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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Dear Kylee

8.26.2014
Dear Kylee,

When I was 5 I thought I had a pretty good idea of what love was. 26 years ago I had just started Kindergarten like you did today, and left my mom for the first time. I got to ride the bus to school and wore my FAVORITE outfit. Grandma had curled my hair 'just so' and I was with my best friends! I was nervous and excited and shy and hopeful and felt so much LOVE! I was looked after, appreciated, supported, snuggled, read to, played with, and tucked in with hugs and kisses goodnight. I knew love.

Then I was 16 and love was different. This time it came from a boy in the forms of cheesy notes and long letters, and hand holding, and butterflies in the stomach, and dances in the rain. I knew love. 

Then I was 21 and love was everything. It was in my heart and my thoughts, in my hopes and my dreams, in my speech and my moments of silence, in my prayers and in my pleadings. Love was my life and I could have it for eternity. On the day dad and I were sealed in the temple my heart was so full that I knew I couldn't possibly love more than I did at that moment. I knew love.

Then I was 23 and love proved me wrong. It was wrapped in blue and screaming at me. It was 5 lbs 9oz. of pure innocence. It was the smallest baby I'd ever held, yet made my heart the biggest it'd ever been. Love was being a mom. It was late nights and early mornings, poopy diapers and puked on clothes. It was worrying and pacing, and laughter and singing the same barney song over and over and over. I knew love.

Then I was 25 and love was you. 5 years ago when the doctor told us, "it's a girl!" at our 20 week ultrasound I laughed and said, "I know!" He looked at me a little confused and said, "what?" I informed him that from the moment I found out I was pregnant I knew it was going to be a girl and the feeling only got stronger and stronger over the next couple months. I was waiting for you Kylee! I knew you were coming to our family and I couldn't WAIT to have my girl here on earth with me. I have loved you from the moment I heard your heartbeat and saw your peanut body on the screen. "No one else will ever know the strength of my love for you. After all you're the one who knows what my heart sounds like from the inside."-author unknown. I knew love.

About 5 mo. ago I dropped you off at pre-school and you were in a particularly good mood. You hoped right out of the car, gave me a quick kiss, with a roll of your eyes, because you had just jumped out of the car when I made you turn around and come back by saying, "Hey! Get back here little miss and give me my kiss!" Then you threw your backpack over your shoulder, and ran up to the door. After you knocked you turned around and gave me a quick wave and a giggle and shouted, " LOVE you!" through my open window. You whipped back around as your teacher answered the door and scampered inside. I don't know what it was about that particular day, or that exact moment, that I was all of a sudden just completely overcome with LOVE for you, but I will never forget how I felt sitting out there in the car watching you. It's almost as if I had never felt love until that point. It was so real, so raw, so different than any kind of love I have ever felt that it caught me completely off gaurd. I had planned to run some errands after I dropped you off that day, but instead went home to get a tissue and try to process what my heart was doing. I realized then that my love for you is constantly changing, growing, and getting stronger as you grow and learn and experience life. I knew love.

And grow you have. I still am having a hard time believing I dropped you off today for the first time, for the next 12 years. But you were SO ready!! You wore your cute pink shirt (that you wanted to wear bc you said it made you look like an adult so your teacher would really like it :) ) and your polka dot shorts, with your sliver sparkly tennies. You HATE when we curl your hair, so we flipped it out like you like and you picked a headband to match your shorts. But the MOST important item for the first day of school?? Your backpack. You were SO excited about your backpack. It had to be the perfect one. The day you spotted it at target, you knew it was the one. A pink, with white polka dots, knapsack. You ran over to it and said, "Mom! I love this one! This is the one I've been waiting for!" So we loaded the most expensive backpack I've ever come across into our cart and bought it because... well when "it's the one", what choice do you have? 


 We got to school about 10 minutes early and I went into your classroom with you to help you find your desk and put your backpack away. We talked to Mrs. Lindberg for a second and then she told us to go outside and wait at the kindergarten playground until the bell rang and then she would come show all the kids how to line up. 

