Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Becoming a Teacher and first dance



Will turns 14 in a month.  He is such an incredible young man. The other day I was nagging and lecturing him about something and he just said, "I understand.  I'll do better.  I'm sorry."  He takes criticism in such a calm and peaceful way.  When Mike deployed we knew that Will would either have to wait to get ordained to a teacher until Mike returned or have Grandpa Richards do it.  We left the decision up to him.  Originally, he would only have to wait about a month but then the church made the change so that in January he could move up to the teacher's quorum.  Will isn't terribly decisive.  He's thought about his decision for months.  We have had multiple ward leaders call to see if he was ready to have his interview and each time I've told them that Will hadn't decided what he wanted to do yet but when he did, I'd let them know.  Will had mostly decided that he wanted to wait for Mike to get back and then Grandpa Richards ended up having to leave for the next six weeks because of a family emergency so that solidified his decision.  

I was happy to give Will the time to consider his options and know his own feelings.  I like to see him taking charge of his own spiritual progression and not just going with what everyone else wants him to do.  I hope this time he had to think and pray will help him in the future when he has even bigger decisions to make.

Even though he is not ordained a teacher yet, he still participates in the teacher's quorum on Sundays.  He helps the Deacons pass the sacrament but goes to the teacher's quorum classes and activities.  He went to his first dance, which was super weird for me.  He was really nervous and I had to teach him how to slow dance.  I sent him off and waited for his return.  I had a friend who attended the dance and got a text from her later saying that Will danced every dance and was totally natural.  I also had a girl in the ward who is 15 tell me that she actually didn't know Will was only 13 because he acted so much older.  She said when he asked her to dance he didn't act nervous or awkward at all and talked to her like he always did at church.  His report was that he asked a girl to dance every dance even though he was nervous and didn't want to.  He waited to see who didn't get asked and then would ask the closest girl to him who wasn't dancing to dance.  I was so proud of him.  It makes me proud and a little sad that he is already at this point in his life.  Of course, it's natural and good, but it's just one more step towards dating and I'm not ready for that!  I'd also like to point out that he is soooo much taller than me already!  I'm so glad he let me snap a picture because I love having this memory of teaching him how to dance for his first dance (I asked his permission first and told him I would only post it here since so few people read the blog and therefore, not many people would see).

Monday, February 04, 2019

My 30's

I wrote a post a month ago talking about some of my feelings and some of the struggles I've been experiencing.  Yesterday I bore my testimony at church and touched on some of that as well.  It was embarrassing for me.  The truth is, sometimes I have thoughts that are just thoughts and don't realize that there is so much emotion behind them until I say them out loud and by then it's too late to take it back.  Haha.

Anyway, I've been thinking so much about this subject over the last year, and especially the last few months and I realize that part of the truth of our experiences is actually about the perspective we have of them--our reality of that experience can change depending on the meaning we give them, or the perspective we choose to have of that experience.  I hope that makes sense.

So, yes, it's been a hard 8+ years for me.  I think I actually should honor that truth.  I think I really should admit that a lot has happened to bring me to this place of my life and some of that I've dealt with in a courageous and hopeful way as well as dealt with it in a way that has caused me to feel depressed.

That said, I also really believe that Satan likes me feeling down and if he can keep me reviewing the last decade in a way that focuses on how hard the last decade has been, he can hinder my progress.

So, today, I also want to honor the truth of what I've become and what I've gained.  I started my 30's with 30 manageable goals that I put so much thought and prayer into and I believe that showed God that I was open to growth and therefore, He has given me these experiences to GROW me in ways I never expected.

This is the decade He blessed me with my three beautiful girls.  My experiences getting them here are sacred to me.

This is the decade that my boys and I grew together through the loss of Laila.  They were so, so hard for me as littles and it's been this decade that they have grown into incredible young men who are my friends and my joy.

This decade has brought me a closeness to Heaven that I never felt before.  It's showed me that angels are real and near and ready to help.

This is the decade I have grown through discovering new talents and hobbies.  We started a business!  I never would have expected to try that adventure.  Now, I love to practice photography, something I've always loved but never actually did much with.

This is the decade I have traveled so much of the country, seeing new things, living in new places, discovering my love for this beautiful country.

This is the decade where I have made some of my deepest friendships with people who have seen me struggle and loved me through it.

