My mind has finally decided it can't function any longer until it's relieved of the many thoughts, impressions, and ideas floating around inside. I've needed to "catch up" and whenever the thought entered my mind, I decided just to ignore it . . . sort of like the idea of "maybe you should organize that drawer, or closet, or laundry room, or basement" . . . if I just put it out of my mind, it actually doesn't need to happen, right? Wrong!
Besides my impressions of India, there have been so many other little moments during the past few months that I have wanted to capture, so right now I just want to write about those small, but meaningful times that have meant so much and made me so happy:
1. Making homemade apple pie this afternoon with Sophie and Caroline using the apples from our backyard apple trees.
2. UEA weekend - 5 days of complete bliss! We didn't go anywhere, no packing, no long car rides, just the kids and I spending our days sleeping in, spending time together, and enjoying the crisp fall weather. Memory to capture: walking through the zoo, holding hands with a little girl on each side, feeling the warmth of an autumn evening, and suddenly stopping, crouching down and smothering these two sweethearts and whispering in their ears how HAPPY I was at that moment and how I couldn't imagine being anywhere else in the world but with them!
3. Conference weekend - inspiring, enlightening, touching, life altering. One of those conferences that truly spoke to me. Some of the talks that stood out in my mind were given by Elder Uchtdorf, Boyd K. Packer, Henry B. Eyring, Jeffry R. Holland, and Elder Christofferson. What beautiful messages!
4. Listening to Chris play the piano in the evening, as he's doing this moment - always such a calming influence at the end of the day. Also, the other night after coming back from a wedding reception with Sophie and Caroline while Liza and Ryan were off at friends - it was the four of us laughing, dancing, being silly in the living room while Chris played and sang for us. Peaceful evening.
5. Bear Lake this summer . . . making dinner EARLY one late afternoon so we could enjoy the evening down on the beach as the sun was setting. I was stretched out on my stomach reading a book, watching the glow of the sun illuminate the water and hills as the kids played in the reeds near the shore while catching frogs . . . ahhhh. Splendid indeed.
6. Chris planning and following through on a trip for he and Ryan. Watching the excitement build each day as Chris would plan another leg of their "guys trip" was so sweet, it almost brought me to tears a few times. He waited until everything was all set - plane tickets, hotel rooms, rental car, and each day's activities planned, before he surprised Ryan a few weeks before they were to leave on an unforgettable week together in Michigan, Toronto, and upstate New York.
7. Watching the growth and maturity in both Ryan and Caroline. This summer both kids were involved in so many programs and camps it about made my head spin, but they couldn't have been happier and we felt so blessed that they had these amazing opportunities to grow spiritually, socially, and develop their talents. They both participated in our ward youth conference - river rafting down the Colorado river and hiking in Moab - it was a beautiful testimony growing experience and Ryan spoke in sacrament meeting the following Sunday about what he felt and learned. Caroline went to girls' camp for the first time and thought it was just about the greatest week of her life, and she kept busy with tennis camps and a theater camp at Hale Center Theater where she met so many new friends and loved every minute. Ryan attended EFY down in Provo this summer and came back with a stronger testimony, greater faith, and so many fun stories about his time spent with other youth and fabulous counselors. He also went to Lake Powell with the Young Men in our ward and participated in a couple lacrosse camps.
I couldn't be more thrilled with the direction these two children's lives are taking. They bring so much joy and happiness into our family and both Chris and I are so grateful for the example they are to their younger sisters.
8. Sitting next to my dear friend Jodelle with Caroline on the other side at her daughter Hannah's (one of Caroline's best friends) dance performance. There we were, on the 2nd row, smiling SO big and making funny faces while Hannah was trying to perform her "flying monkey" dance in this ridiculous unitard that Jodelle thought was hideous, that we made her laugh and mess up. It was just one of those "had to be there" moments, but just the fact that our daughters are such good friends and we all get one another's humor, care so much for each other, and have so much fun, I don't know - it was one of those evenings I'll never forget. Caroline and I laughed all the way home!
9. Taking Ryan down to Utah Lake for his personal watercraft license. I had to drive Ryan down to take his test and back home one summer evening, and before I knew it, it turned out to be one of those rare moments when we just talked, and talked, and talked. For some reason, returning to Provo always opens the doors to so many memories that I just began sharing some dating stories and other stories of college life, and before I knew it Ryan was full of questions and we were laughing so hard at some of the silly things I did my freshman year, my lame dates, and other fun BYU tidbits . . . it's a wonderful thing when your kids are old enough to understand your past and laugh with you at some of your mistakes - great bonding moment.
10. Sophie's baptism. I'll never forget how sweet and pure and innocent my Sophie was on that day. Truly one of our Heavenly Father's choicest spirits. So much love during her baptism that Chris could barely say the words, and then Sophie stepping into the dressing room in tears - overwhelmed and so touched by her own feelings that all she could do was cry, so we just sat together and talked . . . a moment I'll never forget.
11. Being constantly entertained and feeling the pure joy and love that makes our Elizabeth. Everything that comes out of that child's mouth makes me smile - everyday. Her constant hugs and kisses are just so sweet, I don't want to think about the day she'll stop coming over for a hug every 5 minutes. I've been such a homebody lately and it's because I want to spend my days with my youngest child - reading stories in her favorite chair, going on walks, going to the park, and just letting her play in the playroom she created in the dining room - letting her be in her own little world. She is truly one of the greatest blessings in our family. None of us could imagine our home without our Liza.
12. Making time with Caroline to go to the "Art Market" yesterday and let her pick out some jewelry with some money she's earned from babysitting jobs, then playing tennis together. I'm not sure how much longer "hanging out with Mom on a Saturday afternoon" will appeal to her, but for now she enjoys it and really had a great time, and it sure made me happy just spending time with my beautiful daughter.
I'll wrap it up there. It feels good to write again, to express myself and catch up on those little moments and feelings that would soon be forgotten if I didn't take the time to write them down.