Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Remembering...4 years later

A couple of days ago we went to a water park with some of our good friends who came to visit us from Chattanooga (more on that later). As I was sitting on a chair by the pool visiting with my friend Alison, I noticed a girl's backpack on the chair next to me. As a glanced over at it, the words seemed to jump out at me from off of the backpack. There inscribed in beautiful cursive writing was the name Clairisa. I couldn't take my eyes off of that backpack. First of all, because I couldn't believe that it was spelt exactly the same way as our Clairisa and also the fact that of all the places in the entire water park that I could've sat, somehow I sat down in the chair next to the back pack of another Clairisa. I waited and waited hoping to see what she looked like. I really wanted to just see her. See what she was like and what kind of swimming suit she was wearing. Kindof silly, I know. But for some reason, I just really wanted to know. I never saw her and I was really disappointed that I didn't. I have thought about that back pack with my Clairisa's name on it over and over the last couple of days. I've thought about how I wish that I could have seen her name written on more than just her headstone. How I wish I could've seen it written at her little desk on her first day of school, or on her baptism certificate or even her wedding announcement. I miss her. I miss having her name on the tip of my tongue each day as I awaited her arrival into our family and into my life. But, I also know that because of the gospel and because of what happened on August 19, 2000, our family can be together again. Someday I will have my time with her. I will speak her name everyday without the painful tugging on my heartstrings. I will look into her beautiful eyes and whisper of the eternities we will share together. Ever since I moved to Texas, I have had a couple of different experiences with people where I felt like I wished I never even told them about Clairisa. I'm not going to go into any details because I would never want them to know and it just isn't relevant. But, a couple of comments that have been made have unintentionally brought up some raw emotions. I know that the comments were not meant to hurt or make light of anything, but they did and so I am still sorting out in my mind and heart how to deal with similar situations in the future. Even after four years, my emotions are still tender on this day. Although I am still driving my children around, doing my visiting teaching, cleaning my house, and folding laundry, my mind and heart can be found in that hospital room four years ago where I sat and held my beautiful lifeless baby girl for the first and last time. It was a day I will never ever forget...whether it's four or forty years later. We took this picture of our family the other day as we visited the temple with our friends. I love this picture for many many reasons, but one of the reasons that I love it is because although I cannot go to Clairisa's grave today (since it is 15 hours away) I know that the one place that I can go, where I feel her every single time I visit, is in the temple. When I came back to the Dallas temple (which is where Cory and I were married) a couple of years ago, it was the first time I'd been back to it since Clairisa. As we turned down the road that the temple is located on, I got really emotional as I noticed that the name of the road is Willow. Is it really a coincidence that Clairisa just happens to be buried next to a willow tree and that the place where Cory and I made covenants to seal our future family together was located on a street named Willow? I don't think so. Just like I don't think it was a coincidence that I sat next to that backpack. Why would those two little things be so significant to me? Because it is those little reminders of hope, tender mercies from He who is the author and deliverer of hope...of the Sunday that is sure to come. It is in those messages of hope that my spirit is lifted, my tears wiped away, my sorrow is swallowed up in joy, and my heart is found rejoicing.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Mommy Daughter Date

Having such an age span between my two older ones and two younger ones is actually pretty difficult. At times, it is hard to switch back and forth from baby mode to pre-teen mode. And, it is especially hard to give my older girls the attention that they want and need when so much of my focus and energy is spent on the two little ones. So, I have decided to start doing monthly mommy daughter dates with my older girls. I planned my first one this last weekend with Katelund. It was SO MUCH FUN!!! We went to "Daddy's mall" and walked in and out of stores trying on clothes, jewlery, sunglasses, etc. Katelund spent her lawn mowing money on a bunch of fun accessories from Claire's and then we sat by the water fountain in the park and talked and laughed for awhile as we tried on all of our purchases. Then we went and ate frozen yogurt together. As we drove home, dancing and singing to the music as it blared out of the radio, Katelund looked at me and said, "Mom, this was the best day ever, thank you." We have been talking about it ever since and I'm so excited to plan one next month with Cloey.

