with thousands of others, I am always left feeling inadequate.
How can I publicly express my gratitude for my Savior without sounding trite?
Indeed, how can I even properly appreciate something I do not fully understand?
And yet, my heart is full.
And I recognize that all of the happiness I enjoy in life comes as a result of these beautiful Easter truths.


Praise be to God for the knowledge that we are never alone,
for the ability to overcome weakness through the help of the Savior,
for the chance to be redeemed of failure,
and for the continually outstretched hand of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Realizing Life


Today I read the Pulitzer Prize-winning play "Our Town," written in 1938.
At the end, one of the main characters has died and her post-mortal self goes back to watch a scene from her life.
When the other dead spirits warn her that it would be too painful to re-experience her best memories,
she chooses a fairly ordinary day--her 12th birthday.

As she witnesses the events, she becomes distressed as she sees how they all take life for granted.
"It goes so fast. We don't have time to look at one other," she exclaims as she breaks down sobbing.
"Oh, earth, you're too wonderful for anybody to realize you," she continues.
And then she asks, "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it?"

My life is simple--composed primarily of events that most would classify as "ordinary."
But that is my goal--to live in the moment and to "realize life" while I live it.
Because those simple, ordinary, every-day moments carry with them exquisite beauty if we choose to see it.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

It's Out of Love


We live in a world of constant controversy.
Political controversy lately has my head spinning,
but it doesn't stop there.
It seems, at times, that an opinion of any sort is mocked, criticized, and ripped apart
as though we have nothing better to do with our time than to sit around and point fingers.
Becoming a mother opened my eyes to the "Mommy wars"--a controversy only magnified by almost universal access to a wide variety of social media platforms.

I certainly have opinions on my own when it comes to mothering,
and I strive to determine what will be best for our family and then act accordingly.
The need to form opinions and take action in our own lives carries with it the temptation to judge another's decisions.
But lately I've been thinking about how, whether I agree with them or not, the vast majority of mothers make decisions out of love.

There is the mother who stays home with her children because she feels that no one can teach and nurture them the way a mother can.
There is the mother who works because she wants to provide her children with a wide variety of opportunities and prepare for their future.
There is the mother who breastfeeds because she feels it is a bonding experience for mother and child and nourishes the child better than anything else.
There is the mother who formula feeds because the stresses that come with breastfeeding were negatively impacting the family.
There is the mother who co-sleeps because she wants her children to feel secure.
There is the mother who sleep-trains because she feels she is more patient and loving with her children when everyone gets a good night's rest.
There is the mother who has many children because she wants to nurture and influence as many as she can to do good in the world.
There is the mother who has only one child because she wants to focus her efforts and energies to maximize her influence on that child.

And the list goes on and on...

I am passionate about my opinions,
but I hope that as I make decisions for our family and in my mothering
I can remember that most mothers are motivated by love.
I hope I can love and appreciate others even when our viewpoints differ.
And I hope that we can be unified together in that common, encompassing love for our children that we share.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Happiness

Sometimes, all it takes to make my heart feel
full to the bursting
is a sunshine-y spring morning at the park
followed by a trip to the local grocery store for 39-cent ice cream cones.

Life is mostly composed of little, everyday moments,
and I am learning to soak them in and savor them more and more.

 

Monday, March 7, 2016

Here We Go Again!


Baby BOY #4 is well on his way to joining our family!
He is due this July, and we are absolutely ecstatic!


This morning we had our 20 week ultrasound, and everything is looking great!
Baby boy is incredibly wiggly--they struggled to get his heartbeat because he would not stop moving.
He will fit right into this growing family of boys.
Talmage was a bit disappointed when we shared the news--he was certain we were having a baby girl and was insistent that he needed a sister to protect--but once he got used to the idea he ran with it and is now as excited as can be. And Sam and I are thrilled! These little boys have my heart, and I am so excited to have another to adore. Having a houseful of boys takes a lot of energy, but it fills us with joy and we wouldn't have it any other way.