This is the decade my love for my Heavenly Father and Savior had deepened.  My relationship with them is stronger as I've had to rely on them for understanding and support.  My gratitude for the Atonement has increased in a deep, beautiful way.

This is the decade where my love and appreciation for my body has been tested and deepened.  God gave me this body for a reason!  This body has gotten me through incredible amounts of stress and hardship.  It's healed itself time and again.  It's gotten me out of bed.  It's kept my head high and physically helped me carry my burdens.

This is the decade where I had the courage to start homeschooling!  It has been a positive change in so many ways for our family.

This is the decade where my relationship with Mike has confirmed for me that having him by my side has been one of my greatest blessings.  We've learned to trust one another and be united in guiding this family and my appreciation for him grows daily.

This is the decade that has taught me that you can feel both sorrow and joy simultaneously and that both feelings are essential and important to this life experience.

I could go on and on but I think this is sufficient.  This decade isn't over yet but I think maybe it actually is the best (almost) decade of my life so far.

Sunday, February 03, 2019

Felicity

Felicity really has the grouchy face down.  She has been moping a lot lately.  She is also really showing her independence.  Everything is "myself" or "no, I do it."  Her imagination is amazing lately.  I LOVE to watch her pretend.  She walks around with her babies and sings to them and rocks them and tucks them in bed and tell us all to be quiet because her babies are going "nigh-nigh."  She talks so much and so well.  She and Piper walk around calling each other "besties." If she doesn't get her way she will say, "Brother meanie."  She says her own prayers, which is usually just, "Father.  Lie-Lie (Eli), Wool (Will), Isaac, Piper, Mom, Dad, Lissy, Filly.  Men."  She is potty-training herself.  I am a non-potty trainer.  I just let them call the shots and do their thing and it's worked pretty much with all of my kids, though Piper was harder than the rest.  It drags it out longer than it might if I just did an official potty training thing but I have found that my kids do a much better job if I just give them gentle reminders like, "Do you need to go to the potty?"  The boys were all potty trained by the time they were three or just turning three and she just turned two so I see no need to push her.  She tells me when she is peeing in her diaper and then she wants to sit on the potty. She has pooped in the potty twice now and is definitely showing more and more signs of understanding and progress.  She loves to be outside.  She loves to snuggle me.  She still takes a pretty good nap each day.  She is at such a fun stage right now.












Morning

Piper is such a sweet sister and daughter.  In her bedtime prayer the other night she prayed that Felicity wouldn't wake up anyone in the morning but if she did, that she would only wake up Piper.  The following morning, Felicity knocked on my door early and I put her back in her bed with a bottle of water.  She didn't come back in five minutes so I assumed she had gone back to sleep but sadly, she had called up to Piper, "Piper, come down."  Piper said, "In a minute.  I'm looking for something,"  but really, she was just saying that to Felicity to buy herself a few more minutes of sleep.  She tried to ignore Felicity and go back to sleep but Felicity climbed up in Piper's bed and proceeded to read books and kick Piper in the back.  Finally, Piper gave up and they both come and knocked on my door and climbed into my bed and hid under the covers and giggled and thoroughly woke me up.  I feel bad for Piper.  The poor girl just wants to sleep and I totally get her.  I tell Felicity at night, "Don't wake your sister.  Come and get me instead."  I feel sad that Piper gets woken up every morning but I sure appreciate the love she shows to her sister even when she is annoying.








Girls







Bath time




Crochet Blanket







Sunday, January 27, 2019

Dolfun tour

Steve and Carol paid for us all to go on a Dolfun tour to see Dolphins (of course).  We regularly see dolphin fins when we are driving over the causeway and twice we have been swimming in the ocean when dolphins have come to feed on fish just feet away from us.  This was an opportunity to really get close to them though and it was fun for all of us.  I had no idea there were that many dolphins in the brackish water.  Later that night the two older boys got to go on a camp out with the scouts.  They took canoes and kayaks and hauled their stuff over to an island in the middle of the river where there were campsites.  They got there at night and said they saw tiny bio luminescent jellyfish.  The next morning they went kayaking for two hours and dolphins swam right by them.  They also saw these crazy black crabs that live in the mangroves.  They just climb up in the trees and hang out.  The boys had all kinds of cool stories to tell about the wildlife they saw on their camp out.  Isaac was a little worried at first about kayaking in such deep waters but he said, "I have to go!  How many people can say they have been camping on an island with dolphins swimming all over the place?!"  These are the things I will miss about Florida when we move.