Daily Affirmation

The best things in life are free.
The second best are very expensive.
- Coco Chanel

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Sweetness, Sassiness & Everything In Between

Back from a whirlwind trip to Colorado for Lexi's baptism.  Where do I begin?  How do I even start to describe an amazing little girl who was so excited for her baptism day that she took 5 invitations to hand out at school, and came home needing 10 more?  (And many of them came!)  A little girl who took the responsibility of the choice she was making very seriously, and was beyond excited to share the day with everyone she loves.  In a word, the day was spiritual.  I watched her face during the opening talks, and it was one of rapt attention, drinking in every word.  Sweet doesn't even begin to describe it.  It brought tears to my eyes, and thankfulness to my heart for such a special little girl.  She greeted each and every person who came, and thanked them for coming.  She was gracious and attentive to everyone in her white dress and matching white purse.  She looked every inch the pure little soul.


After the baptism ceremony, we headed back to Lexi's house, where her mother had prepared a little brunch for everyone who attended.  There were cinnamon rolls, fresh fruit, a delicious blueberry bread pudding, and (the favorite of all of the kids) powdered sugar doughnuts - white, reflecting the occasion.  Lexi opened gifts, and thoroughly enjoyed the time with her family and friends.  I was so surprised at the variety of people who came in honor of this little girl - everyone from daddy's friends at the gym to school friends to the usual church friends.  It was a very good day for a very good girl.



In the afternoon, the little ones, Travis and Skylee, went down for naps and Matthew and Lexi wanted to come with us back to the hotel for some swimming.  They each packed up a change of clothes and some toys they wanted to bring and we were off.  Of course, L didn't bring a bathing suit, so it was just me, myself, and I in the pool with two rambunctious kids.  L did toss Matthew in a foot or two from the steps, which scared him at first until he realized he could swim/walk back to the steps. (He spent the rest of the afternoon bragging about what a great swimmer he is - HA!)  For the first couple of hours we had the pool to ourselves, and we had a great time.  They decided they would be Mr. Shark and Miss Mermaid, and they were in school together.  First it was Kindergarten, and then we rapidly went through the next few years in mere moments.  At one point they decided they were going to put on a show to "raise money for the school."  First Lexi sang a song from Frozen (of course).  All of the verses.  Good stuff.  And then it was Matthew's turn.  He decided to sing the "Let It Go" song from Frozen.  The whooooole thing.  It's quite long.  Lexi, not to be outdone, decided she would accompany his singing with a little water ballet.  It was all quite impressive.  A 5/almost 6 year old boy belting out the entire, full-length version of "Let It Go" in a clear, unselfconscious voice, complete with the last line "The cold never bothered me anyway."  All the while Lexi was leaping and turning and pirouetting through the shallow depths.  I would have paid to see it if I hadn't landed in the middle of a free performance.  It was awesome and so, so sweet.

About that time, L/Papa came back with our "school snack" - Subway sandwiches and chips.  I got all the way out and ate mine.  The kids got out, took a bite, jumped back in and swam, and repeated.  During the third hour of swimming, their dad arrived and another couple of families also arrived with kids in tow.  So for that hour Mema got a reprieve while the kids all played together.  Soon enough their dad was ready to go, and two bleary-eyed kids straggled out to the car after him.  We would meet up at the house in a couple of hours for dinner at Wahoo's.

After a Wahoo's feast we all went back to the house for chocolate cupcakes.  (Chocolate makes Matthew's eyes go all dreamy.)  Matthew had shown us his bunkbed, very proud of his perch on the top.  It's a queen size, with plenty of room for toys, his beloved video games, and - holy of holies - his box of candy.  Now, this little boy knows exactly how many pieces of candy he has (3 pieces of Easter chocolate, 3 Starburst, and 5 Skittles) and he keeps careful track.  According to his dad, standing in front of all the candy in a 7/11 puts him into a trance.  I love this kid.  A sweeter boy was never born, no pun intended.  Before we left for the night we discussed church the next day and Matthew said he never wears a tie.  But then he looked at L and his dad and said he would wear his the next day, to which L and his dad said "Yep - we'll all wear ties!"  It was a cute moment with 3 of my favorite boys.

We said our goodbyes for the night and headed back to our hotel.  Where everything went horribly wrong.  We watched a little TV to settle in, and got to sleep around 11.  At 12 we were awakened by a weird "tone" noise.  There were two clear tones, followed in a few seconds by 3 other tones.  Silence for about 40 minutes.  This went on for the next 3 hours, only by that time the "tones" were coming about 5 minutes apart.  We tore the place apart trying to figure out what it was, finally determining that it was the smoke alarm.  (It was one of those sounds that seems to come from everywhere and nowhere.)  Finally at 3am I told L to call the front desk as we weren't going to be able to sleep anyway.  Aaand of course, there was nothing they could do about it right then.  So they moved us to another room at 3:30am.  I think we finally slept at about 4am.  And then my alarm went off at 6:30am for  9am church.  I almost cried.  I struggled but I just couldn't get up.  My eyes felt like they'd been sand blasted.  So at 7:00 I texted Rex that we wouldn't be coming.  So sorry.  And so I missed Lexi being presented in front of the congregation, and her giving her own sweet testimony of her beliefs and love for her family.  Brief moments, but I am so sad to have missed them.

We met up later in the day (everyone needed naps - especially L and me!) for a barbeque.  Rex had a hankering for buffalo burgers so that's what we had.  And they were really good!  I didn't have long to enjoy mine because as soon as Lexi and Matthew were finished eating they wanted to play Crazy 8s and Go Fish.  I'm sorry to report that Lexi is a shameless cheater, and I'm happy to say that Matthew is honest and innocent with his cards laid out for all to see, but it was all in good fun.  Even Travis joined in the fun:

 Teaching Travis all of my card skills - HA!

