Sunday, September 21, 2014

Act 5; Scene 3: My Purpose

I was walking Tommy up and down the Las Vegas strip in his umbrella stroller. Hauling a diaper bag and a few M&M World gift bags, sporting a getting-bigish pregnant belly. We were determined to have some fun during Robert’s accounting conference. And despite the heat (100+!) and the smell (cigarettes and BO) and the loud music, we did manage to make friends with a dragon and try a lot of Hershey and M&M candy.

I was expecting the foul smells, the hot air, the almost-naked ladies posing for pictures with tourists, the big lights and fantastic buildings, alcohol and slot machines. What I wasn’t expecting was the amazing sense of purpose I felt for my life while visiting this strange city. While I wasn’t the ONLY one pushing around a stroller, I was close to the only one. And the sight of Thomas brought a smile to every person’s face that we saw in an elevator, waiting in line, waiting at the crosswalk. And I mean a genuine, childlike, grin. We heard many stories of “ours are 18 and 20 now!” or “I remember those days,” or “If mine look like him I’ll have 10!” Here we were in the “city of fun,” and the most genuine smiles I saw were on the faces of those who looked at my child.

I looked at everyone around me in the city—there to have a good time—to go out to eat, to spend some time at the black jack tables or slot machines, see some (dirty!) shows, and have a few drinks. I looked at so many glamorous people living/working on the strip that were just looking for the next “good time.” I saw young men dressing up in superhero costumes and asking for tips from every picture or interaction, so obviously trying to find a way to make enough money to go have a good time.  I looked at everyone having a good time in the city, and thought they all looked so…lost.

I have never felt so much purpose for my life than while walking that strip. I had no makeup on, looked kind of frumpy in my ill-fitting clothes, and had to constantly find a way to entertain Thomas whenever we had to wait in line. Instead of going to see a Broadway show or glamming up, or going shopping or doing something for myself, we went to look at the ducks; we spent LOTS of time looking at the dragon that growled; I spent an hour catching Tommy as he jumped into the pool. Boy, we really stuck out (especially Tommy’s high-pitched, enthusiastic little voice). And I have never been gladder. I have a Purpose in my life—and it is a real, and powerful Purpose. Although there are many other purposes in my life, my children and role as a mother is the most important and overarching I could imagine. My purpose is so much more than to have a “good time.” Working hard and making a sacrifice for something that really matters is what real fun is. My purpose is to teach my children what real fun is, and that they have a Purpose so that they don’t have to be always looking for the next “good time” Las Vegas style.

In Las Vegas, my Purpose shone brighter than I ever noticed it before. I think it may have been the first time that it really struck me what an absolute blessing dedicating life to family can be. Maybe because it was against a backdrop of so many who seemed without Purpose. Against a city thriving on the lost.

I felt strong and confident walking down the Strip with my stroller and frumpy clothes and Divine Purpose.

…And we’ve decided we’ve seen enough of Vegas to last a life time. :-)

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Act 5; Scene 2: Wrap Up of Summer

Well folks, it appears summer has come to an end. August is gone, my BYU class and Broadway Bound classes have started, Tommy's co-op preschool has started,  and there's been rain and some chill in the breeze. My giant dahlias still haven't bloomed, but I hear they're more of a fall flower anyway. 

We celebrated the end of summer by going to the Land of Summer--St. George--for Labor Day Weekend. Here's a little picture tour of some of our weekend:

First time I've seen a real scorpion in the "wild"

Kolob Canyon morning hike

Notice Grandpa carrying Tommy

The perfect walking stick

Fun in the splash pad

St. George carousel

Went to feed the ducks, found out turtles like the bread even more!

One of three friendly, bread-eating turtles

Can you spot the humming bird?
We also spent some quality time playing with Roy and Rosie, eating delicious caprese pizza as well as pumpkin and apple pie, watching "Captain Phillips" (we highly recommend this one!), and just having a good time together.

And now we say...bring on the fall!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Act 5; Scene 1: The Start of Year Five

Hip Hip Hooray!

It's been 4 years.

I just read last year's anniversary post, and I had mentioned that it felt for sure more like 10 years. Funny, because I feel the same way today. Four just isn't a big enough number for all the love, life, experience, and goals we have shared together. In fact, today Robert told me he felt like we waited for a while before we started having kids. But then...we are already expecting #2 and we have only been married four years...funny how time is deceiving :-).

