December 23, 2014

Remembering 2014

As a year ends and a new one begins we start to reminisce over all the experiences we've had over the past year. Good ones, bad ones, exciting ones, lessons we learned, etc.

Looking back over the past year, we've had some amazing and challenging experiences in our family. 

We started out the year 2014 by moving to Panajachel, Guatemala where we learned a new language, a new culture and helped build and open a hotel. What an adventure that was moving to a place where we had no idea what to expect from the moment we decided to pick up and leave our comfort zone.

Emree loved doing laundry by hand
 One thing I miss most about beautiful Panajachel, is walking down the main drag.  You can't beat that feeling of walking up and down the streets with people, shops and fruit carts all along the way. I loved that no matter who you saw down the road, they would always make sure to say "Buenos Dias," "Buenos Tardes" or "Buenos Noches" (depending on the time of day of course). There were so many friendly faces which always made my day whether I knew what they were saying or not.

This was also the place where we found out we would be welcoming a new baby into our home. This also gave us an opportunity to learn a little bit about the health care in Guatemala, which was...interesting. ;)

Guatemala will always have a special place in my heart and I'm so grateful I had the opportunity to live there and learn first hand what it's like to live in a third world country. :)  I learned things there that I would have never otherwise had the opportunity to learn if we hadn't moved there.  What a blessing it was. 

After living in Guatemala for 6 months, we decided it was time to move back to Utah. Travis started school continuing in Mechanical Engineering and we moved up to student housing at the U of U. After living in cockroach infested apartments and a cement block home with absolutely no privacy, this apartment has been by far our favorite place we've lived. It has been a great blessing to us. No matter how simple or how small our apartment may be to some, it is a special place that we love to call home.

 We have met so many wonderful people and have made some great friends. To be honest, before we got here I wasn't sure how quickly we would get to know people and I was a little worried I'd have no friends nearby, especially when I had the baby. But it's been another 6 months and we feel like we are amongst family. 

Emree turned two this year and is growing fast. She is so full of excitement and love and is very observant. When I am having a hard time and I don't think she will notice, she does and always asks "Are you okay Mom?" and runs up to me and gives me a big hug. She is such a big sweet heart and has also made some good friends here, although sometimes I'm not so sure she really cares. ;)

Emree is a beautiful little girl and is learning more and more everyday.  Her speech is coming along and she's making sense more and more everyday as well. She also learned Spanish this year and at one point was probably more fluent in it than me or Travis. She is also very polite, most of the time.  For a two year old, I'm pretty proud of her for remembering to say please and thank you.

Miles was a little miracle to us. We weren't planning on having another child for a while, but I guess he just couldn't wait and I am so glad he didn't. He has been a huge blessing to us and I am so grateful to have him in our family.

Miles was born  on November 9th and is just a sweet heart. He is smiling like c
razy and is a pretty laid back little guy.  He has a tickle spot on his tummy where he gets a little uncomfortable and is sleeping 5 to 7 hours a night now. Woo Hoo!
Miles is definitely a Mama's boy.  If he's frustrated or upset Daddy doesn't do as well of a job calming him down, but put him in his Mommy's arms and he will fall right to sleep (which makes me feel good). :)

Our family has grown from 3 to 4 and although it may take us a little longer to get out of the house and go places, I love it.  We are growing and learning together and love being a family.

 It's been an amazing year full of ups and downs, but overall it has been a great year! I'm grateful for the wonderful adventures I have had and for the things I have learned.  It's been a year full of blessings and I'm excited for 2015 and for the many new adventures ahead.



December 22, 2014

Remembering My Savior

I watched an old video the other day called "Mr. Krueger's Christmas." I love this short film, because it expresses just how beautiful the atonement really is through the life of this sweet man.  It's a simple message,  but its very special. In it there is a scene where Mr. Krueger is there with Christ after his birth.  He talks to him as if he is his old and dearest friend, expressing gratitude and love for him and for all that he has done for him throughout his life.

Often times we think of the atonement as something to be used mainly when we mess up or make a mistake (at least I have), but often we forget that this is not all the atonement is for.  It is for any pain, any hurt, any struggle.  It is for anything that disconnects us from God.  The atonement is for any affliction and any trial.

 I think the atonement is something so powerful that it takes a lifetime to understand. But I do know this, that I know that he loves me.  Even when I struggle to remember that, he reminds me.  I know that he is there no matter the heartache or struggle I am facing.  Even just with juggling two kids and trying to be the best Mom for them, is something he helps me with daily. 

Christ already suffered for me and you, the question is will we let him into our hearts.  I think that letting him in is the first step to understanding more of the atonement. When we let him in he will reach out with open arms and lead us along. 

I love the photo of Christ's coming where he is surrounded by clouds, blue sky and angels, with his arms open wide.  It makes me think that those arms are open for me.  What a beautiful thing to know that he is the one person who will always be there. Who will never let you down. Who will be there to pick you up when you fall and will be the support you need.  He's there when you need to talk.  He's there to give you that hug when you've had a bad day. How special it is to know that he loves you?

I am filled with so much gratitude for my Savior.  I don't know where I would be without him.  The struggles I am facing right now in my life, no matter how minor or major they may be, are ones that I could not get through without him.  I could not go through life without him.  He is my rock and has been there when I have felt alone and unsure.  He has been there when I've doubted myself and been afraid.  He has been there through it all.  He will never leave me no matter how rough the tide may be. 

What a special time of year it is to be able to remember our brother, our Savior, Jesus Christ.

 Merry Christmas!