Friday, April 21, 2017

My Besties Kids

For the last three days our house was a little busier and definitely a lot more fun! While Miss Taryn had to go out of town for work you know us single mommy besties have each others back and the village steps in! So we had Hudson and Reagan for the last three days and we absolutely loved it because we love them! We even got to celebrate Hudson's 15th birthday with him! Besides the 5am wake ups and 11:30 bed times, having two teenagers wasn't as bad as I thought! MAYBE one day I could actually be a mom of teenagers. But for now I will DEFINITELY stick to little girls! I should probably start to figure out how to parent them first! 
Thursday, April 20, 2017

She Blooms! Another Honest Post

Oh this sweet, precious girl! My Keagan sure is one of a kind in the most perfect way! She looks so much like her daddy (but much prettier) and has a personality a lot like her cousin Sami and aunt Sa. But I still see a lot of myself in her too. The thing I am most in awe of in her is that she follows one of my personal life mottos SO well! 

Miss Keagan definitely blooms where she is planted! 

She has bloomed at a new school this year, made wonderful friends this year, and conquered new challenges. But there is so much more to her blooming! 

Ok we are about to get real honest real fast here y'all! 

She is being raised by a single mom which is one thing and only sees her dad twice a year. But probably an even bigger challenge, one that builds her tremendously but is still challenging none the less, is being Riley's twin sister. It has been said many times that there is nothing more fulfilling and challenging at the same time as being a special needs parent. Well being a special needs sibling is its own extremely unique life shaper. 

Miss Keagan is so incredibly blessed by Riley! She has learned and will continue to learn so many amazing things as the result of her sisters special needs. And being loved by Riley is something special! But there is also a difficult side to being that sibling and twin. Keagan has to handle quite a bit that most kids her age don't, and she handles it with such grace! Probably the hardest thing that we see everyday is that Riley gets a TON more attention from everyone! And I do mean everyone- from me to strangers at the mall and everyone in between. The same rules and expectations don't always apply to each girl and that's usually unfair on Keagan's end. Unfortunately at times she is passed around because Riley has therapy and doctors appointments. The hospital stays are the worst with that! When Riley has any medical or behavioral issues, Miss Keagan's needs end up taking the back seat. And Keagan often fills in as Riley's interpreter and care taker when she shouldnt have to be. And really the list goes on. 

But the good news is how well Keagan handles it all! She definitely blooms where she is planted! Just like I have no second thought about it, Keagan would never trade her special twin for any of that list to go away! She takes it all in stride most days, helps me tremendously, and although she can be frustrated with Riley or fight with her, she is also Riley's biggest cheerleader, protector and friend! My heart swells when I catch Keagan hugging Riley at school, trying to help her fall asleep when she is upset, making sure Riley has enough Easter eggs in the middle of a hunt, explaining to other kids that Riley's not weird, and getting on me when I'm less then patient with Riley! And those things happen all the time! She truly is a remarkable sister and little girl! 

She has also bloomed after being planted in a field called dyslexia. Once Keagan finally got the dyslexia diagnosis she immediately started to bloom! With an explanation and a name for her reading difficulty, her confidence went way up and she improved her reading dramatically after the beginning DIP (dyslexia intervention program) lessons. She has moved up 3 reading levels in just a few months and I couldn't be more proud of her strength and effort! I'm also SO thankful for her teachers and two reading specialists who have gotten her there! 

Last Thursday I went up to school to have lunch with Keagan on my day off. It had been an extremely rough morning with Riley in particular and without saying a word Keagan told me loud and clear that she needed a little more from me. So I took her Subway and gummy colas, we sat outside in the shade on the cement and talked. We chatted about nothing important but that time was uber important to both of us! After finishing her lunch, she made her way into my lap and insisted we take selfies together. I'm so thankful we documented the moment as it is one I never want to forget! And I'm so thankful that this blooming, strong, funny, smart, determined, stubborn, gorgeous girl is mine forever! And that I've got a front row seat to see just what she is going to bloom into next! 


Sunday, April 16, 2017

Imperfect Easter

I LOVE Easter and all the joy, hope, and family that comes with it. Let's just start with that. 

We had a fantastic morning. The Easter bunny was WAY too generous as always. Combine that with gifts from Grama Linda and great packages from their dad and the Kikuchi girls have been officially Easter spoiled. Church was really wonderful too and the spirit of Easter was so alive and well! 

But, to be completely honest, I wouldnt say our Easter Sunday was blissful. All three of us with allergies/stuffy noses/coughs, drama over just who is actually coming to dinner and the stress for me of feeding what ended up being 25 people just got the best of me! It happens, and at least I'm honest about it. The egg hunt with almost 200 eggs was over before I could really take pictures, Keags was in tears twice, Riley refused to eat because there was too much going on, and the stress before dinner left me with a pounding headache. We even forgot about the 8 dozen confetti eggs I had ready!

But we pulled it off. We were all together, loud, crazy and fun! We had quite the Easter feast and my girls were in cousin heaven! I was so glad the Sundwall's and Aunt Mary and Uncle Gary who are visiting from Utah could be with us and that the table that I stressed about setting was filled with tons and tons of laughter! 

So maybe all of that just represents the perfect of most imperfect Easters. In one of my favorite talks on Easter last year, Jeffery R Holland said "So today we celebrate the gift of victory over every fall we have ever experienced, every sorrow we have ever known, every discouragement we have ever had, every fear we have ever faced—to say nothing of our resurrection from death and forgiveness for our sins. That victory is available to us because of events that transpired on a weekend precisely like this nearly two millennia ago in Jerusalem." 

