Dear Grandparents! I seem to have forgotten how many goals I've set and left unattended. I'm making you a promise now that I'll be better at keeping you all up to date on our lives. Here's what has been going on most recently for us, interspersed with some photos of all your favorite grandkids and great grandkids!
Tomorrow a couple in our ward is singing my arrangement for "I Feel My Savior's Love" and I'm so excited about it. I have a recording I'll try to attach to this post. It is by no means professional but it will give you an idea. I love this arrangement. I love making arrangements about songs that teach gospel truths because it builds my own testimony and the words of these songs become more sacred to me. I'm in the middle of writing an arrangement for Carsen's baptism which is coming up on May 31st. It's going to be a mix of the hymn "Joseph Smith's First Prayer" and the primary song "When I Am Baptized". Grandma Ester I know you're not familiar with these songs so expect a separate email from me that has the words to these hymns included. Here's the audio file for my arrangement. Click the link, then click download, then be patient. The first 22 seconds are blank, so after you click download, it will take about that much time before you hear anything.
My little Carsen was in last week to the eye doctor to check on how well his eyes are able to cross. I forget the specific term that is used, but basically Carsen's eyes are slightly turned out in their socket so we've been doing therapy with him for the last 6 months to work his muslces so he is better able to cross his eyes to see things up close. It has taken a lot of work, but when I look at his eyes directly I can see a significant improvement and the headaches that he used to have very frequently seem to be getting better. The doc says the headaches, being in the front of his head, are directly related to how hard he has to work to get those eyes to cross when he is doing close up work. Fortunately he says the best thing to continue for Carsen is to make sure he reads and the smaller print, the better. I guess it's a small blessing that Carsen loves to read. In fact, I catch him in bed with a flashlight more nights that not (who does that remind you of Mom? ;)
Ammon has decided he loves the new nickname Carsen has given him "Amsterdam" (the capital of the Netherlands) and now he has given Carsen his own nickname: "Carsendam" :) You gotta love the mind of a three year old. Ammon has also been struggling with being more naughty than usual. This past week I found marker scribbles on the walls and urine in the bathroom drawer. Ammon is a sweet boy but loves attention of any kind and I'm afraid I've been giving him too much negative attention lately. Travis and I are trying to work to tell him what a good boy he is and that sometimes he just make bad choices that make us sad. Seems to be working (at least yesterday it was!). My favorite time of the day with Ammon is when I put him down for a nap. I know it's uncommon for 3 year olds to still take naps but you have to understand Ammon wakes up shortly before 6am and hits the ground running so by 1:00 he usually is worn out enough to take a nap. I read to him while he lies in his crib, which he's rapidly outgrowing, and he reaches out to make sure one of my hands is resting on his head. Then he will fall asleep.
I've started going through an old high school biology textbook with Carsen and he loves it. This kid is going to change the world someday. I feel so incredibly lucky to be his mother. Grandma's I don't think I've shared this with you but when I was pregnant with Carsen and on bed rest, I had some very unique experiences. I had made a habit of studying my scriptures and I felt like that put me in the right frame of mind to feel promptings from the Holy Ghost more frequently. After studying and praying I felt a witness that the baby that was coming would be a very strong spirit and that he was coming to me for a reason. Throughout the rest of the week I continued to receive promptings about what that spirit would be like and what he would need from me as a mother. Very smart, sensitive, intuitive. Needing love and affection as well as needing to be taught the gospel and the things of the world. It was a very unique experience for me and because of it, I feel very much that I will be held accountable to my Maker for how I nurture Carsen's talents. I assumed almost 5 years later when we finally got pregnant with Ammon that I would have a similar experience with him. That didn't happen :) which after getting to see Ammon's personality just makes me laugh all that much more. Travis and I joke with each other that we have a genius and a jock. We couldn't be luckier that's for sure.
Travis is great as always. He has such a mellow personality which I am so grateful for seeing that I am so high strung. I know that may be hard to imagine given how laid back my own mother is. :)
My favorite times with him this week are listening to the advice he gives me in the things I struggle with. He has such a clear way of articulating a problem and it's solution. It reminds me of my own Dad and makes me very grateful. He reminded me of something I shared a few months ago with him. It's from Richard G. Scott who references the scripture in Proverbs 3:11-12. He says when the trials we face are not consequences of your own disobedience, they are evidence that the Lord feels you are prepared to grow more and he gives you experiences that will stimulate growth, understanding, and compassion which polish you for your everlasting benefit. He goes on saying "To get you from where you are to where He wants you to be requires a lot of stretching, and that generally entails discomfort and pain". Travis reminded me that I myself have been praying for growth and to see my own experiences as an opportunity for that. Travis is right more often than I let him know it and this week he definitely hit the nail on the head. Here's a pic of Travis playing golf with my brother's in Arizona. Fake wig, fake mustache, and he's still the best looking guy in the bunch!
We love you all and look forward to seeing you again. In the interim, hope you enjoy these pics and updates!