Monday, June 25, 2012

Tender Mercies

"But behold, I will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance."
                                                                               ~ 1 Nephi 1:20


Today was one of those days that was emotionally and physically challenging, yet one that I never want to forget because of tender lessons learned.  Since this blog seems to be more my journal, I am going to share it here.

It started off as any other summer day with going to the gym and then the pool.  At about 11:30, I was sitting next to Kirsten on the piano bench helping her with her music theory.  She got frustrated with me and flayed her arms out to the side, exclaiming "I got it, okay!"  And in that same instant stabbed my left eye with two pencils.

It was instantaneous, intense pain.  I could not open my eye.  I ran to the bathroom to assess the damage only to realize that my eye was bleeding and I could not see.  I sank to the floor, sure that I had just lost my eye.  I was crying hysterically, not knowing what to do.

Just then Kirsten walked in with tears streaming down her face and a bowl in her hand.  She told me that she had gone to her room to say a prayer for me and that Heavenly Father told her to bring me a bowl of water. I placed my eye in the water and blinked multiple times.  After repeating this three times, my eye was cleared and I could see, although it was fuzzy.  I just hugged Kirsten and cried more, knowing that she had felt the prompting of the Holy Ghost and had the faith and courage to act on it.

After trying to get a hold a few family members, I felt prompted to call my friend, Holley.  She brought her oldest son over to watch my girls (Katie was napping through all of this) and drove me to the optometrist.  It turns out that Kirsten missed my cornea by less than one milimeter.  I have a 3 mm long cut on the conjuctiv (white part) of my eye from the point of one pencil and a bruise on my eye from the eraser of the other.  Had she gotten my cornea, he said I might have lost vision in my eye because of how deep the cut was.  As it is, I have to use an antibiotic cream for a week, avoid my contacts for 10 days, and just treat the pain symptoms.

So I feel like I can look back on today and thank the Lord for his tender mercies.  That my cornea was missed and there will be no permanent damage, just pain for a few days.  For wonderful friends who are willing to drop everything and rescue me and my family.  And most importantly that my precious daughter was taught an important lesson through all of this of how the Lord speaks to her, personally, and answers her heartfelt prayers.

May we all look through the trials of our lives, whatever they may be, and seek for the tender mercies of our Lord, for I truly believe that they are there.

First Recital

Kirsten had her first piano and violin recital on June 16th.  The recital was at our house this year since I do not have as many students as I have in the past.  I tried to post videos, but the files were too big to load.  I am going to try to reduce the quality and post them later.  Pictures will have to do for now!sds

She played Musette and Ladybug Boogie and did such a great job. 
Then she played Variations of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star on her violin and was accompanied by one of my piano students, Megan Hope.  
I love listening to my budding musician.  She is so talented!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

CooCoo

Just like everyone else in Texas, we spend our summers looking for activities that involve either air conditioning or water.  Anything else would kill us.  I think that we hit the jackpot this time.  I took the girls to an indoor play area in Plano called CooCoo's.  It has an arcade, nine giant bouncne houses and a train.  Kirsten took off immediately and loved all of the bounce houses.
Katie was enthralled by the ski ball game.  She did not quite get it though and kept stealing other kids' balls and climbing up ramp.  
Fortunately we found the train.  I thought Katie was going to go crazy shouting "choo choo!" when she saw it.  Kirsten was a good sport and went on it a few times with her.
For the rest of the day, that was it.  Over the next three hours, Katie went on the train 25 times and would not set foot in a single bounce house.
Even now, she is seeing the pictures and shouting for her choo choo.  We will have to do this again this summer.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Chicago 2012

The girls and I just got back from a fun-filled week in Chicago visiting my sister and her family.  We had so much fun and took close to 200 pictures.  I have narrowed it down, but not by much, so here is your fair warning that there are a ton of pictures in this post!

I flew out on Tuesday June 5th with Kirsten and Katie.   They were fantastic on the plane even though it was a really late flight.  My sister and Kaley picked us up and I stayed up until after 1 am visiting with my sister.  Wednesday morning got off to a rough start.  I took the kids to the park about 8:30 in the morning because everyone else was still sleeping.  Not too long after we got there, Katie was going down a slide and got her right shoe caught and flipped her leg behind her.  When she got down she tried to walk and fell over.  She could not put any weight on her leg at all.  So we took her to an urgent care doctor where they took x-rays and thank goodness ruled out any broken bones.  It turns out that she hyper extended her hip, pulled her quadricep and sprained her knee.  She was not a happy little girl.  So we spent most of Wednesday recuperating and visiting.  Once she went down for a nap, I took Anne to Costco - she had never been there before! 

