Sunday, August 30, 2015

Hazel's Baptism

Hazel's big day finally came on June 8th!
We started off the day with a hike, which I hope will become a tradition. Helps me to step outside of my brain that is encumbered with all the planning and preparations, and breathe.
I loved putting out all of our favorite shots at the temple, including some from when she was little. 
 And honestly, the best part of the day, beside the actual baptism itself, were the people who came to show their love for this little girl. My mom, her husband, and my brother Bradley drove all the way from Cedar City to be here. My mom had a white bag filled with little treasures that tied into the promises and blessings of baptism for Hazel. Hazel lives for little treasures.

 I couldn't quite get the timer button to work on my camera, so we did one with my brother...
 And one with David.
 I asked everyone to come early so we could take some time for gifts and not feel rushed. David and I got Hazel her own set of scriptures. We also gave her a photo album of her baptism pictures with room around the photo for family and friends to write their favorite scripture. And lastly, my most favorite gift: a journal. May she be just as obsessive about journaling as I am.
 Gram and Papa Kevin got her a bright while embroidered towel.
 Hazel's great-grandpa Phipps passed away last December and knowing he probably wouldn't be around on this special day, he bought Hazel a picture book about being baptized and read it with her before he passed away. What a treasure these grandparents are to us!
 Probably my favorite picture of the three of us.
 Oh sisters.

 We arrived early to everyone could size up the font and get as close to falling in as possible.
 Well this here is one of my greatest gifts to my kids: David. I married well.
 This was a simple, special day.
In addition to all the family that was present, my mission president and his wife surprised me by coming up from Salt Lake to be here for Hazel. I will never forget how I felt when I saw them. I think this is heaven--being surrounded by people you love. Funny things happened to: As the first talk on "baptism" commenced, Jane found an app on my phone that does NOT respect the silence button and it burst into music "MONKEY LUNCHBOX!!" The worse part was that I didn't know what to do since it was already "silenced" so it took an embarrassingly long time to figure it out. 

A good one: When it was time for Hazel to enter the font, I completely forgot that she still had her shoes on! She said she realized it once she stepped into the water, but didn't know what to do, so she continued into the font. After she was baptized, I was waiting on the side with her towel and she told me what happened with a huge smile on her face. We both couldn't stop giggling. We shall forever regard those shoes as her "holy shoes."

And my favorite memory was when Hazel and I sang "When I am Baptized" together, our first duet. She was so brave and sang the entire first verse by herself, and I joined her for the second. She is a remarkable girl, this one.
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Preparing for Baptism

This summer we celebrated the baptism of our oldest, Hazel. Since it's our first child to be baptized, I spent quite a bit of time seeking out good ideas to help her prepare for this special day.
So we started early. When she was about six months away from turning eight, we took her on a special date and introduced her to TWO very important things: Preach My Gospel, and sushi.

They sell these compact sized Preach My Gospel manuals now at Deseret book and we got her a mini Book of Mormon to go with it. We challenged her to start reading on her own and on certain nights we allowed her to stay up later and read with Mom and Dad, so we could answer her questions. 
We challenged her to read the section on baptism and the Holy Ghost and asked if she'd be willing to teach a Family Night lesson on those topics. We gave her plenty of time to prepare, and set the date for her lesson about a week or two before her baptism. 
 Before her lesson, we did a quick practice "dip" so that she knew exactly what to do with her hands.
 Then this girl made me a proud mom. She decided to write the promises of baptism on slips of paper and put them in water, symbolizing baptism. Then her siblings got to pull them out one at a time, from the fish bowl, that was clean and did not have a fish...

 This girl had a better handle on things than we usually do! She held their attention and I about died over her enthusiasm and the way she talked with her hands just like her mama...

She decided to put the blessings Heavenly Father promises us in a bowl full of marshmallows, representing the Holy Ghost (duh). I felt like once she could explain in her own words what baptism is and the promises she was about to make with her Heavenly Father, she was ready.

 (This was at the end of our family night when I was trying to say something important and asked, "Is anyone listening to me??" This is what I got.)

As a follow-up, we invited the missionaries to join us for our next Family Night the following week. They did a fun lesson about the Holy Ghost and reviewed the baptismal covenant with Hazel, who was feeling ready and anxious to get in that water.
Go time.
I ordered these from the shop After February on Etsy.

And then it was picture time!
We both decided that a dress with pearls was requisite. After MUCH searching online, we found one. 
She wanted her hair to be like mine when I got married. My goodness this girl has my heart.

 We had quite the crew with us at the temple for these pictures. Charlotte carried the coats, Eloise was the bumble bee, and Ed brought up the rear.
This girl had been wearing this costume all day and waited for her older sister to come home so she could ask her to paint her face like a bumble bee. And I think she did a pretty good job.
We turned a lot of heads at the temple.
 Bumble bee bottom.

 Does anyone else's children have this many bruises on their foreheads at this age??

So far, age eight is a favorite of mine, (along with 18 months). Hazel seems to be at a meeting point between little girl and young woman. Still so innocent, but asserting her own independence and opinions, style and sass. She is getting the hang of jokes and listens in on all of our conversations, asking a thousand questions. She is still so beautifully innocent.

I think eight is just the right time for this big step. 
They know they're doing something special and good.

And I know that all too soon, we will see her standing outside of the temple in white for an entirely different, but very special occasion.
But luckily, for now she's still a kid. 
Mine all mine.

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Monday, August 10, 2015

Joy School and House Update

As summer comes to a close, there is so much on the mind. First, I will miss summer and it's freedom. I will miss my time during the day with my older two, both of whom will now be in school for SEVEN hours. That seems like such a long time. I will miss swimming and camping and staying up past bedtime. On the other hand, I do feel the urge to return to our SYSTEMS. We need to revamp a few things. I've been thinking of doing another Power of Moms workshop on family systems this fall...would you come??

On another note, I also need to finalize my Joy School group for this fall. We have a few spots open if anyone wants to join. It's for kids ages 3-5 from 9:30 to noon just two days a week. I did a podcast with Saren Loosli on how much I've enjoyed doing Joy School with my kids versus a typical preschool. You can listen to us Here. Email me a if you're interested in joining me this fall!

They've just re-written all the Joy School lessons and it's on sale for the next two weeks. Check it out here.

Enjoy the rest of your summer! Hopefully by next summer we will be posting beautiful "after" photos of our latest project, a seven plex that we are restoring to a single family home. We are definitely way in over our heads.

Here are some "before's..."

 This will be opened up to give a nice view into the kitchen.

 Our future living room. 
 Dining Room.

If only I could give a personal tour to each of you and get your opinions for the floor plan!
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