Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Happy Birthday, Fina!

Seraphina's birthday was last month! 2! Already? Wow... where does the time go? Remember when she had just turned one??? (The picture to the left is our little princess, at Disney World, on her 1st birthday! Has it already been a year???)

It was an uneventful day- mostly because we planned it that way. Kurt and I found that postponing her birthday a few weeks actually made her birthday much more enjoyable, so we might just do that from now on.

Anyway, I digress!

We celebrated her special day together as a family, and spent time together at home. She was pretty shy about the whole concept of presents- but in the end the idea grew on her.

Her birthday outfit was a super adorable custom creation by Blueyedesign- the shop owner is a friend of mine, and she was SO sweet when I couldn't make up my mind!!! Seraphina loves Doc McStuffins, Sofia the First, and Hello Kitty- and we decided to do her birthday outfit in kitties. Isn't she TOO cute?! Blueyedesign made the shirt and the bow, and she arranged for me to have extra fabric to make Fina a matching skirt. I just loved it!

Below: a picture of Fina in her birthday outfit when it was finished. The picture on the right has an adorable back-story! I get super nervous whenever I have to cut fabric, so Kurt always offers to cut it for me. He is so awesome about measuring it twice and is super accurate- it is awesome! Seraphina saw him sitting at the table with the fabric, and pulled her blanket up next to him, proceeding to mimic his every move. Haha! 

In the end, we decided to do a birthday celebration with all of the things Fina loves, instead of choosing a single theme. So- we had Doc McStuffins toys, a Sofia the First cake, and Hello Kitty outfit! Seraphina LOVED it all!!

"The Doc is in!"

October Visiting Teaching

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has a very special organization for women aged 18 and over. As a matter of fact- it is not only the oldest women's organization in the United States, it is also the largest! The organization is called Relief Society- and was created to "build faith and personal righteousness, strengthen families and homes, and help those in need."

Among the many awesome things about Relief Society, is Visiting Teaching. I love Visiting Teaching, and I have a very strong testimony of the beauty, helpfulness, and necessity of this divinely inspired program.

Here is a definition of what I get to do:
  1. visiting teacher
  2. visiting teacher is a woman assigned to watch over and help another woman in her Latter-day Saint ward or branch. Two visiting teachers are assigned to each woman; they contact her at least once a month and encourage her efforts to live the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Awesome, right? But it gets better!!! Not only is there someone that I get to to reach out to, befriend, share the gospel with, enlighten, and uplift- there are also TWO women who do the same for me!!! They are not just here to chat, encourage, and bring awesome messages- they are also there for me to call when I am in need of something: if something comes up and I need help with the kids, if I am sick (or just had a baby) they help coordinate sisters to bring over meals, if I am personally (or spiritually or physically) struggling- they are really there to help me out!!! It is wonderful!!!

I have been so blessed to have amazing Visiting Teaching companions throughout the years. I love going Visiting Teaching, but am not very good at making appointments. I think Heavenly Father understands this, and tends to place me with women who are excellent appointment-makers, haha! Playdates, dessert meetings, brunches, and chats in the kitchen- I have enjoyed Visiting Teaching in so many different settings!

One of my favorite things about Visiting Teaching is what I get out of it when I visit someone else. I love reading our Visiting Teaching Messages, and often will create some type of little handout for our sisters- something small to help them remember the message in their everyday lives. Every letter I type, cookie I bake, or craft I put together, helps me think more about the monthly message, and about all the millions of things that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have done for all of us!

This is what I made this month, it is a small bookmark. I printed it on cream colored cardstock and backed it with some simple brown construction paper. I then laminated it. I am going to put it in a little treat bag with a votive candle and a little packet of herbal tea. Feel free to use this, or share it! This month's message is so great!!! (Aren't they all? haha!) and it is all about the divine mission of Jesus Christ! 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Piano

Earlier this year, we asked the boys if they wanted to learn a musical instrument. They both enthusiastically said yes! They were allowed to choose any non-wind instruments (they just do not have the lungs for them quite yet- in my opinion) and Carter chose the violin, Harrison chose the piano.

Harrison has picked up the piano remarkably fast. "He is an Einstein-level genius..." his teacher says, with amazement in her voice. Harrison is not just a natural, he seems to truly love playing, which is a wonderful thing for us all!

Yesterday I worked with Carter first, while Harrison was finishing up another school assignment. Carter worked very hard, and he was able to play through a rather tricky song! We were thrilled for him, and Harrison came in to congratulate him on his accomplishment!

Carter took his instrument upstairs, and Harrison sat down to work on the piano. What usually comes easy and somewhat effortlessly, was not flowing well at all. His brow furrowed, his face set in extreme concentration. Measure after measure, the notes did not come together. The more frustrated he became, the more clumsy his notes rang. To try and help him I played the song along with him, just an octave higher, so he could try and get back into his groove. It did not work, and he became completely discombobulated- not a single measure came together! 

Harrison pushed away from the piano and stood up, his little face full of agitation and despair. He turned and quickly started to walk away.

"Where are you going???"

"Mom, just a minute- I really need to pray."


I heard the pantry door close, and the sound of his voice, praying aloud- calmly- as if he was talking reverently to his best friend...

I sat alone on the piano chair, and marveled at what just happened.

Harrison had struggled. He worked as hard as he could, but nothing seemed to come together correctly. He knew what he wanted, but just could not get it to happen. Instead of freaking out, tossing in the towel, or throwing a tantrum- he sought solitude and a chance to pray.

Minutes passed. I could still hear his little voice. I waited.

He came back, a look of peace on his face. It was not an expression that read he expected things to go perfectly, but the tension and pressure were now completely gone.

He sat down, put his fingers to the keys, and played the song beautifully.

A lot can be learned from this little boy, his prayer, and his piano...