Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Kate is herself and no one else and will not be put upon a shelf

Oh, the longing for years passed. The great wish I have to remember in detail the way my older kids' voices use to sound. The snuggly way they felt when I hugged them, the way they said Mommy. 

But alas, it is not to be.
 Instead, though, I have been immensely blessed to watch them grow, to change, to become who they are. And I wouldn't trade that just to go back. Because it has and continues to be a privilege. 

And now Kate is 17. And the years have flown, and her beauty and grace have grown.
Kate is 17. 
It brings tears to my eyes when I think about it. Right now, Kate and Julia are both gone on a Chamber Choir tour. I looked at Jeff last night, as we sat watching Sudio C with the 4 younger kids, and I said to him, "Do you realize that in 3 years, this is how it will be? Kate and Julia will both be on their own." 

It was a crazy realization, because 3 years is not that long. 

But I digress into my own self pity at the cold hard fact that children do grow up. And they leave. And that is the way it is supposed to be. 


So Kate had a birthday. And suddenly, she is a grown up in so many ways. But despite her maturity and good decision making abilities, she still gets very excited about gifts. And I hope she always will:)

I really shouldn't take pictures from this angle. When I do, it gives you a full view into my messy kitchen. And whatever shall I do if you realize I am not perfect? ;)

Kate wanted lemon bars for her birthday. I thinks it's been 6 years since she asked for cake on her birthday. Its one of the unique things I love about her. 

I love shopping for my kids birthdays. And when they ask for record players, and Beatles stuff and soft comfy blankets, whats not to love? 

Do you realize that she has one more birthday at home? Suck pot. Poop smith. Dag nab it. (those are my swear words)

I can't even type the words without crying. It such a beautiful, wonderful, no fair gift, to have children. Because they leave. I think I mentioned that. 

When she was a baby, I couldn't wait til she walked and talked and was potty trained. Somewhat because I am an impatient person, but also because I wanted to know her better. And now I know her so well, and it is too much to think about her outgrowing us. Even though I know its important and necessary and blah blah blah. 

 But I am so proud of her. I can't even express it adequately. Being a parent is such a joy, such a blessing. Thank you Heavenly Father for trusting me with your precious spirits. 

Ok, enough of my sap, and crying. There is a bit of blubbering too. 

On to the list!

Things we love about Kate.

1. Kate has never struggled with who she is. I think I have mentioned this before. It doesn't mean every situation or decision becomes instantly easy, but it means she is solid though those things. She has questions, she has doubts. But she knows she is a child of God, she is aware of her unique gifts and blessings. And she does not change just because the world does, or her friends do. Its remarkable. 
2. She has this gift of being kind even when she is saying something you may not want to hear. It doesn't happen a lot, but there is a quiet strength to this girl that people should never underestimate. She does not like conflict, but if something is important, she will steel herself up and do or say what needs to be done or said. I'm a wuss. So I admire this immensely.
3. She loves her dad and me. She likes to be with us, talk to us, laugh with us. I kept waiting for her to outgrow it but she hasn't. I imagine a boyfriend might throw a loop into this, but even friends and outside activities never trump her family. 
4. She has a beautiful singing voice that she tends to hide. She loves to sing and she loves being part of a bigger group like choir, but if you can get her to sing by herself, its so lovely. 
5. She also plays the piano. She has accompanied Julia twice now and she is so gracious as people come up and complement Julia. So here is a little etiquette for y'all. People who sing in public have obvious talent. They have had to fine tune it and overcome fear of singing in public. But most of us are born being able to sing. No one is born being able to play the piano. Kate has practiced every week for 6 years to be able to play the way she does. So when you compliment a vocal soloist, please remember to compliment the accompanist as well. Thank you.
6.She wants to serve a mission for our church. She wants to earn her own money, and sacrifice 18 months of her life to serve the Lord. That is a gem of a girl. I can't imagine who we will think is good enough for her. 
7. She works hard in school, has a job, church responsibilities and family responsibilities and she (almost) never shirks them. She is a great kid all around. Not perfect, because no one is, so don't worry that we hold her to being perfect. She holds herself to a high enough standard that most of the time we just let her do her thing. 
8. I have watched her grow through adversity. Moving when you are almost 16 is a very difficult thing to do. I never experienced moving as a kid first hand, but I have watched her struggle. And through it all she has come to know herself better and to trust her own spiritual promptings and answers to prayer. That is no easy task for any of us. And just like most trials, we certainly don't like them while we are going through them. But when we can look back and see the personal growth we have experienced, it is hard to wish them away. So I would not wish this away for any of my kids. There is much to be learned and gained during trials, as long as we don't give up. And she never has. 

