Sunday, November 27, 2011

It's sneeking up on us...

(I took her pictures today.  It was so fun.  It sure helps that she is adorable.)

Photo Shoot

 I finished Alexis' baptism dress last night!  25+ hours of MAJOR patience.  
Alexis and I ventured out this afternoon and did a little photo shoot in preparation for the big day. 

But, before you see the pictures...let me give credit where credit is due.

When I saw this dress 2 years ago there was no going back.  Leisel, who made the original dress, said she would try and make up a pattern for it back then.  Every few months I'd ask her if she made the pattern.  I emailed her a month ago asking her some questions about the dress because I figured there was no way she'd be making the pattern now that the holiday season was approaching.  She emailed me back...and had finished the pattern!  I can't even tell you how thrilled I was.

She made up the pattern herself and she shares it for FREE on her blog.  Amazing, huh?  I honestly need to take a picture of the inside too...because if you could see how clean and pretty it is on the inside (with 1 surged seam showing) you will see why it took so long.  Pretty much...Leisel is AMAZING!

 We went to the Newport Beach Temple to take pictures but as I suspected they lock their gates on Sunday.  But, we still managed to get some cute shots from the church grounds across the street.
 Alexis woke me up 2 weeks ago and she could hardly contain her excitement.  
She apparently woke up early and couldn't fall back asleep and so she decided to lay in bed and read her scriptures.  
The excitement (no joke...jumping up and down...while waking me up) was because she's now in 2nd Nephi.  
Amazing, right?
Would you believe me if I told I didn't edit this picture above besides cropping the picture a tiny bit? 

 Then we went back home for some pictures at the beach.
Loved taking her picture on Lifeguard Tower #8  (It was my friend Jillonnie's idea)...but those Lifegaurds were after us on their trucks so fast.  So we hopped off before we could get in trouble from them. 
 Those toe lines forming the 8 are just too cute.  And who doesn't love an exclamation point!

 What...all the lifegaurds are helping that ambulence by tower 6 help someone?  
Certainly, they don't need more people crowding them...
maybe we should just wait here on tower 8.  Why not take a few more pictures?
That's staying out of the way right? 

She just couldn't help grabbing her $10 fisher price camera to take a picture of the sunset on our way out.  So cute!

It was such a fun afternoon.  We thoroughly enjoyed our time alone together.

(P.S.  In case you were wondering:  The lady down by tower 6 seemed to be doing fine when we left.)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Tears of Joy

Alexis is getting baptized in just over a month.  It is so sweet to see the excitement in her eyes and the bright smile that appears every time it gets brought up.  She, honestly, astounds me with her love of the gospel...but especially her love for reading the scriptures.  I do not remember, nor do I ever think I was as bright and interested in the scriptures at 7 years old like she is.  She gets it.  We do not tell her she has to read them every night.  But she does.  On her own.  She doesn't just read to say she read them.  She reads to understand them.  That is what truly amazes both Chad and I.

I decided I needed to have more time with just her to talk about this important decision in her life of being baptized.  The time she opens up the most is when she is in bed and wants me to lay next to her.  Tonight, I decided the dishes can hobbies can be pushed aside.  Something I should do a lot more often.

I told her I was going to be starting on her baptism dress tomorrow and she asked me how more than one person can feel the spirit at the same time.  I explained it with the analogy of the sun being felt by more than one person.  Then she asked why doesn't she feel the spirit strongly all the time right now and we discussed the importance of her baptism and her receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost afterwards and that being one of the many blessings.  That the Holy Ghost will always be with her to comfort her and help her as long as she is making good choices in her life.  The best way to explain that was through a personal story.

So, I told her one of the greatest lessons I learned about the Holy Ghost.  This is what I told her.  Her eyes were glued to me the entire time.

I was 16 years old.  I had just come home from soccer practice and I was really tired.  I got out of the car and starting walking to the front door when I had a really strong feeling that I needed to lock my door to my car.  I didn't.  I kept walking.

I started unlocking the front door of my house and felt the feeling even stronger that I needed to lock my car door.  I thought to myself, "I never lock my door.  That's crazy.  It's an old car and beat up.  (The car was $500 if that gives you a better picture.)  I don't ever keep anything in it." 

I got inside the house and the feeling was so strong.  I couldn't hear it with my ears but it was as though someone was telling me inside my head to go back outside and lock my car door.  I was tired and I didn't want to walk all the way back to my car.

But that 3rd time, I realized there MUST be a reason I keep feeling this way.  So I walked back out to my car and locked my door.

Later  that night, before I went to bed I got in a fight with my mom.  Over something so silly I don't remember what it was about.  She was probably telling me I needed to clean my room like usual and I wasn't nice back and I didn't listen to her.  I remembered after fighting with her that I needed to go to my friends house and get some homework.  I left really upset.  I came home and went straight to my room and went to bed without talking to my Mom or apologizing to her.

The next morning my sister woke me up.  She asked me if I left my car doors open yesterday and I told her I didn't. 

(Alexis Gasps)

I ran outside to see.  Sure enough, my car doors were open.   I thought about how after I fought with my mom the night before and went to my friends house I forgot to lock my car door when I came back.  And I didn't have that strong feeling to stop me and tell me to go back and lock my door that time.

I checked the car.  My change and change holder to my car were gone.  I'm sure there was maybe only a couple of dollars total so I really didn't care that much.  I really didn't give much thought as to why I would have such strong feelings to lock my door over a few dollars.

I didn't care that much until the next Sunday, when I was looking for my scriptures.  The last place I had them was in my car. 

(Alexis Gasps even louder)

They were gone.  It wasn't just the couple of dollars in change that had been stolen from my car.  But, my scriptures too.  I was really sad.  I realized that the Holy Ghost was trying to warn me to lock my car so my scriptures wouldn't get stolen...not the money.  The money really didn't matter.  Those scriptures were really important to me.  My parents gave me those scriptures on the day I was baptized.  And now they were gone. 

I asked Alexis why the Holy Ghost didn't tell me to lock my door when I came back from my friends house.

"Because you fought with your Mommy."

She was so sad for me.  But she understood the lesson completely.  We talked a little more and she asked me some more questions.  And then she told me this story.

"A little while ago, I can't remember if it was in September or October, I was saying my prayers in bed.  I asked Heavenly Father if he would forgive all of my sins and I started to cry out loud.  Daddy walked by my room and heard me crying and opened the door and asked me why I was crying.  I told him I didn't know.  He kissed me good night and told me he loved me and went to his office.  I was too shy to tell him why I was really crying.  When I asked Heavenly Father to forgive my sins I felt so happy inside.  I started to cry.  But it wasn't a sad cry.  It was a happy cry.  I know it was the spirit making me feel so happy.  I just didn't know how to tell Daddy.  After he left, I quickly finished and said "in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen."   But, now that I think about it...I probably should have taken more time to really finish my prayer and not end it."

I giggled at her last sentence but tears filled my eyes as we talked about that feeling she felt.  I kissed her goodnight and came out with a confirmation that I needed to do this with my kids more often.  Lay by them one at a time and just talk.

Chad came home from school about 15 minutes later.  I asked him if he remembered a night when he heard Alexis crying in her room and asking her why she was crying.  He said exactly what Alexis said.  That she said she didn't know why she was crying and that he remembered going in there kissing her goodnight and telling her he loved her.

I filled him in on the rest of the story but not without tears in my eyes.  Tears of joy.  He was quiet and amazed and we both just sat there in that quiet, peaceful moment realizing our daughter was on a completely different spiritual level than either of us were at her age.  And not because of us.  That is Alexis.