Monday, August 01, 2016

anna's baptism

For some reason, I decided I wanted to make Anna's baptism dress. We went pattern shopping and finally settled on one, with some modifications. I was super nervous about how it would turn out, since I'm an impatient and un-practiced seamstress, but with the help of several phone calls to my mom, sister, and sister-in-law in moments of need, it turned out OK. The inside is a bit of mess, but nobody sees that anyway.

On a Sunday evening, we went to this park to take some pictures. It had rained ALL week and it was forecasted to rain more, and I wanted to print out invitations to Anna's baptism ASAP. So off to the muddy park we went. I gave Levi instructions to play at the playground while I took Anna's photos. I scouted a mostly mud-free path to the bridge and held up Anna's skirt as she walked.

The picture above was the winner for the invite

After a few shots, I decided to get one of the whole dress. Around the same time, Levi came around from the playground and started throwing sticks over the bridge.

He walked by Anna nonchalantly, carrying a stick he'd picked up.

And this happened.

I was beyond mad. I had just spent weeks poring over this dress, trying to make it perfect, putting in my first ever zipper, and the first time we put it on her, Levi wiped mud all over the front of it! I quickly took a picture of the back and stormed the kids back to the car.

At home I ran everything under cold water, washed the dress by hand, and still the stain wasn't gone. I used some stain remover and washed it in the machine and the stain was gone, but the skirt had shrunk, so I had to re-hem the lining so it didn't stick out. 

While I was working on the dress, Anna told Sam what happened and he went to talk to Levi about it. Levi could not figure out why I was so so mad.

The next day for family home evening, I found a story in The Friend about a little girl who gets her white dress muddy after her baptism. Of course, there's a moral about how Christ can wash away our sins, like her mom can wash the dress clean. It was good to remember that we can say sorry and start again as good as new.

A few days later, Sam gave me an early Mother's Day present of a DSLR camera, so I took Anna to the Houston LDS Temple to take some photos there, but it was closed, unfortunately to clean up from some of the flooding. We took pictures outside of it, instead.


We had the wonderful treat of being able to have both my mom and my brother David's family come visit for Anna's baptism. They both arrived Thursday May 12. I let the kids stay home from school Friday to spend the day playing with their cousins. We played in the water outside, got pizza, and watched movies together. The girls made another little salon,  and played with dolls, and the boys played with lightsabers. 

The morning of the baptism was also the Ironman competition in The Woodlands and we were a little worried we'd get stuck waiting for the competitors. Luckily, we had no problem getting to the chapel, but we had forgotten the dress back home! Dave and Marcelle rushed home and back and we started just five minutes late. 

It was so nice to have our family be so much of the program. Of course I cried giving the opening prayer. Ruth gave a wonderful talk on baptism, focusing on the words of the ordinance and of the sacrament prayers. 

Sam baptized Anna and she had a nervous smile on her face. I got her dried off and dressed in the bathroom and gave her a big hug. 

The cutest part of the day was Anna singing "When I Am Baptized" with all her cousins there. Isabelle and Olivia from Ben's family, Maggie and Jonas from David's family, Noah and Moses from my cousin Marianne's family, joined Anna and Levi in singing. It's such a beautiful song, anyway and hearing all those sweet children who love each other sing together was joyous.

My mom then spoke on the Holy Ghost, likening it to a stoplight. He can tell you to go and do good things, be careful, or stop. 

Then Anna was confirmed a member of the church and given the gift of the Holy Ghost by Sam. He was joined in the blessing by his Dad, his brother Ben, my brother David, my cousin's husband, James, and our Bishop, Dennis Adams.

After Levi gave the cutest closing prayer, Anna rushed over to her beloved teacher, Mrs. Landry who had come. Mrs. Landry gave her a beautiful little baptism scrapbook to keep some pictures in. Another friend who came was Katie Oed. Anna had attended her first communion a couple weekends before this. Katie gave her a beautiful cross necklace and earrings. Anna was so excited to have some of her school friends come. She wanted to share something special with them, so we bought some Books of Mormon. She wrote this note in each of them and put them in little gift bags. She gave one to her teacher, and one to four of her friends who came. I was so proud of her.
Mrs. Landry, Anna, and Darcy 

Anna's note, written with no prompting from me: This is a Book of Mormon. It has helped me learn how I should live my life. It is a friend, as well as a book. You can read some of it every day. It is my gift to you. Love, Anna

Meanwhile, Mom was serving up cake, cupcakes, and cookies to everyone while Emily "helped." (Special thank you shout out to my cousin, Marianne, who played with Emily in the hallway for the first half of the service when she couldn't sit still!)

Some other special people who came to Anna's baptism were her primary teacher Kathy Holt and her son George. George is a couple months younger than Anna and they lived in Katy at the same time we did. Marcus Bolinder from the bishopric and his family came, including Anna's soon-to-be friends from Activity Days Leah and Hemaile. Her piano teacher, Leighanna Bond came (another friend from Katy), as well as the primary president, Becky Reynolds. Darcy Derenthal who was in Anna's class at school and had been baptized a couple weeks earlier was also there with her family. I'm sure there were more and we are so lucky to be surrounded by friends in such a short time of being here.

We took a few photos outside the church and then headed home to party!

We had pizza and fruit and veggies and chips and left-over brownie-topped cupcakes from Anna's birthday. Noah was a hit with all the girls, of course, who dressed him up and chased him around. 

It was all too soon that everyone had to rush away to other events, but Anna sure needed a break!

She had a very exciting day and I know she's pleased with her decision. I'm glad we had plenty of time to talk and prepare for this. We had some wonderful conversations before and after her baptism and I have no doubt she will continue to be thoughtful and purposeful in how she chooses to live her faith. We love our Anna!


Sometimes, I'm going through photos, trying to delete duplicate-looking ones or blurry ones or stupid-face ones, but then I get to a series like this and think, "How do I choose?" It's not like I really need 7 pictures of Emily sitting in the same place, wrapped in the same towel, but she has a different adorable smile in every one. Curse you technology for paralyzing me with such decisions! I would have been so much more productive if I'd been born fifty years earlier.

PS- Want to make the decision for me? Weigh in below. It's so much easier to make objective decisions about the cuteness of other people's children.