Sunday, May 31, 2020

"seeing all their inequality, began to be very sorrowful"

This week as I read the assigned chapters in the Book of Mormon, I was struck by the end of Alma 4. These early chapters in Alma have a couple succinct rounds of the pride cycle. There's division and war, and then the people are humbled by the destruction of the war, so they begin to care for each other, which lifts everyone up, and then they prosper, and some become prideful again, and begin to despise and persecute others. At this point Alma, who is both the chief judge, and chief priest, resigns his judgeship to devote his time to teaching the people the gospel.

I've read the Book of Mormon many times and on this reading, a verse stood out to me. Alma 4:15 says, "Alma...seeing all their inequality, began to be very sorrowful." This was exactly how I was feeling this week. I have been weighed down by incredible grief and sorrow for my black brothers and sisters. My heart is breaking.

Still, the Book of Mormon says, "nevertheless the Spirit of the Lord did not fail him" (Alma 4:15). I have been pleading with God this week to show me what to do, through his Holy Spirit. Alma decided to leave his position of political power "that he might preach the word of God unto them, to stir them up in remembrance of their duty, and that he might pull down, by the word of God, all the pride and craftiness and all the contentions which were among his people..." (Alma 4:19, italics mine).

The word of God is what I cling to at times like these. Paul promises "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." (Galations 3:28) And in the Book of Mormon, Nephi promises that the Lord, "inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile."

When Alma's people focused on equality --"for the preacher was no better than the hearer, neither was the teacher any better than the learner; and thus they were all equal" (Alma 1:26)-- they prospered and had "an abundance." "And thus, in their prosperous circumstances, they did not send away any who were naked, or that were hungry, or that were athirst, or that were sick, or that had not been nourished; and they did not set their hearts upon riches; therefore they were liberal to all, both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, whether out of the church or in the church, having no respect to persons as to those who stood in need." (29-30)

When the Book of Mormon chronicles successful societies like Alma's at this time, something they all have in common is that they rid themselves of classes and racial divisions. King Benjamin's people, "impart of [their] substance to the poor,...feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and administering to their relief, both spiritually and temporally, according to their wants." Benjamin himself works with his people. He uses his government- his administration- to administer his people's relief, and not just meeting their needs, but also attending to their wants. This is a society built on the principles of abundance. There is enough for all.

Most famously, in 4 Nephi, after Jesus Christ has visited the people for several days, "there was no contention in the land...there were no envyings, nor strifes, nor tumults, nor whoredoms...nor any manner of lasciviousness (no sexual or family abuse); and surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God.
...Neither were there Lamanites, nor any manner of -ites; but they were in one, the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God." (4 Nephi 1:15-17)

This is what I want, what I hope for, and what I try to teach my children should be their ideal. "For behold" as King Benjamin said, "are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?"

"And now, if God, who has created you, on whom you are dependent for your lives and for all that ye have and are, doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, in faith, believing that ye shall receive, O then, how ye ought to impart of the substance that ye have one to another." (Mosiah 4:19-21) Now, I believe that the substance which I have to impart, is not just money, but the privilege and power I have been granted by society as a white person. I want to give up that substance, that power, and share it with my brothers and sisters of color.

 "And if ye judge the man who putteth up his petition to you for your substance that he perish not, and condemn him, how much more just will be your condemnation for withholding your substance, which doth not belong to you but to God, to whom also your life belongeth; and yet ye put up no petition, nor repent of the thing which thou hast done. I say unto you, wo be unto that man, for his substance shall perish with him" (22-23)

We will not bring this position of power into the next life. God is "no respecter of persons" (Acts 10:34). We must give it up in this life, and I know that if we do, we will all be better for it. Rather than losing out, we will be come an abundant society. There will be enough for all, and we will create a heavenly society here on earth. Our brothers and sisters of color are begging us for a share in the freedom from fear and hatred. We must offer it up to them.

