Felt So Fine

Felt So Fine

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

FAMILY: My Heart

Family is everything! As my little chicks grow and begin to leave the nest, family becomes even more precious than ever.

The biggest change in our home since my last blog post (LOOOONG ago) has been Nicole leaving on an LDS mission! Nicole entered the Missionary Training Center in Provo, UT on July 26th, where she lived for six weeks prior to departing for her service in the Micronesia Guam Mission. She will be gone for 18 months with only weekly emails home and phone calls on Christmas and Mother's Day while she's gone.

It's been a very humbling growing experience for her momma! I served a mission when I was her age so I did have a good idea of what she was in for--but I had no way to prepare myself for letting her go. I had seen other moms send their sons or daughters on LDS missions, but there is just no way to understand how hard it is to give that last hug and watch them walk away unless you've done it yourself. That's not to say that I'm not thrilled with her decision. I LOVE that she made the choice to serve the Lord and help his children for 18 months of her life. There will be nothing better for her own growth and experience than this. But boy, it was hard to be brave and supportive in that moment when I just wanted to grab her and run away!

Okay...enough of that! It was hard, but we did it. The morning she left, I woke after a fitful night's sleep and was SO sad. I couldn't stop crying, but I thought, "I can't go downstairs like this. That would be so unfair to Nicole." So after much prayer and a few pep talks to myself, I was in a better state to face her. A couple of hours later we were ready to load up the car and make our way south.

I looked out the back door and saw this. She had said a teary goodbye to her animals earlier that morning but needed one last look.

A few driveway pictures of our new missionary as I tried to capture every last moment (and admittedly stall our departure).

Nicole was so ready. A little nervous but ready!

As we drove into the canyon, out of Cache Valley, Nicole turned around for a last look at the place she loves with all her heart. Paige was sitting in the backseat and covertly snuck a heartbreaking picture. Such a difficult moment!

The drive went well. Spirits were high and everyone was laughing and enjoying the fun conversation. We got to Provo and after a stop for lunch, drove to the Provo Temple grounds so that we could say our goodbyes. Wednesday is arrival day at the MTC so the grounds were covered with similar families saying goodbye to their missionaries. We didn't spend long there. Just long enough to take some pictures and give the hugs that needed to last a whole year and a half!

Nicole and Paige

Nicole and Spencer

These sisters!

Nicole and Corinne

Nicole and Claire

Sweet Claire has such a tender heart! She cried and cried.

My babies! 💗💗💗

This girl and her daddy have been buds since the minute she entered this world! The teen years may have had them at each other's throats now and again, but I have been so touched by the love and emotion that I have seen from both of them being apart.

This was probably hug number twenty for me. I couldn't let go of her. What an honor it is to be her momma!

Well, we couldn't put off the inevitable any longer. Nor would we want to. The moment had arrived. We drove across the street and into the MTC campus. We were directed into a parking garage along with dozens of other cars, where we stopped and were assigned a host missionary to accompany Nicole.

 After making sure she had everything the host snapped one last family picture...

And then my heart walked away.

I know that I'm hardly the first mom to send her child on a mission, or drop them off at college, or watch them ride away as a new bride, but I now have a greater understanding of the generations of mothers who have given their all to raise these children and then hope and pray with all of our hearts that we've done enough.

We made it through the goodbye and the painful days of adjustment that followed. Now, she is living on the island of Pohnpei, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and she is loving it! Her emails are so positive and full of adventures and great experiences that my heart just thrills to read them!

I'm so grateful for my family and the joy that the gospel brings. I'm grateful for a daughter who has a testimony of Christ, and is willing to share that knowledge with others.

"Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ." (The Family: A Proclamation to the World)

Thursday, May 26, 2016

My Kids Keep Me Busy!!

A post a year...not a bad pace if I want my blog to totally go the way of all well-intentioned failures. But that ISN'T what I want. Yes, social media has made it easier for me to post pictures of my family, but there is just something fabulous about looking back at my posts. The kids love it too! So, I refuse to admit defeat. I will breathe life back into my blog, if only for a moment. The only excuse I can offer for my absence is that my kids keep me far too busy making memories to record said memories. Case in point--just a sampling of activities from Spring 2016: Enjoy! (Who knows when I'll be back?)

Along with April came prom season and Nicole was happy to go to Junior Prom with a friend from theater.

A few weeks later was Senior Ball and despite crossing all of her fingers and toes, she didn't get asked. :(  Not one to let that stop her, she cleaned up real nice and went "stag". She had a great time and made it home before midnight with both shoes still on her feet! 

Corinne (also went to Sr. Ball but that's a story for another day) decided to run for Junior Class Officer this year. First we held a photo shoot in the back yard to get pictures for her posters. She took this very seriously:

Next we made the posters. She opted for self-deprecation and begging.

And also a trendy fad reference.

And lastly, a fabulous play on her name!

Her strategies paid off! She won!!!
She is so excited to serve Mountain Crest next year, and work with the other officers, and also have tons of fun! (Probably not in that order.)

Paige played soccer again this year AND talked me into being her coach again this year. We had a huge team and it was a lot of fun despite a losing record. Paige still runs up and down the field without hardly breaking a sweat. She's pretty crazy and pretty great too!

Spencer started (and finished) orchestra this year. He decided to try the bass. He enjoyed it but not enough to continue next year. It was a good experience. Here he is at the spring assembly for his school.

He also was chosen as Citizen of the Month for his class in May. I'm so proud of him and how well he has done this year in school. He had an amazing teacher and great friends!

Spencer and best-buddy Brandon

A candid shot of him during an assembly

Claire was also chosen as Citizen of the Month. Her she is at her assembly in April.

This spring the second grade put on a play for the rest of the school. They taught, through word and song, about inventions .

Claire's part told about Thomas Edison and his invention of the phonograph. She is so sweet and cute and happy! Love her so much!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Miss Wellsville 2015 Scholarship Pageant

Nicole surprised us this Spring with the announcement that she was going to enter a pageant. Beautiful though she is, our horse-lovin', deer-shootin', fish-catchin', tomgirl never really seemed like the "beauty queen" type of gal. But sparkly dresses and high heels have started to find their place in her life and the allure of scholarship money for college was just too tempting.

From February to April she attended workshops including, but not limited to, poise, dance, makeup, and interview skills. She dusted off her violin and began what would be many hours of practice of THE. SAME. SONG. (It's okay if I never hear it again.) :) 

We began the search for the appropriate outfits that would be modest, stylish, and make her feel beautiful. Here were some of the runners-up in the dress category:

Holiday Barbie

Pretty, but not quite perfect...

And here she is backstage with the top choice!

The morning of pageant day was the private interviews with the judges. The interview accounted for 25% of the total score. As did academic performance. She was nervous! But she had prepared well and as you can see, let her professional side shine!

After the interview, which she felt very good about, we got down to the business of taming that crazy mane of hers. Not a job for the faint of heart!

The opening number with all the girls

Backstage with some of the girls before the talent portion of the show.

Nicole in her cowgirl duds getting ready to fiddle her way into the judges hearts! 

Here are all the contestants receiving last minute instructions at the dress rehearsal. 
Wonderful, beautiful girls--every one of them!

And the winner is....

A congratulatory hug from Grandpa!

Proud parents!

Cousin Julie and Aunt Barbara cheered her on too!

Little sister Paige could not have been more excited!

And here is the happy family of the newly crowned Miss Wellsville 2015!

And a picture that is more true to who we really are!

And one last picture, around 1:00 am that night. The adrenaline is finally starting to wear off, but that doesn't mean the crown needs to come off yet. :) Love my girl!