Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Cousin Time!

Yesterday my little sister Bethany came over with her two little kids to play!



I love her so much. She's a strong, sassy, and fun woman. And her kids are absolutely so beautiful!



Matt came over too and we enjoyed some sibling time while the kids played.



Daniel and Kannon had a blast together.



And Summerleigh toddled around trying to pull the dog's tail. I couldn't get a picture of the two of them together since they were moving so fast.




It was such a joy.



Antonio doesn't like holding other people's kids. He says, "If I break my own kids, it's okay. I don't want to break someone else's baby." I made him hold her. And then I completely turned into a happy giggly mess because he is so cute with her!



After a really great time with the kids, and after he gave the boys a bath and we got them ready for bed so their mama could just put them straight to bed when they got home, Antonio went to bed (work super early) and Bethany and I just sat and chatted. It was so nice.


After they left, I put Daniel to bed and my friend Sheri came over. We sat and had a great talk. In the middle of our conversation, we hear this loud noise from the bedroom. Antonio was loudly yelling what sounded like battle commands. It was hilarious. I went in to check on him. He mumbled, "I love you so much." I laughed and said, "I love you too. You were talking in your sleep. You said something like, 'I am the greatest!" He mumbled something else in his sleepy voice and there very clearly said, "Well I am." And then rolled back over to sleep. Hilarious!

The best part about spending time with his cousins is Daniel got to give Kannon a bag of toys and clothes that he had picked out that are too small for him now. He had so much fun giving them to his cousin. We're trying to teach him to take joy in the joy of others. He is a wonderful kiddo.

And there you have another episode in the saga that is now my life as a wife and a mom!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Thoughts on Happiness

I feel like something is happening in the world.

There is an incredible amount of suffering and sorrow in the world.

Or rather, the suffering is out there more.

Perhaps it's social media. Perhaps it's a modern day need to defy the traditions of the past that tell us to shut up about our struggles.

During the past month, I've heard the struggles of so many friends.

Three friends announced they were getting divorced.

Three in one month.

Two friends have cancer.  Very young, vibrant friends.

Children are dying.

Parents are suffering.

There's this heart ache in the air.

And yet, we move forward.

I can feel this wave of strength.

A friend watched her children testify against her husband after years of abuse. She was able to see this lying man receive a 20 year sentence after all the pain he put her children through. Every day, she makes decisions for the health and well-being of her little family. And every day, I see her gain more strength and more confidence as she has seen justice served and her lonely struggles vindicated by the courts.

Another friend, after years in a co-dependent and unhealthy relationship with a drug addicted man, is smiling and happy in her independence. She has finally embraced her life without him and the glow on her face in her new found strength is inspiring.

Amid their struggles and trials, men and women are moving forward and experiencing the joys of life in the midst of their struggles.

For me, happiness is not life without struggles. Happiness is hope in the midst of trial. Happiness is taking a moment to enjoy the little gifts that each day offers, in spite of the difficulties. The color of the sky, the laughter of a child, the feel of a breeze, a song. None of these blessings are less rich because we face heartache and difficulty.

In Mosiah 24:14-15 we read:

14 And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.
 15 And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up theirburdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.
This is life. Amid the chaos and the confusion, life is good.


Saturday, July 18, 2015

Celebrating Jaxon!

This week, we celebrated Jaxon's 11th birthday!



He is a wonderful boy. He loves Metroid. He loves salt! He loves playing games.

I am just getting to know him, but he has this kindness and this thoughtfulness about him that I just love. He is Antonio's oldest. He has an amazing mother who takes such good care of him.

One of the sweetest moments at our wedding was when Rachel whispered to me with tears in her eyes how happy she was that Jaxon would have a loving step-mom. My heart began to swell as I imagined what it would be to send my child to visit his father, not able to trust that his girlfriend or wife would look after her son. I can't even begin to imagine that fear. I felt her relief in that moment and I began to cry with her. It was such a tender moment. I know that she is a wonderful mother because Jaxon is such a good kid!



We had an early birthday party for him! That morning, I woke up and hopped in the shower before Daniel was awake. I heard a little knock while I was in the shower. I yelled over the water, "I'm in the shower!" After finishing up, I expected to see Daniel in his room playing. Instead he was dressed and excited to show me how he had picked up his room and "made your bed!" (He spread three different blankets out across three different sections of our bed.) He told me that he wanted to make sure that everything was nice for Jaxon's birthday!

That afternoon, Antonio brought both boys through the office. They were laughing and talking all over each other as they ran through to our apartment. It was hilarious to see them so happy together!



That night, we had a few friends and family members over to eat cake and open presents. Jaxon was so excited over every gift he got! But he especially loved his Star Wars Lego thingy.

At the end of the night, Daniel whacked his head on the bunk beds and knocked a couple of baby teeth loose. We agreed that both boys could sleep with us in our room, and they both cuddled on couches to watch Never Ending Story. 




The next day, we woke up bright and early. The boys were again ecstatic to be together. Antonio and I were slightly fatigued. (Of course, in his fatigue, Antonio made DELICIOUS waffles for everyone!) Daniel had been up several times and ended up sleeping upside down between the two of us. I held his legs next to my face so he wouldn't kick his father in his face. Jaxon, of course, slept peacefully through all of this.

They spent the day playing Legos, playing video games, and Antonio took them both to the Aquarium. I went to the temple for a glorious few hours of peace!

All in all, it was a joy to see Jaxon's face light up! Happy Birthday!



Saturday, July 11, 2015

Grease Is The Word... Is the Word... Is the Word....

Details: Grease is playing at Midvale Main Street Theatre at 7711 S Main Street (700 West) until Saturday, July 18th. There are matinees on Saturdays at 2pm--(Today!) It plays Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. (No Wednesday show.)  The cost is $15-$18. (They have $5 discounts for anyone dressed up like they're ready to rock it in the 50s!)

Get your tickets at www.midvaletheatre.com. 

Here's the word on this play--Cassidy Ross directed this fun romp through 50s high school. I was the musical director. Hallee Young Ballash is the choreographer.

The musical stars a slew of ultratalented actors. They are a riot to watch every night.

My brother Matthew is playing Roger--the Mooning Champion.

 
Allie Duke and Seth Tippetts are the iconic Sandy and Danny!


Kristina Rene Stone is Jan!


Taylor Lawrence is Marty!




Mishell Livio from 94.9's morning show is Rizzo! And Todd McRae is Kenicke!





Devin Johnson is Frenchie! Michael Howell is Doody!





There is so much fabulous in this show!

I can't wait for everyone to see it!

You have 90 minutes before the matinee starts!

Head over to the theatre and watch this fantastic little show before it sells out!

You do not want to miss it!

It's dreamy!