Thursday, October 8, 2015

When I describe my children, I talk as if they are the most amazing people in the world. Because they are. But I talk about each of them like that. It is not a competition, or a comparison. They stand on their own, they are their own people, while collectively being part of a bigger family that loves them.

This is about one of them. Julia.

Julia turned 16. 16 is an interesting age. You are very close to adulthood, and no longer needing your parents to help you with every decision. In fact I read once that if your children cannot make most of their own decisions by the time they are 16 then as a parent, you have some catching up to do.

We have tried to do that. We want capable, independent adults. And as one wise Prophet said, "I teach them correct principles and they govern themselves."

So back to Julia. She is 16. And we are very proud of her and the decisions that she(mostly) makes all by herself:)

She is part of a family that has some quirkiness. A certain lack of perfection that is just perfect.

Julia has a confidence that defies her age. I don't know why she has it, I don't know how she got it. But whatever magic elixir she drinks that makes her so sure of herself and not prone to worrying about what others think, I would like some please!

And she likes homemade chocolate cake. But then, whats not to like?
Sugar, butter, chocolate and flour. Perfection by any standards.

 And yes, she really did ask for Nutella. Kate wrapped it and everything. Previous years have found her asking for chocolate chips. I would say her tastes have matured, but she still asks for chocolate chips too:)

I am not sure what Nora gave her. Something sweet and adorable that she found in her room and decided that she loved Julia enough to part with it.

Same for Anne Marie. A hug and a thank you and they are happy.

Julia is a gifted artist and she shares the love and the gift with her Grandma. So grandma Allen always gifts Julia with lovely artsy things. I know Julia didn't get her talent from me, so we are grateful for genetic gifts that are passed down from mother to son to daughter.

And Julia loves the intelligent and quirky. Because, well, that is also a way you could describe her. And brilliant. Truly. And someone who shares the traits of quirky, brilliant and intelligent? Why good ol' Albert of course.

That a lot of candles. Seriously. Too many. Can't we go back to age 3 with the Bob the Builder birthday and give me more time? But I know that it will never be enough. It is a gift to me to love being with my children so much. But it is also hard. The comfort I have comes from knowing that they will choose amazing spouses and I will have 12 children some day!

Plus the grandbabies. Oh goodness do I have a lot to look forward to. Um, I digress.

It cannot be overstated that Julia is special. Gifted and talented beyond belief. We have always tried to let them be who they are and just provide a home where whoever they are can flourish and thrive. If Julia stood alone I would feel that our mission was accomplished. But her 5 siblings tell me that we are blessed beyond belief.

Julia is amazing.
Julia is full of determination and the ability to achieve goals that I aspire to.
Julia has taught me a lot about being your own person and not letting the world dictate who that should be.
Julia has shown me that talent only gets you so far, its hard work that is the real determiner of what you become.
Julia lives her life in a way where not much time is wasted. There is so much to be, do and accomplish.
Julia is steady and steadfast but also humble enough to look inward and see what she needs to improve.
Julia is and has always been an old soul who sees the world in a very unique way.

Keep on dreaming Julia. Your dreams will inspire others to soar as well.

Happy birthday darling bunny girl. We love you always and forever.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015


I love Anne Of Green Gables. Like, not a little, but a lot. She is who I aspire to be as a wife, mother and friend. So it was natural that since my favorite literary character's name is Anne and my mother's middle name is Ann, that I would want to name a daughter Anne (has to have an "e". Sorry mom:). So we did. We gave her the middle name of Marie and we call her Anne Marie. 

I was so excited to have her read Anne Of Green Gables someday so that she would know of the greatness that her name stems from. Seriously. I REALLY love Anne Shirley.

So for Anne Marie's 12th birthday, when she asked to have an Anne of Green Gables themed birthday, I was over the moon. 

It so happened that I double booked that night and had invited the missionaries over for dinner as well. But, in Anne like fashion, we welcomed that. In Anne's time, it was a great honor to have the minister and his wife over for tea. So I wrote questions for all the girls to ask the missionaries and we included them in the party. It was really cool and we were fortunate to learn a lot about the two Elders who leave their home and family for two years.

