Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Monday, June 23, 2008
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Many times in our lives we are blessed with great people. These people are not great because they have great powers, or have great wealth, or have numerous powerful contacts. They are not great because of the clothes they wear, the cars they drive, the places they travel to, or the food they eat. These people are great because in their lives they contribute to our lives in positive, constructive ways. They are great because they become people we relate to, we trust. And maybe best of all, they are great because we can learn from them.
I have been blessed with a great Father.
My Father is a great learner.
My Father is a great teacher.
My Father is a great supporter.
My Father is a great friend.
My Father has assisted me in making changes in my life that have shaped my life into a more fulfilling process. He has not pushed or pulled excessively. He has lightly suggested when asked.
That is why I can trust him and why I say with all sincerity he really is my friend.
I might not live close to my Father, but I feel very close to him. He lets me into his life and wants to be a part of mine. We don't even talk every week, and we both know that we love each other and that we'd do anything to help each other.
I love you with all of my heart, Dad. I might not be perfect , but I know I'm loved. You know Dad, the most wonderful example as a daughter that I've ever had of the love the Savior has for me has come from you. You are a great man, a great Father.
Thank you again and again and again and again.
Eternally your daughter (like it or not)
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Lauren walked into the Thomas and Mack Center at UNLV wearing all kinds of awards, robed in baby blue, and grinning ear to ear. When she got close enough, we gave her a big cheer. She found us an threw her fist in the air as if to say to the world, "Take that! I'm here!" She was sitting with many of her friends who have worked as hard as she has for 4 years.
She was one of 42 students who graduated with high honors because they took accelerated (honors and AP)classes all 4 years. I had several of them in our home the past few months while they studied for their multiple AP exams. Great kids! They wore their dark blue banner on their backs and came in first. I struggled so much with school that I couldn't believe from the beginning that I had a daughter who would be able to apply herself to a high level of schooling, swim anywhere from 3-5 hours a day (several mornings before school), and attend and graduate from the early morning seminary program. I can't help but stand in awe.
Anyway, I digress. The program went so fast! We were out of there in less than 2 hours. For our family with an active, tired toddler, it was just right.
I loved a couple of the Valedictorian speeches. Most thanked their parents and teachers. The couple that I enjoyed had something kind and worthwhile to share. In the large group picture the Valedictorian, Dustin, next to Lauren and the Girl, Casey to the right of Lauren, are both fantastic kids and gave really nice talks. On the bottom and to the right, Emily, sang a solo (pop song) at graduation. It was so well done. I coached her in soccor many years ago! They are all grown up now.
At the end, I loved the Clark County School Board Representative. She got up and said that she accepted the class of 2008 and that everything that she would have said, had been said, "So Congratulations!" and sat down. LOVE HER.
The graduates were very well dressed and behaved. At one point when the diplomas were being handed out, I heard a huge yell and half of the boys stood up and cheered for their fellow handicapped classmate. It was awesome-Big boys, big voices, big hearts. There is hope.
Surprisingly for my emotional self, tears haven't come pouring out. I really just want to cheer her on and smile and congratulate her. It's such a happy time.
Mark and I have spoken a lot about Lauren lately. We are really proud of her. She is strong inside and out. She'll need to be in the world that we live in. She loves her family and friends. She is hard working. She loves goodness wherever it is. She had her feet set in the right direction. That's all we can hope for and all we've ever wanted for our children as they set off into adulthood.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
We had about 150 guests ranging from teenagers, to families, to relatives and neighbors.
Lauren's friends were wonderful. They are such a diverse group. Some she has known from her AP classes, some from swimming, some from all of the years living here, and some from church. We were thrilled at the support she was given. She even had friends who had driven from as far as Boulder City, NV to be there! All of her friends and classmates who came were so nice and fun to be around.
During the evening as I glanced around I was so happy to see everyone visiting and kids playing. Out on the grass it looked like 2 huge groups of teenagers playing football, tag and then our waterballoon fight at 7pm which cleared the playground of about 30 more enthusiastic kids. We had a badmitten game going at one point that looked pretty intense.
The playgrounds were full and bustling. The area around the food was full of chatter and good eats.
For dinner we had Famous Dave's BBQ ribs and wings as well as Honey Baked ham platters. We also did all of the other food ourselves- Oriental Green Salad, shrimp Salad, fruit salad, Salmon Riette, Pico de Gallo and a ton of chips and crackers to chose from. I have a sister-in-law, Amanda, who made some preparation suggestions that helped with all of this. I was prepping for 3 days beforehand with the help of our kids and Mark.
I was so excited about the cake that I decided to make. It was a bulldog for the mascot of Lauren's high school. It stood 4 cake layers high and 18" long. I think I did a pretty good job by the time I was done. It took me about 6 hours. I even figured out how to make the actual honors awards that Lauren will be wearing when she graduates and added those! I also added swim goggles, a congratulations sign and some hearts and butterflies. The cake was chocolate cake and a great hit! Lauren was so pleased that she told us not to cut it until after 7pm.
When she went to cut it, she took the knife and said, "I am a Cougar now!" and stuck the knife in the cake. It was pretty cute.
We are so blessed to have neighbors and friends close by who care about our family. It makes the move very hard but made this celebration a lot of fun. One family, the Rankins, came early and helped us with some set up items and then with replenishing the food! Lisa and Jim were so kind. They've been there, so they knew what we'd need. We are so grateful for them. We have some friends, the Laytons, that we've known since college who were there. He's a canine officer and had his car parked out in front. I kidded around with him that he was there for crowd control. The Woolsey's came with their beautiful group of adopted children from all circumstances of life. They are amazing. I could go on and on. We have amazing and really fun, real friends. I think that's worth it's weight in gold and then some.
All in all we as a family feel like all of our hard work paid off with a very fun evening with our friends, neighbors, and some family. Let's do it again! Tomorrow! JK