My prayer comes from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland "When we have conquered [COVID-19]—and we will—may we be equally committed to freeing the world from the virus of hunger, freeing neighborhoods and nations from the virus of poverty. May we hope for schools where students are taught—not terrified they will be shot—and for the gift of personal dignity for every child of God, unmarred by any form of racial, ethnic, or religious prejudice. Undergirding all of this is our relentless hope for greater devotion to the two greatest of all commandments: to love God by keeping His counsel and to love our neighbors by showing kindness and compassion, patience and forgiveness. These two divine directives are still—and forever will be—the only real hope we have for giving our children a better world than the one they now know."

Saturday, April 21, 2018

madeleine grace cosby

(I wrote this when Madeleine was 3 months old, but just added pictures today. Her first birthday was yesterday! I can't believe how fast this year has gone!)

I thought, going into this pregnancy, that since Emily had been a VBAC that a doctor would feel much more comfortable about doing a second VBAC. And I was oh so very wrong. I contacted probably ten providers near me and all but one said they wouldn't even make an appointment with me. The one doctor who would make an appointment used our time to explain why she couldn't see me as a patient (and then billed me for it...(we didn't pay.))

So eventually, I made an appointment at the Pavilion for Women at Texas Children's Hospital at the medical center in downtown Houston. This took another week since you had to call and request an appointment with each doctor who then had 48 hours to let you know of their availability. By the time I got an appointment with Dr. Harris, she was my third-choice doctor, and I was 16 weeks pregnant.

She almost didn't believe me that I was 16 weeks, but did an ultra-sound and was surprised that was telling the truth (?!) and then let me know that she'd have to get approval from the rest of her team to see me as a patient and that she couldn't guarantee that any other doctor would go through with a VBAC if they were on call when I went into labor.

Needless to say, I was not very impressed on our first visit. She is a little gruff and slightly awkward; at one appointment when I was completely healthy and feeling good, she said, "Damn girl, you're boring!" But over time, we got more comfortable with one another and it was easy to see that she was smart, competent, and kept up to date on research and techniques. She was also very deferential to my opinion and choices. In every conversation, about epidurals, genetic testing, and early contractions, she'd always say, "You know how you feel and you're well equipped to make this decision and we will do whatever YOU want." I came to trust her completely.

By 34 weeks, I was starting to dilate and by 36 I was dilated to a 3. I was in constant pain and was so anxious about adding another person to the mix in our family that I would stress myself into an hour or two of contractions until I could breathe and talk myself out of it. I was very much counting down the days, but she had said she wouldn't strip my membranes or break my water until 39 weeks, so I was just trying to be patient. At my 37 week appointment, she took a long time on an ultrasound checking my fluid levels but eventually was satisfied.

On April 19, I was 38 weeks and 2 days and had my 38 week appointment. I packed a lunch for Emily and a snack for me and drove to the appointment, planning on stopping at the Houston Children's Museum on the way home from the doctor, which was our routine by this point. Only, when Dr. Harris did an ultrasound she had a very worried look. She turned the machine towards me and explained that she should be able to measure so much amniotic fluid in two dimensions and she couldn't, anywhere. She said, "This makes me nervous. I'm on call tonight and I want you to stay and have the baby."

I was totally shocked! She said, "Do you have someone who can come get Emily?" I mumbled something about a friend and she said, "Good. So we'll get you checked in and then we'll get rolling. Sound good?" And then she left. I made some phone calls to a friend to pick up my kids from school, and to my visiting teacher to come get Emily, and to Sam to tell him to come. Still no one returned so I went and found the nurse and she said, "You're still here?" I explained that no one had told me where to go yet, so she walked me to the registration desk and wished me luck.

I got registered and wolfed down some food (before someone could tell me not to eat) while I filled out some paperwork. Eventually they called me back. I changed into a hospital gown and they started an IV of antibiotics since I was group B strep positive. At this point it was about 11 AM and I knew I just had to wait about four hours for the IV to finish. Emily was being a trouper. She happily ate her lunch and explored the hospital room. She climbed on the chair and looked out the window at the cars and told me what she saw. Eventually she was getting a little restless, so I brought her on the bed with me and read her the entire 80 page Richard Scarry stories book. I snuggled her tight thinking that this would be the last time she'd be my baby and shed a few tears.

