Saturday, May 31, 2014

Carlie is 5

I hope you’re having a great weekend!  How is it June tomorrow?  Earlier this week we celebrated Carlie’s 5th Birthday.  The past 5 years have been an amazing adventure with this spunky, determined personality in our lives.  Carlie is growing up too fast, and sometimes when I look at her, I know it’s the face I’ll always remember as she continues to blossom into a beautiful girl and successful woman.  She came into this world with a big sister who loves and guides and challenges her daily.  She has constantly fought for her own path in this life, convinced that she can do anything on her own.  She started walking at 9 months old, she sang (and screeched!) before she could talk, and she’s always been able to charm tough situations with her smile that melts and her sense of humor that catches me off guard and brightens my day!     

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5 memorable things Carlie has done this past year are (drumroll please):

1) pre-school with Teacher Michelle twice a week

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2) gymnastics

3) hug her favorite princesses

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4) sing a vocal solo in two recitals (so proud of our little diva)

5) AND recently nurture a real caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly - so neat! :)

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Carlie is our beautiful butterfly, and we love her so much.  I’m so grateful for her excitement for life, and I hope she never forgets the love we have for her.  I can’t help but think of an old song my dad use to play on the piano while my grandpa played the harmonica and I sang: Turn around and you’re two, turn around and you’re four, turn around and you’re a young girl going out of the door. 

(At least not today) ;)

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Friday, May 30, 2014

Gator Hunt in Florida

In February, we took a trip to Florida with Jared’s family - parents, siblings, & their kiddos.  It had been planned for quite a while (almost a year), so it was amazing to realize our preparations.  Our first day was spent touring the Deseret Cattle & Citrus Farms which are all a part of the company my husband works for.  This was definitely one of my favorite experiences of the entire vacation.  Jared lined up an actual airboat tour through the Everglades - literally full of alligators.  We found ourselves there on a rainy, humid morning, and even though I didn’t get hardly any pictures of alligators (they are fast & sometimes difficult to spot until you come right upon them), we saw between 60-75 alligators - it was surreal & pretty unbelievable.  

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The guy driving the airboat was so authentic, I couldn’t help but question our safety in the beginning. :)  He had the thickest Cajun accent I’ve ever heard, & he whipped that boat around like nobody’s business.  I wish I had a picture of the guy - such a hoot - never been outside of Florida & Lower Louisiana.  

A Little Side Note: The visitor’s center there was neat & educational, but while we were waiting there for our other family members to take the airboat tour, I called a friend I’d met through the annual SLC conferences who’s husband works for the ranch there.  I didn’t know it at the time, but their house was only 3 miles away from the visitor’s center.  We loaded up the kids & headed on over for a touching visit that I hope my girls will always remember.  Their oldest daughter, Natalie, who’s the same age as our oldest (6 yrs old), had been diagnosed with lymph node cancer several months prior, and she was very ill & completely bald at the time of our visit.  I had no idea that they were going through this trial, on top of the fact that they had a newborn.  I was so taken aback & a little embarrassed of our intrusion - even though she had welcomed our visit over the phone - that my initial reaction was to apologize & leave as quickly as possible.  However, it turned out to be one of those visits that I continue to reflect on almost daily as I stand in awe of my friend’s testimony, dedication to her children, & optimism - simply inspiring.  We were blessed to have crossed paths that rainy afternoon.  

We found a hole in the wall restaurant that served fried alligator.  Totally weird.  But you know what’s even weirder than that?  We ate at it.  

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