Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Still Catching Up--Regyn's 8th Birthday and Baptism

I think I'm officially setting a new record for myself. This is like four posts in one week or something. That's just how far behind I am in recording stuff around here. And since Regyn is the third child and usually gets the shaft, I'm determined to do a whiz bam boom job on this post about her, so just prepare yourself.

Regyn turned eight on February 4th, but her birthday party was actually held on January 21st. A little unorthodox, I'll admit, but let me explain. Her little cousin on the Conger side, Brighton, turned eight on January 5th, and her Grandma Conger wanted to hold a combined birthday party for the two of them, so she tried to split the dates in half. The party was actually originally to be held on Friday, January 11th, but thanks to a huge snow storm that day, we had to reschedule; hence, it was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day or some time in May. You get the picture.

Here is Regyn and Brighton together. I love that they are cousins and great friends. So awesome!

The birthday party was held at the Lion House in downtown Salt Lake City. What I love about parties like this is that the only thing I have to do is show up--oh yea, and bring the children with me. So easy.

These are the darling children I brought. Aren't they cute? 
Here are a bunch of pictures from the party. If you have no idea what a party is like at the Lion House, let me just tell you. It's a Pioneer type of party. You learn a little bit about Brigham Young and what life was like back in his day. Then you play pioneer type of games, like "Button, Button, Who's Got the Button?" or the thimble game. You also get to pull taffy (my kids' personal favorite). You get to eat little mini sandwiches and lemonade and of course have cake and ice cream. At the end you get to take home either a stuffed lion or a glass doll. It's very quaint. Just take a look. . .

Here was the tour of this amazing place.

These were all of the children. I thought this picture was so cute.

Boston pulling taffy. This is not an easy job, by the way.

More taffy pulling.
This picture is blurry, darn it. These two girls were so cute all day. I love the crowns my mother-in-law got for them. They were so thoughtful of each other this whole party and so cute together.

This was the cake they shared.

Here they are, just about ready to blow out the candles. I love Brighton's face. It's adorable!

They got to share this darling little sofa and take turns opening gifts. They both got special bags from their Grandma.
Here Regyn is after choosing her special glass doll.  That smile says it all.
I thought the party was fine, but Regyn thought it was much better than that. She told me it was the best day of her entire life! Okay, she might be just a little dramatic. She gets that from her father, of course. Okay, she might get that from me.:) I sure love this girl, though. And I seriously can't believe she's eight! Her Grandma Conger is totally awesome for pulling off this party for all her grandkids who turn eight. I'm so grateful she does it. Not only does it totally take the pressure off, but it really is a special thing. Grandparents sure can make a difference to our children, and I know my kids have the best ever. Between my parents and Dan's, my children are just so blessed.

Okay, so now on to part two of this child's special events. Since Regyn turned eight, she had the opportunity to be baptized (We are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints). This is a very big deal. Many people not of our faith wonder why in the world we would allow children to make such a huge decision at such a young age. It's a good question. I have pondered this a lot, and I think this: it's the way the Lord has always worked. He has always called on those who are humble and simple and allowed them to have great responsibility at a time when they were willing to listen and obey. I think if He waited until a child was 16 or 18 or even older, it's likely that person would be more self-centered, more prideful, more set in his/her ways and less likely to follow the Lord. Plus, after baptism comes the most wonderful gift ever--the gift of the Holy Ghost, and I'm telling you, kids need this as soon as possible! The Lord knows this. He is so wise. Of course eight-year-olds don't know and understand everything there is to know about the Gospel of Jesus Christ (adults can't even claim that), but they know right from wrong, and they know enough to understand and make choices for themselves and to understand simple truths. And that is enough for now.

When I first talked with Regyn about her choice to be baptized, she never wavered. She was anxious and excited. We started having special Family Home Evening lessons about baptism and covenants months before her eighth birthday, hoping to help her undersand this important decision a little bit better, but honestly, I had to wonder how much of it was soaking in. She tends to be one of those children who spits out Sunday School answers like a recording without really even thinking about what she's saying. I think most learning comes through experience, so my constant prayer for all my children is that they will have day-to-day experiences with the Spirit that will strengthen their faith and their convictions and help them know for themselves what they truly believe.

As I think is often the case when a special event is approaching, it seemed like a lot of things started getting in the way of what was most important. Life became very busy and very stressful. And then I left town for five days the week before the big event and came home to a very heavy week--a funeral and Valentine's Day, not to mention just basic catching up. We were all exhausted, to say the least, and didn't feel very spiritual or excited for Regyn's big event. Truthfully, we were all just wanting to get it over with. Not exactly the feelings I hoped to have for such a special event. I think it all came to a head just a few days before her baptism. Let me explain.

