Saturday, May 30, 2009

Keeping it Holy

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Bella’s dance company added a second performance to their recital – to be held on Sunday. I had previously talked to Bella’s teacher about how Sunday is our day for worship, and for family, and explained that she wouldn’t be able to be involved in other dance activities if they were held on Sunday. So, naturally, when she added the second performance she knew, and I confirmed, that Bella wouldn’t make it to that show. I asked if that would throw anything off for the other dancers in the class, or if it would cause any trouble for Bella in class, and she assured me that everything would be fine.

So, last night, we were at the dress rehearsal, and Bella’s class finally came out and ran through their number. They must have had the big stage jitters, because there were lots of girls who forgot the moves, and where they were supposed to be when. The instructor announced that they were going to run it again – which they really needed – and then I saw them take Bella and have her sit behind one of the curtains backstage. I didn’t understand what was going on at first, but then heard someone say that they needed to practice it the “Sunday way”. The only change I could see was that in the section where the girls are holding hands in circles of either 2 or 3, Bella’s group that was 3, now just had the 2 other girls in it. Not a big deal. Bella was visibly distressed by this. She was sitting on the side, watching the other girls do her dance – and I could tell, even from my seat in the audience, that she felt like the outcast. They obviously noticed too, because the teenage stage manager ended up sitting next to Bella with her arm around her until her class was ready to join her offstage.

It was disheartening as a parent to see my child be hurt by a decision that I made, and had talked her into. I was trying to teach her how important we think it is to keep the Sabbath, and live what we believe, but sitting there watching her slumped over and crying, I couldn’t help but second guess our choice. And, it made me wonder if they did this every week in class – where she had to sit out so they could practice without her.

When I was young, I was involved in community theater – and always performed in the Sunday matinee – because they didn’t have a backup for my role. But my family was INCREDIBLY strict about anything else to do with Sunday activities. I think the most active thing we ever did on Sunday was take a family walk. And Dan has many, many stories about how he never played on the league sports teams, even though he was recruited for them, because it would have required him to play on Sundays. I think it was difficult for him at the time – but has it adversely affected him in the long run? I don’t really think so.

I think his mom’s philosophy, and my parents’ as well (minus the allowance for theater – which now that I look back seems totally out of character for them to let me do that), was that if you allow your children to be involved in Sunday activities that are physical, or not with family, or against what we’ve been taught, then they’d be subliminally teaching their kids that what we’re taught at church, what we read in the scriptures, and what the prophets have instructed us, is really not that important, and that we can pick and choose for ourselves what commandments to follow, and to what extent. I’ve always bought into that philosophy as well – but watching Bella struggle last night made me think twice.

On the other hand, OF COURSE – it’s the things that we have to struggle with and through that make us stronger. So maybe, down the road, this will be one of the stories she remembers as a defining moment in her testimony of keeping the Sabbath Day holy, and in turn the importance of living your beliefs.

Or maybe it will be one of the defining moments of why she thinks her mom is a big meanie who didn’t let her do ANYTHING. Could go either way. Your thoughts?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Google Yourself

Have you ever googled yourself? I was trying to google pictures of my Great Aunt for a little blog tribute to her – and couldn’t find any. I googled her husband, no pics. So I got curious, and did a google image search on myself. There were a few blog things, a couple facebook things, and some pics of crafts, and a pattern that I did for my cuz-in-laws website. Then I got even more curious to see what people could find out about me, so I did just a regular google search for my name, and then my maiden name. Interesting what comes up. Newspaper birth announcements, property records, business profiles, and then something I had totally forgotten about. When I was in high school, we were given an assignment in our English class to write in to a magazine and see if we could get published. I was the only one in class who made it into print. I wish it was for a beautifully written, creative, inspiring article – but really, I was only 15. I wrote in to the magazine I read most at the time “The New Era”, and to the section that I thought I had the best chance of getting published in – the Reader’s Feedback section - and this little snippet showed up on my google search, on the website in the November 1993 New Era archives. Here it is in all its glory:

I would like to thank you for the article “Monday Is for Abs” in your April 1993 issue. My lifelong dream has been to go on a mission. Although I am only 15 years old, I have been looking forward to this wonderful event for many years. Reading this story reminded me of the many blessings that come from being a missionary. I am extremely grateful for the New Era and all the fantastic articles that have inspired me to serve a mission.
Cumorah Hunt Grants Pass, Oregon