Soon, my visiting teacher, De Anna Owen arrived. I told her where my car was so she could get Emily's car seat and gave her my keys. It took a long time for her to come back and she said, "Just so you know, your car is on the blue level, not the green level." She'd wandered around the whole parking garage in the Texas heat listening for my car to honk. She could hear it honking, but couldn't find it, until she'd figured out the sound was below her. So she finally found it and got Emily's huge car seat into her car. Emily was a little confused about why she was leaving, but De Anna told me she didn't cry at all and talked to her about mommy and the baby.

I had about an hour between when they left and when Sam arrived. I'm glad I had the time to sit and think and process that I was going to have a baby that day. I was not at all mentally prepared, so I was glad to have some quiet. I was starting to get really hungry and my nurse told me I could get a salad or something light to eat which made me happy. I was starting to feel some contractions and knew things were getting going.

Sam came and told me that everyone at work was really excited. I had told him we had lots of time since I had to get the antibiotics, so he didn't need to race over. He was trying to get things tied up at work since he knew he'd be gone for a while so he stopped in at his boss's office to go over something he'd asked about that morning. His boss said, "Wait a minute, didn't your wife tell you she's having the baby?" Sam said, "Yes, but..." To which his boss said, "It doesn't matter. We'll figure it out. Get out of here!"

So Sam went home and got the hospital bag and some other things I asked for and cleaned the legos off the floor of the guest room so his parents wouldn't have to do it when they arrived. Once he got to the hospital, he got my mom on the phone. We'd been trying to call each other, but for some reason, the call just wouldn't go through on my phone. She had been so worried and had even called Sam's mom, just to find out if everything was OK. I assured her that everything was going fine and I'd call her when the baby came.

We talked and read and I rested for another couple hours as they started prepping the room for having a baby. I was starting to have stronger contractions. Around 5 PM my doctor came in and we talked over what would happen. She said it would be a busy night and if I wanted to get my epidural, it might be good to get it sooner rather than later before things got crazy. I had already decided I wanted to get one- in case of a uterine rupture or other emergency, it would save time. Dr. Harris broke my water and then they called the anesthesiologist.  He came around 6 PM by which time my contractions had gotten much stronger. They sent Sam out to get some dinner and he was happy not to be around for shot. The anesthesiologist was excellent and after the initial pain I was just flooded with relief and warmth. I chatted with the doctor and nurse for a while and met my new nurse who'd be with me during delivery.

When Sam came back he said I looked nice and comfortable with the epidural. I told him that the epidural felt so good, not just because it eased the pain of the contractions, but because it took away all the pain I'd had for months!

The next few hours were spent reading, watching dumb movies, and resting. My nurse had me sit up to have gravity help the baby descend and I started to feel a little more pressure in my low back. The nurse was gone for a while, and when she came back she checked my dilation. I hadn't progressed much, so she brought in a peanut ball and put it between my legs. She told me to call if I felt pressure like I had to go to the bathroom. She left and almost immediately I felt a strong contraction deep in my back. I waited until there was a second one and called the nurse.

She came in around 11 PM and checked me and said, "Yep! You're at a ten and the baby's coming! I'll call Dr. Harris. It's so crazy out there tonight that the head nurse just asked me why my patient was taking up a bed when she wasn't having a baby. Well, now I can tell her you ARE having a baby. And soon!"

My doctor came in and told me she'd delivered six babies already that night and mine would be number seven. She was suiting up and asking everyone to hurry. It was just after midnight and I was starting to feel the need to push and started squeezing Sam's hand. The nurses barely had time to get everything prepped before she said I could go ahead and push. I pushed once and she said she said she could see the head. I pushed again and could feel lots of pressure. I breathed through another contraction and pushed again and the baby's head came out. I pushed one more time and watched as my baby was born. It all went so fast!