 

We headed outside but you didn't join the majority of the kids that ran onto the playground. You held my hand, that you hadn't let go of since we got out of the car, and I was secretly so glad. You see, at that moment, I needed you as much as you needed me. Before I was ready to let you go, out walked Mrs. L and she clapped her hands and told all the kids to come line up in front of her. You looked up at me and I nodded my head yes, not able to open my mouth because I was bitting my lip so hard to keep from crying in front of you, and off you ran to join the others. I told myself to "Man up!", turned my head to the side for a second so I could get the ginormous lump out of my throat that was litteraly burning from the pain of keeping all my love for you inside, and turned back to give you a big smile and wave and yelled, "Kylee, have SO much fun today!!" 


You were nervous, but brave and confident, as you followed the 18 kids in front of you (yep, I counted! Had to do something to keep my mind from thinking about you too much). I was so proud of you! Mrs. L said, "Okay kids tell your partents goodbye and that it's time for them to go. You'll see them soon." I wanted to slap her. Time for me to go?? What if you weren't ready for me to go?! I wanted to walk up to that line and yank you out and say, nah we'll try this again next year. Or in the least just run up and hug you another 10 times, and remind you to use your manners, and raise your hand before you talk, and make sure to tell her if you have to go to the bathroom, and don't be nervous and, to remember EVERYTHING so you can tell me all about it and, and, and...that I love you. Then I realized that she said it was time to go for MY sake, not yours. And it was, time for me to let you go. Walking into your class you only looked back at me once before you disappeared behind the doors that slammed shut behind you with an emphatic "Goodbye mom, she belongs here now. Hope you taught her everything she'll need to know for the rest of her life." I've never been jealous of a place before. But right then I would have given anything to be the walls that stood around you. Did I teach you enough? Are you having fun? Are you being kind? Are others being kind to you? What if you get hurt, who will kiss it better? Who will tell you it's ok to cry? Who will wrap their arms around you to make you feel secure? I hate that it won't be me. I know love.

And you know what the thing is about all those times? I was never wrong. I was always eager to let love in. In all it's amazing, wonderful, promising, and even sometimes heartbreaking, forms. And every time I allowed it to find a place in my heart, my heart grew bigger and stronger than the time previous. I'm so lucky to have had, and still have, SO much love throughout my life. I wish the same for you. Love can hurt, but it can also heal. Never be afraid to love. Love life, love learning, love family and friends, love your Savior Jesus Christ, love your passions and love your struggles. Love your enemies, love strangers, love kindness, love chocolate, love beauty and seek for things that are of true worth. Love LOVE! But most importantly...love yourself. YOU are amazing. YOU are a child of God. YOU are of worth. YOU are beautiful. YOU have a divine destiny as a daughter of a King. Always remember who you are and whose you are. "Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you."-Dr. Seuss The thing I LOVE about you Kylee is that you are always true to who you are. Never stop being you. Love you forever. 

Love,
Mom  xoxo

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Dear Tyler

8.28.12
Dear Tyler:


Today I dropped you off for your very first day of Kindergarten! You have been looking forward to Kindergarten for months and have been counting down the days-telling everyone we see how many days there are left till Kindergarten starts! The thing you were MOST excited about about going to "real" school was that you would get to ride the bus!! During the last year of pre-school Teacher Jen took your class on the Logan city bus several times for different field trips and you loved it! Unfortunately I'm not real keen on the idea of you riding the bus with so many older kids-especially because I don't know any of them-and am not quite sure I'm ready to put you in that kind of environment yet. But I know how much riding the bus means to you, so we've come to an agreement that I will take you to school in the morning and you will ride the bus home from school since it will just be other kindergartners riding with you.

We started off our 'first day of school traditions' last night when daddy gave you your first Father's blessing for school. It was beautiful! You were a little squirmy because you said daddy's hands were "heavy" on your head, but you faithfully kept your eyes closed the whole time (obviously I did not :) ). You're Heavenly Father knows and loves you very much Tyler! It was a neat thing for me to be able to be apart of, I felt the spirit VERY strong! I'm so thankful for the Priesthood in our home.
 

Then, this morning you woke up at 7:15 READY to get this show on the road! School doesn't start till 9:00 so we had plenty of time to get you ready, but you wanted to start now! I had just gotten out of the shower so I told dad to start your special first day of school breakfast-apple pancakes! He did a great job!!