I really did want to serve a mission. I always planned on it. I was dating Dan when I turned 21, and asked him if he would wait for me while I served a mission. He of course told me a big fat no. I was really hurt at the time thinking he didn’t love me enough to wait a year and a half for me so that I could have this great, growing experience. But now, I realize that he loved me enough to tell me the truth. If I had served a mission at that time, we probably wouldn’t have ended up together, and my life would be drastically different. (so scary to think about!) I do still plan on serving a mission, someday, and I’ll get to serve with Dan. How amazing will that be?

Requirement #3: Makes me Laugh

A few Sundays ago, before a combined Relief Society/Priesthood meeting, the man conducting announced the formation of a new help group for addictions. He explained that it was created to help people with an addiction to anything, including drugs, alcohol, gambling, eating or even shopping.
As the man continued to list addictions that this group could help you overcome, Dan leaned over to me and asked solemnly, "What if I'm addicted to temple attendance? Will it help me get over that?"
An instant Dan classic. The kid still makes me laugh, and I love it.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Best 20 Minutes

Yesterday, we had a few minutes in between Azure getting home from school, and Bella going to school, so we packed a quick lunch, and headed to the waterfall park down the street for a picnic. We only had 20 minutes, but it was the BEST 20 minutes. It was a beautiful, sunny, nearly wind free (amazing I know!) day. My kids kicked off their sandals and dipped their toes in the water as we ate our sandwiches and yogurt. We brought some extra bread to feed the ducks, and they ran around the pond throwing their bite size pieces in the water. They squealed every time one of the ducks went after a piece of their bread. They ran and giggled and splashed and squealed some more.
This was one of those rare moments that I felt the joy and beauty of being a mom to little kids, IN THE MOMENT. I know that I am often so rushed, and pushing to get on to the next thing - that I don't take the time to enjoy what's happening now. I heard some advice recently that I love: This is a time of life. that 20 years down the road, you will look back at fondly, so why not enjoy it now? Why not make it a positive experience now?
That's one of my new goals: to enjoy. Enjoy my children. Enjoy my husband. Enjoy being pregnant for the last time. Enjoy my calling. Enjoy my friends. Enjoy the moment. Enjoy LIFE --- right this second.
Thanks to the water, the ducks, and my beautiful kiddos for reminding me of that this week.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday Robin!!!
I have the PRIVILEGE of being Robin's visiting teacher. She's just a down to earth, but spunky, beautiful, cheerful, bold, intelligent, multi-talented, strong, loving, AMAZING woman who makes everyone around her feel cared for and uplifted!
So glad I get to be even a small part of her beautiful life.
I got to spend a little bit of the gorgeous, sunny morning with her today, sitting on her deck, chatting, while Bella and Calvin helped themselves to her backyard, and then her family room, and then her piano, and then her backyard again, and then finally to a nice cool glass of water in her kitchen. And she was calm through every minute of it - incredible.
Happy Birthday girl!
Lots of love!!!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

When Dan's Away

I do things very differently when Dan is gone on business, or a hunting trip, or on a guys' weekend... here are just a few of the things that change when he's not around. {what changes for you when your hubbie is gone?}
  1. I don't clean my kitchen every day at 4:00 {instead, I sit outside and watch my kids ride bikes in the culdesac with all of their neighbor friends}
  2. I don't make my bed
  3. I leave all of my hair styling tools & products out on the counter
  4. I don't put my clothes in the hamper
  5. we eat pasta for dinner every night
  6. we always, always have a treat after dinner
  7. I put the kids to bed much later {that's not a great thing, it just happens that way}
  8. I shop more
  9. I sleep less.
  10. I hear every little sound in and around our house at night and get freaked out.
  11. I watch a lot of lame, late night tv
  12. the kids miss wrestle time
  13. I eat all the oreos I want.
  14. I really, really miss him {so then I spend the last day before he gets home cleaning my little heart out, so that he'll want to stick around a little bit longer...}

love ya sweetcheeks!