So there you go. She is pretty amazing in every way. We all adore her. She has a calming influence in this house. She can be reserved around "outsiders" but once you get to know her, you learn that she is one of the wittiest, most clever, kind and fun people to be around. 

We love you Kate. Happy birthday!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Growing up and finding out that 8 is great

We have this little man in our house. He is pretty much the twin of his father. It's pretty hilarious, actually, how similar they are. 

It's hard for either of them to be serious, especially when you want them to be. 

And especially when you take Henry's picture, he either is totally goofy, or he won't smile at all. There is no in between.

So when you have just turned 8, and the cameras are all on you, then bring out the cheese!

Henry was really into Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles a few months ago(when his birthday was, Not as much now. Yes Mom, I know how long it's been since I posted! :)

And rather than try and match icing colors to that of a turtle shell, I decided to just buy a mask that he could wear and play with later and make that the cake topper.

I thought it was genius. UNTIL Henry saw it and then incessantly asked to be able to wear the mask for the next hour until he blew out his candles. 

Lesson learned:If the cake topper is something especially awesome, hide the cake until its time to eat it!

Finally! He can become one with the Turtles. And a little frosting on it is just a bonus. 

If you don't know by now, we are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the Mormons. So when our children are 8, they have the choice to be baptized. Most kids choose to be baptized and Henry was very excited for this special day.

It is always an emotional time for me. I love my children, and more than anything else I desire for their spiritual welfare and their salvation. So watching them enter the waters of baptism makes this mama exceptionally happy.

Henry asked me to talk about the Holy Ghost, and he asked his grandpa Granger to talk about baptism. It was a great day and most of our family came and celebrated this beautiful day with us, which meant a lot to Henry.

All 3 of Jeff's sisters were there, and my brother and sister and their families were there, but sadly we had the thought to take pictures after they had all gone on ahead to grab food for the luncheon afterwards.

But it meant a lot to us and to Henry that they were there for his special day.

Henry is a squishy, squashy little love. And we are so thankful for him.

Some great things to know about Henry:

1. The kid can dance! I am signing him up for hip hop classes. Seriously. He has moves.
2. I honestly don't think he knows how to say anything mean. He is kind to everyone, and even if you are mean to him, instead of lashing out, he will just walk away from you and those big eyes of his will well up and he will NOT understand how someone could be unkind.
3. He is a super picky eater! I list this because, while it can be frustrating, I know that it will be a fond memory about him. He is the Mikey of our house. (If you know who that is, then you are as old as me;). We introduced some new yummy and healthy berry syrup and he actually liked it. The fact that Henry would eat it got the other kids to try it because they KNOW he hardly eats anything.
4. He LOVES, LOVES, LOVEs playing with his sisters. Anne Marie and Nora are his best friends and he will gladly play with stuffed animals, barbies, whatever, just to hang with them. They also play legos and boy stuff with him. They love each other.
5. He loves his dad and his big brother and they love their little buddy.
6. He is my miracle child. Henry was born with a double knot in his umbilical chord-the nurse told us she had never seen that in a live birth before. Then, when he was 9 months old, he fell through the railing of the top floor in our rental house and landed 9 feet below on his head. And he was totally fine. I wasn't, I was a wreck. But he was ok.
7. He can read like nobody's business. His teacher talks to me about it all the time because he is so beyond grade level. Which is great because at the beginning of last year he couldn't read yet and it really bothered him. But he caught up quickly and its amazing.
8. All of the girls in his grade and the grade above him LOVE Henry. We walked into the school one day and a particular little girl that especially likes Henry was standing there. He saw her and put his hand out and just said, "Stop!". When I asked him about it, he said that she ALWAYS tries to hug him. And whenever he is sick, a bunch of little girls ask me where he is. It's pretty cute. And it reminds me of someone I am married too;)

Henry is such a blessing to our family. He is our barometer for niceness, being sensitive and kind, and for using soft voices even when we are upset. It's a gift he has. He helps other people see the consequences for how they react to things, and hopefully change because of it.

I love this little boy, so much. And I am so eternally grateful that he joined our family 8 years ago. Happy Birthday Henry!
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