Dr. Harris immediately put the baby on my chest and after a moment had Sam cut the cord. The next while is a blur, but I remember pushing once to deliver the placenta, getting a few stitches, and mostly holding and stroking my baby on my chest. I felt like they let me hold her a long time before they weighed and measured her. I remember Dr. Harris wishing me a quick congratulations and rushing off to deliver another baby. I remember calling my mom and telling her she had a new granddaughter.

Eventually we went to our recovery room and got a little bit of sleep. The next morning they bathed her and took care of me. At some point we settled on the name Madeleine. She was very sleepy during the day and cried a lot that night. I was soon ready to leave the hospital. Someone came to take my blood at 1:30 in the morning !!!!!!!!! Then I had to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night and Madeleine started crying while I was in there. Sam was sleeping right through it, so she cried for a few minutes while I was trying to finish (going to the bathroom takes a long time right after you've had a baby!). Finally I was done and fed her and comforted her. My nurse came in a little while later and asked, "Has your baby been crying? The people next door said they heard her and it woke them up." I just had to laugh that another couple with a newborn was complaining about being woken up by a baby crying in a maternity ward!

The kids came to visit with my in-laws the first day around dinner time. Emily was just sobbing and cranky and hungry and tired. Eventually they got to dinner and Sam talked some sense into the older two so that when they came back Emily just wanted to snuggle with me on the bed and Anna and Levi loved holding the baby. Levi immediately sang "My name is Madeleine" which is a song my dad wrote when we were kids which he'd sing with our own names. It was the sweetest moment.

Since then, it's been three months! She has grown from a tiny sleepy baby to a fussy, non-stop eating and crying baby, to a wide-eyed, happy, curious girl who sleeps all night and laughs and coos. Anna is so good with her and can calm her and play with her and help me so much. Levi likes to jump in and out of her life with quick, hard snuggles and tickles. Occasionally he'll stop and ask to hold her, but the moment she starts to fuss a little or spit up, he hands her over. Emily always wants to know where Madeleine is and if her eyes are open or closed. She loves to make her arms and legs move and LOVES to get a smile from her. She regressed a bit when Madeleine first arrived, needing her blanket and pacifier with her all the time and wanting lots of snuggles, but she's slowly coming back into her independent, singing self.

Thankfully, I haven't fallen into depression and aside from those first few hard weeks while school was still in session and nobody was sleeping, we've been able to adjust pretty well. Sam's mom was here for nearly two weeks helping out and my mom came from Germany. I hardly ever did the dishes or cleaned anything that whole first month. I felt so loved and cared for and just got to snuggle my baby as much as I wanted.

I think this may be our last child and I'm trying to soak in as many baby moments as I can. I love seeing how everyone has embraced Madeleine into our family and I can't wait to see her personality shine through. I already feel like we're starting our next adventure!

Thursday, March 09, 2017

why I'm nervous about having four children

I've felt mostly just anxious about this baby from the get-go. I was not exactly baby-hungry when we got pregnant, but we both wanted another baby and the timing felt good, and I'm feeling ready to be done having children.

This year has seriously ramped up in terms of busy-ness. I volunteer for meals on wheels weekly, and at the school every other week. I'm planning Activity Days and teaching primary. I have to drive downtown (an almost 3 hour round trip) for my OB appointments. Anna and Levi are both doing piano and a sport. Imagining dragging a baby around to all of this sounds ridiculous.

Our Wednesdays currently look like this: School pick up at 3:15. Eat a snack and change. Leave the house at 4 PM for Levi's piano lessons at 4:15. At 4:45 I drive Levi to the soccer field for practice at 5. We're always a few minutes late. I drop him off and drive back to piano lessons to pick up Anna. Her lessons end at 5:15, but I'm usually there around 5:25-5:30 because of rush hour. Her teacher has been unflaggingly kind and patient about this. Then we drive back to the soccer field and wait till practice is over at 6 unless Sam has been able to get out early and come to practice in which case we rush home and make dinner for everyone. I try to prepare something earlier in the day, but that doesn't always happen.

