Tuesday, May 15, 2012

We love our Superhero Teachers

Our school celebrated Teacher Appreciation Week by treating our teachers like superheroes...

We helped with the door decorations for the kids' teachers. We invited each of Ms. Knowles' students to write why she is a superhero.

Olivia's teacher has been teaching for 29 years and is retiring this year. She's been a great teacher for Liv and has supported her and helped her do good things.

Coleman's teacher has been great too, she has really worked hard to challenge him. Don't judge me for my drawing of Mrs. Incredible, nor for my inability to judge the size that her head needed to be to fit with said Mrs. Incredible. All of Coleman's classmates filled in a paper saying why Mrs. LeBaron is incredible.

We are grateful for good teachers!

Mother's Day

I was sufficiently spoiled rotten on Mother's Day! My cute family made me a yummy breakfast (Kneader's French Toast with a fruit smoothie) and showered me with gifts.

Ryan worked for hours to get our blog posts from 2008 ready to print! Hooray!  The kids prepared wonderful gifts at school and they were all good to me and each other all day long. 

Olivia helped Sophia make a lovely message out of blocks...

...and Sophia's nursery leaders captured her handprints for this sweet picture.                                         They also avoided getting paint on her dress, which I greatly appreciated :).

Coleman made an awesome card that was all about me... "My mom's name is Lisa. My mom likes to do crafts. My mom's favorite flower is a forget-me-not. My mom has taught me times tables. Mom's favorite food... girl scout cookies. My mom helps me do homework. I love my mom because she lets me do what I want. My favorite thing to do: Anything with my mom. My favorite memory: when my mom plays jokes." He also illustrated and wrote his very own book about me.

"What I know about my mother: My mother is very thoughtful. She is about 60 inches tall. She weighs about 90 pounds. She has green eyes. She has brown hair. The food she likes best is girl scout cookies. Her favorite color is green. My mom's favorite food is girl scout cookies but she doesn't like fish. The thing my mom likes to do for fun is go to disneyland. Mom helps our family by doing chores... to do list: laundry, dishes, put clothes away, bake dinner, sisters diaper. She spends most of her time having fun with the family. When my mom daydreams she thinks about Hawaii. If Mom could have one wish come true, she would wish for going to Hawaii. What I like most about my mom is she gives me presents."

Coleman knows me well!

Olivia wrote a letter nominating me to be "Mother of the Year" and gave me a lovely certificate. Her letter said:

"Dear committee members,

"Once upon a time in a land far away, there was a warlock. This warlock was a noble warlock. He loved a queen so very much that he cast a spell on her. This spell made her the Queen of Everything. My mom is the Queen of Everything. In this letter I will tell you why my mom will be the next Mother of the Year.

"My mom is the best because she is helpful. If I need help with my homework she will help me and work with me. If she sees that someone needs help, she will help them. I tried making a treat and needed some help. I asked my mom if she would help and of course, it was a yes!

"Another reason my mom will be nominated Mother of the Year is that she is truly, a very good cook. She has the Best Bites cookbook and is always trying new recipes. One of my favorites is called Cheeseburger Soup. My mom cooks everything perfectly. If you tasted her food, you would immediately fall in love with it.

"One last reason that my mother will be the next mother of the year is she is very loving. Recently my mom became the new Relief Society president. There was a tragedy the day after she got called. She has loved that family so much. Amazingly she got through the week. My mom loves me every day so much. I can tell, she sacrifices a lot for me. Only every once in awhile you can catch her being the Dragon Queen.

"As you can see, my mother would be the perfect mother of the year. She is helpful in all ways. If you tasted her food, you would know one of my other reasons, a very good cook. Finally, if you met her, you would know immediately she is loving, very loving. Now, any day now I should be getting a certificate that says "Mother of the Year" on it. I love you Mom! Happy Mother's Day!


