Sunday, January 06, 2013

Rolling (more like falling) into 2013

We had a lot of fun ringing in the new year. The fun started on New Year's Eve. We got a babysitter for the girls (one of their favorite things), fun microwavable food, a movie, and candy. Then Cory and I left. We met up with six other couples at Cheesecake factory (I'm so mad that I forgot to take any pics of our night)and then afterwards we all went over to one of the couple's house and played games and ate some more food( favorite!) It was such a great date night, especially since we got to know some more people in our ward. Yes, it is finally happening. We are starting to really love our ward and all the wonderful people in it. Cory and I left with enough time to take the babysitter home and watch the ball drop with our older girls. Then we drank our traditional sparkling apple juice in our fancy goblets and then crawled into bed at 12:02. The next day we all went ice skating. It was the girls first time and they LOVED it!! It was a little tricky to manage the little ones but we figured it out and I think they had a great time as well (except for the moment when Hailey ran away from me and I was frantically chasing her with Makayla in my arms, and a stoller in front of me while trying to manuever through a crazy crowd at the mall. I'm sure it was not a very pretty sight and I'm glad Cory didn't capture it...he was the photographer for the day). Speaking of photography...Cory surprised me Christmas morning with my dream camera. I can't stop taking pictures...and neither can he. It's amazing the difference between my iphone pics and my new camera. I LOVE IT!!! We are all very excited for a new year filled with new resolutions. Cory and I both have a goal this year to do our very first triathlon. I have some more resolutions but I think I'll save them for another post. Here's to a rock n rollin' 2013!!

Friday, January 04, 2013

Christmas Day in Pictures

Christmas Day in Pictures

Christmas Day in Pictures

Christmas Day in Pictures

Christmas Eve

This year we were so blessed to be able to share our Christmas Eve traditions with Uncle Logan and Aunt Becca. Grandma and Grandpa Black bought the girls' Christmas Eve pajamas this year (which are adorable) and then Cory bought both his and mine. After we were snuggled up in our pajamas and blankets, Cory read our traditional Christmas Eve story.."That Thine Alms May Be in Secret". Over the last 12 years that I have heard this story on Christmas Eve, I have not once been able to do it without sobbing my eyes out. The funny thing is that neither has Cory, and he has heard it every year since he was a little boy. Then, Uncle Logan read our next Christmas Eve story, "The Polar Express". Although he doesn't quite have the animation in his reading as Cory does, he still did a great job. :) Then I made hot chocolate as we turned the lights off, the fire on, and all watched Polar Express (the girls all fall asleep to this movie every single's perfect). Then Cory, Logan, Becca, and I stayed up laughing, talking, and wrapping presents. It was perfect.

Trying to Capture a Perfect Sunset

Last week, I went on a youth temple trip. As we were driving in downtown Dallas, I could hardly keep my eyes on the road because of the sunset that I desperately tried to capture in the photo above. It was seriously amazing and the picture doesn't even do it justice. I am SO grateful for the gift of sight. I can't imagine living my life without experiencing the majesty and beauty of a perfect sunset. But, then as the sun set my eyes were not disappointed as I was able to witness one of the most beautiful sights ever...worthy strong youth performing baptismal ordinances. Free from the fashions of the world and the make-up on their faces, once more, I was able to see the purity, radiance, and joy that is captured on their countenances as they step out of a baptismal font. Wet, pure, and dressed simply in white...they never look more beautiful as they do in that moment. Amazingly, even more beautiful than a perfect sunset.

I was R.A.K.ed!!!

[Notice what is on the seat NOT how dirty my van seats are! YUCK!] After the girls' Christmas parties at school, we were all walking out to the van to drive home and I had someone randomly pull up next to me in their car and ask if they could talk to me for a second. I hesitantly walked over to these two women who were all decked out in Christmas attire. They handed me a candy cane with a Sonic gift card attached to it and said that I had been R.A.K.ed (a Random Act of Kindness). I don't even know how much is on the gift card, but every time I open up my wallet and see it, I smile. There is so many bad things going on in the world in which we live. Shootings in schools, corruption in politics, murders, theft, etc, etc, but when I look at that gift card I remember that there is also good....a lot of good. All though the bad seems to have overtaken the good because it is always in our face with the media, I believe that there is even more good going on in the world. For me, this random act of kindness couldn't have come at a better time. The last week I had really been struggling. As I sent my children off to school each day, I was desperately praying that they would be safe. The lingering sadness of the recent school shootings weighed heavily on my mind. But as I look at that gift card, I am reminded that all is not lost. There are still really good people out there who are trying their best to change the world, one act of kindness at a time. It has reminded me that I shouldn't crawl under a rock and hide my children, I need to be doing my part. I truly believe that this random act of kindness was not random at all. It was the Lord's way of using some very good people to remind me that there is still hope in humanity. And also, that there is so much good that needs to be our homes, neighborhoods, and communities. When multiplied, one random act of kindness done by hundreds of people each day could change the world in which we live. I may not be able to stop a tragedy from occurring, but I can take cookies to my neighbors. I don't think I will ever spend the money on that Sonic card, or even find out how much is on there, because it doesn't matter. You can't put a price on lesson like the one I received. Thank you stranger for being an instrument in the Lord's hand and restoring my hope in mankind.

Santa Run

In the month of October, I taught lesson after lesson to my laurels about taking care of their physical bodies. So, I decided to take it a step farther. I asked them if any of them would be interested in training and running a 5k (none of them had ever ran one before). They were all really excited about it and committed to it right away. For our next class activity, we officially started the "Couch Potato to 5k" training program. For the next six weeks, the girls trained on their own. The morning of the race, we all met at 6 am and carpooled over. One of the girls had trained with her dad, so he ran the race with us, and another girl had her mom and sister run as well. It was such a great experience. We had SO MUCH FUN!!! I was so proud of all the girls! Everyone finished the race and had a blast doing it. Goal accomplished. :)

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