The last few weeks have been busy! School finished on Friday and I feel like I can breathe a sigh of relief and relax (ha ha ha). You may ask what we have been doing the last two weeks? Here are a few pictures with the highlights:Baby Nathan (as he is called by the kids) keeps getting cuter- when babies are born they are the most beautiful little people ever- then when you look back at newborn pictures you realize how very red, swollen and blotchy they look! They are so cute, but look a lot better after a week!
Brothers at last!
Skye's favorite past time is holding Nathan. We are still working on her technique!
Just because she may be the cutest child ever. We were feeling sad because our yard is mostly done, so we decided to tear it up again. Paul rented this little tractor and he and Joseph spent a Saturday digging a pit for our trampoline.
The pit. Yesterday Paul finished a few layers of the retaining wall (this picture shows the foundation for the wall). All the dirt in the middle will be used for back fill or removed (just in case you were wondering how we were actually going to jump on the trampoline with all that dirt;-). One of our favorite people got engaged! We are very excited and I think the girls ask her several times a day if they get to see her wedding dress. I didn't make a cake for Skye this year (go figure!) but she was excited because Grandma took her to Costco and let her pick out the cake. She wanted blue and purple flowers- luckily my Mom knew to write "lavender" for the purple ones otherwise we would still be brushing the dye off our teeth! My first outing with the baby was to Rachel and Skye's Dance Festival. Each grade learns and performs a dance. It is pretty fun to watch all the kids dance. Nathan slept through the performance in the Baby Bjorn.
Tomorrow we officially start summer. We will do swimming lessons, the summer reading program at the library, chess club for Joseph, and gymnastics at the Rec center for the girls, along with our normal summer jobs. I need to get the kid's job chart organized and up on the fridge! I love the summertime!
Today a friend said "I saw the first little post about Nathan, but nothing since, did I miss anything?" I would love to post more pictures (especially since Skye thinks that EVERY time she holds the baby she needs her picture taken) but sadly, while we were in the hospital our hard drive crashed (it had been acting weird for a few days). Luckily Paul was able to retrieve everything we had done since our last backup. We are awaiting a new hard drive and so I have been in computer limbo- sometimes I can use Paul's computer, sometimes I can use the temporary system he set up, but most of the time I have been just ignoring all technology.
I have been having too much fun holding the new baby to miss the computer! Hopefully we will be up and running in a few days and I can post more about Nathan, Skye's birthday (with her awesome Costco cake with blue and purple flowers!), and end of school activities! Thanks for all the calls and notes!
Each life that touches ours for good Reflects thine own great mercy, Lord; Thou sendest blessings from above Thru words and deeds of those who love.
What greater gift dost thou bestow, What greater goodness can we know Than Christlike friends, whose gentle ways Strengthen our faith, enrich our days.
For worthy friends whose lives proclaim Devotion to the Savior's name, Who bless our days with peace and love, We praise thy goodness, Lord, above.
Thank you for humoring me with my Daily Daffodil posts. The last few weeks of pregnancy are usually pretty tough. These posts have given my mind something to focus on besides how I am feeling. Several of you saw through the fact that I was using them as a countdown to baby. Guess what? My attempt to find the positive during a difficult time worked. Here I am, almost done and I feel a lot better having spent time thinking about all of you instead of myself.
I have missed many people. Please know that I really could go on writing to all the incredible people who have influenced my life. I only touched the tip of the iceberg of family members. I barely scrapped the bucket of friends. I didn't even start on the well of neighbors (especially my running buddies who have seen this pregnancy through day after day!). Thank you for your kind comments.
So, wish us luck! Each new baby is the start of an adventure of a lifetime. We will let you know when we have news!
Joseph Todd 12/22 Rachel Nicole 1/16 Skye Marie 5/22
Adrie Anna 10/27
Katie Michelle 3/29
To My Dear and Loving Husband
If ever two were one, then surely we. If ever man were loved by wife, then thee; It ever wife was happy in a man, Compare with me ye women if ye can. I prize thy love more than whole mines of gold, Or all the riches that the East doth hold. My love is such that rivers cannot quench, Nor ought but love from thee give recompense. Thy love is such I can no way repay; The heavens reward thee manifold, I pray. Then while we live, in love let's so persever, That when we live no more we may live ever.
My heart is too full to write the words. Truly it has been a grand adventure.
I love this picture at your graduation from college. When you came out of the Marriott center and all the kids saw their favorite aunt, they swarmed you and knocked you to the ground. It was such aspontaneous show of how much these kids love you. You are such a wonderful aunt. I am very grateful for the relationship that you have with my children. They truly love theirSuz.
It is hard to believe that it was three months ago that you moved in with us. It has been so fun to have you live here. Now the house will seem so empty when you move out! I have enjoyed getting to know you better.
