Saturday, April 14, 2012

Butterfly Girl

At a family reunion when I was a little girl, one of my cousins scraped up her knees really badly on a tread mill. I felt horrible for her. I told my grandpa that I wished it'd happened to me. I didn't like seeing my closest cousin in so much pain.

I don't think I'd remember that little story, except that the next day, my grandpa gathered his sons and daughters, and all of us grandkids, around him. He called me up to stand by him, and then used me as an example of Christlike love. I wasn't trying to be Christlike; I was just a kid wishing I could take the pain away from my dearest cousin. I think that kind of love is so innate for young children, and I think because of this experience, I notice it even more. I see this kind of love in them everyday.

Just a few weeks ago, my kids came home from a birthday party with their very own caterpillar. A friend had had a butterfly-themed birthday party, and this caterpillar was her cute and very clever party favor. My kids were extremely excited because we've watched a caterpillar transform into a butterfly before, and they couldn't wait to see it all unfold again. Before long, though, I noticed our caterpillar was coiled up like a roly poly in the corner of the jar, and wasn't moving at all. I told the kids that it had died.  They were so sad and sulked around and told all their friends the bad news.

Weeks later, we'd all but forgotten about our deceased caterpillar when we heard a knock at the door. It was that birthday girl, and in her hands was her jar with a cocoon in it. She was all smiles.

"I want you guys to have my butterfly," she said.

My kids were delighted! Another week went by before we saw this special cocoon turn into the most beautiful butterfly. We admired its pretty wings and watched it tinker about in its jar for a few days before deciding it was time. As a family, we stood on the porch and opened the jar.

We waited and waited, but the butterfly wouldn't fly away. Our first butterfly had fluttered right out, so I wondered why this one wasn't doing the same. Will figured it just wasn't ready, and so we took it back inside.

I'm so glad our butterfly didn't fly away that evening because the next day we had lots of kids over to play, one of which was that birthday girl. The kids excitedly went to the jar and showed her how beautiful her butterfly was.

"My butterfly!" she squeeled.

"Should we see if it wants to fly away now that Ava is here?" I asked everyone.

Their reply was all hullabaloo and a resounding, "YES!"

We went to the back step of our yard to set it free, and all the kids politely stood back so she could be the one to open the jar.

She played with her butterfly for what seemed like forever, and it still didn't fly away, so we brought it back inside, and all the kids took a turn holding it. It eventually ended up on the windowsill, so I took the screen out and figured it would fly away when it was ready. It was shaking, and the kids were shaking with excitement at so much hands-on time with a butterfly!

I've always loved it--the way a small, ugly bug can transform into a beautiful creature that can fly away, just like ours eventually did.

And I'll never forget the smile of this sweet red-headed girl who gave us her butterfly. I will be adding this story to the collection I witness everyday of children loving so perfectly. The collection begins with the first one I remember.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Will was in charge of Family Home Evening last night and taught a wonderful lesson about the true meaning of Easter. I was so glad he picked that topic because I was feeling bad that we didn't get a chance to sit down and talk about it as a family during all the crazy Easter festivities this past weekend.

First he asked, "What is Easter really about?" And I was relieved that the first thing that came out of Isabella's mouth was, "It's NOT about the candy!" (Because all weekend it's been candy central over here. And I'm doing a wonderful job of rationing it for the kids, and an even better job of not rationing it for me. Just finished off another Kit-Kat. Bleh.)

But back to cheery things! I loved the ward Easter breakfast and egg hunt! I filled most of the eggs for the activity earlier in the week. It was pure torture for Juliette to watch me open bag after bag of candy and not share with her, so it was especially fun to see her go find all those candy-filled eggs!

Saturday morning was enjoyable in every way, and hello sunshine. Easter weekend was the perfect time for you to show yourself again. Stay awhile?

I think Isabella was the most excited about Easter morning. She got up extra early and couldn't wait to go hunt for her basket. As she tore open cupboards and coached Liam and Juliette about where E. Bunny's favorite hiding spots were, she also reminisced about how last year her basket was in the hardest place! This year Liam's basket was the toughest to find. He was pretty proud when he found it, and said, "My basket was in a SUPER hard place!" (It really was.)

Don't mind the St. Patty's t-shirt on Juliette. I meant to post about St. Patty's Day, actually. The kids were hilarious. The only leprechaun damage we had was green milk. Liam said it tasted so yummy and wanted more, while Isabella dry heaved and ran to the sink to spit it out as soon as she realized it was green.  It was the first time we'd ever had a leprechaun visit, and I think more leprechaun visits are definitely in our future. Bwahahaha.

Back to Easter. After church we went to Will's parent's house for an Easter feast and early family birthday dinner for me. It seems like holidays are always more magical when grandparents are involved. Even Will and I got a basket!

