Monday, December 24, 2012

Chloe's Baptism Day

On December 8th, Chloe was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  It was a very big day in her life.  Her baptism day was such a special event.

My parents were already in town, and the weekend of the baptism, Ben's family started arriving.  His parents and all 3 of his sisters and their families came over the course of 2 days.  The total headcount in the house for the weekend was 22 people.  Can you see why I was stressed about getting into the house?  As soon as we put the offer in on the house in the summer, I knew we had to be in before Chloe's baptism.  Our old house would never have fit 22 people.  But we made it (just barely).

My sweet girl on her special day!  I think Christmas time is such a special time of the year to be baptized.  We are already celebrating and remembering Jesus Christ and His birth, so to be following the commandment and example of Jesus to be baptized at this wonderful time of year makes it even more memorable.  I love a beautiful girl all dressed in white.

Right before we left for the church, Chloe opened some really neat gifts from family members.  Ben and I gave her her very own quad set of Scriptures with her name engraved on them.  She received many other wonderful and thoughtful gifts from her extended family included scripture pencils, necklaces and jewelry and special memorable items to remember this wonderful day by.

Her baptism was at 1:00 p.m.  We arrived at the church around 12:30 to get some pictures taken.

Family shot!

We are so glad Grandma and Papa were able to travel the long distance to be here for this special day.  It meant a lot to have them here.

Being the first baptized, Chloe is setting a wonderful example for her younger siblings.

I love this girl!

Mitch really wanted a picture alone with Chloe.

The twins needed a break from pictures for a minute and sat down with Papa to rest.

All of the Andros cousins.  It was so fun to have all of them here.

My kids were super disappointed that their cousins on my side lived too far away to come.

Chloe and cousin Stella.  We were able to attend Stella's baptism this past Spring.

Nana and Papa

Baby Preston really took a liking to Chloe that weekend.  During the baptism program, as they were talking about Chloe over the pulpit, Preston stood up on the pew and yelled "Chlo-eee!"

A group shot of all of the family who was there.

After pictures, Chloe and Ben went and got dressed in their baptismal clothes.  It was unlike anything Chloe has ever worn before and she was good natured about it, but thought it felt weird.

Before the actual baptism took place, we met in the chapel along with the family of the other little girl  that was getting baptized.  The program started with the Stake Primary President introducing the 2 girls getting baptized and telling fun facts and stories about them.  Then we sang beautiful baptism music and listened to talks on Baptism and the Holy Ghost.  The talks were wonderful and I felt the Spirit very strongly.

Chloe and everyone who came for her baptism were then dismissed to another room to watch as Ben baptized Chloe.  The baptism was such a beautiful thing to witness as her mother, knowing that all of her sins were being washed clean and knowing that when she does make mistakes, that her Savior has promised that if she repents, she can be forgiven and made clean again.  After she was dried off and dressed back in her white dress, Chloe was confirmed a member of the Church by Ben and received the gift of the Holy Ghost.  The Spirit was incredibly strong and witnessed to me the importance and rightfulness of what Chloe was doing.  It is was day and feelings I will not soon forget.

  Our Bishop and ward Primary President (who is a wonderful friend of our family) said a few remarks before we closed the meeting.  Chloe had a few sweet friends from the ward (and school) that came to support her on her big day.  Grandma Cynde was there as well.  We appreciate and love all who came to be with us.

In her new journal she received on her baptism day, Chloe recorded her feelings about her special day:

"My baptism was amazing.  I felt as clean as can be.  I want to do it again.  When I got in the water it was warm for a minute and then it got cold.  When I got out I felt the good feeling.  I felt like I was in a pool.  It was cool.  But when I got out I was soaking wet.  And I was freezing too.  But I felt the Holy Ghost."

(Shared with permission from Chloe).

The rest of the weekend was filled with fun, food and family.  We had such a great time spending time and visiting with everyone.


We all love food!

Aunt Bethany and her phone were a crowd pleaser!

On Saturday night after the kids were in bed, the adults had fun going through "boxes of junk" from our garage that the previous owners had left.  It was quite entertaining.  They left so much stuff- lots of it useable (not to be confused with necessary or wanted stuff).  We let everyone help us sort through it and take anything that they wanted or could use.  Lots of it was stuff you might look at and ask, "Who in the world would need/want this?"  One of those items was a 6 foot inflatable Homer Simpson blow up Halloween decoration.  What in the world?  And it gets better- there was two of them.  (What in the world?)  

