Chattanooga, Tennessee. We love this little city. We went up for the weekend and enjoyed every minute together. We walked the pedestrian bridge and the river walk. We hiked to a little overlook called Sunset Rock. Our favorite, though, was watching the hang gliders and little planes. Then we drove to Cummins Falls to spend the day. It was one of our favorite hikes we’ve done and the falls were amazing!
We found ourselves in quite the predicament right after Lydia turned seven and we started talking to her about baptism. Every time I would mention it she would well up in tears and say she did not want to be baptized. I just wanted to bundle her up in my arms and let her be a baby forever. She’s too young. She’s too sweet. I found myself thinking. What sins does she need to be forgiven from? She’s never done anything wrong in her life. I was not going to make my kid be baptized. My job is to teach and love and accept and encourage, but it was her decision to make. If she didn’t want to do it; I was not about to make her. The more we talked about it; the more upset she seemed to become. It wasn’t until months after she turned seven that she opened up and expressed how much she wanted to be baptized, but that she did not want anyone to watch her. Gotcha girlfriend. And a thousand times, ditto! It broke my heart that the anxiety and stress of a whole baptismal program with a ward and a half watching was making her so upset. Every baptism we have been to recently had lots of people there and Lydia was terrified to have a room full of people watch her do something so personal. I get it. Sometimes she is so much like me it’s scary. When it comes to spiritual things, things that are so personal and sacred to me, I have a hard time sharing. It’s so personal and intimate and I get so nervous in front of people that I feel that words are not adequate enough to express all the feelings. Plus, I’m a crier. . . an ugly crier. You don’t even want to know how many tears were shed while just discussing and planning her baptism. All the feels! Sometimes I think I feel too much. In October, a whole nine months before Lydia’s eighth birthday, Jared and I were out at a nice restaurant with live music and we started talking about her baptism. Bad idea. The waiter came over at one point to ask if I was okay. Ugly crying over her baptism that was nine months away. Bless my heart! It was such a huge milestone in her life and I don’t think I was emotionally prepared for that. I forgot to pack one of her three dresses that I had already bought her for her baptism when we went to Utah. We wanted to do her baptismal pictures out there. So I bought a fourth one. Sigh. But I ended up liking it better than two of the others I had bought. So I kept it and returned two of the others when we got home.
And these pictures. . . be still my heart! She is even sweeter than she looks and even more beautiful on the inside, if that is even possible.
The day of her baptism could not have been more perfect for Lydia or our little family. We sat around the font, a little semi-circle of all the people I love most (just immediate family per Lydia’s request) singing as Jared played the guitar. I thought right then and there my heart might burst into a billion pieces. The love felt in that room filled every part of my soul. I have no adequate words for the peace, and love, and gratitude that enveloped me as I looked at each precious face seated around that font. As Jared and I walked her to the font she started trembling and sobbing. I knelt down on the bathroom floor and held my baby in my arms and prayed for her comfort and courage. She giggled nervously, the way she does when she’s trying not to cry, into my dress, snotting all over me. Then her daddy walked her into the font. I stood on the steps behind them and watched my baby girl covenant with our Father in Heaven and take upon herself the name of Jesus Christ. What a glorious day. I am so proud of her for overcoming her fear and doing something that she knew was right, and important, and sacred, and eternal. She is my hero. My heart overfloweth.
Happy eighth birthday, baby girl! Eight. This was a big one for me. The age of accountability. I’m not going to lie; I kinda wanted to wrap you up and let you be little forever. However, time goes on and I’m excited for everyday with you. I’m excited to see who you become. I’m excited to watch you continue to grow and learn. I always say that you are the sweetest girl I know, and I mean that with all my heart. You are beautiful inside and out. I am proud of you and aspire to be more like you every day. Happy eighth. Here’s to a lifetime more! I love you!
Lydia decided to go to Monkey Joe’s for her big day. They bounced their little hearts out.
And Nanny did American Doll again for her birthday. Our favorite! And this year, Liam got to tag along.
Happy sixth birthday, baby boy! You never cease to amaze me. You are smart and funny, cuddly and crazy. You are sweet and sometimes a little sour and I love you just the way you are. You make me proud to be your mom. I love you more than my arms can reach! Happy birthday!
He asked for a pool party. So we did.
We booked a three week trip to Utah for the summer. I was a little nervous because as much as we love to travel and go, go, go; I was a little nervous that three weeks might be too long away from home. But honestly, it was perfect. We stayed most of the time at Grammy and Grandpa’s house. The kids loved playing nonstop with all their cousins. We loved visiting with our grandparents. We threw in a few little weekend trips and before we knew it the whirlwind of the trip was over.