Monday, January 21, 2019

my new favorite fifteen-year-old

Claire turns FIFTEEN today.

FIFTEEN!

I'm really struggling with this little fact.  Apparently she's not:
Oh wait, maybe she'll take this more seriously with me for a minute... 

Nope.
She's just going to enjoy this thing like nobody's business.

...and keeps reminding me that she gets her driving permit in six months.

Ok, I'll be happy about that part of the whole deal.  I LOVE having drivers. 

But my problem is that we've been going down memory lane with pictures like this:

...and this:
(That's why we did the laying down pic. up there to compare.  Yowzas she has grown up!)

And this:
(and that sucker is from only two years ago when she turned thirteen!)

She is growing up before my eyes.  I bet if we had one of those little time warp video cameras going on...and we could get her to stand still for two seconds, we could just watch her grow.  We just measured yesterday and according to the chart she grew one whole inch since December 13th...a little over a month ago.  

Sure, there's a little room for error on that growth chart, but boy howdy all I can think of right at this moment are those little toothless grins...
...that have morphed into a braces-less young lady.
...with a phone and chipped teenager fingernails.

But oh!  How great that teenager of ours is!

Fifteen things I love about my newest fifteen-year-old:

1)  She can still ham it up.  She doesn't take herself too seriously.
She embraces being goofy, making funny faces, busting out funny dance moves.  Even when life gets tough.

2)  Speaking of, she has grit.  She has had some tough experiences that she has learned so much from, dusted herself and kept on going. 

3)  She is a continual DJ.  She cannot NOT have music blaring in the car, and is usually full-on dancing to that music, whether at home  or in the car.  Seatbelts don't stop the dance moves :)

4)  Also, she knows all the words to all those songs...

5)  She's a good friend.  And has gone from being the same height or shorter than all of them to towering over them.

6)  She's got spunk.  That picture above shows it to a "T."  When she's in the mood for it, she can pull us all into the best mood with her moves and her wit.

7)  Claire is a great student.  She takes school seriously not only works her heart out for good grades but strives to really learn.  I love to hear her talking on the phone to her study buddies, talking through things I don't have a clue about.

8)  She is disciplined.  When she sets a goal you know she'll do it.  She's reading two books a month this year for her new resolution and she's sure scrambling on this first month.  But something tells me she'll get it done!

9)  She is a good teacher.  Yesterday we had her teach part of our family home evening lesson and she was such a natural whipping up an object lesson and a great explanation of what she was teaching.

10)  I love her love for babies.  Although hidden under a bushel sometimes because perhaps it's not so "cool" to be ogling over babies amidst a bunch of Freshman friends, it always still comes out when there is a baby in the midst.  This makes her a great babysitter when she makes the time.

11)  She has narrowed down her wide range of sports interests to volleyball.  I love that about her because it makes my life less crazy!  But also it's fun to see her so focused.  So fun to see her on that court. 

12)  I love that despite the fact she's narrowed down to lessons on volleyball, she can still pick up a tennis racket and become a human backboard.  So fun to watch her play tennis with her sisters and keep up with the best of them.

13)  She has some good coordination with that lanky body of hers.  She totally takes after her mother on this one.  HA!  Ha ha ha.  I'm so glad Dave's genes made more of a showing in our kids than mine did in the coordination category.  I love to watch her dance.  Not just the dance moves she busts out in the car, but the longer dances she'll make up with friends or her sister.  It is actually so beautiful to watch.

14)  But much more important than any of that: she loves her Savior.  She lets His love glow through the tough times as well as the not-so-tough.  She knows how to share that light with others.

15)  She's a teenager through and through.  She's perfected the quintessential teenage eye roll.  Yet she loves her mother and she shows it...at least most of the time.
I'm so grateful she's my friend.  

...and that maybe she'll catch me in height one of these days!
(Had to show that I had mini heels in these pics...she's gaining on me quick!)

Love you forever Claire Bear!
Love,
Mom
xoxo

Friday, January 18, 2019

astonishment

You know this Book of Mormon reading challenge I mentioned back HERE?

It was to read the that book by Christmas...or maybe it was the new year, I can't remember.  I can't remember because I gave myself a little cushion room (gave myself until my bday next week to get it done taking into account all that wedding mumbo jumbo).  We read a bunch as planned as a family, but I mostly listened to it.  Huge chunks whenever I could fit it in.

And I loved it.

That listening wasn't the most powerful thing sometimes...especially during all the war chapters I got a little distracted listening at 2X speed  the Book of Mormon.  But I loved going through it all so quickly, helped engrain it into my heart better somehow.

And I finished last week while we were up in Provo rooting on the BYU volleyball team.

Woo Hoo!  It made me so happy.  That last chapter in Moroni is so so good.

One of the things I loved about reading that book this time around was the email chain my mom started for anyone in our family who wanted to be in on the challenge.  I got so many cool insights from my sisters and mother...and was inspired by all the nieces reading along with us as well.

