Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Valentine Boxes

Elementary School wouldn't be the same
without the annual home-made Valentine Boxes
which return home filled with too much sugar
and your class mate's John Hancock scribbled across Snoopy's face
(or whichever cartoon character or teenage heart throb
is currently invading homes across America.)

Hayden created a "Phineas and Ferb" concert stage.
(a favorite cartoon among the kids... can't say I mind it too much myself!)

Aubree, anxious to be done with elementary school and moving on to middle school,
created a "Locker" to receive her loot.

And Seth creatively recreated the home of the beloved "Sponge Bob Square Pants"
(another cartoon known to make a few of us giggle.)
Bring on the love notes!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

School Pictures

Even if I had 200 extra buckaroos to give to the school photographer, I wouldn't do it.
But they ask me to. Every stinkin' year!
I could have my kids run around as if playing a heated game of soccer
until you could smell the sweat through the picture,
have them smudge some of their lunch on their face,
ask them to give me a fake smile,
and shoot the picture just as easily here at home
and KEEP the $200!
So I did.

We had our own 'school pictures' in our front yard.
Much more pleasant. Much more affordable. Much more real.

Eve, age 1.....
Always at mom's feet

Amelia, age 3....
Mom's little shadow

Seth, age 6
First Grade

Hayden, age 8
Third Grade

Aubree, age 10
Fifth Grade

Jacob, age 12
Seventh Grade

Group shots?... a different story.
I need to pay someone else to do this part.

The lighting...
The kids...
no one could look at the camera at the same time or keep their hands down

And Eve?....
... she was DONE!
I'm outta here!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Grown-up Things

For Aubree's 7th Birthday the two of us spent the evening together
dining and enjoying thought provoking conversation about the happenings in first grade.
Neither of us ordered from the kids menu. That's for kids.
Aubree was turning SEVEN after all.
We ordered grown-up things like appetizers, salads, and grown-up drinks
(minus the alcohol... because we are we are not only grown-ups, but we are also wise.)
we threw all caution to the wind and did the most grown-up thing we could think to do...
we rushed to the mall and had Aubree's ears pierced!

She is simply adorable
(in a very grown-up sort of way, of course.)

Happy 7th Birthday, my beautiful baby girl!
This is about all the growing up I want you to do!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Future Champion

Hayden had his first football game and I sadly missed it.
This was the conversation at home later that day:
Mom: "How was your game, Hayden?"
Hayden: "We played GREAT!"
Mom: "Yeah? Did you win?"
Hayden: "No, but we only lost by seven."
Older brother listening in: "Touchdowns, Hayden...
you lost by SEVEN touchdowns!"

"Winning is great, sure, but if you are really going to do something in life,
the secret is learning how to loose.
Nobody goes undefeated all the time.
If you can pick up after a crushing defeat
and go on to win again,
you are going to be a champion someday."
~Wilma Rudolph,
the first American woman runner to win three gold medals at a single Olympics

Future Champion:
Hayden McConkie Wilcox

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Powerful Missionary

Five years ago today Bryan tenderly helped my pregnant body into our minivan and drove us to the hospital, no words exchanged but every emotion shared between us. This was our fifth pregnancy. Our first four children came while Bryan was in medical school or residency. Very busy times. Very limited time together. We were ready for another baby now. Bryan was excited to be an active part of this baby’s bath times, feedings, lullabies and even sleepless nights. But those lullabies would have to wait.

Five days earlier I had been preparing for a Relief Society lesson I would be teaching. The topic was ‘missionary work’. It was while preparing this lesson that I received a distinct and sudden impression that this child would be a powerful missionary. I know the title ‘missionary’ is not gender specific, but in that moment I knew I our baby was a boy; a powerful boy who would be a powerful missionary, and I felt humbled to be the vessel giving him a body to accomplish this work. He was very active that day as I prepared my lesson as if to say, “Yes! I WILL be an amazing missionary preaching the Gospel!”

A few days after this experience I was laying on the sonogram table in the doctor’s office waiting for them to confirm what I already knew: this was indeed a boy. What I wasn’t prepared for was the look on the doctor’s face or the words of condolence he offered when he told me that the baby’s heart was no longer beating.

Dr. Baer gave me the medication to induce the contractions. Bryan walked with me through the hospital halls and around the hospital grounds (we even walked an extra block to the Olympic Training Center facilities to look at the statues in the garden) as I breathed through contractions and waited to deliver our baby boy’s body.

The labor took eight hours. The same amount of time labor had taken with our other children. His body was tiny; five months developed. His entire hand fit on the tip of Bryan’s finger with room to spare. He weighed nothing in my hands. He weighed everything in my heart.

There were no newborn cries in my hospital room; only my silent tears as I cried for our loss. I mourned the unrealized dreams of bath times, feedings, lullabies, and even sleepless nights. But I also cried tears of gratitude for the comfort and sustaining peace in that room. It was my nurse who put to words the feelings of my heart. She had been my nurse during the delivery. The next morning when she came to my hospital room she quietly said, “I hope it’s okay if I tell you.... your room feels.... reverent… like there is a strong power, but it’s quiet.” Those were beautiful words: Reverent. A strong power. Quiet. And she was right. It was palpable.

A few days later I reread some notes I had made the week before as I prepared to teach about missionary work. My notes struck me different this time. From Wilford Woodruff: Millions of people have been born in the flesh, have lived and have gone to the grave, who never saw the face of a prophet in their lives; never saw a man that was called of God and had power to administer in one of the ordinances of the House of God. Will God condemn them because they did not receive the Gospel? Not at all.

God is no respecter of persons; he will not give privileges to one generation and withhold them from another; and the whole human family, from father Adam down to our day, have got to have the privilege, somewhere, of hearing the gospel of Christ; and the generations that have passed and gone without hearing that gospel in its fullness, power and glory, will never be held responsible by God for not obeying it. Neither will he bring them under condemnation for rejecting a law they never saw or understood; and if they live up to the light they had they are justified so far, and they have to be preached to in the spirit world.”

For a moment I had believed that I would teach my baby boy and prepare him to preach the gospel as a missionary on this earth. Now my spiritual eyes were opened and my heart understood that he had already been prepared to preach the gospel in a place where people were waiting anxiously to be taught by a powerful missionary.

We named our son Ammon.

(We planted this pine tree in remembrance of Ammon.)