Friday, July 27, 2012

a tribute.

{my maid of honor speech}

9 years ago, I met a girl.

She was cute and funny, outgoing and quirky.  She was an amazing baker, threw the best parties, was a fabulous singer, and an even better mother.

I quickly became friends with her, watching movies, playing games, baking with bay leaves, going on walks, eating pineapple, stealing garbage, serving in church callings together, laughing, and always having fun.  Then one night at a barbecue, she and I found common ground in a way I had never found with other friends before her.  We were able to open up emotionally on a deeper level, talking about hardships that were close to our own hearts, things that no one can understand unless they have weathered the same storm.

After that night I knew that she and I would be friends for life, and she wasn't really going to be given a choice in the matter.  I wouldn't let her go even if she wanted me to.

Years passed and we kept in touch, even when circumstances moved us across the country.  Phone calls, emails and blogs helped us keep up on each other's lives.  Our friendship continued  as we faced sick babies, hardships with family, multiple moves and job changes, loss of pregnancies, and mentally unstable teenagers, just to name a few.

Some would call it luck, but I would call it the hand of God knowing what lay ahead for the both of us as my little family unexpectedly moved to Arizona, where this friend of mine was now living.  She was kind enough to open up her home while we looked for our own.  It was during this time, on a sweltering afternoon with the air-conditioning on full blast that this friend finally let me in, and trusted me with pain she had been enduring for years. We shared the pain and tears as she let me mourn with her and that day our friendship grew again.

This was one of many times I was able to catch just a glimpse of the strength this friend of mine had.

During the next two years, I watched as she dove head-first into some of the most challenging times she had ever faced.  And I saw her change, and the change was tangible not only on the inside but on the outside.  She crawled her way out of a dark hole that had been dug for her by another, and came out of that hole more courageous, more beautiful, more humble, more kind, more thoughtful, with an unshakable faith and an ability to keep her soft heart to forgive those who had continually hurt her.

My only worry was that she would not be able to find someone who was as amazing as she was, someone who could be her equal. I remember nights of late phone calls, laughing while we read profiles of single men, and I wondered if there was ever going to be anyone who would come along who deserved her.

Nine months ago, this beautiful friend of mine, was set up on a blind date.  Not only was it a blind date, but it was also a group date.  Needless to say, she was extremely hesitant to go.  I told her to give it a chance, and reminded her of a promise she had made....that no matter how uncomfortable she was, she had promised to put herself out there and try.  To take a risk.  And in return, she would be protected from pitfalls she had previously fallen into.  So she went.

I talked to her after that group date, and then after the first date alone with this new guy, and I could immediately tell--something was different.  There were no red flags, there was nothing to laugh about.  He was actually normal.  Not just normal, but the more time she spent with him, the more she realized just how incredible he was.  Our conversations about him turned from "He's a really nice, cute guy" to "I have never felt this way about anyone before."

The day came that I finally got to meet this, nice, incredible guy, and I met him with eyes that were similar to a mama bear's.  I was prepared to pounce on him if he made a wrong move.  But he didn't.  It felt easy and comfortable to be around him.  He was funny, intelligent, good-looking, kind, and I could tell that most importantly....he was a good person.  Good to the core.

Their relationship continued, evolving and deepening.  Each time she and I talked about him, there was something different that I heard in her voice, something that I hadn't heard in a few years.  Happiness.

Today I stand, looking at this friend of mine who has been through so much.  This young girl who was not given much of a chance at happiness has risen above her circumstances and turned into one of the most amazing individuals with one of the most courageous, beautiful spirits I have ever been blessed to have in my life.  And she has finally found someone who deserves her.

Andrea, I can not begin to express how grateful I am for you.  How much I love you.  How happy I am for you today.  Shawn, I love you too.  I am so thankful you have found each other and I can't wait to see the rest of your story unfold together.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

365 days of june.






i know people say that she's calm
because she's the third child...

but i think she is as sweet as she is
just because it's who she is.

happy birthday june,
our content,
baby girl.

this year with you has been an absolute joy
for me as a mother.

thank you for coming to our family.

Friday, July 20, 2012

my birthday project.

it's time for our favorite game:

two truths and a lie.  

ready?  here we go!

my name is lynsey.

i am short.

i love celebrating my birthday.


did you guess which one was a lie??

okay okay, it's true.  i seriously don't like to celebrate my birthday.  and it doesn't have anything to do with getting older, i've been this way for a couple of decades now and have tried to figure out the reason, and it might surprise you, but here it is:

i don't like to be the center of attention.

it's true!  stop laughing!    

i know it sounds ironic coming from someone who agreed to be in an online show where there were cameras on me while i was giving birth, or have taken on a job now where i'm asked to do weekly video blogs featuring yours truly....but it's the truth!   

at heart, i'm a friendly person, but i'm not someone who likes to be in a big crowd, having everyone stare while the spotlight shines on my perspiring little face.  which is sort of what happens {at least in my mind} during birthdays.  having people sing, being given presents and then being watched while i open them...eeek!  gives me the willies just thinking about it.