On Thursday we headed to downtown Chicago.  Our first stop was the Children's Museum.  They has some really incredible exhibits.  One of Kirsten's favorites was the circus room which among other things, included a tight rope.
There was an entire fire safety area with a house, firestation, firemen, and a firetruck.
Kirsten waited in line very patiently for over a half an hour to climb up the pirate ship.  
Kaley was a great sport and went up right behind her
Once we found the water room, the majority of our time was spent in there.  We seriously stayed in there for almost an hour and a half.  The girls all had to wear rain coats and then there was an entire huge room full of fun activities with water.  They could build dams, use a pulley to get water in buckets, play with ducks and boats and so many more things.  They really loved it and were completely soaked despite the rain coats.
They even got to do water painting on a stone wall, which considering how much Katie loves to draw, was a total hit!
The next room had a stream, boats, and a tree house were the kids could play.
Then there was a the public works room.  They got to shop in a store, drive a bus, drive a car, fill it with gas and their favorite - design an under ground pipeworks system.
The Children's Museum is at Navy Pier, so we spent the rest of the day there.  It is on a peninsula in Lake Michigan with an incredible view of downtown behind you.  (Don't you just love Emily and Katie in their matching strollers?!)
We took a ride on the Ferris Wheel that goes up 50 stories with great views in every direction.  I thought that Katie would be scared, but she and Kirsten really enjoyed it.  This is looking towards downtown.
Looking out at Lake Michigan.
We had to divide between two cars, but as we rounded out at the top we could see Sarah and Emily in the car behind us.
Kirsten was super brave and decided to go on the swings with the big girls.
I think that she was crazy, but she absolutely loved it and wanted to go again!
Then she joined the little girls on the Carousel.  I guess she is at that age where she can have fun with both groups!
My beautiful nieces, Sarah and Kaley
We spent the rest of the night walking around the pier and doing some Father's Day shopping.  Anne even treated us to Garrett's popcorn.  The Chicago specialty is to mix Carmel and Cheddar popcorn.  It was surprisingly good.

We got home pretty late that night, but I headed out with Sarah and Kaley to the 10 pm showing of the Hunger Games.  They still had not seen it and I was more than willing to see it again.  We went to this great old theater in downtown Downers Grove.  It was like stepping back in time and we had a blast.

