Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Good Stuff

I find that my typical day as a mother is chock full of stuff that's just not that fun - cleaning up the same mess yet again or hearing the twins fighting in the next room yet again or getting the big kids to do their homework in the midst of whining and complaining or trying to figure out what in the world to make for dinner with the 10 minutes I have left before we have to run off to the next thing. But when I look for them, I find that my life is also chock full of really beautiful little moments. Sometimes I really have to search out the good stuff and find in wedged in somewhat precariously between a lot of stuff that's not so good - the sweet hug from Isaac while I'm frantically trying to get everyone in the car, the funny comment from one of the twins in the midst of a wild family dinner, the cute drawing from Eliza on my pillow as I head to bed after a long day. Sometimes the good stuff doesn't get fully appreciated or noticed in the midst of the hard things that keep getting thrown my way. But other times, like this morning, the good stuff comes out in abundance with no bad stuff mixed in and it's like a big shot in the arm to see me through the hard stuff that's bound to show up before long.

This morning I woke up to the sound of some quiet chinking of dishes in the kitchen, wondered what that might be briefly, saw that the red hills were all lit up beautifully, smiled and fell back asleep, curled up next to my wonderful husband who for once hadn't gotten up before me. I do love waking up next to him when it works out! Then a bit later, just as we both started waking up and realized it was past time to get up, the door to our room was flung open and there were three beaming kids holding a tray full of food for us. They'd decided to make us breakfast in bed - just because they love us. What beautiful, thoughtful kids we've got! They proudly presented us with a tray with two bowls of oatmeal (somewhat plain, dry and cold, but full of love), two pieces of toast laid out nicely with two knives and a fancy little bowl of jam and some butter as well as two glasses of milk - they thought of everything! Jared and I sat back and enjoyed some breakfast together (something we never get to do - it's usually just us getting food down the kids and maybe grabbing something for ourselves as we head out the door) while the big kids fed the twins and got ready for school. We've arrived! This is the life!

And now I'm sitting here typing in total peace after vacuuming and cleaning up the breakfast mess in total peace. The twins are at preschool and the big kids are in school and I was supposed to go visiting teaching but that fell through and I find I have this "gift" of a couple hours to get things done and be on my own and I'm savoring it and feeling so blessed.

Later on today, when the craze of homework and dinner is upon me, I'm going to remember this morning and find this happy peaceful place inside me that I'm experiencing right now and it's going to be a good day and stay a good day. I'm going to find and cherish the good little moments in the midst of the hard stuff more often and carve out time to really enjoy them and celebrate them. And I'm not going to let the hard stuff get to me so much. The hard stuff is usually just a little minute and in the grand scheme of things, it really doesn't matter much or stack up to being that important. But the good stuff - it may be short and sweet, it may be few and far between sometimes - but it matters. It matters big time.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Our Tenth Anniversary

10 years. Wow.

It was Jared's turn to plan our anniversary this year. Lucky him that he got the big one! I offered some none-too-suble hints that I'd sure love something really romantic and creative and sentimental (three things that are not his strong suits) if he could possibly manage it and wow, he sure delivered!

I really didn't know what to expect - Jared kept it all a surprise. We went up to SLC so my sweet parents could watch the kids and also because, as it turned out, SLC figured pretty heavily into Jared's plans.

The night before our actual anniversary (Sept 8th), I made Eliza's wish come true and put on my wedding dress for her and the rest of the kids. She has this bridesmaid's dress I found for her at at thrift shop and after seeing pictures of my wedding as we led up to the anniversary, she begged for us to both put on our "wedding dresses" together. So why not? It was so much fun to dress up with my little girl and she was so very excited about my big fancy dress. I couldn't exactly breathe in my dress - but thanks to the "corset" style top of the dress and Jared's help getting the laces done up the back, everything got squished in somehow and it actually sort of fit!
As Eliza and I came down the stairs in our dresses it was fun to have all the boys perk up and get into the whole thing as well. We decided to take some photos and Jared turned on some great old music like the kind we danced to at our reception so we could have a little family dance. It was so fun to share a little piece of our wedding with the kids in a more interactive way than just looking at pictures.

