July 29, 2014

Evan

Amidst the craziness of moving we are saddened and humbled. Dear friend of the family (and Joseph's close friend), 16 year old Evan, was diagnosed w stage 3 osteosarcoma (bone cancer). We love him and are praying for him and them constantly.  Every time I pray I am comforted and reminded that all that matters is that they have each other and that they are a family forever. They are amazingly faithful and positive. I am in awe and inspired by their faith and hope. Heavenly Father loves them. So much. I don't understand why this is happening. I really am having a hard time processing it at all---but that's where my faith comes in. It has to. Without it, id go crazy. There have been many many tears. We don't ever know what is coming. But this life I'd not the end. This is the true gospel of Jesus Christ. God is real and is our loving Heavenly Father. 

July 27, 2014

Osborn

My heart is very full of love. Today was out last day in the Osborn ward. I'll never forget driving up to this gorgeous building 3+ years ago, pregnant with Freddie, not knowing what life would bring. I've served in Young women for 2.5 years and it has blessed my life! By the grace of God I was able to know and be a part of the lives of his amazing daughters. 
They are smart, interesting, kind, beautiful, strong. They are future mothers, missionaries, leaders. They make me proud. They represent Jesus Christ. They know who they are, what they want, where they are going. 
They have taught me so much. I love them!!! The others leaders have also blessed my life and have been my rriends, confidants, my sisters! Becky Astorga-I am your loyal, loving counselor. You have taught me about being a mother and juggling all of life's craziness. You are an example of true, sincere, Christlike service. Dorothy Finn-you taught me to teach by the spirit, to challenge the girls, to laugh at myself and  be forgiving. You have become two of my best friends. All the leaders and girls have touched my life in many ways. They all are important and bring something to the group. They all are missed when they aren't present. 

I have learned that I can do hard things, that I can have a relationship with Heavenly Father, that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, I am made whole. I can be successful at this calling and others because he makes up for where I lack. 

The future is bright. 

July 24, 2014

Holy Batman story time, Batman!!!!

Today we went to Barnes and Nobel batman day! I'm sort of horrible at planning but usually want to go all out or at least semi-out with these things...also into homemade costumes...so my poor child had a bat mask made by me in three minutes. He wore a red cape...half robin, half batman??...and he took off my lovely mask before we got into the store and refused to wear it. Oh well!!! The store was decked out, the employees too...whom we have gotten to know well since going to almost all of their events this summer. They are some quirky quirks, I'll tell ya. Everyone was asking Fred who he was (red cape) and he would just shout out random super heroes. Ha! We made bat signal mustaches, colored/cut up into a billion pieces some batman pictures, Fred got his face painted with a bat on one cheek and a superman (that he calls Spider-Man) on the other. (Split super hero personality disorder????)

Anyway....then was story time. It was a book about batman and all the villains getting together to thwart him after the joker busted them all out of jail. It was a full house (tiny table) of kids today. Lots of dads really into batman. ALL the kids were constantly stopping the reader to ask all sorts of hilarious random questions and telling random stories about batman or their dads etc. 
Then I was wondering...are there any batman cartoons/movies out there that these kids can even watch that aren't super dark/violent? The Cartoon Network cartoon a decade or so back was awesome but def not for kids. Apparently there was something back in the 70s that was pretty kid friendly. We will have to check it out. 
Hattie spent the whole time crawling around in every direction, trying to pull all the books off shelves and just being generally adorable. Freddie was super into the story and particularly concerned about this Scarecrow fellow (oh boy..) and made friends with every human in the store practically. 

It was great fun. Plus we got goody bags with REAL batman masks. It took us forever to get out of the store because Fred loves books and was asking me about almost every one on the way out, I swear trying to stall me. And it was 115 today. Agggg! 
Everyone took good long naps at home afterward and I watched the season 3 finale of call the midwife. So emotional! Love that show. Then we woke up, ate, watched peg+cat (so cute...girl and her cat drawn on graph paper and it's all about solving math word problems!!!), and went outside for an adventure...(blanket down on grass and somersaults, scooter, crawling and eating dirt, dot sprawling out on warm sidewalk, talking w neighbors, me loving my kids and thinking I can do this and waiting patiently for daddy to get home.) 

Night!! This Sunday I get my pp award with two of my laurel young women. We three are so excited to stand up together and I love them so much. 

July 22, 2014

The Johnsons

Trisha Johnson is a woman I have known and adored for almost 20 years. She's a mother and wife to a great family in my parents ward in mountain park ranch. My dad has been their home teacher for most of the time we have lived in phx. She has tried to set me up w guys, has supported me and given me advice and made me laugh and loved me. She's just younger than my parents but she's ageless because she's friend to everyone. She is the type that makes you feel amazing and loved and special and hilarious. You just want to be her best friend and you feel like you could open up to her about anything. 