We had stayed up really late the night before since it had been my grandfather's viewing and my family had been in town staying in hotels. I had taken the kids to swim with their cousins and we had enjoyed our time together a bit too much, staying up way too late. We had then woken up early the next day to attend the funeral and drive over two hours away for the burial. Due to the craziness of life over the previous week and especially the days before, my children were out of balance, to say the least. And so was I. I just kept whispering the word patience to myself over and over as my kids threw fits and hollered at each other all day. Ironically, Regyn seemed to be the worst of all. When she threw a ginormous fit about getting in the car, kicking and screaming (literally), I slowly started to lose my edge. Dan kept putting her in the car. She kept getting back out.

Finally, deciding she needed to cool off (since she was kicking, clawing, screaming and scratching Hallee in the back seat), I calmly unbuckled my seatbelt, hopped out of the front seat, opened the back door, grabbed my screaming child and threw her in the nearby snowbank (yes, I'm serious--not my best mothering moment, but to be perfectly honest, the only thing I could think of at the moment was how relieved I was that I no longer had the intrinsic pressure I constantly put on myself of being the "Young Mother of the Year" because I was no longer the "Young Mother of the Year" as of five days earlier! So ridiculous, I know, but my goodness, that thought honestly ran right through my mind). As I turned to get back in the car I noticed a number of people had just come out of nowhere to see the whole event. Figures! It's always at your worst moment that people show up and you realize there are a slew of witnesses. Oh well. I was way past caring about appearances at this point. I got back in my seat, buckled up and told Dan to drive next door to pick up Nate. The look he gave me was priceless! It was then I glanced out the window and noticed Regyn was out of the snow bank and screaming how much she hated me at the top of her lungs. I did the only thing that seemed reasonable under the circumstances.

I got out of the car again and pushed her back in the snow bank! (It's a darn good thing I wasn't still the "Young Mother of the Year," isn't it?)

I know how terrible that sounds. But I can't help but laugh when I think of it. And I just have to say that  the second snow bank trip did the trick! She humbled herself right up and hopped in the car. I quietly buckled her in, we picked up Nate and were on our way! Like I said, I think the adversary works very hard on families and wonderful little children right before they make very important righteous decisions. And thus it was with us.

Saturday came and we traveled back to Cokeville for this special event because Regyn has another special cousin that she adores (this one on my side of the family) that has a birthday close to hers, and so we planned their baptisms together. We got up really early Saturday morning and picked up six-foot sandwiches at Wal-Mart in Evanston on the way there (I'm so bummed I didn't get a picture of these sandwiches, but let me tell you, they were pretty awesome), and we drove to Cokeville just for Regyn and Kaybree's baptism. And it was all worth it.

Here they both are in their baptism dresses. We had taken them dress shopping and they both picked the same dress.
Our family. Don't we look happy? Regyn especially glows. 
Grandma Conger came all the way from Logan.

Uncle Tracy came from Logan, too. This girl is loved.
The Primary gave her this beautiful, embroidered towel.  So sweet.

These pictures always bring tears to my eyes. All in white. I'm so grateful my husband can perform this special ordinance.

I kind of mess this picture up, not being in white, but I couldn't help wanting one of  the three of us together. She smiled that big beautiful smile all day.
This might be my favorite picture. These two darling girls all ready to be baptized. I love it.
The room was full of lots of Nates (my side of the family), including many small children, so I wouldn't necessarily call it the most reverent meeting I've been in, but it was full of love and support and the spirit, so how could it get better than that? My favorite part might have been the closing song, which was pretty much a disaster. All of the Nate cousins sang "If the Savior Stood Beside Me," a beautiful Primary song about thinking and acting as if Jesus Christ were standing right next to you. The only problem was that we had never rehearsed it and our dear, sweet pianists hadn't either, so it was choppy and imperfect to say the least. It makes me smile just thinking about it. But that's what is so great about life in general--all the imperfections that just make it memorable. The day was truly wonderful.

We had a family dinner (remember that huge sandwich we had picked up?) in the cultural hall afterwards and then played with the cousins for a few hours before trekking back home with wonderful memories of a special day filling our hearts and minds. In truth, I was grateful it was all over because I was exhausted by all the travel and all the work these kind of events entail, but as we drove home, I couldn't help but think of how much I love this sweet little blonde girl. Regyn is feisty and demanding and a bit dramatic at times. But she's also sweet to the very core and obedient and has the best hug of anyone I know. She's the first one to family scripture reading every morning, the first one ready for church every Sunday, the first one to volunteer to help. She is smart and kind and efficient. This girl knows what she wants and she is going to get it. I'm so grateful she is mine. She is teaching me so much.

And so I will close this very long post simply by saying how grateful I am for the Gospel of Jesus Christ that binds families together forever because I just never want to be without mine (even if we want to throw each other in snow banks on occasion:). Such a simple statement but it holds the most important promise of all time. My life is truly blessed and events like this are great reminders of just how much.