One of the things I was most touched by this time around was the word "astonishment."  It is mentioned many times in the scriptures, both the Bible and the Book of Mormon, but this is what I wrote to my Mom and Sisters about that word this time around:  "it really hit me in 3 Nephi 2 when it talks about how the people began to be "less and less astonished at a sign or wonder from heaven...insomuch that they began to be hard in their hearts, and blind in their minds."  I love that word: astonished.  I love when I feel astonished.  At the beauty of the earth, at the generosity of people around me, at the amazing blessings the gospel gives me and compels me to reach deeper and reach up and reach out building new capacities.  Trying to be more astonished every day.  I think it all equals back to deep gratitude."

Since then I have loved trying to be aware of the astonishment that seeps it's way into my life.  There are lots of things I take for granted in life.  I forget to be astonished that I have a body that works and walks and talks until I get an achy back, or I forget to be astonished and send up gratitude to Heaven for the little things my kids are doing pretty darn great at as I spend my time wringing my hands about the things I worry about for them.

So, I'm working more astonishment into each day.  And right now, today, I'm filled with astonishment about that great book I get to read over and over again.  AND for the new "Come Follow Me" program that's been implemented through the church this year as we study the New Testament this year.  Already so many great insights into Christ's early life to be astonished about.  We are incorporating that study into our devotionals in the mornings, and I love having some family time to study on Sundays since church is only two hours now.

I'd love to hear how others are working in this new Come Follow Me program.  Hope we can start a discussion about that here on the blog at some point...send me any great ideas for family study if you have them!  I'd also love to hear what things are astonishing to blog readers out there.  So much in life to be astonished about that help our hearts stay soft and our spirits open to new thoughts and insight.

Happy weekend!  I'm astonished that it's already the weekend!  That week passed by in a blink!

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

the after-party...and a video of the whole deal

I wish I had taken a sweeping photo of all the people we love so much filling up our whole yard to celebrate the grand union of our son and his new wife.  

There is just something about the feeling in the air being surrounded by so many people you love.  Who love you.  Who love your son.  And meeting so many people who adore his new wife.  All in the beauty of a dark December evening in the desert filled with twinkling lights.  This is all I have for now:
Hoping the photographer captured it more.  (One of my "learned-this-time-to-remember-next-time" notes is to make sure to have my brother bring his drone...it would have been so fun to see that crowd from above!)  

At some moments it felt so shoulder-to-shoulder I could hardly get through the crowd to help with something or other, or to manage the music/lanterns find Max and Abby to introduce to someone, etc. 


And the dancing was so fun.  Just how Max and Abby wanted it to be.

But back up...first things first, and in my girls' opinion, that means Chick Fil A.
Oh yeah.

Loved sneaking away for a few to be with these guys before the celebration party.

I took this picture for my friends who helped with the iron-burn-hole-through-the-dress-that-morning incident:
That dress looks great, right?

You'd never guess what had happened that morning:  Mid way through getting ready my good friend took on the steaming/ironing responsibilities.  Elle’s silk dress had some creases so we were trying to use a “cool iron” as directed on the tag and all was well until my friend looked up at me in sheer horror holding the iron above a good-sized hole that she had burned right through the front ruffle of the dress.  Oh my heavens we both just looked at each other, eyes as big as saucers, jaws on the floor, and the world around us stopped for a minute.  She felt SO awful and I assured her I would have done the exact same thing...it did say "cool iron," I think our iron is faulty.  We both didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, but luckily I remembered my neighbor, who is also a seamstress, had offered to help with any altering we might need.  I called her in a panic and she was there within two minutes to assess the damage.  She ran home and brought the dress back in what seemed like two more minutes with a perfect seam in that ruffle making it look practically as good as new.  Oh man we were all pretty pleased as punch about that little remedy I tell you!

After the temple...and Chick Fil A too, we headed back to help with the finishing touches for the party.
Love those girls of mine, and we were all delighted when the guests of honor showed up.



Here are the little girls testing out the dance floor:

And then it was time.

People gathering and talk, talk, talking, food being eaten, lanterns set off, beauty all around.

I really don't have very many pictures, just the ones gathered from a bunch of air dropped cell phones, but here's the cutting of the "cake"...
...which wasn't really a "cake", it was this tower of the most delicious cookies my dear friend made:

We're not much of cake fans, cookies are our thing so it was very appropriate.

Then we sent off some laterns into that December night sky:


Then mother/son dance: 

Father/Daughter dance:
I love this picture of Max cutting in:
....and then onto a pretty fun dance party that you'll see on the video...
...and the sparkler send-off.


But really, I don't know why I'm trying to tell the story with these iPhone pictures when I have this video I love.