Random stuff, random stuff- get it while it's hot!

The cousins were all excited to sleep together the first night.  But when the 6 oldest kids were awake at 4:00 a.m. and woke me up (and did NOT go back to sleep), we decided all kids would sleep with their parents the next night.

Leah and Papa were twins Sunday morning in their tye-dye shirts before church.

Ben and his sisters and mother had a mini surgery session before church.  Ben has had a sore on the bottom of his foot for months.  Upon telling his mom and sisters this, they insisted he lie down and they investigate.  This led to the use of a head lamp and some needles used to poke around.  This happens often in the Andros household- lots of experimental medical procedures.  When Obama Care fully kicks in, this may be the new trend in households across America.  (Kidding.  Or not...)

Grandma and Papa grabbed a quick picture with the kids before church.  They had to fly home that afternoon.  We had such a great visit with them.

All of our guests left Sunday afternoon, except Ben's parents who stuck around for a few more days.

Chloe loved having Nana play Christmas duets with her on the piano.

The twins loved going to Ikea with me and Nana and Papa.  After the 1 hour child care/play land ran up, the girls were entertained by pushing around their own mini carts.

We had a wonderful time with them for the 4 days they were here.

We had visitors for 2 weeks straight after we moved in.  We enjoyed and were thankful for everyone who came to stay with us.  Everyone helped with so many projects to help us move in.  We wouldn't be  even close to this unpacked or organized without the help of so many extra hands.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Great to Be Eight

The Sunday after we moved in, December 2nd, my big girl Chloe celebrated her 8th birthday.

We actually started her celebrating a day earlier on Saturday after our visit with Santa.

In keeping with our tradition of having a friend party ever other year, this was Chloe's year to have a friend party.  I really thought I could make this happen, in spite of our move.  I really thought and planned and tried my hardest to be able to do this for her, but in the end stress and busyness won out.  We just couldn't fit it in with the craziness of the move, and with all the other things we had going on the week of and after her birthday.  Chloe handled it like a champ and was very understanding.

To make up for it, I planned a special "Mom and Chloe" shopping trip for her big day.  I was nervous about leaving my house in shambles so soon after moving in and was worried that I'd spend the whole day with Chloe worrying about what needed to be done at home, which was a lot!  Luckily, I was able to push those worries away for the day and was able to spend a fun, relaxing day with Chloe.  We had such a great time.

First stop on our shopping trip was the mall.  Auburn isn't well known for much, but we are known for the Super Mall (yes, that's really the name of the mall), and it really is super.  Super awesome.  It is a mall filled with outlet stores and I love it!

Chloe has been wanting her ears pierced for a few years.  Whenever she would ask, I told her she had to wait until she was 8 (which is the age I was when I got my ears pierced).  She was very patient about waiting until this magical age.  And I needed to make good on my promise.

We went to Claire's to get the job done.  They are reasonably priced (depending on the earrings) and had a cute selection of earrings.

There are only certain earrings to choose from when you get them pierced.  Chloe looked at the selection for just a few minutes before she found what she wanted.

We waited in line behind a darling 6 month old baby who was getting her ears pierced.  Being so little, she cried and screamed (but only for a minute or two, actually), so I was nervous that Chloe would think it was super, super painful. 

Chloe's turn!  Last picture with no holes in her ear!

First, the lady cleaned her ear lobes.

Next came the part I was nervous for- the placement of dots on her earlobes where the earring would go.  I got to look at the dots for my approval when the lady was done, but I was nervous that I wouldn't be able to tell if they were crooked or off center until after they were pierced.  Too much pressure for me!  I hate when things don't turn our right, especially something so permanent.

Then came the part Chloe was nervous for.  She actually wasn't that nervous- she handled herself so well and was very grown up about this whole process.  She just didn't know what to expect, which is a bit unsettling, I have to agree.  As the lady went up to pierce it, Chloe grimaced.

She grimaced on the next ear too.

All done!  She agreed that the process wasn't bad at all and only pinches for just a second.

 Closeup of her choice of earrings- a simple "diamond" looking stud earring.  A great choice.