About 10 years ago I was driving down the road when my dad called me and told me to pull over. I did and then he proceded to tell me that Trisha had a malignant brain tumor and was not expected to live through it. It was such a shock and so humbling. I loved and admired her so much. It was really hard to hear. Then came the prayers and fasting--ward, stake, families, friends, faith. So much faith. And miracles. She made it through and though the cancer keeps coming back, she continues to battle and survive! 
Then last week we got a phone call from her husband. Their son, Evan, 16 years old, had been experiencing some leg pain and after being examined, they found out he has an agressive tumor on his leg that is eating away at the bone and muscle. He got a biopsy done to see how dangerous it is but regardless, he will have chemotherapy starting next week. He is months older than Joseph. They are very close friends. I remember them running around together as little kids. Little blondies. And they would spike up his hair so big and it was adorable.  It just kills me. How does this sweet baby have cancer? And even worse---what Trisha and her husband must be going through, knowing what he's about to go through. They have tremendous faith. Tomorrow, Tuesday, we will be fasting as a family for him. We have been praying hard that everything will be ok. 

When I heard about this I cried and cried. It's so so sad. I prayed and asked why. And then immediately came.... they have the gospel. They are strong in their faith. That is all that matters because it overcomes everything. 
Then my mind quickly turned to dear dear friends who have decided to leave the church. Then I bawled. Really bawled. Why? Why why why???? It hurts so much. I ache in my heart and head and all over. I love them so much. But agency and faith and HOPE that they WILL return. 

Such an emotional afternoon. I know, though, that my Heavenly Father loves me very much and all his children. I know it will be ok and this life is not the end and that the Johnsons are sealed as a family forever. 

July 15, 2014

Overwhelming

I have been SO OVERWHELMED and stressed and guilt-ridden and regretful (at times), even depressed at times in the last 6 months. Having two kids has been beyond hard for me. It has pushed me to my limits and then the thought that this could be it has sadened me too. I won't get into every detail because I don't have the time but it has been very hard. But I've always said I wouldn't want it any other way and  I love my children and am so grateful to be a mother. 

It's been difficult to see past challenges for me. Plus with stuff happening w family members' health and stuff friends are going through...I've never felt the temptations of satan so real. But miraculously, I also have never felt so real the love of God and the Holy Ghost telling me to hold on, with whatever I've got. 
This past Sunday I spoke in church about how temples and ordinances give strength to overcome trials. I feel renewed. I know that life is hard and is always going to be that way. But I can find peace, refuge and strength to overcome. I know this is right and I know I can do it. 

July 4, 2014

Top 10 new stories for the Smith family and GO!!

1. We are sick! Hattie and I were dying yesterday and still today. Fred went to grandmas and we went to the dr. Hattie has a cold and horrible cough and I have an ear infection!!!! Sucks. Got lots of Meds. Fred and Collin not feeling well today. 

2. 4th of July plans!!! We hope to get well soon because we are planning a day trip to a small AZ town for the 4th with a parade, carnival and fireworks!

3. We are MOVING! To Ahwatukee w my parents! We are boxing everything up and getting ready to be out of here in 3 weeks!! We will miss this little place. And I mean LITTLE. Too small for our growing fam. This transition will allow us to save a ton of money for many important future goals. 

4. Nikki almost done w Personal Progress! I was so close but then haven't worked on it since hat was born. I'm a week or two away and I'm going to do it!!!

5. Collin and I were asked to speak in church before we go and CS is singing at a missionary fireside coming up. Plus I putting on a Yw activity where we are finishing our goal of reading the b of m this year by reading the last book-Moroni-together and having some ancient prophets tell their story. Collin is my actor playing Enos. 

6. Hattie has 2 teeth!!!! She's started trying to pull herself up on anything she can reach! She does NOT like puréed foods. 

7. Fred is improving at swimming lessons, he's doing very well at cutting back to just a couple times of nursing a day (and so our nursing relationship is wonderful again!!) we will continue to gradually cut back but I'm thankful to continue w these limits. He is SO excited to get his darn boot off in one week! 

8. We are playing inside mostly these days and have gotten really creative e imaginative play and puzzles, crafts, stuffed animals, cars, and even a candy land session or 2. 
We also love going to story time at Barnes and noble and fun activities at the library, of course. 

9. Collin and I tried to see the Signal last night and it was soooo interesting so far but we had to leave because Hattie was sick and crying too much. We got read it passes. 

10. I love Collin, Freddie & Hattie Smith! And monte and dot are good too! They are lazy sleepies in the summer time. 

10b. I have been thrown up on a total of 5 times in the last 24 hrs. Make that 6.