The next morning, our actual anniversary, we started off with a hike. Jared did a bunch of research (thanks to Google Earth) and found the exact spot where he proposed over 10 years ago. We were in such a quandry over where to go with our relationship and had just pulled off the road up Emigration Canyon near my parent's house and started hiking up a random trail. Then, after kneeling to get some help from the Lord, Jared looked up at me and shocked us both by saying, "I want to marry you!" - and quite suddenly, we were engaged! Neither of us could remember where we'd been since our minds really weren't on our location at the time. But Jared found the spot and it really is a beautiful spot and was so fun to be there again together. We knelt and offered up a prayer to thank the Lord for 10 great years and pray for guidance and support as we move forward. To top it all off, Jared somehow still had the t-shirt he was wearing the day we got engaged and he put that on for the hike. Talk about sentimental. Then we went to lunch up at the top of the Joseph Smith Building - where we had our wedding luncheon back on our wedding day. We wandered around the temple grounds and remembered all the spots where we'd taken pictures and how new and exciting everything was that day. Next, Jared helped me put on my wedding dress again for a horse-drawn carriage ride around SLC. It was so fun! Jared knew I always wished we'd left our reception in a carriage so he made it happen 10 years later! We had lots of people honking and waving and clapping and calling out "congratulations!" and I loved sitting there by my sweetheart, feeling like a bride all over again but loving the "groom" so much more deeply that I did 10 years ago.
We checked into the gorgeous Grand America Hotel and had a wonderful dinner together and Jared presented me with a really beautiful new setting for my diamond - he did such a great job picking out something I so thoroughly liked. Then we capped everything off the next morning by doing some sealings at the Salt Lake Temple and "renewing our vows" while helping those who've gone before become sealed to each other. That was one of my very favorite parts.
Here I am in our suite at Grand America. Hint: if you want a great free upgrade at a hotel, check in in your wedding dress!

What a wonderful anniversary! Jared outdid himself and I'm on cloud nine. Who would have guessed this guy could be such a romantic? I knew he had it in him - somewhere deep inside!

What a beautiful, challenging, exciting, stressful, wondeful, stretching, and enriching ten years we've shared. Wow, there have been hard times. And wow, there have been great times. And wow, there have been a lot of times where we just had to put our heads down and plow on through. Together we've made 5 children, 4 homes, several businesses, many friends and countless wonderful memories. I'm so grateful to be married to such a selfless, smart, kind, adventurous, supportive, worthy, patient, generous man. I'm so excited for all that we'll do together and become together in the years ahead!

New Pets!

OK, it's been a while and I'm anxious to do a post on the wonderful anniversary we had last week. But since the kids are dying to share information and photos of their beloved new pets, I thought I'd better start with this. A couple weeks ago now, Isaac spotted a large snake (turned out to be a gopher snake we think) in the street and Jared, Ashton and Isaac caught the thing (it wasn't easy - that snake wrapped itself around the trunk of a bush and held on really tight!). So now we've got a beautiful 4 ft long snake named Firehead who's become a beloved member of the family. He's (or she?) is very entertaining and calm and interesting and loves to ride around like a scarf on anyone who's willing to let him. So far Firehead has entertained us by shedding his skin and eating a live mouse. And last week he thoroughly delighted the kids in Ashton's class during show and tell (other than the one girl who had to go in the other room because she's mortified of snakes).
Then the next week, we went on a hike in Zion and found another new pet - a horny toad named Spike. Everyone's quite attached to him too and I have to say he's pretty cute in his funny-looking spikey way.
Reptiles are great. They are clean and almost never need their cage cleaned out. They only eat once a week or so. They make no noise. They're very interesting. They don't bite. They don't smell. If you feel you've had enough of them, you can set them free to "go back to their families who surely miss them." And so far they don't escape - keeping my fingers crossed on that one!
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