Friday, December 28, 2007

Service With A Smile

Now that Christmas is over, It's time to focus whole heartedly on our upcoming move. It's always seemed so distant. I can't believe it's just over a week away. I just can't seem to get excited about it.

Like I've mentioned before, I have never felt at home here in Ohio. I always new this would be a temporary place for us. So beside my small handful of friends, I have not been sad to leave. But as I sat in Relief Society on Sunday and listened to a lesson on service, I recalled the many, many times I've been the recipient of service here in my ward.

I have been blessed my entire four and a half years here with faithful visiting teachers. The women have changed, but I have consistently been visited. Although they may not all have been women I would have chosen as my friends, they have all selflessly served. They have:
  • watched my kids countless number of times
  • driven my family to the airport
  • thrown me a baby shower when I was still new in the ward
  • driven me to the ER with Reid
  • brought treats
  • showed up out of the blue when I was sick on more than one occasion
  • played with my kids
  • taught me lessons
  • brought me meals
  • invited me to lunch
  • remembered my birthday
  • invited me just to hang out when Spencer was busy late into the night at stake meetings
  • showered me with compliments
  • brought gifts
  • shared laughter
  • shared tears
  • called in moments of need
  • vacuumed my floors
  • put my kids down for naps
  • been willing to help at a moments notice
  • arranged for others to help when they were unavailable
And the list could go on and on. I'm terrible at asking for help. I have been blessed with the kind of visiting teachers who see needs and fill them...whether or not I ask. I could not be more grateful.

I have also been blessed in this ward to serve in the Young Women program with some amazing women. Particularly Kelly, Tiffany, Amanda and Autumn. It is these women that I developed my strongest friendships with. And these women that I will miss the most. These women are the ones who make it hard to leave. I could take that last list and multiply it by ten and could still not match the service and friendship that these women have given to me. Thank heaven for the knowledge that friendships can be eternal. And thank Heaven for these women.

I have been blessed also with a ward member and dear friend, Abbey, who lives just a few houses down. She has also selflessly served our family. Abbey is one of the most giving people I know. It has been a real blessing to have a friend so nearby who I can call with any favor at any time and she is there ready and willing to help. Again, I could add Abbey to the list above. And not only that, but she has lent me an egg in the middle of cookie making, given us tickets to a Buckeye game, watched my kids in the middle of the night when I had a gall stone attack, watched our dog on a long weekend, made delicious cookies and hot chocolate, invited our family into her home on numerous occasions, and again shared much laughter and tears. The list could go on. My kids adore her, as do I.

It has been awfully hard for me to see it, but I really have been blessed with a very giving and loving ward family during my time here in Ohio. It always seems to take change to help you recognize your blessings. And I am grateful for those blessings.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Magic

I normally look forward to my kids getting older. I like to watch them grow and learn new things. And the infant/ toddler/ preschooler phases are just not my strong points as a mother. (At least I don't imagine them to be, I haven't experienced anything else yet.) I do have incredible amounts of fun with my small crazies, but I think I'll be a much better mother to older kids. I've never had that feeling that I just don't want them to change until yesterday. Everything about Christmas was so magical to them. They were just so stinkin' cute all day. It just doesn't even occur to them to question any of the magic of Christmas. It was the most fun we've ever had. So yesterday, for the first time, I didn't want life to change. Not one bit. I wish everyday could be yesterday.

I was having a hard time choosing which pictures to post. So I included way too many. I don't expect you to look at all of them. But I figured Grandparents will enjoy them.

Christmas Eve:

We were having a Family Home Evening Nativity lesson and Reid decided they should dress like shepherds.

First thing on Christmas morning:

My boys are usually such early risers, but on Christmas they couldn't seem to get up. Spencer finally couldn't handle it and we had to wake the crazies.

I told Parker to show me how excited he was.

Reid has morning hair like I do. He looks more tired than excited.

Christmas Superheros:

The hit present for Parker...he didn't take it off all day.

Notice the mountain of sugar on his peaches? He did that himself.

Opening Presents:

Tent From Grandma Benson:

You'll notice Chief loved this present too.

One of my favorite pictures of the day...Parker is sitting on a present inside a present while wearing a present and holding a present.

The boys insisted on napping in their new tent. Parker's in there, just hidden.

New Christmas Clothes:

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A Very Missionary Christmas

As if we didn't have enough boys in the house, we decided to invite the missionaries over for Christmas breakfast. And we have two sets of elders in our ward. So I was out numbered by the boys...8 to 1.

Spencer and I invited the missionaries over for breakfast our first Christmas in Ohio. We have no family out here and had no kids at the time so we decided to share Christmas with someone else who didn't have family around. Who better than the missionaries. It's become a tradition and we've done it ever since. It's always fun to have the missionaries in our home.

To the families and friends of these great elders: You all have raised wonderful sons. They're are working rain and snow. They don't even quit for Christmas. Good work. It was a pleasure sharing Christmas with your boys. They all carry a great spirit with them that brightened our Christmas morning.

I thought you might enjoy a few pictures. I didn't take as many as I intended to. This is what your boys have been up to today:

Can you believe it, four missionaries and not one from Utah? Two from So Cal. Can I get a Whoop! Whoop! (I grew up in Corona.) One from AZ. (Where my entire family fact, my mom is in the same stake as Elder Heal's family.) And one from Washington. Way to represent the West! As always, it was an enjoyable way to spend Christmas morning.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

That's What Life Is About

Any of you have who have had a three year old probably don't think this is as great as I do. I'm sure all three year olds do thing like this, but since he's my first, I've never had another kid tell me stories like this. And I think it's pretty darn adorable.

Yesterday Parker said to me:

"Do you know what this is? This life that we're living?"

(I say) What is this life that we're living Parker?

"It's all about baby Jesus. He was born and that's what life is about."

I asked him to tell me more and these are some of the things he said. I wish I could recall them all. I'm not sure I have them all word for word, but it's close. If I remember more, I'll add it.

  • There was no room for Him at the hotel. He had to go to a stable.
  • Baby Jesus was naked. They gave him weathering (swaddling) clothes.
  • His bed was made of hay.
  • Angels told the shepherds to be nice.
  • Who wants to follow the star to find baby Jesus?
  • Wise men brought him presents. Gold and Murray (I'm sure he doesn't know what myrrh is. The closest thing he could identify to was Murray the Wiggle.)
He's a pretty smart little crazy. He retains everything he learns. And he has awesome nursery teachers. Apparently they acted out the nativity in nursery this morning. Right up Parker's alley. He was pretty excited about getting to be one of the wise men today with Ben and Brian. Reid got to be a shepherd.

I took pictures of the boys in their new Christmas church clothes this morning.



(notice the mud spots on his knees)


Before (finding shoes to fit Reid's different feet is nearly impossible. Converse All Stars seem to work best.)





Reid wanted nothing to do with a group picture.

This was the best I got.

Ignore the mess on the floor. Sunday mornings are always a disaster. A swear they dump out every toy they own onto the living room floor every Sunday morning. And mom and dad are to frantic trying to get everyone ready to pay any attention.