We received a bottle of cleaner and cleaning instructions before we left.  She has to leave these earrings in for 6-8 weeks.  After that time period is up, she can change earrings as often as she likes.

Chloe has taken her job of cleaning her earrings (2-3 times a day) very seriously.  She never forgets and is very responsible about it.  I haven't had to remind her once.

While in the mall, we decided to walk around for a minute.  When we passed by Payless Shoes, Chloe asked if we could go in and look.  She had some birthday money from her great grandma's and she was excited to pick something out with her own money.

Chloe loves shoes and quickly found a pair of shoes she couldn't live without.  She was very good to heed my advice on shoes that were expensive and shoes that were on sale and more worth the money.  Lucky for her, I had a 20% off coupon with me as well, which helped out a lot on her already sale priced shoes.

When we got out to the car, she changed into her new shoes immediately.

After the mall, we were hungry!  We headed over to one of our favorite places, Red Robin, to eat.

She used her birthday meal coupon and ordered cheese pizza with a side salad. 

I had mentioned at the beginning of the meal to our waiter that it was Chloe's birthday.  Without even having to ask, he brought over several other workers to sing Happy Birthday to the birthday girl, and brought her a chocolate Sundae.

It was yummy!

Our next stop was Ikea.  Chloe has her own room in the new house and I thought it would be fun to let her pick out a new bedspread and some decorations for her new space (and I LOVE Ikea).

She was very thoughtful in her choices.  We first wanted to get a bedspread and then buy decorations and accessories to match that.  At the last minute, she changed her mind and wanted a different bedspread, but luckily the new choice had a color or two that was the same.

Our last stop was Target (also one of my favorites).

She (and I) love the dollar bins up front.  She still had some grandma money left, but ended up not spending any more that day.

While we were shopping in Target, Chloe said to me, very sweetly, "I've had a fun day, but I'm really tired!"  We wrapped up our trip shortly after that.  (Who knew I could wear out the girl with limitless energy??)  I got the birthday girl some pop corn and an Icee on the way out.

She was very excited to come home and set up all her new stuff. 

Her new bedspread with matching rug and lamp.

These small mirrors came in colors that matched perfectly.

A new matching hamper, too.

What a fun and special day it was for the two of us.  I love shopping and loved having my big girl join me.

The next day, Sunday December 2nd, was Chloe's real birthday.  With 1:00 church, Chloe had all morning to wonder what gifts she was getting from her grandparents and others.

Right before church, we decided to let her open one gift.  Nana and Papa had sent a package the week before, so she opened that one.  It was the book set of "The Borrowers."  Chloe is really into chapter books this year and was very excited to get a whole set of them.

One of the biggest treats of all for Chloe was having Grandma Blakeslee here on her birthday.  She and my mom are very close and my mom has never been here on Chloe's actual birthday before.  (She was here just 3 days after Chloe's actual birth day 8 years ago).

After church she opened the rest of her gifts.  (Ben surprised me while I was gone shopping the day before by organizing and arranging the living room, and setting up the Christmas tree).

Yea!  More chapter books!

Grandma and Papa gave her a very cute glass stone painting set.  She and Grandma painted them together over the next week.

Mitch was very sweet and made Chloe a card all on his own.  He was very anxious for her to open it and read it.

Hugs for big sister!

A snowman shirt for a winter birthday!

We were glad to have Grandma Cynde join us also.  The twins occupied most of her time while she was there- they really can't get enough of her.

Cynde brought Chloe the book set of "Little House on the Prairie."  I am so excited to read these books with her!  What great gifts for a book loving girl.

Chloe and Grandma!

Chloe with all of her loot

Time for cake!  I wished I could have made her a cake, but I just didn't have the time or energy for that.  And let's be honest- Costco cakes are tastier than anything I could make.  I got her a red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting and she helped me pick out her simple decorations the day before on our shopping trip.

My baby is 8!

All of the kids!

We had some chocolate ice cream with the cake.  Leah, who normally eats like a bird for everyday food, can eat her body weight (and yours) in ice cream.  Especially chocolate ice cream.  That night was no exception.  She pounded back the creamy treat in record time and had some very chocolatey teeth to show for it.

Happy birthday my sweet Chloe. I'm so grateful you made me a mom for the first time 8 years ago.  Here's to many more special birthday celebrations in the future.