Thursday, May 23, 2013

ready to take on the world

Alright, it's been WAY too long and our lives are entering such an exciting, fun stage I have got to get back on the blogging bandwagon and start writing again.

I find it interesting that my last post was Katrina Kennison's touching video which laments the passing of time and letting go of our children.  However, ever since Ryan made the decision to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I have been at peace and trying to completely live each day in the present moment. Occasionally I find myself dwelling on how fast the time has flown and begin to reminisce, but these moments seem less frequent and are fleeting.  However, I will catch myself tearing up with something as simple as the "checklist of items and dates in preparation for graduation" sent home from the high school, or something more solid, like a song (93 Million Miles by Jason Mraz and Jackson Browne's The Only Child get me every time).

This time of life, right now, has been pure joy.  I adore teenagers, and young people who are approaching high school graduation with a lifetime of possibilities ahead are the most invigorating, lively, and enthusiastic group of human beings one could surround themselves.  I can honestly say that this is the very happiest I have seen Ryan since he entered adolescence.  There is a light and goodness about him that just radiates and I know that these few months before he leaves on his mission will be very special.  That's why living in the present moment for me, each day, is crucial.

No, I haven't forgotten that I do have three other children who are leading lives of interest and hopefully the girls will receive some blog face time soon, but for now, here's a recap of Ryan's last few months:

First things first . . . college applications and acceptances.  He applied to four schools:  Boston University, Columbia, University of Southern California, and Brigham Young University.  He was accepted to all but Columbia and it was such a rewarding experience to watch these acceptances (and scholarships in the case of BU and BYU) roll in.  After so much hard work during high school and the hours put into the application process and essays, we were celebrating for days!  Now, figuring out how to finance his dream school (USC) is another story.

But after much thought and deliberation, Ryan decided to defer his college acceptances and serve a mission for our church.  His papers just went in this week, and he is eagerly awaiting his call - he is hopeful it will be here by graduation.  He will leave sometime in August or September, so until then he's enjoying every minute of his senior year (especially now that his has completed all his AP exams), and looking forward to his last summer at home . . .

Ryan and his close friends (all 22 of them) are heading to Newport Beach to spend a week together in two beach houses celebrating graduation, otherwise known as "Senior Trip."  The kids are all looking forward to the beach time and I praise my friend Monica who not only volunteered to chaperone one of the beach houses, but held a parent meeting to discuss specifics, and put together packets for each teen which included a medical release form and "code of conduct" disclosure.  I love this woman (and so do all the kids)!!

BIRTHDAY!  Ryan turned 18 on 4/14/13 and we celebrated a low key birthday at home since it was a Sunday.  He received the standard "money tucked away in his favorite sugar cereals and treats" as well as a fun treasure hunt I put together with 18 clues - each one a special memory of Ryan at that age (he's reading clue #1 on the cereal box).  The treasure hunt was truly a walk down memory lane as I hid clues behind his favorite books when he was 7 (Harry Potter), behind his deacon picture for clue #12, in his car for clue #16 . . .   and the prize at the end of the hunt:  a longboard for Sr. trip - he was thrilled and we all know he secretly loved the treasure hunt, even if he kept telling us he's not a little kid anymore!

Ryan asking to the dance (with Caroline's help) and Annie answering
SENIOR PROM excitement begins to brew.  At Skyline, where Ryan attends high school, Sr. Prom is reserved mainly for the seniors and so this was his first really nice, formal (as in wear a tux) dance.  I was elated when he told me who is was going to ask since I had been bugging Ryan each dance to ASK HER!  These two have been friends since we moved here when they were both in 5th grade and she is one exceptional young lady whose smile lights up a room the minute she walks in - LOVE this girl.

A few pictures from the dance:
Ryan, Annie and the crew gathering for pictures with the parents.  4/4/13.
Cute couple.
The handsome senior guys 
The stunning senior girls
Part of their group of 30!
I had to screen shot Ryan's instagram after the dance - so sweet!  
(Annie was Skyline's prom queen as well - way to go Ryan :).

MOTHER'S DAY 2013 was definitely one I'll never forget.  It is tradition that the graduating seniors from the Little Cottonwood Ward speak to the congregation about their plans for the future, as well as pay tribute to their mothers.  The bishop asked these four exceptional young people to share which Christlike attributes they see in their mother's and how they have been influenced by their moms.  All the talks were fabulous and Ryan's words were thoughtful and straight from the heart (even if he began the talk by saying "everyone knows how awesome my mom is, but she is really awesome because she let me keep my mullet" - sigh).
LCW seniors - these kids are going places - we were very impressed.
Love my boy!

Time for SENIOR pictures and I'm so grateful for a friend who has a nice camera, whose son is great friends with Ryan, and who took the time to shoot a few pics for Ryan's graduation announcements (for free).  Thanks Kim!
I thought she captured some great shots highlighting different aspects of Ryan's personality 
(and his pride and joy - the hair ;).

The next item of business was graduation announcements, which I just put together last night - here is the final product:



Now with graduation approaching and the cap and gown resting neatly in a box on Ryan's dresser, his mind is filled with anticipation of a mission call and I couldn't be more proud to be his mother.  This young man is going to be an AMAZING missionary.  His leadership skills and knowledge of the gospel are truly remarkable, as well as an intuitive way with people that just makes him so dang likeable.

So, it was off with the hair and on with the dark suit and tie for a quick picture to send in with his papers.  
Here is our future missionary:


analyn said...

so excited to find out where he'll serve his mission! love all of you.

Kristin said...

Sniff** It comes so soon doesn't it? I'm not looking forward to this day in 2 years! He's adorable-- you have much to be proud of/grateful for! Love you friend!

Kathryn said...

Julie!! Just getting caught up on your blog (how did I miss these?) and I am bawling my eyes out! What a great and handsome kid! (Even with the mullet - though I must say I prefer without?! :))
Love seeing your family stuff!
We are coming the week after july 4. You gonna be around? I'll bring my tennis shoes and racket and lets play! :)