September 8, 2010

About Adoption

I have a dear friend who has recently announced her plans to adopt and she requested help to spread the word.  I know that only a handful of people even read our blog, but perhaps someone might come across this and pass it along to others.  We've added a button on our sidebar just underneath the photos of our boys. It will take you to their blog and allow you to get to know the couple. Or you could simply click here.

So why did I take the time to post this?  Well, I had the privilege of knowing Liz in high school and she was among my dearest friends.  She has this incredible, infectious sense of humor and positive outlook on life; it's a gift really.  I never fail to have an enjoyable time when I am around her.  I think that is a credit to the sincere friendship she offers to others.  Okay, Liz is just a total blast!  Her capacity to share her zest and passion for life is seemingly limitless.  She would be such a remarkable mother because she is, first, a remarkable person. How my life would have been empty without Liz!

I should also mention how the adoption process has personally affected me.  Not long after I found out I was having my third boy, our family learned that Jason's brother and wife were welcoming a son to their home whose birth mother made the brave choice to offer him for adoption.  It has been such a blessing for Garrett to have a cousin close to his age.  As an extended family, we have embraced and loved him as our own (who simply happened to take a little "detour" with his arrival).  How our lives would have been empty without him!

 This post authored by Amber

September 7, 2010

How Many Times Have I Heard That?!

For the past two weeks or so, Garrett has discovered how much he likes to watch Horton Hears a Who on my bed.  When he first wakes up, he comes into our room and starts up the TV and DVD player and I groggily awake to the voices of Jim Carrey, Steve Carell, and Carol Burnett (mingled with a little bit of Garrett quoting the film).  I'm a little scared to think about how many times the movie has been played each day.

What is so charming about it all is how Garrett likes to get set up for the movie.  He sits on the pillows and requests that all his bears be lined up alongside him. Everyone is then covered with blankets. He then watches, with fixed attention, as Horton journeys through the jungle to restore Whoville to a safe, stable location.

One day, I set him up around noon and left to do some dishes.  When I came back to check on him, this is what I found:

I couldn't resist taking a picture and sharing it on our blog.  I think it is so sweet. Now, if only I could sleep so well through the movie!

This post authored by Amber

September 3, 2010

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

You know the classic Staples commercial where the dad is skipping down the aisles of the store, filling his cart with post-it notes, pencils, and other various school sundries, all to the tune, "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year?"  Following in his wake of pure bliss are two sullen children, dreading the end of summertime leisure. I love that commercial, even though it is over the top cheesy (especially the voice-over). I guess I have always related to the idea of getting hyped-up for the start of school.  Yet, I have always wondered, why is it the dad and not the mom?  Isn't it mom who survives the worst of what summer has to dish out--keeping idle children busy, breaking up fights between siblings who spend a bit too much time together, grocery shopping with all children in tow, etc.?  But I digress....

It is not going to come as a surprise, then, to learn that I do not cry when I send my children to school, not even my kindergartener.  I do not shed one tear.  It's not that I am insensitive or not a loving, attached mother.  I just get excited about the start of school--the start of a new challenge and adventure.  Sure, I am fully aware that my children are growing up at hyper-speed. That is why I take loads of pictures to document their growth.  So here they are:

 The traditional pose-in-front-of-the-flowers-on-the-first-morning-before-school-starts picture

Brevin with his new 2nd grade teacher, Mrs. Roylance                   Spencer with his new kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Miner

Each sitting at his desk (er...table)

Ready to go, and not looking back!

This post authored by Amber

Back to School Feast

With summer winding up (or down, or whatever), we looked forward to celebrating the return to schedule, structure, and learning with our annual Back to School Feast.  This is something our family adopted last year and has now become a tradition that everyone already looks forward to.  It is an excellent way to show the boys how important school and continued learning is.  It is also another reason to celebrate (and you know how we like to do that!).

I pulled out the tablecloth, china, and real silverware and we feasted on grilled salmon, asparagus, mashed potatoes, and a completely decadent chocolate and peanut butter cake.  Brevin suggested we get Martineli's sparkling cider for the occasion, which I quickly agreed to. 

While we ate, I introduced the yearly family theme of "Remember" and we talked about all the ways that one particular word could help us with our goals for the coming school year.  We then read a favorite scripture (which I totally relate to because it is addressed to "my sons").  Helaman 5:12 reads:

"And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall."

I couldn't put it better myself, so we concluded the discussion with that.  Following diner, each of the boys received a special father's blessing to help prepare them for their starting a new school year.

Now, here's hoping that they will each REMEMBER!

This post authored by Amber

September 2, 2010

Sticking One Final Vacation Into Summer '10

Early August, Jason went on a backpacking trip to the Uintas with the Boy Scouts. Upon his return, we decided that we should hitch up the trailer and take the boys for a final family camping trip the week before school started. Three days and two nights sounded like just the right amount of time for such a trip, and it proved to be perfect.

We managed to luck out and get a really terrific site at Washington Lake. At our campsite, we enjoyed family meals, warm campfires, a game or two in the trailer, and comfortable night sleeps (thanks to a propane heater that ran for nearly the duration of the crisp, mountain-air nights).

Away from camp, we enjoyed hiking, fishing, and throwing rocks into the lake (well, that last one was mostly Garrett). We also made sure to include a quick jaunt to Upper Provo Falls to enjoy the scenery and take some photos.

As it turns out, the boys have become quite good at fishing. They are good sports when it comes to receiving all sorts of pointers from an expert dad and a not-so-expert mother. In fact, they were ready to move away from using power bait to using flies in no time. Together, they caught a variety of rainbow trout, albino, and tiger trout. Most were catch and release, but we did keep a few so Brevin could learn to clean the fish for a Cub Scout requirement, and we cooked them over the campfire.

It was a fantastic trip, but you don't have to take my word for it. You can just see the pictures yourself!

This post authored by Amber

September 1, 2010

What A Good Day!

The day of Brevin's baptism was so lovely. All throughout the afternoon and evening I kept commenting to Jason, "What a good day! Wasn't it such a good day?" And it was, really.

The morning started early as Jason went over to the church around 9:30 a.m. I followed shortly after with Spencer and Garrett. It was so nice to see that our group had been assigned to meet in the chapel.

Brevin shared his baptism program with a neighbor from the ward that he'd become close friends with over the summer. (Her family shares a backyard property line with us.) The program was simple and included an "impromptu" musical number by Brevin, Spencer, and Amiee and her sisters. (We were never able to get them together for a practice.) Then all who had joined us for the occasion were invited to the Relief Society room to watch the baptism.

Of particular note, Brevin took in a huge gasp of air following the prayer and preceding the immersion. You would have thought he was preparing for a deep sea dive. It initiated a wave of laughter (slightly suppressed and of the reverent variety, of course).

After the confirmation and a few words from bishop Patten, the meeting was concluded and we went outside to take a few pictures before heading back to our home for lunch and, of course, cake and ice-cream.

Like I said before, it was such a good day!

Here are the pictures to prove it:

Both Jason and Brevin are sporting new suits. Don't they look handsome!

I have now come to the conclusion that the more people you add into a picture, the less likely it is to turn out well.

Green was the theme (inspired by Brevin's favorite color as well as the color of the CTR shield).

With family gathered, it was the perfect opportunity to sing happy birthday, have cake, and open birthday gifts.

Did I mention it was a good day? Oh, yeah. I guess I did.
This post authored by Amber