You were so surprised and thought they were THE coolest thing ever!
 

After eating a couple-you just couldn't sit still any longer-you jumped in the shower and then carefully took your time getting dressed in the outfit you had picked out the day before. You looked so handsome in your striped dark blue shirt and grey shorts and were very proud of yourself for picking out an outfit that matched. You wanted to wear your new grey shoes, even though they were a little big  (and you came home with a blister on your heel-ouch) and brushed your teeth slowly making sure all that syrup from the pancakes was gone! You brushed your hair (which I only had to fix a little) and slung your brand new Avengers back-pack across your back. "I'm ready!" you sang out!

We took lots of pictures before we left to take you to school so we were running late!
 

 

We pulled into the parking lot at 8:50 and fought through the crowd of other nervous parents and excited 5 year olds waiting on the kindergarten playground in front of the school. Kids were lined up around the fence of the playground, standing by the colored signs that had their teachers name written on it. I glanced around...Mrs.Shelton, Mrs. Black, Mrs. Harper, Mrs. Titus-There! "There's your teachers sign!" I shouted. I reached down to grab your hand to help you know where to go, but you had already left my side, jogging toward the green paper tapped to the fence holding the name of the women who would soon become your teacher. Your guide through your first year of school. The person who will read to you, make you laugh, teach you about the world around you, tell you it will be ok when you get hurt, and inspire you to learn for 3 hours a day. You walked up to her name and stood under it smiling back at me, proud of yourself for figuring out what to do on your own. As I snapped out of my surreal state, I realized that you were the only person standing there. I quickly glanced around, panicking that somehow I had led you to the wrong place when out of the corner of my eye I saw a line of children disappear around the corner of the red slide. I grabbed your hand, forcing you to need me one last time, and ran around the jungle gym just in time to see Mrs. Titus's plump, round frame enter the school. Her pink flowery skirt and attractive cream cardigan gave her an extra sweet and welcoming look that seemed to say, don't worry, he's in good hands. As her caring eyes darted about they gave off a trusting vibe and the simple wrinkles around their corners testified she'd done this dance before. A quick, dimpled smile goodbye to the parents looking on-hands clenched tight around their middles-showed her love for the children obediently mimicking her every move. As she glanced back to make sure her little ducklings were following along, I noticed her short blonde hair, styled with slight curls, bounced around when she moved and framed her smiling face perfectly. But as sweet as her demeanor seemed to be I still wanted to run up to her, grab her by the shoulders, look right into her eyes and shout,

                   "Listen lady, you take care of him! You don't know anything about him yet, but he is patient and loyal and kind-sometimes to a fault-so don't let those kids run all over him. He loves to build with legos and has an engineer minded brain like his father. He is good at puzzles and numbers and can drive me crazy with all the ideas he can come up with in one day. He is shy, but smart so don't let his not answering a question fool you. He is sensitive and the slightest negative remark can send him walking away with his head hung down. He is constantly in another world and you will have to work to keep him focused, but he learns quickly and is eager to please. Praise him and he will flourish. Encourage him and he will rise to the occasion. Please, please take care of him. I trust you!"

But I couldn't do that. I couldn't even manage to get a wave in before her plain, brown flats carried her hurried body away behind the heavy, turquoise, metal door. All I had was one glance. One glance where our eyes met for 1.3 seconds, and I used every millisecond to plead to her...please, please just love him. See in him what I see in him. And then she was gone. I didn't read her eyes because I was too busy doing all the talking. Hopefully she understood me.
 

After that, I pointed out to you the last kid in the line that you were to follow into the building. Some goofy looking kid with shaggy brown hair and a dark blue back-pack. (Don't worry, your Avengers back-pack was way cooler.) You re-confirmed the boy I had pointed out and asked worriedly, "Him mom?" "Yes! Hurry go, follow him. That's your class going into the school now." I told you. "OKAY!" you shouted, nerves gone and excitement eagerly taking its place, and you bounced off toward what would become-up to this point-"the best day EVER!" I quickly ran in front of you, trying not to let my nerves come across to you, and said, "Wait! I need a kiss!!" You laughed and said, "oh yea!" and let me pull you in for a quick smooch, a two second hug and a flash of your left-dimpled smile. I felt the tears coming so I quickly stood up and looked the other way, scanning the parents around me for a mom who was letting her emotions get the better of her as well. I came up empty-handed. I gulped down the lump in my throat, refusing to be the one mom who couldn't let their kid go and turned back to wave a last goodbye, a fake smile plastered to my face. Only you weren't there.You had already run, or jumped or skipped into the school (I'm guessing ran) and that was it.