Friday we spent the majority of the day swimming and then setting up for Sarah's end of the year party.  She has such a great group of friends.  They were so kind and respectful and even let Kirsten hang out in the backyard with them for a few hours.
Katie and Emily also spent a ton of time playing out back.  Seriously who can blame them though, the weather was amazing and Anne has an unbelievably beautiful yard.  I have major yard envy!
Katie and Emily were basically inseperable the entire time we were there.  Katie called Emily "my anna" and would wander around the house calling for her every morning when she woke up.  I am so glad that they are so close in age and could spend so much time playing together.
Saturday morning we headed out to an amazing splash park in Glen Ellyn.  The girls are both obsessed with trains and for the longest time only wanted to be in the "choo choo!"
Those are the two cutest train conductors I have ever seen.
Kirsten jumped right in and wasted no time at all getting as wet as possible.  It is so different being at a splash park when it is only 75 degrees, as opposed to the 95 degrees we have been accustomed to here.
Sarah was a good sport and spent the whole time chasing kids through the water.
Water break!
Everywhere we went in the car, Katie and Emily would sit there and play with each others feet.  It was seriously adorable!
On Friday night, we went to the drive-in movie to see Madagascar 3.  It was the girls first time and only my second to ever go to a drive-in.  We arrived about 2 hours early to get  a good spot.  So we spent the time enjoying pizza for dinner and then running around in the grassy area in front of the screen.
The girls all got super cozy in the back of the mini-van just before the movie started.  I started to wonder if they would fall asleep, but they all perked up as soon as the movie started.
On Sunday we dressed Kirsten, Katie and Emily in their matching dresses from Easter, so of course we had to get tons of pictures.  Emily insisted on having their pictures taken by the roses and Katie would hardly stop hugging her long enough to look at the camera.  
 Kirsten changed out of her dress as soon as we walked in the door, but she was still willing to pose for some pictures.
 Anne has a beautiful arbor with cascading flowers on both side of her house as the entrance to her backyard.  As I said earlier - total yard envy!  Katie had no problem hugging Emily or "my anna" for another picture.
 And then we took yet even more on the little bench in the backyard.  I can't get enough of those adorable smiles!
 Monday morning I took Kirsten, Katie and Emily to the park again, and no accidents this time!  Kirsten loved doing the zip line and mastered the monkey bars (a fact that she is extremely proud of).
They all three enjoyed the teeter totter and Kirsten loved making it go.
On Tuesday we headed over to the Wheaton Zoo.  It is a small zoo with mostly local animals.  We saw several kinds of owls.
And an absolutely beautiful peacock.
When we saw the fox, Emily said "Swiper no swiping, Swiper no swiping, Swiper no swiping."  Followed promptly by Katie's "Ah man!"  It was seriously was too cute and totally spontaneous!  They also had racoons, coyotes, lots of birds, and then a farm animal area with ponies, horses, donkeys and cows.  The favorite of the day were the ducks. There were probably close to a hundred of them, and all different kinds.  We even saw some baby ducklings.
Emily kept asking where the monkeys were.  After explaining to here that there were not monkeys at this zoo, she kept saying "we go to the other zoo now and see the monkeys."  She and Katie then both cried for Monkeys the whole way home!
Monday night Anne made a cake and had an early birthday party for Kirsten and Katie.  She gave them each a pillow pet, a shirt from Washington DC and gave Kirsten a hand-made necklace and bracelet and Katie a Minnie Mouse plate set.  It was so thoughtful.  Then we had a girls night and watched Breaking Dawn Part 1 - they had not seen that one yet either!  And once again we stayed up way too late talking.
Tuesday morning we headed back to the park to let the kids play while Anne and Kaley played tennis.  Then we spent the afternoon packing and making homemade Chicago-style pizza.  Then we headed out to the airport.  Our plane was delayed and after two hours on the tarmac, we de-planed and waited another two hours in the Chicago O'Hare Airport.  It might not have been so bad except that it was late at night, we were all tired, I was alone, everything was closed so we couldn't buy any food, and I had no stroller because it had already been checked.  We survived though and finally landed in Dallas about 1 am.  We made it home by 2 am and all crashed.

We had such a great vacation and loved spending so much time with Anne and her family.  It is hard being so far away from my sister, but I love how we have been able to stay close and have our kids be so close and have strong relationships despite the distance.  As much fun as vacations are though, it is sure good to be home.  Kirsten and Katie missed their daddy terribly and have hardly left his side since we got back. Now it is time to start figuring out what to do with our summer!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Megan's Graduation

 Jeremy's little sister, Megan, graduated from High School on Sunday.  I am in complete denail that this could happen - she was in first grade when Jeremy and I started dating.  I know that my first grader cannot grow up as fast as she did!  We are so proud of Megan.  She is such an amazing young woman and the best example for my girls of exactly what a teenage girl should be.
 Since her graduation did not start until 8 pm, we celebrated with a family dinner before hand.  She had quite the group there to support her.
 Megan walking into the coliseum.  She is the last one before the break.
 Katie was so good and loved cheering on her Aunt Megan! 
 Megan receiving her diploma
We are so proud of you Megan and love you so much!

Dance Recital

Kirsten had her ballet recital on Saturday.  She decided to just be in ballet this year and has really improved her grace and skill.  We will be getting the DVD soon, but here are some pictures.  She is the second from the left.

 Her teacher, Katchiri, is amazing.  We feel so lucky to have had her this year and hope to be in her class again next year.
 After the recital we went across the street to take pictures in the same Gazebo my sister Anne was married in.
 My Aunt Verlanne and Uncle Johnny were able to come out from California for her recital.  She loves them so much and was so thrilled and surprised to have them here.


She also had her Grandma Lowe, Grandma Alleman, Aunt Megan and Cathleen, Michael, Rachel and Rebecca Lenderman there for her.  She is one loved little girl!  I am so glad that she loves dancing so much!