13 October 2009

My Boys

I have some very terrific boys. Actually the best terrific boys in all the land. I often look at one of them and just know that other moms are probably pretty jealous that they cannot be the mom of my boys.
Brenden is just a few short days away from being 16. That means he will be of dating age, he could be driving (but is not quite yet) and will be advanced in the priesthood to the office of Priest. Oh man, how can that be already? He has grown so much lately - physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually - but sometimes I just find it hard to believe time has come to this point. Brenden is the child that knows the rules, will challenge them if they go against what he thinks and will not hesitate to prove his point. While this can be incredibly annoying as a parent, I know that no one will EVER push Brenden around. He is strong in his standards, convictions, determinations and with his words. He is really growing into who he is going to become. He is excelling at school in eleventh grade (after many years of struggling to stay motivated), is taking his responsibilities more seriously and learning to get along in the world. I love to see this progress!
Something really cool Brenden has done recently is learn to play the organ. Several years ago I taught him piano, but he did not continue for long. A calling from Bishop Budge a few years back had him again at the piano, playing on Sundays for one of his meetings. Brenden started practicing all the time and has become an excellent sight reader. And then the next challenge came - the organ. After a few lessons, and lots of practice, he played in sacrament meeting! It was awesome! I could hardly sing, I was so pleased with him and all his hard work. He is officially a pianist and an organist. He is playing next for a youth cultural event in a few weeks.
He really is growing up.
Colin turned 13 in May. Being in the middle of the boys is probably not the easiest, but he is pretty good at it.
Colin is a natural leader. I think he is so good at it because he always wants to do what is right, and struggles with himself when he makes mistakes. He doesn't blame anyone else for his choices, and others respect that. He has been obedient from day one. It would be easy for someone to take advantage of him, but no one would - everyone likes Colin.
He is currently the Deacon's Quorum president, which gives him lots of opportunity to lead and serve. Just last week, while preparing to pass the sacrament, he helped the newest Deacon make sure he knew just what was expected of him, even helping him fix his tie.
What a guy.
Liam is now 12. Such an important age for a child. He is now a priesthood holder (the newest in our ward), which comes with lots of responsibilities. I'm not sure he is quite ready to take all these on, as he is used to being the "baby" of the family. But he is warming up to it.
It is very rare to see Liam without a smile. He is just such a happy, loving soul. Liam wants to be an elementary school teacher when he is grown up. Can you just picture the kind of teacher he will be? The children will be thrilled they have him (the ones who don't will be awfully sad) and he will be their favorite, with lots of students coming back to visit him. You always remember a teacher that loves you.
Liam is the child with a full social calendar. Lots of friends, lots of adventure and lots of imagination. He will always have good friends, because he is a good friend.
Recently the boys and I were able to go to the temple on a youth trip. Liam's first time. Oh, to see my sons in the temple - It's what I want most for my family, for them to be temple worthy and to be in the temple. The feeling is strong, but not the words. I just loved it!
And I love them. I'm very grateful to be their mom.

07 October 2009

The Gown

I am very excited for Lauren - She is engaged!

She and her fiance, David, are planning a wedding for June 2010, so we are getting busy with the details. The temple has been scheduled (for the ceremony), a reception location has been chosen, we have a rough budget, and colors to decorate with have been established. And we went gown shopping. FUN!

The first bridal shop we went to was in downtown Plymouth and it was just beautiful. The women working there were professionally dressed (skirts and dresses) and the beautiful atmosphere was lovely and calm. Lauren was told to try on anything that caught her eye. We pulled about 20 dresses off the racks and they were whisked away to her large private dressing room while we looked at accessories.

Lauren tried on traditional gowns, full skirt gowns, beaded gowns, slender gowns and modern gowns. She thought for sure she wanted one style (slender), but ended up falling for a very different style (full). She was beautiful in all of them, but it was obvious which one she gravitated toward. The problem was that every gown she tried on was strapless. We were told that sleeves could be added (Lauren definitely wanted a more modest gown), but we were just not envisioning it. We had a great afternoon and got some really good ideas about what she wanted.

There is a wedding store in Allen Park that carries a line of gowns that would be just what Lauren was looking for, with sleeved, modest bodices. We planned a trip with her future mother-in-law, Dawn, and her good friend Haley for a Saturday afternoon to find the perfect gown. It was a gloomy, rainy Saturday, but we were determined to be joyous, as it was a joyous occasion!

