Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Joe+Jessica=J2 Happiness

Joe and Jessica got married!!!

I know it has been over a month, but marriages are too special, too wonderful, too sacred to not be celebrated in a blog. Even more so when it is my "little" brother Joe and his love Jessica! They were married and sealed together for time and all eternity in the Salt Lake City temple (the same temple my grandparents were sealed in decades earlier) on December 18th. Being there as they held hands over the alter, and covenanted to give themselves to each other, was a tender experience. I remember having a great feeling of love for the gift of families wash over me. An united and loving family is truly a powerful force for good. It was a special treat to be there as a brand new one was created.

And I just gotta say how much I love Joe's smile in these pictures. It is his super excited, super happy smile that he has had ever since I can remember. It is the classic Joe smile. This day though, it was even bigger.

I can't go on without first thanking our long time friend Cheryl who took almost all of these pictures. It was so nice to not have to think about catching a few photos of this special day because I knew she was there doing it. As a bonus, I think this post may have more pictures that I am included in than almost any other! She also took all the pictures in this previous post and many of them in this other one. It was super sweet of her.

Also, this is one of those "awesome family memories" posts which means there are quite a few pictures. You have been warned. I find myself going back and looking at old blog posts way more often than I go look at other old pictures on my computer. That is my excuse for doing long posts full of pictures now and again.

Thanks Patti for this precious shot! Charlie LOVES Jessica.

I am am so blessed to belong to this family! We have been through thick and thin together and I love them, each and every one.

These next two are funny to flip back and forth between.


Darren and Grant though are constantly prepared for a photo. Can't catch them off guard!

The photographer asked us to all act excited as Joe and Jessica kissed. I chuckle every single time I look at Charlie in this photo. He looks over the moon with joy that Jessica is now his aunt.

Now these next photos were fun to take. The newly weds with the nieces and nephews. Attempting to get a picture with six kids ranging from almost 5 to 2 months old was quite entertaining.
Little Hannah wasn't very happy with being passed off to Uncle Joe. We were getting Charlie to cooperate with the photo taking by bribing him with jelly beans. Apparently he had squirreled one away into his pocket for safe keeping but to his dismay, it fell to the ground. We didn't understand what he was so upset about so we kept on telling him to look at the camera. Being surprisingly obedient, considering his predicament, instead of snatching it up and popping it into his mouth, he just looked at it. When we kept on trying to get him to look up he just pointed at it.

Eventually we realized what was going on and Keith went in to retrieve the jelly bean. Charlie didn't understand that Daddy would get him another. He thought Dad had just walked off and threw away the last jelly bean. The picture on the right was taken the moment before he began crying. Poor guy!

I love what goes on behind the camera to get little ones to smile.

"Time to par-tay!"

We had been telling the kids during the "boring" picture taking time that there was going to be a party later. They just needed to hanging in there until then. Jane seemed especially happy when the pictures were done and we headed off to the "party."

I have never heard of newly weds being able to eat more than just a few bites of their own cake. Jessica and Joe made it to the reception center (which was a beautiful fancy greenhouse) barely in time to eat some of the enchiladas before the reception started. In the picture in the upper right corner Keith is trying, unsuccessfully, to convince Joe to give him the key to his truck. Joe has been the mastermind behind too many car jobs at weddings to trust anyone with his truck keys. He knew that there were plenty of people who would want to pay him back
They just wanted to put an innocent disco ball in the cab...

They had to settle with putting it on the hitch.

Lizzy, Cory and their sweet boys, Ben and Cooper. I love these guys.

Jane loved playing with Emily, my lovely cousin, during the reception. It was so fun to hear Jane's giggles. Bottom right: Joe and Tay-tay. Tay-tay and Joe go way back and he also knew Jessica before Joe did.

Charlie playing under the tables with Aunt Liz's animal light key chain thing. Uncle Alex chatting with Jane. Grant looking skeptical at the camera. Grandpa Joe (Keith's dad) snuggling a sleeping Hannah. He has this magical ability to make babies fall asleep in his arms. Sarah was very grateful for his skills and willingness to help during the reception.

The very talented Jessica made her own wedding cake! Joe just tried to distract her during the finishing touches.

Now this is the part where I get a bit emotional.

When she was planning for her very special day, her own wedding day, Jessica thought of Charlie and made him a cake of his own. Not just any cake, a mini three-tier wedding cake.

Did you catch that? She made my son a cake of his very own. She wanted him to be included so much that she made a cake that he could eat. I don't mind bringing food to celebrations that he can have. It is just how things are and I am used to it. I don't expect others to go out of their way to accommodate his needs. But she did just that on one of the most special days of her life.

Charlie was so surprised. He had been looking at that big beautiful wedding cake and telling me how much he wished he could have some. He didn't say anything when Jessica gave it to him. Just looked smiling at her and reached around the cake to squeeze her hands. Then he gave her a big hug.

He admired it for a moment then dug right in, after biting into a cinnamon stick, that is. He offered a bite to Jessica, Keith and I. You know it is yummy when he shares. He is very generous with his food. Especially when it is something he really likes.

