Thursday, June 28, 2012

Chasing Fireflies

I've always been enchanted by the flittering, glowing lights of the fireflies that dot the night in the summertime.   Somehow even the humidity and hordes of gnats and mosquitoes that always accompany the the fireflies' arrival to the horizon, seems a little less oppressive when spent in the presence of the gleaming beauty of fireflies at dusk.   Their arrival each year never fails to remind me of the summers of my childhood spent in Minnesota when I would race through the low evening light with a jar carefully tucked under my arm, while I captured as many of the glowing creatures as I could get my hands on.   

Although normally not much of a bug-in-a-jar kind of girl, I remember being enamored with the idea of having a little glowing jar of fireflies on my dresser, envisioning the jar to become my own fairy-esque nightlight.  It took me several years to realize that enchanting though they may be while flying through the night air of my backyard, they lose a little of their shine indoors.    Eventually I stopped trying to capture their beauty in a jar and instead have tried to use the fireflies' arrival each year as a signal to slow down and capture beautiful new summer memories.   

And although it usually happens right when I'm trying to put them to bed for the night, I can't help but smile as I watch my kids happily traipsing through the yard, usually barefoot, while capturing their own summertime memories.   




For anyone who wants to introduce a young child to the joys of fireflies (or recapture their beauty throughout the year), then I highly recommend the very enchanting book,  The Very Lonely Firefly, by Eric Carle.  The story is simple and repetitive (perfect for young children) and I never tire of watching their faces light up with  delight and surprise when, on the last page of the book, little electronic lights light up the fireflies' bodies in a flittering pattern that reminds me of a summer night.  :)




***********************

"At the end of the day, when the wind dies,
The dusk goes wrapped in fireflies
Clouds of sparkles that flit and pause,
Darting jewels on wings of gauze.
Dusk is loveliest of all,
With these live twinkles on her shawl!"
                                                                                                                          Ethel Jacobson

Monday, June 25, 2012

Crain Family Reunion in NUMB3RS

1 rousing game of family kickball


1.75 days is all that my extremely eligible 38-year-old bachelor brother, Nate, stayed in town, during which he stepped away from the family festivities for dates with 2 different girls


2 people extremely relieved to be done speaking in church.  I think it went well. 

3 varieties of cupcakes Cami made for dessert ( lemon, red velvet, and my favorite--cookies & cream)

5 Crain cousins break the cuteness scale

5:30-- the average time I woke up each morning this past week to work on my talk before anyone else woke up

8 Crain siblings prove that white kids CAN jump!

10 of us including Papachka and Mamachka,  who decided to dress up as a catholic priest for the photo shoot

12 grandkids for my parents, all of whom are extremely cute and intelligent, nine of whom are 7 and under, &  nine of whom are blond (or almost blond in the case of Emma)

14 times approximately per day there was a tiff of some kind or another (usually between the young cousins, but not always)


15
electronic devices being used at once (including iphones, kindles, ipads, and laptops).  We get our tech-geekery from our Dad.


26
of us Crains that were all together in our ward on Sunday (we took up four side rows, which made for easy opportunistic photo snapping by my sister who found Adam's reading material from the New Era slightly entertaining)

41-years-old my hunny turns today!  Happy Birthday Glen! 

47 times per day we kids made mom blush (it's easy and fun to do)

644 pictures that were taken on my camera (and there were several other cameras there as well)


186394728
calories per day that were consumed by the adults and expended by the kids

Countless other priceless memories that were made, like....

an adult-only dinner at On the Border...

Lots and lots of running, jumping, and playing by the kids...

a whole lot of silliness...

a tad bit of grumpiness (although this picture was staged)...

some snuggly moments...

 more silliness....

quality bonding time with grandpa and grandma...


and quality bonding time with their favorite "celebrity" cousin, Spencer...

It was way too short, but it's been a WOND3RFUL few days and I'm already looking forward to the next time we can be all together again! 

****************************

"Sometimes after an enjoyable family home evening, during a fervent family prayer, or when our entire family is at the dinner table on Sunday evening eating waffles and engaging in a session of lively, good-natured conversation, I quietly say to myself, 'If heaven is nothing more than this, it will be good enough for me!'"                                                                                                      Marlin K. Jensen


Amen. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

bone marrow results and random pictures

Spencer's doctor called today and let us know that the results of his bone marrow biopsy are back   and  it looks totally and completely and 100% free of leukemia cells!   We are thrilled with the happy news that he remains in remission and hope and pray that it continues forevermore!   He celebrated by mowing lawns with his friend in the 100 degree heat to earn money.