Our New Lawn Mower

Growing up, me and my sister were the lawn mowers in our family. Every Saturday morning Andrea and I would go out and do yard work with my dad while my mom would do chores in the house. I used to hate mowing and I would always look forward to the day when I would marry a wonderful man that would mow the lawn for the rest of our life and I'd never had to do it again. Well.....yes, I married a wonderful man but he is also very allergic to grass. He will and does do yard work, but it makes me feel horrible because of how sick he gets and the fact that he has to wear long sleeve shirts and jeans so the grass doesn't get on his skin. Other than letting him mow when I'm super big and pregnant, I usually just do it for him. Over the years of mowing, I have actually grown to love it. I love the way it looks afterwards, I love the work out I get, the tan I get, and just the time alone with me and the lawn mower. :) So when Cory told me that it was time for Katelund to start mowing, I was honestly kindof sad. But, at the same time, I also think it is good for her to learn how to do it and to feel the sweet reward of hard work. She has mowed for the last two weeks and is pretty good at it. Other than Cory doing the edging and weed eating, she does the front and backyard all by herself. At least she has a flat yard to mow. In Chattanooga, our lawn was an absolute beast to mow...and the grass (mostly weeds) grew SO QUICKLY!!! There were actually some times when I was pregnant, and Cory had threatened my life if I mowed the lawn, that I actually went out with scissors and cut it by hand because I just can't stand to have an unmanicured lawn. And, the greatest part about Katelund mowing is the fact that she is earning $2.50 every time she does it and she couldn't be happier about that. :) I guess I better enjoy it before she learns what others earn from mowing.

Dear Makayla,

This year has just flown by and although your birthday was over a week ago, I am still in denial that you are actually one year old. You are such a sweetheart!! I couldn't even imagine my life without you in it. Your smile and laugh melt my heart instantly and I just can't get enough of watching you walk. You were a really early walker. You started around 10 months which totally blew everyone away since you look like you are about 6 months old. Your such a tiny little thing and so stinking adorable. When I took you into the doctor last week for your 12 month appointment, the doctor said that you are in the 6th percentile on your weight and 3rd on your height. But inside of your tiny little body, there is a huge heart and tons of irresistable personality. You are constantly being doted upon by three other little mommies, especially Hailey. Hailey is constantly playing the role of protector in your life. She is always so concerned about your safety and comfort. It it SO precious!!! She is also your best friend and I'm pretty sure she would do absolutely anything for you. I am constantly amazed by her loyalty to you. I have never seen such a sweet relationship between sisters at such a young age. The only bad thing about you and Hailey being such close little buddies, is that you are watching her a little too closely. In just the last week or so, you have started climbing up onto the strangest things. It is making me very nervous. Hailey is a very fun and adventurous girl but I'd be scared to death to have two of her. :) Makayla, this last year has been amazing and I am so looking forward to all of the years to come. I love you with all of my heart and soul and feel so incredibly blessed to call you my daughter. Love Always and Forever, Mommy

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Finally Together

Finally Together!

My little sister, Katie, and her family moved to Dallas last week. My mom and dad drove down from Idaho to help them load everything up and drive it all here. My dad only stayed for about four days, but it was SO MUCH FUN to all be together as a family. We got family pictures done and then spent the whole day together on Saturday swimming, partying, talking, laughing, and celebrating all the July birthdays. It has been a long time since we have lived so close to family, and we are LOVING it!! Especially all of the time we have been able to spend with so many of our nieces and nephews. Cory and I have family all over the metroplex now. It is so fun, but I really wish they would all just move to our city, it would be so much less driving. Here are some pictures of all of the celebrating.

Take Us Out to the Ball Game

One of the things that my Dad really wanted to do when he was here in Texas, was to go to a Rangers game. So, we did. My parents, me, Andrea, Abby, Ethan, Katelund, and Cloey all went. I was excited because I knew how excited my dad was, but I was not really looking forward to spending all those hours in the blazing Texas sun. Just about an hour before we left, a storm cell rolled in. At first, we thought the game might get rained out (which may have not been to bad of a thing since it was SO HOT outside), but the storm cell did not bring any rain with it. But, it did bring a dramatic decrease in temperature and enough cloud coverage to completely block out the sun. It could not have been more perfect. There was slight coolness in the air and a little bit of wind to make it even better. The game was so much fun and the weather was amazing. Coincidence? I think not. I believe that the Lord created an absolutely perfect and memorable night just for my dad, and that it was.

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