It made me smile to remember the happy little moments of that blessed day as I looked through these pictures. (Which may be why there are so many in this post...) Family is truly one of God's greatest gifts.

I treasure mine.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

5 Already

Photos by Whitney Hardie Hardie Photography
Our Charlie has turned 5! It is so very odd to realize that Keith and I have been parents for 5 years now. I hope we have become better at it. I know it has changed us. That Charlie has changed us, for the better. Most definitely for the better.

I was picking out pictures for this post and ran across these newborn pictures. He was so new to this world. Barely a week old. Oh the sweet emotions that came flooding back looking at these!

Hardie Photography
When he was born my heart expanded so much I physically felt it. I know it sounds cheesy and over stated but I really had no idea how much love I could have for such a tiny person. Such a tiny person that has become such a delightful little boy.

He likes finding different picture effects on my phone and then taking pictures with it. On occasion he wants me to take one of him as well. This is one of my favorites. It is always humorous to go back and look at the pictures he took.
His current obsessions consist of construction equipment, dinosaurs and orcas. This morning he climbed into bed next to me with the dinosaur book he got from Amma and Papa, the toy stuffed dinosaurs he got from Granny B and Grandpa Joe and his orca light that he got from Aunt Lizzy. He snuggled up and asked me to read some of the book to him. How could I say no to that.

I came to preschool for a parent day before Christmas and Charlie and I made that masterpiece tree magnet right there. As a side note; I can't get enough of his "camera" faces.
He is absolutely loving preschool. I can't say enough positive things about his teachers. They have made his first school experience great for both Charlie and me.

Helping Grandpa Joe shovel snow with a little kid snow shovel that Grandpa bought just for this.
He is still ever my helper, especially if it is a job that his construction machines can help with. His competitive streak is a mile wide and we totally use it to our advantage. We pick teams and race to see who can get ready for bed first. It is a big deal to be the first to get on the teeth brushing stool! Something on his plate that he doesn't want to try? Let's race to see who can eat it first! The one I get the biggest kick out of (and I dread the day he will catch on to it) is the race to see who can pick up the last toy in the room. Oh I love how well that one works! I am going to use it as long as I can.

Yes, I do love dear Charlie. I won't lie, there are plenty of days where he makes us completely exasperated and leaves me feeling like I am really terrible at this whole mom gig, but I absolutely love seeing the world through his eyes. He is learning so much each and every day. It seems like he is always asking some question that is surprisingly thoughtful and mature for his age.

He is a kind hearted, curious, determined, silly little guy and I am ever so glad that he is mine.

Happy birthday Charlie!!!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Hello VNS

Last month I had my first grand-mal since the previous November. Almost made it a year. Missed it by a month. Oh snap.

The partial seizures that I still have 1 to 3 times a week are no fun, but there is absolutely nothing, NOTHING, neat about a grand-mal seizure. Nothing neat about losing control of your own body, not being able to do a single thing about it as it jolts you around, convulsing painfully, smacking you into things, making you come in and out of consciousness only to wake up not being able to move even your little finger. Nope, not neat at all. Even after having several the last few years (side note: they have become MUCH more infrequent, and I have it so much better than others with seizures) they still put me in a deep slump for a few weeks following. I still get a little panicky whenever I sit in the computer desk chair where I was when I had it. It is also where I am sitting now...

This last one was the worst as far as bodily harm goes. (Pretty great that I haven't had any serious injuries with any of them!) I came out of it with a shiner and a very painful shoulder. I had landed on it and couldn't change position at all to alleviate the pain. The first thing I said to the friend who was the first person to get there was to please roll me off this shoulder! The pain was still interrupting my sleep a couple days after the fact so we went in to get it checked out. Mostly I wanted to make sure that there wasn't any serious damage that I would make worse by trying to use it. They took a few x-rays and determined that there weren't any broken bones, just some serious muscle bruising.

This was one of the x-rays. It features my lovely VNS device. I think it is neat that you can see so much detail in it. It's number, the different parts of the battery, the wire as it loops around making its way up to my vagal nerve and even the little clasps that attach it to the nerve. Pretty neat, huh?

There is still absolutely nothing neat about a grand-mal seizure. I would be quite delighted if I never had another one It was however, neat to see the device that until then I had only felt just under my skin.

Hello VNS.
Nice to finally meet you.
I wish it had been under different circumstances.
We really shouldn't meet like this again.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Jane had a Birthday!

Our sweet, not so little, bundle of joy has turned 2!

I took these pictures the morning of her birthday. It was just like any other morning but it seemed like a good day to document her bed head and the enthusiastic way in which she jumps into the day.

Charlie and I had practice for his first church primary program in the morning, so Keith took Jane on her very first daddy-daughter date. :)  She won't remember it, but Keith will.

She loved opening her presents. Toddlers have enthusiasm for opening paper enclosed packages that I have never seen matched. Charlie, on the other hand, enjoys opening things to see what is inside. It was a win win that way; Jane loved opening them and Charlie would play with them. She has since enjoyed the actual presents themselves, but at that moment it was all about the paper. And yes. That is Christmas wrapping paper. We are just that cool.

