We got home from Idaho just in time to see our nephew get off the plane from his mission in New York City.
If you’ve not been at an airport homecoming – let me set the stage. The missionary has been gone for two years – with limited contact, two phone calls a year and a weekly email or letter. The airport is filled with excitement. The parents – especially mothers – are a mix between anxious and excited. It’s almost painful to see people walk though security from the flight and not be the missionary. I’m not sure why, but they always seem to be at the back of the plane and the wait becomes unbearable.
And then you see them through the glass security barriers. They start walking faster as the mothers meet them as close to security as they can and tears of happiness fill the air. It’s tender to witness.
I’ve been in airports when a missionary was coming home and I started to get choked up watching them embrace their loved ones and I didn’t even know them! But knowing the missionary makes it even more special, it is such a sweet reunion. Our nephew was no exception. How good it was to see him embrace his parents for the first time in two years. Welcome home Smith!
When we were planning out our December calendar, and being mindful to not over schedule, many things were cut. But lights at the temple were a must. It’s fast and easy and yet the kids love going. It is truly remarkable just how many lights they have and how many beautiful nativity scenes are on display. Typically, we do this activity earlier in December because it is the best way to kick off the season with our Savior as the focus.
I hesitated joining the family on this little outing tonight. The two littles made the day a little rough for me and by the time Steve walked in the door I was snappy. I could feel it. Steve could see it. Steve was quick to recognize it had been a long day and he offered to take all the kids to give me a few moments at home alone. I wanted to take him up on it. But I really needed to go. I needed the peace and Christmas spirit that I knew would wash over me if I joined.
And you know what, it was exactly what I needed. I needed to see the kids wonderment of the lights. I needed to hold hands with Steve. I needed to see the nativities. And suddenly the long days events were forgotten – a Christmas miracle! If you’re in the area – check it out. It can get really busy, but if you go early in the evening you’ll miss a lot of the crowds.
Hunter’s baptism two weekends back seems like forever ago.
I was able to reuse the #8 marquee I made three years ago for Hallie’s baptism. It’s been stashed in the corner of my garage and it was good to pull it back out and bring it to life again.
I made the #8 marquee and the other #8 signs were picked up at Hobby Lobby. I sewed the buffalo check table runners made from this fabric at Amazon. We’ve used Hallie’s baptism runners over and over and over again. But I think these are my new favorite. I want buffalo check everything right now! Each table had a wood slice with some greenery and a succulent, all from Hobby Lobby. I’m finding it’s harder to decorate for a boy than it is for a girl!
Gathering everyone for a photo proved to be very difficult. We had gathered this group when we realized several people were missing including my mom and Briggs. By the time I gathered them, we were missing a new group of people. Between the two photos it shows the majority of the people! With our family and friends, we had a full house and Hunter could feel the love from all the support. I love this family and community with all my heart.
We hosted a soup and rolls dinner afterwards and enjoyed the beautiful weather. There was a moment that night that stood out among the others. The family was gathering their food and sitting down to eat. The backyard was lit only by the string lights hanging above. There was a TV that scrolled through pictures of Hunter Birth to present and music filled the air. And I paused. I stood to the side and watched for just a minute. I soaked it in. It was a thin place. Everything was right and my whole body felt peace and gratitude. If I could collect moments in a jar like people collect sand – this moment would be sitting on my mantle.
This boy invited many special people to his baptism. And an invite gives me a good excuse to do an extended photoshoot!
I’m used to designing baptism invitation for girls – so designing for a boy was a little different for me. I still use the invite we created for Hallie’s baptism. In fact two friends last week used it for their daughter’s baptism. I need to learn how to design for boys; it is my future!
We had a special weekend: My mom is here visiting us (which is always a treat) and Hunter was baptized on Saturday surrounded by friends and family.
For his birthday (in September), we went out and bought a suit and when he put it on he was suddenly a little man. I had glimpses of a future missionary. We went to the Mesa temple on a Saturday afternoon for a photo shoot and we had so much fun.
Hunter is not a spotlight kid and he doesn’t love being in front of the camera – especially when he’s the only one in the shot. But he knows how much my mama heart loves to photograph him and he was the most willing participant for his baptism photo shoot. No complaining. No whining. Just smiles and a little awkwardness typical of any 8 year model! He’s looking more and more like his father. Lucky guy!
The whole shoot was strikingly familiar to Hallie’s baptism photos. Same location. Different 8-year-old. I’m sure I’ll be back there to shoot another in 2.5 years.