It's been a couple months since Mia turned 2, but I had to get her 2 year pictures done because duh. My very talented neighbor (Wesley West Photography) did them for me and I couldn't be happier with how they turned out. I was a little anxious because she does not normally sit still for a picture, let alone smile. Probably because it's ME saying "smile, sit here, one more, can you just sit still?!"
She just sat and said cheese with no prompting. It was the least stressful time I've had taking pictures to say the least. And also she tends to be super smitten with boys ;)
I had a very humbling experience before we left to get them taken. A few months ago she had a frightening accident happen that left a big scar on her face. I remember feeling a bit perturbed as the ER doctor told me a plastic surgeon needed to sew her up because "You don't want a scar on a pretty little girls face." And, "With boys it's not as big of an issue." I know he was coming from a good place but I couldn't help thinking I wouldn't want a terrible scar on my child's face even if they were a boy. But regardless, that doesn't mean my little girl would be less beautiful and that's not the most important thing anyways!
So taking pictures mean you want everyone to look their best right? I kept thinking, I'm going to cover up her scar with makeup so it won't be as noticeable, and she will look her "best." A thought entered my mind that I should not do so. This is who she is at this stage, and I want to be able to look back and remember that even though it was frightening, something even more terrible could have happened to her in that situation. And seeing this scar reminds me that she is not more hurt; that she is running and playing without permanent injuries; that she is beautiful even with a noticeable scar, and that I will forever be grateful that it brought us closer as a family; grateful that she is my sweet little angel that God knew I needed.
Scars can be emotional or physical, but they don't define us. They give us character and strength. We shouldn't be scared to show them; to be vulnerable. We shouldn't be ashamed that we have them. I think we are beautiful BECAUSE of our scars, not in spite of them.
Oh my Sweet Mia, where has the time gone? You aren't two, you just aren't! It's so cliche but I DO want to freeze time so that you stay little. Is that too much to ask? You have made our family complete and bring us more joy than I can handle. You make me smile every single day, no exceptions. You are so bubbly and happy all the time. You love to sing and your favorite songs are Rain Rain Go Away, Wheels on the Bus, Let it Go, and you sing along to every song you can. You love to dance, and I am obsessed with the way you constantly walk and run on your toes. You talk up a storm, you can count to 10, you love to snuggle, you adore your sister, and you love to play with friends. Reading books is your favorite past time. You don't even want anyone reading to you, you just get comfy in your chair and will sit there and keep yourself busy with them. You have started to recognize colors, and the way you say mommy melts my heart. Your favorite foods are mac and cheese, broccoli, chicken, rice and beans, apples, and graham crackers. Your facial expressions light up my day, and I can't even be mad at you for long when you are being naughty; especially because you get THE saddest face and come right up to me for a kiss because you hate when I am upset. You are so loved and we are so lucky.
We had family and friends over for lemonade, cupcakes, and a slip and slide. Being able to have so many come to celebrate with us is just the best. You hate being sung Happy Birthday to and get very scared, but you'll still eat cake and ice cream of course. It was a perfect summer night for a perfect baby girl.
I can't imagine being more busy than we are now....I know that's wishful thinking but it's crazy how many things fill up your time when you don't even realize it. We all know the end of the school year can be crazy, but this year I was really able to soak up Isla time because thankfully preschool and first year ballet aren't on the top of the busy list. It still kept us going though and I loved it. Isla has had her ballet recital, class parties, last day of school, and pre-school graduation. Can I just say I'm so excited to see what her future holds? She has such a talent already for dance and performing, and I can't get enough of watching her. I know she will miss her pre-school teacher, Teacher Wendy, so very much. We loved spending the last 2 years with her and it will be difficult moving on. You can't find much better than Teacher Wendy! We now look forward to visiting Grammy and Grampy, lots of swimming, a family reunion, and hopefully going on a small family vacation. We are excited for Kindergarten though, and Isla just cannot wait to start gymnastics. We are so very proud of this smart, talented, beautiful girl.
Isla is second from the left
If there is one thing I know I've done right for sure, it's that I have taught my daughter to pray. Whether she understands the power yet is unknown. But that is her answer when things go wrong. And I am grateful. It has been a rough week with Mia being sick and not sleeping well. Today was no exception. No amount of soda or energy drinks could save me. I was frustrated from the night before because Isla had been giving me a rough time, and I was taking my anger out on her. It continued on through this morning because nothing brings out the worst in me than having to wake up at the crack of dawn. And then Mia had been crying all morning because she was tired and had had her 18 month old shots, so I'm sure that wasn't helping. Its one of those times where you know you're a being a "bad mom" but you just can't stop. All I wanted to do was get to the gym so I could work out my frustrations. Amidst trying to get Isla ready for school, Mia got a hold of a cotton ball full of ear cleaning solution and proceeded to suck on it. I only noticed when she started gagging and coughing. I didn't know how much she swallowed, but I knew that it was not a good sign. Great, the last thing I needed was to call poison control. I was just so angry and I was crying, and the girls were crying. I knew then that I had to put on my big girl pants and calm down. So I tried my best to comfort them. Then I hear my sweet Isla say "Mom, should we say a prayer for Mia?" I just forgot everything else I had been feeling and I knew that it was the right thing to do. After we prayed I was still worried, but a calmness swept over me. Everything turned out alright in the end. But actually knowing Isla cares so much about her sister instead of just hoping she does made me trust my skills as a mother when most of the time I don't. There is nothing that makes me happier than the wonderful moments in life with my children. If I know that I am successful at teaching them to be thankful, to pray, and to be kind, then it is all worth it. That is all the return I will ever need. I hope this Mothers Day we can all remember that what we do really does matter. Sometimes they hear us when we think they aren't listening. And they provide us with lovely little miracles that leave our hearts full and want to keep going.*
Before These pictures were taken, we were having a rough time. Mia didn't want to stand or sit still, it was a bit breezy, and the light wasn't where I wanted it to be. I love getting pictures done but always wonder if it's worth the hassle. When I got the pictures back, I realized that yes, yes it is. Especially when you have a wonderful photographer. Even though the kids didn't want to cooperate very much, we were able to get some good shots in. I'm so thankful to be able to catch these memories, even if I remember how much I want to pull my hair out, or how much I'm lacking in the self confidence department. Thanks Camille, we sure love you. And I'm so very grateful for my beautiful family.