I made the same cake this year as I did last; pumpkin cake with pumpkin spice glaze. (Yes, it is every bit as good as it sounds.) As long as I get to choose this will be her birthday cake every year. She sure enjoyed it!

...at least until she intentionally began pressing her little thumbs into it and almost instantaneously realized what she had done and burst into tears.

Tragedy thy name is broken cake!

Luckily Daddy saved the day by happily dividing the cake into a few more pieces then stood back and exclaimed: "Look! You have more cake!"

I love how that kind of stuff works with toddlers.

Jane, if you read this in the future, and even if you don't, I want to let you know how much I love being your mother. You were the missing piece to our family. Even at your young age you impress me with your gentle kindness. I love your spunk, curiosity about everything around you, easy smile, your hugs and kisses (or as you say: "muh"), and even sometimes your attitude (because sometimes it is so darn cute!). You are a clever girl with determination to do things on your own (which is aggravating at times, but great too), or to do whatever you see Charlie do (ex: you climb up the "rock" wall on the playground downstairs, stand precariously on the top, and fearlessly leap off of it onto the big pillow chair because that is what Charlie does, and it makes you happy). I love to watch you jump, move your arms, and dance with abandon to songs. You are destined for greatness and don't ever forget it. I treasure this age. At times it makes me a bit sad to think about how fast it is going by, but I am excited for the years and adventures ahead, together.
I love you.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Two Very Wonderful Announcements

BIG things have been happening in the Temus family lately! Here they are:

 Joe and Jessica are getting married!!!

 Yep, same Jessica that survived over a week with the whole family.

Pictures taken by the wonderful Whitney. http://hardiephotography.blogspot.com/
 She is simply wonderful and I am SO happy that she is joining the clan.


Sarah had her baby!
Hannah Rosalie was born early in the morning of Tuesday October 27th. It is safe to say that everyone is super happy! And I get to hold her sweet little self in December when we all get together for the wedding! Joyous!

From what I have heard, Grant is acting the part of a very good big brother. :)

I love happy news.

And I love my family.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Wonderful Washington

We ended the summer with a bang: a Temus family reunion in Washington. It was great to see Alex again (he recently returned from a two year mission for our church). I also got to meet a nephew for the first time and play some much needed catch-up with the rest. As with all family reunions there were some stressful parts and times when we didn't quite see eye-to-eye, but looking back the things I remember most are the joyous times spent together.

Mom, Sarah, and Alex have been busy creating a "children's garden" and it was a HUGE hit, especially with Charlie. You see they included dinosaurs, complete with a cement cave and (dormant) volcano (hand crafted by Alex). It is no secret (see Utah trip post) that Charlie is obsessed with dinosaurs.

Grandma was in heaven.

Alex playing with Charlie, reading books to Jane, and Keith and Dad prepping for the morning's fishing (the salmon were running).

A family reunion in August wouldn't be complete without a trip up to the fire look-out on Mt. Fremont. It is a long standing family tradition. And that gal in the red hat is Jessica; Joe's girlfriend. She was gutsy enough to spend almost two full weeks with us. That is a long time to spend with the entire boyfriend's family. She is still dating him though so it must not have been too terribly bad.

Charlie approved of her pretty much since the moment he met her.

You always know you are getting close when you pass under the man face rock. Do you see the face?
Charlie made it all the way! I was impressed, especially since we didn't put any pressure on him to go the entire distance. He did get a little help from Grandpa though (see a couple pictures back).

This view is one of the things I look forward to most on this hike. I just can't get enough of it. You can see how dry it has been this year from this picture. Especially compared to past years.

Grant got creative with filling up his cup at a ward function Mom and Sarah hosted while we were there.

Family in the kitchen. Good times.

The strawberry patch was another HUGE hit with the grand kids.

Ian and Cheryl are long time friends that were spending the summer in their 5th-wheel in our backyard. It was so fun to have them there! Cheryl took several pictures in this post and all of the ones in the previous one. They are simply great people. Oh, and they have a dog which Jane is cautiously very interested in these days. It took a bit of arm twisting... ;) but Ian took me on his new toy: his trike.

It was so great to have space for the kids to roam!

The "official" family reunion (when everyone was together) was when we spent a few days camping and playing at Dash Point. It was a bit stressful getting everything organized to take such a big group camping but when we got there it was tons of fun. Fishing, boating, big campground all to ourselves, outdoor movies after dark (thank you Darren), good times.

Charlie's first time fishing. He got pretty sad when he found out that it is more fishing and not too much catching.

Keith and I took the kayak for an hour or so while others watched our littles. It was like a mini date. A very fun mini date.

While we were there we took a short drive to the zoo where Charlie, Jessica, and I all took our very first camel ride.

Trying to re-create "baby fuseball" from the Dust Bowl reunion. We had limited success.

Relaxing/recovering back at home.

Feeding the cows. Jane was upset for about two weeks after returning to Fargo that we had neither "moo moos" or "beawwies (berries)."

Keith and I talk often about how blessed we each are to have the "in-laws" we do, and how wonderful it is for our kids to have the grandparents and extended support system that they do on both sides. It was great to be able to visit both sides this summer.  I love you guys!