Olivia Harper"

After that letter, I would vote for myself for Mother of the Year (I think she might be a little biased... but right on with the dragon queen part :) ).

We spent the evening at my mom's house and Sophia LOVED playing with the snowball flowers.

She loved having Coleman shower the petals on her head....

...that smile is so cute!

These three kiddos are the reason that my job is the best job in the world!

Additionally, I am so grateful for my mom and Ryan's mom and our grandmas and all of the wonderful women in my life who help me to be a better person.

Spring Recitals

Our piano players had their spring recital last weekend. They both worked hard on their songs...

Olivia played "As Zion's Youth in Latter Days" (which she learned to love through the Young Women's choir experience) and "Popcorn Popping" (which we get to sing every week to close Family Home Evening). She did a great job!

Coleman learned a rag-time piece called "Fiddle-I-O" by Dennis Alexander. There were some tricky rhythms in this song--I was so proud that he kept at it until he nailed it.

He did a great job performing!

We were excited that my mom and Megan could come for the recital. It's so great to have so many family members that support our kids and their hard work.

Pinewood Derby

Coleman was so excited to participate in his first Pinewood Derby this year. He really wanted to design a cool car, and despite our warnings that this design probably wouldn't go very fast, he still wanted to go for it. He and Ryan worked hard to shape his block of balsa wood into a boat. That's right, a boat. They added some weights and sanded and painted and drilled and designed sails using scout emblems. It was lovely! Just as we suspected, it didn't go very fast, and there were a few moments that I wanted to cry for him that his car didn't win the race, but he didn't seem to be bothered at all. He loved showing it off and racing it over and over again. Maybe next year he will be more concerned with the speed than the design, but for this time around he was as  happy as he could be to race his boat.

Hope of America

The fifth grade students in many of the schools in Utah County participated in a wonderful patriotic program called "Hope of America." On April 18th Olivia got to be a part of it! She and her classmates learned songs and practiced for months to get ready for their performance at the Marriott Center at BYU.

Her group is in the top, middle, yellow section. You can spot her, right?

Liv with her cute friend Anna.... All of the students LOVED learning the songs and dances and really were able to grasp the importance of freedom and liberty. We are proud of you Sweet Liv!

Relief Society

We went on a really fun vacation during Spring Break to San Diego... photos to come at a later date, hopefully not too far off in the future.

The day we returned home from our trip I received a new assignment in our church. I had been working with the cute Beehives (12 and 13 year old girls) for the last year and a half. I loved it. I love them. I finally felt like I knew what I was doing and felt like I had a connection with each of the girls. I guess that's when change usually comes, right?

I am humbled and overwhelmed at my new responsibility and in the last few weeks I've had some pretty intense growing pains as I try to figure out how to accomplish all that needs to be done. I love Relief Society and I love the women in our ward... and I will give this calling everything I can.

My bishop told me many wonderful things in my setting apart blessing, but the one that stood out above everything else was the simple statement, "You cannot do this work alone." There have been so many big and little things that remind me of that every day. I cannot do this without the Savior. I cannot do it without the guidance of the Spirit. I cannot do it without Ryan's support and patience. I cannot do this without the leadership and work of my counselors and secretary. I cannot do it without the help and participation of every single sister in our ward.  I am so grateful I don't have to do this alone.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Heather came to visit!

Have I ever mentioned how much I love my sisters? My sister Heather came to visit at the end of March! She lives in sunny San Diego, and while I feel jealous of that, I mostly just miss her when we aren't together. She was even here on her birthday, so we had to celebrate!

Sophia and I met Erin at the Trax station. Soph was so excited to actually be on a "choo-choo" and she let everyone around her know it.

She loved sitting in her own seat and kept saying "bumpy!" This girl brings a smile to my face. Her cute ruffle skirt was made by my talented sister-in-law Kristen for Sophia's birthday. You want one, don't you?

We met Megan, Heather, Brady, and my mom at the new City Creek shopping center. It was beautiful!

