January 27, 2013

Birthday Bahamas Cruise

Aaron turned 39 on January 15th!

We have started a annual tradition (2012, 2011) of celebrating Aaron's birthday with a vacation!
This year, we decided to go to the Bahamas!!  It was awesome!  
We flew out Friday, January 18th & boarded the 
cruise ship the next day.
Our room
Sitting on our balcony. 

By Sunday January 20th we were enjoying the sunshine on an island called 
Sandy beaches, crystal clear water, and blue skies.
Aaron insisted we rent a Clam shell on the beach to avoid getting TOO much sun.  
As you can see... I pulled my lounge chair OUT of the clam shell while Aaron snorkeled as to soak up as much sun as possible.  Then when Aaron returned I pushed my chair back under the clam shell to cool off... ;)  I was glad to have the shade.  It was worth the $25 bucks. 
While snorkeling, Aaron tried out his new birthday gift - a Go Pro camera. 

We enjoyed two RELAXING days at sea (& one formal night).

Tuesday afternoon, January 22nd, we got off the ship to take a city tour of 
  I loved the colorful homes and the dutch accent/language.
 We visited the Sea Aquarium and a museum where they make the Curacao liqueur


Wednesday January 23rd, we arrived bright and early in 
Aaron quickly got off the ship to go scuba diving.  
They took him on 2 different dives.  
He loves to be at the bottom of the sea. 

Once he was done scuba diving, we did some souvenir shopping and headed back to the ship.

We enjoyed two more days at sea - filled with sunshine & sunblock.  
We dined on lobster & shrimp.  

Indulged in creme brulee and cheesecake.  
And ending each night with popcorn - wrapped in a blanket - watching a nightly 

It was heavenly!!
Thank you to Josh, Megan, Ben, & Colin 
for keeping our kids happy & entertained while we were away.   
We are so grateful for family! 

Happy Birthday Aaron Chris!
I enjoyed every minute of our vacation 
 - but actually I enjoy every minute I'm with you. 
I love you.

January 5, 2013

Hayden's Baptism

Warning: long post... I don't want to forget any details of the day. 

What a Wonderful Day!!
Hayden was Baptized today!!

I wanted Hayden to have a new suit for his baptism.  
He always gets Mackay's old stuff, so I wanted him to feel like this day was different.  
Aaron took him to find a suit twice & was unsuccessful.  
We purchased a new white shirt & black pants but decided to have him wear the same suit coat Mackay wore he got when he was baptized.
Hayden wasn't happy about it.

Then, while Aaron was getting his clothes ready, he found a little suit in our closet.
I had put it there years before & had forgotten about it.  
It was the suit my brothers wore after they were baptized, as well as my nephews.  
I saw it & lit up!!  
Hayden came in to try it on and it fit PERFECTLY!!  
He LOVED it!
As I prepared for Hayden's baptism, I found myself extremely emotional.  I wanted my mom.  I was so sad she wasn't here.  I had to hide in different rooms through out the day because I couldn't keep my emotions in check.  I didn't want to explain why I was crying.  I silently prayed all day... asking Heavenly Father to allow my mom to be close.  Sometimes, when I can't stop the tears, I realize it's an answer to my prayers - it is an overwhelming feeling that she IS close and aware of me and my family.  She promised she would be there on these special occasions.  I know sometimes, when we are hoping and wanting something so bad, we tend to "read" into things but coincidence or not, I felt Hayden's little suit was one of those little tender mercies that I was begging for.  I explained to Hayden that Grandma Kathy bought this suit a long time ago for her little boys to wear after they were baptized and that his cousins got to wear it too.  And now another one of her sweet little grandson will wear it.  Hayden was thrilled - he got the NEW suit he wanted. 

Saturday morning - the tears were done & a smile couldn't be wiped off my face. 
I got to the church early to set up & Aaron arrived with our kids at 8:15 am.  
They changed into their white clothes.   
Hayden was excited to have two of his best friends get baptized the same day as him.
Kallen Lewis & Oliver Johnson
Hayden primary teacher Sister Ann Scott (she's from England) came to support him.

Jenn spoke on Baptism and the Gift of the Holy Ghost.  
It was perfect ~ easy for the kids to understand yet filled with doctrine for the adults.  
She showed a candle for how the Holy Ghost will light the way, 
Jessica's baptism blanket for how the Holy Ghost is a comforter, 
& a heart to remind us to listen with heart to feel the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
Then it was time for Hayden to be baptized.   
After Hayden dried off and changed back in to his suit, he was confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, & given the gift of the Holy Ghost,
When everything was finished, I had him run back to the Relief Society room to listen to the font.  
The timing was perfect... 
Hayden got to hear all of his sins get slurped down the drain... gone forever... 
When he & Mackay stood there listening, 
Hayden looked up and said, "Mom - this is gross!"  
Yep - Hayden, sins are Gross!! :)
We went home & celebrated with lunch, gifts, & a DVD Kenz had made for him. 
It was such a fun & HAPPY day!!
Thank you to my family for making these special events in our lives even better.  
It's hard to do it without Mom, but you all do so much to fill that void.
I love you & am SO grateful I am part of our family.  

Thank you Aaron for being worthy to use the Priesthood Authority to baptize & confirm our children.  It is a blessing I don't take for granted.  
I love you.

Thanks Kenz & Mackay for helping me teach Hayden the importance of baptism 
& for setting a good example.  
You are good kids & I love you.
I am so blessed.

Sunday, Hayden got to be the "Reverence Child" as people were coming to church.
He looked so handsome.
I just sat there & beamed (& grabbed my phone to snap a photo).  
His little friend Oliver joined him a little later. 
(It's so hard to be reverent when your best buddy is standing right next to you)

During our testimony meeting, I told the congregation that 
"us moms think that when our children get baptized we HAVE to bear our testimony, 
but really when our children get baptized we WANT to bear our testimony."
My testimony of this gospel is strong.  
I know it is true.  
I KNOW it with all my heart.
I know that we have a Heavenly Father who loves us & KNOWS each one of us.
I know that we have a Savior.
Because of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, 
we can be forgiven of our wrong doings & be made clean again.  
I know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet.  
He told the truth.
I know that President Thomas S. Monson is a true prophet, who speaks with God. 
I know that the scriptures are true 
& if we will read them we can know the things we need to do 
to one day return to live with our father in heaven & be with our loved ones for eternity.
I KNOW these things.  
I believe it with all my heart.  

I am so proud of you, Hayden.  
I am grateful that you chose to be baptized & confirmed.
I hope you will always strive to choose the right.
I hope you will listen to the still small voice, the Holy Ghost.  It will help you.
It will Light your way - just like a candle.
It will comfort you when you are sad, afraid, or confused - just like a blanket.
And it will tell your heart the things that are right & true. 
I love you Hayden Christopher Hall.
Thanks for being my little boy & making me so happy!