My Mia Moo is one. It kind of breaks my heart. As I was doing the dishes yesterday morning the tears just started to flow and I couldn't get them to stop. (It could have had something to do with exhaustion from waking up at 5:45 that morning and being overwhelmed with everything I had to do that day, but lets just say it was pure emotion.) Isla said, Mom why are you sad? Are you hurt? I told her I was just sad that Mia wasn't a baby anymore, and that they both were growing up too quickly. She then proceeded to pout and said she wanted Mia to still be a baby too. These girls make me melt.
After running around all day and asking myself why I went to so much trouble, I remembered that I love doing all this, even if I try to make a beautifull three layer cake from scratch and it is a disaster so I have to go buy one from the store. Because Isla helped me and was so excited about it. And to me, beautiful pictures make the best memories come to life again, and I want to remember things as vividly as possible, so yes, I will continue to make myself crazy. Mia was tired and wasn't very excited about cake, but she loved being outside in the beautiful weather and I was grateful so many came to help us celebrate.
She is still not walking yet, but is standing for a few seconds on her own and walking along furniture. She is a pro at going up and down stairs and loves to stick her tongue out, and is constantly smiling and laughing. I could not ask for a better or sweeter baby girl. Happy Birthday little one.
Brandon and I have been married 8 years now. I can't even tell you how much this number means to me. With all we have been through and where we are now, I don't even recognize who we were at the beginning. I can tell you that I am genuinely happy. Something I have been praying and striving for, for a long time. I have two beautiful girls with this man, and our relationship just keeps getting better as we have focused on our family and the Gospel. I can say with all certainty that without God, marriage is just a wedding. He is in everything.
We were able to go out and we tried a place called the DoDo. The food was just alright, but the dessert was AMAZING. As we were talking and laughing I realized that all I wanted to do was just go home and hang out in my sweats and just be with him. I used to think that if I didn't get a present (which is still always nice ;) ), or have this big to do on my anniversary that it just didn't mean as much. But as great as that all is, I love being home and in his company, and it means just as much because I know how we feel about each other. And it says something to me that I don't need those things to feel loved, because he shows me in his way. Like cleaning around the house, doing the dishes, having the kids and not minding when I need a girls night away from home, texting me during the day while he's at work because he wants me to know he's thinking about me. I know there is still much to improve on in our marriage, but that's something I look forward to, because it's worth it. Happy Anniversary to my Brandon.
After our visit to Nauvoo we headed to the Wisconsin Dells for our family reunion. Where, you ask? When you think of somewhere hip and happening, Wisconsin doesn't come to mind. But let me tell you, this place was amazing. I called it the Vegas of waterparks. Apparently its one of the biggest water park meccas in the country. My brother and my parents happened to visit one weekend and loved it. So we rented a few condos overlooking this gorgeous lake. There was a free shuttle service to take us to different water parks. We went the week before Memorial day, because it is a discounted price. Although it wasn't really hot yet, I'm so glad we went during that time. As soon as we were leaving there were hordes of people coming. Many of them already drunk.
Any who, it didn't matter that it wasn't hot outside because not only were there outdoor water parks, there were also indoor ones that were heated and I felt like I was in Florida just walking in. It was so nice. But water parks were just a small fraction of the activities there.There are roller coasters, mini golf, go karts, boat tours, magic and water shows, and alligator feeding just to name a few. We spent a couple days at water parks, and did mini golf, went to a deer park where they were just walking around and you could feed them, walked around downtown and got delicious cheese and treats, did a wizard quest (yes we are a nerdy family), and relaxed. Each night 2 families provided dinner and an activity. We did a Bertie Botts jelly bean challenge (If you don't know what that is, you're missing out), doughnut eating contest, and family olympics, which was my favorite!
I'm so thankful that we are able to get together every couple of years to see each other since we are spread out across the country. I'm so grateful I have parents who always taught us the importance of family and making memories, and that we all are even able to do this with so much help from them. They make it possible. Can't wait till the next reunion!
We were meeting in Wisconsin for a family reunion so I thought I would take the opportunity to go to Nauvoo. It had been over a year since I'd been and I just needed to get there. I love Nauvoo and I'm so glad my parents live there so I have the chance to visit so often. There is just something about the spirit I feel there, it's like no place else.It feels like home. We had so much fun on wagon rides, going on Grandpa's boat, visiting Brett and Amy for Saela's birthday celebration, going to the park, having dinner and smores in their backyard at the fire pit, visiting sites, going to do initiatory work at the temple, kayaking, and being able to spend Mother's Day with my own for the first time in years. Can't wait to go back again.
"Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give."