however, i have realized through the years that just like weddings, and having babies,  and all sorts of other things, my birthday is not just about me.  it's about those who love me celebrating with me and for me and when i act the way i feel inside, that i don't want to do anything or have anything done for me.... i pretty much ruin it for them.

so, what's a girl to do when she doesn't want to be the center of attention on her birthday, but doesn't want to ruin it for others?


a couple of months ago, i was talking to my sister on the phone who asked me if i'd heard of 

the birthday project.

i hadn't, so she explained that it was an idea from one awesome lady who decided that she wanted to spend her 38th birthday doing 38 random acts of kindness for other people, and encouraged her friends, family and facebook contacts to do one random act of kindness too, and leave her a comment on either her blog or facebook page telling her what it was.


me celebrating my birthday doing kind things for other people, and asking those who love me to do something kind for someone else is exactly how i would love to spend my birthday. i love the thought of celebrating life by helping others. 

ben and the kids and i have been compiling a list of the 32 random acts of kindness that we're going to have so much fun doing.  

you know something i've always said i'd love to do when i'm rich {ha!} is to find a mom with her kids at a grocery store and buy her groceries.  but i realized while making this list that at this time in my life i may not be able to do that, but i can buy her a gift card to help with her groceries.  or even better!  for free, i can help her load her groceries in her car.  {anyone else loathe that part or is it just me?  usually my kids are just done by that point you know?}

this has been especially a great project for my sweet caleb, who at 7 years old is so fixated on what we get for our birthday that this idea has kind of blown his little mind.  "what? no presents?  none?"  it's been a great lesson for him already.

and i have a feeling it's going to be a really really great day.

***so this is where YOU come in! 

*PLEASE join me and my family this weekend in doing one random act of kindness for someone else, and if you can, give them a note to pay it forward!  

*PLEASE leave a comment here, or on my facebook page, by sunday, July 22nd, telling me what you have done as your random act and i'm going to post all of the comments on my blog after the weekend is over.  

*and please SHARE this with your friends and family!  i want to see how many people will do one kind thing for someone else....let's see how big this can get!

thank you in advance, i'm so excited for this!!  

"no act of kindness, however small,
is ever wasted."


P.S.  I decided that my last R.A.O.K. will be to randomly select one person who comments here or on facebook to receive a $10 gift card to Target from me!!  So please make sure to leave a comment here so you can enter!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

vacation post part 2- friends!

so here are a few of the people we were able to see during our short time in utah.  i literally crammed in as many visits with friends as i could!  why?

because my kids weren't sick.


my kids didn't get sick on the entire trip!  and they didn't come home sick either!  long-time readers know that this is a strader miracle if i've ever seen one.  i kid you not, this is the first time that i can remember in a long, long time that we've survived a lengthy vacation while everyone stayed healthy.  hooray!

so, here are a few of our pictures, the one person i forgot to get a picture of is my long-time friend and old college roommate, tara.  bummer!

before ben left and flew back home, we were able to go to a barbecue with all of his old high school friends and their families.  we had a great time, and were so happy to be able to see all of them.  ben told me on the way home just how much these guys mean to him....they were kind of his solid rocks during a shaky time of his life.

we also had lunch with the always hilarious, always impeccably dressed davey....

then after ben went back to arizona, i saw my other two roommates from college, christy and mindy and their cute kids....

and got to spend a couple of hours with the barbers, 
our arizona-friends-newly-relocated-to-utah...

was able to meet up with my friend from high school {and now blogging buddy} rachel and my kids had such a fun time with her 6 {six!}......

and then had dessert with the hilarious and sweet christian 
{sorry about the red-eye weirdness}....

got together with my sweet aunt sue and favorite girlie cousins shellee & aimee, some of my most fun childhood memories involved these ladies....

and then rounded off the friends visit with some of my girls from high school, getting to see them again reminded me of why i loved being around them so much so long ago......

sick of pictures yet??  well if you are, take a big sigh of relief.  
vacation pictures part 2 is done!

vacation part 1 picture overload!

{starting the journey}

we had such a great time on our family trip.  seriously, having ben around for 7 days straight...someone to help me with meltdowns and bedtimes and non-sleeping children and packing and everything in-between....not only that but i just enjoy his company so darn much.  i felt myself come alive again, laughing and staying up late to play games and letting go when it came to schedules.  it felt so nice, like a weight was lifted that i hadn't even realized was there.

we started off with stopping halfway to go camping with ben's twinner and some of ben's family in a really beautiful ranch in kanab.  the environment was so gorgeous, and we had no cell phone service so it was like we were cut off from the world for a couple of days.  the kids just played and explored and played some more.  

then we went up to my family's reunion up at a resort i used to go to when i was a kid.  i had such great memories of the place, and it was so fun to make some new ones.  swimming, badminton, baseball, lots of good treats, sped up UNO, and kids with more cousin time!  we celebrated birthdays, went swimming in the crater, horseback riding and stayed an extra day because of the raging fires in utah.  

then drove through the downpour to settle for the rest of the time in alpine.  well, at least our belongings did.  but physically we were all over the place....and that will be vacation part 2!