The store was smaller than the first shop we went to, and it was very crowded with dresses and gowns. We were immediately assisted by someone who looked like the pizza delivery guy that got pulled in to help - jeans, t-shirt, sneakers, keys dangling from his pocket and needed a shave. He directed us to an out-of-the-way couch where we all crowded in to look at the Eternity catalog, a company that has very beautiful modest gowns and dresses. Mr. Delivery Guy waited and watched while we looked, wanting to be helpful and to retrieve any gown Lauren selected. (She wisely kept him busy - it was a little awkward having him stand there.)

Lauren was finally led to her dressing room where her selections awaited her. I use the term "dressing room" lightly, as it seemed to double as a very small storage room as well. But, we were there to try on gowns, not be impressed with amenities. After trying on a few dresses, Lauren came out with "the one". The way she stood up tall, the way she walked, the way she LOOKED - it was quite obvious that we needed to look no further. Hooray! Although this gown was also strapless, we were informed that the company would make a new bodice, not just add sleeves. Perfect! We also got a much better deal at this shop. Oh, happy day.

We are going back this weekend to do measurements, down payment, etc. We are both so thrilled with her choice (although her thrill is much more important!) I am happy to support this little shop that carries the modest dresses, which are so difficult to find in our area. The woman who owns it started to carry them as she herself had an opportunity to visit with The Pope and realized she had nothing in her shop that would be appropriate to wear. Hooray for her!

And hooray for the gown! Now that that big decision has been made, everything else will surely fall into place.

01 October 2009


Ever since Alex celebrated her second or third birthday, we have had a very fun tradition at our house. I got the idea from my very thoughtful friend who would "heart attack" a young woman while she was gone at school - Going to her house and decorating her room with construction paper hearts and then the young woman would come home to this great surprise. I love special thoughtful things like that! So, the plan was to decorate the birthday girl's bedroom while she was asleep and she would wake up to a lovely surprise. She loved it, and so did I! What a great way to wake up on your birthday.

We have done all kinds of decorations throughout the years - times 5 birthday kids per year - Banners, ribbons, hidden candy bars, balloons, die cut-outs, streamers, etc. I love the planning and especially LOVE the sleepy happy birthday face in the morning! I know that the little one is so thrilled to have a birthday, and I like to think that waking up to a festively decorated bedroom adds to the thrill.

One of the most popular decorations among the parents in balloons and streamers. We have about a million yards of different colored curling ribbon and we buy balloons in bulk, so they are always on hand for all kinds of events and projects. And Hero has a VERY large air compressor so we can blow up all the balloons we want in seconds - Genius! (Sometimes the tank empties while we are filling so it will kick on. It is very loud in the middle of the night!) We can fill, tie and ribbon a bunch of balloons in a jiffy.

The real fun of the whole decorating process is sneaking into the birthday child's room in the dark while he or she is asleep. We used to be able to wait up long enough for them to be in a good deep sleep, but not so much anymore. (Now we get up extra early and do it before they get up!) If you have ever touched a balloon, you know how loud they can be. Try tip-toeing into a sleeping child's room with several balloons trailing on ribbons, with tape in one hand and a stool in the other, and you have quite the challenge trying not to awaken anyone! And the big trick is to balance on the stool over the bed taping balloons above the sleeping child - DEFINITELY a challenge! Sometimes we have to excuse ourselves from the room as we are giggling too much. Lots of fun making memories.

One year when Alex was about 12-ish, we didn't wait long enough for her to get into a deep sleep, although she was a trooper and pretended to still be asleep. Have you ever noticed how hard it is to keep your eyes closed when you are pretending to be asleep? She was so excited, too, which made it extra hard. She told us some time later that she woke up when the balloons were crashing around her, but she didn't want to ruin it for us. What a good girl!

Liam recently had his 12th birthday, and yet again we commenced the middle of the night decorating (except it was just me as Hero was at work). Sure enough, the compressor kicked on, the balloons crashed around and I found myself balancing over the bed to tape the ribbons up.

But there was no giggling. It's just not the same without Hero.

So, Happy Birthday to all of my kiddos every year!