Saturday, April 18, 2009

My Middle Child

Okay, technically I have two middle children, but with Kristi being the only girl, she's in a class by herself, which seems to suit her just fine. So it's Austin that plays the middle child role in our family. According to experts, since middle children often aren't the biggest and strongest, and they aren't the babies who get away with murder, they can feel that they aren't really anything special. Sometimes they feel invisible. They have to try a little harder to be heard or get noticed, and they may feel that they do not get as much praise as the older children for simple firsts like tying a shoe or riding a bike. But I think middle children, if they know how to play their cards right, sit in a pretty good spot. They don't have to live up to parents' expectations the same way the oldest child does, and they don't get babied too long like the youngest child. They learn to be good mediators and negotiators, and learn to be self-sufficient and independant.

This is Austin.

I just love this kid. He is kind-hearted, thoughtful, sensitive to others' feelings, helpful, doesn't complain, and loves to see others happy. And he's turning THIRTEEN tomorrow. Perhaps because he's such a sweetheart, I tend to think of him as a little kid. But as his adolescent hormones are starting to boogie, I am forced to accept that he is a young man now. He's getting muscular and tall, he leaves the house smelling of cologne, and he gives me a little less public attention. Once in awhile he even gets mad, which is so unusual that it surprises everyone, mostly him!

I remember when he began middle school, I told him several times, "Don't let middle school ruin you!" It was hard for me to let him go to middle school because sweetness and cheerfulness and innocence are characteristics that are more likely to be ridiculed instead of praised. I do think that middle school has changed him, but thankfully not ruined him. And I don't think becoming a teenager will ruin him either. I think "Awesome Austin", as we have called him since he was little, will always be awesome.

younger days:

at scout camp last summer:

hiking to the top of nearby Job's Peak:

on his way to another touchdown:

Happy 13th Birthday, Austin!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

What does Easter mean to you?

Because we must need the blessings, our family was asked to "do the sacrament meeting" on Easter Sunday. Our older kids and Keith and I will be speaking, and the younger boys will be playing a piano duet. To go along with the many -and varied- thoughts bouncing around in my head about Easter and the Atonement, I wondered if any of you would like to share your thoughts on what Easter means to you.

And on another subject, wasn't conference uplifting?? Somehow I expected there to be a more serious tone, more messages about getting prepared, etc. But for me, I just felt like my understanding of certain things was expanded (Elder Holland's talk for example, wow), and I felt peaceful and not anxious. A favorite quote for me was from Pres. Monson: "The future is just as bright as our faith." Could it be any simpler?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Book Recommendation

Recommendations are risky. Whether they be books, movies, restaurants, whatever. We all have different tastes and different opinions about what is worthy of our precious time. That said, I'm taking the plunge anyway. Probably some of you are already familiar with this series, particularly those of you living in Utah.(?) It's "The Great & Terrible" series by Chris Stewart. There are six books (I know, I know), but having finished the sixth one this afternoon, I can say I'm glad I took the journey. And I read each one faster than the last. My mother-in-law has been telling me about these books for the past couple of years, but I never made any move to read them until she dropped off the first two at my house one day. Brennan is now in Book Two and is really enjoying it (if you knew Brennan better, that statement might have made more of an impact). Note: Book One, "Prologue: The Brothers", is completely different than the rest. I was a bit hesitant about it at first, but by the end was ready to see where the author was going. They've been very thought-provoking for me. Okay, enough said. Gotta go work on my emergency preparedness plan now . . .