We may not have the wedding pictures yet, but we DO have the video.  And I adore it.  I love how it gives such a great overview of the whole day.  Lindsey did such a great job!  There is nothing like a video to give the whole feeling of an event.  Fill up your whole screen and turn it up to watch.
Max and Abby from Lindsey Kesler on Vimeo.
Lindsey is so talented...check her out on that link above.  (LOVE YOU LINDSEY!)

Dave and I looked at each other the other night and wondered again how in the world that happened:  our son is married!  And it's a beautiful thing.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

releasing paper boats off to sea -- the wedding

In my new favorite book, A Place for Us (wrote all about it back HERE, and a little HERE too) there is a part where the daughter of the family is getting married.  It talks about the parents and how "it was a strange time in their lives.  The children, like paper boats, they were releasing into the water and watching them float away."

As my time passes as a mother, I keep sending out paper boats.  More and more of them.  Graduation from high school.  Internships.  College.  And college again.  One relatively close and another across an ocean.  A mission to a foreign land.  Service trips.

It is difficult for me to send them out.  It is painful as I try to loosen those heart strings I have wrapped so solidly around them.  And with each paper boat I send out to sea I wonder: will it stay afloat?  Have Dave and I reinforced it well enough?  Does it have the inner strength to hold up against the ripples that will come?

Perhaps sending off a child into marriage is the biggest paper boat we've had send off.

And it happened on December 20th.

My head was swirling with logistics and details, my eyes were swirling with tears and flip-flopping emotions, and my heart was swirling with gratitude.  It was a day that I'm still, almost a month later, trying to grapple with my emotions about.

So in some ways I like that it's taken me so long to download pictures from all the festivities.  Sometimes the further away you get from something the more put-together it looks.  Ha!

I hesitate to post these before I get the professional ones back but the photographer said that could take six weeks (yow!).  So we're starting with a myriad of pictures my sister took mixed in with some that my family airdropped me from their phones.

Here we go.

I have so many out-take pictures of Max and Abby's wedding, but I think this one is my favorite:
They were a little bit late.

It had been a morning like none other...Dave and I woke up and had a good little fight induced by all the stress in the air .  There were a few hangers in the works that gave our breakfast plans with Abby's family a little curve ball.  There were nine girls/women trying to get ready in my bathroom at the same time. There was an accidental iron-a-hole-right-through-the-front-of-a-bridesmaid-dress incident.  But through all of that those two were smiling and running into that temple to get married forever and ever.

And I just love the symbolism of all that.

Here is a little part of how the "prep work" went:


One of my best friends and her daughter (below) came to help with hair/make-up, etc....and my niece (a couple pictures above), came to help with hair too (we had a whole slew of heads of hair to pretty-up :)
It was her birthday...how nice is that that she came to help out on her own big day?

Max and Abby, although late, made it, and of course everything worked out just fine.  Because they were the guests of honor of course.  And since I don't have pictures from the actual ceremony, I'll paint a little picture with words:

There was something in that room, perhaps my hovering, helping angels, (talked about my thoughts on angels back HERE) that just patted me gently on the shoulders, smoothed my racing heart, wrapped me up in love and peace and gratitude and deep astonishment.  I was surrounded by so many people I love so much.  My son was getting married.  To a girl he is head-over-heels in love with.  Who makes him shine like I’ve never seen before.  And they get to be married for eternity, to work out their differences through the good times and the bad, to build each other, to learn from each other, to grow together forever.  They both have a strong love of Christ in their hearts.  It’s planted there solidly.  And I think that’s the key that will get them through all kinds of things.  Highs and lows.  Beauty and sorrow.  And there’s something inside me that tells me they are a good match for that.

My favorite part of the ceremony was Abby’s “YES!” and watching Max beaming across at her.  I love them.

Following the ceremony we went out to hang out with everyone and wait for them to come out.

This is our friend and videographer Lindsey Kesler. 
She is so talented and did SUCH A GREAT JOB on the video (coming tomorrow).

Anxiously awaiting Max and Abby's appearance.

The dads got to open the doors for them to come out...gotta love Dave's pose:)

...and there they were: the new Mr. and Mrs.




(I love how you can see Lucy trying to capture the moment on her little iPod from the right corner.  Sweetness.)

We were all pretty excited.

Here's Dave's family who were there:
...and my family too:

I shouldn't post this until we get the "real" pictures, but here's at least a glimpse of how the wedding party looked:
...and our "new" family:






Eyre grandkids:

Bridesmaids:
Groomsmen:

My brothers & sisters:
Sisters:

The moms:
...and more sisters:
Some more of Abby's family:

Oh goodness it was a happy afternoon.  

And I got to share it all with this man I adore:
The two of us releasing our paper boat out to sea.

It's difficult on a mama's heart to send those paper boats out on the water.

But it helps that mama-heart when that companion "paper boat" looks at the one you're sending out like this:
Aw I love those two.

To be continued....
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