December 16, 2013

Beautiful wedding, beautiful family.

Walking back from the reception my Ellie said to me, "Your family sure likes to party."

Yes.  Yes we do.

My cousin Carissa's wedding was charming, up in the mountains of Vermont.

The wedding was a perfect celebration of Carissa- it was fancy, cozy, sentimental, full of friends and family, good food, and so much fun.

The groom, Brian, was sobbing as he waited for Cari to walk down the aisle.  I think we all fell in love with him then.  (Or maybe it was when he stripped off his shirt at the reception?). He's a sweetie.  

During the ceremony, they had a moment of silence to remember loved ones that had passed on but were most certainly there in spirit.  I couldn't help but thank heaven that I was there, celebrating.  Not just there for the moment of silence.  

It is funny how often the past year echoes in my mind.  I really, really could have missed all this.  I love my family so much.  (And even though I'm the crazy Mormon cousin with 20 kids, they love me too!)  It was so good to see everyone- and so important to enjoy these moments together while we can!  

It was fun to have my mom and my girls with me.  I wish I had brought Todd and the older boys.  I wish all my siblings and cousins could have come.  They were missed.

My take home... Love, love, love my family.  My family is very easy to love.  We all love children, love to laugh, and cry like babies at weddings, funerals, and commercials.  

Love my life.  Love my eight.  Love my husband.  Mine is not a life a bling and bags.  I wouldn't trade my mountain of kid shoes for one pair of fancier shoes.  But, I think you can have bling and a still have a heart of gold.  My family is proof.  They are good, good beautiful people.

And, we seriously need to DANCE more.  I want Todd to dress me up and take me dancing more.  (You don't have to drink to have fun!  We need to have more fun!). Life is meant to be enjoyed.

I kept laughing whenever anyone told me how great I look.  They would say things like, "She has eight kids, doesn't she look great?"  Or, "I can't believe how great you look considering all you've been through."  The key to looking great is- keep the expectations low.  Ha!!  
Wishing these cute kids a VERY MERRY happily ever after!!
I have a feeling they will have a lot of fun together.


Grandma Donna said...

Yes, beautiful and after all you endured this past year you certainly deserve to be dancing and laughing and having a ton of fun. Get that Professor out and boogying! (is that even a word?)

Melissa said...

Hey Jen,
Sorry, I tried to find your e-mail address on your blog but was unable to… I've been wanting to ask you a question for awhile now :) Can you please tell me how you do your scripture study in the morning with so many littles? Im trying to figure out a way to make it more meaningful with young kids and not sure the best way to do this? We read in the children's book sometimes but I really want to read right from the scriptures too. How does your family do it? What do you feel is the most successful? Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!! Ive been reading your blog for almost 5 years now! I just love it and have learned so much from you...Melissa

jenifer said...

Melissa-- how old are your kids?

Melissa said...

My kids are 3,5, and 7. My oldest is learning how to read and likes to read a verse with help. We usually only get through about 5 verses but I feel like it hasn't been very meaningful! We have read to Alma but its been a very long and slow process. We are stuck in all the war chapters! Please Help :)
Merry Christmas and thanks so much for all you teach me. Melissa

jenifer said...

Melissa- they are young!! Right now you are just establishing a habit. In my opinion these early years are practice for parents-- can you gather your kids happily? How does scripture time feel? Do you feel the Spirit? Kids will learn more about God by how they feel than by what you do or say.
1- sing!! Sing everyday. Fun, happy songs that help set the tone.
2- read something. We have our youngest repeat after us, in a happy voice. (It's darling.) the other day, Eve opened her scriptures and said happily, "And it came to pass." She usually reads first and that is a familiar phrase for her now. Even if they understand nothing, they are learning the vocabulary and pronunciation. So, words from the scriptures will feel familiar to them as they hear them older in life.
3- repeat lessons. When you read, say simple phrases like, "we are happy when we do what's right." Or, "Heavenly Father loves us so much."
4- testify and apply! Don't forget to tell your kids about little miracles in your life, times when your prayers were answered, or, more importantly, times when THEY felt the Spirit. (By helping you when you needed help or finding a lost toy or feeling happy when making good choices.) Remind them often of these experiences.
-practice reverence! Reverence is taught at home. It is taught as children learn to be obedient and as they learn how to feel the Spirit. Angrily teaching reverence is teaching submission not reverence. Family scripture time and family prayer are NOT always reverent- but they are great places to practice.
-nap time! I love reading the comic book type scriptures with my littlest at nap time, so they learn the stories.
-memorize the articles of faith or other short verses. Little kids memorize easily! We would pick one verse to talk about and discuss at FHE, and then recite it after our song and before we read scriptures. I would hang it up so we could see it all week.
-have fun!! Some mornings, act out a story. Have a fun snack! Read in a tent or laundry baskets. Pretend you are a seminary teacher or a primary teacher. Pretend the prophet was coming to your scripture time. What would you do? Simple, sweet and spiritual!
-plan ahead (if you can). My best scripture times are the days when I read the chapter on my own the day before and just pick a verse or two that I love and want my kids to learn from.
-have stickers or colored pencils for them to mark their own books with.

Just opening your books is better than nothing.
Feeling the Spirit is best!
Love the scriptures, love Christ, love your children and they will learn by association that God is love.

Our scripture times are never perfect, but somehow, over the years, my kids have learned. They are learning more than you think they are!

Keep it up!!!

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