Track Season

Bella has finished her first ever season of track! {I know you're smiling Coach Hunt!} She did really well - and was within the first half of the pack in each race she did. She cracked me up though after her first meet. She came in fourth in her heat of the 200, and was so confused!
Bella: I didn't win Mom.
Me: That's ok - you did awesome! We are so proud of you!
Bella: But, I didn't come in first. I don't get it. I thought I would be first.
She was honestly blown away that she didn't win. I'm not sure where that came from, because in practices, doing the follow the leader style running - she would be the last person in line, skipping, doing ballet jumps, or digging for worms. Never first, and never competitive. Apparently, race day is a different story for her!
She decided she wanted to practice on my treadmill so that she could get faster, but that didn't last long. She couldn't quite get the rythm down, so her peak speed was 2.5mph - holding on to the hand rails for dear life. Azure got on after her to give it a shot, and kept asking me to make it go faster. She got up to 6mph, with no hands. You should have seen her cute little legs just flying! She can't wait to run in the races next year!
Bella really did have a fun time running, and I am so proud of her! At her last meet, she was running the 400, and as she came around the bend for the last straightaway, I could tell she was hurting. She got a little closer, and I saw that she was crying - but she kept on plugging away. I think she came in sixth out of almost 20 girls.
Part of that scenario reminds me of me when I was a little girl. The crying, yes. The not coming in last, no. My Dad directed the Parks & Rec All-Comers Track Meets during the summers. I had a blast trying the long jump & high jump - but whenever he made me run the 800, I would cry during races too. I would always be thinking to myself "OK, I can fake a twisted ankle right here, around this corner, I can make it look totally real. I'm already crying..." but I never did it. I would cry my way to the finish line, usually last or close to it, and then throw up. Ah, the sweet memories. She's already doing way better than I did! Way to go girl!

The start of the 400. Just look at that form!

Our neighbors, Ashley and Anna cheered her on, and ran with her for the final stretch.

Proud runner with her biggest fan. Cal loves to shout: "Doe Bella!!!"

But the best part of track, was hanging out with the fam afterwards. These sort of shennanigans used to make me nervous -- but I've seen it done so often, that now I trust Dan to actually catch the kids after he throws them up as high as the field goal posts!

Monday, May 11, 2009

To Nana & Grammy

My girls LOVE any reason to celebrate - and they LOVE making, buying & giving presents.
This year for mom's day - they had so much fun helping me with the gift for Nana Hunt. They made her this beautiful necklace: which they instructed her via phone call before she got the package, that she MUST wear to church on Mother's Day (so glad it arrived in time!) They were absolutely thrilled when they saw this pic of Nana wearing their necklace at church! We also sent her a few other things, the girls picked out some gum for her (their current favorite treat), and we sent a church book and a Jillian Michaels workout video. My mom has been doing awesome on a diet she's on, and has recently lost 22 pounds!!! We thought the video would be a fun way to encourage her to keep up the great work! So proud of you mom!!! We love you Nana!

They didn't get to be quite as hands on with Grammy's gift...but they spent most of the time I was working on this looking over my shoulder, sitting on my lap, squirming on the chair next to me, etc. etc. Jen & I each made one of these "sweetest blessings" trees. She gave hers to her mom, Nan, who is Grammy's sister. This tree has pics of all Grammy's 12 grandkids, and room for lots more! We love you Grammy!!!

I would have made one for Nana as well, but I kind of ran out of time, and knew it would cost a fortune to ship one of these to my maybe for Christmas...hmm, back to the craft store - anyone want to join me on this one?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Easter - 2009

We had a great Easter this year!

It started with a pre-Easter egg hunt at the park with friends from our ward...
Saturday, we did our ritual hugging the Bunny at the YMCA

We came home and painted & decorated Easter eggs - without any major messes!

Sunday, we woke up to snow - not too shocking for Easter in Colorado Springs - and headed to church.

We came home and checked out our Easter baskets full of books, treats, and sugar cereal for Mom! Yum!!!

Later, we enjoyed a nice, traditional Easter dinner at Grammy's house with Meg, Todd, Grammy & Grandpa. All I had to do was make a salad and the desserts - it was lovely!

Easter through the years

A glimpse back... dinner at our house with the Carlsons

Abbie's baptism

A visit from Aunt Lia & Eden!