25 January 2016

Blake's Baptism Celebration

After Blake's baptism, we headed back to our house along with all of our extended family to celebrate. I'm always up for a party, so along with dinner, I set up a hot chocolate bar.



Sometimes when I get a vision in my head, I just can't stop until it turns into a reality. That was the case with the number 8 marquee I was cutting out of plywood with my jigsaw at the last minute. I picked up the materials in between our trips to Arizona and Carlsbad over the holidays, but I didn't find time to execute the project until the day before the baptism. 

Projects like that always take twice as long as I think they will, especially when my drill battery dies every five minutes and I can't find a drill bit large enough to drill holes for the globe lights. Thankfully Blake's baptism wasn't scheduled until late in the afternoon on Saturday so I had enough time that morning to get the right drill bit, paint the number 8, screw in the lights and hang it up before the party began. I was grateful for the extra family we had in town that helped me assemble everything just in the nick of time.


I have a great recipe for crock pot hot chocolate that I transferred into pitchers. The boys planned in advance which mix-ins they were going to choose to add a little extra flavor.





Blake was actually the mastermind behind how to wire the lights into the number 8 marquee. He showed so much enthusiasm and gratitude each step of the way. When I didn't have the right tool to finish the marquee the night before, I switched over to writing on his chalkboard and he was so excited to find it completed when he woke up on his baptism day.

He couldn't wait to grab the neighbor girls to show them the finished display.

I may have received a few eye rolls from Troy as I prepared the details, but he is always so good to step aside and let me do my thing when it comes to celebrations. He even helped in the hunt for the correct drill bit. 


We had tables set up in each room and seated people outside under twinkle lights as well. Our home was bursting with conversation and love and we were so happy to have everyone gathered together in California to celebrate Blake. 


23 January 2016

Blake's Baptism

Amidst all of the birthday and holiday celebrations in December, we were busy preparing for another special event.


In our church, we wait until children are eight so they can make their own decision to be baptized. By the time they're eight they have a pretty good gage of their free agency. They know what is right and what is wrong and they have a basic concept of all things heavenly.

We walked around our neighborhood for a little photoshoot in Blake's new suit a few weeks before his scheduled baptism day. 








I loved that Blake's curiosity for sticks eventually got the best of him.

I just rolled with it.




Amidst all of the excitement and preparation, I had mixed emotions. 

First of all, Blake is our oldest child and his baptism always seemed so far off in the future. We blinked and all of a sudden we had an eight year old. Getting baptized was a pretty big indication that he's growing up. Second of all, I pondered over whether he was really ready. 

It was important to us for Blake to understand this step of faith he was taking. We had the missionaries over to review some concepts in preparation for his big day. He goes to church every week and we talk about church stuff a lot at home, but there's nothing like having real missionaries in your home explaining things in such a neat way to your child. But did he really understand it all?

In the midst of my apprehension, wondering whether this little boy of mine was ready or not, he took it up a notch in his prayers. He made it a point to ask if getting baptized was something he should do. He felt that confirmation as he met with the bishop a few weeks later for an interview. He came home absolutely beaming after the bishop told Troy that we should be very proud of our son.

Yes, that little spirit of his was ready to be baptized.

Sure, there is always more to learn, no matter how old you are. But I think Blake was more ready than I gave him credit for. He truly is one who seeks to understand spiritual things and always has such good questions for me. He has an innate desire to do what is right. I'm so grateful for all that his little soul full of faith teaches me every day.

Blake's big day finally arrived and his baptism was very sweet. He was baptized by his dad and it was such a great day to share with family and friends.

Since his baptism fell at the end of Christmas break, all of his aunts and uncles and grandparents were able to come into town for the event. His grandma gave a talk at his baptism and surprised him later by giving him a brand new set of scriptures that she used during the talk. He has been reading them every night and he is really letting the words sink into his heart.

I asked him how he felt after his baptism and he told me that he felt good and also the water was cold. The baptismal font is filled up with water in advance and I guess the temperature cooled off quite a bit before Troy and Blake made their way in. But not even the cold water could keep the warm spirit from seeping in as he was baptized and confirmed.

He was invited to sit up front at church the next day so he could be recognized as the newest baptized member of the congregation. On the first Sunday of every month, members are invited to come up to the stand and bear their testimonies. Blake sat quietly until the very end of the testimonies and as the chorister and pianist stood up to close the meeting with a hymn, he mouthed to me, "Can I go?" I was worried he was too late, but I nodded and he made his way to the microphone. The chorister and pianist quickly sat back down and the bishop found a stool for him to stand on so he could see over the pulpit. He bore a sweet, simple testimony in front of our congregation of 200+ people. He was brave and confident and full of pure light.


I can't think of a better way to end our Christmas break.

21 January 2016

Ringing in the New

We stayed in and ordered Thai food on New Year's Eve so we could watch the big Michigan State playoff game for the national championship. Unfortunately the game didn't play out so well, but we sure had fun cheering on our Spartans this season. The best part about living on the west coast is we could watch the ball drop at 9pm, light some sparklers and call it a night. 



The sparklers gave the boys a second wind and before we knew it they were parading around in all sorts of inventive costumes. We needed some light entertainment after that disappointing football game.

We rang in the new year at everyone's favorite place.








I'm not sure why we bother bringing sand toys to the beach because the boys always prefer to play with nature's souvenirs.




It was a little chilly but I don't think I'll ever get over being able to go to the beach on New Year's Day. Here's to another year of spending holidays at the ocean...