We had them play games including the limbo(I know that they did not play this in Anne's time. Oh well.) But they had a 3 legged race and a potato sack race. It was really sweet to see all of these young women dressed up in their best attire. Eating thumbprint cookies, shortbread and chicken salad sandwiches. 

And because I like birthday weeks, not just days, I take each kid out to the Palace Restaurant. Its a treat for them and me:)

Finally, we spend her actually birthday in Lincoln City Oregon with Jeff's entire family. We rented this beautiful, big beach house and had a really great time.

 I really need to get a new camera. That's not on my phone. Most of the pictures inside the house were fuzzy. Sad:(

But the beach was glorious, and hopefully she felt the love of family. It was a fun weekend and we are so grateful that Anne Marie is part of our family for eternity.

Anne Marie is loving and full of kindness for others.
She is strong in her opinions and desire to do what is right, but will always treat others with kindness.
That combo is pretty enviable. She is a great example to me.
She is a great student, a good athlete, a great piano player and singer and just a great person.
She is excited to be part of the Young Women's program for our church. Its an exciting time to be 12.
She has a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ and she desires to share this with others.
She is brave and bold and beautiful and brilliant.

Thank you for who you are Anne Marie. We love you always and forever.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

These two...

This year I made jam with my mom and my sister. A year's worth.

I canned applesauce and apple pie filling.

And then one glorious and hot summer's day I canned peaches with Kate and Julia.

Partly because I feel this crazy thing call responsibility to teach them how to do stuff. And the other 4 will get this as well. Cuz girls AND boys can cook and clean and can food. You know that's right.

But this one day I got to be with my older two. Talking, laughing and learning. It was a beautiful day. 

I don't have a ton more of these kind of days with them. That's why it mattered so much to me. Every day matters.  But they are closer and closer to being grown ups. And I need every memory I can get my hands on before they are off and making their own memories. Without me. *sniff* Shut up. 

That's life and its normal and I will still have future memories with them. I just want to cherish all the days. With all my kids, ya know? 

I know you know:)

Monday, October 5, 2015

Being Brave

In July I had the tremendous blessing of going to girls camp as a leader with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Its an amazing week always, but this year I was there with 3 of my daughters. 

Kate and Julia went as YCLs this year(Youth camp leaders) and Anne Marie was a 1st year, cuz well, it was her first year. 

Julia's responsibilities were to help with the first years so she and I both went on Anne Marie's first year hike. Anne Marie killed it because she already hikes Manastash ridge with me and she's a runner. But it was fun to be together. 

This years theme was Be Brave. Which is why the first year hike could even be "killed". They wanted to challenge the girls physically as well as spiritually. So all the hikes were challenging. The 4th year went on a 3 day, 30 mile hike . Yeah, we weren't kidding around.

As Youth Camp Leaders it meant that my older two were out front, leading songs and having fun. It was great to watch. And you can tell that they loved that I was watching with my camera;)

 And these ladies. I can not say enough about them. They were the heart and soul of so much that went on. Fun, funny, crazy, entertaining, loving, kind, energetic, and the life of the party. It would not have been the same without them. Shenanigans. That is all I will say. Them plus girls camp=shenanigans.

 That is paint were attempting to put on our faces. Glow in the dark paint. To scare the YCLs. Glow in the dark paint that wouldn't glow. At all. We shined lights on our faces, to no avail. We had to go out into the night, not glowing.

Didn't make it any less fun though.

And then there is this. I can't sleep in. I just can't. So I was up before everybody every day. I would go down to the dock of the camp we were at, read my scriptures, pray and just soak in this. No one else around. It was Heavenly.

Part of Being Brave was that we challenged the girls to go rapelling. Something most of them had never done. There is my Julia. Kate was at the bottom helping all the girls out of their harnesses and into the water when they were finished. They were both amazing.

 And you can't really tell because my camera phone is whimpy, but there is Anne Marie. She did it. She was so scared and she did it!

Then there was the triathalon. Like I said, we weren't kidding around. Julia did the whole thing by herself. I was so proud of her. Very few girls did the entire event by themselves. Most of them did it in teams. Which was still really way cool. But Julia, on her own. So amazing. What you couldn't tell from those lovely lake pictures above is that the water is glacier water. You will get hypothermia in 15 minutes. So that portion of the triathalon was very very cold.

