Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Early Mornings

Something I’ve learned about myself over the years is that I seem to function much better - emotionally, spiritually, physically - when I manage to start the day early.  Luke has been waking up earlier than usual the past few weeks, so instead of fighting it and trying to put him back to sleep, I’ve been going on a nice walk through the neighborhood.  As I look back over the past 8 years of having babies, nursing, meeting the demands of young children day in & day out, I find that I'd usually need sleep more than a walk (I’d consider myself lucky if I got either of those, ha!), but I’m glad to be getting into the groove of starting my day earlier.

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Luke is my serious little soul.  He listens to me talk and pray as we enjoy the serenity of those morning hours.  I think our spirits understand each other. :)

Monday, June 29, 2015

Cambodia

Recently my mom has been exploring the world through Discovery Expeditions & Adventures.  
 
The way in which these opportunities have come about is quite a story in and of itself, but regardless, I’ve been wanting to document a few bits and pieces of her travels.  My children are intrigued with her adventures, and it’s been neat for all of us to see more of the world through her experiences.  
 
Her first trip encompassed about two weeks in March, and the countries she explored included Vietnam, Cambodia, Loas, Myanmar, and Thailand.  I’ll start with Cambodia because I know it was her favorite country on this trip.
 
In her own words she said, 

"Cambodia is located in the southern portion of the Indochina Peninsula of Southeast Asia.  We explored magnificent ancient temples in the jungles of Cambodia.  There are more than 1,000 ancient temples in this country.  Lots of hiking and climbing ancient stairs.  

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Here we visited one of the World's Seven Wonders, The Temple of Angkor Wat.  We watched the sunrise come up over this spectacular temple. 

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We also Visited Phnom Penh City.  I was touched by another tragic event in history,  The Killing Fields, where more than a million people were killed and buried by the Communist Khmer Rouge Regime from 1975-1979, my high school years.

The poverty here was overwhelming at times.  The people were so humble and kind.  I met a beautiful girl that insisted on massaging my tired feet after a day of hiking in the jungle.  She made $70.00 a month.  I gave her a $20.00 tip that made her sob. 

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The rice farming was fascinating...

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along with the water buffalo on the side of the roads.

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I loved watching them make palm sugar in the villages."

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Here are a few more of her favorites.  I personally love the one of her with the two little Cambodian girls.  

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I’m pleased to know that not all taxi cab drivers are as intense as the ones in NYC.  The thrill of riding a taxi around Manhattan is probably pretty comparable to riding this rig around Cambodia though, haha!

Looks thrilled, doesn’t he?

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Happiest 6 Yr Old

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Carlie celebrated her 6th birthday in May, so birthday season has officially begun around here!  We spent the day together as a family, opened gifts, ate her favorite dinner (which was Hawaiian haystacks this year - I love how it keeps changing), and shared a buttermilk chocolate cake.  I remember when we were trying to decide on a name for this sweet little bundle of joy.  Jared & I both loved the name Carlie from the get-go.  Her middle name came with some extra thought, but despite her screaming entrance, she was a JOY from the very beginning.  Her Grandma Wolfley’s middle name is Joyce, and we loved that similarity, too.  Carlie has always had such a cute smile with a hearty laugh...and oh, those pretty blue eyes.  

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(Carlie, age 4)

So without further ado, I present SIX things that we all love about Carlie.

1.  Carlie is a girly girl.  She loves all things princess-y including fancy hairdos, accessories, and dress up.  

2.  She loves games, and she’s a good sport about them!  Whether it be a matching game, a board game, an outdoor game, or any other type of game...count her in!

3.  Carlie is a nurturer.  She fills up those big sister shoes pretty darn nicely.  Her inner conflict usually comes down to whether or not she should be a mom or a mermaid when she grows up; she’s torn. 

4.  This girl is an athlete, and although she can be reckless at times, she faces her challenges head on.  You know how some kiddos are just built tough?  She’s one of those kiddos.  

5.  I think she might be ahead of her years on this one, but Carlie is a tease.  She’s learning that not all people get her jokes, so we’re trying to help her mature into this side of her personality a little bit more all the time.

6.  And last but not least, she is a happy helper.  Any mom who has a happy helper knows how truly great this is!!

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(Carlie after opening a birthday package from Grandma Julie)

We love you, Carlie Joy!

Monday, June 8, 2015

May Little Things

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Jared took the girls fishing last month at the Columbia Park Pond.  They both caught 3 fish each in about 30 minutes!  I’m so glad these girls have a daddy who loves them more than anything.  

Before finishing this post, I took the time to go through a few older posts from years passed, and it literally took my breath away to see how much these kids of mine have grown.  Time is marching on, and although I love watching my babies blossom into children, it pulls at my heartstrings sometimes!

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In all the busyness of the end-of-school year mayhem, I was called to be the new primary president in a new ward in a brand new church building.  What a whirlwind these past 6 weeks have been.  Our primary is full of over 100 outstanding children, and I truly love each one of them.  To be honest, I was concerned at first that I wouldn’t be able to handle all the responsibilities placed on my shoulders in this calling, especially with a baby and the wheel of grief I find myself stuck in most days.  I’m learning to reorganize my life though, trying new patterns of behavior, and really stretching myself to develop new skills with a renewed sense of who I am and what Heavenly Father wants me to become.  I love the ladies I work with, and I know this calling is a gift of growth more than anything else.  

I never knew Sundays could be so long, yet so rewarding.

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One of my favorite parts about this calling has been the 8-year-old baptisms that take place every month.  My daughter’s baptism is coming up next month which will be a special occasion for sure; I’m really looking forward to it.  Here’s a picture of the cute Haynie twins with their family on their baptism day last month.

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Mother’s Day was a beautiful day.  It means more and more to me each year.  The kids gave me a colorful bouquet of flowers, and Gabe was intrigued with them all week long.  He kept asking me if I loved my flowers…or not.

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There’s more I’d like to share, but I’ll hit it again tomorrow.  The boys’ nap time is precious time, so I’ll leave you with some encouragement for the week from a beloved apostle, Elder L. Tom Perry, who passed away not quite two weeks ago.  I’ve been thinking a lot about him and his exemplary life.

“Stay fast to the principles our Lord and Savior has taught us.  Do not compromise on His principles.  Do not think you’re smart enough to change His law and His direction because it will never work.  Six thousand years or so has proven the fact that every time people stray from His ways that He has taught us from the beginning, they find heartache, disappointment, discouragement and really don’t find the joy in life." 

Friday, May 15, 2015

Happy 5 Months, Luke!

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Luke Boy!

What a joy he has been these past 5 months!  He is officially rolling over, scooting backwards when he’s on his back, and sleeping for about 8 hours every night.  He raises his little eyebrows when he smiles at me, and it melts my heart every time.  He does pretty good sitting in his bouncer seat while I work in the kitchen, but not for long before he gets the stiff back and tries to scoot out.  His red coloring certainly brings a new feel into our home.  We love it and feel so blessed to have him in our family.

I like how this picture shows our CD player in the background.  Lately when he starts showing me that he’s ready for nap time, I turn on my Calee Reed CD and hold him upright as he looks over my shoulder.  I sway back and forth and stare out the window while I sing along for about 3-4 songs, reflecting on heaven and such, then bam, his whole body goes limp and he's out like a light. Is it even possible for him to have a favorite song?  Maybe not, but if he did it would be "Better Than a Hallelujah” because he starts cooing during that one every time.  

So...thank you, Calee Reed.  My baby seems to really like you, haha!