There are so many parts of our friendship that I enjoy. I enjoy hearing about your work- I love talking plants with you. It is so fun to talk to someone that loves trees and plants so much! You are so caring and willing to help us. Even though my Mother's Day present is long gone, I will always treasure the memory of that gift (a big bag of pebbled ice!). Thanks for all you do for our family- from listening to me, to letting our kids hang out in your room (eating all your cinnamon bears!), to pruning our trees!
What can I say to the sweetest baby? Just when I think you can't get any cuter, you do. The only hard part about having a new baby is that your baby grows up in a day.
One of the funniest things I get to see is you standing up to Joseph. He is at least twice as tall as you and weighs three times as much, but you definitely tell him where to go. Actually, now that I think about it, you pretty much boss the whole family.
Although you will suddenly grow huge when the new baby comes, please remember I still love to rock all my babies.
I have been enjoying your blog so much. It is fun to hear your thoughts about your new baby! I have been so impressed with your appreciation of motherhood. I tend to focus on getting through the pregnancy and your blog has been a great reminder to focus on better things.
I am grateful for the time we were able to get to know you before you (and Ryan of course) moved across the country! You complement each other so well. It has been fun to watch your relationship over the last year.
We are excited for this new step in your life! Although we wish that we lived closer and could get to meet and hold the cute new almost here baby, we will look forward to pictures! Good luck with the next few months!
I think the first time I really met you was at your graduation from college. I was just a future sister-in-law at that point, but you treated me like one of the family. We had so much fun staying up really late the night before graduation- talking and getting to know each other. I have enjoyed our friendship ever since. There are so many things that I enjoy about having you for a sister.
It has been amazing to watch you over the past twelve years. Through all the challenges you have faced, I don't think I have ever heard you complain. I have learned so much observing your optimism during adversity.
I love to watch you with children. You are such a great mother to your own children, but also manage to show so much love and affection for all the nieces and nephews!
Quite a few years ago I was home from college for Christmas break. You were also home visiting. At some point during the break we had a conversation which you probably don't remember, but I have always remembered. I was writing a letter on the computer and you came in and sat down and just started talking. You talked about many things- decisions, relationships, and what was important in your life. What you couldn't have known was that I was contemplating some major life decisions and that everything you talked about answered problems I had been trying to figure out. I don't know if you felt inspired to talk to me, but I have always looked back on that conversation as a turning point in my life. I made some changes that have made all the difference in what my life is like now. There are so many other ways that you have influenced my life, but I thought it was high time to thank you for a simple conversation years ago!
A little while ago I missed a phone call from you. When I got the message I had to smile because it reminded me of how thoughtful you always are. "Hi, Becca, this is Lesley, I am just calling to see how the end of your pregnancy is going . . ." I really appreciate all the times that you have called just to see how I am doing!
I admire your energy! You may not feel like you get a lot done with four little kids, but every time we visit and I see the room that you just painted or how your yard has changed, I am so amazed at everything you are able to do!
I also love your creativity. From wonderful Christmas crafts to Easter egg pinatas, you have the greatest ideas. You have an eye for what looks good. I really love what you have done with your yard. It is such an amazing place already- I love to visit in the summer and see the changes.
I am so glad that we are sisters. I enjoy spending time with you and have learned so much from your example. I love you! Love, Becky
"The friends who mean everything to us- the friends without whom our lives would be empty- are our most enduring models of grace and good fortune. We know that our time on earth would have had paltry meaning had not, one fine day, our lives connected for the first time with the lives of the people who would turn out to be our most treasured friends." Bob Greene And You Know You Should Be Glad
I do not believe in fate or destiny. Rather, I believe in a loving Heavenly Father that guides our paths. Sometimes, not by chance, those paths meet up with people that change our lives. I am grateful that we were placed together as roommates our Freshman year of college. Over the years we have many fun memories and good talks. It is hard to believe that we are coming up on 15 years since we first met! Where did the time go?
I love the times that we can get together now, pick up where we left off and just spend time talking about our lives. One of the main aspects of our friendship that I enjoy is that we have always been able to talk about everything- in fact we should talk more often so that we don't try and cram so much of life and ideas into one phone call!
I know this is an especially tender time of year, remembering your sweet Elizabeth. I think of you often and of all the things you taught me during that difficult time. You are an incredible example to me of faith, endurance, and trusting in Heavenly Father.
The other day at church after the opening hymn you leaned over and said "I do have sunshine in my soul!" I would have to agree. Although we named you Skye just because we liked the name, it is a fitting name for such a sunny child.
You have a loving personality. You are always concerned about other people. I love being the recipient of so many love notes.
You are very creative. You continue to astonish us with the details that you capture through many different art forms.
This morning the girls were watching me butter toast and had the following conversation: Adrie: "I really want to be a mother!" (She is jealous that I get to butter the toast) Skye: "What?! Toasting everyone's food and eating last?!"
