Here’s a pictographic depiction of the rest of our trip;

The day after the wedding was Mother’s Day and we got together with the Harrison side of my family to celebrate. We got to gather around and hear stories from and ask questions to the matriarch of the family: Dorothy Ruth Chambers Harrison. How I love this woman. In response to the question: “What advice do you have for us young Moms?” She said- “You can’t change your husband. You needn’t try.”

This was the first time most of my family had seen Anders. He was greatly adored by everyone, but especially his three year old girl cousins. Here he is with Claire.

Anders and his 3 months older cousin Miles.

With his eldest cousin, Brecklyn

Anders with his great grandmother. (I’m so frustrated that I didn’t get a four generation shot while I had the chance. grrr.)

And his great grandpa: Ronald Deane Harrison. We got to spend the morning visiting with Grandma and Grandpa Harrison. It was lovely to be in their home again and feel their strong resilient spirits. Both are struggling with major health issues, and yet both continue to serve in their community, to stay involved in the lives of their six children and many grand and great-grandchildren, to attend the temple, and to work on family history. The above pictures brings tears to my eyes. My grandfather has Parkinson’s disease and it has hit him hard lately. As we walked down the street to see some of his horses he spoke of the difficulty and frustration of his condition, then he said with strength, “But we must ENDURE!” And considering that smile, he is enduring well. Grandma and Grandpa you’re an inspiration to us all.

Taking time with Scotland.

It struck me this time around that while my Grandfather is very self sacrificing, he still takes some time and money for things he enjoys all for himself, like his horses. It seemed a prime example of balance.

Scotland is on a real flower-picking kick. He was holding a dandelion about 60% of the time we were in Utah. And that’s probably not an exaggeration. The endless amount of his beloved fleur in the pastures of my grandpa kept him focused for hours. He brought in bouquet after bouquet. I love his picture because it’s pretty true to life. Rhyse and Brielle are best friends, and it took Scotland a while to enter their tight-knit friendship. Both girls are quite fiery and definitely exposed Scotland to a new level of intensity. Their time together was rift with many fights but also many sweet times. It’s amazing how people bring out the worst in us. I’m never more aware of my son’s behavioral issues than when he’s playing with other children. (Which I could say as easily about myself!) ¬†Looking back I think I wasn’t patient enough with Scotland. We throw these cousins together that only see each other a few times a year and expect them to be immediate friends. I’ll be honest I was shocked at the meanness and aggression that was sometimes displayed amongst them. I suppose it’s my “first time, controlling Mom” status but I still feel a great desire to protect my child against such behavior, and yet it was family, what was I to do. I wonder If I should have been involved more at the beginning, helped them navigate their friendship in the early stages. Or was it better to just leave them to their primal ways- beating their chests and screaming in order to establish a social order? I’m not sure. However, by the end of their time together the sweet moments were far exceeding the ugly ones, and moments like this made it all worth it.

note the flower

note the flower

I wanted to catch this moment on my phone because it really warmed my heart. My two older brothers took the time to sit down and chat with Scotland for a while. He was thrilled by their attention- chatting confidently about who knows what. I love these big brothers of mine, and the fact that they take the time to love my children means the world to me.

I wanted to capture my sister in this mode. Brigette became passionate about the idea of educating her children last fall. As is her style, she immediate went into overdrive purchasing and making materials and creating a space in her home to serve as their pre-school. Watching her in action was truly inspirational. Seeing her children respond was even sweeter. They were so thrilled by her instruction, desirous to learn, attentive and focused. I’ll admit to feeling envious of her energy, her determination, her “nothing is impossible” attitude.

We went up and spent a few days with Sabina and her family. We spent Saturday afternoon in the Logan canyon, having a picnic, scooping for bugs, making boats and climbing trees.

My sister Sabina has really made a point of immersing herself in the activities of the children. She was usually the first to join the kids crossing the river on the fallen tree, or scooping for bugs. Here she is with the boat she help construct with Rhyse, Brielle and Keiton. She was really in her element up in the mountains. Sabina loves all things physical, active and outdoorsy. She’s suited for a simpler, more carefree life than she currently has. We have a lot in common, and I’ve often used her as a lens of how I might be in nine years. Seeing her up in the mountains, so happy, and at ease, I made note. And yet this frolic in the hills was only made possibly because she forwent the endless list of chores and upkeep at home. All things that she would have to attend to later in the week or live with. I returned from her house with many questions about life. I know my current carefree life isn’t sustainable. (In fact I see it fading out by the day) and yet I feel it is really important to the happiness of my family and marriage. . . ¬†but I digress, I need to flesh this out more before I can discuss it.

We had a “girls” day on Monday after the wedding. These are all my sisters, two sisters-in-law, and eldest niece. Unfortunately, my Mom is missing in this picture. (Sorry Audrey and Getti for the less than favorable shot- it’s the only one we got.) I love these women, and crave their friendship.

We rounded out our trip back at Brigette’s house. Scotland was so thrilled to have friends to play with all day long. Whenever I’d call him in for a nap or bedtime he’d proclaim: “But I want to play with my friends!” How I wish we lived closer so he could play with these sweet cousin friends more often, and under less stressful conditions. (Few of us are on our best behavior when we’re sleeping in foreign beds, without our regular structure.)

It was a jam-packed week and a half. We returned exhausted and suddenly aware of how peaceful our life is. I prayed for angels to assist me on my flight home alone with the boys and was blessed with two, and skycap. While we’re enjoying the quiet of our home, we’re already looking forward to our family gathering with the Foutz side of the family in June and another family reunion with the Petersen side of the family in August.

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