Here are some highlights from our fourth year as a family:

A trip to Virginia for Katie's wedding:

We bought a pass to Thanksgiving Point (best thing ever!):
Museum of Ancient Life
The farm
Children's Gardens
Digging for dinosaur bones at the Museum
First Center Family Thanksgiving and Christmas for Thomas (in St. George!):

A successful vacation after two rather unsuccessful ones last year:

A new baby on the way:

A Southern Utah trip with cousins:

A birthday party:

And a camping trip:

What an awesome year.  We love our life together as a family. We're so grateful we have the opportunity to have it last for eternity. Bring it on!!!

Happy Anniversary!

Act 4; Scene 48: Tommy's Picture Tour of Bear Lake Camping

Lately, Thomas has become obsessed with the camera. He is entertained by taking pictures for HOURS. I let him have the camera for a while when we were starting to pack up camp, and this is what he came up with:

Tommy's Picture Tour:

He obviously really likes feet :-)

Happy Sunday.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Act 4; Scene 47: Our Trip to Bear Lake

My family has a tradition of going to Bear Lake every summer.
We have done this as long as I can remember, and it was the highlight of our summers as kids.

It has been two years since we've been (having a baby in the summer will do things like that to you...or at least to me) and we finally decided to brave the storm of camping with a toddler and GO!

Sadly, we took very few pictures at the actual lake because we were having so much fun. So we'll just sum up some of the highlights:

  • Tinfoil dinners and s'mores with roasted marshmallows
    savoring one of his favorite treats with one of his favorite people
    • Waking up my mom to accompany me on a 3 am bathroom run (thanks, Mom!)
    • Hot chocolate in the cold, mountain mornings
    • Long day at the beach
    • Trying out a paddle board, canoe, and wave runners
    • Thomas taking an hour and a half nap on Uncle Sam's and my lap
    He did, in fact, choose to sleep in that position
    • Hot dogs over the fire (nothing like it!)
    • Trying out grasshopper s'mores (marshmallow between two grasshopper cookies. Genius!)
    • Blue Springs
      Some good looking guys!
      Poor Thomas was so excited for a hike, then fell asleep in the car and stayed asleep the whole time!

      Beautiful, clear water!
    •  Quality time with family


      • Throwing rocks in the creek
        • Car snacks!
        • And generally, having a grand time

        One of the funniest things that happened on our little trip was Robert telling Thomas that there is a bear that comes out at night to make sure you're in your bed--so be sure to be asleep in your bed when he wakes up at dark. He just said something like that casually, but boy did Tommy cling to it! He would raise his eyebrows up as high as they would go, look at us earnestly, and say over and over, "Bear come!" and "Hurry!" and "Bear awake now!" When we went on walks through the camp ground, he would point out into the woods and tell us where the bear lived. Once, on a trek back from the bathroom, we heard a crash in the bush that startled us both--he grabbed my hand and started running, "Bear come! Hurry!" Then he would make sure to tell us that the bear was a "nice bear."  Since he never cried or acted too scared of the bear (it didn't prevent him from wanting to walk around the camp or sleep through the night--actually I think he was more interested in seeing it), we found it pretty hilarious how he clung onto that one idea Robert brought up. And it came in handy in getting him into bed :-) [Don't worry-we didn't overemphasize the point or tell him scary things about said bear, only that he came out at night]. Just seeing those little eyebrows raised as he genuinely and enthusiastically told us "Bear wake now!" was so dang cute. 

        And now we're home--squeaky clean (feels great!) and completely exhausted (try sleeping in a tent all on the same air mattress with a sprawling 2 year old, all the while having to pee--perks of pregnancy. Yeah.) And it sounds like our laundry has just finished, so it's off to bed!

        Hope you all had a great weekend, too!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Act 4; Scene 46: No More Baby About this Baby

As if turning two wasn't enough.

My baby is no longer a baby.

On Friday, we went to the American Fork Carnival, and Tommy rode all of the rides by. him.self.

If you couldn't tell, he takes his ride-riding very seriously. You couldn't tell how much fun he was having until you tried to get him off of the ride.

And then we got an ice cream to share....and he wanted to hold and eat it by.him.self. He didn't even make a mess or get any ice cream on his shirt!

Today he got to wear his new tie and belt to church. And if nothing else sealed the deal, this outfit did:

the "smile tommy!" face

This baby is no longer a baby.

Oh...and he can play the piano by himself, too.