You know when you catch a case of the giggles? The kind of laughter that you can't stop. It usually seems to happen during less than jovial times like family prayer or church or dinner. There is usually not a good reason for this laughter- it just starts. Usually there is a partner in this laughter- someone that you can't make eye contact with or the laughter will escape. As you stare desperately at the floor trying to hold the laughter in, you hear a small snort from your partner in laughter. (Why is it that this kind of laughter always comes out in snorts or bursts- often times when you have just taken a drink of water or put food in your mouth?) Now you are in trouble. It is either let the laughter out or desperately try to think of all the sad things in the world. Either way, the tears will begin to stream from your eyes. I am so glad that we have been partners in laughter for all of our lives. I have so many good memories of laughing with you- as we make movies, as we watch cute children, as we quote favorite lines, and as we watch some of those terrible movies that we made (they really should be banned).
Growing up, we shared a unique transition in our family- I was one of the girls, you were one of the boys- but somehow at the point where the two met- a fantastic friendship was formed. Our friendship has always been one of the most enjoyable things in my life.
Recently, as I viewed the images of your brain, I was relieved that there were not any notations "Unexplained damage, possibly due to being dropped on his head by an older sister when he was a baby." Not that I would know anything about you being dropped on your head! As a child, teenager and adult you have tolerated my bossiness and all the wisdom that I chose to bestow on you (oh, how a three year age gap makes me the expert!). I hope that you survived without any damage. Thanks for putting up with me!
I look forward to many more bouts of laughter with you! Hopefully someday we can live closer, but for now, thank you for making us so much a part of your life with your blogs and emails.
Daffodils (1804) I WANDER'D lonely as a cloud That floats on high o'er vales and hills, When all at once I saw a crowd, A host, of golden daffodils; Beside the lake, beneath the trees, Fluttering and dancing in the breeze. Continuous as the stars that shine And twinkle on the Milky Way, They stretch'd in never-ending line Along the margin of a bay: Ten thousand saw I at a glance, Tossing their heads in sprightly dance. The waves beside them danced; but they Out-did the sparkling waves in glee: A poet could not but be gay, In such a jocund company: I gazed -- and gazed -- but little thought What wealth the show to me had brought: For oft, when on my couch I lie In vacant or in pensive mood, They flash upon that inward eye Which is the bliss of solitude; And then my heart with pleasure fills, And dances with the daffodils.
Thanks to my good friend Jen for the poem!
When I was first introduced to Paul's family, you and Brian seemed so old to me! You had been married for 4 years (gasp!) and had a toddler. You seemed so wise and knew so much about life. Now I just have to laugh because we were all just babies! Although my perspective on age keeps changing (we are definitely not as young as we were, but we aren't old!), I still feel like you are still wise and know so much more than me! I have learned so much from your example over the years.
I have always looked up to you as a mother. You have so many great ideas about parenting. I especially remember one summer when you set the goal to do fun things with your kids. I feel like I get stuck in the rut of caring for children and making sure they do their work and school- you always remind me to enjoy my children and have fun with them!
I am grateful that we are sisters through marriage. It has been fun to watch your family over the years and all the great things that you do!
Happy Birthday to your sweet Lucy. How can she be one already? I remember those bright, bright eyes in the hospital. What a beautiful little girl. I hope you have a nice day!
I like this picture of you playing the piano. It reminds me of all the years that I grew up hearing about Eliza instead of knowing Eliza. As the oldest sister you were an intimidating person to follow. I think you were always intimidating because you seemed to excel at everything you tried. I am very grateful that you decided to go to ASU and that we were able to become friends (our age difference had limited our friendship before- I think I was 10 when you left for college- when you came back I was in high school and we were able to relate as peers a little better!). Now as friends, I can appreciate your excellence because I understand how much hard work, time and effort go into everything you try. I am not intimidated anymore, I am just motivated to follow your example in so many aspects of life.
I love this quote: "If we strive for perfection- the best and the greatest- and never settle for mediocrity, we can excel" Spencer W. Kimball. I see your life reflected in this quote.
Recently you made a beautiful dress for Lucy. To truly appreciate the dress, you have to see it in person and understand how completely fantastic it is. All of the top stitching is even, the details (pintucks and ribbon) are perfect, and everything is done neatly. However, the dress has more meaning when you understand how much work and effort you put into it. First of all, you took the classes at the Bernina store to learn how to use your machine. You figured out what tools you needed to finish the dress. You spent a lot of time on the dress (I am not sure how long, but I know you had to fit it in between taking care of the cute children!). So while on the surface you just seemed to turn out this cute little dress, I know that you really did "strive for perfection" in making it.
There are so many more examples of how you approach a problem (cooking chocolate cake, finishing a bathroom, raising children) and with research, the right tools, and a lot of hard work have an incredible end product. I am so grateful that I can watch you go through this process. You teach me, motivate me, and inspire me all the time. I am glad that we are friends and sisters!