You did awesome. 
   
(pics after school)

You were excited and brave and confident and eager and full of hope. Absolutely everything I wanted you to be. Everything I hoped the first day of Kindergarten would be for you. Everything I've prepared you to be, to be a successful, independent, happy child. And while all this should have made me happy, in that moment it tore me apart. It meant that you had grown up. (Something I am avidly against by the way :) ) I guess every parent wants to know they have done their job well, and you walking away from me today, a smile on your face and excitement bursting out of your little body meant I had. I guess I just didn't expect a job well done to hurt so much.

But I survived, you survived and tonight as I sit here writing this I am SO SO SO happy for you! I am excited to see where this journey of life will take you and want you to know I am here for you every step of the way. Sometimes I will be in the shadows, sometimes I will be behind you, sometimes I will be next to you, and sometimes I will be right in your face! But no matter, I will always be with you. Happy first day of the rest of your life. You're off to a great start.

i love you forever and ever,
Mom

P.S. You brought this paper home from school today. I asked you why you started writing random letters after your name and all annoyed you said, "mom, it says Tyler James B..."B" is for Bricker you know." Haha! You've never written your middle name on any paper so maybe Kindergarten makes you feel official?!?!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Happy Easter!

Since we came home from St. George just a two days before Easter, our Easter was pretty simple and low key. I didn't even put any decorations out this year! *gasp* I know! I'm telling you, LOW KEY. Dyed some eggs, did an egg hunt in the backyard and found Easter baskets. I don't even think we had an "Easter" dinner this year...if I'm remembering correctly we had cereal for dinner. Ha Ha! AND I don't even have any pictures of their Easter outfits for church. Am I the lamest mom ever or what?! Oh Well, maybe I'll get my act together next year. :)

 








Not even an Easter basket to put their eggs in?! At least it was just the back yard...

Tyler was excited the Easter bunny brought him Chutes and Ladders, a Frisbee, some bubbles and some candy.

Kylee was beyond excited, as you can see from her...I'm so excited I'm speechless and can only make my eyes as big as they can get and stare directly at you face, to get Angelina Ballerina memory game, some princess bubbles, a pink Frisbee and candy.


I'm thankful and proud to be apart of a membership of people who truly believe in not only the religion they preach, but in the importance of living that religion. As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints we want, and try, to live what we preach and know to be true every day. This means that as we go throughout our day we try to do things that will bring the spirit of peace and love into our homes and lives, that we do things to remember Christ, and we find small, simple ways to worship him and show our thanks for his sacrifice for us. As we celebrate Easter and Christmas during the year and emphasis is placed on remembering the Savior, the Atonement and his life, we can draw even closer to him. I'm grateful for the knowledge I have of the gospel and that I can use the hope and strength I draw from it everyday-not just on Sundays or holidays-but I am truly grateful for the focus the Easter and Christmas holidays bring to help me reflect more deeply on what those particular parts of the gospel have done for me, and make me want to draw more closely to Him.

Family Pictures

Since we were all-together back in March when Ty came home, it was a great time to get family pictures done-especially since we have, are you ready for this....NEVER have had a family picture taken. What?! I know, so it was time. :) Left-Skyler, Alisa, Bailey and Nate Middle-Amanda, mom&dad, Alena and Ty Right-Kylee, me, Bobby and Tyler. 

My parents and us crazy kids...all growed up. So weird. I still see all my siblings in my mind as the same ages that they were when I left home for college. Does anybody else do that?!  

And since we were gettin' pics done, I figured I might as well snag a few of my little fam since the hubby gives me ONE family picture time a year. He absolutely detests getting family pictures. DETESTS. Ha ha :)  

 And just because I have THE most gorgeous sisters on the planet...I'm so lucky to have ALL 3 of my sisters be just as gorgeous on the inside as they are on the out. Love them!  

