I loved sitting up late the night before with my brother and sister while we got baskets ready and hidden.
Jessie and Joel's kids had all the bedrooms labeled with room numbers and guest lists. It was so adorable. All the older boys, Brother, Jman, MrT, Popo and Little Man were all in the basement living room at the bottom of the stairs. Brother was laying on the recliner at the bottom of the stairs.
We had the upstairs hall light on so that the kids had a little bit of light to guide them by. Daniel and I were sitting at the top of the stairs talking in hushed tones so as not to wake anyone while we waited for one of the bathrooms to become available. As I was talking, I glanced down the stairs and noticed Brother's beady eyes looking up at me with the sliver of light from the hall shining right down on his face. We both chuckled as we realized that Brother had been listening in on our conversation and that the only bit of light traveling down the stairs was shining on his face.
Brother is so funny that way. He loves to here adults' conversations. I could be talking to my friends upstairs and Brother will be downstairs in the far corner of his room and he will come running upstairs and sidle himself next to me to be intrigued by the conversations we have.
I think it's that Fragile X factor that keeps him from having full conversations of his own, because I know he wants to be more social but he really holds back. I think he is just soaking it all in so that once he gets brave he'll be able to have his own conversations.
Easter morning was so fun to watch 11 children scattering to find their Easter baskets and getting excited together about what they all got. They were all so grateful and appreciative. It's always nice to not have complaints when you've tried your best to please them.
Jessie and Joel made us all pancakes and a hash brown casserole that we scarfed down before the LDS General Conference was about to start.
I have to admit, I am going to have to read it or watch it again because I didn't stick around for all of it between kids and such, but what I did listen to was so inspiring.
Brother took a break from watching to play horses with Yaya. I had to stop to take a picture because it was so cute.
We had almost the entire family there to hear the words of the Prophets and Apostles.
I always feel so blessed to have this gospel in my life and in the lives of my family.
I honestly think I wouldn't be as positive as I am if it wasn't for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon church). It has built who I am and how I approach life.
It has also shaped my family and helped us to be close and stay close as siblings and families.
I am so thankful for my membership in the LDS church and listening to General Conference, if only a bit of it, reminds me of my testimony and why I keep trying so hard to do and be everything I can.
|We all got comfy for Conference... even Ranger|
|Baby just had to squeeze in with Jman|
In between sessions of Conference we had a traditional Easter Egg hunt. It sounds kind of funny to talk about colored eggs and candy right after being spiritually uplifted, but I am a firm believer that having fun and laughing together as a family is just as spiritually uplifting.
There were so many eggs that we stuffed that we basically just started dropping them all over the ground... it was windy besides so our efforts of hiding them in the tree branches were foiled.
|Chelsea took these pictures as the kids all ran out with excitement to start their Easter Egg Hunt!|
|I LOVE this one she got of Sister!|
We all had a great time watching our kids run to gather eggs and prizes and then it was time to have lunch.
We all said goodbye to Daniel and Tynelle's family after lunch so they could join her family for the Holiday and the rest of us settled in to watch the last session of conference.
One of my favorite bits of advice and that was from one of the Apostles, Elder Kevin W. Pearson,
"Enduring to the end is a hallmark of true discipleship and is essential to eternal life. But when trials and challenges come our way, we are often told to simply “hang in there.” Let me be clear, to “hang in there” is not a principle of the gospel. Enduring to the end means constantly coming unto Christ and being perfected in Him. …"
It was a good reminder for me to not merely hang in there and wait for the storm to pass, but to constantly rely on Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father to lead me and guide me.
I'm thankful for those reminders.
That reminder was one of my UPs that day.
On Monday we all got together at my house for my dad's 61st birthday!
I can't believe my parents are aging.
It's so weird because when I was little the seemed immortal.
Now I'm starting to notice the signs of age and they are too. I don't know which is harder, watching them notice the aging process or me notice notice the aging process...
We had so much fun talking and eating together, but then we really started having fun when Jessie, Daniel and I got all excited about doing giant bubbles and finding the ingredients for the giant bubble solution!
We were more excited than the kids, at first, and we were certainly acting like them! Oh it was so much fun!
|Aaron was the most successful|
Also, a big UP was seeing my dad's humbled smile as we sang him "happy birthday" and watching him thank all of us and give out hugs.
Yesterday we got to hang out with Daniel and the kids during the day and it was fun to just hang out and talk and laugh.
My UP was when Jessie, Daniel, Chelsea and I all sat in the play room with the kids and just talked about life's funnies, and life's challenges.
And I got to sit and listen to one of my favorite actors on my dad's record player tell stories and it was just fun to see dad happy that we were there with him to listen.
My other UP came later that evening when I got to go to play rehearsal for Mary Poppins and we had our first choreography rehearsal! It was so much fun.
They whole way to rehearsal I kept asking myself, "Why do I do this? It takes so much time and commitment. I'm being selfish..." Then I get there and I am reminded of how much I thrive on being a part of theater and how much joy and fulfillment it brings me.
I laughed and learned and met new friends and just felt good about myself!
This is how I survive my daily stresses of life.
I have my "out."
It keeps me going and I have to remind myself constantly that it is OK to have something that I can escape to. It's what keeps me sane.
Besides it helps me feel young and vibrant.
It made me think of a quote that I had found earlier that day when Jessie and I were looking up things about Danny Kaye:
I don't know about you... but I'm throwing all the paint I can!