While Spence was sweating buckets, my sisters, sister-in-law, Emma, and I went shopping to buy some clothes for our family pictures on Saturday.  I'm not such a fan of shopping (yes, I'm weird that way) and weirdly got choked up twice while walking through the mall.  Once when I  saw the big St. Jude's sign with a picture of a young cancer patient on it and once again when I met two people wearing t-shirts showing support for one of Spencer's hospital buddies with AML who is not doing well.  

Other than being a little blubbery, I do have to say that I enjoyed the fact that the mall was downright quiet compared to the hubbub of the ten kids that were hanging out at our house all day.  Thanks to Glen, Aitch, Cami, Dad, and Tim for taking care of the kiddos!   :)

Besides the shopping trip, us four sisters have also been staying up too late and having lots of fun together...  

I love my sisters! 






Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Life and an Invitation

If you've noticed a bit less blogging going on and a bunch more silliness in the air lately, here's the reason why....
It's family reunion time and Crains are pouring in by the day.  By the end of the week  all 8 of us kids, my parents, 4 in-laws, and all 12 grandkids will be here in Virginia!!!!   

In the meantime my kids are having a blast with their cousins (including Andrew and Madeline who are here from California)...

they are enjoying the built-in playmates, the cousin sleepovers, sharing clothes...
and the extra adult attention....
All this family in town coincides perfectly with Glen and I giving talks in church this Sunday.  In fact, since we're already speaking in front of our family and congregation I figured that I would extend an open invitation to all of you friends to come to church with us this Sunday as well.  If you've ever been curious about us Mormons or about the beliefs of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or just want to hear us speak in public, then this is your chance!  Church is at 11:00am-12:15pm on Sunday at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2719 Hunter Mill Road, Oakton VA.  Cami's cupcakes at our house at 2:30pm (please RSVP by Saturday night if you're coming for cupcakes.  No need to RSVP if you're coming to church.).  Call if you have any questions. 


*****************

UPDATE:
Spence had a bone marrow biopsy on Monday and the results are expected in about a week.  Additionally, he is pleased to announce that his eyebrows are growing back!!!!

Monday, June 18, 2012

father's day 2012

I just found this unpublished post and decided to publish it a year late.  

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Top Ten Reasons Why...

Our Dad is AWESOME!
(as quoted by the kids)

10-He's funny and nice
9-He works hard
8-He's an awesome (and silly) kickball player
7-He's smart enough to help me with my math
6-He likes to play games with me
5-He's the best crepe maker this side of the Atlantic
4-He gives good haircuts
3-He makes me yummy lunches
2-He is nicer than mom (sometimes)
1-Best Dad in the universe!


We ❤ You Dad!




Saturday, June 16, 2012

What a Difference a Year Makes...


Nine and a half months ago the kids stood pacing in their brand new shoes and wondered with a nervous anticipation what their school year would be like.  They hoped their teachers would be nice and wouldn't assign too much homework.  They couldn't wait to see old friends again and worried about whether they would make new friends.   All in all, their big smiles belie their true mood.  They may have been a little worried about the upcoming year, but mostly they were thrilled to be getting back into the swing of things. 

I, on the other hand,  wondered what on earth I was going to do with all my kids in school for the first time.    Sadly, it took approximately 2.3 hours to cross that worry off my list. 


                           First day                                                        Last day



As I've reflected over the unexpected detour our lives took over the last school year, I find myself so grateful for the loving elementary school teachers my kids had.  Their warmth and understanding did so much to ease my worries as to how they would fare with me not being home with them all the time.    Each of their teachers was perfect for them and I truly consider their classroom assignments this year to be one of those "tender mercies" from God. 



Not only did they take care of Ellie, Adam, and Emma at school each day, serving as a listening ear and an open set of arms when they needed a hug, but each one of them also went over and above their duties by taking time out of their precious weekends and visited with Spencer (and brought him generous gifts). 

Thank you Mrs. A, Mrs. B, and Mr. S,  for the gift of peace during our time of turmoil--peace that our kids were spending their days in a place where they were being loved and watched out for.   


*********************
 "We should not underestimate or overlook the power of the Lord’s tender mercies. The simpleness, the sweetness, and the constancy of the tender mercies of the Lord will do much to fortify and protect us in the troubled times in which we do now and will yet live. When words cannot provide the solace we need or express the joy we feel, when it is simply futile to attempt to explain that which is unexplainable, when logic and reason cannot yield adequate understanding about the injustices and inequities of life, when mortal experience and evaluation are insufficient to produce a desired outcome, and when it seems that perhaps we are so totally alone, truly we are blessed by the tender mercies of the Lord and made mighty even unto the power of deliverance "                                                    David A. Bednar








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