So it's ok that our Easter wasn't perfect, it's not really supposed to be. We are only perfect in Him and with Him. And despite the stress and drama, that is something I can always celebrate! In the midst of all the craziness I can proclaim "I know that my Redeemer lives!" And maybe that was just all the Easter I needed. 

The Easter Bunny left a trail of his half eaten carrots! Keagan said he must have really been in a hurry! 

He brought sleep masks, joke books and Princess Poppy hair styling toys!

He also brought crazy sour Warheads!

Oh man my babies are darling! 

The feast! 

SO many eggs!

All the hunters- the teenagers actually participated because I included money eggs! 

We had the Ginn's, the Fosters, the Frenchs, the Sundwalls, and Aunt Mary and Uncle Gary. Plus Chris and Makayla came with Addie and Miles came with Hudson. 

Keagan giving Riley some extra eggs! So sweet!   

Happy Easter! Despite it not being perfect, because of Him it is always happy for us! Now anyone want some confetti eggs?!
Saturday, April 15, 2017

EGGselent Saturday!

The girls and I had a really EGGcelent Saturday together today! We went to Zube Park this morning to ride the trains. It was gorgeous weather and we really had a blast. Then this afternoon we roped Nana into dying Easter eggs with us. It's a traditional must, cause you know this momma loves traditions, but I'm always happy once it's over and cleaned up. The best part was that Keags insisted they wear their tie dye t shirts in case they spilled anything it would just blend right in! Other then that we cleaned to get ready for tomorrow, watched the movie "hop", had lunch at McDonalds and dinner at Sa's. And the best part is we chatted, joked and laughed together! It really was great! 

It was my goal to talk through out the day about the true meaning of Easter and the hope and joy that this beautiful celebration brings. I am not always good at teaching along the way and have been praying for help with this, and today I feel like those prayers were answered. We had a very powerful moment in the car together as I retold the girls the story they already know of the events of Easter week, the greatest story ever told. I cried as I explained in detail what our Savior went thru to atone and sacrifice for us. The girls were listening so intently and at one point sweet Keagan's voice broke their silence and said "I know mommy, you don't have to finish if it makes you cry." And sweet Riley reached up and put her hand on my shoulder! Oh these sweet girls! 

But I continued to finish the story and express my deep gratitude and joy that I now feel and am reminded of this week. I also got the chance to explain that my tears are not just because of my gratitude but also because I feel the Holy Ghost in my heart testifying of the truth. That led to a great discussion of how we feel the Holy Ghost. So a simple car ride turned into such a teaching, bonding, testimony building conversation that I am much more thankful for then I am for the fun activities we did today! 

We ended the day by getting ready for the Easter Bunny to come with carrots and water, and wondered all about him with two excited little girls! Or maybe I should make that three excited girls! We are ALL ready for Easter! 



Friday, April 14, 2017

Christlike Love at Special Olympics

After I finally got the girls to bed last night, I had a quiet moment to sit and reflect on the day. It was then that it finally hit me as to what I had just experienced. Yesterday was Holy Thursday. It is the day Jesus gathered His disciples for the Last Supper and He gave them a new commandment there. In that upper room, knowing all that was about to happen to Him, surrounded by so many that He truly loved, among other imperative things, He pleaded with them to Love One Another, as He had loved them. Well on a day that we celebrate that, I was beyond privlidged to whiteness so many people heading those words, following His perfect example, and keeping that commandment! And it was made all the more incredible that they were showing that Christlike Love to my Riley!

It was the first ever Scottie Special Olympics! Valiantly lead by our amazing PTO president and my friend Dede, and several of the great moms of other SN kids, our PTO, PE coaches and Student Council put on the most incredible event! They hung banners (made by none other then Mrs Krenek) and signs and prepped for weeks! They even hung the Olympic Rings and made personalized water bottles and bags for each athlete from Riley's class and the other developmental class. They cheered and cried along with me and other parents as the athletes had an opening parade. After the national anthem the athletes split up to do each station and this incredible group of Christlike people helped these athletes have the time of their life! There was bowling, hula hoops, tball, obstacle courses, dancing and more. But most importantly there was sincere love, support, respect and service, just what our Savior was asking for! 

 At one point a 1st grade class passing by the courtyard for PE all jumped and cheered as loud as they could for the athletes! And it was an incredible sight to behold when three 2nd grade classes, thankfully including Keagans, skipped part of their specials time to come support their friends! At one point Riley had tons of kids surrounding her encouraging her to bowl and helping get the ball all the way there before Riley gave a row of kids high fives and beamed! The absolute best was Keagans love, support, help and true pride she had for her sister! It was a good thing I had sun glasses on because my tears just didn't stop. What an incredible thing to be a part of! 

And then all those darling athletes received donated trophies and both Riley and I about lost it! The trophy made her even more excited than her absolute delight in the morning when she realized all her friends and teachers were wearing the same shirt she was! And almost as excited as when she realized that amazing Gramas had brought LaBelle to help cheer her on! She would not put that trophy down for the rest of the day and showed it to EVERYONE she could! She was SO proud of herself and Keagan and I were too! 

But I was even more proud to be part of a school full of AMAZING people- parents, kids, teachers, administrators and all of the above who gathered to show such Christ like love and service to my baby! I realize now that I witnessed a remarkable thing this Thursday at Special Olympics, on the day we remember to love one another none the less. I'm SO thankful Scotties know how to do just that! And I'm positive there isn't a thank you card big enough! 

Look at Keagans sweet face in that picture!