Sophia loved the fountains and she loved being with everyone. I did too!

I think I mentioned that it was beautiful... it was also cold... very, very cold. We tried to keep my scarf wrapped around Sophia's head to keep her warm. City Creek had only been open for a week, so it was still really busy, so we had to sit outside. In the cold. But it was okay, because food from Kneaders is yummy and it was worth it.

Later that night we had a fancy dinner at our house to celebrate. Isn't the birthday girl beautiful?

Sophia loves her aunt Heather! She calls her "Helly" and she loves to be with her.

We were glad Meg could come too!

Self-portrait queens Heather and Liv

I did something I say I don't believe in... but I have done a couple of times and checked the kids out of school early so we could go up to the cabin with Heather and my mom... we always go on the same little hike to the top of a hill that overlooks Heber Valley. My mom is so full of energy... it took both of us to keep up with Sophia who wanted to run up the mountain.

I love this picture of my cute kids... even though they don't always get along, they really do love each other.

Another great picture of my mom with Coleman.

We are so grateful for the time we get to spend with our family members! It was great to have Heather in town!

So Long, Farewell

We are so excited for Ryan's brother Scott and his family for a new adventure... but we are so sad for us since their new adventure means they no longer live in our state. Even though we didn't get to see them often enough, it was nice to know they were only an hour away.

We were glad to have a quick minute to say goodbye before they left at the end of March.

Sophia loves Kristen... what's not to love?

How many shots does it take to get five Harper kiddos all looking and smiling at the camera? Too many... I took a whole lot and this was our best :).  Sam and Coleman are the goofiest of goofballs!

Liv and Alyza have a great time together! She is such a sweet girl.

I have been blessed with wonderful sisters-in-law. Kristen is an amazing woman with so many talents and a generous heart. She has been so supportive of me in so many ways. As I said before, I am so excited for her and the new opportunities they will have, but I am selfishly so sad for me that they are gone.

Scott and Ryan with their girls... see the family resemblance?

They've been gone just about six weeks, and we are already counting down the days until we can be with them again!

Arise and Shine Forth

Several months ago Ryan was called to meet with a member of the Stake Presidency and he was surprised at the invitation he received. The Young Women from our stake were invited (with two other stakes) to be a part of the choir that would sing during the Young Women's General Broadcast. He was asked to be the videographer for their rehearsals. The choir director needed someone who could record and play back immediately so that the girls could learn and improve. Ryan was able to borrow a great camera from his coworker and he did a wonderful job helping the choir prepare. It turned out to be an amazing experience for Ryan and for our Young Women and their leaders. It's hard to even describe the many ways that we were blessed along the journey. Being a part of the choir was life-changing for so many. The choir director had an  amazing ability to teach life lessons while she helped the girls learn their music. She brought in guests and had choir members relate their own personal experiences of growth and testimony. Leaders, parents, and others were invited to attend the rehearsals and seats became harder and harder to get. Everyone wanted to be there, because being there meant you got to feel the Spirit in a strong, uplifting way.

After several weeks of rehearsing and preparing, the day finally came for the broadcast... March 24th. Even though Liv still has a ways to go before she is 12, she and I went to the broadcast together. I can't wait until this cute girl turns 12! (Maybe I should let her be 11 first?) The meeting was excellent, particularly the talk by Sister Dalton (read or watch here).

Ryan was invited to attend the broadcast and the general Young Women's leaders gave him a beautiful gold tie (for the value of Virtue) to say thank you. He got to sit in the media room... where he got to schmooze with our Stake Presidency and snack on refreshments during the meeting! We met up with him after and had to take this cute photo.... It was probably the only time she will get to attend the YW meeting with her daddy!

See the wonderful video "Arise to the Mountain" that features our Young Women's choir singing at the end:


I am so grateful that I got to have a small role in this by supporting our young women and Ryan in this endeavor!