Before the sun went down I tried my best to capture a few memories with my camera to last me until the next time I come visit.  Skylee loved it.  There was a rabbit in the yard and she chattered endlessly on about it.  She moves very fast, and it was hard to do her justice, but here are the best two:


Lexi is very easy to take pictures of.  And these reminded me of the fact that she's not such a little girl anymore.  That makes me sad, but it also gives me a lot to look forward to as this beautiful 8 year old turns into a young lady.

And Matthew.  Who can forget that happy little face?  That sweet chattering little voice?  He's smart and funny and tons of fun.


And he was Papa's little pocket pal all weekend.  I loved seeing L having fun with this little live wire.

One of the first things he told us after he arrived was that he was a very fast runner.  And I believe it.  I saw him in action:
He can run like that All.Day.Long.  But he never forgets to be a good big brother to Travis.


And Travis.  What a mellow baby.  He rarely changes expression.  Just don't take his food or bottle away.  A young man needs his food and drink.  Other than that, as long as you're holding him, and especially if you're viewing "Frozen" for the oh... millionth time, he's entranced.  Tickle his bald head and he's yours.


 Papa and his boys




I have one picture left to share.  It may seem ordinary.  A bit strange to put here on the blog.  


But I want to remember Skylee forever jumping into the little car and, when asked where she was going, she announced in a clear voice "I'm going tanning!"  How quick they learn...  She is at that funny age where everything they say is hilarious.  When asked to sing a song she would say "I can't - I'm too busy!"  But other times she would belt out every song from "Frozen."  That's the current favorite.  At Christmas time it was "Brave" and the character Merida.  I was told that during that phase she would walk around the house yelling "Curse this dress!"  I love 2 year olds - especially chatty ones.

I left them with a heavy heart, but a tired body.  Mema isn't used to running with the younger crowd.  But it was the best kind of fun.  We stopped by on our way to the airport.  All of the littles were home except Lexi, who was still at school (Oooooh how I miss that girl already!)  I will miss Skylee, still in the stubborn throes of being 2, and Matthew completely charming and irresistible.  And mellow little Travis.

So long for now Colorado family.  As usual after a visit, I can't wait to go back again.  There just aren't enough dollars in the bank for all the traveling I need to do.  I hate missing all of the fun, and all of the funny things they do.  But they are in capable hands.  Rex and Ronna are the best sort of parents, and I am so proud of the way they've taught these little ones.  My heart is just bursting with pride over the great work they do.  Makes the separation a little easier.  But only a little.





8 comments:

  1. This is such a beautiful post Karen! The story of Alexis and Matthew just stole my heart. And the sweet new littles are precious, precious! What a blessing to have these tenderhearted children in your life.

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  2. I share your Rocky Mountain high, dear karen, and once again I am left misty eyed after reading about your visit with the Colorado Contingent and seeing the faces of these beautiful children. "Spiritual" is the perfect word to describe Lexi. In these pictures the power and spirit shines through her eyes.

    You wrote:

    << Rex and Ronna are the best sort of parents, and I am so proud of the way they've taught these little ones. >>

    I couldn't agree more. My mother used to tell me about her childhood in the Roaring Twenties. She and her three sisters were raised by very strict parents. According to my mom, if she or one of her siblings uttered a single word out of turn, they were shaken, slapped, paddled and forced to stand in a corner. Fast forward to recent decades when parents allowed the pendulum to swing much too far in the other direction, allowing their children to have free reign, do whatever they please with no rules to obey. Parents like those are shirking their responsibility to teach their children how to become good citizens of the world. Good behavior and good deeds are their own reward and children who are not taught this by their parents grow up with a sense of entitlement and don't know how to love and respect others. Clearly, your children and their spouses are doing an excellent job of parenting. Your family coast to coast gives me hope that there are parents who know how to guide, encourage and shape their children without abusing them or letting them run wild. The world needs more like them.

    When you told us about your day with the kids in the swimming pool, you wrote:

    << The kids got out, took a bite, jumped back in and swam, and repeated. >>

    This resonated with me. It brought back memories of my childhood when I was far too excited about swimming and other activities to eat. Why do so many grown ups allow that enthusiasm, that gusto, that zest for life slip away? Why do they make eating the highlight of their day? Why do they eat because they are bored? Why do they eat long after their appetite has been satisfied? We all need to jump back into life the way Matthew and Lexi jumped back into that pool.

    As usual, I could go on and on about your delightful family. Through your stories I have come to know them, admire them, respect them and care about them.

    Thank you, karen!

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  3. Sounds like this was an amazing trip; Karen. How exciting for little Lexi! I hope you get to go back and see your Colorado family soon :)

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  4. What a great family, and it sounds like lots of fun although tiring. Such a drag that you ended up missing the confirmation. The hotel should have given you a refund!

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  5. What a beautiful family! I love Lexi's dress..so sweet and perfect for her special day. I'm sorry you had to miss Sacrament meeting. I would have requested a special rate for being so disturbed that night. Grandkiddos are the best, but I'm always reminded why we have our kids when we're young...they really do exhaust you! But it's a good tired and I'm sure they have great memories of the visit. My fav pic is the one with L and the boys..the sweet expression on Travis's face as he's looking at L is priceless!

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  6. She looks like an angel.

    Love,
    Janie

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  7. So fun to read this! Great trip!

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  8. Mom, Just read this post for the first time. It made me all teary eyed. Thanks for sharing about your visit. This post seriously made me LOL!! So many things I haven't heard about. Except the "tanning" comment, I've heard her say that a time or two! I think I'll stop telling her I'm tanning! haha. Such funny kids, so much fun.
    Shady Del Knight, thank you so much for your kind words.

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