Saturday, November 29, 2008

Never the same again

This past week has been one of the most difficult of my life. Without going into details, I was asked to do something that I could never have done had I not had an undeniable confirmation in my heart that somehow it was the right thing. And even with that, it has been excruciating and nearly unbearable. But I have promised Heavenly Father that I would be willing to do anything He asked, to become what He wanted me to become. But in the throes of this week's events, I found myself saying to Him in painful desperation, "Heavenly Father, if I do this, I will never be the same again."

Swift came the loving reply: "No, Ann, you never will."

In that moment, I realized and remembered what our lives are truly about...growth and progression. If I truly want to change and become what I was meant to become, I can never be the same again. So I will strive to trust Him and His kindness, and look forward to the new person that I will hopefully become by going through such a difficult experience.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Light Rail

Saturday we had a great day together as a family! We had a fun adventure of riding the light rail downtown to see where Daddy works. It was a great time. :)

Going across the walkway:



Waiting happily for the train:



(The baby was zonked most of the day, which is why she's not in too many pictures:)



On our way!






It wouldn't be Colorado without the buffalo...










Thursday, November 20, 2008

My enterprising daughter...



As it's gotten colder here, we've naturally had lots of spiders try to move inside with us. This morning, as I smashed a spider during breakfast, my second oldest asked, "Why do so many spiders come in our house?"

After I explained that they come in because it's cold outside and they are looking for a warm place to be, I could see my 5-year-old's wheels turning. After a minute, she said, "I think we should cut up one of our blankets into little tiny spider blankets and sell them to the spiders. Then they will be warm and they'll stay outside."

We don't have lemonade stands in this family...we have spider blanket stands. :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Perspective

This past weekend was a pretty rough one for Matt and I for a few reasons. One reason was that we lost the one key we have to our van, and though we looked for probably 6 or more hours during the course of the weekend, we couldn't find it anywhere. Of course, it turned up missing on Sunday morning, right as we were walking out the door to church (on time, even!!). After hours of searching and the girls missing their primary program, I was very disheartened. We decided we'd ride the bus to church, and on the way, Matt tried to get money out of an ATM for our tithing, but it wouldn't work, either. I felt so low, unprepared, and unworthy, that it was very hard for me to want to try to get to church for the last 15 minutes on the bus. But luckily, Matt had more strength than I did and we walked with our 4 little ones down the busy street to the bus stop, of course skinning some tender little knees in the process. After what seemed like a long and sad bus ride to me, we made it to the church, hoping to be able to at least take the sacrament with a later ward, but we missed it. I felt awful. We sat in the foyer for the last 10 minutes of church. I wanted to hide from everyone, including Heavenly Father. I felt horrible.

About five different families offered us a ride home so that we wouldn't have to take the bus. We accepted, but I was so embarrassed that I wished no one had seen us. I felt like a 14-year-old, and a really immature and irresponsible one, at that. We had been invited earlier in the week to a dinner at someone's home, and when I tried to cancel it, saying we didn't have a way to get over there, they of course wanted to pick us up. They were so genuine and kind that I couldn't say no, but inside I felt so little and embarrassed when we walked into this home full of responsible people after being picked up.

The next day, after what is a long story and a miracle of its own, the key came back. It sounds funny, but it's a lot to write about, so I won't go into all of it now. Another difficult thing of the weekend had been my daughter's birthday. I had wanted to get her nice things, as every parent does, but because money is so very tight, we could only get her a couple of very inexpensive clearance things. I felt so sad, because I feel like money is always tight around her birthday, but this year it is tighter than ever. I felt a twinge of sadness when we gave her the gifts.

So, these things had seemed difficult to me, and I had felt very discouraged about them. But as I listened to my daughters' prayers and conversations over the next few days, my heart was stunned and softened at what a difference in perspective can do. Here are a few snippets out of their little mouths, in contrast to mine:

"I am so happy we got to ride the bus! That was so fun!!!"

"Thank you Heavenly Father for letting us ride in that nice man's car with the fun movie we had never seen yet!!"

"When can we ride the bus again?"

"I LOVE my unihorn!!" (This was a clearance Halloween item that I probably never would have though to get if we hadn't been so poor right now!)

"I'm so glad that we got to ride in Olivia's car TWO times! She's my newest friend!"
So maybe I should try it...instead of feeling badly about these things, how about this?

I'm so grateful that Matt was so sick one week and my keys were lost another week so that I could make a new, kind friend who showed me such genuine love. I would probably never have met her otherwise.

I'm so grateful that my girls got to ride on a bus, since they really feel they are missing out not riding a school bus.

I'm so grateful that money was so tight that I looked through the clearance Halloween things. The unicorn is her new favorite toy. :)

I'm so grateful that I learned so much about true service, unseen by others, from a new friend.

I am so grateful that my girls spent extra time with a new friend that they may not have made had this whole crazy thing not happened.

I'm so grateful that even though our key was lost and tremendous stress was felt, Matt and I still felt love for each other and not blame. I am so glad that our relationship is a loving one.

I am so grateful that I was given an opportunity to humble myself, stretch, and try to grow beyond my comfortable boundaries.

I am so grateful that Heavenly Father still loves me, even though my attitude was not always as it should have been this weekend.

I am so grateful that our key was returned after I learned what I needed to learn.

I am so very grateful for an opportunity to let my girls see a prayer be answered, and for their own faith to grow.

I am so grateful for children who help me to have a fresher, better perspective on everything, each and every day.

Happy 4th Birthday!

Our second oldest celebrated her 4th Birthday on Saturday! :)

We love her so much and I can't imagine what life would be without her little spirit in our home. I am grateful every day for the past four years that we have had with her, and can't wait for more!

This is a lot of pictures, but her little face is so great that I couldn't help but put them all up here!

Showing how old she is:

The sisters :)



Not excited at all... :)



I love how she's tearing off the paper in this one. :)



The darling little outfit from Grandma and Grandpa Richmond!




The beautiful garden set from Grandma and Grandpa Ipson!
The unicorn, or "unihorn," as she calls it. :)





I think this is one of the oddest cakes of mine yet, but when mishap after mishap happens, you just do the best you can....and she loved it, so I don't care! :)




Happy Birthday, sweetie! :)

(This is to her grandparents:)

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Snow Day, Part 2

Okay, so as a child, I used to tell myself as I grumpily stood out in the cold, "Someday I'll homeschool so I can give my kids a snow day whenever I want to." No, that's not why I homeschool now, and no, we won't have a snow day every time it snows, but it was so fun to have the power to declare today a snow day!! :)

All ready to go out, and already the baby can barely contain her excitement...



Ah, the jubilation!










Though much fun was had by all, I don't think anyone loved it half as much as the littlest one. These pictures just say it all! :)








Love playing with our sisters!










The little Snow Bandit...right before she came in, she stuffed as much snow in her mouth as she could possibly fit.


Getting warm together by the fire, waiting for mom to make cocoa.

Snow Day


Has school ever been called on account of excitement about snow? :)


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Breathing the outside air at last!



Our two youngest daughters have asthma, and one of them has it pretty bad, so we haven't been able to go outside for a while. Today, they were much better, and we celebrated! I think the above picture says it all! :)