Lots of this will change when the baby comes. I'll stop volunteering at school. I'll be released from Activity Days :( I won't have any more OB appts downtown. I'll talk to the piano teacher to see if we can rearrange our schedules. It will help, but I'm still anxious.

For example, last night after soccer I noticed that the spots Anna had been complaining about on her face had turned into a rash. It looked like impetigo. I asked Sam to take her to urgent care and get some antibiotics so she'd only have to miss one day of school. I took Levi and Emily with me to our quarterly RS meeting (Sam was wondering what he was supposed to do with them if he had to take Anna to urgent care- I didn't tell him that they just come with me and we all suffer through it on most occasions). It was nice to relax and talk for a couple hours, but I forgot my phone so I couldn't check in to see how urgent care went, and Levi and Emily were crazy wound up after their time at the nursery.

When I got home they both lost it they were so tired, so bedtime was a struggle. And I found out the urgent care I'd recommended to Sam was full for the night and he didn't know where else to go, so Anna didn't get treated. I'd felt overwhelmed for days and had a good cry while worrying to Sam that these anxious feelings now could indicate higher risk of post-partum depression after the baby's born and that just makes me more anxious.

This morning Emily woke up crying. She had a fever of 102 and eventually threw up twice. I cancelled the dentist appointments I had scheduled for all 3 kids, got an appointment for Anna with our pediatrician (and a back up appointment at the closest urgent care) and hoped he'd be able to squeeze Emily in while we were there. I got Levi to school 40 minutes late and loaded the girls up and rushed to the doctor. They recently moved locations so I didn't know which building they were in or where to park and drove around a while trying to figure it out.

Emily threw up in the parking lot on the way inside to the doctor. I wiped her up with baby wipes as best I could and got to our appointment 10 minutes late. This was when I realized I was still wearing the slippers I'd slipped on to take Levi to school. We waited another 20 minutes to be called back. They took Anna's vitals and then we waited 15 minutes to see the doctor. He didn't like the way Emily looked so he said he'd check her out. He looked over Anna and said, "This could be impetigo?" Ten points for mom.

He went to visit another patient while the nurse came and took Emily's vitals. She consulted with him and came back with half a tablet of zofran. 20 minutes later, the doctor came back with prescriptions for topical and oral antibiotics for Anna and more zofran for Emily.

Still hoping to not have to have Anna miss much school, I called the pharmacy from the parking lot to have them start filling the prescriptions. He said they were out of one of the antibiotics, but said another location further away had them and he'd call ahead there.

We drove to the other store and they said it'd be about 10 minutes till they had them mixed and ready. We went to the bathroom, found some allergy medicine the doctor had recommended for Anna, and got some gatorade for Emily. Of course they weren't ready when we got back. We wandered around for another half hour, taking our blood pressure, finding a rainbow of items in the makeup department, and buying bejeweled mirrors for each of the girls before they finally called us.

So, three and half hours after I set out this morning, we were returning, hungry and contagious, and out about $100 in co-pays. I really did feel grateful that we have insurance, that I could see a doctor the same day, that he was willing to fit in Emily, that the zofran was a miracle drug that had Emily walking and laughing and playing and eating while this morning she looked like she wanted to die. I was grateful for antibiotics, even though Anna is going to miss school tomorrow too since she'll be officially contagious most of the day.

But I just kept imagining these past two days with a nursing infant in tow.

And that's why I'm nervous for baby number 4.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

jingle bells

Levi and Anna wrote this version of Jingle Bells this year.

Asleep in their beds
Are all the girls and boys
You peek inside his sack
You’ll see lots of toys
The elves are working hard
For Christmas coming near
If you see his sleigh tonight
Give a great big cheer

Oh Jingle bells jingle bells
Jingle All the Way
Everyone has some fun when Santa’s on his way HEY!
Jingle bells jingle bells
Jingle All the Way
Everyone has some fun when Saaanta’s ooooon his waaaaay! Hey!

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.