Alisa's family-cutest family EVER!

How sweet are these kids?!?! (anybody else see that glint of mischievousness in Mr. Nate's eyes?! ha ha!)

I love us!
 

Aren't they lookin' GOOD?!

I just love that in every picture with Kylee she has her left hand up on her hip...I guess she's seen her mom and aunts taking a few pictures...ha ha!

Love. Love. Love. and then Love some more. 

Ha Ha...there are no words needed. The whole pic just kinda speaks for itself. :)

So cute! Seriously...the cutest parents ever!

I just love Alisa with dark hair, she looks BEAUTIFUL here!

 All the girlies!

One boy, with all these sisters...he's going to make one AMAZING husband-trust me. We've been 
training him for awhile ;). 

Hopefully we won't wait another 28 years to get a family picture! We're gaining a brother-in-law in a couple months so we'll have to update relatively soon right?! *congrats AMANDA!!!* :)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Elder Nelson comes home!

My brother Ty left for his mission to Spokane Washington on Mar. 17th 2010 (st. patrick's day).

 He returned home Mar. 19, 2012 and we were SO excited to see him!


 The kids and I headed down to St. George a few days before Ty came home, so we had fun celebrating St. Patrick's day with Grandma, Alena, Amanda, Alisa, Nate and Bailey.

Grandma did a FUN scavenger hunt for the kiddos that lead them to their...


...treasures of Gold!!
 

That night we headed to Krave for dessert-a St. George favorite. We can't ever leave without a little Krave being had once (or twice :) ), during our visits!
(Tyler, Amanda, Nate, Kylee)

Mom was SO excited to have Ty coming home, and having our whole family back together again for the first time in 3 years, she got a little weepy before Ty's plane even arrived. :)




Everybody waiting patiently...
Grandma Olsen, Bailey and Kylee

Tyler and Amanda

The St. George airport is very small so they let you just wait right by the door where they walk in from walking off the plane. When we saw Ty's plane arrive, everybody was glued to the windows just hoping to be the first to catch a glimpse of him. The kids lined up with their welcome home signs to be the first to greet him.

Mom was the first to hug him and I don't think she let go for a few minutes. :)


Everybody, including my grandparents who also live in St. George, was able to be there for Ty except for Bobby who was in the middle of mid-terms :(.

Ty has such a GREAT group of loving and supportive friends and it was fun to see them all at the airport to welcome him home as well.
 



We love our Uncle Ty!!!

The weather in St. George was Awesome in March, so we had lots of fun outdoor days at the park by my mom's house. They LOVE rolling down this hill!

We had LOTS of races! They even made Alisa and I join in on the fun :)

And after the kiddos go to bed, it's games games games! And of course a little chips and salsa!!

Uncle Ty was fun before his mission, but in two years he matured...a LOT :), and the kids are absolutely in love with him. He paid special attention to all of them the whole time we were here and they loved playing and wrestling with him.

A little down time after a long day playing in the sun and water.

Since we were down there for so long, mom also put a fun Easter egg hunt together for the kids.




After they found all their eggs, grandma said the Easter Bunny had left them some Easter baskets they were supposed to hunt and find as well!

First they had to skip...

...then they had to hop...
 

...then they had to crawl...

...and lastly they had to quietly sneak to...

...the hiding place!

Grandma is SO fun!!


One day we had a girls day and checked Alena out of school to take her to lunch! Love my sistas!

My mom was just starting to get her garden ready when we were there, so she let the kids come out and help her plant and water.







Little gardeners :)

We were talking in the kitchen one afternoon and the kids were quiet-that NEVER happens (besides the time Tyler drew all over his face with Alena's mascara), but when we went to check on them they were being so good sitting on the couch reading together.


Ahhhh, we LOVE being in St. George and spending time with family! We're so happy that Ty is home, but more importantly that he chose to serve the Lord for 2 years and was able to bring so many people happiness through our Savior Jesus Christ. We are grateful for his example of dedication and love for others and miss his inspiring letters home every week. I loved having 2 siblings out serving missions and know that our family has been blessed through their actions. But it is dang good to have him home! :)

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