I love, love coming to Grandma Rise and Grandpa Billy's house. They always spoil us, and I always feel like a better mom when I'm there. I don't know what it is, but it's like time slows a little, and I'm able to forget about the normal stresses of life more easily there. (Probably because I'm not in charge of the Easter feast!)

Juliette could not understand why I wouldn't help her open that bag of candy. I just couldn't bring myself to give her more sugar!

There was also an egg hunt! They've started a tradition of putting money in eggs, and the kids love gathering up all that change. There were even a few golden eggs with $1 bills in them!  Isabella told me last night that she thought she could buy anything in the world with all the money she got. :) It was cute, and I'll have to take her to The Dollar Store, otherwise she's going to be quite disappointed with how much her $5 in change will actually buy her.

And hurray! Uncle Michael was home for a visit with his fiance, Jessica. They are so cute together! It takes me back to when I came to meet Will's family for the first time. Such wonderful memories. I'm excited for these two. They're getting married in July! Yay for another sister in law!

And yes, that's a "Happy 30th Birthday" on that most delicious cheesecake. And while I'm not too keen on the thirty bit, I love my life--all thirty years of it, and especially the here and now. I never imagined life could be this good.

Happy Easter!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Our Birthday Girl!

I am so in love with the years my kids are ages one and two. Don't get me wrong, I love them dearly at any age, but this age is just magical to me. And sweet Juliette is no exception. She has us so wrapped up in her! All of us. I really don't know how we ever survived without her.  She brings so much love into our home.

And yes, having birthdays back-to-back is sort of exhausting! And we've only just begun! We kept things pretty low-key on her big day. We had our neighbors and Will's parents over to sing to her and open presents. It was a lovely evening!

It was also a very rainy day! Prior to the evening festivities, we donned our rain gear and braved the weather for a trip to  McDonalds for lunch. Every kid's dream, right? I never take my kids there, so they were in heaven!

We came home and I made a toffee crunch cake, and then we went out to dinner with Will's parents. It may as well have been my birthday--chocolate cake, no cooking! Hip! Hip! :)

I always try to get a picture of my kids opening their presents from Grandma Lisa and Grandpa Tracy in faraway Germany, since they can't get in on the festivities live.

And I always love seeing what gifts my mom comes up with! Juliette loved her new matching jammies--a pair for her, and a mini-me pair for her baby doll.

Lastly, I wanted to post a bit about the family birthday dinner we had for both kids. We are lucky enough to live near most of Will's family, who I adore! They are so sweet to come cram in our little house and celebrate with us. It's always a fun time, and I love that they have the tradition of having a big family birthday dinner for everyone in the family. It's wonderful!

Grandma Rise was so sweet to make the kids' each one of her famous ice cream cakes. So, sooo, so yummy! They all helped her decorate them, and then it was fun to sing "Happy Birthday" twice!

One of the kids, I can't remember which, asked if it was Christmas!

There were definitely lots of presents and lots of love that night!

Happy birthday, beautiful!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Robot Party

Our boy is a big four-year-old! This was his first real friend party, and I was super excited when he told me he wanted it to be a robot one, especially after I went searching for ideas on Pinterest. How ever did I plan parties without it?

I think my favorite part of the whole party-planning experience was watching Will and Liam make the robots--Liam was in heaven, and Will is simply the sweetest dad ever to make eight robot costumes for everyone. We forgot to send them home with the boys, though! Gah.

At the last minute, I decided to make paper bow-ties so that the kids could play "pin-the-bow-tie-on-the- robot." I didn't find this idea on Pinterest, which is probably why it was kind of a flop. Liam didn't even want to play, and Will looked at me like I was crazy when I told him I wanted him to be the robot. Oh well, a few of the kids got into it!

And I think all of us adults got a good chuckle out of watching Will. What a great sport.

Next, the boys all played outside while I assembled their robot lunches. I was really happy with how they turned out, and the kids loved them!

My good friend Misty told me that we could open their present early if the kids needed something to do, and it really was such a life-saver to pull out this big robot coloring sheet she made Liam. I'd say aside from jumping on the trampoline, his number-one past time is coloring. He spent a good 20 minutes coloring away!

Here's the best picture I could get of Liam in his get-up. I had to bribe him with opening presents next to get him to suit up again. They're not the most comfy costumes in the world, but oh well. It made for some fun pictures, anyway!

All of our cute party guests. What a great group of kids!

We almost ran out of time for birthday cake!

We had to amputate a good chunk of the cake because of this clip (something I'm sure we won't soon forget--yuck!):

And lastly, here's Liam opening his gift from my parents. What boy wouldn't light up to a flashlight and a storybook that helps you make shadows on the wall?

It was a great day of celebrating our favorite little boy in the world. We love you, Liam!



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