I'm feeling reasonably well--my energy comes in spurts so I tend to run around like a crazy lady on the days I feel energized, trying to tackle my growing to-do list.
I don't have much to show in terms of a bump yet (although the scale says otherwise), but the baby moves a lot and I started feeling certain that I was feeling him around 14-15 weeks! Sam felt him moving for the first time last night--always such an amazing, surreal feeling.
He was told today that "only a seasoned father would be able to feel it this early!" but he was never able to feel the others this early on. Even at the 8 week ultrasound, the little peanut was bouncing all over the place and the ultrasound tech couldn't get over how much it was moving already. We may be in for it with this one!
Talmage goes to school each afternoon and Lincoln and Wesley still nap, so almost every day I lay down with Wesley and we nap together. Oddly enough napping during the day seems to help with my insomnia.
As I've mentioned several times already, the winter really seemed to drag on for me and I had a hard time getting motivated, but now that the pregnancy is about halfway over and the weather is warming up, I am filled with a new energy and enthusiasm!

We told the boys on Christmas Eve (along with other family members), and they were thrilled.
They had been begging for another baby for some time.
Lincoln is starting to understand--for the first little while he thought it was a great joke every time we asked if there was a baby in my tummy. He would say, "Noooo! There's a monster in your tummy!" or some other outlandish thing. But he's starting to wrap his head around the idea that a baby will soon be joining our family, and I hope it will be a smooth transition for him. He is rather obsessed with babies, so I think it will be a pleasant experience.

We feel so incredibly grateful for this opportunity to add to our family,
and we anxiously await all that this summer brings.
We can't wait to meet this wiggly little guy!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Kid Talk


The kids are constantly saying things that bring a smile to my face.
Here are a few of my recent favorites:

-Talmage: "Wes, a virus is so bad! It gets into a good cell and injects its DNA into it--"
Wesley: "What's DNA?"
Talmage: "I don't know!"
(Overheard when the boys were in bed at night)

-Lincoln: "I'm so MAD, Mommy! I'm so MAD!!!"
Me: "Why are you mad?"
Lincoln: "Because I want to go to the STORE and buy some BALLOONS!"

-Talmage: "The Pacific Ocean is the biggest ocean in the world!"
Wesley: "Except for Bear Lake!"

-Sam went to pick up Lincoln to do something (I think get his pajamas on?) and Lincoln ran away from him shrieking, "No! Nooo! I...I...I need to pick my nose!"

-"Wes, let's pretend we're daddy bugs and we're fighting over the female one!" (Talmage)

-"Mommy!! My nose is not working!" (Lincoln, with a stuffy nose)

-"Your spirit is what's inside of your body...like your bones and your muscles. And your body is your skin." (Wesley)

-We have a CD we often listen to with "Praise to the Man" on it. It's one of Lincoln's favorite songs, but he doesn't quite understand the words so he asks constantly for "Priesthood Man."

-Wesley: "Mom, nothing is bigger than infinity!"
Talmage: "Except love!"

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Eyes

Eyes captivate me.
Each of our boys has a different eye color.
Talmage has deep, chocolate-brown eyes.
Wesley's are a piercing light blue.
Lincoln's are a luminous steel-gray with a brownish tint around the pupils.

Their eyes are as unique as their personalities,
and to me they are a window to their souls.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Union Station Museum

The spring sunshine is finally here,
and I don't think I've ever been so grateful for it!
Our outings have decreased drastically since Talmage started Kindergarten.
Somehow, it's really difficult to get ready, make it out the door, spend time on an adventure, and make it home in time to eat lunch before the school bus arrives.
We've spent most of the winter at home,
but the spring sunshine brings with it renewed motivation to be intentional with my time and my family,
so last week we headed out to explore the Union Station Museums.


There are some pretty impressive train displays to see outside,
and 4 museums indoors,
including the cowboy and western heritage museum, the Browning firearms museum, the classic car museum, and the railroad museum.
We spent most of our time exploring the railroad museum and enjoying the fascinating tours of the hospital car and the mail car. Ever read "Seven Little Postmen?" The mail car depicted in the story is true-to-life! I've always wondered!
The mail was sorted on train cars all day and all night and as the train approached a city, a bag would be placed on a hook on the outside of the train. As the train passed another hook, it would be dislodged from the train and wait on the hook for the next step in the process. The floor was made of 12-inch long 2x4s standing vertically to make it softer on one's feet.
The hospital car was a legitimate car from WWII, although most of the bunks have since been removed. It was used to transport wounded soldiers to hospitals.


This week has brought with it a new kind of energy.
My list of completed projects is growing,
and my list of projects to-do is growing as well!
The boys have enjoyed the return of backyard soccer games with their Daddy as the daylight stretches into the evenings.
Plans for more adventures are in the works,
and I am yearning to make the most of these final days when I still have mornings with my entire crew.
I regret that it took the arrival of Spring to set these changes in motion,
but I certainly am grateful it has come at last!
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