Tonight at Family Home Evening, Jeremy was giving a lesson about how we should be kind to our family members. He had everyone tell an example of how someone in the family had served them today. Xander went first and said in all sincerity:
"I pick Mommy because she serves us by teaching us important stuff like how we should change our underwear every day."
Or rather, I feel like I did. We had a family photo shoot at 9:00 a.m. Doesn't sound too exhausting, but somehow it was. The actual photo shoot wasn't too bad. Besides Elli not being cooperative, having a goobery nose, spilling water all over herself, and completely messing up her carefully done hair, it was great. (: It was trying to coordinate outfits for 10 people and getting them to all look good at the same time that was a bit crazy! Luckily, my sweet friend, Channy, came over at 7:30 to curl hair and totally save me from going off the deep end!! So grateful for good friends. The photo shoot was done by Fotofly, who so generously waived their normal fee for our family upon learning of our sweet kiddos. What a blessing! The photographers were amazing and super patient-- I can't wait to see the photos! We took a bit longer than a typical family (go figure) so we'll be going back later today to see how they turned out. The last time we had professional family pictures was in 2005-- WAY too long ago! Maybe now that I've conquered the fear of just doing it, we'll make it an annual thing.
Or not. We'll see. (:
But that's not what I came on here to say! Nor to tell about Taylor and Parker's experience at BYU basketball camp, or how their baseball season ended, or how Elli played Heart and Soul with zero mistakes after hearing it once, or how Lexi is driving me batty asking to play with friends every half hour, or how she took her first motorcycle ride, or how Graci looks AMAZING after chopping a foot off her beautiful long hair (under a bit of pressure from me) and donating it to Locks of Love, or how summer has been a daily emotional rollercoaster for me-- going from loving it to going out of my mind to perfect bliss to mental breakdown about every few minutes, or how tough it was to watch the Herriman fire burn down several homes in our stake... All good things to blog about, and so many more..
Today I just HAD to take a few minutes and express how full our hearts have been. The last year and a half, our family has seen the recipients of so much Christlike love. We have been a true charity case! Not a charity case in the negative light that is often associated with that phrase, but in a most beautiful way. The scriptures teach us that charity is the pure love of Christ. That is the kind of love that has been shown our family. And we have recently been overwhelmed at the thoughtfulness and sacrifice that has come our way.
We want to say thank you.
And we wish that there were words that could express it better, because we feel beyond thankful. Jeremy and I have both been in tears the last few days as we have seen the love of Christ enveloping our family.
A few days ago Graci, Jesi, Lexi and Xander came in and informed us we needed to visit the girls' room for a play. We arrived to find an elaborate theater set up on the bunk bed. The play combined elements of all of the Disney Princess movies (this despite being less than five minutes long-now that's talent!). Here are a couple of pics:
The put-upon step daughter looks remarkably happy next to the evil step mother!
When we fell in love 15 years ago, we started down a path that has been challenging, exhausting, and breathtakingly beautiful. Here we chronicle the blessings and stressings of parenting some pretty amazing children. We think they're the perfect travel companions as we look forward to the next fork in the road. Welcome to our journey.
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Our oldest by birth, he's the voracious reader, BYU fan, spiritual giant, math whiz, sports nut, huge-hearted ray of sunshine!
The red-headed social butterfly, he's our all-star athlete, top student, outdoor-loving, spunky second-born, with a heart of pure gold!
Jessica Anne "Jesi"--10
Our little princess with the big smile, Jesi loves dress-ups and tea parties, reading, playing with her siblings, and snuggling. She sparkles!
Jacob Michael-- 6/8/2004
Little one of heavenly birth, born too soon to bloom on earth. You have taught us so much--we love you, Jacob!
Emily Anne "Emmy"--9/28/2005
Emily's exquisite little hands and feet have left their mark in this world. Her body was tiny, but her spirit enormous. We miss her!
Elizabeth Mei "Elli"--9
Elli's world may be dark, but she's the light of our lives! Lover of music, chocolate, and Mommy's arms, she brings joy to all who know her!!
Gracelin Kate "Graci"--15
Showing true grace throughout her battles with heart disease and pulmonary hypertension, our Gracester is loved by everyone! She's smart, gorgeous, friendly, and has faith to move mountains!
Alexander Philip "Xander"--8
With a spunk and smile that could outmatch anyone's, our Xander has not let Cloves Syndrome get the best of him. Adopted at age 4 from China, he loves having a family, eating junk-food, and playing with his many friends!
Alexis Li "Lexi"--8
Her sweet little smile captured our hearts! Blind from birth, Lexi can already dress herself and count to 50. She never stops smiling! We are thrilled to have our darling daughter home!!
Sophia Breanne "Sophi"--5
Her eyes called out to us from half-way around the world. Little Sophi is beautiful, smart, and coy. She can do amazing things with her little toes and we think she's about the cutest thing on the planet! Welcome home, baby girl!
Calais Rose "Cali"--13
Charming Cali joined our family in December of 2012. This girl is beautiful both inside and out. Born with spina bifida, Cali is confined to a wheelchair, but that does not keep her from enjoying life to the fullest. She is smart, opinionated, strong, and lovely in every way.