But biking and running, not quite a easy breezy walk. But better than glacier water.

These are the girls from our ward who participated. It was pretty neat. It was hands down the favorite thing of all the girls. We took a survey. No really we did.

I would love to participate next year. But I need to learn how to swim. Drowning isn't an option.

So since I wasn't going to be showing my athletic stuff, I thought I should show my wacky stuff. With the help of Julia, (she painted them free hand) I wore these two beauties to camp.

  ON facebook I shared the following:

I spent this last week at Girls Camp as a Leader for the LDS girls in our part of Washington. It. Was. Amazing. Seriously the best girls camp I have ever attended. The theme was Be Brave. And we challenged those girls to be brave in all things-spiritual, mental and physical. In 5 days we had them hike, mountain bike, rappel and participate in a triathalon. We had people who have overcome huge challenges in their lives come and talk to the girls-parents who lost a child, a young mother with a brain tumor. We taught them about Christ and about standing for truth and righteousness. And we taught them that they can do hard things. I can barely type this without getting emotional. And for me the icing on the cake was that I was there with 3 of my 4 daughters. Two of them rappelled and participated in the triathalon, the other did the mountain bike challenge and spread her wings as a youth camp leader. I am so proud of them. Our camp director was so inspired and I saw 130 girls leave stronger and more confident. I spent 5 days outside, hiking with them, cheering them 
on and easily meeting my 10,000 steps a day.  I am thankful and tired and so excited to get back to my ridge next week. Life is good.

It was amazing. Truly. And I can't wait to go back next year. 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Nora Belle(that's not really her name)

Nora's real middle name is Jane. But we have called her Nora Belle since she was born because she was so pretty. It almost feels weird to remember that her name is actually Nora Jane:)

So, my baby is 7. Whaaaaaa! No, its ok. No, its not. It is. Its not. Sheesh. Its a roller coaster, thats what it is. 

Waffles with homemade syrup, strawberries and whip cream. Cuz its not your birthday if there isn't sugar!
 We all love her, and each other, so much. Charlie and her have similar personality qualities, so they go back and forth between "getting" each other and annoying each other. But consistently adoring one another.

For Nora's birthday she really wanted to ride a horse. It so happens that we have fantastic friends who said, sure bring her over and Hannah will give her a lesson. It. Was. Awesome.

She was not afraid and completely in love.

It was so adorable. Her happy grins really made my sneezing and itchy eyes worth it.
I wasn't always allergic to horses. In fact, I developed an allergy after Nora was born. I think there is some irony in that. She loves horses. So do I. They make me itch now. Sad clown.

I am thankful for family that love my children. I am thankful they make the effort and drive long distances to be there for birthdays. It means the world to me and to my kids.

Terrible fuzziness, but my parents stopped in Maple Valley and picked up my niece, one of Nora's best friends. What a great surprise.

My children are really good about expressing gratitude for the gifts they receive. It matters not how big or small. They are just thankful to be shown that someone loves them.

She is not upset. I have no idea why her face looks like that. My mom reconstructed(which was a surprise to Nora and I) Nora's old blankie, using the thin pieces to make a new blanket. Nora was actually quite happy. 

And of course, an American girl. It will be a sad day in this house when American girl dolls are no longer a centerpiece of imagination and play. I never owned any, so I live through my girls. What?

And if you haven't heard of Monster High Dolls, lucky you. But Nora loved them and so we worked around that theme.

7. When a baby is born it is so hard to imagine that someday they will talk and walk, let alone that they will grow and get bigger and move and go to college and get married and not live with you. And no one tells you that your heart will break a little and that all the sleepless nights and spit up would gladly be welcomed back just to have more time with them. But oh how grateful I am for the time I have. I am more blessed than I deserve and so thankful.

Nora is a shining light.
Nora is a bright spot on a cloudy day.
Nora is happy and sunny and giggly.
Nora is kind and loving and full of hugs and loves.
Nora is a dimpled smile and sparkly eyes.
Nora is sweet and joyful and full of life.
Nora is adored by her parents and siblings. As all children should be.
Nora is a dream come true. As all children should be.

Happy birthday to my favorite 6th child. You are loved and delighted over. Every day. We love you forever.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...